Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Matthew Crawley in my stocking...

(...not my stockings, that would be a whole other post!)
I'm a happily married woman. So actually having Matthew Crawley in my stocking for Christmas would be totally out of the question, but with Christmas almost upon us, I for one, am really looking forward to lying around full of Christmas cake and watching the Downton Abbey Christmas special.
I love Downton. In fact, I'd go as far as saying I'm completely addicted to the whole Downton experience. Beautiful scenery, fabulous interiors, delicious clothes, and best of all, the great characters written so well and with such depth that there's a character for every viewer to latch on to and root for.
Matthew Crawley is my favourite character, especially as he's grown so much during the present series. His experiences in war, his recent loss (no spoilers here for those who haven't discovered Downton yet!), and his medical problems, melding with the 'bubbling under the surface' pash he has for Lady Mary make him a totally captivating character for me.
So over Christmas, I'll be eagerly watching the Christmas special.
Will you? And who's your favourite Downton character?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Characterization V True Character (featuring Princess Fiona)

When I'm writing a character, I'm not really one for character sheets. I tend instead to have a picture of my heroine, and a general impression of what she is inside, the things that have happened during her lifetime that influence her, and the beliefs and fears that have shaped her.

One of the most interesting characters out there, in my opinion, is Princess Fiona from Shrek. I love the original Shrek movie, because it turned the traditional fairy tale on its head. Let's look at Fiona through the lens of characterization. How does she appear on the outside?

At the beginning of the movie, Fiona is a princess in an ivory tower, protected by a fierce dragon. She's been locked up for years (poor thing) and has very definite ideas about what will happen when she's rescued. The man who saves her from her incarceration will be: A handsome prince. He'll give her 'true love's kiss'. They'll marry, and live happy ever after. And on receiving true love's kiss, she'll banish the ugly part of herself that appears each night.

She's gorgeous. Tall, slender, and pretty. She's princessy, haughty, and proud. She'd be your average fairytale princess if her deep character matched her characterization. But it doesn't. Princess Fiona (like an onion) has layers. And once those layers are revealed, she becomes much more than just a princess, she becomes real.

I love the movie Shrek, because not only can we see that Fiona is a deeper character than intitially thought, we can see it by her revealing her true self (spoiler alert: an ogress!!). But in her human form, she acts in many unexpected ways that tip us off to her true nature. She loves all sorts of inappropriate for a princess behaviour. Eating rats on skewers, calmly frying eggs when her singing causes the bird mother to explode, general farty and belchy behaviour, and joking around with Shrek, who she has a lot in common with. She's ashamed of her ogre transformation, hiding at night so that she can't be seen. She feels she cannot be loved for who she is, a trait she also shares with Shrek.

When Lord Farquar finally claims her as his bride, the opening shot of him climbing from his horse and being tiny is yet another disappointment to her. He hasn't battled the dragon and fought for her. He's not amusing, like Shrek. And, if she were in any doubt, Fiona realises that characterization is not true character. Farquar isn't her true prince. Who knew her prince would be an ogre?

So appearances are deceptive. What is inside matters far more than the externals. And only by accepting that, and learning to love her true nature, does Princess Fiona achieve true love.
And I think she looks gorgeous green!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Character name dilemma

Well, my thoughts of taking a break from fiction writing lasted all of two days. I've a book due to come out early next year, 2 full subs in to various publishers, and I thought it might be time for a bit of a break.
Cue the insistent character knocking at my brain with useful ideas, snatches of dialogue, and the hints of a plot. (Sigh).
Anyhoo, this hero (for of course, it is a him) is the brother of one of my subbed stories. He's masterful, grouchy, and a fireman.
And what wonderful surname did I give him? The same as his sister of course.

BYRNE. Can I really get away with writing a fireman called BURN????

I'm sticking him on the back-burner (the back-byrner?) and telling him to go away, but that's just making him more determined to be written....
Oh, the difficulties of stories!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Spreading the word - Ben Hatch

I'm delighted to host another of my twitter followers today, Ben Hatch is here with his new book, Are We Nearly There Yet? (which is a moan anyone with kids has definitely heard at least a hundred times while driving!) Ben is @BenHatch on twitter.

Here's some stuff about him...
Ben Hatch was born in London and grew up here and in Manchester and Buckinghamshire. His latest bestseller, Are We Nearly There Yet? 8000 Misguided Miles Round Britain in a Vauxhall Astra has been praised by John Cleese ("Ben Hatch makes me laugh"), Mumsnet ("I laughed outloud and cried") and the Daily Mail ("An absolutely wonderful book") although, unfortunately, not by his wife Dinah ("I do NOT drive like Mr Magoo, you bastard!") His first comic novel, The Lawnmower Celebrity, based loosely on his time as a chicken sandwich station monitor at Darlington McDonalds, was named one of the Radio 4's eight books of the year in 2000. The International Gooseberry about a hapless backpacker with a huge ungovernable toenail was published in 2001 and described as "hysterical and surprisingly sad" by the Daily Express. Ben Hatch was on the long-list of Granta's 2003 list of the most promising 20 young authors in the UK. In association with his wife Dinah, Ben has also written guidebooks for Frommer's. The guidebooks are a mixture of helpful and humorous tips on holidaying with children, quirky reviews of attractions, and incendiary arguments with his wife about, among other things, what is the best type of owl.

He's currently flying high on the Amazon bestseller ranking - Go Ben! with what appears to be a cracking read, just perfect as a Christmas present!

The book blurb says...
If you think writing a guidebook is easy, think again! 'A family's 8,000 miles round Britain in a Vauxhall Astra' they were bored, broke, burned out and turning 40, so when Ben and Dinah saw the advert looking for a husband and wife team with young kids to write a guidebook about family travel around Britain, they jumped at the chance. With naive visions of staring moodily across Coniston Water and savouring Cornish pasties, they embark on a mad-cap five-month trip with daughter Phoebe, four, and son Charlie, two, embracing the freedom of the open road with a spirit of discovery and an industrial supply of baby wipes.
Ben's book is available via here
From here
(These are links to the paperbacks, but its also available at amazon for kindle)

And to finish, here's a lovely pic of him with his children.
Thanks for being here today, Ben, and best wishes for lots of lovely sales!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


So, I've been quiet again recently, because I'm working on another story, and have almost finished it ready to sub to a publisher. Target end November, so I anticipate being reasonably absent from twitter, blog etc until I'm happy with it. And then, it's into December - which for me is always a rather crazy month, dashing around trying to get things done in time for Christmas.

Do pop in on Friday, when I am featuring another of my twitter followers, Ben Hatch, and we can find out all about his latest book - Are We Nearly There Yet? (which is John Cleese's favourite), and sounds just the thing to giggle over for Christmas!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Spreading the word - Laura Wilkinson

The second in my series of books by my twitter followers, is from Laura Wilkinson, whose twitter handle is @ScorpioScribble. A dip into Laura's amazon author page reveals...

Laura Wilkinson grew up in Wales and now lives in a never-to-be-chic area of Brighton. Recently, she's worked as a freelance writer, an editor and a copywriter.

