Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Lucky Seven

I've been tagged by Jarmara Falconer and Joanne Stewart to do the Lucky 7.

The rules are: Go to page 77 of your story, go to line 7 and copy the next 7 lines/sentences - no cheating. Post it and tag 7 authors to pass it on.

These are my 7 from ‘His Leading Lady’, my contemporary romance set in London’s West End theatre world. Jess has been impersonating her twin sister Lora and, once theatre director Kyle Drummond discovers her pretence, she tells him there were limits to what she was prepared to do for Lora’s sake.

“Kissing me wasn’t one of the limits, was it?”

She heard his amused tone and felt the flush creep to her cheeks. “I’m used to kissing my leading men on stage. What makes you think last night was any different? You thought I was Lora and I was acting as Lora.”

Kyle leant back against the car seat. “No, I didn’t think you were Lora.”

If you want to know more (or check that I haven't cheated!), you can buy a download of ‘His Leading Lady’ for just 99c this month, from the Whiskey Creek Press website. But you’ll have to be quick – this special sale price will end on March 31st!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

A final excerpt from 'His Leading Lady.' Jess is posing as her twin sister, Lora. At the end of an evening with Kyle Drummond, the director of Lora's new show, they've shared a sizzling kiss, but when Kyle has left, Jess is mortified by her response to his kiss.

She looked at herself again in the mirror and tried to calm her thudding heart.

She was wearing Lora’s clothes, Lora’s make-up, Lora’s hairstyle.

Of course, he’d thought he was kissing Lora, not her, and she’d responded as Lora, hadn’t she?

So that was some damn good play-acting, Jess.

Except that it didn’t explain her own response.

Not just the way she’d responded to his kiss, but all those other feelings she didn’t even want to think about

This is the last week when you can buy 'His Leading Lady' at the special sale price of 99c at the Whiskey Creek website - so get it before March 31st when the sale ends!

This will be my last 'Six Sentence' post for a few weeks, as I'm taking part in the A-Z April Blogging Challenge, starting next Sunday. I'm taking the English Lake District as my 'theme' for the month. My latest release 'Fragrance of Violets' is set in this  beautiful and fascinating corner of England, as is my June 2012 release 'Changing the Future', and the new novel I'm currently writing.

Thank you to everyone who has left comments for my 'Six Sentences' in the last few weeks, and hope you'll visit me from time to time during April to find out more about my beloved Lake District.

Meantime, please visit some of the other 'Six Sentence Sunday' writers here here

Thursday, 22 March 2012

What are we doing wrong?

I read a blog this week by an author who has 3 books on Amazon, two self-published in April 2011, and one in January 2012. She said she doesn't spend much time on promotrion, apart from writing a few blogs and guests blogs, and sending the book out to a few reviewers.

I checked the reviews:

For the first book, she has 49 reviews: 33 five star, 7 four star, 3 three star and 6 two star. The two star reviews criticise the book as being slow, and the heroine maudlin; one criticised lack of depth and bad punctuation, two said the book was shallow and poorly written, one criticised the ‘historical’ content, and the final one said it was probably aimed at 13 year olds! Okay, she has 33 ‘good’ reviews to balance out these criticisms, several of which compared it to Little House on the Prairie.

Her second book (released the same date, remember?) got 14 reviews, 13 of which were 5 star. Her third book, released last January, has 5 five star reviews so far. 

What made me gasp, however, was her statement that she’s sold 8,686 books in just the first half of this month!

While I was pondering all this, I opened my writers' magazine today, and found an article about a ‘Kindle bestseller’. His first book, self-published in January 2011, became a Number 1 bestseller on Amazon. His second book was published 3 days later, and his third book in November 2011.

There were 9 reviews for the first book (4 of which were 5 star), only 1 review for the second (5 stars), and none yet for the third. I mention, in passing, the one-star review for the first book- “It struck me as something that might have been produced in a creative writing class by a well-meaning but not highly talented amateur.”

Again it was this author’s comment about marketing which caught my eye. He simply said he did very little, apart from linking it to his Twitter account, but he’s actually sold 300,000 copies, and has had an agent contacting him, talking about foreign rights and film rights!

All this leaves me totally baffled. Two huge success stories, despite some very poor reviews, and, allegedly, very little promotion by the authors. Makes me wonder what the rest of us are doing wrong!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Revealing all?

Some more questions I’ve answered, revealing my innermost secrets(??), as a result of being tagged by Sylvia Ney. Thanks, Sylvia!

What is the one book you couldn’t live without?
At one time, I would have said it was probably my thesaurus (which finally fell apart through over-use). Now, with all the resources available on the internet, I rarely pick up a ‘real’ research book. Apart from that, there’s no ‘one’ book although I have plenty of favourites.

What can you see out of your window at the moment?
My back garden, with the first spring daffodils in bloom. Correction - one daffodil. Bought several dozen bulbs, and one came up with a flower! Did I plant them upside down or something?  But daffodils are my favourite flower, as they signal the fact that spring really is on its way.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
That has to be octopus. I chewed my way through a small piece of leg – slightly fishy, though more like rubber, and I was okay until my friend said, ‘That’s one, there’s seven more to go’, and I immediately had a vision of long octopus legs waving around. That was it - I couldn’t eat any more!

What fictional character would you most like to marry?
My immediate reaction is Mr Darcy, of course, but only in the hope that he’d be somewhat less – hmm - restrained once we’re married! Oh, and he has to look like Colin Firth, too.

If ever a fictional villain was going to win, who would you want it to be?
Probably Captain Hook – he’s a far more interesting character than silly Peter Pan!

How many types of cheese can you name off the top of your head?
Probably about a dozen or so, but I’m one of those people who doesn’t like cheese. Right from being very young, I gagged when eating raw cheese (and probably still would if I tried it). Not sure why, as I actually like cooked cheese on things like pizza, lasagne etc, as long as it’s not too strong.

If you didn’t want to be a writer, what would you want to be?
I’d love to have been an actress/singer like Elaine Paige (shades of Susan Boyle there?). I can act (a little) but unfortunately can’t sing to save my life, or dance either. So I had to confine my love of musical theatre to directing shows with those people who could sing and dance.

Can you play a musical instrument?
I learnt to play the piano when I was a child, but had absolutely no talent for it! I can also play a recorder, and a few years ago learnt to play the ocarina which, as someone once described it, is ‘like a recorder but round and plump’!

Do you own a Kindle or any sort of e-reader?
Last year I couldn’t make up my mind whether or not to buy a Kindle, but the decision was made for me when my daughter bought me one for my birthday last August. I love it for several reasons: (a) it’s much easier to read than trying to read a downloaded book on the computer – you can get sore elbows doing that!, (b) I’ve read far more books since I got it and (c) it’s great to take away on holiday. I load it up and am never short of anything to read.

If so, how many books do you have on it?
Had a quick count – currently about 45 TBR books, with nearly as many archived.

You just got published. In a glowing review, someone calls you the next (insert name of famous author). Which author has to watch their back now you’re on the scene?
Well, it could never happen, because I know I could never write or do the detailed historical research that my favourite author does, but I would love to be compared Sharon Kay Penman, who writes the most amazing novels set in Medieval England and Wales.

 There - answered them all. Look forward to your comments, as always!
 And now I'm tagging the following bloggers with the challenge to answer the same questions:

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Another excerpt from 'His Leading Lady.' Jess is posing as her twin sister, Lora. At the end of an evening with Kyle Drummond, the director of Lora's new show, they share a sizzling kiss and then Kyle leaves. (For anyone new to Six Sunday, please look back to my previous Sunday posts.)

As Jess went into the apartment, she caught sight of herself in the hallway mirror.

“Oh God,” she whispered as she brought both her hands up to her flushed cheeks.  For a few moments she couldn’t think straight.  All she could feel was Kyle’s mouth, his tongue, his whole body, and a quiver ran down to somewhere deep inside her.

In the next moment her eyes widened with horror.  How could she have let him kiss her like that? 

'His Leading Lady' is available this month at 99 cents, as part of Whiskey Creek Press's 9th birthday celebrations, with 9 books for 99 cents each. You can buy it from the WCP website at

Visit the other great Six Sentence authors here

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Shenanigans with Keyboards

This week's topic on GBE2 (Group Blogging Experience) is: Shenanigans.
One definition of this is 'mischief' so it's fairly appropriate topic for me this week, after 24 hours when the keyboards in my house were definitely acting like mischievous devils!

It started on Sunday, about midnight. I'd just finished Chapter 12 of my current novel, clicked 'save', then decided to look through it. Immediately I spotted a place where I'd omitted a word. I started to type it, then - huh? Three letters into the word 'Instead' and the whole computer froze - screen, keyboard and mouse. Nothing - zilch - nada.
Maybe I've run out of memory. Okay, crash out and start up again. Look for document - phew, it's still there. Try typing 'Instead' again. Same thing happens. What the ....?
Remember, this is past midnight - definitely NOT the time for computer or keyboard or whatever to be up to some kind of shenanigans!  But time for serious action. Check the keyboard cable - yes, still plugged in. Okay, try it in a different USB port. No joy.  Still can't type the word 'Instead', only the first 3 letters.
So "instead" I go to bed. Maybe it'll have sorted itself out by morning.
Wake the next morning and wonder why I have woken with a sort of dread-type feeling. Oh yes, the d....d computer was playing up. But perhaps it'll be okay now.
Get up, switch on - haven't even had a coffee at this point, I'm so nervous about whether the computer is going to behave.
Check emails - everything okay there, will reply to some later. But first I have to log on to Facebook - and type my email address and password. Now what's happening? As soon as I type the letter 'p' , another screen jumps up that I've never seen in my life before.  It wants to know whether I want Computer only, duplicate, extend, or projector only. What? But I don't have a choice, since whichever alternative I click has no effect whatsoever.
This is getting serious now.  I switch on my old computer - which resolutely refuses to boot up and keeps looping round to the 'safe mode' screen. Next, switch on Netbook, which then runs slow because it has to update the anti-virus as I haven't used it for several weeks. But eventually it's ready, and I try to log on to Facebook. Now something even weirder happens. It won't type the @ symbol, but will only put the lower case apostrophe symbol. A double check on Wordpad reveals more problems with Netbook keyboard - shift, enter, backspace and delete - none of those keys are working.
Now I really start to panic. Have I contracted a virus which is causing my keyboards to go into meltdown?  Only one solution - call in the cavalry i.e. my wonderful computer man. But he can't come until the next morning (i.e. Tuesday).
By this time, the old computer has finally decided to boot up, so I can access my emails etc from there, even though waiting for pages to load is worse than watching paint dry. 
A request on FB for anyone with computer knowhow to tell me what might be happening brings a reply from my American cousin that I might have a keylogger Trojan on my computer.  Eeek!
So, fed-up with watching paint dry, I go and clean the kitchen floor. Yes, well, we're all reduced to doing things like that when the computer's not working, aren't we?
After lunch, I come back up my study, and decide I ought at least to clean my keyboard if my computer man is coming the next day. So I turn it upside down to get rid of the dust that collects under the keys, then blow out any remaining dust, and finally use keyboard wipes on it. I decide to give it one last try before I throw it out of the window.
And - YES - I can now type 'instead' and I can log into FB, in fact the keyboard is cured! Yippee!
I decide not to cancel my computer man - I'm still mindful of my cousin's warning about keylogger trojans, also my 'expert' has never failed to solve a computer problem yet (plus he's a VERY handsome young Iranian guy, so no hardship there!). And anyway, the Netbook keyboard is still misbehaving.
Tuesday morning comes and my handsome guy arrives.  Checks for malware, trojans etc etc - nothing. Phew, sigh of relief.
So what's caused the keyboard shenanigans? How to diagnose the problem when it now seems to be cured?  Well, I told you he's never failed to solve a problem yet, and he eventually worked out that the MS Windows key on the bottom row of the keyboard must have stuck down, so the letters I typed were forming Windows shortcuts to different screens.  So simple!!!  When I'd cleaned the keyboard, I had 'unstuck' this key and everything was fine again. Problem diagnosed and solved!
What about the Netbook keyboard then? He checked it and yes, it had malfunctioned. Coincidental, but absolutely nothing to do with my main computer's keyboard. And he can get me a new keyboard for it in a couple of days.
So that's my story of keyboard shenanigans!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Another excerpt from 'His Leading Lady.' Jess is posing as her twin sister, Lora. At the end of an evening with Kyle Drummond, the director of Lora's new show, he's just kissed her...

