Thursday, February 27, 2014

Author Spotlight - Eve Devon

Into today's spotlight we welcome author Eve Devon. Eve hails from the UK and is published by both Entangled Publishing and Harper Impulse. She's here today to talk about her Harper Impulse novel, Her Best Laid Plans.

1. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
Hello Lovely Readers, I’m Eve and I love writing about sexy heroes, sassy heroines and happy ever afters!

2. What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th?(Nora only!)
LOL – on the ‘Nora-stat’. If only. I’m incredibly privileged to write romantic suspense for Entangled Publishing and contemporary romance for HarperImpulse. My debut romantic suspense The Waiting Game came out last year and this, Her Best Laid Plans, my second published book, is my debut contemporary romance with HarperImpulse and it releases today *happy dances*

3. What inspired this book?
I’ve always been fascinated by two particular approaches to life: the planned approach and the wing-it approach! Of course the best approach is probably a combination of the two, but then I started wondering…If you’re an extreme version of either planning or winging-it through life, what—or, who, is going to show you why changing things up might not be such a scary thing? It would take someone pretty special…

4. Who or what was the inspiration for your hero?
My hero Jared King is an ex bad-boy-turned-businessman. Ten years ago he deviated from the plans set out for him at birth and as a result life is now measured; planned. Two words: Tom Welling! I love that he looks so rock-solid…but with a delicious hint of rebelliousness.

5. Have you any burning ambitions to write a story in a different genre?
I’m so lucky that I get to write romantic suspense as well. Being from the UK I like to think I have a touch of the Agatha Christie about me (!) and growing up I was always re-writing my own TV police procedurals to ensure the protagonists got together EVERY time. But sitting in a drawer is a Superheroes manuscript I would love to take out and dust-off and re-write. I love all things superhero (as you can probably tell from my photo of Tom Welling as Clark Kent!)

6. Do you have a writing routine? Do you write every day, and is there a time of day that works best for you in terms of being productive?
I try to write a minimum 1000 words a day. Sometimes those 1000 words can be done in a couple of hours and then I do promo/admin work—sometimes those 1000 words take all day, and some of the evening! Now I’m writing to contract, I try to leave weekends free so that I get a little downtime and don’t burnout. For some reason I’m always most productive right before I have to start dinner!

7. Do you have any tips, tricks or sacrificial rituals you do when you hit a story roadblock?
I think I’ve learnt that sometimes you really have to push on through when you reach a road-block because sometimes you really haven’t reached a roadblock, what you’ve actually done is back-off of writing something difficult. If I keep writing but then end up getting myself into even more of a tangle, I tend to start walking around the house muttering darkly until Hubby finally tells me to “cut myself some slack and go do some craft”! He knows me so well! Craft—not tea, is the panacea of life. That break I give my brain usually lets me unravel where I’ve gone wrong in my plot and allows me to get back into it.

8. Where do you write?
I write in my garret – the technical term I use for the tiny room at the top of our stairs. I write with my back to the window to avoid distraction and when I can’t write because I need a distraction I plod downstairs to write at the dining-room table. There I have a wonderful view of all the jobs I haven’t got around to doing in the garden!

9. Do you connect with your readers at all, and if so which is your favourite platform for reaching them?
I love chatting with readers and I’m on Twitter, Facebook or my website most days, so please feel free to drop by for a chat 

Book Blurb: Her Best Laid Plan

Love is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans…

The Totally Perfect Life Plan of Amanda Gray:
Step 1 – Take control of own destiny and avoid getting too caught up in the details.
Step 2 – Definitely do NOT kiss gorgeous bad-boy businessman who doesn’t know how to live life without scheduling it six months in advance, even if he is absolutely irresistible.
Step 3 – Don’t even THINK of accompanying him to London as his PA to enjoy steamy encounters in a metropolitan paradise.
Step 4 – Absolutely, positively, whatever you do – do NOT fall in love with him…

Her Best Laid Plans is available from Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, iBookstore and Kobo.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Author Spotlight - Caroline Storer

Caroline Storer has long been an active supporter of this blog, so we are super delighted to have here in our Spotlight today with her debut Roman romance, The Roman.

