Thursday, August 29, 2013

Author Spotlight - Carmel Harrington


Welcome Carmel, it's lovely to have you on the blog today :-)

                        Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.

First of all, my manners! Thank you for having me here with you lovely Minxes!  OK, what can I tell you about me?  I’m Irish, living in a beautiful rural village in Co. Wexford.  I live quite close to the sea, which I love, no matter the weather.  In fact I sometimes prefer walking on the beach when it’s cold, wet and blustery!  I’m married to Rog and we have two beautiful children, Amelia 3 and Nate who is almost 2.  In between being a stay at home Mum to my little smallies, I write.  

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

Beyond Graces Rainbow is my first book, but I do have a second book completed which is with my publisher, called Sleep of Dreams and I’ve started book 3which will be a sequel to Beyond Graces Rainbow.

 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?

The only shoe shopping I’ve been doing lately is for cute little pairs of converse for the children! Oh I remember those days of old where I would take off on a Saturday and spend the day shopping for me.  But to answer your question, there is no doubt about it I have to be very strict with myself to ensure I meet my writing targets.  I aim to write a minimum of 1000 words per day, but I find once I get lost in my WIP, I can’t stop and will write every spare second I can, so I’ve no problem meeting a target on those days! I actually write in my head when I’m not in front of the laptop too, framing the story and where it’s going next.  Does anyone else do that?

 What is your top promo tip for other authors?

First of all believe in yourself.  If you don’t believe in yourself no one else will.  Having said that, the promotion that I find most effective is  sharing of reviews given and of course sharing any important milestones that your book has achieved.  I switch off when authors tweet the same thing every day, buy my book, buy my book, buy my book!  That is one sure way to make sure that most won’t buy your book in my opinion!   

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

As a stay at home mother, writing has to fit around my children.  Now that I have signed my contract with HarperImpulse, it’s become more important to have some more structure around my writing.  My daughter Amelia starts preschool on 2nd September 5 mornings a week and we have made the decision to send Nate into playschool also for 4 mornings a week, so that will mean I will be able to write during this time. 
I’m really looking forward to that, but I know I’ll also miss the children.  But it seems like the perfect combination for me - Author by morning, Mummy by afternoon.  Superauthormum!  (sorry got carried away there!)  I try to be organised at the weekends, blitzing the housework with my husband and planning dinners for the week. 
If you were to visit the H’s on a Saturday afternoon, it’s likely you will descend into clean house.  Swing by on a Friday and you may possibly think the house has been ransacked by burglars ;)

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

There are so many ideas that I have, I honestly think I could write a book every year for the rest of my life and not run out of ideas.  But I do have this children’s book buzzing around my head, for the 7-10 year old age bracket I think and I have written the opening chapter.  It’s called The Black Car.  One day, I’d love to try finish that.  Maybe before my own children get to that age, so that gives me 5 years or so more!


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

I was going to ignore this question, hanging my head in shame.  I am a terrible woman for making promises to herself to get fit and not fulfilling them.  Does running around after two sometimes wild and extremely fast toddlers count?  If so, I exercise every day for hours! 

In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?
It is everything and more than I thought it would be.  The team at HarperImpulse and my fellow authors there have become friends already.  The welcome and support has been incredible.  Seeing my cover being revealed was an emotional moment for me, one that I won’t forget for a long time.  I thought that when the news was out that HarperCollins digital romance imprint HarperImpulse had signed me, it might interest a few, but the past few weeks have truly surpassed any of my expectations, as I’ve been doing interviews both on the radio and for newspapers.  I am even booked for an interview for an Irish TV chat show on 30th August – yes Me!!!!  It’s a dream come true seeing Beyond Graces Rainbow getting noticed at last and I am so happy. 

Could you be friends with any of your heroines?

Absolutely.  Grace, Tara and Abby in Beyond Graces Rainbow are the kind of girlfriends I could very easily have a night out with.  They are strong, loyal, fun and very real women and like me enjoy the odd cocktail ;) 

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

Well, here’s what you need to sort out a story roadblock – take a spoonful of sugar and a pinch of salt and walk backwards over a broomstick singing I Will Survive as loudly as you can, throwing salt and sugar over your shoulder, as you bust a few moves and all of a sudden, bam, story is fixed!   Works every time, but failing that, I would suggest walking away from the story and leaving it for a day or two.  I always find that when I go back to it, the obvious answer is staring me in the face and whatever it was that was causing me so much angst is no longer is a problem!

