Thursday, May 30, 2013

Author Spotlight - Lindsay Pryor

Welcome back into the spotlight to Lindsay Pryor. Lindsay appeared in our spotlight in February, talking about her debut novel Blood Shadows, and today we're featuring her follow-up book, Blood Roses.

Since she's already answered our Minxy questions, she's doing something a little different for us today, and chatting to us about...

Dark Heroes of Romance by Lindsay J. Pryor

What constitutes a hero in romantic fiction? I’ve always found this an interesting topic for discussion amongst writers and readers. Does the hero always have to be the good guy? Does he need to shine as such from the very beginning? Is there any set ideal or formula?

Fortunately not. There are readers and writers alike who readily embrace the amazingly diverse and eclectic genre that is romance – and that includes its heroes too.

I write the Blackthorn dark paranormal romance series. I began my journey into romance with the classics. My first romantic hero was Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. At the age of 17, I remember participating in discussions in my English Literature classes about what could constitute him as a hero. We had many a debate as to whether Heathcliff could be referred to as such, and not least because his behaviour was so despicable at times. That’s not how they were supposed to behave! They’re supposed to be good and kind and self-sacrificing, let alone gentle and tender with the heroine and those she cares about. Heroes have to be almost super-human, even better than everyone else – that’s the whole point, surely?

I guess it was those types of debates that first made literary characters so fascinating for me – not least the influence of reader perceptions and belief systems on how a hero is received.

I’ve always veered towards the darker heroes because, as characters, they intrigue me the most. I love flawed characters. I want my hero to work for his title. I don’t want him to come ready made to save the day. For me, characters need to develop and evolve, no matter how subtly. I like glimpses into their pasts, to appreciate how they present themselves in the present and also see their potential in the future. I want to be able to understand them, not necessarily agree with them.

It was inevitable I’d write my own dark heroes. Kane Malloy (Blood Shadows) was risky enough, but Caleb Dehain (Blood Roses) is being deemed even darker. But they have to be to survive in the cruel world that has been inflicted upon them. They have to battle their hearts and their beliefs, let alone the system they live in, to justify their feelings for their heroine. My heroines pose huge risks to my heroes not just because of what they are but who they are – heroines who make them question the very nature of what they are.

I don’t want my heroes and heroines to have an easy time. I want them to fight external and, more importantly, internal conflict to be with the one they love. I find it even more powerful when there is every reason for them not to be together, but they still manage to pull through. The higher the stakes, the better. There’s nothing like falling in love, let alone staying in love, against the odds.

Each Blackthorn romance is part of a series, a bigger picture, which allows all my characters to grow at different rates. Some of my heroes are just too much pleasurable hard work for anything less. But, of course, I have the advantage of having glimpsed into their futures and knowing they’re worth it.

If you enjoy the sound of thes ebooks, you can find Blood Shadows on Amazon and Amazon UK, and Blood Roses on Amazon and Amazon UK.

Looking for a real paperback version? Blood Shadows is also available on paper from Amazon and Amazon UK, and Blood Roses here from Amazon and Amazon UK.

You can find out more about Lindsay on her website, Facebook, or chat to her on Twitter.

The winner of Urgent: One Nanny Required by Olivia Logan is Alexia Adams. Congratulations and thanks for your awesome answer! Please email the minxes (link at top right column) with your email address and format preference :).

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Author Spotlight - Sally Quilford

I'm very pleased to welcome the lovely Sally Quilford onto our blog today. Sally's was one of the first writing blogs I came across and she is a talented and prolific writer as well as an encouraging and gifted writing teacher. 

As well as answering our questions and telling us about her new book, Sally is also offering today a free download of her novel, Bella's Vineyard. Details at the end of this post.

1. Welcome, Sally. Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself.

I was born in South Wales and moved to Derbyshire in my teens. As a result Derbyshire makes a regular appearance in my stories and novels. I live with my husband and four westies. I’m a mother of two and a doting grandma (I’m not saying how many grandchildren because every time I think we’ve reached the definitive figure it goes up!)

