Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Marilyn Lives!

Well, she lives in my novel Watching Willow Watts, which is out in paperback today! Whoop! If you're outside of the UK, you can order with free shipping and delivery from The Book Depository.

To celebrate, I'm giving away a free copy here -- if you'd like to be entered, just tell me your favourite word that begins with 'w'. No explanation needed! Just type it into the comment box.

And the winner of the giveaway on my Facebook page is Christine Stanley. Congrats, Christine!

And now, just to torture you more, here is the video as me as Marilyn. Look away now. LOOK AWAY!

Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Back Off, Mr Hero!

Monday! Wheeeee! We got a new espresso machine this weekend. Can you tell? Today, I'm over at Nas Dean's, talking about why I love strong heroines. And giving away books! Pop over if you get the chance.

Hope everyone had a great weekend. There's lots of exciting things happening this week. Wednesday is the paperback launch of Watching Willow Watts, and I'll be drawing the winner of the Facebook contest as well as holding a giveaway of a few other books and such.

This weekend, both Kim the Bookworm and the wonderful Deniz Bevan reviewed Build A Man. Many thanks to you both! And on Saturday, I was over at Victoria Lagnehag's, talking about plotting. Phew! How's that for some linkage?

A final one before I go: Wendy Ewurum has just opened Fabulosity Galore, an online bookstore. Head over and see what she's got!

Now I'm going to go have some more ESPRESSO! Tell me, what gets you going on an Monday morning?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Persistence and Crabbit Bats

It's Friday! It's sunny! It's warm! It's better than summer! (As sad as that may sound, if you knew what a normal British summer is like, then you'd know it's true.) Before I forget, DJ Kirkby's Kindle competition is drawing to a close soon, so head to her blog before it's too late.

It's been pretty quiet in blog-land, so I hope all my American friends are enjoying their Thanksgivings! In the spirit of warmth and fuzziness, today I want to share a post from a truly inspirational writer, Nicola Morgan.

Nicola blogs over at Help! I Need a Publisher, and if you haven't checked out her practical, no-nonsense, extremely helpful site, get over there and follow her now! She was one of the first writing blogs I happened upon when I first set out to write full-time, and I can't tell you how much her advice helped me through the years. I've had the pleasure of meeting her a few times, as well, and she's absolutely lovely (although she'd love you to believe she's the Crabbit Bat from Hell).

I could rave on for a bit, but Nicola's own words are much more powerful than mine ever could be. In advance of republication of her first novel, Mondays Are Red, Nicola has shared Part 1 of her writing journey -- a twenty-one year quest to be published. Yes, twenty-one years. Pop over and read it now.

Talk about persistence, huh?

How long would you persist? I have to say, I'm not sure I'd have the guts to go on for twenty-one years. Then again, maybe I would . . .

(I have a funny feeling I'm supposed to be posting something for someone today, but I have no idea what that is at the moment. If it's you, I'm very sorry!)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday Smorgasbord... and Carma (with a C!)

It's Wednesday, and it's a bit of smorgasbord here today. So much is happening that my head is practically spinning (cue visions of The Exorcist). I'm thrilled to be a stop on the Dark Carma blog tour, but first a few little things to get out of the way. *deep breath*

My dear friend (as gooey as that sounds, it's true) India Drummond has released a new novel, Azuri Fae! It's a fantastic read and I highly recommend it to one and all. Over on Chick Lit Reviews, there's a lovely review of Build A Man and a chance to win an ebook copy. And something must have been in the air yesterday (yay!), because I received two other nice reviews from Books 4 You and Dot Scribbles. Many thanks to all the wonderful book bloggers -- and YOU -- who are taking the time to read my latest novel!

And I want to wish my American friends a very happy Thanksgiving. I'm thankful to have met so many wonderful people through this blog! Right... now over to the real star of today.

  Exiled (Connected #1)
Today, I'm pleased to feature Exiled by RaShelle Workman. I have to admit, I've got serious cover envy. Isn't it gorgeous? I haven't read it yet, but it's on my ever-expanding TBR list!

The blurb:
Stubborn, sixteen-year-old Princess Venus of Kelari wants one thing, to become immortal, that is, until someone exiles her to Earth, kills her irrihunter and takes her family.Now she wants revenge. 

First she’s got to get home.  But before she can return to Kelari, the Gods have commanded her to help an arrogant boy named Michael find his soul mate. Only she doesn't know the first thing about love.
Rather quickly, her inexperience with human emotion is obscured by other matters—alien-controlled psychotic teens that are out to kill her, and a government group that is set on capturing and dissecting her.
Worst of all, Venus will suffer a painful death-by-poisoning, thanks to Earth’s atmosphere, if she remains on the planet longer than one week.Still, Venus is a Princess and she's got a plan. Surely, with her help, Michael will fall in love with a human. But time is running out and Michael is falling for the wrong girl—her.

Buy Exiled  at AmazonSmashwords, or Barnes and Noble Watch the trailer here.

RASHELLE WORKMAN lives with her husband, three children and three dogs. When she gets a quiet moment alone, she enjoys reading about faraway places. And, in case you were wondering, yes, she does believe there is other life out in the Universe. Check her out on all these sites: GoodreadsTwitterFacebookBlog.

See you Friday!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Abandoned Bears, Chocolate... and Monday

Somehow, it seems to be Monday. Don't ask me how that happened! Now, I'm back to reality as I start work on Construct A Couple, the sequel to Build A Man.

This weekend was all blue skies, honey-coloured sun (I think that image works), and perfect autumn temperatures. So, I thought I'd leave you with a few photos from my various outings around the city!

Yummy chocolate fountain on the South Bank.
The Christmas Market on the South Bank. 

A poor abandoned bear left in a tree in Hyde Park. Aw...
Hyde Park Christmas Market. Hard to feel festive when it's sunny and fifteen degrees!
The sun sets on Hyde Park's Serpentine Lake.
Look what came in the post! (yes, I know it's upside down but I'm too lazy to fix it).

So there you have it! My weekend in a nutshell. What did you get up to?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Shoes, Sausage, and Sore Head

Happy Friday! I'm feeling a bit delicate today after last night's festivities, so I'm going to point you in the direction of Madeleine Maddocks' blog, where there's an interview with me and a chance to win some books! I'm in awe of her lay-out skills, I must say.

And I leave you with a few photos from last night. Have a great weekend, everyone!

The wonderful venue: the library at The Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

Shoes, shoes, shoes!

What can I say, I'm pure class. 
Tell me, do you like cocktail sausages as much as I appear to here? Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Open Minds, Diamonds, and Fate

Happy Wednesday! First of all, thanks so much to everyone for all your kind words on Monday's post. It means a lot, and I'm thrilled to be able to share all this with such great blog buddies!

It's been a while since I've done a reading round-up, so below are some of my most recent reads.

The Lady's Fate (The Reluctant Grooms)The Lady's Fate by Anne Gallagher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don't read many historical romances, but this novel by author Anne Gallagher has convinced me to try more. The chemistry between Violet and Haverland is so strong it's almost palpable, and Gallagher uses this to give readers some unforgettable steamy kissing scenes!

With plenty of well developed characters (my favourites being Lady Olivia and young Jane) and lots of plot twists, 'The Lady's Fate' is an engaging, atmospheric read. I can't wait to read more from Gallagher.

View all my reviews Open Minds (Mindjack Trilogy, #1)Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I haven't read a lot of YA, but Susan Kaye Quinn's novel 'Open Minds' has certainly convinced me to delve into more. The whole concept of the book is fascinating: a society where people can read each other's mind with ease... and then, a subsection of 'mutants' who can control those minds. The plot is original and engaging, and the main character is believable and likeable, despite her hard shell. I can't wait for the second in the trilogy.

View all my reviews House of DiamondsHouse of Diamonds by Karen Jones Gowen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

House of Diamonds follows two sisters. One is on her way to achieving her dream of being a writer, despite the chaos in her busy household and her frequently absent husband. The other is struggling to keep it together whilst her newborn clings to life in the hospital. Author Karen Jones Gowen plunges readers into the daily details of each household, holding us at close range and never letting go. The intensity of emotion -- from frustration and fear to joy and faith -- is palpable throughout.

Tomorrow is a very exciting day for me, since I'm donning my silver dress, brushing my hair, and slipping into my party shoes for the Romantic Novelists' Association Winter Party! I'll see you on Friday, when hopefully my head won't be hurting. Until then, have a great week!

Monday, November 14, 2011

November, Four Years On

Happy Monday, everyone. It's misty and grey here... the perfect day for a little (indoor) reflection. Four years ago this month, I left behind my corporate life and made the jump to full-time writing. Okay, so it was really more of a desperate scramble  (if you've ever read my story about the errant BlackBerry, you'll know what I mean), but still!

Looking back, it was a definite leap of faith. I'd trained as a journalist, so I knew I had the mechanics of writing somewhat conquered. But could I write fiction, a completely different kettle of fish? I'd never written a full-length 'adult' novel. In fact, the last oeuvre I'd penned was at age thirteen. Eep!

Motivated by fear, I sat at my desk and started writing. Eighty thousand words and a few months later, and my first novel was complete. Cue copious rejections! And repeat for novel number two and three and four... and five.

Thankfully, along the way, I met a publisher who contracted me to write a London travel guide, 24 Hours London. Although this wasn't fiction -- and not my dream -- I was thrilled to finally tell people that YES! I had something published! My book was in the shops, I got the Mayor of London's endorsement, and things were finally moving.

And move they did! Since that first London book, I've published four other books: 24 Hours Paris, The Hating Game, Watching Willow Watts, and Build A Man. From a standing start four years ago, sometimes I can't believe what the past few years have brought -- and I couldn't be more thankful.

So has that leap of faith paid off? I think you know my answer!

(Many thanks to Sharon Mayhew for inspiring me to write this post.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

String Bridge Chart Rush!

Happy Friday, all! A big thanks to everyone for the lovely congrats on Wednesday's post, and an equally big thanks to everyone who has purchased a copy of Build A Man, ahead of its December launch. Yay!  Yesterday, I was over on writer Rebecca Emin's blog. Pop over and comment for a chance to win a copy of Build A Man.

But enough about me!

Today is THE day to help Jessica Bell's debut, STRING BRIDGE, hit the bestseller list on Amazon, and receive the all-original soundtrackMelody Hill: On the Other Sidewritten and performed by the author herself, for free!

All you have to do is purchase the book today (paperback, or eBook), November 11th, and then email the receipt to:


She will then email you a link to download the album at no extra cost!

To purchase the paperback:

To purchase the eBook:

To listen to samples of the soundtrack, visit iTunes.

If you are not familiar with String Bridge, check out the book trailer:

I've read Jess's book, and it's a very powerful novel. I started in the morning, and I couldn't put it down until I'd finished. 'String Bridge' follows the story of Melody, a frustrated wife and mother who somehow finds herself miles away from the person she used to be -- and from the person she wants to become. Author Jessica Bell paints a claustrophobic vision of life where domesticity becomes a ever-diminishing prison cell. With gripping prose and terse dialogue, 'String Bridge' is a powerful debut novel from a very talented writer.

More Rave Reviews for String Bridge:

Jessica Bell’s STRING BRIDGE strummed the fret of my veins, thrummed my blood into a mad rush, played me taut until the final page, yet with echoes still reverberating. A rhythmic debut with metrical tones of heavied dark, fleeting prisms of light, and finally, a burst of joy—just as with any good song, my hopeful heartbeat kept tempo with Bell’s narrative.~ Kathryn Magendie, author of Sweetie and Publishing Editor of Rose & Thorn Journal

“Poet and musician Jessica Bell's debut novel String Bridge is a rich exploration of desire, guilt, and the difficult balancing act of the modern woman. The writing is lyrical throughout, seamlessly integrating setting, character and plot in a musical structure that allows the reader to identify with Melody's growing insecurity as her world begins to unravel … String Bridge is a powerful debut from a promising writer, full of music, metaphor, and just a hint of magic.” ~ Magdalena Ball, author of Repulsion Thrust and Sleep Before Evening

Jessica Bell is a brilliant writer of great skill and depth. She doesn't pull back from the difficult scenes, from conflict, pain, intensity. She puts it all out there, no holds barred, no holding back. She knows how to craft a scene, how to develop character, how to create suspense. This is an absolutely brilliant debut novel. I look forward to reading her next novel, and next and next.” ~ Karen Jones Gowen, author of Farm Girl, Uncut Diamonds and House of Diamonds

Please TWEET and/or FACEBOOK this post using #StringBridge. Have a great weekend, everyone. 

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

From Euston, With Love

It's the middle of the week, and would you believe the clouds of doom (i.e., rain) have cleared and it's now actually sunny in London? It's a miracle!

I want to say a giant thank you to everyone who has bought and reviewed Watching Willow Watts, because today I found out Amazon has chosen my novel as a 2011 Top 100 Customer Pick in Kindle Books!  Whoop! And it's all down to customer reviews... so I really can't say thank enough for taking the time to support me.

And as a little treat, I leave you with this wonderfully romantic video (fast-forward to 2:00 for the romance!). Enjoy, happy Wednesday, and thank you, thank you!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Build A Man, Any Man...

Where oh where did the weekend go? Mine passed in a blur of editing, editing, and... yes, more editing. And disaster of disasters, we actually ran out of wine last night. Travesty!

Build A Man launches one month from today on Kindle and other e-book platforms. It's hard to believe it's coming so quickly. Review copies are going out today and tomorrow, but... actually, it's already live on Kindle at a reduced price of 98p/ 99 cents ahead of the launch, so if you want to grab a cheeky copy now, then go for it (; Yay! 

Pricing is a bit of a thorny issue on Kindle. Karen Jones Gowen has written an excellent series of posts on what her publishing company has discovered. One of the things I love about Kindle is the flexibility to change prices as much as you like, so I've decided to start off with a lower price to hopefully drive sales in the beginning. Then, once I'm in Amazon's system and have links to other books, I'll look at my pricing again. I think dropping the price for a limited period of time is also a good strategy to 'revive' a book.

Well, my eyes are glazed over from staring at my little laptop for hours this weekend, so I think I may trot down to High Street Kensington and indulge in a spot of shopping! Or, more likely, I'll snooze on my sofa...

Have a great day, everyone!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Gossip, Glitz and... Wine

It's Friday, oh yes it is! And wow, am I glad it's the end of the week. I've just come back from an autumnal run through Hyde Park in a bid to clear my head for yet more edits this afternoon, and every last bit of me feels exhausted. I'm not even sure I can patter over to the kitchen for chocolate, that's how bad it is.

But one more day of edits, and then Build a Man will pretty much be ready to send out to reviewers. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered -- I really appreciate it. If you'd like a copy for review, still plenty of time to let me know! And have I mentioned that over on my Facebook page, you can enter to win a paperback copy of Watching Willow Watts by naming one of Marilyn's husbands? To see the wall, just like the page if you haven't already, and scroll down to the second status. The paperback launches at the end of November, and I can't wait to hold my pretty pink book in my grabby little hands.

So... phew. Does anyone else feel like this autumn has been a bit of a whirlwind? Or for me, more like a tornado -- I've barely managed to retain my sanity (actually, that's still open for debate). In other news, Mr TR has finished filming, and has now joined me in the wonderful world of edits. If you like chopping, swearing and murdering words and/or scenes, our flat is the place to be!

What about you? What crazy thing have you been up to this autumn? And please don't say editing. Lord knows that ain't crazy. I want gossip! I want glitz! I want... wine.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

National Identity and Leg Hair

Happy Wednesday! Before I hand over to Michele Gorman to talk about leg hair (it keeps you warm, you know), a small announcement: my story 'Miracle at the Museum of Broken Hearts' is out now in Madness under the Mistletoe, which you can buy for $2.99 from Amazon and other ebook vendors now. Yay!

Right, now over to Michele. Michele is the author of Single in the City, a book I flew through and greatly enjoyed. It's recently launched in the US, and I highly recommend it for a fun and fresh read.

Take it away!

National identity is a bit like leg hair in wintertime. We’ve got no reason to notice it unless it’s about to go on display.

When I moved to London nearly 15 years ago, I had no choice but to show my legs, metaphorically speaking. Being a newly landed American here, everyone noticed.

This surprised me at first. After all, we speak the same language, watch British films and read British books. We follow the same fashion trends and like the same food. Don’t we?

Well, no. The differences were stark. They were immediate. And they tripped me up at every turn.

It wasn’t only my accent or word choice. I failed even at non-verbal tasks. Thanks to the British compulsion to walk on the left I risked knocking foreheads with everyone I tried passing in the street. We’d meet, shuffle right, look embarrassed (me) or angry (them), meet, shuffle right, repeat, till one of us hit the building or fell off the kerb. There was no doubt that I wasn’t a Londoner.

And when I did open my mouth, well, the simplest of conversations were fraught with misunderstanding. Not only did I speak in American at a decibel level that startled listeners, I often had entire conversations in which neither participant had any idea what the other was talking about. I once spent 20 minutes trying to understand why my friend suggested wearing a vest under a blouse, while she tried to understand why I’d wear it on top … Vest in American is a waistcoat in English. Vest in English is a string top/camisole in American. These nuances got me every time, sometimes with with humiliating consequences. Are you starting to see a theme here? Want to know my most humiliating moment? Oh all right then. Soon after I arrived I volunteered for a charity walk at work, which included goody bags full of useful stuff. I pulled out one item, announcing gleefully (and at full volume), "Wow, I really need a fanny pack!" That got the attention of the 100 or so traders in my office. British friends, you'll be sniggering already. American friends, "fanny" means, er, lady parts. I’d just broadcast my need for a good, ehem, packing. Incidentally, the traders’ responses needed no interpretation.

These were daily reminders that I was different to the inhabitants of the city I’d chosen to call home. Which caused me to think a lot about my identity. Was I an American living in the UK? Well yes, certainly at first. I identified with America. Britain was alien. But as years passed and I decided to make London my home for the future, I started to think of myself as British too. In 2006 I became a dual citizen, swearing oath to Queen and country yet still welling up at hearing The Star Spangled Banner.

Now I can (almost) speak both languages and walk without risk of concussion. I understand cricket as well as football, which is to say, not very well. I rail at the politicians in both countries and have introduced pumpkin pie to my baffled friends. I guess that makes me a Britamerican.

Michele Gorman’s debut novel, Single in the City, follows the misadventures of 26 year old American Hannah, who lands upon England’s gentle shores with no job, no friends and no idea how she’s supposed to build the life she’s dreaming of. Armed with little more than her enthusiasm, she charges headlong into London, baffling the locals in her pursuit of a new life, new love and sense of herself. You can buy the novel on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Michele is on Facebook and Twitter, too.

Thank you, Michele. That fanny pack thing makes me laugh every time! Have a great week, everyone. I've been slaving away on edits and I hope to stick my head above the parapet soon.