P.s. I take no responsibility for any authors who trip and fall in their attempts at my first tip! Maybe safer to take option 2 and sleep on it ;)

About Beyond Grace’s Rainbow :-
A must for fans of Cecelia Ahern.
Beyond Grace’s Rainbow is a poignant story about a young mother’s battle with cancer.  Single mother Grace Devlin faces what will be the biggest fight of her life and the stakes are high.  She cannot contemplate leaving her adorable little boy Jack all alone in the world.  Unfortunately for Grace her best chance of survival is to receive a bone marrow transplant, so she embarks on a heart breaking search for her biological parents, as she was adopted when a small baby.  This search will unravel a web of lies and deceit that has spanned over thirty years.
And just when she thinks life can get no more complicated, Jack’s father Liam is back in town full of remorse and he’s made it clear that he’s not leaving until he’s won her back.   Liam was the love of Grace’s life but can she trust him ever again? Helping Grace muddle her way through her cancer treatment and complicated love life are her friends – Tara, Sean, Abby, Tom and Gerry.  Tara is Grace’s cousin and is happily married to Sean but they are desperate for a baby of their own; Abby, Grace and Tara’s friend from college is single and looking for her one true love  which is proving difficult, whilst Tom would be happy if  his boyfriend Gerry for once didn’t max out their credit card!   Beyond Grace’s Rainbow will bring the reader into Graces world where friendship, courage, loyalty, laughter and above all love are abundant.   The story will bring you on an emotional journey with Grace and her friends that will have the reader both laughing and crying at the turn of a page.

Beyond Graces Rainbow is available for pre-order with Amazon.co.uk
& Amazon.com, the publish date 12th September.

For more on Carmel :
Find her here www.carmelharrington.com

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Competition Addict

My name is Catherine and I'm a hopeless competition addict...

I'm hoping it's not just me. But I'll admit I find it very hard to resist the lure of competitions. Even when I know I don't have anything suitable, I'll spend way too long thinking about new stories simply to fit the guidelines.

So You Think You Can Write is coming up. Several of my lovely friends (including Minx Sri) were noticed in this competition and their entries went on to be their debut books *waves madly at Amalie, Jen & Jen*.

Of course, I only need to look at the wonderful Minxes to see most of them sold without competitions--if we hadn't all been competition entrants at one point we never would've met. Back before SYTYCW and even New Voices we all met online and have stayed together ever since. We crit for each other, support each other and rarely a day goes by where we don't speak via the email loop we have set up.

I noticed in the Green Room over at eharlequin that they have a poll set up asking writers what they are most looking forward to in this year's SYTYCW. The option I would've chosen, had it been there, would be "holding hands with other writers via twitter". I did that LOTS last year and I must say I had the best time bonding together, rather than competing against, other writers. I don't think there can be many competitions where you cheer as much for your fellow writers as you hope for your own success.  Which is why I love the romance community so very much!

I do have an idea for this year's SYTYCW but I have a full to finish that was requested following the Medical Fast Track earlier this year. I also need to resist the lure of a new story idea I had while driving through Italy on our holidays this year. I need to write FASTER!

And if SYTYCW is not for you, Harper Impulse are also having a competition--the prize being a 3 book contract!! Details for that competition are here. And, of course, I have a Christmas themed story that wasn't quite medical enough for Mills & Boon that I just *have* to enter. I've heard fabulous things about Harper Impulse from the Minxes that are published with them as well as other friends.

The only problem I see me having is containing my over-excited bouncing throughout the next few months. Who's with me? Tell me in the comments which competition you're entering and title if you have it so we can cheer each other on!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Author Spotlight - Lorna Peel

Today's spotlight author is Lorna Peel, who writes contemporary romance for Entranced Publishing.
Welcome, Lorna.

1. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
I was born in England and brought up in Wales and Ireland. I live in the Irish countryside where, sadly, it rains a bit too much! I’ve always had an lively imagination and I started writing when I was nineteen. A few years later I did a creative writing course which concentrated on short stories. I enjoyed it, and I was lucky enough to have one published, but it made me realise that I prefer to write novels so I decided to see if I could get one of the novels I’d written published.

2. What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th?(Nora only!)
Only You is my first published novel but I’ve written quite a few novels over the years. Some I’m very proud of and some will never see the light of day!

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 try and write something every day, or, if inspiration doesn’t strike, I’ll edit some work. I just try to do something constructive every day and I reward myself every now and again with some books and DVD box sets. I’m not really a shoe person!

4. What is your top promo tip for other authors?
Have a website and/or blog, with information on you, your book(s), and where it/they can be bought. The information has to be clear and easy to find because if the visitor can’t find what they’re looking for in under a minute then they’ll leave and they won’t come back.
Be on as much social media as you can, and interact with people. Link everything if you haven’t the time to keep up with them all individually.

5. How does writing fit into your day? Or does your day fit in around your writing?
I can do other types of writing – answering e-mails and updating my blog or website – at some point during the day, but I need the peace and quiet of late night for writing novels so it doesn’t really get in the way of anything, apart from sleep!

6. Is there a book you haven't written yet that you're dying to? What genre?
I’d love to write an historical novel set in medieval Ireland/England/Wales. It would need an enormous amount of research but I hope I’ll be able to do it someday. Probably when I’m retired!

7. Keeping fit: Do you have an exercise regime to counterbalance all those hours sitting at a computer?
No, I don’t have an exercise regime and I don’t go to the gym but I do have a large garden where I grow as much fruit and vegetables as I can. I also walk quite a bit and all that keeps me reasonably fit.

8. Could you be friends with any of your heroines?
Yes, definitely. My heroines have to be someone who I and readers would want to spend time with. If they aren’t likeable then readers won’t want to go on their journey with them.

9. Writing snacks – what are your favourites?
Call me weird, but I never eat and write at the same time! When I’m surfing the net, yes, but never when I’m writing. It’s usually something which won’t crumble or drip onto the keyboard!

10. Do you have any tips, tricks or sacrificial rituals you do when you hit a story roadblock?
I’m a news junkie and I usually have a news channel on in the background during the day instead of the radio. I also read a lot of news online (Twitter is great for the weird stuff!) and it’s amazing how inspiration will strike when you’re either reading or listening to a news item.


Blurb:
Jane Hollinger is single, divorced, and the wrong side of thirty – as she puts it. Her friends are pressuring her to dive back into London’s dating pool, but she’s content with her quiet life as a genealogy teacher.

Robert Armstrong is every woman’s fantasy: handsome, charming, rich and famous. When he asks her to meet him, she convinces herself it’s because he needs her help with a mystery in his family tree. Soon she realizes he’s interested in more than her genealogical expertise. Now the paparazzi want a piece of Jane too.

Can Jane handle living — and loving — in the spotlight?

Only You is available from Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, All Romance eBooks and WH Smith (UK only).

You can find Lorna on her website, Facebook, Twitter and on Pinterest.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Piatkus Entice Needs You!

Today we have a guest on the Minxes. Anna Boatman of Piatkus is here to tell us all about Piatkus Entice and their current competition.....Thank you for being here today, Anna!

#

Hello everyone! My name is Anna Boatman, and the lovely Minxes of Romance have allowed me to take over today, to tell you all about our upcoming Piatkus Entice competition. We are looking for the next digital romance superstar – could it be you?

First off, let me tell you a little bit about Piatkus Entice...
Piatkus Entice was launched on Valentine's Day 2012, and is our digital-first romance imprint. Romance is the fastest growing digital genre – the convenience and lower prices of ebooks are a perfect match for the romance reader; we tend to read loads of books a month and are always keen to discover new genres and new authors, as well as return again and again to series and characters we love. For me, the great thing about a digital-first line is that as an editor it gives you the freedom to try something a little different – the retail market is increasingly restrictive and conservative, but online you can put huge amounts of support behind a debut author writing something totally fresh.

