Thursday, September 26, 2013

Author Spotlight - Rachel Brimble

1.              Hi Rachel, welcome to the blog :-) Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.

I’ve been writing for publication since my youngest daughter started school full-time in 2005 and my first book (Searching For Sophie) was published by The Wild Rose Press in 2007. Since then I have written eleven more books, all published or under contract. I am lucky enough to write full-time around my husband, kids and mad black Lab in the beauty of South West England.

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

A Man Like Him is book number ten – books eleven and twelve will be out in February and March 2014

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 treat my writing like a job – I think anyone who really wants to write and succeed has to do this. It’s really hard sometimes, especially when there are a million and one things vying for your attention, but I tell myself I wouldn’t be able to do them if I was employed out of the home. I write the entire time the kids are at school (from 8.30 til 3.30pm) and then do everything else afterward.

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

I wish I had one! To this date, I am trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Answers on a postcard please L

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

See my answer to question 3!

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

Always! My next book is always playing on my mind as I work through my current project. I find myself dipping in and out of a file on my computer as more and more scenes, lines of dialogue, character quirks and situations come to mind. I’m contracted for another Superromance  (romantic suspense) which will make five in total and I cannot wait to get to that one…but also my next Victorian, which will definitely be my next project, calls to me every darn day at that moment!

2.             What was the most fun part of writing this book?

The opening three chapters – they are almost an hour-by-hour account of what happened to my family and I when we were caught up in the 2010 French floods. Just like the hero and heroine in A Man Like Him, we were rescued by helicopter from a hotel roof. It was so easy to write those chapters with emotion, lol!

3.             Which of your characters would you like to be?

The characters I would most like to be seem to be from my Victorian romances with Kensington. I relate to them so much – I think it’s because I feel so passionate about women’s rights and the issues women had to face and deal with in the 1800s. There is usually some form of liberation for my heroines in these books.

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

All of them! I don’t think as romance writers a hero would work for our readers unless our passion for them oozed from the page. My characters are real people to me and my heroes are as attractive, sexy and male as I can make them. I literally fall in love with them…

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

When I signed my first contract with Harlequin in 2012 – that was an entirely cry-worthy moment. After writing and learning my craft for seven years and then sign with one of the biggest romance publishers in the US just felt amazing! Of course, to have an advance for the first time ever didn’t hurt either… ;)

A Man Like Him

Changing her life...again 

After two years in hiding, Angela Taylor knows her independence is worth it. As long as she can escape her past, she has everything under control. Until a flash flood hits the park where she works, and hot Chris Forrester shows up the exact moment she needs a hero. 

Chris proves he can save lives-and weaken a girl's knees. But how can she make him understand that she's off-limits, that getting close to her will endanger his life? Her happiness or his safety: it shouldn't even be a choice.

Because when you love someone, you protect them, no matter the cost. At least, that's what Angela keeps telling herself....

Rachel lives with her husband and two young daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK.  After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. In 2012, she sold two books to Harlequin Superromance and a further three in 2013. She also writes Victorian romance for Kensington--her debut was released in April 2013, with book two coming in Feb 2014.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family and beloved black Lab, Max. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.
She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!

Monday, September 23, 2013

We're up for an award!

The bunting is out again at Minx Manor!

We're thrilled and excited to have been nominated for a Book Junkies Choice award for our minx romance anthology Blaze. The competition in the catergory is fierce, and we are honoured to be included amongst authors we all read and admire.
Thank you Book Junkies Choice!

Set in the fictional village of Coombesthwaite in the picturesque Lake District, Blaze is a collection of romantic stories based around the local reserve firemen ~ I think it's fair to say that the village has more than its fair share of hot heroes!

Blaze is jam-packed with stories to suit every taste ranging from sweet to ultra sexy, and all guaranteed to provide a perfect slice of escapism.

Voting opens here on October 14th - we are officially chewing our nails and crossing our fingers! 

Extra Blaze news!

Blaze is already available as an e-book, and we're happy to say that it will very soon be available as a paperback too. 

More news as we have it!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Author Spotlight - Lori Connelly

Welcome today to my fellow Harper Impulse author, Lori Connelly, author of historical westerns.

1. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.

I’m married, have three sons, one daughter-in-law, one grandbaby to be and two very spoiled dogs. A small town in the Willamette Valley of Oregon is where my family calls home but I dream of having a few acres to call my own. My husband already owns a goat, the famous Cowboy Marvin, but when we have our little farm, I’d like a miniature highland cow or two. Reading, writing and being out in nature camping, taking long walks or rock hounding are my favorite things to do. I usually carry a purse bulging with a book, a small notebook and index cards plus at least one backpack or bag for larger notebooks, pens and space to carry jasper because a person never knows when they might run across a good rock-hounding site wherever I go.