She has been a finalist and shortlisted in a number of competitions including: the New Writer, Cinnamon Press, the Virginia Prize and Brit Writers' Award 2010. She has published short stories in magazines, an anthology, and digital media like Ether Books.
BloodMining is Laura's debut novel. Yvonne Roberts, award winning journalist and author describes it as: 'Lean, lyrical, topical and emotionally gripping. This book is about the issues that we care about most - with a twist. Read it and pass on the word!' In between raising two young boys and working Laura is completing her second novel. Read some of her work, and find out more about her here:

BloodMining sounds really compelling, and has a rash of rave reviews on already - so here's some more about it...

Genre: Literary/General

Megan Evens appears to have it all: brains, beauty, a successful career. But deep down she is lonely and rootless. Pregnant, craving love but unable to trust after the destructive affair with her baby’s father, she returns to the security of her birthplace in Wales. When Megan’s son is later diagnosed with a terminal condition, a degenerative, hereditary disease, everything she believed to be true about her origins is thrown into question. To save her son Megan must unearth the truth; she must excavate family history and memory. Enlisting the help of former colleague Jack North, a man with a secret of his own, Megan embarks on a journey of self discovery and into the heart of what it means to be a parent.

BloodMining is available as a paperback as well as for the Kindle.
You can buy it here in paperback for the UK
Or here for the Kindle in the UK

Or here for paperback via
Or here for the Kindle via

All the best with your novel, Laura!

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Well I spent October polishing my M&B sub manuscript, and did no promo at all. I also raised the price of Bound to Love to 2.99.

As a result - I had a wonderfully creative month. But my sales suffered as a result, so I will have to strive to do better! First off, I've dropped Bound to Love in price to its usual 99c, which people seem to like buying it for.

And I'm half way through another book I'm loving writing, so I'm concentrating on that for November, while waiting for a cover, copy edits and a release date for Love On The Vine.

I'm NTAI the full I sent off last week, because stressing about it won't make any emails come at me any quicker.

And finally, I'm feeling a lovely, warm feeling in my heart regions at this review just in from Turning the Pages for my first book, Catch Me A Catch. Thank you, Lindsay!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Request for the full!

I've been quiet during October. Mostly because I received an email at the beginning of October that rattled my timbers and left me quaking.
*Drumroll* for the first time ever, I received a request for the full from Mills & Boon!
SQUEE! That ear splitting sound was me being delighted, and terrified in equal measure!
Challenging Andie has now been polished to within an inch of its life, and this afternoon winged its way to Richmond.

Here's hoping....

Friday, October 28, 2011

Spreading the word - Jo Carroll

I send out a tweet this month, inviting my twitter follower sto come on over to my blog and tell me about their books. In true tweet spirit, I wanted to know more, and to share the information with everyone, to help get the word about my followers books out there!

So here's the first one - drumroll - Jo Carroll, and details of her book, Over the Hill and Far Away.

Over the Hill and Far Away - One Grown-up Gap Year, by Jo Carroll

There must be something between the retirement party and buying a zimmer frame. JO CARROLL decided this was the time to revive her teenage dreams and go round the world. So she packed her rucksack, a round-the-world ticket, and a notebook. Not prepared, then, for being marooned on a beach in Australia with the tide rising and nothing but cliffs behind her; nor negotiating with a gunman who wanted to marry her in Lucknow. Let’s not think about the snakes and leeches in the jungles of Malaysia.

But could anything have prepared her for the drama that brought her home? Nor the kindness of strangers who kept her safe at that moment when she was least able to do it for herself.

Jo's book is available now on Amazon, here's the UK link
And also at here

You can find out more at her blog - which is here
And she's @jomcarroll on twitter!

Congratulations on your launch, Jo! And I wish you lots and lots of great reviews and sales!

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I'm writing. And this is seeping through my earphones as I do...

Thought I'd share.

Isn't Mary J fantastic?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Out and about with Morgen Bailey

Morgen Bailey's Writing Blog is full of writing advice and other goodies, and the lovely Morgen has posted an interview with me today - do pop over and say hello!

Here's the link:

Monday, October 10, 2011

And now...a guest! Love and Chocolate welcomes Catherine Ryan Howard!

I'm very excited today to have my blog buddy, Catherine Ryan Howard here today, who is taking over Love and Chocolate to talk a little bit about Self-Publishing, a subject she is totally expert in, and has written the definitive book to prove it. She's also written two books, Mousetrapped and Backpacked, which dominate the Amazon bestsellers lists, and her first novel, Results Not Typical, is out now too, more about that at the bottom of the post! So (drumroll) with no further ado, over to Catherine!

Self-Publishing: The Family and Friends Problem

One of the most annoying things about self-publishing is having to explain what it means – or doesn’t mean, rather – to your family, friends, colleagues, hairdresser, postwoman, etc.
No, your book won’t be in bookstores. No, you won’t be on The Late Late Show. No, you’re not surprised the guy at the counter in Waterstones had never heard of you or your book. No, it’s not quite like Cecilia Ahern. Yes, she is good, isn’t she? Yes, you’ll have to go buy it online. Yes, online. Amazon. The American one because the paperback isn’t available yet on No, they do ship to Ireland. Yes, I suppose it is a bit expensive. No, I understand. Don’t worry about it. No, really – don’t.
It’s easy to forget that although you and I may know exactly what it means to self-publish an e-book to Kindle or publish a paperback with CreateSpace, the average person on the street – even if they’re a book lover – doesn’t have the first clue. Your Twitter friends and Facebook fans may buy their books online just like you do and so won’t mind trusting Amazon to deliver yours, but that’s because (since they’re on Twitter and Facebook), they are comfortable online. The majority of people still buy books from shops, and don’t even realise that other books exist. When I told a relative of mine that I’d sold my 8,000th book, she said, “Yes... but are they all real books or are they the things you read on your computer?”, the implication being that “the things you read on your computer” didn’t count.
If you’ve previously expressed a desire to get published... well, good luck with that. Your decision to self-publish will be seen, in all likelihood, as a defeat; you couldn’t get the book published, so you decided to do it yourself. People outside of publishing won’t understand thinks like “niche market” or using e-books to pay for your coffee supplies while you write The Greatest Novel Ever. They’ll just assume you’ve given up. Or worse – they’ll think you’ve been published. I very nearly threw up a little bit when I overheard a friend of mine saying to someone, “I’m not sure who’s publishing her book ... I think maybe Harper Collins?” Um, no. Not quite.
But confusion isn’t the worst reaction you can illicit from family and friends – utter disinterest is. You assume, in your About-to-Self-Publish naiveté, that everyone you know is waiting, credit card at the ready, to add your book to their Amazon cart and then take up a position by the front room window from where they can stalk the postman until it arrives, when the reality is that most of them will rush to read it at a speed similar to that of evolution. Think about it: how often do you bolt to your nearest bookshop on the day a book is published? How often have you thought to yourself, I really want to read that book and then not get around to it for another year? And if you don’t like to bungee jump, would your best friend setting up a bungee jumping business change your mind? Don’t take offence if even your closest friends mutter something incoherent about when exactly they’re going to get around to reading your latest tome; if they never read, they’re hardly going to start now. Ask any who has had a book out there and they’ll tell you that they were surprised by the people who bought it and the people who didn’t.
So that’s my cautionary tale. Don’t say you weren’t warned...!
(Sally interjects at this point - 8,000th book? wowee!! good going, Catherine!!)
Results Not Typical on can be found here.
Results Not Typical on can be found here.