On Entice we pick the very best of romance in all its genres, from Regency romps to ghost stories. We offer a mix of the e-editions of romance superstars such as Sarah MacLean and Eloisa James, to newer voices such as self-publishing success Tim O'Rourke. We're always looking for new authors, but usually accept only agented authors. However, for a limited time that's about to change, as we're offering the chance to win a two-book publication contract with Piatkus Entice...

Our Entice competition is on now! – we're looking for instantly gripping, page-turning romance, in any genre. However, Entice being an ebook imprint, we're also looking for writers who are great at connecting with their fans online and who really enjoy building up a digital profile. So, how are we going to find them? Go to http://www.piatkusentice.co.uk/feature/could-you-be-our-next-romance-writing-star/ to see the full terms and conditions, but the main stages are...

Round One: Enter two chapters and a short, enticing synopsis (something you think would convince readers to pick it out) by the 2nd of September, 2013.
Round Two: We will pick the three strongest entries by the 1st of October, 2013 and then we'll be posting them on our website, where readers will be able to vote for their favourite!
Round Three: Voting closes on the 14th of October, 2013 and we'll ask the two entrants with the highest number of votes to send us in their third chapter.

The winner will then be announced on November 9th, 2013, at the Romance Festival Gala dinner!

Every single submission will be carefully considered, and so although there can only be one winner, this is a fantastic opportunity to get your work seen by an experienced editorial team – if you love romance fiction and have always wanted to write, this is your chance...

If you have any questions, feel free to email piatkus.entice@littlebrown.co.uk, and in the meantime I wish you all the very best of luck – and the happiest of endings!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Author Spotlight - Elaine Dodge

In today's spotlight we have debut romance author Elaine Dodge, talking about her historical novel Harcourt's Mountain.

1. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Zambia and grew up in Zimbabwe. I currently live in South Africa but have no idea where I’ll end up as I did my first round-the-world cruise when I was just 4 years old. I trained as a designer and worked in that field for a while before setting off on another globe trot. That one lasted two and a half years. I then set up my own design company with my brother – The Artful Dodges. A long stint in advertising followed before I segued into the TV industry where I’ve been for a while winning an odd international award. Looming retrenchment has now opened up a world of possible futures. Very exciting.

2. What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th? (Nora only!)
Harcourt’s Mountain is my first book. And I’ve loved every minute of it. I’m currently deep in writing book 2 – The Device Hunter – and that’s proving to be a different animal altogether. Wrestling it into submission is a challenge but one I am thoroughly enjoying.

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?
Popping out for a gingerbread latte is more my thing. Writing is my passion and I get very jealous of my time, so I limit my coffee expeditions to when I’ve written myself into an exhausted heap.

4. What is your top promo tip for other authors?
Use every available resource to get your name as an author and your book under everyone’s nose as possible. If you’re not out there, your book won’t sell as well as it could. As they say, you’ve got to be in it to win it.

5. How does writing fit into your day? Or does your day fit in around your writing?
If I’m at my full time job then I can only write when I get home at night but as I’m about to leave that job, thanks to downsizing, I will be able to write full time. When I’m not searching for another job that is. I can’t wait to have the whole day free to write. My life makes sense when I write. I get up early, exercise, eat properly, and go to bed, happy, at a reasonable hour. When that happens I write for anywhere between 5 to 10 hours a day.

6. Is there a book you haven't written yet that you're dying to? What genre?
I have a list of books I want to write and I find myself plotting the next one in my down time from the book currently under construction. Harcourt’s Mountain is an historical romance. Book 2,– The Device Hunter, the one I’m currently writing, is a steampunk novel and the third book is a family revenge/mistaken identity plot set in England just after WWII. I’m enjoying exploring different genres all the time.

7. Any craft books you recommend?
Your Creative Writing Masterclass by Jurgen Wolff.
The Breakout Novelist by Donald Maass
The Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker

8. In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?
Keeping up with all the social media aspects of promoting my book is a challenge. Especially when I’d rather be writing. I have to force myself to do it. Otherwise, being a published author still feels a little unreal. Like I’m eating at the grown-ups table!

