Showing posts from 2014

Book Review: How I Wonder What You Are

How I Wonder What You Are by Jane Lovering My rating: 5 of 5 stars Despite its nursery-rhyme title, 'How I Wonder What You Are' is a sophisticated read. I wanted to say 'adult' but that would imply a 50 shades-esque level of steam, whereas 'How I Wonder' simmers gently with sexual tension throughout. Molly finds Phinn lying naked on the moors and carts him home with the help of an obstructive pony named Stan, so she knows a good deal from the start about his impressive physique. However, despite his high public profile as a professor of Astrophysics, Phinn turns out to have secrets galore, while Molly herself isn't quite the open book she pretends to be. Like so many of Jane Lovering's books, this is a story of two wounded souls finding healing through a relationship which is by turns hilarious and touching. The romance is always front and centre, and plays out against a delightful backdrop of village life and the quest Phinn and Molly share,

Possibly the oddest short story collection I have read this year. Definitely the most fun.

What, No Pudding by Sheila North My rating: 5 of 5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed these stories by Sine fm presenter Sheila North. I'm particularly fond of Penelope, Queen of the Dole Queue. Sometimes it seems as if people in stories just don't live in the same world as us, but in this story Sheila North drags a mythical character kicking and screaming into reality. When Odysseus clears off on his round the world voyage, Penelope struggles to make ends meet, and soon finds herself pondering just how to answer the question about marital status on the benefit application form. Turf Wars similarly blends reality and fantasy, in an improbable but oh-so-entertaining account of garden fairies running wild in a South Yorkshire backwater. Then there are Bill the dragon and the defenestrated Bede.  I've been waiting a long time for a story which justifiably uses the word 'defenestrated'.  Sheila makes it worth the wait, with her charming tale of a nearly-flameless dragon

Romance Writing fun in 2015

Looking ahead to 2015, I've just spotted that Mills and Boon novelist extraordinaire, Kate Walker, has posted links to some courses she's involved with next year.  So now there's a new item on my Christmas wish list - the Relax and Write weekend at Weetwood Hall in March - handy for us northerners, just outside Leeds.  She's also teaching a workshop at the Fishguard Writing Weekend in February... but as a real-life romantic I have other ideas about Valentine's weekend, so I'll be giving that one a miss!!!!! If you're curious about these or her other courses, the full post is here: If you want to learn more about writing romance and don't feel like traveling or the budget doesn't permit, I thoroughly recommend Kate's invaluable Twelve Point Guide to Writing Romance.

Top Ten Ways to Prepare for Christmas

This time last year my sweet Christmas novella, 'The Santa Next Door' had just released.  I might have to re-read it to get back in a seasonal mood.  In the meantime, I've been reminding myself of my favourite things about Christmas by re-reading a blog post I wrote last year for Sarah Cass's 'Redefining Perfect' blog, about my top 10 ways to prepare for Christmas.  Why not pop over there and see how many of them you agree with?

Book Review - Falling Apart

Falling Apart by Jane Lovering My rating: 5 of 5 stars Like several other reviewers, I couldn't quite imagine how Falling Apart would live up to the promise of Vampire State of Mind. So Jess and Sil are fabulous characters, but hey, once you've saved the world from demons the first time, then anything else starts to look a bit tame in comparison. Shoes and paperclips are all very well, but they just don't set the heart beating in quite the same way as magic and mayhem. However, Falling Apart has all the magic and mayhem a girl could wish for. From the start, it's obvious to the reader that there's a good reason for Sil's bad behaviour (and I don't just mean the flirting with anything in skirts variety, more the dangerous blood-letting sort), but it's equally clear why Jess assumes the worst of him. There's high drama both in the relationship stakes and on the streets of York, and Jane even manages to sneak in the odd political point (I think,

The rise of the virtual party

So, I have a new hobby.  I find this new pastime perfectly suits both my innately social personality and my inherent laziness.  By attending facebook parties, I can chat to my heart's content with fascinating people all over the world, and I don't need to touch a mascara wand or a pair of straighteners, much less try to work out which of my several dozen party dresses will be new to this particular combination of people, or whether I need to add yet another to the collection. I know I'm a bit behind the curve here (let's face it, that's not uncommon for me) but I only recently discovered the delights of facebook parties, mostly thanks to Alexia Adams and friends' sterling efforts to publicise Sexy in the City. I spent a delightful evening paying a virtual visit to my US-based writer friends, sharing stories and pictures of our favourite exotic locations, and discovering several fantastic new books (all part of the 'Sexy in the City' boxed set, which

