Monday, July 30, 2012

Let the Games Begin

Happy Monday, everyone. It's sunny in London, and the city is still on a high after the totally bonkers but completely amazing Opening Ceremony for the Olympics on Friday. Although I heard NBC butchered it for those of you Stateside, I hope it was still enjoyable.

Today, I'm part of another great opening ceremony. Author JC Martin releases her novel, Oracle, today. To celebrate, she's holding a month-long Oracle Olympics Blog Tour, with tons of games and prizes, including a possible grand prize of an iPad3 (for more details, visit J.C.'s blog). And it all kicks off with today's Opening Ceremony! Read on to find out how you could win a signed paperback copy of Oracle right off the bat! 

To win a signed copy of the book, visit all the blogs in the Parade of Nations in order (for a complete list of blogs, visit Olympics HQ here).  Each blog will have a secret letter. Collect them all to decipher the secret message. Then go back to J.C.'s blog and enter your answer in the Rafflecopter for your chance to win. The contest will remain open till midnight EST on Friday 3rd August, with the winner announced on J.C.'s blog!

 So here is my secret letter: S. Click on over for the next letter. Good luck!

In keeping with my letter, I'm on author Nicky Well's blog today, talking about strong women. And author Jessica Bell has re-released her debut novel, String Bridge. Yay for S!

With London gearing up to host the Olympics, the city doesn't need a serial killer stalking the streets, but they've got one anyway. Leaving a trail of brutal and bizarre murders, the police force is no closer to finding the latest psychopath than Detective Inspector Kurt Lancer is in finding a solution for his daughter's disability. Thrust into the pressure cooker of a high profile case, the struggling single parent is wound tight as he tries to balance care of his own family with the safety of a growing population of potential victims. One of whom could be his own daughter. Fingers point in every direction as the public relations nightmare grows, and Lancer's only answer comes in the form of a single oak leaf left at each crime scene. Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble

In keeping with the lazy summer, I'll see you on Wednesday - maybe! But definitely on Friday. Have a great week!

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Little Kryptonite

Happy Friday, and happy start of the Olympics! Today, I'm thrilled to have Amy Saia here talking about her new novel. But first, a picture of the Olympic Torch passing through my 'hood yesterday.

And now, over to Amy!

When people think about young adult paranormal romance, they typically don’t associate it with Superman. But somehow, in this twisted brain of mine, I was able to connect the famous superhero with a beautiful ghost guy who hangs out in a small-town library everyday. Guess it’s part of that mantra: write what you love. 

I really do love Superman. I mean, really, really love Superman. Kal-L, Clark Kent, the man of steel. Buns of steel? Ahem. We can only make the assumption. I love his little forelock, greasy though it may be. His sparkling eyes, his thick jaw with demure cleft in the chin. He’s just hot, okay, and if Lois Lane ever gets on his nerves too much I wouldn’t have any problem letting him 3-D my clutch. 

To be honest, I think I subconsciously picked Superman as a sort of role model for my book’s main love interest, William Bennett, because I needed someone that was too good to be true. A figure noble and past young Emma Shay’s reach. I guess William being a ghost wasn’t enough of a challenge, I had to make him a totally unattainable hot ghost. But if you’re going to risk your life on the dead, it might as well be worth it. Obviously, Emma loves him for more than his looks. He’s mysterious, well-read, kind, protective, funny . . . blah, blah, blah. 

The other thing was that, to me, Superman epitomizes the 1970’s. As you may know, I have a complete and unmedicated obsession with the decade. I won’t tell you how extremely old I am, but I will say that before Christopher Reeve the world was still recovering from Vietnam and Watergate. Not to mention Polyester. When he showed up the world became cool again. He flew in with one arm raised and a smirk on his face that said, “There’s nothing to fear. I’m hot and awesome and I can make the world go ‘round.” And he totally did. I remember my mother actually sighing in the darkened theater when he flew Lois Lane around Metropolis. That’s power. Mom never sighed at anything. But, what was up with that stupid inner dialogue Lois Lane was having with herself? Totally corny. 

Of course, Star Wars was big at that time too. But try fitting the entire Galactic Empire in the back of a tiny library. And Yoda as a love interest? Not so much. 