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

This is my debut. However, it is book 1 of a series. There will be a novella due out later this year and another full-length book next year. This may be the first you’ve heard of me but it won’t be the last.

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 wish I had an easy answer to that. I used to set up a certain amount of time that I would write per week but I found it was easy to end up squandering it. I sought advice from some wise authors and now I set a word count goal of at least 1000 words per day. I’m still not perfect but am far more productive.

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

I’m new to promo but the best thing I’ve learned is to listen to other authors. Seek out authors who appear to have learned the promo ways and politely, respectfully ask. People in general are amazingly kind and generous with information and advice.

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

I write whenever I can grab a moment. Often while doing boring chores I’m reworking a difficult scene or allowing character conversations to play out in my mind. Finding a balance between writing, life, family, and boring chores is still a work in progress.

6. Do you write every day?

Usually, yes I do write every day. Sometimes it’s only a scribble on the tiny notebook tucked in my purse. And sometimes I write a ton of words and realize the next day I must delete almost all. It’s a compulsion.

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

I keep falling in love with my secondary characters and want to give them all a story of their own. In just the book I’m in the midst of writing now, stories for how the hero’s parents fell in love, the girl who rejected him and that girl’s sister both find love nagged at me until they found a home in my ‘to be written later’ file. Those stories would all be western historical romances.

I also have some characters I created long ago that belong to a fantasy story still rough but begging to be finished.

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

The best thing I’ve found to do when I hit a roadblock is to walk away from the writing for a time and do something boring. If my mind continues to worry the problem, I actively try to think about another part of the story. After a rest and refresh I’ll return and usually then I can see a way to make it work.

9. What was the most fun part of writing this book?

I loved looking up the route that Ben and Evie would travel and finding photographs for inspiration. Somehow, I managed to discover a number of handsome cowboy pictures that now live in my computer.

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

Too much noise is a distraction but that’s a relative thing. I’ve a husband, sons, and dogs, if there is complete silence there is something very wrong. I write a lot in the living room, laptop on my lap, with the whole crew around. When they are particularly noisy I retreat to my bedroom, plug in my headphones, listen to some music and type in peace.


For fans of Diana Palmer and Linda Lael Miller comes the first in a brand new and emotionally gripping trilogy, The Men of Fir Mountain.

The day Evie met Benjamin Rolfe, a man with an unbridled enthusiasm for life and grandiose plans to match, she knew they’d marry and live happily ever after…

Five years later, her charming rancher is now a bitter, cynical stranger with a shaky moral compass. And after too many shattered dreams, Evie no longer believes in fairy tale endings.

When they lose the homestead and head out on the open road to start a new life in Oregon, their marriage is already strained to breaking point. Can their love survive this second chance?

The Outlaw of Cedar Ridge is available from Amazon, Amazon UK, iTunes, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

Help welcome Lori to the joys of social media on Twitter and Facebook. She also has a Pinterest board and a blog. She is the creator of the hugely fun round robin Written Fireside story (my latest instalment on this serial just went live here!)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Author Spotlight - Rebecca Crowley

Rebecca Crowley is a truly international author - an American who's lived for many years in London and who has recently moved to South Africa. (Welcome, Rebecca!) She is in our spotlight today to talk about her debut novel through Carina Press, The Striker's Chance.

1. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.

I’m originally from Kansas, but I’ve stretched my small-town roots all over the globe. I went to college in New York City, then I spent six years in London, and in July I moved to Johannesburg – three continents down, four more to go!

I’ve been a huge fan of the romance genre since I was old enough to leaf through the Harlequins my mom had lying around in the car. My first attempt to write one was a shockingly bad historical when I was sixteen, but hopefully I’ve improved since then!

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

This is my exciting debut! But I have a holiday novella releasing with Carina Press in November and a romantic suspense due in March from Samhain Publishing, so I can say with some authority this is the first of at least three.

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?

Given how many times I sit down to write and look up an hour later to find I’ve watched fifteen stupid videos on YouTube but haven’t even opened the Word document, I feel like the last person who should be giving advice on this!

I aim to write 1,000 words per day, mostly during the ninety-ish minutes after work when I have the house to myself, before my fiancé gets home. Does it always happen? Absolutely not! But my primary motivator seems to be guilt, and I know that once I lose momentum on a story it’ll be hard to plunge back into it, so I push myself to write to avoid that nagging sense of obligation to my characters.

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

Again, promotion is definitely not something on which I’d consider myself an expert – on the contrary I think I still have a huge amount to learn. In that vein, the most valuable tip I’ve discovered in my fledgling career is to network with other authors. At first I was totally intimidated by what I perceived as people who were way beyond me in terms of success and seniority, but they’ve proven to be phenomenal resources when it comes to publishing, promotion, and the general day-to-day of life as an author.