EXCERPT - Urgent: One Nanny Required by Olivia Logan

“I said—do you have any children?” The repeated question was spoken a lot slower and carefully enunciated this time, as if she herself were a child. The question, unbeknown to him, brought to the surface her secret, long held dream of having a child of her own. To raise her child to be loved and wanted, as she was never brought up. Never to be used as an accessory, then discarded when the party was over. Rania shook her head sadly, partly to dispel the image and partly to answer his question, murmuring softly, “No. No, I don’t.” She had a sneaky feeling the barriers she had long ago constructed were becoming more transparent with each passing minute of this conversation. His sharp gaze never seemed to miss a trick as he watched her smooth down her apron for the umpteenth time that evening. “Why do you ask? Am I that much of a natural with children?” She smiled breezily. Clearly, he was in no mood for jokes as her light-hearted comment fell on deaf ears and he continued

EXCERPT: Kirby by Samantha Molina

The next day arrived entirely too fast. Training lasted until well past midnight, leaving Rachel to function on less than six hours of rest. It’s only six months , she reminded herself, and you’ll be junior editor in no time . She stood in line at the coffee shop beneath the building that housed Equinox Publishing, her eyes burning from lack of sleep. Certain that a frappe would make the world right again, she waited patiently to place her order. Her patience was rewarded with quick service, and she held her iced coffee drink lovingly as she scooped it up from the counter. Sleepily, she suppressed a yawn and turned to head upstairs where, undoubtedly, another stack of wasted manuscripts awaited her attention. Rachel hadn’t taken five steps, when her toe caught on the edge of one of the rugs. It sent her falling forward; her frappe went flying ahead of her. “Oh!” Before the exclamation had completely escaped her lips, she felt a pair of hands grab onto her. The floor rushed

EXCERPT Singapore Fling by Alexia Adams

“Sorry I’m late,” Lalita said as she rushed into the boardroom. She took her seat at the opposite end of the table to Jeremy and ran a shaking hand over her hair. Raising her eyes, she met Jeremy’s concerned stare and did her best to paste a reassuring smile on her face. Conversation buzzed around her as she stared out the window. When Lalita noticed a prolonged silence, she pulled herself back to the present. Twenty pairs of eyes stared at her. “Lalita? I asked if you wanted to make any final comments before we wrap up?” Jeremy repeated. “Oh…ah…just to thank everyone for their cooperation and hard work in making Evans International a success. In my discussions with the CEO last week, he indicated that we are on track for a record-breaking year and that Asia is leading the corporation in both new products and new partners. Thanks to you!” Lalita concluded with a round of applause and hoped her smile reached her eyes. Taking her words as dismissal, the men and women gathe

OUT TODAY: SEXY IN THE CITY (Featuring my London romance 'Perfect Partners')

  Sexy in the City 9 Glamorous, Globe-trotting Contemporary Romances - ebook set only $0.99 for a limited time. Amazon Barnes & Noble Crimson Romance From New York to Paris, London to Los Angeles, these cosmopolitan tales of romance will challenge and inspire your most worldly fantasies: Singapore Fling by Alexia Adams: A CEO-in-training is tempted by her a handsome hotshot marketing director as they tour the company’s Asian offices. But will eight countries in three weeks lead to whirlwind romance or lasting love? A Place to Rest My Heart by Galen Rose: This poignant story of family, romance, and discovering where you truly belong will enchant everyone who’s ever left their heart in San Francisco. Kirby by Samantha Molina: The competitive nature of New York’s publishing scene forces Rachel Sirianna to adopt an alter ego—but can she keep her hot boyfriend from discovering the duplicity? The Very Thought of You by Carolann Camillo: When real estate developer Ni

5 Surprising Things About... Burnley

    A lot of my friends seem to have been tagged lately to share '5 surprising things' about themselves.  I'm grateful, but also a bit worried, that nobody's yet tagged me (at least, not that I've noticed... if you've tagged me and I missed it, sorry!  I'm really not ignoring you on purpose!).  I'm not sure what I'd say, because I don't think there's a lot surprising about me.  I'm pretty much 'what you see is what you get'.  So instead of sharing 5 surprising things about me, I thought I'd share 5 things that surprised me this weekend.  And I was VERY surprised this weekend.       Being a southerner by birth but a northerner by choice, I thought I'd got used to the fact that the North isn't the grim industrial wasteland that southerners tend to imagine.  I live within easy reach of the Peak District and the Yorkshire Moors, not to mention my favourite seaside resort, sunny Scarborough.  So why did I expect Burnley to

What's New From Me on Book-in-a-Week

I just realised it's been a few months since I've shared here what I've been writing for Book-in-a-Week.  For anyone who's missed my previous posts, I should probably explain that Book-in-a-Week is a fantastic web-based community of writers who once a month take part in a shared challenge to set and fulfil a writing goal over the course of a week.  As well as participating regularly, I also write a monthly column for the site.   I've been thinking a lot recently about how I can fit in more writing time, and be more productive in my writing time, so two recent posts have been inspired by these experiments. The first post on this theme looks at developing a daily writing habit, which is advocated by many successful writers, including Stephen King.  You can read this one at Following on from this, I've also posted about the benefits I've found to keeping closer track of my word