Monday, July 29, 2013

2nd Book Syndrome

I'd heard of this syndrome before, and I've even had friends who suffered from it, but I never appreciated just how debilitating writing a second book could be.

I've already written a second book, in fact I've published four under my Rae Summers name, but even though there was a big life-induced gap between Rae books 1 and 2, the next book wasn't hard to write.

So why then has my work-in-progress, currently titled The Back-up Plan, been worse than drawing teeth (not that I've ever had teeth pulled, but I can imagine the pain would be about the same)?

The reason is obvious - all four Rae novellas were written in my own time and to my own internal deadlines. When they were finished, I submitted them. Easy.

The Back-up Plan is being written to a deadline set in contractual stone - very fair, very do-able contractual stone admittedly. I'm desperate to honour this first ever deadline, and I'm equally desperate to make sure that this book is just as good if not better than Waking up in Vegas.

And there lies the rub, as Shakespeare would say. I loved writing Vegas. It was fun, the words flowed, and I felt like I was creating magic. The Backup Plan feels more like pig swill. The kind that feeds the circling crows of doubt.

If you've ever suffered from 2nd Book Syndrome, please tell me this story isn't completely pants and I won't need to change my name and emigrate somewhere only penguins live. Please tell me there is light at the end of the tunnel and it's not an oncoming freight train. Tell me your story...

In happier news, Waking up in Vegas, is part of a special summer promotion on Amazon UK at the moment. For the bargain basement price of only 1.99, this piece of fun can be yours.

So if you're in the UK and haven't yet bought a copy, please think of me and buy one. Every sale helps me resist my growing dependence on chocolate as I wrestle with The Back-up Plan.

Waking up in Vegas is available from Amazon as well as Amazon UK, and in all the other major eBook retailers.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Author Spotlight - Jennifer Faye

I'm thrilled that today the Minxes welcome the wonderful, hard working and inspirational Jennifer Faye. I *met* Jennifer on the eharlequin boards and  followed her journey to published author with great interest. There are few people who deserve their success more and I know I speak on behalf of all Minxes who wish Jennifer all the very best with her debut (and subsequent!) books. *whispers* #teamsytycw

Jennifer Faye has spent most of her life with her nose in one book or another. It was only natural that she dreamed of becoming a romance writer and spinning the tales of the imaginary people running around in her mind. But first life took her on a couple of detours. Refusing to give up on her dreams, she finally succeeded in getting her name on a book cover. She currently resides in Pennsylvania with her very, very patient husband, one amazing daughter (the other remarkable daughter has flown the coop to chase her own dreams) and two spoiled rotten cats. When she’s not glued to her laptop writing another contemporary romance (which isn’t often) or enjoying some family time, she loves to get lost in a good book, cross-stitch, embroider, quilt, knit, watch hockey (go Pittsburgh Penguins!), and garden. Jennifer loves to hear from readers--you can contact her via her website.

You can also find her at these other locations:

1. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself

I’m a homebody who doesn’t have enough time to do all of the things she loves to do such as read, cross-stitch, quilt, embroider, and garden. I also love to bake, but that’s on my naughty list as I’m in the process of getting fit or at least trying to. ;-) I’m forever trying to figure out how to make the days longer, but so far I haven’t come up with a solution.

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

RANCHER TO THE RESCUE is my debut! :-D At long last I’ve been able to fulfil a long held dream of mine to be a Harlequin author. My second book, SNOWBOUND WITH THE SOLDIER, will be released October 1st. I am currently finishing #3 and I’m looking forward to the next book.

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?

Okay this is a little strange for a writer, but I love numbers. I always have. So when I set off to write a book, I set up a spreadsheet to keep track of my daily word count, my overall written percentage, and the # of words needed to be written daily to finish on a specified date. So I know that if I do go shoe shopping that day instead of writing my daily word count, my required # of daily words is going to climb and each day I’ll have that much more work to do to finish on time. I don’t like to keep piling on the work. It’s easier just to get the writing done first and then do the shoe shopping. Plus it’s a lot more fun to shop when I don’t have that grey cloud of guilt hanging over me.