I left school at 15 with no qualifications, then in my thirties I decided to go back to ‘school’ I achieved a 2.1 degree in Humanities with Literature, which gave me the confidence to become a writer.

I’ve been writing since 1995, but only started taking it seriously in 2007, when I decided I was no longer going to work for free. I earned £10 that year for a letter in Woman’s Weekly. Deciding to work for pay really helps to focus on getting things right. Since then I’ve had countless stories published in women’s magazines and anthologies, and I’ve had 10 pocket novels published by DC Thomson. I am also a columnist with Writers Forum magazine, with my monthly Writing Calendar column and my semi-regular Love Notes column. I have also had articles published in Writing Magazine and The New Writer.

2. What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th?(Nora only!)

Hang on, I need to count up. 10 pocket novels (to date), three with Siren under my usual pen-name and two under my ‘erotica’ pen name and now this one with Pulse. I think that’s sixteen, and that doesn’t count those I’ve self-published and the novels I’ve written which stay (quite rightly) on my hard drive.

         3. Everyone who writes knows it's not easy - what methods do you use to keep at it on days when it would be so much easier to go shoe shopping?

I feel a failure as a woman for admitting it, but it’s not shoes with me. It’s books and DVDs.  Though having recently lost quite a bit of weight I have been having fun buying new clothes!  I keep at it because not writing makes me feel very miserable. I have to feel productive and creative and when the words aren’t flowing, I hate it. So sometimes I know I have to force those words out. When things get too bad, I tend to go back to old stuff and edit it. It’s amazing how working on editing an old book can free to mind to find new ideas.

4. What is your top promo tip for other authors?

Don’t just use your blog, Twitter or FB to push your books. I’ve unfollowed/unfriended people who post nothing but links to Amazon or their published work all day. You need to engage with others, and not just about writing. Take an interest in what they’re doing, even if it’s only clicking ‘like’ on their posts.  Yes you have to network as a writer, and there are times you need to set promotions. That’s how you’ll sell books. But try not to be too needy and spend all your time begging people to buy your book(s).

5. Do you write every day?

No I don’t, though I may do something writing related every day, which includes running my online workshops or working on edits and promotions. Or I could be chasing up markets or competitions (not for me but for my Competition Calendar).

I don’t subscribe to the notion that writers *must* write daily. You’re not expected to work every day in any other job (or if you are, you’re with the wrong employer!) so why should you write every day? I realised the other day that I hadn’t had a Saturday off for quite a while, and when I did, so that hubby and I could work our way through Game of Thrones Series 2, I felt guilty. Yet in all that time of not having time off, I felt I hadn’t  I very quickly gave myself a slap and told myself that I deserved to have a day off at least once a week. Not having a day off from anything writing related made it feel too much of a slog, whereas it shouldn’t feel like that, and I’m sure it’s the reason I didn’t really settle to anything.

But really I can only write if I have a story to sell, unless I’m doing commissioned work like my articles.

6. Is there a book you haven't written yet that you're dying to? What genre?

How long have you got? I’m full of ideas that haven’t gone anywhere eor which I just haven’t been able to start. There is one I’ve had in my mind which is a YA/Time Travel novel/Trilogy. The hard part for me is taking time off from writing the pocket novels (which earns me regular money) for long enough to write it. I also want to write a straight crime novel. There may be romance in it, as I’m a romantic fool at heart, but it won’t be the main story as in most of my books.

7. Could you be friends with any of your heroines?

I think it’s important that I would want to be, because a heroine should always be someone who the female reader wants to go for coffee and cake with (or whatever the western equivalent is). Also, there is something of me in all of them. Or at least they’re nicer, slimmer, prettier versions of me. I guess any heroine is the person the writer and the reader would like to be.

        8. Have you ever written a hero you'd be happy to run off with?

Again, I think it’s important that I would want to, and the reader wants to, so the answer is yes, all of them. I must admit that my favourite so far those is Vittorio d’Este in Command Performance. My heroes always have the sort of attributes I would want a man in my life to have, except heroes don’t leave their smelly socks around or the loo seat up. But Nate in Lonesome Ranger is pretty wonderful too. He’s inspired by 1980s mini-series king, Peter Strauss, so form an orderly queue ladies…

9. At what point in your career did you actually start to feel like you were a writer?

I know that it shouldn’t be that you’re only a writer if you get published. If you write, then you’re a writer. But being published gives some validation to what you’re doing. Having said that, I sold my first short story, then didn’t sell anything else for two years, so that was a stark reminder that editors wouldn’t be hammering down my door. I think it was more when I was asked to be a columnist for Writers Forum magazine, because then I was not only a writer, I was someone who the editor believed had something to say about writing.

        10. Do you have any tips, tricks or sacrificial rituals you do when you hit a story roadblock?

Just keep writing your way through the block, even if what you’re writing seems to be rubbish. That’s what rewriting and editing is for. I find writing lots of dialogue is really helpful in getting a story out of the doldrums. My characters end up having very lengthy conversations, in which they sip lots of tea or other beverages. I cut most of it when I go back. But it does help to move the story on.

Jane Wenham-Jones also mentions a good method in her Wannabe a Writer? She calls it the ‘Mind The Gap’ method. In that if you hit a snag but have a later scene in mind, simply put something like THIS IS THE PART WHERE FRED AND NORA FIND THE DEAD BODY and then go back to it later. Though do remember to go back. I was told the story of one writer who, on reaching a sex scene typed PUT TWIDDLY BITS HERE, then forgot to go back and change it and sent it to her editor just like that!

On the other hand, if a story really isn’t working, you don’t have to keep going. Put it aside, start something new and then keep the other idea for another time. My hard drive is full of half-finished novels and stories. In some cases, it’s only the first chapter of a novel.

Lonesome Ranger Blurb
Englishwoman Connie arrives in California with nothing and no one in the world. She has the chance to take a job as a schoolteacher, but this chance is based on a lie. Handsome cowboy Nate Truman has his own secrets, but can he forgive hers?Buy 

Find out more at Pulse Romance

Buy Lonesome Ranger from or

Find out more about Sally and her books and courses on her blog.

Download Bella's Vineyard free today from or

(Because of the time difference, you might need to double check it is free on - if not, please try again later.)

Thank you so much for visiting us today, Sally.

Monday, May 20, 2013

That magical quality of a story you have already written...does it scare you?

I just received AAs (Author Alterations) on my November Presents which is the second one in the duet The Sensational Stanton Sisters.
While I appreciate the chance to catch any errors that the copy editor and I could have missed, what I love about this activity is getting to read my own book after being away from it a few months. And whenever I struggle with a current WIP, which is almost always, reading through a book that I had already turned in, even the ones that are languishing on my hard drive, I have found is both encouraging and discouraging.

Encouraging because I know I got stuck before and I moved past it and discouraging….why?

Every time I read through something I have written, there are elements of the story that I recognize immediately- these have come from brainstorming before I began writing, or are a result of analyzing the story and realizing what was missing.
But there are also elements to the story that almost have a magical quality to them, as in they arrive in the story through no conscious effort, they just do. And almost always, it’s these particular elements that make the story memorable, that push it from being “not bad” to “wow, that was a satisfying love story.”

And reading back through something I have written and finding these magical elements, scares the hell out of me.
Will I find the magical quality again in the current WIP? Will my subconscious, or the well of creativity or that unknown, unnamed source from which these came, will it work again?

These questions scare me, and I tell myself I have to trust that it’s still there, that it will work again, that I have to push on. Something it comes in the first draft stage, sometimes in revisions, sometimes when I am reading through chapter 6 for the millionth time...I just have to trust that it will...

What about you? Do you find those magical elements in your story too or am I just being delusional? And if you do find them in something you have written, does it scare you to know wherever they came from, it’s not something you can control?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Author Spotlight - Jane O'Reilly

Today the Minxes welcome debut author Jane O'Reilly to chat with us and introduce her new book!

1.  Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.

Ugh! This is the hardest question in the universe. Ever. Does that tell you enough? I like to knit jumpers, I hate parsnips, and Han Solo is my favourite hero in a film. I tweet as @janeoreilly if you want to share in the parsnip hate/Han Solo love.

2.  What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th?(Nora only!)

It is my first published book, but it is the fifth book I’ve written. The rubbish drafts drawer is a bit on the full side.

3.  Everyone who writes knows it's not easy - what methods do you use to keep at it on days when it would be so much easier to go shoe shopping?

I am the world’s worst shopper, so that helps! I suffer from terrible guilt if I don’t work as much as I feel I should (which is basically all the time) which keeps me working when I don’t want to. Other things that help include setting a daily word count target.

4.  What is your top promo tip for other authors?

Don’t use social media to promote, use it to make contact with other people and let them find their own way to your book.

5.  How does writing fit into your day? Or does your day fit in around your writing?

My children are both at school now (phew) so I do the school run, come home, look at dresses I can’t afford on the internet until guilt gets the better of me and then I get to work. I aim for 3K a day when I’m drafting.

6.  Do you write every day?

When my children were small and writing had to be crammed in to small pockets of time, I did write every day. Now I write Mon-Fri and occasionally at the weekend.

7.  Any craft books you recommend?

Lots! I’m a big fan of craft books. Favourites include Save the Cat by Blake Snyder, Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain and Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham.

8.  In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?

Before I was published, I always assumed that signing on the dotted line would kill the doubt crows. It doesn’t. It makes them grow.

9.  Have you ever written a hero you'd be happy to run off with?

Several. I’d have to run off with all of them. At the same time. It could get messy. Not to mention exhausting. But that’s why Mother Nature invented coffee, right?

10.  Do you write to music, or with the tv on in the background, or do you need complete silence?

This really seems to depend on the book. Some I’ve written to a play list. Others, like my next book She Who Dares (which will be out in September) were written to one particular song on repeat – for that book, it was Taylor Swift’s Never Ever, which I never ever want to hear ever again. My current book only flows with an episode of Castle on in the background.


It seems like a dream come true when whispers of a reclusive film star fallen on hard times meets Lottie Spencer’s ears. Desperate to save her family’s auction house, she knows that Hollywood memorabilia could be the answer to her prayers. Unfortunately, she’s about to find out that this client comes with strings attached – an overprotective son who will do anything to shield his mother from the prying eyes of the press. But Lottie is sure she can handle it. If only being around a bad boy didn’t make it so hard to be good...

Once a Bad Girl is available at the following outlets:

Amazon UK

Amazon US


Barnes & Noble Nook


Monday, May 13, 2013

Waking up in Vegas - meet Phoenix

Last week you got to meet Max, the hero of Waking up in Vegas, over on Aimee Duffy's blog. Today it's Phoenix's turn.

My heroine was modelled on bar owner Lil in the movie Coyote Ugly, played by Maria Bello. A strong, take-no-prisoners kind of woman, Phoenix is tough as nails, completely unsentimental, but hides a wounded heart beneath all the attitude.

Raised by a musician dad, she's never lived in one place very long, and she's seen and done some interesting things along the way. Suburbia, with the white picket fence, SUV and 2.4 children, is her idea of hell on earth - so finding herself married to a man who believes in Happy Ever Afters has to be up there at #1 on her Not To Do List.

If Max hadn't come into her life, I imagine Phoenix would have ended up exactly like Lil - running her own bar and kicking ass.

Writing Phoenix was huge fun. She's nothing at all like me, but there's definitely a part of me that admires her and wants to be like her.

I'm going to leave you with one piece of trivia about Phoenix that didn't make the final draft of Waking up in Vegas: she has a tattoo of a phoenix on her lower back.

Waking up in Vegas is available now from Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and All Romance eBooks.

* * *

What happens in Vegas…
Waking up to the bright lights of Vegas in an unfamiliar penthouse suite, cocktail waitress Phoenix Montgomery finds she’s covered from head to foot in gold glitter and not alone – aside from the empty bottle of champagne, there’s a mystery man in the shower and a huge sparkly ring on her finger!

Stays in Vegas?
There’s no denying Max Waldburg’s demi-god sex appeal but commitment-phobic Phoenix doesn’t do relationships. Only it seems her new husband (agh!) has other ideas…he’s trying to keep that ring on her finger and his wife firmly back in his bed. The only question on her lips is – why? Or maybe, why not?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Author Spotlight - Olivia Logan

Today we're pleased to welcome the stunning Olivia Logan to the blog in celebration of her debut Crimson Romance novel.

1. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself. 

My name is Olivia Logan. I’ve loved writing since I was a kid anything from fairy tales to inventing my own myths. As I got older I found my niche was romance and wrote short romances for my school newspaper. Cringe worth when your teacher comments on your grammer! 

I started entering competitions earlier this year and through one of these found my book picked up by Crimson Romance. 

2. What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th?(Nora only!) 

My first! J 

3. Everyone who writes knows it's not easy - what methods do you use to keep at it on days when it would be so much easier to go shoe shopping?

Mmmm that’s tricky. If it’s a day when my characters won’t shut up then I just write but if they’re not I set myself word target and get down whatever that amount is- even when I come to revise there are usually okay bits that I can salvage so not a total loss.

4. What is your top promo tip for other authors?

Can I have 2? 1- listen to the critics (esp your CPs and eds if you get feedback) and work on their suggestions; 2- keep going (Think Dory in ‘Finding Nemo’ “Just keep swimming”) you will get there.

5. How does writing fit into your day? Or does your day fit in around your writing?

I work full time so writing fits around me. I’m a morning person so prefer waking up earlier to type then edit later as opposed to the other way around.

6. Do you write everyday?

Yes- though amount changes - sometimes 1K sometimes 200 words

7. Any craft books you recommend?

Liz Fielding's 'Little Book of Writing Romance'.

8. Keeping fit: Do you have an exercise regime to counterbalance all those hours sitting at a computer?

Full time job running that has me on my feet most days and dance work out DVDs at home.

9. In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?

Maybe it will change when I get the hang of it but I’m not reading / reviewing as much anymore which I loved to do.

10. Do you have any tips, tricks or sacrificial rituals you do when you hit a story roadblock?

Listen to classical music. By not listening to/ concentrating on words in a song my thoughts work themselves out.


Hotshot Hollywood Director Nick Trenton, needed a nanny and fast. It certainly hadn’t helped that his son had run off all the others he had employed and with a big shoot coming up in LA for three weeks he was running out of options. Then along comes Rania George- sweet shop owner and one of the few people his son didn’t want to give the slip. Yes, she seemed to dislike him from the get-go, but he could work around that. He loved his son and would do anything to get the lovely Miss.George to say yes to his plan.

Rania was used to children hanging outside her sweet shop but seeing one alone on a dark night was a first. What sort of parent would let their child wander the streets at night!
That was until she met his Hollywood Director Father. No wonder his son was wandering the streets alone, his father was probably too self absorbed to notice. She’d learnt from an early age that anything Hollywood related was bad news. Okay so he was attractive but she had vowed from to stay away from anything, and she meant anything Hollywood. Not that it helped when his cute as a button son captured her heart so easily nor when she was being offered to babysit said son for a huge amount of money. Only catch was she had to fly to Hollywood and spend three weeks in the company of his devastatingly attractive father.

The question was after all her experiences with Hollywood, was she willing to risk it all…
Urgent: One Nanny Required is available from Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble and  All Romance eBooks.

You can catch up with Olivia on Twitter, Goodreads and at her Website.

Would you like to win a copy of Urgent: One Nanny Required? To be in the running all you need to do is follow Olivia on Twitter and leave a comment here answering the question: 'Who would play your dream leading man in a film opposite you?'. Olivia's awesome book will go to the commenter with the best answer!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Knight & Stay - OUT NOW!

Today is the official release date for Knight & Stay! 

In actual fact it hit Amazon a couple of days earlier than planned ~ it snook out whilst I was sleeping. Typical huh?

I woke on Saturday morning to lots of tweets from lovely stateside buyers telling me they were already reading it, and from there on things have snowballed pretty fast.

Forty eight hours later, and here we are on release day and Knight & Stay is already number 25 on the US Kindle chart, number 22 on the US Kindle chart,  and number 1 on the Amazon erotic chart on both sides of the atlantic. 

I am giddy, thrilled and crazy excited!

Knight & Stay is the sequel to Knight & Play, the story of what happened when Sophie Black, ordinary girl, goes to work as PA for the anything but ordinary Lucien Knight.

It ended on a big old cliff hanger, and that's where Knight & Stay picks up the story.

The Amazon blurb:

There's only one thing in life Lucien Knight really hates, and that's husbands who cheat on their wives.
There's only one problem in Sophie Black's life. Her cheating husband...
From the moment Lucien and Sophie met, the seal was set.

Romantic, emotional & intensely erotic, Knight & Stay is the much anticipated sequel to Amazon bestseller Knight & Play.

Lucien and Sophie's erotic journey began in Knight & Play. Find out how it ends in Knight & Stay, the breathtaking conclusion to their story.

Sophie Black has turned her back on both her cheating husband and her sexy, enigmatic boss Lucien Knight.

When she hits rock bottom, she finds herself drawn back into Lucien's glamorous no strings, high stakes world of intensely erotic encounters. Bold and beautiful, Lucien is a walking, talking Viking sex god ~ the ultimate rebound guy. 

His is a seductive world of pleasure without limits or commitment, but can Sophie's already bruised heart survive his strict no ties rule? 

When her husband returns with his tail between his legs, Sophie is faced with the toughest decision of her life.

How does she choose between the man she vowed to love forever and the man whom she hadn't planned on loving at all? 

From London to Paris to the glittering skies of Norway, Lucien & Sophie's is a story of star crossed love and forbidden passion ~ a sexual odyssey that spans the globe and changes both of their lives forever. 

* Knight & Play and Knight & Stay are two halves of one whole story, and best read consecutively.

About Kitty : Kitty French is the alter-ego of minx of romance Kat French, romantic comedy author.

Knight & Stay is available from Amazon US ~ CLICK HERE
Knight & Stay on Amazon UK ~ CLICK HERE

Knight & Stay is available right now on Amazon, and coming soon to other e-retailers.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Changes....exciting and terrifying...

A lot of changes are coming up for us this year in our household. We have a huge move coming up- that is if we ever sell our house, our eldest will start kindergarten (Yay) and I'm juggling being a mommy, dayjob, writing and trying not to be a failure at all. I know that this is a dilemma lot of writers out there face and I'm glad for the support system I have in the Hubster.

So, with all the move talk going on, Hubster asked me if I wanted to lay off looking for a new job in the city and just focus on writing for a while.

For context, hubster is an anal-retentive planner of all things in life. While this drives me to distraction, because he's forever trying to morph my disorganized, chaotic ways, I alsothank my stars every night that he takes our financial planning very seriously and his offer to focus on writing full time for a year and see how it goes, I know is a conclusion he has drawn from lot of data points, and taking into consideration the dip in our finances that will happen the moment I give up the day job.

With the stress that April was, I have decided to put my skeptical side aside and have taken the plunge.
********drum roll******

I have given my notice at day job that I am quitting. Come June 1st,  I am going to be free to concentrate on writing full time, while still trying to sell our house, packing to move to a new city, finding a house and a  school  for 5 year old.

Amidst all this, I am equal parts excited and terrified about being a full time writer although it will be a few months before I actually have a whole lot of time. But equally, I am excited about getting healthy again, working out, planning proper meals, and most important of all, spending enough time with kiddos and hubster, which suffered most with doing everything.

So wish me luck, won’t you?