Today we meet Heidi Rice – the Queen of the sex scene!

How did you feel about being nominated for the Rita award?

Absolutely ecstatic, it’s a huge honour. I’ve finalled once before, but that was for my second book, and I really had no clue how much it meant then. This time I do and am suitably humbled and over the moon… It also gave me an excellent excuse to buy a new posh frock and go to the RWA conference in NYC in July, which is never a bad thing IMHO. I’m also super proud of my Cosmo novellas so it’s nice to get a nod for one of them.

What’s your favourite part about writing romances?

Those rare moments when the words are flowing and my characters are talking to me and not being deliberately obtuse and annoying. Which isn’t all that often TBH. Writing that final line on my first draft is also nice. Even if I do have loads of editing and revising in my future. By the time I finish the story proper I’m so sick of it, it’s more a feeling of relief than achievement.

What’s your least favourite part?

When my characters aren’t talking to me or are being deliberately obtuse and annoying (which is often, I seem to create really bloody arsey characters for some unknown reason!)

I believe you are widening your horizons to writing longer books – can you tell us if you found it easier or harder than your Mills and Boon books?

My first women’s fiction book is out next Feb – it is being published by M&B actually – but was it harder to write than my series books? YES!!! That’s for a number of reasons though. Without the strictures of series guidelines I was able to broadened my horizons in terms of story structure, cast of characters, etc. And of course like a glutton let lose at an all-you-can-eat buffet I totally stuffed myself and ended up with a bloated, exceptionally complex story with way too many conflicts and characters to handle and sort out. Refining that back down to a manageable amount and turning it into a compelling story with believable characters before I puked was where the difficulty came in. I also had to resist the temptation to give the heroine an accidentally pregnancy in the epilogue for no good reason – the fact that my hero had had a vasectomy in his twenties helped!

Do you ever worry about writing those ‘sexed up’ scenes and do you ever think you will run out of ideas?

Worry? No, I love writing sex scenes, but I view them as mostly action scenes – if I am finding one boring to write it’s usually a sign that something is wrong (and I’m not talking erectile dysfunction here!). The important thing to remember is that a sex scene like any scene should be changing the dynamic between your characters in some appreciable way, or it’s not going to be engaging for the reader or engaging to write. Once you have that conflict going on, then you just go with the flow – what ever your characters want really. And, um, do I ever run out of ideas for the sex scenes??? *blushes* um no, not if the conflict is there, my characters are usually pretty good at coming up with ideas as they’re usually extremely into each other.

How many books do you write a year?

I was aiming for 3 series books a year. With ST books I hope to do at least one of those a year, plus another shorter book. Which is why I took time out to do a series-length book for Tule publishing this year, before launching into my second ST book.

Do you always write for the same HMB line?

I’ve written for several (even if they are all variations on a theme): Modern Heat, Modern Extra and then RIVA, then Modern Tempted!! Now Modern Tempted (aka Harlequin KISS) is no more I am no longer under contract to write series books. I do hope to do more of them as I love writing them, but I haven’t come up with a viable idea for Modern yet. Which is probably what I’d target if I did. That said, I have been busy with other stuff… So watch this space.

Do you stick to the romance tropes in your plotting (hope I’ve spelt that right) and do you have a favourite of her own?

I’ve done tons of accidental pregnancies, because I just love the instant, insanely intense conflict that comes with it. But I don’t think in tropes. My ideas usually start with either an opening scene or hook which I then have to figure out a character and plot for. Or one or other of the main characters, which I then have to figure out a plot and a hero/heroine for… The tropes tend to come naturally when you ask the question: Now what’s the worse possible thing that could happen to these two to bring them together? Or completely screw them up?

Do you ever want to write something other than romance or will your longer length books always have romance in them?

Heidi looking cool!

Heidi looking cool!

No! I love romance, and my longer books will always essentially be romances. The one that’s out next Feb is basically about a London celebrity chef (think Nigella Lawson meets Jack Monroe) with an 18 year old daughter who is forced to go on an extreme ‘couples retreat’ in Tennessee with the father of her daughter (an award winning journalist) who she has refused to speak to ever since he walked out on her 16 years ago…. It’s actually a two-tiered story with the main romance being a reunion one between those two – as they work through a cargo-hold full of baggage while in Tennessee – and then a subtler, sweeter story of the teenage daughter and the gorgeous au pair who has been hired to look after her little brother while mum’s away. So basically – it’s two romances for the price of one! [Here endeth the completely shameless plug!!]
Heidi has a book coming out at the end of June with Tule Publishing as part of a quartet called Fairy Tales of New York – with Kelly Hunter, Lucy King and Amy Andrews. It’s about a runaway supermodel, a hard-working legal aid attorney and the very hot Labor Day Weekend they spend together on a house-barge in Brooklyn.