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

Oh boy, I’d love to know the answer to that question myself. And trust me, I’ve spent the past few months leading up to my debut trying to figure it out. The one nugget of advice I’ve gleaned that everyone seems to agree with is that your next book is your best promo. Keep the books coming and you’ll keep your readers happy. :-)

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

Every day is a little different, but for the most part my mornings are spent doing emails/social media, exercise and household chores. After lunch, I like to settle on the porch with my laptop and write away the afternoon. Of course that only works during the nice weather. When it’s too hot or too cold, I settle inside on the recliner with my laptop and kitty.

Do you write every day? For the most part, yes. I write or do writing related things seven days a week. I’m hoping to one day get caught up and take weekends off. LOL. My husband says he’ll believe it when he sees it. But you never know. Stranger things have happened. ;-)

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

Oh my goodness. Most definitely. In fact, I have a list about as long as my arm, okay maybe not that long…yet, of story ideas I want to write. Most of them are contemporaries.

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

Oh yes, definitely. In fact, I have a weekly post on my blog, Hearts & Scribbles, devoted to weight loss/fitness. It’s called Weigh-in Wednesday. It’s my most popular column. And let me tell you the pressure of coming into a public forum each week to tell about my weight loss and whether or not I’ve been keeping up with the program has been a huge help. When I’m staring down a donut that I really want and I know that soon I’ll have to get back on that scale, I have the gumption to walk away. :-)

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

I thought mainly what I’d be doing was writing book after book. Instead I find my time split between social networking / marketing / writing. I was talking with a friend of mine and we likened it to starting up a small business. There’s a lot more involved than just writing the next book. You’ve got to think like a business woman and stay on top of the market to make the best decisions for you.

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

I definitely could be friends with all of my heroines. They are down to earth people, and the best part is the first two are both great in the kitchen. I could easily envision having tea and cookies in their kitchens while chatting about the men in our lives or the kids. Or just talking about life in general.


And online at Amazon, Amazon-UK, Barnes & Noble, Harlequin and other online outlets.

Damsel in a wedding dress!

Jilted at the altar, celebrity chef Meghan Finnegan flees the scene—and the baying press—only to run straight into the muscled torso of Cash Sullivan.

The former rodeo champion knows what it’s like to have your life crumble in the spotlight, so he offers Meghan a place to lie low at his ranch.

Fresh air, no paparazzi and the brooding rancher's lazy smile are making Meghan not want to leave her sanctuary. But she and her unborn baby can't stay here forever...can they?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Interview with Belle Winkworth Jones, heroine of HOSTAGE TO LOVE

Today we have Belle Winkworth-Jones aka Mrs Nick Andreakos, heroine of HOSTAGE TO LOVE who's agreed to give us an exclusive interview regarding her multi-national adventures! Stay tuned...

Interviewer: From reading the blurb of your story, it looks like your plans to volunteer as a charity worker in Nawaka, Africa, turned into a little bit more of an adventure than you anticipated.

Belle: Yes, it did, much to my surprise. I attracted the unwanted attentions of a rebel leader. Go me! Seriously though, it was quite a scary time.
Interviewer: I bet it was. Was there anything in particular that attracted you to this spine-chiller?

Belle: I think his primary reason for kidnapping me was for ransom. My estranged husband, Nick Andreakos is a Greek shipping billionaire, so I guess I was a juicy prospect for a rebel leader looking to fund his army.

Interviewer: Estranged, you say? How come?

Belle: *gives a sad laugh* Where do I start? Nick has a few control issues that made our marriage very, umm, trying. When it seemed like there was no ready solution to our problems, I walked out.

Interviewer: But now you’re back here, on Althea, yours and Nick’s private island, where I believe you spent your honeymoon? Have things changed?

Belle: Nick rescued me from Nawaka and Charles Mwana but personally, we’re trying to work things out, find the right compromise that works for both of us. I can’t return to England because the paparazzi will be all over me. It’s private here on Althea, and also saver.

Interviewer: You’re working through your issues. That’s great. But Mwana’s still out there. Do you think he stands in the way of your happiness?

Belle: He’s still a threat, certainly. And he’s certainly not to be underestimated. But if there’s one thing I know, it’s that Nick is also not to be underestimated. He’s determined, he’s strong, and come hell or high water, he always gets what he wants.

Interviewer: Is that how Nick got you to marry him in the first place?

Belle: He certainly knows how to turn on the charm, plus he’s drop dead gorgeous, and he’s not bad in the sack either.

Interviewer: Whew! *fans self* I believe you. So what happens now?

Belle: Nick and I intend to track down this madman and put him away for good. Then we will work on our marriage. I believe what we have is worth saving, and I don’t intend to give up until I have what I want, which is a loving husband who isn’t afraid to let me in and who meets me on equal terms.

Thanks so much for the interview, Belle. We wish you a happy ending!

You can read more of Belle and Nick's story, which is out now!

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Author Spotlight - Sandra Harris

Born in the far north of Australia, yearly cyclones, floods and being cut off from civilization for weeks at a time were the norm. An outrageous imagination helped occupy Sandra’s mind.

An abiding interest in astronomy and a deep-seated need to always see the good guys win naturally influences her writing. Not satisfied with the amount of romance in science fiction novels she set out to redress the balance.

She currently lives in sunny South East Queensland, Australia, with her husband and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who doesn’t seem to realize she comes from royalty and should act in a more appropriate manner.

Sandra's homes on the web:

Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.

I was born and bred in Far North Queensland. Astronomy is my first love. Animal charities rank high on my donation list.

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

This is my debut book.

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?

Ah, shoe shopping—stop distracting me. Actually, my CP and I have a virtual ‘office’ where we meet most days via Skype. When one of us has a character misbehaving or needs to brainstorm, we’re right there for each other. Knowing the other is relying on you to show up keeps us on track.

What is your top promo tip for other authors?

I engaged a professional to organise my promotional work.

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

My preferred method is to get up early, deal with FB, blog, emails etc. Then find time for breakfast, make a cup of coffee and get to the ‘office’ where my CP will join me and we’ll crack on. Mostly I try to make my day fit around my writing, but there are times when necessity rules and my writing must fit around my day.

Which blog(s) do you read regularly?

Astronomy Picture of the Day. Helene Young. Writer Beware. Kristen Lamb.

Any craft books you recommend?

Debra Dixon’s Goal, Motivation & Conflict

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

Ah yes, my personal trainer comes in the form of my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She reminds me from about two o’clock onwards that I need to get up and move about, preferably in the nearby koala park.

Just for fun: a year from the end of the book, where would your couple go on holiday?

As my hero and heroine are very active in helping to keep their part of the Galaxy free from the depredations of a particularly ruthless species, they would go home to their house in the mountainous region of the hero’s home planet. There they would enjoy the peace and each other.

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

This is quite a tricky question. I have felt like a writer for some time now. Whether I’ll be a successful writer (no doubt something we all dream of) only the future will tell.

Alien, Mine


Torn from modern day Earth and stranded on the far side of the Galaxy, Sandrea Fairbairn must use every particle of courage she possesses to adjust to her new life and live for tomorrow/a new day.

Eugen Mhartak, a general in the Tri-Race Alliance Army, refuses to bow to the merciless Bluthen. Haunted by the loss of far too many innocent lives he has vowed to drive the ruthless invaders from Alliance space.

The strength and valour of Eugen Mhartak attracts Sandrea as no man ever has, but she struggles to read the enigmatic general’s heart. Determined to help him triumph over the Bluthen she uncovers a diabolical plot against the Alliance.

Drawn by the courage and exotic beauty of Sandrea, Mhartak battles to overcome the barriers of cross-cultural differences that separate them and claim her ardent interest. He must conquer his deepest fears to be the man she needs. When his principles are betrayed by his own government and he is faced with the impossible prospect of taking Sandrea’s life in order to save his home planet, Mhartak desperately searches for a way to keep safe both his world and the magnificent woman who has stolen his heart.