9. What was the most fun part of writing this book?
Everything was fun. The initial plotting, the research, meeting new people who were so eager to give me information I needed and the actual writing. I loved it all. What wasn’t so fun was searching for a publisher. Thank goodness I found a lovely on - Tirgearr Publishing. The most fun part was discovering how much I enjoyed writing; that it was my passion, the feeling of this is what I’m meant to do.

10. Could you be friends with any of your heroines?
I think so. I like them when I write them.

Blurb:

Spring, 1867 – The western frontier of British Columbia hardly seems a likely place for romance. Filthy, terrified and confused, HOPE BOOKER is waiting to be sold off the ‘bride’ ship. LUKE HARCOURT happens upon the sale. It’s not love at first sight, but he feels compelled to save her from a life of slavery and prostitution. To allay her fears of being raped, Luke promises never to touch her. Being a man of his word, this is a pledge he quickly finds almost impossible to keep.

Battling their growing attraction to each other, they must learn to live together in the forests of the wild and almost unexplored mountains. They face white water, Indians, wolves, and dangerous men.

No longer able to deny their feelings, their ‘happy-ever-after’ is shattered when a corrupt land baron forces Luke’s hand. Enraged at the man’s actions, Luke rides into town—and disappears.

Alone and pregnant, Hope faces the prospect of the worst winter in ten years. The trauma of fighting off a hungry grizzly brings on labor, but the baby is stuck. Luke meanwhile wakes up on a ship bound for South America, captained by a revengeful sadist who plans to murder him. Will Luke survive and make it back to Hope in time?


Harcourt’s mountain is available from Tirgearr Publishing, Amazon, Amazon UK, Smashwords, Apple iTunes, Kobo, Nook, Sony, All Romance Books, and Omnilit.

Readers can connect with Elaine on her blog, or on Facebook.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Movie Review: Danny Boyle's TRANCE

I saw the preview for this movie a long time ago and remember thinking hmmm, Danny Boyle...it could be interesting, then promptly forgot about it. Then a few weeks ago I read that Danny Boyle had been dating Rosario Dawson and they'd broken up shortly after his movie came out. I thought, Danny Boyle + Rosario Dawson...hmmm...interesting...

Fast-forward to last night. I was bored and trawling through my movie selection when I came across Trance. I'd forgotten all of the above and was hugely sceptical about it because normally I know a lot about the movie I'm about to watch before I commit to watching it. But I decided to give it a go.

The first scene featured James McAvoy, an auctioneer. Immediately I felt better. When I saw Vincent Cassel, I breathed a little easier. The cast was looking promising.

Then the priceless painting and the gang with shot guns came out and I thought, oh no, not another movie about an art heist! To be honest the first 15 minutes were fairly predictable.

But then things got VERY interesting!!!

***Mini Spoiler Alert***

James's character "Simon" turned out to be involved in the heist (fairly predictable). He tried to feebly foil the robbery of the priceless painting to throw suspicion off himself and the robber retaliates (also fairly predictable). But the blow he got to his head during the tussle gives him amnesia and he forgets where he hid the painting (twist number 1).

A few cracked ribs and prised off fingernails later, his thug friends decide the best way to help him remember where he's stashed the 25 million dollar painting is to take him to a hypnotist (Rosario Dawson).


To summarise, it turns out Simon and his hypnotist were in a relationship before she hypnotised him into forgetting her because he'd gotten possessive. But now, she wanted the painting for herself. But in order to help him remember where he'd stashed it, she risked him remembering he was once her lover, thereby opening a huge can of worms. And let's not forget, the thugs were still being thugs in the background. And the more Simon remembered, the more dangerous and twisty things got. 

To be honest, there were so many twists and turns from that point that I began to get motion sickness. But it was hugely enjoyable, and I thoroughly recommend it, even if at times I found myself thinking...Danny Boyle + Rosario Dawson? Hmmm...


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Author Spotlight - AJ Nuest

Today we have US-based author AJ Nuest in the spotlight talking about her latest release, She's Got Dibs.

1. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
I’m a multi-published, award-winning author who lives in the middle of a cornfield in NW Indiana. My loving husband, two beautiful children and a bevy of spoiled pets have agreed to stay and, in exchange for three rations per day and laundry service, tolerate my lunacy. While I spend most days happily ensconced in crafting romance across a multitude of genres, an underground coup has been percolating. The dogs just informed me the cat is secretly vying for dictatorship.