You can check it out on Pinterest here:

Thanks for that Heidi- really interesting and good luck with the Rita awards.

A Walk Across the Sun by Corban Addison

There’s nothing new about the genre of socially conscious fiction, Charles Dickens wrote many in Victorian England, bringing to the attention of the reading public the plight of the lower classes.

He was criticised for selling people’s stories because he earned money from it, even though the works were simply a product of his imagination. It is now widely recognised that the true to life scenes and images Dickens books conjured up helped people understand the issues more fully and resulted in changes in society that made it more compassionate to the poor.

A well-researched novel is an excellent way to get a taste of a subject in a way that a text book can never duplicate. The vivid detail a good author creates helps the reader understand emotionally an issue in a way a textbook can never duplicate.

One such story is this. True crime meets fiction in this here. Two teenage sisters lose everything they know and love when a tsunami kills their parents. Friends and relatives are no more and everything they had is simply washed away. They travel to a convent, where they know people will care for them, but sadly they are kidnapped and sold into the slave trade.

On the other side of the world a lawyer struggles with the death of his child and the break-up of his marriage. At first there seems no way the characters can come together yet they do, and it sets in motion a train of events that takes some months to unravel. The ending is a tense and pacey as any thriller yet it ends happily. The journey is emotional, it takes the reader from the terror of captivity to the relief of freedom.

I loved this book because of its emotional detail. Others did the same, judging by their reviews on Amazon and totally recommend it for a really engrossing read. I couldn’t put it down.

Buy a copy here 

A welcome escape with Kerry Fisher

IMG_2046Today we are joined for a Q&A session by good friend of the blog, Kerry Fisher, who tells us why, this summer, we might hear her screaming from over ten thousand miles away…

What’s the best bit of feedback you’ve had about The School Gate Survival Guide?

I have been so lucky to have lots of lovely reviews but I think one of my favourites was from a Yorkshire postman: ‘Just finished The School Gate Survival Guide on my new Kindle, first book I’ve read in 10 years, bloody great read, thanks.’ I loved the idea of a little red van trolleying around the Yorkshire Dales with a Kindle and a copy of my novel on the dashboard.

How important was it for you to sign with one of the big publishers and what are the biggest differences to being self-published?

That’s an interesting question. I am so privileged to have self-published because what I learnt about marketing, promoting, networking during the process has been invaluable now I’m traditionally published – I have the confidence to suggest ideas and discuss decisions that I don’t think I would otherwise have had. However, I always felt that what I could achieve sitting at my kitchen table on my own would be more limited than the opportunities offered by a big publisher – foreign rights, audiobooks and of course, even paperbacks.

TescoHow did it feel the first time you saw The School Gate Survival Guide in your local supermarket?

I made a total fool of myself in Tesco by asking someone to take a photo of me with my novel. I blushed so hideously that the poor woman had to back away from the heat. Plus she managed to capture me at such an angle that I looked as though I had a couple of watermelons stuffed up my T-shirt. Not quite the glamorous composed author on publication day photo I had in mind. I don’t think the fact that my book was out there, available to buy, really sank in until readers started tweeting pictures from supermarkets all over the UK.

Your second novel is called The Island Escape. What do you do to escape from the pressures of writing and everyday life?

A couple of times a year, I leave my whole family behind and disappear off with my best friend from university. We walk, talk until the early hours and eat fab food – we both love cooking. Just for those few days we’re twenty again – but without the Silk Cut and lager black. On a day-to-day basis, I walk on the South Downs with my dog, a Lab/Giant Schnauzer cross. It never fails to relax me – unless she steals someone’s picnic.

Your new book was promoted as The Divorce Domino in our anthology. How did the name change come about?

Because the book is coming out on 21 May, I think the publishers felt that having divorce in the title was a bit gloomy for a summer read.

Can you tell us a bit about the plot for The Island Escape? tie 2

The idea behind it was ‘Can one woman’s marriage survive her best friend’s divorce?’

When Roberta finally divorces her bullyboy husband, her best friend and former wild child, Octavia, takes stock of her own life. She wonders how the carefree person she was at twenty ended up married to a man who cares more about opening milk bottles in date order than having fun. She begins obsessing over the ‘one that got away’ – until she ends up going back to Corsica, the place where it all began. But will he still be there and if he is, what then?

What’s your favourite holiday destination, island or otherwise, and why?

I love Australia. Pre-children, I was a travel journalist and spent six weeks writing a guidebook out there. There’s so much that’s different and exciting. This year we’re taking the children (13 and 15) – it’s the first time I’ve felt I could bear a 24-hour flight with them, though being together 24/7 for several weeks should pose its own challenges. I’ve booked to do the bridge climb over Sydney Harbour with my son, so you’ll probably be able to hear me screaming back in the UK.

Do you think it’s true that you should ‘write what you know’ and, if so, to what extent have your experiences influenced your writing?

I think there are some people who do an amazing job of writing about things they don’t have firsthand knowledge of – I’m always absolutely in awe of writers of historical novels. I always find so many inaccuracies when I’m editing despite the fact that my books are contemporary. I prefer to write about things I know, but that’s probably because I’m fascinated by ordinary people and their experiences. I always use settings I’m familiar with – I’m lucky enough to have lived all over Europe in my twenties, so I haven’t run out of locations yet!

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m in the process of editing book three, which is about how modest secrets become more toxic as they pass down the generations, intertwined with modern parenting dilemmas.

Do you ever think about writing in a different genre, if so, what would you choose?

I’d love to be able to write a psychological thriller but that would need careful plotting in advance. It probably wouldn’t suit the way I write – I tend to know the beginning and the end, but not too much in between. I would like to write a sit-com about modern families for TV, though I don’t think my teenage children would ever forgive me.

WP_20141002_11_49_02_ProWhat’s the hardest type of scene for you to write?

I find sex scenes absolutely mortifying, because I’m quite prudish and hate the idea that people I know feel that they have a window into a very private world (they don’t!). There’s a little bit of real – rather than hinted at – sex in The Island Escape. I wanted to staple those pages together when my dad was reading it. I’ve forced myself to take author Raffaella Barker’s excellent advice, which was ‘I’d never write another word if I ever thought about what people think about any aspect of my writing.’

Do you ever get writer’s block and, if so, how do you deal with it?

I don’t get writer’s block really because I treat writing very much as a job. I turn up at Starbucks every day and write 1000 words in three hours. If I worked in an office, I wouldn’t be allowed to sit there and wait to feel in the mood for work, so I just get on with it – though of course, some days it’s easier than others. Having said that, I do get plot block…I’m currently thinking about what to write for book four and feel as though I’m trying to catch ideas in a butterfly net before they flit off.

If you could have three writing-related wishes, what would they be? Waterstones

Probably the same as all writers, I suppose – to have my book made into a film and to make The Sunday Times bestseller list. In the meantime, a smaller and more achievable wish would be to stop stuttering when I utter the words, ‘I’m an author’.

What piece of writing advice do wish you’d known when you started out?

Where to start? I was so naïve about how tough it would be to get published. I thought writing the book would be the hardest part, so I probably needed someone to tell me: ‘You’ll have to believe in yourself for an awful long time before anyone else does.’ I don’t think I’d fully understood that rejection is an inevitable part of the process. However, the important thing is to allow yourself one day to rant (privately) then channel your energy into creating as many opportunities as possible to get your work in front of the decision makers.

Thanks so much for joining us on the blog Kerry and good luck with the release of The Island Escape – our Kindles are primed and ready!

Find out more about Kerry and her fantastic novels at the links below:

on Facebook 

on Twitter @KerryFSwayne

and Amazon

Out of Control by Alys West

I’ve got a confession to make.  I’ve been trying to deny this for a while but I can’t anymore.  I have to admit that I’ve lost control of the characters in my second novel, Lughnasa. Orkney Aug 2010 009

Now some might say that’s a great thing.  Those would be the pantsers who like to go with the flow in their writing.  But I’m a plotter.  I write suspense. I need to know what’s going to happen so I can put the clues in the right places.  And not knowing what’s coming is starting to freak me out a bit.

It started with Winston.  After having a minor role in my first book, Beltane, he’s taken centre stage as the hero in Lughnasa and he’s grown and grown.  He’s a rather gorgeous archaeologist who just happens to be also a druid.  But now he’s got flaws that I never saw coming. He’s late for everything, he’s got a really arrogant streak and an unexpected fondness for Glenfiddich. And he never does what I expect.  I sit down to write a scene thinking ‘Okay, this and this have to happen’ and then Winston turns up and something else entirely actually unfolds.

Orkney Aug 2010 029

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I have a few control freak tendencies.  I like to be organised, I like to plan ahead.  So Winston’s unpredictability is quite hard for me to handle.  And now it’s spreading to the other characters and no one’s doing what I expect.

I realise to non-writers this probably sounds like a borderline personality disorder but I’m pretty sure that other writers will have experienced something like it.  So what did you do?  Did you give them their heads? Or did you force them back in line with your plan?

I realised how far we’d gone astray when I re-read the synopsis that I’d first mapped out about eight or nine months ago.  There’s a small possibility that we may hit the same ending but the middle looks nothing like what I’d planned.  And I don’t know what to do.  Should I tear up the synopsis and see what happens?  Or should I try to persuade them back on track? All advice will be gratefully received before I start tearing my hair out.Orkney Aug 2010 057

If you’d like to leave a comment (and I’m really hoping you will as I need all the help I can get!) you can do that by clicking where it says ‘leave comments’ in teeny, tiny type below.

Alys xx

P.S. Lughnasa is set in Orkney which is why I’ve included a few photos of the islands.

When one becomes three: Merryn Allingham on writing a trilogy

pic MaureenI was lucky enough to read an early draft of Merryn Allingham’s first ‘Daisy’ book, destined to become The Girl from Cobb Street, and so I was intrigued when I discovered that a sequel was in progress.  But it didn’t end there.  I’d always imagined that writing a series or trilogy was something that was meticulously planned right from the start, and in fact several of the Write Romantics have happily set off down that route themselves.  But in the words of the song, it ain’t necessarily so.  I’ll leave Merryn to explain how it worked for her:-

Authors are often encouraged to write sequels, or trilogies or a series featuring the same character. It’s claimed that in this way they’re more likely to attract and keep a bevy of loyal fans. To be honest, I’ve never been keen on the idea. I thought I’d grow bored with writing about the same character or the same place long before I ever finished the project. But when I came to the end of The Girl from Cobb Street, I realised that I couldn’t leave my heroine where she was. There was so much more of Daisy’s story to tell. Without realising it, I’d begun to write a trilogy.

It was something I’d never attempted before but it couldn’t be that difficult, could it? It was just three novels with the same female protagonist. Well, yes and no. Daisy Driscoll is my heroine in all three novels, but she’s not the same person at the end of book 3 as she was at the beginning of book 1. I had to make sure that her character developed in response to her experiences over the timespan of the novels, a period of ten years. And not just Daisy. It held true for every character who had a significant role. And those same characters would need to appear/reappear more than once, so that readers weren’t left wondering whatever happened to so and so? In other words, I had to finish their stories as well as Daisy’s.Cobb Street

Then there was the need for consistency. Not just details like the characters’ ages at certain periods (a timeline over three books is bound to be more complex) or their physical characteristics or their biographies – but making sure that there were no contradictions from book to book in their basic attitudes and values and how they expressed those attitudes and values. Or if there were contradictions, I needed to account for them.

I was well into the second book, which became The Nurse’s War, when it dawned on me that I needed to plot much more carefully. Not only did I need a beginning that would kick the whole trilogy off, rather than just the first book, but even worse, I had to know the ending of the last novel in order to offer clues along the way that would make the final dénouement plausible for the reader. Needless to say, there was some hasty rewriting at this stage!

I also had to reinforce the main themes of the trilogy – in this case, the growth of self-belief, the search for identity, the recognition of true love. I could see that I’d need to make them far more powerful than I’d first thought. Overarching themes, along with characters, hold the series together and act as a kind of umbrella, under which each individual title can shelter and connect.

NursesWar_FinalFinally, I had to deal with the problem of back story. How much or how little to retell with each book. Too much and the reader who has been following the series, becomes bored and may even feel cheated by any repetition. Too little and a reader who is new to the trilogy feels confused and annoyed with the writer for making their life difficult. It was a hard balance to achieve but I hope I got it more or less right.

Would I write another trilogy? Perhaps not, but a series that combined the same female protagonist with different mysteries or crimes in different settings – now that might be interesting!

The second book in the trilogy, The Nurse’s War, will be published on 21st May.

Find out more about Merryn here:


If you’d like to keep in touch with Merryn, receive all her latest news and join a regular writing forum, you’d be most welcome to sign up for her newsletter.  (Just visit her website, as above).


The Wednesday Wondering – When do you write?

The Write Romantics are a good mix of ages and backgrounds. We have retired members, self-employed members, those who work part-time, those who work full-time and those who aren’t of retirement age but are able to write full-time. I’ve previously asked where the group write but, this month, I was curious as to when they write. Is it the case that the more time you have to write, the less you actually get done?

Helen R says…

deskmeI’m lucky that I can write during the day when the kids are at school. As soon as I’ve dropped them off it’s straight to my desk and I find that the quiet really helps. I’ve found that getting myself into a routine of doing this really helps me to be more productive. I start with social media and allow myself between 30 and 45 minutes, but then I’ll stay away from it for a while so that I can write or edit. If I left Twitter and Facebook on all the time, I’d never get anything done. It’s a lot of fun but so easy to spend too long on there.

I’ll also work a few evenings a week depending on what deadlines I have but I’ll shut myself in the study and put music on so that I can’t hear anything else in the house. The music helps me to zone out. I tend to take time off at the weekends so I won’t work Friday or Saturday evenings as the weekend is family time. I’ll go onto social media quickly though, because it’s easy to do when you’re out and about or the kids are otherwise entertained 🙂

I also try to fit in exercise during the week when the kids are at school, so two mornings a week I’ll do Pilates and one cardio class…most likely Zumba although I’ve been playing a bit of badminton recently. I need to do the exercise or I find I get too sore sitting at a desk all day.

I think the most annoying part of my daily writing routine is that the good ideas always happen, and the best writing always flows, at three o’clock when I have to get out the house and pick the kids up from school!

Deirdre says…

When I first retired from the day job, I had a strict routine. I was going to treat writing like a new job, and I made sure I was dressed, breakfasted and at the computer by 9 am. That was then… Things have deteriorated somewhat since. It’s the freedom that comes with ‘retirement’ I suppose, although now I’m getting published I no longer consider myself retired. But still I have the wonderful freedom of that ideal state, the downside of which is that I procrastinate like mad because there’s always ‘later’. Unfortunately, ‘later’ doesn’t always come and I can get to the end of the day, having perhaps been out for coffee with a friend, seen to this and that in the house or garden, watched Bargain Hunt (only over lunch, you understand!) and somehow the rest of the day has drifted by and I haven’t been near the writing.  Although I will have checked Facebook, Twitter and caught up with emails. Funny that.

When I’m really into a writing project, though, I do knuckle down. That certainly happens when I’m in the last quarter of a book, can see the end in sight and want to get it done. The beginning has me putting in the hours too. It’s the middle where I’m most likely to be faffing about and putting it off. I suspect that’s true for lots of writers.

When am I most creative? Probably if I had to pick a time of day it would be early morning, but only once my OH has left for work at 8am. I want to be alone – who said that?

If I do manage to sit down at the computer that early, I may not be dressed. No, I definitely won’t be dressed, because the words are flowing and I don’t want to stop. So I can still be tapping away at ten o’clock in my pyjamas, without having had breakfast, and hoping to goodness the front door bell doesn’t ring!

Alys says…

IMG_0472Over the past year or so I’ve discovered that I write best first thing in the morning. As I’ve never thought of myself as a morning person this has taken a bit of getting used to. On weekdays I tend to get up at about 7, make myself a mug of green tea (usually in my ‘writing’ mug) and write for an hour or so in my pyjamas. I’m lucky enough to be self-employed and can work fairly flexible hours so if I’m really into what I’m writing and keep going for a bit longer then it doesn’t usually matter. At the weekends I generally get up later and sometimes even have breakfast before I start. There does seem to be something about the pyjamas though and whole Saturday mornings can pass with me typing away until I realise I really do have to go and get dressed. Editing is very different though. But maybe that’s just because I never feel inspired to bounce out of bed and get on with it!”

Jo says…

I can write anywhere, whilst the TV is on and the rest of the family are getting on with life around me. I did wrote some of Among A Thousand Stars sitting around a pool in Spain, but my favourite place to write is sitting by the wood-burning stove in my front room. Maybe that’s why so many of my stories end up with a key Christmas or winter themed scene in there somewhere. I mostly snatch time to write whenever I can but, when I’m on a deadline, I have been known to write up to 10k in single sitting. Editing, on the other hand, takes much more discipline on my part, as I’d rather do almost anything (including cleaning the bathrooms) than get on with that!

Rachael says…

One of the things life on a busy dairy farm had taught me is that I cannot be precious about when I write, that I need to take every opportunity to write I can. Over the years, that has been anytime from whilst travelling to while waiting for children to participate in sports practice.

Now I make myself a schedule to work to in order to meet my deadlines. When I’m working on a first draft, getting the story from my head onto the page, I like to write first thing in the morning. Whilst the morning milking is being done I’m at my desk doing my daily word count. That way, the madness of life on a farm doesn’t usually interfere with my writing too much. Later in the day I will come back to my desk, and do anything from blog posts to revisions.

_MG_2804-EditAs for me, evenings are my writing time and have been for many years. I was fortunate enough to secure a flexible working pattern last November whereby I work a full-time week, but across four longer days. On a Tuesday-Thursday, I finish at 6.30pm and, on a Friday, I finish at 6.00pm. My usual evening routine is catching up on Facebook while my eight-year-old daughter is in the bath. Ideally I’d use her bath-time and subsequent reading time as writing time, but I find she constantly disturbs me and I start to feel very agitated and impatient so it’s just not worth trying. As soon as she goes to bed at 8.00pm, I write for two-three hours depending on how tired I am. This doesn’t always mean ‘proper’ writing (by which I mean on a novel or novella). It can often be blog posts or catching up on emails.

In theory, my flex day (Monday) is all about writing and it’s amazing how much I can get done in that one day. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a ‘normal’ flex day for quite some time. I’ve had errands to run, or deadlines to meet, or it’s been school holidays so the munchkin has been home. I’m preparing this post on Monday and I’ve had to go into town today to buy her a new Brownie uniform as hers is too small, I’ve been promoting my debut novel coming out for paperback pre-order today, and I’ve had a phone call about a very part-time job I do as an internal verifier for a distance learning programme. After the school run, I’m off to the local library to talk about doing a tour of the local libraries to talk about my book. I’ve had small chunks of time between all of these activities, but not enough to really get back into writing book 3, which always seems like a missed opportunity on a flex day.

Over to you. When do you write? We’d love to hear from you xx


How to Catch a (Rock) Star…

Today we’re delighted to welcome the lovely Gabrielle Aquilina to the blog, to tell us all about her fabulous debut.  Over to you Gabrielle…

Gabby cover 2First of all, I’d really like to thank the Write Romantics for having me – it’s a real pleasure and I’m thrilled to be publisher buddies with two of them!

So, I have my first book, ‘How To Catch A (Rock) Star’ coming out in a few days which is incredibly exciting but also really, really scary. Pretty much everyone I know has said they are going to buy a copy and read it and that is, quite frankly, terrifying. Great but terrifying.

I’ve been really busy writing guest posts for various blogs as well as getting together a short story for my website but, for this guest post, I want to tell you how ‘How To Catch A (Rock) Star’ came to be.

As with most authors, I’ve pretty much always written – picture stories when I was a kid, awful poetry when I was a teenager, mostly journals, diaries and letters (I know – old school!) when I was in my twenties and, finally, a novel when I hit my thirties.

Actually, ‘How To Catch A (Rock) Star’ started out life as a completely different story to the one it ended up being. Originally, it was going to be a story about a group of friends and the dynamics of those all important female relationships. I wanted to explore what happens when one friend amongst a group of close friends becomes envious of another friend and how that impacts on the entire group.

But once I wrote Jed in, he wouldn’t leave the story and it became a novel of love, lust, mistrust and betrayal set against a backdrop of rock music! And, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good love story? Especially one that involves super hot rock stars, relatable heroines and some good old drama and tension…

The drama in ‘How To Catch A (Rock) Star’ comes from people keeping secrets and the fallout that happens when that secret explodes. I’ve experienced this myself in a relationship although it wasn’t quite as dramatic as either of the secrets Married Matt or Jed are keeping, thank God!

I hope a lot of readers will be able to relate to Lillie’s reaction and her subsequent downwards spiral. I’ve tried to make her a realistic heroine, one who makes mistakes and has flaws but, ultimately, is strong and picks herself up in the end.

I’m sure she’s frustrating at times, but isn’t everyone? Even my most favourite people annoy me sometimes and I try to write characters who are as real as possible because I prefer to read books where the protagonists are less than perfect. I find that makes for a more compelling and interesting story than perfection!

I enjoyed writing the characters from ‘How To Catch A (Rock) Star’ so much (and quite honestly, they just will not leaveGabby 2 me alone!), that I’m currently writing a follow-on novel, which will star Johnny, Jed’s best friend, and I plan on writing a third which will be all about Lillie’s best friend, Kate. So, if you read and like ‘How To Catch A (Rock) Star’, then keep an eye out for the next two books!

If you do read ‘How To Catch A (Rock) Star’, then first of all, thank you very much, I hope you enjoyed it! And secondly, if you have the time, please leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon…

Thanks for having me on your wonderful blog, Write Romantics! x

Book Group: Let’s call the whole thing off by Jill Steeples.

I thought I would get into the swing of summer reading by reviewing an easy, but fun book by Jill Steeples. I enjoyed this book taking it as a lighthearted read with a serious topic. Anna paid the price for reading her best friend’s diary and the ensuing chaos of her life. She interacts with various people she meets on the way to deciding her future and inevitably there are a couple of handsome men thrown in to muddy the waters. Will she forgive her boyfriend for his misdemeanours or will she move on to fresh pastures and start all over again? Great summer beach read.

I would like to now hand over to Lynne who will be reviewing: A Walk across the Sun by Corban Addison.

Jackie x

Let's Call The Whole Thing Off

Book launch: Remarkable Things by Deirdre Palmer

Well, here I am, about to become a published author at last! I still have those moments when I think it’s been one mammoth mistake, or I’ve dreamed the whole thing.  But yes, it does actually seem to be happening, and you could say it’s a lifetime’s ambition fulfilled.  Ever since I learned to read, I’ve wanted to write my own books, and don’t ask me to say how many years have flown by in between – you’ll have to work that one out for yourself…

RT cover 86I’ve talked enough about the book at other times, in other places, so I thought I’d tell you a few random things about Gus and Millie, my main characters, things you won’t necessarily find in the story but are nevertheless ‘true’; I know that because I’ve spent so much time with them.

Millie’s first boyfriend, at sixteen, was a quietly-spoken, blond boy called Jerry, who earned her mother’s willing approval by bringing her home by 9 pm every Saturday night. It turned out he was an inmate of the local hostelry for young offenders, and was under curfew. Millie loves colour, and indulges her passion for needlework and tapestry by filling her home with cushions, curtains and covers in all the colours of the rainbow, and beyond. She’ll take more delight in a bit of vintage china from a charity shop than in anything new. She enjoys a weepy, romantic film, especially on nights in front of the telly with her friend Charmaine, but she really prefers a good laugh and owns the whole set of Carry On films on DVD. Marshmallows and popcorn are her favourite treats, along with a nice glass of wine, of course.

Gus doesn’t remember his exact first girlfriend, as there were a number of likely candidates among the fifth form of the nearby girls’ school. If pressed he would probably say it was a pretty but rather prim and proper girl called Margaret who always inspected his teeth before she let him kiss her.  Gus is more likely to give stuff away to a charity shop than buy anything from one.  He doesn’t set much store by possessions; when he breaks his last mug, he will buy another, not before. His favourite fictional character is Ian Rankin’s Rebus. He also has a secret penchant for Shaun the Sheep which he reckons is the best hangover cure ever, along with a nice fatty bacon sandwich and a mug of builder’s tea.

Do Gus and Millie get together by the end of the book?  Well, you’ll have to read it to find out, and if you do, thank you for that.  But it’s not all about the romance.  It’s also about family, identity, and forgiveness.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Deirdre x

Remarkable Things will be published on 5th May by Crooked Cat Publishing.

You can order your copy here.