SoulMate Publishing        Amazon      Amazon UK

Monday, July 15, 2013

Summer Loving for only 99c

We have a special deal for your summer pleasure... 
six romances for only 99c each (77p in the UK)

The romances on special from Monday 15 to Thursday 18 July only are:

Teresa Ashby - Love on Ice
Aimee Duffy & Michelle Smart - Once Upon a Twist
Claire Robyns - How To Love a Princess
Suzanna Ross - Hidden Heartache
Gina Rossi - To Hear You Smile
Rae Summers - Let's Misbehave

Find out more below...

Love on Ice - Teresa Ashby

There is only one person to turn to when Becky Hope leaves her dying husband at the hospice with his mistress at his side; her colleague Jake Lachlan. Only one problem, Jake doesn’t know she’s married and when he finds out, he wants to put as much space between them as possible.

He joins an Antarctic expedition as ship’s medic unaware until the last minute that the second doctor is the married heartbreaker he’s trying to escape from.

They do their best to avoid each other, but dramatic events force them together in the cold and hauntingly beautiful Antarctic.


“I wasn’t told about this,” Jake said. “I just assumed . . .”
“What? That they’d conjure me up a spare cabin out of thin air?” Becky said, too tired to be bothered by it.
He could do without her mockery. He could do without her full stop.
She’d tossed her bag onto the bottom bunk and now she was opening it, taking out various bits and pieces and lining them up along what would double up as desk and dressing table. Her hands shook as she placed things down, but he wasn’t going to be fooled by her pretence of vulnerability. Not again.
That slender little neck held up a hard head.
Available from Amazon and Amazon UK.

Once Upon a Twist - Aimee Duffy & Michelle Smart

When the sun goes down, guess what's coming out to play...?

Glass Slippers and Combat Boots (Michelle Smart)

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, the creatures are coming...

In a land run by misogynists, where fair maidens are deemed liable to fall in a dead faint at the sight of blood, Prince Charming is worried - the creatures that have destroyed their neighboring kingdoms are coming for them. He judges it imperative to get all the females to safety, but first he needs to break the enchantment enslaving his One True Love to her hateful home. Oh, and there's the small matter of the Ball to get through too.

But when the creatures reach them ahead of their expected time, all plans are foregone. Can Ella break her wicked stepmother's enchantment? Can she save her handsome Prince and the kingdom before midnight strikes? And can she show his soldiers what it really means to kick a monster's butt? The clock is ticking...

Reunited With Red (Aimee Duffy)

Many, many years later...

When Ruby visits her grandmother in the deep, dark forest, she stumbles into a nightmare. Her grandma's been attacked by a wolf-like creature, and an ancient disease that turned people into monsters is back... and so is the cold-hearted ex she walked out on a year ago.

Now she has to either accept Jeremy's help or face becoming a monster herself. Fighting alongside the man she once loved isn't easy, especially when she discovers there's more to Jeremy than the cheating bastard she took him for.

As they fight to survive the disease and save those they love, can they keep from falling for each other all over again?

Available from Amazon and Amazon UK.

How to Love a Princess - Claire Robyns

Love exploded into the sheltered life of Princess Catherine de'Ariggo when she met Nicolas Vecca. But duty calls Catherine to sacrifice that love. Now, years later, she must be strong once more. Can she ignore the whisperings of her heart and stand firm in her convictions? Trusting in Nicolas, loving him, is a risk she dare not take.

When Nicolas sees Catherine again, he thinks he's looking at a ghost. Either that, or he has been cruelly deceived. Haunted love turns to hate. But even as he determines to remain unforgiving, his heart refuses to forget.