And because Catherine is, as well as being a publishing powerhouse, also a very nice person, she's given me details of a fantabulous Goodreads Giveaway:

If your readers visit they can enter a giveaway to win one of five paperback copies of Results Not Typical. Open for entries from September 30th-October 31st. Open to all countries.

About Catherine:
Catherine Ryan Howard is a 29-year-old writer, blogger and enthusiastic coffee-drinker. She currently lives in Cork, Ireland, where she divides her time between her desk and the sofa. She blogs at

About Results Not Typical:

The Devil Wears Prada meets Weightwatchers and chick-lit meets corporate satire in the debut novel from Catherine Ryan Howard, author of the bestselling memoir Mousetrapped: A Year and A Bit in Orlando, Florida. Through their Ultimate Weight Loss Diet Solution Zone System, Slimmit International Global Incorporated claim they’re making the world a more attractive place one fatty at a time. Their slogans “Where You’re Fat and We Know It!” and “Where the Fat IS Your Fault!” are recognised around the globe, the counter in the lobby says five million slimmed and their share price is as high as their energy levels. But today the theft of their latest revolutionary product, Lipid Loser, will threaten to expose the real secret behind Slimmit’s success...The race is on to retrieve Lipid Loser and save Slimmit from total disaster. If their secrets get out, their competitors will put them out of business. If the government finds out, they’ll all go to jail. And if their clients find out… Well, as Slimmit’s Slimming Specialists know all too well, there’s only one thing worse than a hungry, sugar-crazed, carb addict – and that’s an angry one. Will the secret behind Slimmit’s success survive the day, or will their long-suffering slimmers finally discover the truth? Available now in paperback and e-book editions.

Thanks very much for blogging with me today, Catherine, and I wish your new book just as much, or even more success than your others!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Last chance for a bargain!

My re-release of Bound to Love has been on sale for 99c in the Amazon Kindle Store for a couple of months now, and sales have been great - thank you for everyone who's bought it!
And for anyone who's thinking of it - here's a heads up - on the 16th October the price will be going up (not a lot, just enough to switch my percentage point from 35% to 70%). I was going to say buy it while it's hot, but it's still hot at a higher price, according to one of my Amazon reviewers who said:

It. Was. Hot.

I enjoyed it. It was fun. It was hot. It made me want to build a fire with my husband or jet of to Paris.

You can pick it up from here
Or, if in the UK, here
It is also available for Nook, Apple devices, and all other formats via smashwords.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lisdoonvarna & Six Sentence Sunday - Catch Me A Catch

My first book, Catch Me A Catch is about a West of Ireland matchmaking festival, where the matchmaker is ill, and his daughter has to stand in as matchmaker during the festival.

My inspiration for Catch Me, was the Lisdoonvarna Festival, which is run in Lisdoonvarna, in County Clare during September every year. So in honour of the fact that it is September again, and love is in the Irish air (amongst the raindrops!) I thought it was only fitting to share an interview that Willie Daly, the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaker, gave to Sky News last year.

More info on the festival - here!

And if you want to read a romance set in Ireland about a fictional festival, do check out Catch Me A Catch.

For Six Sentence Sunday here are six sentences from Catch Me A Catch, where my heroine, Annie, catches first sight of Jack...

A dark shadow, cast by a tall figure in the pub’s doorway, blocked the murky sunlight. Annie’s gaze locked on the stranger, his darkened features in shadow though sunlight outlined his tall, rangy frame. He walked straight up to Niall.

“I’m looking for Devine.” His deep voice was husky, like he hadn’t used it for a while.
Her skin prickled, the hairs on her arms standing to attention.

If you don't know about Six Sentence Sunday, click this link.
To read more of Catch Me A Catch, you can read a sample or look inside at the links below:

Catch Me A Catch - Amazon UK
Catch Me A Catch -

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award - Woo!

I'm doing the happy dance here today! Les Edgerton, talented writer and awesome writing teacher nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award. This means a huge amount to me as I'm not only in awe of Les's talent, but a regular follower of his blog. I've mentioned in a past blog post how useful I found his book 'Hooked' to developing my writing craft, and his blog is full of really insightful information on the mechanics of writing well-an absolute must read!
My new book, Marrying Cade, was given a Best Read by Annie Acorn last week. Thank you, Annie!  Amongst other nice things she said: The authors amongst you should read this tale, if for no other reason than to study a textbook example of how to draw your reader into your story. Sally Clements hooks you the minute you start reading, and she doesn’t let you go until you reach the very last word of her latest book. Which to me is just testament to how useful the advice in Les' Book Hooked (the full title of which is : Hooked: Write fiction that grabs readers at page one and never lets them go) has been to me! (It works, Les!)

And I'm very grateful to be included in his list because there are some other fabulous blogs there - many of which I read regularly already, but some new ones I'm going to be checking out pronto. Thank you for the nomination, Les!
Anyway: On to the Award. Apparently, there are four simple rules for The Versatile Blogger Award:

1. Post a link to the person who gave you the award.
2. Tell your readers seven random things about yourself.
3. Award 15 newly discovered blogs.
4. Send them a note letting them know you nominated them.

So, here are 7 random things about me:
1. I went to see Dolly Parton last night - she was great!
2. I'm writing a factual book based on a collection of recipes and household hints written in the early 1800's.
3. I also love writing mysteries - with lots of unexplained deaths....
4. I fall in love with my romantic heroes, and have trouble letting them go at the end of a book.
5. I'm a chocoholic.
6. I went to seven schools, growing up.
7. Even though I've lived in Ireland most of my life, I have no Irish blood - at all!

So now I have to award 15 newly discovered blogs...this is a real head melter, so I'm only doing ten!
1. A Newbie's Guide to Publishing. Joe Konrath's blog is an absolute must read for every author. I have to limit my time on this one, because it sucks you right in, but every minute spent reading on it is time well spent.
2. Catherine Caffeinated is Catherine Ryan Howard's blog, and is full of really interesting statistics and advice for self-publishing. And she's got a new book out!
3. Romance, Rumours and Rogues is romance author Nicola Marsh's blog. I love popping in here to see what Nic is up to...and she often posts really interesting links...
4. Lacey Devlin - romance author, and fellow Minx of Romance, gets a nomination from me for her great blog that once again is keeping all authors and readers abreast of things in the Mills and Boon, New Voices contest...
5. Romance Book Paradise is Nas Dean's blog, which is full of interesting interviews from Romance Authors and news of upcoming releases.
6. WG2E  The Writer's Guide to E-Publishing. A really informative blog that I found via D.D. Scott on Kindleboards. Another 'suck you in, and keep you readin' blog like number one, packed full of stuff!
7. Kindle Nation Daily. Great advice, and lots of kindle stuff - a must read for every kindle owner!
8. Moviepitch is Bob Kosberg's one sentence pitch site...I dream of subbing the perfect one sentence to this one....
9. Help! I Need a Publisher! is Nicola Morgan's blog, (aka The Crabbit Old Bat). It's really stuffed full of interest, and updated really regularly - it's a must read.
10. Queryshark. If you want to see what works and what doesn't in creating a query that an agent or a publisher is going to find completely compelling, you need to know about Queryshark, Janet Reid's feedback site. You'll learn a huge amount just by seeing what other people have been doing, and reading Janet's pithy analyses.