2. What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th?(Nora only!)
She’s Got Dibs is actually the third story I ever wrote—probably one of the reasons why it took five long years to get it from conception to publication. :-)

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?
Here’s a secret, I hate shopping. I really do. I’ve always been a home body so my favorite days are those when I don’t have to go anywhere and can just stay at home, happily clicking away at the keyboard. Does this mean I never get writer’s block? Heck, no. During those days, I usually find something mind-numbing to occupy the time (like cleaning my much-neglected house) while, internally, I work through whatever troubling plot points may have me stumped.

4. What is your top promo tip for other authors?
If you’re a newer author hoping to build a following and gain some recognition, and your publisher allows you to do so, see if you can list your book free for a short period of time—say three to five days. I recently did this with She’s Got Dibs and the results were outstanding. Because of the momentum built by those free days, coupled with the reviews generated, sales on She’s Got Dibs surpassed my other current releases by a long-shot. I highly recommend listing your book for free if allowable.

5. How does writing fit into your day? Or does your day fit in around your writing?
Wel-l-l...it sorta depends. I have two kids, and my husband and I own a home-based business, so most days during the summer I’m running damage control. LOL Typically, I’ve got about six things vying for my attention so, as you can imagine, I have to be very careful with how I schedule my time. I usually handle what I can in the morning and then dedicate the afternoon to writing. Once the kids start school, however, my schedule is a little more open. I can concentrate easier and have large blocks of quiet time so my productivity is much better. However, if I’m writing for a deadline, all this goes straight out the window. Then everyone generally knows—Mom’s on a writing rampage so leave her alone.

6. Keeping fit: Do you have an exercise regime to counterbalance all those hours sitting at a computer?
Yep, I sure do—but not by choice. I can’t imagine anyone exercising by choice. LOL About six months ago, I started experiencing a strange arrhythmia in my heart. It steadily increased in frequency and severity until one day I finally relented and went to see a cardiologist. I had to wear this really obnoxious Holter Monitor for 24 hours, submit to a stress test, etc., etc. In the end, the diagnosis was PVC (pre-ventricular contractions) but, thankfully, mine are the type that are non-life threatening. My choices were to A) take medication to control them or B) add an exercise regimen to my daily routine. As much as I hate exercise, I hate taking pills even more. I always have every single side-affect listed on those darn labels (and yes, I’m fully aware this may be my own paranoia because I read the labels, but there you go). So now I ride my pedal bike an average of six miles per day, at least five days a week. Since I’ve been at it for a while now, it’s become a habit. And I have to admit, doing this has also helped my stress level, my migraine pattern...it’s bolstered my confidence and mood... So, I guess in retrospect, those PVCs were a blessing in disguise.

7. What was the most fun part of writing this book?
Writing the dialogue! I love writing dialogue, and the quips between the hero and heroine in She’s Got Dibs—they are just so much fun! You know those times when you’re having an intense “discussion” with someone, and then a day later you have this light bulb moment, slap your hand to your forehead and say, “THAT’s what I should have said!” LOL Well, being a writer, I have all the time in the world to formulate the perfect response. I get to walk around for a day or two or even a week, thinking of the ideal comeback. To me, that’s one of the best parts of the writing process...could be because I never have the perfect comeback in real life.

8. Could you be friends with any of your heroines?
Absolutely. In fact, on many levels I am my heroines. I generally write from a very deep emotional level. In order to do this, I have to really draw from my personal experiences in order to submerse myself in my characters. So, turns out, I end up being every character in the book.

9. Have you ever written a hero you'd be happy to run off with?
Um...all of them? LOL I honestly fall so deeply in love with my heroes while writing them. I really do. There isn’t one of them I wouldn’t be happy to ride off into the sunset with.

10. At what point in your career did you actually start to feel like you were a writer?
I’m still waiting for this day. LOL I’ve always told myself, the day I’ll feel like a true writer is the day I run across a complete stranger reading one of my books—like either in an airport or maybe checking the book out at the library. When I see that stranger with my book in their hands, that’s the day I’ll know I’m a writer.


BLURB

True love does not exist…or so event planner Tessa Adams learns the day she gets jilted—twenty-four hours prior to walking down the aisle. One-night stands are much easier, and with sexy philanthropists like David Brenner, how can she resist? Now if she could just get rid of him. Had she known the biggest event of her career would be working for David’s father, she would have cut and run. Instead, she’s unwittingly become a part of his parents' plan to destroy his life-long dreams. Will sacrificing her love protect him or be the ultimate betrayal?

Wealthy and gorgeous, David Brenner seemingly holds the world in the palm of his hand—his generous heart and infectious smile are just two in an endless stream of attractive qualities. But the one thing he wants, he can’t have—a repeat of the passionate night he spent in the arms of a skittish Tessa Adams. His family’s far-reaching power threatens to crush their dreams. To prove his love, he would risk everything…but will the return of her ex-fiancĂ© be their final undoing?


She’s Got Dibs won 1st Place in the Contemporary Category, Heartland Romance Authors, Show Me the Spark! Contest, 2010, and received a “highly recommended read” from USA Today’s Happy Ever After reviews!

You can connect with AJ via her website, on her blog, on Facebook, Twitter or check out the She's Got Dibs Pinterest page.

She's Got Dibs is available from Amazon and Amazon UK.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Your Secret Smile and the Montcraig Sweethearts

Your Secret Smile (Montcraig Sweethearts) is my new release and is set in the small (fictional) Scottish town of Montcraig.



Montcraig is the sort of town I'd like to live in. It's quiet and its residents are friendly - and if they're a bit nosey and inclined to gossip, then it's only because they care. The crime rate is practically zero and most people are just plain nice.

Montcraig is the sort of place that, when I finished writing the story, I was reluctant to leave behind. So, when Caroline suggested I might write a series based on the town, it set me thinking: There are plenty of characters to write about - Sean in the youngest of four brothers, for a start. And, while the other three all moved away years ago, there will be a very good reason for them all to revisit soon. Then there's Harriet - the head of the school where Sean and Grace work. And Pam and Jim who have spent most of their lives dwelling on past hurts - surely they deserve happiness?

And so, Montcraig Sweethearts evolved - and Your Secret Smile is now book 1 in the series.

This is the blurb:

Sean McIver's back - but not everyone's happy to see him.

When Sean McIver left town to go travelling, he took a piece of Grace Anderson’s heart with him. It’s taken years for her to get over him, but at last she’s happy on her own. Her time is filled with good friends and fulfilling work as a maths teacher. But when Sean returns it’s obvious he’s intent on causing havoc in her well ordered life.

Sean had only been gone five minutes when he realised he should never have left Grace. Over the years, she has never been far from his thoughts. When he’s offered a job at the school in his old hometown, he hopes this will be a chance to make up for past mistakes – particularly as Grace now works at the same school. All he needs to do is convince Grace that an art teacher with a head full of dreams can be compatible with a practical maths specialist.


This is a sweet romance and started life as a People's Friend Pocket novel. It will be published as a large print book in January 2014, as a Linford Romance, when it will be distributed to libraries. In the meantime, it's now been published in e form and is available for Kindle.

Find it on Amazon.co.uk here: Your Secret Smile (Montcraig Sweethearts)

And Amazon.com here: Your Secret Smile (Montcraig Sweethearts)

I plan that each installment will be a complete story in its own right - but will contribute to the whole that is the town. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Let me know what you think: do you think it could work?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Author Spotlight - Annie Seaton

We're delighted to have Annie Seaton here today in the author spotlight, and as usual, she's answering our questions. Take it away Annie!

Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
Hi Minxes. Thanks for having me visit! I live with my husband, and ‘Bob’ the dog and two white cats in a house next to the beach on the east coast of Australia. I sit in my writing chair, gaze at the ocean and write stories. Our two children are grown and married and I love spending time gardening, walking on the beach, and spoiling our two grandchildren. I have always been fascinated by all things romantic and have found my niche in life writing romance novels, ranging from contemporary to paranormal with a foray into steampunk! My debut full length novel, Holiday Affair, a contemporary romance set in the South Pacific was released as part of Entangled Publishing’s Indulgence line in March 2012 and has been a best seller on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The sequel Italian Affair was released in June 2013, and will be followed shortly after by Outback Affair. I have more books being released in 2013 with Entangled Publishing in the Bliss, Entangled Suspense and Covet imprints. This keeps me very busy and out of the garden and away from the beach!