He backed her up against the door, raising one arm above her to put his hand to the wall. His knuckles grazed underside her chin, then nudged it higher until she was looking into his eyes.
“What—what are you doing?” she stammered. She hated it when he did this. She swore he knew exactly how devastatingly he affected her, erased her mind and nullified her convictions. The barest hint of intimacy had the power to slam her straight back into the past.
He brought his head down, his lips a breath away from hers. His brown eyes were intense, burning a heat into her soul. “You made a pact with the devil four years ago,” he murmured, his fingers leaving her chin to stroke fire down the sensitive skin of her throat. “Maybe I’ve come to claim my due.”
She swallowed hard and tried to laugh, tried to pretend that everything was normal and her knees weren’t instantly hollow. “Do you have to be so dramatic?”
“You bring out the best—” His thumb pad paused at the base of her throat, applying a gentle pressure, “—and worst in me, dolce cuore.”

Available from Amazon and Amazon UK.

Hidden Heartache - Suzanna Ross

Dr Emma Bradshaw’s life is disrupted when Nick Rudd arrives back in town to take up a post at the GP practice where she works. The bad boy attitude is still very much in evidence, but Nick is a doctor now – against the odds – and Emma’s forced to work closely with him. Not so easy to ignore the love of your life when you have to see him on a daily basis. And Nick’s getting perilously close to breaking down the barriers Emma’s built to protect herself from the tragedy in her past.

Nick thought, as a doctor, it would be easy to command respect from the residents of his hometown – and most are pleased to see how well he’s done. But, the one person he wants to impress remains unmoved. Emma is keeping her distance. And she’s changed – the fun loving girl he knew has gone. She’s hiding something big, he’s sure, but she’s not telling. He can’t blame her – he knows he let her down badly in the past. But now he’ll do anything to rekindle the trust and love she once showed him.

Hidden Heartache is a sweet romance and was previously published as a My Weekly Pocket Novel.


He took another step towards her and her gaze fixed on his mouth. She watched as he smiled again and a scar on his upper lip caught her attention. It was faded, barely there; if he hadn’t been standing so close she’d never have seen it. It was the type of scar that might have resulted from a childhood accident such as falling face first onto the corner of a table...

She drew a ragged breath as a wave of nausea hit her. She hadn’t seen that scar for fourteen years. She staggered back, came hard up against the side of her car and was grateful for the support it offered.

“Nick?” she queried disbelievingly.
“It’s been a long time, Emma. How have you been?”

Available from Amazon and Amazon UK.

To Hear You Smile - Gina Rossi

Disillusioned and dumped, Olivia Sinclair leaves London to hide out in the English countryside, unaware that handsome local stranger, Zachary Jordan, is a world class athlete. Deeply attracted to his intuitiveness and apparent sixth sense, Olivia nevertheless shuns him when he scares her badly on a date and, worse, when she finds out he has stolen something precious from her. Then she discovers the devastating truth about Zac. He's blind, and somehow, in their brief encounters, she hasn't noticed. She's determined to make amends, but Zac, crushed by her carelessness, doesn't want to know, and Olivia faces a gruelling uphill battle to win his respect and love.


Olivia smiled. If this was how a guy made his move in the countryside, she was happy to give it a go. A fling with the village hunk might give her what she needed to draw a line under all that had gone before.

Available from Amazon and Amazon UK.

Let's Misbehave - Rae Summers

Passion simmers from the moment wild child and dedicated Flapper Gabrielle meets staid aristocrat Sebastian. When she discovers the adventurous spirit beneath his serious demeanour, she seduces him into a last fling before he settles for a loveless marriage.

His is a life of duty and tradition, hers is a pursuit of freedom and pleasure, so this can never be more than a brief affair.

But as the Twenties roar to their conclusion, will Gabrielle survive falling in love with the one man she cannot have? And will Sebastian be able to settle for less than the woman he loves?


After dinner, they sipped Manhattans and listened to the music. Lights danced on the surface of the Thames, as magical as the fragile bubble that encased them.
If only this night need never end—but she knew too well that the good things in life never lasted. Which was why you had to grab them when you found them. A ray of sunshine, a favourite song, a desirable man.

Available from Amazon and Amazon UK.