Phew! Now I have to go and tell them all I mentioned them...think I might do that tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fab editing on-line course on next week!

After completing Don McNair's excellent online class on editing, I sold my first book - Catch Me A Catch. I'm sure that the skills I learned with Don helped me to crack the final hurdle to publication, and gave me the tools to polish further manuscripts.

So, for those who are interested, I wanted to give a shout out. Don is running the class next week, and still has some places available. Here's the info:

Editor Proof that manuscript - By Don McNair - starts 12 September 2011 and runs for ten lessons plus an introduction, to be taught three times a week until finished. It costs $40 to enroll. Contact Don at to sign up. If you click on Don's link above, you'll can read more about him, and see examples of before and afters too.

Why did that editor reject your novel?

The sad truth? Editors reject most manuscripts after only glancing at their first chapter - often only the first page - and seeing mistakes seemingly lit with neon. This course, based on my forty years of writing and editing, will help you spot and fix those mistakes before you send the manuscript out.
You'll learn many things, including: How to use strong hooks... use the correct POV… turn info dumps into sparkling, vital prose... strengthen your work by eliminating backstories… make your scenes work harder... use character-specific words... develop conflict... increase sexual tension… and much, much more.
You'll use your manuscript's first chapter as your practice field for identifying and resolving your personal craft mistakes. After the class you'll apply your new editing knowledge to the total manuscript, to make it much more compelling and, hopefully, published!
The class starts Monday, September 12. To enroll, send your $40 enrollment fee by Paypal, and
I’ll invite you to join a Yahoo Group for the sessions.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Some of my favourite strong female characters in movies

I've just finished (I hope!) edits on my new book - and am working on something new. And with each new romance I write, I find it more and more obvious that all my heroines have one thing in common.

They're strong women.
They may not wield power in the world.
They may not be rich.
But may be scared.
But they're strong, because they will fight what they believe in. And they know, deep down, their self worth.

I've blogged before about some of my favourite tv female characters, and my favourite female characters in books - so here's a follow up shout out to my favourite women playing strong female characters in movies.
I'm limiting each to 2 film roles - I know they've all done many more I could have used, but these are the ones I liked best.

Sigourney WeaverAlien (of course). Her character Ripley is powerful and strong. But she rises above 'cardboard cutout' by showing her feminine compassion in her defense and relationship with the little girl in the movie. She cares, she isn't afraid to show it. Win! The other movie I love with her in is Copycat. Her character suffers from crippling agoraphobia - numbs herself against terrible memories with regular shots of whiskey - but when she's needed, she bravely tries to overcome it, to stop a killer. It's not easy, but she tries. Her spirit rises to the challenge. That makes her a strong woman for me.

Katherine Hepburn - Two favourites for me would have to be Rose, in The African Queen, playing against Humphrey Bogart, and Tracey Lord, playing against Cary Grant in The Philadelphia Story. Once again, the characters learn and change when they have to. They show courage.

Jodie Foster - Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs, is one of my favourite characters. And the scared but determined mother in Panic Room was another unforgettable film role.

Susan Sarandon - I love Susan on film. She was great in both Thelma and Louise & Bull Durham.

Lauren Bacall - Her appearance as Slim in To Have and Have Not in 1944, established Lauren as the actress in the noir films of the period. She joined a huge group of strong female leads of the time, including Barbara Stanwyck.

Barbra Streisand - The Way We Were with totally lovely Robert Redford, and What's up, Doc? (who isn't really so much a strong woman, as a quirky one...but she gets what she wants in the end!)

But my favourite of the current crop of  'strong women'  actresses, playing true and appealing characters, has got to be Sandra Bullock.  So she gets three: Speed, Miss Congeniality, and The Lake House.

And I know I haven't mentioned loads of actresses & films here that I should have, but I ran out of room.
You can berate me through the comments box!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Voting for a 5 star sweetheart.....

It's official. I love The Romance Studio. Not only have they just given me a fabulous 5 star review for Marrying Cade, but this is my third 5 star review for my work they've given me. They were also lovely enough to nominate me under their favourite author category last year.

And they've topped it all off by sending me this lovely badge to display on my blog today, as Marrying Cade has been nominated for this week's 5 Heart Sweetheart Vote beginning today.

Click here to read their review, and if you want to, you can vote for your favourite of today's selection of 5 star reviews (including mine, woo!) by clicking the badge above.

Thank you, TRS!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lovely new review just in...

A four star review on my Marrying Cade listing materialised today...

The Long and Short of It Romance Reviews said:

A palate cleanser in word form! This is an excellent, refreshing book just perfect for the dog days of summer. A well-written, entertaining novel to make you say "aah" when you reach the end.

The plot isn't a new one. Boy meets girl, girl falls in love with him, but she is too young. They meet up again at a wedding, and sparks fly. It's the details that keep this novel from being trite. The exotic Italian setting lent itself beautifully to wedding festivities and romantic moments. The family winemaking tradition also allowed for interesting plot twists and turns.

Our heroine is a lovely mix of modern femininity mixed with the "good" Italian daughter. Having a slightly misogynistic father who also happens to be very ill adds to her sense of duty as well as her desire to stand up for herself.

The hero, true to form, wishes to remain a bachelor, but has feelings for our heroine. His history with the family entwines him in the business controversy and his friendship with the groom causes the involvement in the wedding. His interest in Melo causes the story to become more interesting.

Be assured of some romantic tension, exotic locales, and a happily every after for all parties involved.

Grab your sunhat, lounge chair and an icy beverage - then kick back and enjoy this lovely romance!

Originally posted at the Long and Short of It Romance Reviews

I've been remiss in posting the reviews as they come in for Marrying Cade, this is the 13th - so if you'd like to read all of them, or download a sample for your Kindle, do pop over to Amazon and have a read.
The link is here
And the link is here
There are only 4 reviews on the site, so you'll have to visit link to read all 13 reviews!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mills and Boon New Voices competition is back!

And the Minxes of Romance have Anna Boatman visiting today to spill the beans...

A must read for anyone intending to enter - check it out here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Writing Voice

I wanted to do a piece on writing voice, because it's something I'm very aware of in the stories that I write.
There's of course, the writer's voice, their own, individual style that makes a story so distinctive, and has us all reaching for the next Nora Roberts or Jeffry Deaver.
But within the bounds of the story, there are each character's individual voices - and writing them properly is something that I think it's always worth focusing on.
When I'm writing romance, I write in third person pov, and write approximately half the manuscript in the heroine's pov, and half in the hero's. In movies, we're constrained by language. Everything that the character feels and thinks must be conveyed through action or dialogue, or lack of it! Wonderful actresses and actors who can convey the unspoken with a look can really make a film or a tv series - I've blogged before about the female characters in The Good Wife, who are definite masters, or should I say, mistresses in this.
When I'm writing, I need to remember that each character should have their own voice too.
Their voice is different to my author voice, although of course, my voice comes into it as I weave the threads.
Here's an example:
When I'm writing a hero, it's easy to keep his dialogue authentic. After all, it's the spoken word, and reading it aloud will usually tell me if I've done it right. But I have to carry that further, into his thoughts, his ruminations, and the narrative told in his viewpoint.
Say he's faced with a beautiful heroine. It's tempting to rave about the glints of sunlight in her hair, the deep azure of her wax lyrical. And as a writer in love with words, I have to keep an eye on this, and make sure I don't do it.
He's much more likely to appreciate her in his own thoughts that match his dialogue, express his feelings in a male way rather than a female one.
So how do I keep myself on track? At the end of the first draft (I don't stop when the flow is flowing!) I highlight all the text in the ms that's written in male pov, and read it. I try to think like my hero. Try to make sure everything rings true to the man he is, the way he thinks.
I find this really useful. It means my story has (hopefully!) more than one voice, and the hero's distinctive personality shines through.
What do you all think? Writers, do you do something similar? And readers, does a story jar if thoughts seem to be expressed in a way that is out of character?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bound to Love...Again!