Personally my primary networks are ROSA, the oragnisation for South African romance writers  and the Contemporary Romance Café. Both are fabulous, creative, supportive communities – check ’em out!

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

I don’t fit writing into my day, I shoehorn it! Between the commute, the full-time job, my masochistic love of middle-distance running, and that annoying habit of interacting with my fiancé, writing often takes a backseat to real life – but the characters and stories are always simmering away in the back of my mind, and on rare occasions I can get whole scenes worked out so fully in my head that it takes no time at all to transfer them to the page. Like all authors I dream of the day when my sales will fund a full-time, three-thousand-words-a-day lifestyle, but until then I have to make do with stolen half-hours and hastily scribbled paragraphs.

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

It’s probably no surprise, considering my debut is a sports romance, that I love to be active and keep fit. I’ve been a committed middle-distance runner (10K to half-marathon) for several years, I’ve recently gotten into obstacle runs, and I’m hopeful that moving from London to Johannesburg will give me far more opportunities for cycling, hiking, and general outdoorsiness – as soon as I acclimate to the city’s mile-high elevation!

I realize that running and writing seem like completely disparate activities, but for me they work together perfectly. If I’ve hit a writing roadblock, nothing clears my head and helps me untangle plot kinks better than going for a run. And if I’m struggling with my workout, feeling like I want to slow down or quit altogether, I distract myself from the pain by focusing on what to do next in my WIP. On the best days I come home with a fitter body and a better novel!

Anyway, enough about me – let’s talk about the book!

7. What was the most fun part of writing this book?

Easy – doing “research”, aka scouring YouTube videos and Google Image searches for super-sexy footballers! I owe a big debt of inspirational gratitude to Fernando Torres, Robin Van Persie, Cristiano Ronaldo, and most of Spain’s 2010 World Cup team. Thanks guys!

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

It might take her less than a year, but Holly would definitely need to visit Kepler’s family in South Africa. He’s from Port Elizabeth, so I’m thinking they’d spend Christmas with his parents, then roadtrip through the Garden Route to spend New Year’s in Cape Town. I’m envisioning a luxury hotel, sweeping views of Table Mountain, several bottles of Stellenbosch wine… and then maybe a diamond ring?

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

Definitely! I hope that my heroines are true-to-life in that they’re complicated and flawed, but ultimately likeable and even admirable. I love the authenticity of heroines who don’t always understand themselves or their own actions, because what woman does? There’s nothing wrong with a heroine who has all the answers, but I personally prefer those who haven’t even figured out the questions.

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

To be honest, I still feel like a fraud most days, especially when I look at other authors whose sales have enabled them to transition into full-time writing, or when I read a novel that leaves me openmouthed at how well it’s written. But then I think complacency is probably the biggest enemy of creativity, so I don’t mind staying on my toes!


Landing the PR contract for North Carolina’s new soccer team could take Holly Taylor’s career to the next level. Her task? Make Kepler “Killer” de Klerk, an athlete with a party-hard reputation, a star. But revamping the sexy footballer’s image while battling her unwanted attraction to him is easier said than done.

The car accident that derailed Kepler’s European career also gave him some much-needed perspective. He’s ready to give up on fame and focus on the game he loves. The last thing he needs is a headstrong brunette pushing him back into the spotlight, even if butting heads with her is the most fun he’s had in ages.

The more time Holly spends with Kepler, the more she sees how different he is from his tabloid persona. But when she’s offered her dream job for a price, she finds herself torn between the career she’s spent years building and the man she doesn’t want to give up.

The Striker's Chance is available from Amazon, Amazon UK, All Romance eBooks and direct from Carina Press.

You can connect with Rebecca via her website or on Twitter.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Joys of Social Media

I have to admit when I started using Facebook and Twitter properly I was nervous they would be a time suck. I saw it as a chore, something I had to do if I was going to be a writer. Yet I've been pleasantly surprised to find how much pleasure it can actually bring and how many new friends I've made. 
Being mostly homebound and fairly isolated socially I'd already experienced the joys of connecting with people online by finding the Minxes :-) My Minxy sisters have become very close friends as well as critique partners and an important part of my support structure. But now I've been making lots of new friends too and since the publication of 'Confessions of a Chalet Girl' I've found a lot of pleasure in the Facebook messages, especially the ones sent  from readers saying they couldn't put my book down and were waiting for the next in the series (always a fab pick-me-up on a Monday morning and a spur to keep writing!). 
I enjoy the random conversations on Twitter or the chance to take a peek into my favourite writers' worlds. I tend to only use social media during lunchtime or when I'm in bed so it doesn't really eat into my writing time.Now I know how much pleasure it brings I've started tweeting authors if I've particularly enjoyed their book.
There's so much attention given to trolls and the unpleasant, scary side of social media but rarely do people focus on the positives. Let's turn the tide and spread a little love today - if you've just finished or you're enjoying someone's book then tweet or Facebook message them to tell them so! :-)

I also wanted to share news about the end of summer sale currently running on Amazon UK - There are quite a few big titles as well as lots of lovely Harper Impusle titles at only 99p, including 'Confessions of a Chalet Girl'. 