Nope, it had to be Superman. And if I get any monetary compensation with the new movie coming out, that’s totally fine with me. Mostly I just want people to read my book. It’s called The Soul Seekers and will be out August 7. I thank you for reading this, and thank you so much to the amazing Talli Roland! Until next time, up up and away!

Amy Saia lives in Kansas where she keeps busy as a writer, artist and musician. She has two very imaginative children, a cat named Grape, and a long-haired dachshund named Henry. You can find her online at: and on Facebook:

Thank you, Amy. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Here Comes the Sun... and the Olympics!

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a good week? Here in London, the city is awash with confused tourists, traffic snarls, and copious doses of Olympic fever.

But none of that matters. Because . . .

It's finally summer! Yes, my friends, after months and months (and more months) of rain and grey skies better suited to winter, the sun has made an appearance just in time for the start of the Olympics. It was lovely yesterday, too, and we took advantage of it by strolling through nearby Kensington Gardens with lunch at the Serpentine Lido, then a quick jaunt through Yoko Ono's exhibit at the Serpentine Pavilion.

Kensington Palace in the Sunday sun.

A sculpture across a branch of the Serpentine Lake. The reeds are the highest I've ever seen them, thanks to all the rain!

Yoko Ono's wish tree, where members of the public write their wishes on paper and attach them to the tree.

And in other news, today I'm over at Kim the Bookworm's blog with fellow authors Emma Burstall, Alice Peterson, and Janey Fraser. Pop over to say hi if you get the chance!

I will be making the most of this week's good weather, but I'll be back on Friday with a post from the lovely Amy Saia. See you then!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Recovery Mode

Happy Monday, everyone! Hope you all had a lovely weekend, filled with sun and plenty of Pimms. I spent the weekend at the RNA Conference in beautiful Penrith, Cumbria, where -- believe it or not -- we only had a sprinkle of rain!

As always, the conference passed in a blur of smiling faces, wonderful chats, and lots of useful workshops. I'm happy to report my talk on online marketing went off without a hitch, despite my nerves at the beginning and the lack of promised heckling from the Irish contingent. About ninety attendees turned up bright and early on Saturday morning for it, and I was happy to see so many friendly faces.

Me (looking very happy!) on the first day of the conference, with Sue Fortin and Catherine Miller.
Photo: Liz Fenwick.
Passing out hand-outs right before my talk.
Photo: Liz Fenwick.
I am now in full-on recovery mode and gearing up to speak on a panel about digital publishing at The Ivy Club tomorrow evening. The rest of the week will be writing, writing, writing! Now, off to nap...

Have a great week, everyone. I'll see you next Monday!

Monday, July 09, 2012

Longing for Lobster... and Sun

Happy Monday, everyone!

Well, the Great Hope (aka Andy Murray) may not have won Wimbledon, but hey, at least he provided a very good reason to pig out on strawberries and cream along with pear cider (non-alcoholic, sigh) on a Sunday afternoon. *pats belly contentedly*

And in total non-sequitur, I'm at Mel Chesley's today, talking about my books and such... and Mel has a lovely review of Build A Man.   I'm also at Carol Hedges' blog, discussing my reasons for self-publishing. Carol is a wonderful, sparky writer starting out on the self-publishing journey herself, so pop by if you get the chance!

I'll only be posting on Mondays for the next two weeks, due to a hectic schedule. This Friday, I take off to the wilds of Penrith for the Romantic Novelists' Association annual conference! Where's Penrith, you ask? I haven't a clue. (Ah, okay, I've just looked it up, and it's on the edge of the Lake District.)

Sounds idyllic, but for the fact it's only supposed to be around 15 C and rainy the whole time. The autumnal weather is, as you can imagine, prompting a wardrobe/ shoe crisis the likes of which has never before been seen. My previous plan had been to spend the weekend in lovely floaty maxi dresses with comfy yet stylish flat sandals. The dresses had the dual function of not only looking passable, but also hiding my bulging pot-belly which looks more like I've ingested too many pastries  rather than a 14-week pregnancy. Now, I'll be squishing myself into trousers paired with random tops that make me resemble the Michelin Madam.

Where's that lobster outfit when you need it?

Have a lovely week, and spare a thought for those battling the elements while you bask in glorious rays of sunshine, wearing the lovely floaty summer dresses I long for!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Ghostly Hanky-Panky

Happy Friday, everyone! Today I am pleased to welcome fellow romantic novelist Linda Gillard to the blog, writing about some of the, er, issues with ghostly sex. 

Take it away, Linda!

When I set out to write THE GLASS GUARDIAN, a supernatural love story with a ghost hero, I didn’t realise how hard it would be. I don’t plan my novels much and tend to let the characters dictate the story (which in this case gave a new meaning to the phrase “ghost-written”.) 

The problem was spectre sex. Vampires are (apparently) solid flesh and blood and very fit. Ghosts? Well, ghosts aren’t. So how could I give an insubstantial ghost lover an erotic power and a physical presence without cheating? Could something traditionally thought of as cold, ever be hot?... 

I hit upon the idea of water. Water can be sensuous and sexy; cold, but invigorating. Maybe my ghost’s element could be water… 

“He grabbed my hand, pressed the palm to his cold face and closed his eyes. His flesh yielded, but my hand didn’t penetrate his form. There was an uncanny resistance. Had he felt more solid, I suppose I might have thought of a corpse, but Hector was no more corporeal than a waterfall, or a river in spate. I could sense that energy, that force in him.” 

Well, it worked for me in a weird sort of way… 

“I took his chill, long-fingered hand and slid it inside my dress so that his palm lay on the curve of my breast. The sensation was one of cold, silky water trickling over my body, then he pulled me toward him and pressed his mouth on mine. For a second I panicked. Inundated by the cool liquidity of Hector’s form, I felt as if I was drowning, until I realised I didn’t need to hold my breath or prevent him from entering my mouth. I was quite safe...” 

Water in its various forms actually became a theme in the book. A snow-bound Isle of Skye provides the wintry setting. The dramatic climax takes place in a glacial world where ice can be a killer. And of course my watery ghost melts Ruth’s frozen heart. 
If you like your love scenes aquatic rather than athletic, he might melt yours too.

Love, loss and loneliness… Ruth Travers knows all about them. She’s lost a lover, both parents and her job. Now she thinks she might be losing her mind. For Ruth’s falling in love again – with a man who died almost a hundred years ago...  THE GLASS GUARDIAN (£1,90/$2.99) Amazon UK;

Thank you, Linda! And for anyone who hasn't yet read my novel Build A Man, there's  a chance to win it over on I Heart... Chick Lit. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

My Favourite American Things

Happy Fourth of July to all Americans everywhere!

In honour of the holiday, I've decided to post my favourite American things. Okay, so I'm not a citizen of the States, but I did live in Texas for three months, so that must count for something, right?

So, in no particular order, here we go!

1. New York City. The energy of this place is amazing. It's like being on uppers 24/7. Love it.

2. Target. Okay, need I say more?

3. Dry zones. Really makes you appreciate the wet zones! (Dry zone = area where you can't buy alcohol.)

4. New Orleans. Oh my, what a crazeeee place. Definitely has a vibe all its own. I love the back alleys of the French quarter.

5. Friendly people. Canadians are friendly, too, but Americans have the hospitality thing down pat.

6. Sonic. I LOVE Sonic milkshakes and burgers! Oh so good.

What are your favourite American things?

Monday, July 02, 2012

Grunt It Out

Happy Monday, everyone! Thank you all for the lovely wishes on my last post.

Well, it's July! Can you believe it? I certainly can't. But Wimbledon's here, strawberries and cream are gracing the grocery aisles, and the weather -- well, let's not talk about that. To top it all off, I've started writing my next novel, The Pollyanna Plan. It's always difficult knowing where to start, but I've found the best thing to do (after the preliminary planning) is to plunge right in. I'm very much of the mindset that I can fix it later, and I just need to get through the first draft.

Which brings me to the grunting! (Can you tell I'm watching Wimbledon as I type this?) Although everything always starts off perfectly clear and harmonious within my novel-writing brain, as the pages progress, I often find myself complicating matters. New characters crop up, plot twists occur . . . and I wouldn't have it any other way. I love the surprises that happen when I'm creating, even though it leads to a lot of grunt work later. And now I can't even console myself with wine!

So, ladies and gentlemen, for the next few months, I'm looking for a new self-soothing method to get me through. If I can't drink wine... what on earth is a novelist to do? Grunt like a tennis player?


News! My wonderful friend Mel Sherratt has a new book out! It's a brilliant read -- take a look if you get the chance.