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Firstly, thank you Minxes for having me here. I’ve been a fan of this Blog for years now, and it’s lovely to be here amongst so many of my cyber friends.

Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
Hi, my name is Caroline Storer, and I live on the beautiful (if slightly windy) island of Anglesey in North Wales. (Anglesey, you may recall was recently the home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – William and Kate. I did invite them over for tea, but unfortunately they were too busy!) I’m happily married to my own Alpha Hero, Colin, and have one step-son and grandson. By day I’m an Environmental Health Officer for the local Council. My work can be quite challenging to say the least, and no one day is the same. I find escaping into a good book (either reading or writing one) a great way of relaxing once I’ve finished work. I am a voracious reader of anything “romantic” and have been since I “borrowed” one of my gran's Mills and Boons when I was around 13!

What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th?(Nora only!)
“The Roman” is my debut book for HarperImpulse. (I’m still at the pinching myself stage BTW at the thought of being published!) When I recently got the cover for my book I nearly swooned in delight. He’s absolutely gorgeous and just what I imagined my hunky Roman would look like. I hope you agree.

What inspired this book?
My love of Roman history, which has been with me since childhood and the film’s The Gladiator and Ben Hur. I also loved the mini-series Spartacus. The late Andy Whitfied was born in Amlwch, about 10 miles
from where I live (((sigh))).

Who or what was the inspiration for your hero?
General Maximus Decimus Meridius – a.k.a Russell Crowe in The Gladiator. I’ve watched this film about 10 tens now and I’m still bowled over by his gorgeousness! He is the typical alpha male Roman hero IMHO.

Have you any burning ambitions to write a story in a different genre?
Yes! As well as writing Roman historicals, I’ve recently finished writing a “Viking romance”. I’m plotting a “Regency romance” at the moment and I’m toying with a romantic suspense. I’ve also got a futuristic romance on my hard-drive waiting to be written, along with several contemporary romances. Sometimes it’s a fight as to which one will get written next! So far the “Romans” have won.

In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?
Having a contract and deadlines tend to focus the mind somewhat. Also, having revisions from my editor was a steep learning curve. Thankfully, there weren’t a lot of them and my editor liked what I sent to her. But the one week turnaround in getting them back meant burning the midnight oil. Publicity is another big learning curve. Having to get yourself, and your book “out there” is something I hadn’t really thought about before I became published.

Do you have a writing routine? Do you write every day, and is there a time of day that works best for you in terms of being productive?
I’m always in awe of the productivity of some writers, and wish I could be as disciplined at they are. But I’m not. I do try to write every day except Wednesdays when I have other commitments. I find the weekends and evenings work best for me. Not having young children around means I’m not as constrained by the hustle and bustle of life as some writers are. I have learned by trial and error as to what works for me productivity wise. I did try the “get up at 5am to write” scenario before I went to work to try and increase the word-count but that was a disaster – Facebook and Candy Crush - but no writing! I’m definitely more productive the late afternoons and early evenings.

Are your family and real-life friends supportive? If so, in what ways? If not, do you have another support network for your writing?
On January the 1st 2007 my husband said he was “popping out for a bit”. Three hours later he returned with a laptop he bought for me in the January sales. As he handed me the box he said, “Now there’s no excuse for you not to write that book you’ve been going on about.” So yes, my husband has been hugely influential in supporting (and starting) my writing career. I’ve also been blessed by having huge support from my two best friends I met at university over (gasp) 30 years ago. They have been fabulous. And it goes without saying that other writers, (Minxy ladies you know who you are!), out there in blogland, and on Facebook, have been so helpful and supportive.

Where do you write?
I’ve actually got 3 writing places. One, sitting in my arm chair in the living room with the laptop on a small laptop table and with a footstool elevating my feet. The second, is a recliner chair that sits in the corner of our bedroom (with another footstool), and thirdly, the spare bedroom where I’ve got my own little office with desk and computer chair. But I seem more productive in the bedroom (that sound rude doesn’t it!) as I can type away quite happily for hours while hubby watches what he like on the TV in bed. The only thing I need to block out interruptions are my earplugs, then I can pretty much tap away to my heart’s content!

Thanks again for having me, Minxy’s! Caroline x

The Roman

Famous charioteer, Aulus Epidius Marsallas wants revenge against Justina Philipus - the only woman he’s ever loved, but who’d betrayed him by becoming his uncle’s mistress. Forced to meet Marsallas for the first time in six years, Justina is shocked at the changes she sees in him. Gone is the carefree youth she once loved, now replaced by a hard muscular stranger. But there is no denying the attraction that still flows between them, and when his uncle dies, Marsallas offers sculptress Justina a challenge – a bronze stature of himself, and his four horse chariot, to be displayed at the Circus Maximus. Justina knows that this commission is just what she needs to make a name for herself, and give her the freedom she covets, so she accepts Marsallas’s challenge. However, Justina is unprepared when Marsallas states one further condition – she must become his mistress. But Justina has a secret, she’s still a virgin, she just hasn’t told Marsallas yet…

The Roman is available from Amazon, Amazon UK and all other eBook retailers.

You can find Caroline on her blog, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cocktails, a Competition and a Secret Crush!

Setting a Valentine's treasure hunt in 'Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl' gave me the best excuse ever to carry out research in luxury hotels. Of course it was entirely necessary to taste the cocktail Sophie drinks in the book. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! 

If you want to try to recreate the cocktail (which I can guarantee is delicious) these are the ingredients: 

Fresh raspberries
Slices of ginger
Raspberry liqueur 
Then poured over ice with lemon
And add champagne :-)

To celebrate the publication of 'Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl' I'm running a special treasure hunt competition - the first person to Twitter DM, Facebook message or email me the answer will win both a love hearts bag and a Secret Crush bag. Three runner ups picked from the other correct answers will each win a Secret Crush bag.

To win simply solve the first clue from the treasure hunt:

'Bonjour chère Sophie, I'd love to meet,
Follow these clues for a special treat.
Clue one sings love songs, is a chairlift,
And a number you can eat.'

If you need help bear in mind this is Verbier related and also you might find some answers over at my 'Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl' storyboard on Pinterest:

To send your answer via a Facebook direct message visit my author
My Twitter ID is @Romanceminx
Or email lorrainewilson73[at]gmail[dot]com

The competition will close on 5th March, midnight GMT and is open internationally.

P.S. Please don't put your answer in the comments section or anywhere everyone else can see it!

Keep up to date with news of the Chalet Girl series:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Author Spotlight - Lori Connelly

Today's author in the spotlight is Harper Impulse author Lori Connelly, whose second western historical is now available.

1. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
I’m a new grandma who wishes the transporter from Star Trek were a reality so I could visit her everyday. As a tomboy, country girl I unfortunately live in a small town but I am out in the woods, walking, rock hounding, berry picking, as often as possible . At home, I’m writing, reading, and pointing the laser dot for the dog to chase.

2. What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th?(Nora only!)
The Lawman of Silver Creek is my second book, a novella in my Men of Fir Mountain series.

3. What inspired this book?
I like exploring what if’s to existing relationships. I’ve known couples who survived a trauma, most of them broke up sometime afterwards. A few of the pairs worked through the aftermath and developed a stronger bond. I wanted to show a glimpse into the lives of a couple who love each other but their individual responses to a traumatic event has put their relationship in jeopardy.

4. Who or what was the inspiration for your hero?
They say a picture is worth a thousand words so without further ado, this image of Hugh Jackson inspired Sheriff Matthew Marston.

5. Have you any burning ambitions to write a story in a different genre?
Many genres fascinate me, which may be obvious to anyone following the Written Fireside tales. Before I signed a three-book deal with Harper Impulse, I had a fantasy story/ series I was working on and would be excited to complete. I also would like a stab at straight fiction, a shifter story, customary romance and urban fantasy. I love storytelling.

6. In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?
When I signed my contract I thought I knew what would come next after all I’d watched every episode of Murder, She Wrote and now Castle. People worldwide would magically know they should buy and review my books. Reality is authors need to do a lot of promotion to go from an unknown, debut author to their name and work being widely recognized. I’m still learning about how to promote my books, working on gaining more exposure as an author. However, I feel awkward asking for reviews, to date rarely have, and have only done a handful of interviews. Often I feel as though I’m stumbling through a dark room, hoping to shuffle through without bruising my shins badly.

7. Where do you write?
Most often, I write in a comfortable chair in the living room, laptop on my lap, dreaming of someday having an office where sons and dogs aren’t able to run in and out at will however I write anywhere, anytime I can grab a moment. I usually take my laptop and/or Nexus with me wherever I go and I carry a notebook in my purse because I never know when inspiration might strike. I discovered the joy of Google Drive last year and absolutely love it because now I can access my works in progress wherever I am as long as there is Wi-Fi, which most recently was the dentist’s waiting room.

8. Do you have a writing routine? Do you write every day, and is there a time of day that works best for you in terms of being productive?
I’m not certain I have a typical writing day yet, finding a balance between writing, life, family, and other responsibilities is still a work in progress. Usually I write for an hour or so as soon as I crawl out of bed. My New Year’s resolution is to write at least 500 words before going online to check email and social media for fifteen minutes then return to writing for another 500 words. By the time that is achieved the dogs are looking at me with big, brown, sorrowful eyes certain that they are starving to death. I get up; feed them, the fish and myself. For the rest of the daylight hours I write if I can grab a moment. As the day winds down, I settle back in that comfortable, living room chair I mentioned before, and write until the need for sleep outweighs the need for just a few more words.

9. Do you connect with your readers at all, and if so which is your favourite platform for reaching them?
I get a rush whenever a reader contacts me and I don’t believe that will ever change. Being able to interact with reader is beyond words amazing. I’m most familiar with facebook so I’d have to say it’s my favorite but, although I’ve only joined Twitter last year, it has fast become my second go to platform.

The Lawman of Silver Creek, a novella in the Men of Fir Mountain series:

As sheriff of Silver Creek County, Matthew Marson’s job is to look after his town. But when he fails to protect the most important person in his life, Claire, from an attack, Matt feels as though he will never be able to forgive himself.

Her husband-to-be’s newly found overprotectiveness drives the headstrong Claire from his arms. She can’t see a future with a man who won’t allow her to follow her dreams.

In a small town where everybody knows your name and your business, it’s impossible for the pair to stay apart, especially as Claire finds that she can’t completely turn her back on the lawman that she loves.

The Lawman of Silver Creek is on sale at Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo and All Romance eBooks.

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

Monday, February 10, 2014

What I'm reading today

I've just finished reading 'How to be a Woman' (non-fiction) at the moment from UK journalist and author Caitlin Moran.

My thoughts?

It should be compulsory reading for every woman on the planet.

It's funny, searingly honest, and it makes you feel empowered and glad to be female.

It's a fresh, humorous take on feminism in the 21st century covering everything from puberty, to love, marriage, motherhood and beyond.

What I especially love is Caitlin's voice - she's searingly funny and then heart-wrenching in the next breath. I found myself nodding, laughing and having to read some bits a few times over because they were so profoundly right.

I truly love this book, and I hope you'll read it and love it too. It made me wish I had a daughter to give it to, and glad I have a sister and good friends to buy it for.

CLICK HERE to see 'How to be a Woman' on Amazon UK.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Author Spotlight - Erin Lawless

Today we welcome Harper Impulse author Erin Lawless into the spotlight to talk about her debut novel, The Best Thing I Never Had.

1. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
I’m your average twenty-something Brit (although I have been able to say “twenty-something for a long time now…). A Londoner heart and soul, but living in the middle of the countryside at the moment, I spend most of my time writing (when I’m not reading… or working at my day job… or wedding planning… or sleeping in).

2. What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th?(Nora only!)
Although I have a self-published anthology of short stories, I do consider The Best Thing I Never Had as my first “book” as it is the first novel.

3. What inspired this book?
I always wanted to write a love story set at university, because it was such an important time for me (and it’s where I met my future husband). My close friends are still those I met when I was a student, and all the time I am reminded of the hundred ways we change as people throughout our twenties, as well as the thousand ways we stay the same. University on a small campus – like the one I went to – is like living in a bubble. Everything is magnified, everything seems so much more than it actually is. It seemed like just the right pressure cooker to throw some love triangles into!

4. Who or what was the inspiration for your hero?
I’m a firm believer in letting the reader picture the characters (especially the hero!) as they wish to. Attractiveness is so subjective. I try to make my characters attractive through the way that they act, rather than constantly describing them and their oiled muscles (and let’s be honest, how many 20 year old students/25 year old insurance brokers are built like wrestlers anyway?). Having said that, I simply can’t help but picture (now real life!) couple Josh Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin as Adam and Harriet!

5. Have you any burning ambitions to write a story in a different genre?
Before I was picked up by Harper Impulse on a two-book deal, I was shin-deep in a historical novella, which I had to side-line, as it was not and could never be worked into a romance. I’d love to get back to grips with it, and one day get to do a series of epic paranormal/fantasy/history/romance books – totally over-egg the genre pudding!!

6. How long does it take you to complete a book?
It took me almost two years to finish The Best Thing I Never Had – six months mulling the story over in my head and eighteen months of actual writing, editing, writing, editing, writing. I was very slow and tentative and Book 2 is coming along much faster, but I do still like to turn things over and have a really good handle on who my characters are before I start writing. And I edit as I go, which slows the process down in the short-term.

7. Do you have any tips, tricks or sacrificial rituals you do when you hit a story roadblock?
I go back and re-read and edit what I’ve already written. Or I take myself off and write something completely different – usually a non-fiction historical blog post for my website – or I sit and just simply talk out the plot holes with my other half (not my target audience but tells things to me very straight) or my chief beta (a wonderful writer in her own right and so really helpful practically).

8. Where do you write?
I write anywhere I can. I have a Chromebook and use GoogleDrive for my files, so I can access my manuscript document and all my research material wherever I am (as long as that place has internet!). During the working day, if inspiration strikes, I tend to email myself long rambling ‘notes’ with scenes and images to revisit later. I’m sure if someone was to read all these little emails in my Inbox, they’d think I was mildly insane..!

9. Do you connect with your readers at all, and if so which is your favourite platform for reaching them?
I absolutely love connecting with readers and I think that it’s an important part of being a modern-day writer. Obviously Twitter is absolutely fantastic and I am semi-addicted to it! I’ve tweeted at so many authors in my time telling them that I loved their book, so when I get those sorts of tweets from others, it feels like a dream. Outside of Twitter I also love Goodreads. Although I tend to engage with it more as a reader than as a writer, I think it’s an invaluable resource for both.


If you’re a fan of Mhairi McFarlane’s You Had Me at Hello or David Nicholls’ One Day, then you will love our new acquisition from contemporary romance author Erin Lawless!

Miles and Nicky are getting married. Unfortunately, their wedding party is a tangle of ex-housemates, ex-friends and ex-lovers. So this wedding isn’t just a wedding, it’s a reunion. Can anything be salvaged from the past? And what really happened between them all, back at university?

Find out in this wonderful contemporary romance.

The Best Thing I Never Had is available from Amazon, Amazon UK and all other major online eBook retailers.

Erin also has a linked free novella called The Making of Us available here on Amazon, and here on Amazon UK.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Are our heroines growing up?

Recently I've read a few NA (New Adult) books and enjoyed them thoroughly. These are book featuring young heroes and heroines (usually in their early 20s) and targeted at readers roughly the same age.

However, when I first started reading romances, early to mid 20s was a pretty standard age for most romance novel heroines.  These days there seems to be an an increasing trend in contemporary romance (and especially in erotic romance) towards older heroines.

My own heroines tend to be in the 28-33 year age range, because I prefer slightly more worldly-wise characters (no simpering virgins here!)

It's made me wonder whether (a) it's only a trend in my reading rather than the world at large, (b) it's a new trend caused by the split between NA and contemporary romance, or (c) it's a growing trend because readers are growing up and looking for more mature heroines.

So it's poll time! Please share your thoughts in the comments, and take part in the poll in the right side bar to let us know (as readers rather than as writers) which age group you prefer your heroines to be.