Friday, 26 February 2016

Djinn and Tonic: Release Week

A huge thank you to all the people who've helped Djinn and Tonic get off the ground over the last week!

My lovely fellow authors at Wild Rose Press helped create quite a twitter storm over the first few days, and I've done some very enjoyable interviews - if you've missed any of them, here are the links:  Nancy C Weeks finds out about the inspiration for Djinn and Tonic, and challenges me to write an 8 word love story.  Joyce M Holmes asks about my writing habits and my tastes in reading.  Mary Morgan finds out about my writing inspirations, and asks some entertaining personal questions.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Writer Wednesday Interview: Iris Blobel

Welcome, Iris!  A few weeks ago I posted your cover for Echoes of the Past.  Thanks for coming back to tell us more about the book.  What gave you the idea for Echoes of the Past?

The funny part is, I started the first paragraph as a post for “Tuesday Tales” where authors write to a different prompt each week. Coming back from a holiday in South Australia, I picked it up again, wondering what it’d be like to return to such a beautiful place after so many years. Family and friendship has always been an important theme in my books, so the story developed around these three issues.

Is Echoes of the Past a single title, or part of a series?
Echoes of the Past is the first book in the Fermosa Bay series.

The story is set in Australia.  How important is the setting to the story?
Very important. I write while visualising the scene and I have to like what I see. It’s like placing yourself into the story looking around and be the little spy in the corner. If you don’t like what you see, how can the reader like what they read?

How has your love of travel and your move from Germany to Australia influenced your writing?
I moved to Australia well and truly before I started writing, so in a way I’d say no. But I’d have a guess if I lived in Germany, my stories would have a different touch to them, more local, more European, more … not sure … not-Australian ;-)

I love the soft, almost wistful, tone of your covers.  Does that reflect the tone of the story?
Wistful is a good word to describe it. I’d say it does reflect Connor’s story to the dot. When I handed in the details about the story and what I had in mind to the cover artist I was curious what she’d come up with. I expected many variations, but she absolutely nailed it with this one. Yes, as much as it is a romance story, it is also about Connor re-connecting with a life he could’ve had … many “what-if” questions in the story.

Fermosa Bay #1
New Adult Contemporary Romance

::: SYNOPSIS ::::

Emily Bradshaw waited over twenty years to see Connor again…

When her childhood friend, Connor Walsh, returns home to see his ailing father, Emily is elated to be reunited with the handsome man who moved to London so many years ago. But excitement fades to disappointment when he doesn’t remember her—or their first kiss. With her crush on Connor still in full swing, she’s determined to enjoy the short time he’s in Fermosa Bay, even though she knows her heart will break when he returns to his life in London.

When Connor receives news that his biological father is terminally ill, he returns to Fermosa Bay, Australia. 

With memories of his childhood tucked fondly in the back of his mind, returning to the small, coastal town leaves him to wonder how life would have been if his mother had never taken him away. Would he have been married and had children? Perhaps with Emily Bradshaw…

Secrets from long ago begin to unfold…

As Connor and his father grow closer, Connor learns his parents have a broken love story of their own. Will the echoes of the past lure him into staying, maybe for good? Or will he relive his parents’ tragic story and flee to London? 

Walking away from a real chance at true love…


Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London as well as Canada where she met her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only emerged recently, but now her laptop is a constant companion.

Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her two beautiful daughters.

Next to her job at a private school, she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.


Sunday, 21 February 2016

Look, I made a book trailer!

It's been a fun release weekend.  I've made a book trailer for Djinn and Tonic...

Djinn and Tonic

... and visited the blog of the lovely Angela Scavone to talk about my dream date

I've got a few more interviews and visits lined up over the forthcoming week, so watch this space!

Friday, 19 February 2016

OUT NOW: Djinn and Tonic

 Publication day nerves never quite disappear.  I imagine it's a bit like sending your child off to school for the first day.  How will they fare out in the world?  Will the teachers be kind?  Will the kids want to play with them?
Writers want our book babies to be loved, and so we worry.  Will anyone read the book?  Will anyone like it?  Is there some terrible mistake that both I and my editor have somehow overlooked?  (And I don't mean the slight liberties I may have taken with the geography of Whitby for artistic effect, or the major liberties I take with the laws of space-time for the sake of the pararnormal aspect of the story.  I mean something huge and unanticipated of which I was utterly unaware).
I'm not sure how I'd have the nerve to send the book out into the world at all, if it weren't for the support of so many lovely people who've read and improved various versions of the story.  So a big thank you to the ladies from the Leicester and Yorkshire Terriers chapters of the Romantic Novelists' Association for their input, and of course to my wonderful editor and cover designer at The Wild Rose Press.  And now, before this turns into an Oscar acceptance speech and the tears start, I'll sign off and leave you to enjoy the story...

Here is is on amazon
and on barnes and noble

And, if you didn't catch it yesterday, here I am chatting with Nancy C Weeks on her blog about the inspirations for Djinn and Tonic (and, for good measure, writing a love story in 8 words).

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Writer Wednesday Interview: Queenie Black

I don't often read erotic fiction but I make an exception for Queenie Black, because I enjoy her well-developed characters (no, that's not an innuendo) and exotic settings.  Today I've invited her to my blog to chat about her short story collection, 'Love Bites'.  

When and how did you first become interested in writing? 
I’ve written for almost as long as I’ve been reading and I was a fairly confident reader when I was four! I got my first ‘proper’ book when I was five and it was called The Wishing Chair by Enid Blyton. I started by making up more stories about characters I liked or rewriting endings in my mind when I didn’t like the author’s. It was a kind of fan fiction I suppose. By the time I was in my third year at primary school I was writing short stories that were entered into National story writing competitions. So from about the age of seven I don’t think there was ever a time when I wasn’t writing stories or at least making them up.

The four stories in Love Bites are very varied, with contemporary, historic and paranormal elements.  Besides the fact they're all erotic fiction, what else would you say they have in common?
All four stories are about the protagonists having to come to terms with something that challenges them and perhaps changes their view of themselves. For example in Elevator Magic Cass has to come to terms with the fact that she has fallen in love with two sexy men. I don’t want to give any spoilers so I won’t say anything else except that each heroine has something to learn about who she is capable of loving and what her boundaries are.

One of the stories is set in Greece, a favourite setting for romance writers.  What drew you to it, and do you have any advice for writers who want to set a story in an exotic location? I love Greece and the generosity of its people and there’s an air of mystery to it. It’s so ancient that it feels like anything can happen. It has a rich historical and cultural heritage and it’s also so varied in its geography that you can go from sea to mountains in the blink of an eye almost.
Greek heroes are also very sexy and when they’re hot Greek Gods and two have their eye on you… well I leave that to your imagination (or you could read my story).
If you are going to use exotic locations then I’d say make sure you do your research properly. It’s so important and now with Google and other sites it’s possible to see things almost first hand and it’s so easy to do in an instant from your computer.

How would you describe the difference between romance and erotica?
The difference between romance and erotica as far as I understand it is that erotica is much more explicit. It also has broader boundaries and the relationships can be a little more out of the ordinary. They often contain adult themes such as ménage and BDSM, and sex has a much more central role throughout the story. The erotic stories in my collection are relationship stories with happy ever after endings but they are very graphic and explicit and definitely not appropriate for under 18s..

Which romantic and erotic authors would you recommend to someone who hasn't read much in those genres before? 
I really like Cherise Sinclair and think that she would definitely be a good start. Also Anne Marie MacKenna. They cover menage relationships and BDSM and I have always found them to be enjoyable reads. Sylvia Day is also a good choice.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve been given?
Write every day and never give up. Such simple advice yet so hard to follow. It’s still not something I’ve fully mastered even though I keep trying. By keeping that advice at the back of my mind I’m much better at being a productive writer.
Tell us a bit about yourself.  
I’ve been writing pretty much since I was able to read. I juggle charity fundraising, family life and writing with varying success. My children have mostly flown the nest and I live in a small village in North Yorkshire, England with my husband and some chickens. I write in an old caravan in the garden where I can’t be tempted to procrastinate on the internet.

Where can readers find you and your books?
I have a facebook page called Queenie Black Author: and I can also be found on Twitter @queenieblackwr1

 I’m selling on Amazon only at the moment and the collection is available for sale in most Amazon stores and on Kindle Unlimited. The link below should take you through to your country’s Amazon store whichever county you’re in.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Writer Wednesday Interview: Angela Wren

It's a great pleasure to welcome to my blog today my multi-talented friend: author, actor and director Angela Wren.  Hi Angela!

When and how did you first become interested in writing?

I think it was story telling that first captured my attention as a very young child.  Apparently, from being only a few months old, I was mesmerised by voices, and I suppose I still am, as I have an uncanny ability to recognise voices in an instant.  When I was a little older I would listen to my Dad and my uncles telling me stories, for hours if I could, and all three of them were excellent narrators.  So bedtime stories were a must at home and later, when I was deemed too old to have them, I made up stories for myself.  Writing them down became the next logical step and I’ve been doing that since I was about 8 or 9.

Where did the idea for Messandrierre come from? 

The very first idea came whilst I was travelling in the Cévennes in September 2007.  Overnight the weather changed dramatically and the next morning the village where I was staying and surrounding countryside where covered with snow.  I started thinking about how snow could be used to cover someone’s misdeeds and the opening page of my story began to form.  

Three years later I was staying in the Charente and met a lovely English couple in the local supermarket.  A few days later I was invited for tea and cakes – and who can turn cakes down?  A single, innocent remark during the course of conversation stayed with me and kept circling at the back of my head for the next few days.  When I knew I’d got a story I jotted down some notes and the rest is what it is!

You are obviously fond of France as a setting.  Tell us more about your connection with France.

It’s a long and enduring one as my very first visit was as a teenager and I’ve been visiting, living and travelling there regularly ever since.  The country is vast; geographically about 6 times the size of GB, but the population is similar.  There are some really remote places and the scenery is very varied and, in some instances, absolutely spectacular.  France also has a fascinating history, which is inextricably linked with ours.  Then there is the weather.  Need I mention the cuisine, the wine, and the culture?  Not to mention the fabulous shops in the cities and the relaxing and peaceful solitude of the countryside.  I always feel completely at ease and safe whenever I’m there.

Who is your favourite crime writer?  Or, if you can’t pick one, who are your favourites?

That’s an almost impossible question to answer; there are so many good crime writers out there.  To distil it down to just a few is just as difficult.  I loved Stewart and Christie, both of whom I read avidly as I was growing up.  In my teens I moved onto Collins, Dickens, Doyle and Poe.  As I kept reading I gradually progressed through all the shelves at the local library.  I really don’t know how I can measure one against the other and come up with even a small selection of favourites.  But I do have two favourite characters and always have had – Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes!

What other genres do you like to read?

I’m unhappy with that word ‘genres’.  It’s a label that immediately defines a book and I like to make up my own mind.  I suppose I would have to say that, as a collector of books, I don’t read in genres, I read in words and authors.  At the moment I’m gradually working my way through my collection of Patrick Hamilton’s books, alongside which I‘ve just started an e-book called ‘Love Bites’ by Queenie Black.  It is not unusual for me to be reading more than one book at once.  Sometimes you have let the last paragraph or chapter sit in your mind for a short while before you continue. I also have a beautifully bound little book about T. E. Lawrence on my bedside table, and only last month I finished, and thoroughly enjoyed, the anthology ‘Modern Magic.’  I will read anything if the words truly capture my interest.

You’re also very involved in the theatre.  How do you think that has influenced your fiction writing?

Greatly I think.  As an actor it is important to understand the character you are playing thoroughly before you walk out on the stage.  For me, in preparing for a role, it is not just learning the lines accurately that counts.  I also search those lines for clues to the make up of my character and then search the rest of the play to pick up on how the other characters react and interact with mine.  If it’s a period piece then I checkout the clothes, the attitudes of the time and consider what life-shaping events my character might have lived through.  When I first started trying to create credible stories I found this approach of great benefit in helping me to create the characters that now walk across my pages.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve been given?

Believe in yourself and don’t give up.

Where can readers find you and your books? 

Facebook : Angela Wren
Goodreads : Angela Wren