When he released her, her breathing was ragged and she looked up at him, dazed and disorientated.

For a couple of seconds, Kyle looked just as strunned as she felt. His dark eyes stared down into hers before he took a deep breath and gave her a wry grin.

His lips brushed her mouth again in a brief parting kiss and even that burned through her. Still totally numb, she watched as he went into the lift and pressed the ground floor button She raised her hand slightly and, with a small smile, Kyle tilted his head in farewell.

'His Leading Lady' is available this month at 99 cents, as part of Whiskey Creek Press's 9th birthday celebrations, with 9 books for 99 cents each. You can buy it from the WCP website at

Visit the other Six Sentence authors here

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Happy Monday

This morning, when I switched on my computer, I had an email about a new review for 'Fragrance of Violets' on 'The Books Debut' and on Amazon. To say I was thrilled is an understatement.
The reviewer wrote, amongst other things, that "it's going to be a book you'll remember long after the last page has been turned." For me, that was probably the best praise I'll ever read about one of my books. I shall treasure it. She gave it 5 stars and said it was a book she would be reading 'over and over again'.
Words like that make you realise that the 'blood, toil, tears and sweat' you poured into writing the story were all worthwhile.
I write - firstly, because I enjoy writing (hmm, sometimes I wonder why on earth I do it when my brain hurts trying to sort out a scene or work out just what my hero/heroine are actually thinking and feeling) - and secondly, because I want people to enjoy my stories. I don't want awards, best-seller status, six-figure advances - okay, maybe that would be good, but it's not why I write. If people enjoy my stories, that's enough reward for me.
So that review left me on a high.
I went out for the afternoon with some acquaintances who don't even know I write romance novels, and got home to discover another 5 star review on Amazon! Two in one day! It doesn't get much better than that, does it?
"Completely atmospheric and chock-full of interesting characters." - even a comparison with Nora Roberts! And "a thoroughly romantic and enjoyable read."
It's definitely been a very happy Monday!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

This week, I'm returning to my contemporary romance 'His Leading Lady' for my six sentences. Jess is posing as her twin sister, Lora. She's been out for the evening with Kyle Drummond, the director of Lora's new show in the West End and is wondering how Lora's evenings with Kyle usually ended. She is about to find out:

His mouth was soft at first but the feel of it, so warm and tantalising, sent her head into a spin. Kyle’s arms went round her, and he pulled her firmly against him.

She’d been kissed passionately before but nothing had prepared her for Kyle’s kiss as his mouth took possession of her in a seductive demand for surrender. His tongue gently fondled hers, and sensations she had never known before scorched through her, ignited every nerve and melted every bone.

She gripped his shoulders, her head went back and involuntarily she arched towards him, thrilling exquisitely to the feel of his hard body against hers. The surrender he demanded was complete as she responded with the same fervour, wanting more, still more.

'His Leading Lady' is available this month at 99 cents, as part of Whiskey Creek Press's 9th birthday celebrations, with 9 books for 99 cents each. You can buy it from the WCP website at

Visit the other Six Sentence authors here

Friday, 2 March 2012

Special sale: 9 ebooks for 99 cents each!

In celebration of its 9th birthday, Whiskey Creek Press is offering 9 ebooks for just 99 cents each during the whole of March.

One of the books on offer is my contemporary romance, 'His Leading Lady', set in London's West End theatre world.

Jess Harper’s predictable life is turned upside down when she discovers that Lora, her twin sister, has disappeared.  It’s just a week before rehearsals are due to start for a new West End musical in which Lora has the lead role.  Jess decides to pose as her sister in order to save Lora's career.  This brings her into close contact with arrogant theatre director Kyle Drummond.  Attraction sparks between them but there’s also evidence that he had been dating Lora.  So is Jess simply a substitute – in real life as well as in the show?  And what will happen when Lora eventually returns? 

Link to Whiskey Creek Press and 'His Leading Lady' (where you can also read the first chapter):