New cover, new price, same Tempest....

I'm delighted to announce that Bound to Love had been re-released today. You can find it on, and Smashwords now!
Bound to Love has a beautiful new cover (thank you, Heather Howland!), a new price of 99c, a new publisher (me) and a brand new life! Woo-hoo!

Lovely new review just in...

For Marrying Cade - I just found this 5 star review on Amazon. Woo! Thank you!

Marrying Cade was an excellent romance story that had my heart yearning with each page turn. From the beautiful exotic location to the sparks igniting between Cade and Melo it was a page turner that was difficult to put down. If you're looking for a good romantic read Marrying Cade is the book for you! Praises for Sally Clements!

And I have some news I'm dying to reveal, but won't for a day or so...check back for my next blog post!

Friday, August 5, 2011

My guest! Ranae Rose

I've mentioned on a previous blog post, the great gang of writers who were contracted to Embrace Books before they closed recently. I wanted to keep in touch, and find out what they were doing writing wise in the future, and I'm delighted to welcome Ranae Rose to Love and Chocolate to tell all! Ranae's book, Taken Hostage, is her smokin' hot debut...
Take it away, Ranae... (ooh! that rhymes! and, note to self, would make a good title...)

First off, thank you Sally for having me on your blog today to share the news about my new release, Taken Hostage. :)

Taken Hostage is actually my debut novella and the first of my two summer releases. It’s a contemporary romance tells the story of Tiffany, a small-town bank teller who’s taken hostage (bet you saw that coming, lol) by a gunman who robs the bank she works at. An ultra-sexy gunman. Being kidnapped turns out not to be as bad as she originally thought – in fact, she finds herself battling a growing attraction to her captor that began the moment they first met eyes in the bank parking lot. When it comes time for him to let her go, he also offers her another option – to stay. Here’s a brief excerpt:

She glared at him. ‘You want me to come with you as your partner?’ she asked incredulously. ‘Like Bonnie and Clyde or something?’

He shrugged. ‘Something like that.’

‘That’s ridiculous. Are you serious?’

‘Look,’ he said flatly. ‘There’s a reason I took you as my hostage instead of one of those bimbos you work with.’

‘And what’s that?’

‘Because you wanted to go. You wanted to get out of there. I could tell. And,’ he paused dramatically, ‘it seemed like there was a spark between us.’ He glared at her defiantly, daring her to deny his assertion.

She didn’t. Instead, she stared back at him, open-mouthed in her surprise.

‘You don’t have to go back,’ he murmured, his voice softer than before.

Her anger had slowly begun to seep away. Without it, her desire for him expanded and filled her to the extent that it scared her. What he was saying was crazy. But it was also true. She didn’t have to go back to her mundane life as a bank-teller in rural New York. She didn’t have to fill out another deposit ticket or listen to Alicia and Cindy’s incessant, shallow chatter ever again. She could leave all that behind and go with him, the impossibly handsome man she’d been fantasizing about since first seeing him on the bank steps. It wasn’t practical, but it was tempting.

Isn't Taken Hostage's cover fantastic?

Taken Hostage is available from here,
And from here
And also available on Smashwords here.

Do pop in and visit Ranae at her blog where she's currently got an excerpt up of her new free read too!

Thanks so much for joining me here today, Ranae!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Creativity - Expressing the interior

I've been thinking a lot today about creativity. As a fiction writer, I spend a lot of time living in worlds of my own creation, expressing them on the page and finally sharing them with people who read my books. It's been brought home to me recently what a powerful thing this can be, as I've had feedback from readers of my latest book, Marrying Cade, saying they'd love to visit the island where Marrying Cade is set - Isola dei Fiori.
I love it too. But it doesn't exist in reality, instead existing only as a manifestation from my mind. Does that make it any less real? The same is true of characters. The creations of many novelists live when shared with others. Sherlock Holmes, Mr Darcy, Harry Potter, all mean something deep and meaningful to the people who have read them, and their struggles and unique take on the world in which they live have made them transcend the 'cardboard cutout' and attain almost reality.
Our traditional view of reality is trammelled by science. If you can't see it, it doesn't exist. But I don't believe this - I can't believe it because my own experience is so different from this view. The locations and people I write about are very real to me. I know them, dream about them, and feel them in my heart and soul.
A lot of what I feel about writing and creativity is voiced here by the inspiring painter, John Bramblitt - who expresses himself by painting beautiful pictures from inside himself even though his eyes no longer see.
Watch the you tube of him at work - and be inspired.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Embrace Books closes

Yesterday was a sad day for Embrace authors with the news of Embrace Books' closure. My book, Bound to Love, was one of the launch titles, along with a group of fabulous books from equally fabulous authors, launched on 14th Feb 2011.
The ebook has gone from Amazon - although some print copies are still listed. The rights have reverted to me, and I am letting it lie for a while, considering this book's future.

The best thing about being involved with Embrace is the wonderful writers I have become friends with on this short time together as Embrace authors. Published, unpublished and in edits stage, and those newly contracted - all these authors have bright careers ahead of them. I raise my glass to them. Good writing will prevail through challenging times.

As for me - I'm working on edits on my next book, and writing my wip.
The only way is up!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Something for the weekend?

Bound to Love ebook is on sale at Kindle! $1.16 in, and less than a packet of biscuits in! I have no idea how long this sale will last, so just wanted to give everyone a heads up, if they're looking for something for the weekend!

Reviewers say of Bound to Love:

Brilliant! My children have been ignored for the last two days while I've been reading.

Exciting, sizzling romance! a real page turner which will not disappoint any romance reader.

If you want a thrilling and romantic read, I do recommend Bound to Love.

What a great little summer fling! Oh la-la. What a steamy, dreamy thrill ride. It sure got my juices flowing. It. Was. Hot

Bound to Love is a fast-paced mystery that keeps you up half the night to find out how it ends.

Sally Clements pens another excellent tale. This makes two books in a row from this gifted author that I've adored.

Why not treat yourself? You're worth it!

Here's the links: here
and here

A lovely new review for Marrying Cade

Just in - a lovely new review for Marrying Cade at To Read, Perchance to Dream. You can read it and comment on their link here.

The reviewer, Maria said...

I honestly don't read romance novels much anymore, but Sally Clements' writing is always enjoyable. Her book are fun and easy to read. It's just like you come home from a long day at work and slip into something comfortable - a Sally Clements novel!

In Marrying Cade, you're off to a gorgeous island with cool breezes and sizzling heat between Melo and Cade. Melo is a strong, nurturing female character, with whom most women can relate today. Cade is that sexy, carefree bachelor women long to tame. The connection between the two will draw you in and keep you reading. (Flipping the pages also helps cool you off from the steamy romance developing between the two!) All the characters are unique and individual, so its a pleasure to get to know all of them.

This romance is an entertaining read. Give it a try! Also, I've had the pleasure of interviewing Sally Clements and reviewing another of her books, Bound to Love. Check them out after you've read Marrying Cade!

Maria gave Marrying Cade a 4 booksworms rating,
Marrying Cade available from here and here

I'm having a difficult and challenging week, and reviews like this warm my heart, and cheer me up, so thank you, Maria!

Monday, July 18, 2011

What's the story?

In all last week's excitement, I realise now I haven't given a run down of what my new book Marrying Cade is about! So - just for you, here's the inside track...

When half Irish, half Italian Melo Bellucci first met Cade West they were both teenagers.
Traumatised by his father's death, Cade is holidaying with a friend on the island she lives on, the idyllic Isola dei Fiori. The hours they spend together are balm for Cade's wounded soul - but he has no idea that Melo is infatuated. So much so, she confides to her sister, "When I grow up, I'm marrying Cade."
The story begins twelve years later, when Cade returns to the island as best man at Melo's sister's wedding. She's determined to show him she's grown up, and make him aware of her as a woman. Melo's caring nature means she's inherited the whole nightmare of planning her sister's wedding extravaganza - but when Cade catches sight of her, the gleam in his eyes warms her heart, and heats her blood.
Her mission has been accomplished - and how!
As they spend long days together, Melo realises the man is very different from the boy she'd fancied herself in love with once, long ago. Workaholic Cade had vowed to put business aside for his brief stay for the wedding, but when a chance comes his way to buy land on the island to site his new hotel, he has to take it.
He's used to casual romances - and guards his heart fiercely, but can't resist Melo...who could?

If only he'd known that beautiful Paradise Beach belonged to Melo...and there are two plans for Paradise...

Marrying Cade is a spicy, summer read available now: and

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What's in a name?

I've been thinking about names today with the news that Kate Hudson has named her new baby Bingham Hawn, and Posh and Becks have called theirs Harper Seven. Celebrity baby names are nothing new - after Peaches, Pixie, Apple and Sparrow, it's almost a given that a celebrity might go with something unusual....

Contrasting it with fiction - JK Rowling of course has Harry, Hermione and Ron, as well as some wonderful wizardy names, and I like reading fiction with characters with real names, as it's less distracting!

What do you think? Weird or Trad?

Oh, and incidentally, I'm over at Romance at Random today, talking about Irish Romance. There's a chance for free books too.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

#MarryingCadeWave Stop Ten – The final stop!

It’s launch day my new book, Marrying Cade, and to celebrate, I’m having a Mexican wave of excerpts! You can keep up with the wave’s progress on the twitter hashtag #MarryingCadeWave – and add a tweet with the hashtag to chat with everyone else who’s reading along!

Here’s how to do it…these are the stops, just call in to these blogs to read each excerpt (they start at stop one, and finish at stop ten). Alternatively, start wherever, and click on the next stop link at the bottom of the excerpt. Or just click on the buy link, to get your own copy of Marrying Cade!

Stop One – Talli Roland’s blog
Stop Two – Maya Blake’s blog
Stop Three – Nas Dean’s blog
Stop Four – Joanne Cole's Blog
Stop Five – Romy Sommer’ blog
Stop Six – Lorraine Wilson’s blog
Stop Seven – Joanne Pibworth’s blog
Stop Eight – Suzanne Jones’ blog
Stop Nine – Lacey Devlin’s blog
Stop Ten – Sally Clements’ blog - you're here!
And to read a review from a reader who has read it... do visit,
Madeline Ash's blog.

Stop Ten’s excerpt…

Her eyes widened slightly, and her lips parted a miniscule amount. Her skin was perfect, soft and tanned without the addition of make-up. The curve of her neck led down to a tantalizing glimpse of cleavage.
Maybe this wedding wouldn’t be such a chore after all.


Melo swallowed and climbed into the driver’s seat. She’d been sure of her mission when she started out, but now, with the adult Cade in the seat next to her, her heart was doing the cha-cha, and she wasn’t sure she had the nerve to carry it out. He’d changed. His hair was long, brushing his shoulders, parted slightly off-centre, and long at the front too, pushed away from his face. He was as dark as ever, though. And his unshaven jaw was unbelievably sexy. He hadn’t needed to shave the last time she’d seen him. Her fingers still tingled with the memory of touching his stubble. What would it feel like under her tongue? Her nipples tightened into hard nubs under the lace of her bra.
He was taller too. A good couple of inches taller than Adam, who easily topped six two. When his warm lips had brushed her cheek, her eyes were just about level with his mouth. His shoulders too were wider, lean and muscled under the black shirt open at the neck, showcasing a faint dusting of dark hair. The last time he’d been on Isola dei Fiori they’d swum together in the sea every day. Swimming with him now would be a completely different experience. At the mere thought of an almost naked Cade, heat swept through her.
“Buckle up.” She spun the Mercedes in a spray of gravel, and sped away from The Fiori Hotel down the road to the villa.

I’d like to thank all my wonderful friends for letting me take over their blogs for the day with the #MarryingCadeWave!

For the Kindle:

And in a variety of other ebook formats from The Wild Rose Press here
- in a variety of ebook formats - pdf,mobi,lit,html and epub.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bound to Love cover up for an award!

The lovely cover created by Chris at The Cover Factory is up for an award on Alternative .
Do go check it out, voting is now open, and there are ten great looking covers to choose from!

Marrying Cade launch day on Wednesday!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sixteen years of a fabulous crime series - and counting!

I really like crime series. I have the complete series of Ed McBain's Precinct novels, carefully tracked down in second hand bookshops all around Ireland in the 1980's. I also collect and read Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta series, and Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano series, just for starters!
There's something comforting about starting a new crime novel that's part of a series, the characters aren't strangers, but the situations they find themselves in is different, and there's a challenge, an excitement to be experienced. And through the story their relationships deepen with those they love (and hate) and more about the central character is carefully revealed.
My current favourite series is by that mistress of the written word, J.D. Robb (aka, Nora Roberts).

I'm talking about the In Death series, and if anyone out there has yet to discover these, I recommend you track down Naked In Death, the first book of the series, and get addicted!
I was initially reticent to try the In Death series (I know, I know!) because they're set in the future, and I don't generally go for futuristic books, but half way through the first chapter of Naked In Death, I realised my mistake!
The In Death series feature an absolutely FANTASTIC heroine, Eve Dallas. She's a cop. With a mysterious past, and a kick ass attitude. She's also vulnerable, caring and hard on herself. She's exactly the type of character I love to read, and love to write too.
To match her, enter the enigmatic Roarke, who has to be one of the most charismatic, sexy heroes to ever grace the page. He's mysterious, tremendously wealthy, with a dark past. He's not always 100% law abiding. He loves Eve Dallas with a ferocity that burns off the page. And he's Irish. Swoon.
J.D./Nora doesn't need me to tell her how great these books are. She's a bestselling author in whatever genre she attempts, after all, and an acknowledged mistress of her craft. And she started the In Death series in 1995, so this is no 'brand new release' thing. I just wanted to share my thoughts about it. And pass on the good news that after sixteen years, and 32 books, this series is still going strong. It's an awesome accomplishment!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Good Wife

In my opinion, The Good Wife is absolutely riveting, must watch TV, and I can't wait for Series 3. I know that both Series 1 and Series 2 are currently playing around the world, so won't give away any vital plot twists and turns in this post... except to say that there are plenty, and if you haven't seen them all, keep watching!

The series has won critical acclaim, both for the excellent writing by writing team Robert King and Michelle King, and by the fantastic acting by the entire cast. Ridley Scott and Tony Scott are amongst it's impressive executive producer team, and the attention to detail shows.

As I'm a writer - for me the icing on the cake is the strong writing - and the perfect portrayal of the characters by the talented actors. I could talk about them all day, but I'm going to focus on my two favorites in this post - two strong women characters - Alicia Florrick (played by Julianna Margulies) and Kalinda Sharma (played by Archie Panjabi).
Alicia FlorrickI've long been a fan of Julianna Margulies, from right back in the ER days, when she and gorgeous George were a couple-but in my opinion, Alicia Florrick is her most perfect role. Everyone has their own preconceptions about what they might do in her circumstances when the story starts-she's been publicly betrayed by her husband-and is thrust back into the workforce for the first time in 13 years. There was plenty of scope to treat such an emotive situation badly. But the character Alicia is stoic, brave and contained. No ranting at the unfairness of life for Alicia - rather a careful application to doing her best for herself and her children. The writing is masterful-a classic portrayal of the 'show don't tell' approach. Alicia is often hurt, in obvious emotional pain, but shows it by her expression, the subtle tightening of her mouth, and what she doesn't say. And each episode has it's own self contained storyline, with Alicia and the other's characters in the background building through each episode. It's done so sucessfully that I'm drawn in, week after week. And often surprised at what I learn about each character.

Kalinda Sharma
Archie Panjabi is a wonderful actress. And she has been gifted a great role, as Kalinda, a woman wreathed in secrets, unwilling to share anything of herself, who over time becomes Alicia's closest confidante and best friend. Once again, like Alicia, we know there is a hell of a lot going on below the surface. We wonder about her background, her lovers, what she cares about. And I for one enjoy the way she manipulates, investigates and earns the admiration of all who come in contact with her. She's a fantastic heroine, scarred and vulnerable in the peeks that we get of her character's inner journey.

In conclusion, I applaud all involved in the making of this terrific series. Alicia and Kalinda are real. Their actions are driven by their motivations, and as such they come across as believable characters because they act the way Alicia and Kalinda would in the circumstances they find themselves in. They are also strong heroines, living life on their terms. Facing adversity, feeling the pain, and dealing with it.
They're the sort of heroine's I love. the ones I try to write. And  I can't wait for Series 3...

For a rundown of The Good Wife on Wikipedia, see here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Kissing Couple

An iconic photograph flooded the internet this week of a couple kissing on the ground in the middle of a riot in Vancouver after the Stanley Cup final between ice hockey teams the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins. You can see the photograph and read the story here
Twitter is awash with the story – there’s a hashtag #kissingcouple, and a new twitter account (which may, or may not be them) @kissingcouple. Today, the Irish Examiner report that the couple have hired a PR firm Markson Sparks to handle their public relations in Australia, with Max Markson saying "It’s a $10 million branding exercise. If you had something he could endorse it would be amazing. It would be good if he drank Red Bull."

Like the thousands tweeting, this powerful picture touched me. It speaks directly to the heart–to the often unspoken desire of all of us to protect and comfort the one we love. This moment captured in time has touched so many because In the midst of chaos, the couple’s entire attention and focus is on each other.

In the secret heart of all of us, we want someone to care. Someone to offer comfort. Someone to love.

The moment in time that has thrust the kissing couple into the world spotlight may be exploited to endorse products in the future. But the deep emotions it sparked in those who see this photograph—and allow themselves to believe what they see—aren’t diminished by that. It strikes a worldwide nerve. Highlights a universal truth. In the midst of chaos, we all want someone to protect us. To care. To love.
I wish them all the best.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fancy a visit to Isola dei Fiori? Reviewers wanted!

There is almost a month to go to the release of my new book, Marrying Cade.
I'd love this book to launch with a few reviews on Amazon on it's launch or, whatever is your Amazon...
So - with the earnest plea that you review it after reading, I'd like to offer five of my blog readers the chance to journey to the Tuscan Isle, Isola dei Fiori (between the pages!) before everyone else can get their hands on it!
Any takers? Send me an email using my 'contact me' in the sidebar, and a pdf will be winging its way to the first five!
p.s. Warning - spicy!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Results from Kindle Nation Daily Sponsorship

A quick post today to report on the sales results from my Kindle Nation Daily Sponsorship on the 10th...
via novelrank... 7 sales of BTL Amazon US, 2 sales of BTL Amazon UK, and 2 sales of CMAC.

Now, back to the wip! And here's what I'm listening to - a favourite that seems to make it onto every one of my writing playlists!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I have a release date!

My new book, Marrying Cade, has a release date - 13 July!

Marrying Cade (with a spicy rating) will be released by The Wild Rose Press on this date - and will be available through their website and also on Amazon. I'll post links when I have 'em!

The first 10 pages were entered into Savvy Authors' Drive em Wilde contest last year which was judged by Samhain's Angela James, and was a runner-up.

Here's the blurb...I'll post an excerpt in early July.

Capable, financial advisor, Melo Bellucci always knew when it came to organising her sister’s wedding she’d in charge. After all, her sister, Rosa is notoriously scatterbrained. But there’s a silver lining in the form of the Best Man, Melo’s childhood crush, Cade West.

When Cade returns to the Tuscan island, Isola dei Fiori, he’s prepared to mix business with pleasure, especially when he meets Melo again. The confident, sexy woman is a world away from the lanky tomboy he remembers, and attraction burns between them instantly.
But when he discovers that the perfect site for his hotel. idyllic Paradise Beach, belongs to Melo, rather than her father, can their relationship survive, when there are two plans for Paradise?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Free kindle book anyone?

I have a lovely new 5 star review just in from Geeky Girl Reviews for Catch Me A Catch which has put me in such a good mood, I have a free Kindle giveaway of Bound to Love for the first lucky commenter who tells me in the comment box that they'd like it!

Fingers on keyboards.....

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Spending time with boys

Romance writers love boys. Bad boys especially. It's an occupational hazard. And I'm editing at the moment, so I'm spending a lot of time with boys.


An boys? If you have no idea who I'm talking about; you may be a vile user (like myself) of one of the most heinous (apparently) crimes against grammar in the known universe.

Yes, I'm talking about the comma splice.

I love comma splices, I could use them all day, they're great!
But they're not allowed.

Comma splices (which sounds like coffee slices, which I guess is why I like them) are instances where two sentences are incorrectly joined with a comma.

And this is where the boys come in. Yup, the international grammar hit squad, the anboys, will eliminate these pesky splices in less time than it takes to say semi-colon.


Stick one of these fellas between your splices, and you're good to go!
Or use a .!?;. Your choice.

Back to the usual programming when I've got this manuscript debugged!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Getting published is only half the battle...

As regular readers know, my first book, Catch Me A Catch came out in July 2010. Since then, I've learned quite a lot about the business that I really wasn't aware of up until that point.

The hard truth of the matter is that it isn't enough to have written a good book, scored a good cover, and have it available on Amazon. All these things are vital, but not enough! After all, there are thousands of books available on Kindle and other ebook platforms, and the only way to sell decent numbers is to make yourself stand out in a crowded marketplace. Everyone has heard of the great sales of good writers who are powering through the bestsellers lists - but what is often absent is the fact that they are great marketeers, who have worked hard to build awareness of their product.

I find this difficult - as I guess many writers do. After all, we spend most of our time in the cave, rather than blowing our own trumpets!

So... here are some tips I've learned and applied....

1. Make sure you have an online presence before you sell. That means a blog, twitter, facebook etc.
2. Reviews of your book on Amazon are vital - both UK and US. The US version of Amazon sells ebooks into many countries (including Ireland), so you need to have reviews in both. Also, its worth remembering that most review sites take time to review your book (if they review it at all) so ideally need to have your book before it goes on sale, so that the reviews are done when your book goes live.
3. Good tags on your Amazon entries - and ask people to agree with your tabs, which will advance you up in the amazon listings.
4. Being shy and reticent to promote yourself doesn't work. You need to let everyone know when your book is out - shout it everywhere. If a few people buy it at the same time, you will shoot up in the listings, and appear on more lists, and this means more people will see your name and cover. Remember you are not so much promoting yourself as your book, and giving it the best chance to fly. Check out Kindleboards, accept every invitation, and blog tour you can find. The last thing you want to do is bore the pants off all your internet friends, or even worse, irritate with constant self promotion -  but you need to let new people know about your work - so expand out!

Here's something I'm trying... I'll blog about results when I have 'em!
On June 10th Bound to Love is the featured book on Kindle Daily Nation. This means it will be mentioned on the site, which is automatically forwarded to interested readers, who receive the KDN newsletter on their Kindles. I haven't tried this before, but I'm hoping it will have a bump in my sales. The most important thing before KDN sponsorship is to have reviews of your book, because then people can see what others thought of it, which will help them in their decision to buy. These reviews don't have to be from professional reviewers, they can be from anyone who has read your book and has an opinion about it. KDN links to your US Amazon page, and I have 5 reviews there presently, which is just about the bare minimum. If anyone has read BTL and has been putting off doing a review, doing one before the 10th of June would be nice!

I'll report back on this in the week following June 10th to let you all know how I got on!

In the meantime, if you want to know how the big sellers are doing it, here are some good links to check out...

JA Konrath
Talli Roland
Catherine Ryan Howard
Amanda Hocking

Friday, May 27, 2011

Brava's Writing with the stars contest!

Around this time last year, I heard about Brava's Writing with the stars contest, and I'm pleased to share that it's back!

Here's the skinny...

This year, we’re looking for original romance novellas of 15,000 – 20,000 words rather than full-length books. Submissions in any sub- genre will be accepted, providing they’ve never been published in print or ebook form and have a sensuality level suitable for our Brava imprint. (You know just how hot that is, because you’re our most loyal readers.) So that means historical romance, contemporary, paranormal or romantic suspense. We need your submission by midnight of August 15, 2011 – plenty of time for you to write the winning novella or polish up one you’ve already begun.

Once again, Brava authors and editors will narrow down the entries to our top eight contestants, and each of the writers selected will be given a Brava mentor to help her navigate the four challenges ahead. Romantic Times readers will be voting each month to narrow the field, and the winner will be announced at the awards ceremony of the RT convention in April, 2012. Here’s your chance to work with professional writers, publicize your story and win a contract with a New York publisher.

Sounds exciting, doesn't it? I'm not sure if its open to all, last years contest was open to only unpublished or those published by e-book, so check back to see. (I sure will be!) The link is here and there will be updates, apparently.
Fingers on keyboards.....

Update just in - contest for unpublished authors only : this is what the organiser said:

After a lot of hard thought, we’ve decided to limit entries to authors who have not published in either ebook or print form. We’d be happy to consider your project as a regular Brava submission though.

Check out the minxes on Friday, where I'll be doing a post rounding up some competitions!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Back to life, back to reality...

I had a great time last week at the RNA summer party - and the Joan Hessayon Awards. I didn't win, the trophy went to lovely Charlotte Betts, and I look forward to reading her book when it comes out later this year. But I had a fab time nonetheless, meeting for the first time Minx Lorraine, who took great photos of the event which you can see here, and Heidi Rice, writer fabuloso!, and a whole host of others who were all lovely and encouraging to both me, and my sister Fiona who came along for moral support.

I flew back on Thursday, and have been driving family here and there, supermarket shopping and catching up with the pile of washing ever since - ah, the glamour of it!

I also have edits in for the final third of Marrying Cade, which look completely do-able, although I need to rewrite one chapter....

So it's back to reality, and to work asap! Thanks for all the support and lovely comments through last week's excitement, everyone!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Houseswapping with The Queen

Well, I'm getting packed and ready to fly over to England for the RNA summer party tomorrow. And the timing is quite good actually, because Her Majesty needed someone to mind her house for the two days that she's visiting Ireland, and so we're doing a house-swap.
It's not quite what she's used to...but her house is near to the party venue, and I'm very near to where she wants to be while in Dublin, so it seemed only sense.
I'm very excited, and dying to meet lots of blog friends finally, most especially lovely minx Lorraine.

I'll blog about it all when I get back.

In the meantime, there's an interview with me here, at To read, perchance to dream. Something I'll be doing a lot of tomorrow!

Monday, May 16, 2011

I have a cover!

I just received my new cover, for Marrying Cade. What do you think?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Who knows anything about audio books?

I don't listen to audio books. I guess I never really thought much about them, but today I've been listening to excerpts of romances read by a variety of people as teasers, and I noticed how different they can be.
I've also discovered that audio books can be unabridged or abridged. If they're unabridged, they are just as written, and if abridged sometimes 60% or as low as 30% of the story can be left after elements are tightened up, and in some cases, entire plot threads stripped away.
I'd love to know more from authors who've had experience in going through this process - I'm sure there are plus and minuses on both sides, and I find the whole thing rather interesting!  If anyone's got anything to share, do comment!
On another note, I've had another lovely review just in for Bound to Love, this one from To Read, Perchance to Dream. You can read the entire here, or as usual, click on my reviews tab to read it.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Less than a week to go - and a lovely review from Novelicious

Well I haven't go as far as packing my bag yet, but I have my party dress ready and my blue and gold kitten heels out.... Next Wednesday is Catch Me A Catch's spotlight at the RNA Summer Party, and I'm getting excited!

To cap it all, I have a lovely review over at Novelicious today. Thanks, Debs!

The review says, among other things:

This book starts with Jack battling through a storm in his boat and continues to keep the attention right though to the satisfying ending.

Do pop over and check it out!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pink Fizzy time...

I've just sold another book to Wild Rose, this time a story set on a Tuscan island, Isola dei Fiori.
Marrying Cade has been mentioned here before, (with pics of hero and heroine inspiration), and I'm delighted that it's found a home. It looks as though I'm in for a busy time - I'm just about to start edits on the book I sold a different editor in WR a month ago, and now here's a new one that I'll be working on with my first editor, Cindy Davis.