What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th? (Nora only!)
Hmm. I’ve lost count. It has been a very busy two years...let me see. It is book number six with another three currently in edits with Entangled Publishing, and another two contracted as I type!

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?
As my poor, dear husband will confirm I am totally focused 24/7. He can attest to that fact at this very minute. We are on holidays in the outback, and I am sitting outside our camper trailer on my laptop while he cooks my dinner. You can see where I get my heroes from!

What is your top promo tip for other authors?
Promote every day. Answer every email. Spend time on the evil social networking sites. Get your name known. I was very good at doing that and so many people asked me how I established my brand, I have actually written and self published a ‘how to’ book on promoting yourself and establishing your brand!

How does writing fit into your day? Or does your day fit in around your writing?
My day is all writing. A quick whip around, dishes, bed making and washing at 8 a.m. and then head down till 4 p.m. Then a cup of tea with DH when he comes home from work, then dinner and off I go again until about 10 p.m...or later. Seven days a week until I get a ‘Nora’ back list up! I even do the grocery shopping on line. On a very rare day of self indulgent luxury I meet with some local writers for lunch. (Told you I was focused.) No need for shoe shopping when you write all day. I can walk the beach in bare feet when I need inspiration. Gosh, I sound boring, don’t I? But I love the freedom of being a full time writer after years of career work away from home.

Is there a book you haven't written yet that you're dying to? What genre?
I have a history degree and I adore anything historical! So I am dying to write a true historical. Recently I have linked up with some other authors and we are this close ...holds fingers close together...to hearing about a contract for a proposal we have put forward. All I can say at this stage is that I kick the series off in 1794 with a pirate!

Just for fun: a year from the end of the book, where would your couple go on holiday?
Tom and Brianna actually do go on a real holiday to Australia in the third book in the Affairs series which is Outback Affair and they take with them delightful, curly-headed twins called Allegra and Luca.

Do you write to music, or with the tv on in the background, or do you need complete silence?
I need absolute and complete silence. I am fortunate to be home alone all day and I do so enjoy the peace and quiet! Although I must admit when I was writing my most recent book, Hot Rock, I did listen to lots and lots of Peter Frampton very loud! (This book is a time slip novel set at Glastonbury at a rock festival and will be out next February.)

Writing snacks – what are your favourites?
Coffee, coffee, and coffee.

Do you have any tips, tricks or sacrificial rituals you do when you hit a story roadblock?
I collect my large dog, Bob, who loves long walks and doesn’t get anywhere near enough, and I take him to the beach for a long walk. The sound of the waves breaking on the sand, a fluffy cloud scudding across the sky on a windy day, a spectacular sunrise or sunset has formed the idea for many a scene or setting as well as helping me get past a place I may be stuck!

Thank you again for being our guest on the minxes today, Annie. I'm in awe of your productivity!

Now here's more about Annie's book, Italian Affair.
Free-spirited sex therapist Brianna Ballantine has four days to find a fiancĂ© so she can inherit her birth mother’s Italian villa. Commitment is not on the agenda. Writing her sex therapy book and signing legal papers are. And once all is said and done, she’ll return home to Scotland.
For finance guru Tomas Richards, relationships have been a bad investment—give him stocks and shares any day. When Tomas offers a marriage of convenience to help Brianna secure her inheritance, the sizzle between the sheets promises an affair to remember, despite family complications at every turn.
But Tom must convince Brianna to stay, and make this Italian affair a lifelong commitment.

Annie loves to hear from readers at: annieseaton26@gmail.com
Check out her website and her blog
You can find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AnnieSeatonAuthor and https://www.facebook.com/annieseaton26
and Twitter

Italian Affair is available at Amazon - .com and .co.uk :
Barnes and Noble:
Kobo:
iTunes: