Thursday, February 28, 2013

When in Rome

Happy Thursday, all! Thank you for your lovely comments on Monday's post. You'll be happy to hear I'm feeling much better, blood pressure aside, and I'm off for a lovely stroll through Hyde Park in a bit!

Today, I am pleased to welcome fellow RNA member Alison Morton to the blog to talk about her new novel, Inceptio.

Over to Alison!

Thank you very much for welcoming me to your blog, Talli.

Tomorrow is the official publication date of my debut novel, INCEPTIO. Hooray! Three years of slog – researching, writing, and polishing – have led to this exciting moment. It’s a thriller, so it’s doubly exciting. Now, I’d like to tell you about it! But too much telling’s frowned on by Those Who Know, so let me show you…

An eleven year old fascinated by the mosaics in Ampurias (huge Roman site in Spain), I asked my father, “What would it be like if Roman women were in charge, instead of the men?” Maybe it was the fierce sun boiling my brain that day, maybe it was just a precocious kid asking a smartarse question. But clever man and senior ‘Roman nut’, my father replied, “What do you think it would be like?” Real life intervened (school, uni, career, military, marriage, motherhood, business ownership), but the idea bubbled away in my mind and INCEPTIO slowly took shape.

Of course, I made the classic mistake of submitting too soon, but had some encouraging replies. Several rewrites later and I’d made some full submissions, even to a US agent! I had replies like ‘If it was a straight thriller, I’d take it on’ and ‘Your writing is excellent, but it wouldn’t fit our list.’  I was (am!) passionate about my stories so I decided to self publish with bought-in publishing services. Using high quality professional backing (editing, advice, registrations, typesetting, design, book jacket, proofing, etc.), I think it’s a fantastic way for new writers to enter the market.

You describe your novel as an “alternate history thriller” – how is that different from a normal thriller? 
Alternate history is based on the idea of “what if”? What if King Harold had won the Battle of Hastings in 1066? Or if Julius Caesar had taken notice of the warning that assassins wanted to murder him on the Ides of March? Sometimes, it could be little things such as in the film Sliding Doors, when the train door shuts and Gwyneth Paltrow’s character splits into two; one rides away on the train, the other is left standing on the platform.

The rest of the story or history of a country, from that point on develops differently from the one we know. In my book, Roma Nova battled its way from a small colony in the late fourth century somewhere north of Italy into a high tech, financial mini-state which kept and developed Roman Republican values, but with a twist. It’s really fun working this out! The thriller story then takes place against this background. The nearest comparison would be J D Robb’s Eve Dallas Death series.

Stories with Romans are usually about famous emperors, epic battles, depravity, intrigue, wicked empresses and a lot of sandals, tunics and swords. But imagine the Roman theme projected sixteen hundred years further forward into the 21st century. How different would that world be?

So what’s INCEPTIO about?
New York – present day, alternate reality. Karen Brown, angry and frightened after surviving a kidnap attempt, has a harsh choice – being eliminated by government enforcer Jeffery Renschman or fleeing to the mysterious Roma Nova, her dead mother’s homeland in Europe. Founded sixteen centuries ago by Roman exiles and ruled by women, Roma Nova gives Karen safety, a ready-made family and a new career. But a shocking discovery about her new lover, the fascinating but arrogant special forces officer Conrad Tellus who rescued her in America, isolates her.

Renschman reaches into her new home and nearly kills her. Recovering, she is desperate to find out why he is hunting her so viciously. Unable to rely on anybody else, she undergoes intensive training, develops fighting skills and becomes an undercover cop. But crazy with bitterness at his past failures, Renschman sets a trap for her, knowing she has no choice but to spring it...

And next? I’m working on PERFIDITAS, the second book in the Roma Nova series.

You can find INCEPTIO on Amazon UK  and Amazon US.  

You can read more about Alison, Romans, alternate history and writing on her blog:, on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @alison_morton.

 Thanks, Alison. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lurgy, Builders, and Lobster Baby

Well! It's been an eventful week, what with Mr TR and I being struck down with the lurgy from hell, trips to the GP, more trips to the GP, and today's journey to the hospital to investigate my apparently high blood pressure (white coat syndrome! white coat syndrome!). There's nothing quite like being poked, prodded, and stuck with wires early on a Monday morning. I can say -- definitively  -- I am now very alert!

And lucky us, this week we have builders painting our back wall, complete with clanging scaffolding and blaring radios. As we live in a five-storey Victorian terrace, any maintenance job seems to take forever, requiring a United Nations team of workers! What I can't get my head around is how these very manly men can bear to listen to Taylor Swift-esque music all day long.

This week, I'll be working on writing a short story for an upcoming anthology. I'm looking forward to crafting a story again, even if it's not my usual full-length novel. And, of course, I'll be doing some Lobster-Baby-Wrangling with my now two-month-old!

What are you up to this week? Entertain me!

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Walk in the Park

Hello, all! Hope everyone had a great weekend.

Lately I don't seem to be doing much writing (wonder why?), but I have been doing a lot of walking! It's a great way to get out of the flat, and Lobster Baby seems to fade away, leaving a lovely sleeping cherub.

I'm very lucky that I live smack dab between two iconic London parks, Holland Park and Kensington Gardens. While I usually head to the Gardens, today I decided to opt for the less-touristic Holland Park. It's much more manicured than Kensington Gardens, and also features a mini-woodland.

The fountain.

Manicured garden in the sun.

Statue of some dude (aren't these captions informative?).

One of the many peacocks... and a London police officer (on the left).

The Kyoto Garden.

A heron basks in the sun.

Gorgeous, eh? By the way, thank you all for sharing your worst date stories last week! I share in your pain. :)

Have a great week, everyone!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Your Worst-Ever Date!

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a great weekend. It was a rainy and yucky one here in London. Ugh!

Starting today, a group of chick lit writers - including me -  are banding together for Valentine's Week to share our own romantic (or not!) experiences. Head over to Michele Gorman's blog to read about our worst-ever dates.  I have to admit, answering some of the questions to come brought up some memories I'd prefer to forget! Pop by Michele's blog each day for a new question.

And now, since I hear Lobster Baby's increasingly lobsterish cries, I must be off! Have a lovely week!

What was your worst-ever date? Care to share?

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Love Thyself

It's Thursday! I don't usually post on Thursdays, but this year I've decided to make my new blogging schedule Mondays and Thursdays instead of Fridays. Hopefully, that will give me more time to get around to everyone in between. On that note, a huge thanks to everyone who continues to visit here despite me not returning the favour. I miss you all and hope to be able to start making the rounds soon. Baby TR, visits from Mama and Papa, and life in general has kept me hopping!

And now for today's guest... I turn you over to Eliza Green. 

I’m so used to blogging about writing topics that when Talli asked me to write a light-hearted post, I was secretly pleased. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and keeping the focus on love, I thought it might be fun to look at what we love about ourselves. Besides a new author, the one thing I enjoy being is a woman and I’ve compiled my personal top ten list. Some things are more obvious, others not so much, but these are my favourite reasons why.

1: We can get away with being in a bad mood once a month and longer if nobody is keeping tabs on our outbursts!

2: We can use our feminine charms to our advantage, whether it’s flashing a quick smile to the person holding the door open for you or to the barman so he will serve you first.

3: We are far better at spotting a bargain in a store, although not so good at reining in the spending!

4: We are encouraged to be more adventurous with our fashion choices and we have plenty to choose from. Men’s choices are simpler, but they can get stuck in a rut. They aren’t always inclined to make the same effort that women do.

5: We get extreme satisfaction from eating chocolate. I’ve tried to educate my partner about savouring each square but he just doesn’t get it. I definitely think it’s a woman thing!

6: When it comes to books, our tastes are more varied than men’s. We will read much more from Crime, Fantasy, Chic Lit, and Erotica ...  many genres.

7: We’re extremely capable of multitasking, something I enjoy teasing my male colleagues about.

8: We have bigger hills to climb because we are female and I think that makes us stronger.

9: We don’t complain when we are sick. We just get on with things. A man sneezes and it’s the end of the world, as he knows it.

10: Having a good old cry can reduce stress. Women seem to understand that better than men.

Do you agree? Is there something you would add to this list, or subtract?

Eliza Green has just released her debut science fiction novel, BECOMING HUMAN and has one Kindle copy of her book to give away. Just leave a comment to be in with a chance to win.

 See you all on Monday! 

Monday, February 04, 2013

Out and About

Happy Monday, everyone! It's a gloriously sunny day in London, and can you believe the daffodils are actually starting to make an appearance? Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

I had a great week with Mama and Papa TR in London -- the highlight was introducing them to their new grandson. Thankfully, Lobster Baby stayed (mostly) hidden away and Baby TR was quite well behaved. We even took the pram for a spin in Kensington Gardens.

In front of Kensington Palace.

Baby TR and the Albert Memorial. 
All the walks in the fresh air whipped up our appetite, so we had to sample 'American' pancakes at Jamie Oliver's new restaurant at Notting Hill Gate, Recipease. Yum! (And if you're wondering what American pancakes are, they're light and fluffy as opposed to the flat, more crepe-like ones that are popular here.)

And apart from walking, eating, and visiting... well, there hasn't been much apart from that, actually!

What have you been up to? Skydiving? Streaking? Snoozing? 

Friday, February 01, 2013

Guest Post: Colby Marshall

Happy Friday!

Hope everyone had a great week. I'll be back on Monday with my usual post, but for now, I'm handing the blog over to Colby Marshall. Take it away, Colby!

The Top Ten Ways Preparing to Give Birth to a Book Isn't That Different from Preparing to Give Birth to a Baby

Giving birth to a book is an interesting thing.  As fate would have it, it was during the time I was in talks with my publisher to sell Chain of Command that I found out I was pregnant.  This sounds like just another "fun fact," but as I sold Chain and began to work with my editor to revise it and prepare it for publication, I realized how similar the two processes really are.  Thus, I present to you The Top Ten Ways Preparing to Give Birth to a Book Isn't That Different from Preparing to Give Birth to a Baby:

10.)  What started as a few long intimate moments between just you and your computer has become visible to everyone around you.

9.)  You occasionally wake in the middle of the night because the thought of impending book reviews has you feeling like you might wet your pants.

8.)  While a new book doesn't require propping your feet into stirrups and having strangers peer up your glittery hoo-ha, the reviews might make it feel that way!          
7.)  There isn't a pain medicine on earth that will make you less anxious about the big day.

6.)   The anticipation builds over the course of months, but you're never quite ready.  Even years after it comes out, you'll still be learning.

5.)  During the months you prepare, you go through some bizarre changes you'd never have imagined you were capable of.

4.)  One minute, you're laughing, the next you're crying.  You yell at people for no reason out of frustration, and then you eat a pint of chocolate cherry ice cream to self-soothe.

3.)  It becomes difficult to determine where your keister ends and the Lazy Boy begins.

2.)  Typing causes your fingers to swell to the size of hotdogs, and both can cause carpal tunnel syndrome to flare up.  Your laptop gets so warm on your legs it causes you to have hot flashes.

And the number one way preparing to give birth to a book and preparing to give birth to a baby aren't that different:

Your child/book is the cutest, smartest, and most important thing ever created.  You recognize that most people are biased, but in this case, it's really true.

What about you—how is reading and/or writing like something you do on a day to day basis?

Writer by day, ballroom dancer and choreographer by night, Colby has a tendency to turn every hobby she has into a job, thus ensuring that she is a perpetual workaholic.  In addition to her 9,502 regular jobs, she is also a contributing columnist for M Food and Culture magazine and is a proud member of International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime.  She is actively involved in local theatres as a choreographer as well as sometimes indulges her prima donna side by taking the stage as an actress.  She lives in Georgia with her family, two mutts, and an array of cats that, if she were a bit older, would qualify her immediately for crazy cat lady status.  Her debut thriller, Chain of Command is now available, and the second book in her McKenzie McClendon series, The Trade, is due for publication by Stairway Press in June 2013. 

CHAIN OF COMMAND is currently available
on Amazon here:
Barnes and Noble:
Directly from the publisher with free worldwide shipping:

Have a great weekend, everyone!