'An End of Summer Affair' promotion running from 6th-19th September - all titles are £1.99 or less. All Harper Impulse Titles in the sale are 99p. 

Included in the sale are:
Lorraine Wilson 'Confessions of a Chalet Girl'
Rae Rivers The Keepers: Archer
Mandy Baggot 'Do You Remember?' 
Wendy Jones 'The Songbird and the Soldier'
Charlotte Phillips 'Your Room or Mine?'

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Author Spotlight - Mandy Baggot

Welcome Mandy, it's great to have you here on the minx blog today! 

 Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
I’m a writer of contemporary romantic fiction. I have five self-published titles, two books with Sapphire Star Publishing and currently write for Harper Impulse, the brand new romance imprint from Harper Collins. I love Twitter, country music, mashed potato and white wine! I live in Wiltshire, UK with my husband (Mr Big), two daughters and two cats (Kravitz and Springsteen).

What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th?(Nora only!)
Do You Remember? is my eighth title and my first with Harper Impulse.

        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?
LOL! You can shoe shop online now you know...or handbag shop! I just try to keep writing. If you only write one sentence on a bad day at least it’s progress. I don’t have any great tips, just keep going!

        What is your top promo tip for other authors?
Don’t be afraid to use social media to build relationships and sell books. In 2012 I won the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance. This was for my use of topical popular culture and innovation in author marketing. Jump on Twitter trends and tailor them to your book. I got a lot out of ‘More style than #Gangnam’ and even got retweeted by PSY himself!

        How does writing fit into your day? Or does your day fit in around your writing?
I have two young daughters (8 and 6) so I am a school-run mum! Once I’ve dropped the children off  it’s back home for work. This doesn’t always just involve writing though. As all authors will tell you there is a lot more to it than that. There are interview to do, articles to write and tweets to set up. As well as chatting on Facebook and discussing what happened in Luther etc. I am very lucky to be a full-time writer now though and I couldn’t do that without the support of my lovely Mr Big.

        Is there a book you haven't written yet that you're dying to? What genre?
YES! There is this one book idea that keeps springing up, usually when I’m in the middle of writing another one. It’s erotic fiction...Lady Baggot doesn’t really do erotic but this idea lends itself to something racier. I have a couple of other books to attend to before this one. It does shout out at me though so watch this space!

     Keeping fit: Do you have an exercise regime to counterbalance all those hours sitting at a computer?
I did have a brilliant routine. I would Zumba and Boxercise three times a week at home. But I got a really bad virus back in December 2012 that seemed to last for months and left me feeling really tired for a long time. Since then I’ve done nothing. It’s my plan to get back into this after the summer holidays.

         What was the most fun part of writing this book?
The best bit about writing Do You Remember?  was the flashback element to it. I hadn’t attempted anything like this before but I thought it was really important to tell both sides of the story and let the readers see for themselves why and how all these situations in the book arose. I’ve had nothing but compliments about the two eras of the story so I’m pleased it worked!

        Have you ever written a hero you'd be happy to run off with?
One?! I’d gladly run off with them all! Just don’t tell Mr Big!

Do you write to music, or with the tv on in the background, or do you need complete silence?
Most of the time I need complete silence to get into the heads of my characters. A couple of books I’ve written have had playlists to accompany them though and these songs were songs I listened to when I was writing the books. The book I’m working on now, Made in Nashville, has a playlist going on!

B         Tell us about your book, Do You Remember?

First Love. First Loss. Last chance?
2005 was the most traumatic year of Emma Barron’s life. It was the year her mother died and the year she met Guy Duval. Eight years on, she’s an English teacher with a doting boyfriend and a young son. Life’s been hard but now it’s comfortable. She’s settled and content…so why would she risk it all for another chance with the man that broke her heart?
Guy’s an international renowned footballer newly signed to a top UK team. But behind the confident facade is a man determined to drown the horrors from his childhood with fame, success and money.
Unable to confide in her best friend, Ally, Emma tries to hold her life together as her heart is pulled apart. Did she turn her back on love too soon?
Neither of them know what really happened on 5 September 2005 and as events are slowly revealed can anyone cope with the truth?

L          Links to buy Mandy's book:

Buy Do You Remember? – Amazon UK
Buy Do You Remember? – Amazon US

Get in touch with Mandy: