A (Yorkshire) Rose by any other name

Welcome to Yorkshire Rose Writers

It is my great pleasure to interview Yorkshire Rose Writers on my blog today. There are so many questions I wanted to ask but had to limit Sharon and Jessica to just FIVE because of space and time. But I advise anyone who wants to know about them to go over to their wonderful blog, or to follow them on Facebook.

So, who are the Yorkshire Rose Writers ?

We’re the Yorkshire Rose Writers, also known as Sharon Booth and Jessica Redland. We met through both being members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme. As we both live in Yorkshire, love Yorkshire, write contemporary romance/romantic comedies set in Yorkshire, and are good friends, we decided to join forces online and become the Yorkshire Rose Writers. They say two heads are better than one so we’re looking forward to seeing where our partnership takes us. So far, Sharon has published 13 books and Jessica has published 9 with her tenth due out in spring.

Way to go Sharon and Jessica, tell us more !

We both set our novels in Yorkshire although, funnily enough, neither of us started with a Yorkshire setting…

Jessica: The idea for my debut novel, Searching for Steven, came from a real-life event. At the time, I was living in Reading, Berkshire, but I moved back to the north the following year to be nearer my family and that’s when I started writing. The book was initially set in London with the protagonist moving to the north but ‘the north’ was a very non-specific setting and, the more I wrote, the more I realised my lack of setting was really letting me down. A couple of months later, I met my husband and he was from Scarborough on the North Yorkshire Coast where I now live. I found the love of my life but I also found my setting as all my books are set in a fictional version of Scarborough (with a bit of Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay thrown in there) called Whitsborough Bay. I wanted to keep the setting fictional to give me the flexibility to change things and create parts of the town that don’t exist. Anyone who knows Scarborough will recognise certain parts, though, which are very much inspired by the real setting.

Photo by Lukas Hartmann on Pexels.com

Sharon: I’ve set books in various parts of Yorkshire, including the Dales and Moors. My first series of books, however, are set in the fictional Kearton Bay, which is based on Robin Hood’s Bay. When I first had the idea for what became There Must Be an Angel, we were on our way down to Somerset for a holiday, and while we were there, we visited Glastonbury. I started plotting during that week, so when I returned home, I initially set the story in Glastonbury. It wasn’t long, however, before I realised that the characters who were talking to me had Yorkshire accents …

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Please share your top five writing tips

  • Keep everything! No work is wasted work
  • Write what you love. If you’re not passionate about your characters/setting/plot, readers probably won’t be too
  • Always have a notepad (or even the notes function on your phone) handy for when inspiration strikes
  • Keep a spreadsheet or similar of all the key details of your characters and settings, particularly if, like us, you write a series. This makes sure you don’t name two streets the same, move businesses, or keep calling all your secondary characters Dave
  • Don’t forget your character arc. By the end of your book, your protagonist needs to have changed in some way/learned something. At the start, decide on your arc and how you’re going to achieve it.

Tell us how the writing process works for you –
plotter or pantser

Sharon: I’m very much a plotter, although in ‘real’ life I’m quite disorganised and everything is ‘last minute’ with me. I use a fantastic book called Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody to make a plan before I start writing. Having said that, I do veer off course quite often, but I’m like that clever Sat Nav lady – I just correct the route and carry on.  

Jessica: I’m the pantser which surprises me because, in ‘real’ life I’m actually very organised and a big planner. When I wrote Searching for Steven, I just wrote. I hadn’t a clue what I was doing and I learned my craft along the way. Because it took me a decade to write on and off (including some significant breaks where I didn’t write at all), I think I developed a habit. I tried to plot the sequel, Getting Over Gary, but my characters didn’t like it. They kept doing their own thing – which was not what I’d plotted – so I now just write. I do spend some time developing my characters first, though, including their arc. I know what the plot will be about and how it needs to end but how that unfolds is very much driven by my characters as I go.

Social Media – help or hindrance
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Great question! If we’re honest, probably a bit of both. Writing can be a lonely business so social media is great for engaging with other writers, making friends, and building a ‘community’. But, let’s be honest, if you’re having a tough time it can really knock your confidence to see a Facebook newsfeed full of writers celebrating amazing news – even though you really like them and are genuinely pleased for them. Sometimes we forget that most people only post about the good bits of their lives! Social media can be great for promoting your work, of course, but that also has a downside, because we know that nothing is more likely to alienate potential readers than constant ‘buy my book’ posts.

It’s hard to strike a balance between promotion and remembering the ‘social’ bit of social media. It’s a huge time suck if you let it be. No one can procrastinate quite like a writer, and it’s funny how appealing a video of a cat watching television can be if you’ve reached a tricky part of your WIP. (And yes, we have watched that video!)  It’s part of the reason we joined together. We figured that, if one of us is having a busy week/month, the other one might not be under quite so much pressure, so we can ‘share the burden’. It’s also often easier to promote each other than it is to promote ourselves!

Blurb and link(s) to your current book

Jessica: My current book is a Christmas one, but a Christmas book isn’t just for Christmas is it? And it starts on Christmas Day one year but then is mainly November/early December the following one so not entirely Christmas. Have I convinced you?

Christmas at The Chocolate Pot Café  –

A few minutes of courage might change your life…

Emotionally, Tara Porter finds the festive period a challenge. Christmas Day is a reminder of the family she lost, and New Year’s Eve holds bitter memories of the biggest mistake of her life: marrying Garth Tewkesbury. Shunning invitations to celebrate, she seeks refuge in her flat with only her giant house bunny, Hercules, for company.
Professionally, though, it’s the best time of year. Tara’s thriving café, The Chocolate Pot, is always packed. With the café hosting a wedding and engagement party, it’s shaping up to be the café’s best Christmas ever.
When former nemesis, Jed Ferguson, threatens the future of The Chocolate Pot, Tara prepares for a fight. The café is everything to her and she’s not going to let anyone or anything jeopardise that. 
Tara badly misjudged ex-husband Garth and, since then, has refused to let anyone in. After all, if you don’t let them in, they can’t hurt you. But has she misjudged Jed too? Is it possible that he’s not the arrogant, deceitful man from whom she bought the café 14 years earlier? Can she find the courage to find out for sure?

Sharon: My latest book is the first in my new The Witches of Castle Clair series, set in a fictional version of Knaresborough in North Yorkshire. It’s suitable to be read at any time of year.

Belle, Book and Christmas Candle

Do you believe in magic? 

Sky St Clair doesn’t, and growing up in Castle Clair, a small town renowned for its mystical past and magical legends, she never felt she belonged.
Sky got away from Castle Clair as soon as she could, but when a run of bad luck leaves her homeless and jobless, she has little choice but to accept her sister Star’s invitation to return home for the festive season.
When Star has an accident, Sky finds herself running the family’s magical supplies shop. Wands, crystals, pendulums … really? It’s a tough job when she doesn’t believe in the products she’s selling, but how can she? Magic isn’t real, no matter what her deluded siblings think.
Jethro Richmond doesn’t believe in magic either. In fact, he doesn’t believe in anything much anymore, which is proving to be a bit of a problem for a writer of fantasy novels. With a self-constructed wall around his heart as high as Clair Tower, and his dreams as ruined as the town’s ancient castle, he’s lost all hope of repairing his tattered career. The last thing he needs is to get involved with a family like the St Clairs, and no matter what a certain little black cat seems to want Jethro has no intention of spending any time with Sky or her unusual sisters. 
But this is a strange little town and, as the residents prepare to celebrate Christmas, Sky and Jethro might just discover that in Castle Clair, anything is possible. Even magic



Finally – what are you working on ATM?

Sharon: I’m writing the second in The Witches of Castle Clair series, plotting the fourth and final Kearton Bay novel, and starting to jot down ideas for the fifth Bramblewick book.

Jessica: I’m trying to find a home with a publisher for my tenth novel. I’m being very selective about where to send it, though. I’ve had some superb feedback, no offers … yet. I’m waiting to hear back on a couple of others, but will indie publish it in spring if they’re a no. I’m also part-way through another two books. I hope one will be ready for summer and another for autumn. In theory. Reality is that I’m in the final year of a Masters in Creative Writing through Open University, and I have another five assignments to go on that which will have to take priority. My final big assignment will be 15k words of a new novel and I’m excited about that because I’ve decided to do something a bit different as a challenge. If it works, that may be a 2020 publication.

Thanks so much for inviting us onto your blog, Lizzie. We really appreciate it.  It’s been great fun having you here, I hope we might meet up soon.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Yorkshire Rose Writers

Blog: http://yorkshirerosewriters.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yorkshirerosewriters/

Twitter: @YorkRoseWriters

Instagram: yorkrosewriters

Sharon Booth:

Website/blog: https://sharonboothwriter.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sharonbooth.writer/

Twitter: @Sharon_Booth1

Instagram: sharonboothwriter

Jessica Redland:

Website: http://www.jessicaredland.com

Blog: https://jessicaredlandwriter.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaRedlandWriter/

Twitter: @JessicaRedland

Instagram: jessicaredlandwriter

Say Hello to Anna Shenton

A big hello to author, blogger and Facebook aficionado – Anna Shenton. Anna and I met via her writers’ page on Facebook and I wanted to get to know her better. So, here we go.

Anna, tell us a bit about yourself.

Born in a village in Staffordshire, England I experienced an interesting upbringing via my English father, and German mother -together with two elder siblings Ilona and Steven, and later, Ingo, a surprise brother from Germany.

Interesting names: I would like to know more about them sometime.

I live in Staffordshire with my lovely retired policeman hubby. We love to travel with our touring caravan. We share a fantastic family of six sons and daughter-in-law’s, and millions of adorable grandchildren, no shortage of inspiration.

Did you say caravan? Small wonder we clicked on Facebook. Not that OUR caravans are anything like this one – LOL.

The Facebook page Anna organises
(with the help of Fiona Morgan and Anne Williams) 

Share with us how the writing process works for you

I write purely as a hobby, no set rules to how I work. I rely on what, where and when. I’ve never experienced (what shall I write feeling, or I must do this). Having said that, I hold much optimism for the future and revel in the freedom of writing. A home study course with the Writing School of London helped with publication of Star Letters, Fillers, and Articles in various magazines including Writers Forum.

Indie-publishing is my ideal. I’m free, no deadlines, no criteria, no rules. Thus far I’ve created – Seduced by Mind Tricks being my debut romance novel, followed by Lust for Survival a collection of short stories, Writing Spelled Out a guide on how to start writing, and my recent release 76 Silver Street a historical romance novella.

Freelancing is always lurking at the back of my mind, too. Scanning through magazines often tempts me to submit feature articles. If they’re accepted, great, if not, I’ve enjoyed writing it.

I love social media and through it I’ve made many new friends – writers and readers alike. But it can be ‘time suckage. What do you think, Anna?

My heart has warmness to the social network. Without it I wouldn’t have learnt so much, neither would I have met so many wonderful people. Controlling usage is the key; I don’t allow it to takeover! Many opportunities are there for the taking and I do believe building a social network reputation is essential for all authors! I’ve enjoyed building a Facebook page, and creating the writers authors & readers closed group, almost 1,000 fabulous supportive members.

Tell us who or what inspired you to become a writer –

My flair to create comes from my family. My late uncle, a famous artist, and my late father, a pencil/cartoonist who contributed to the Daily Mirror. My late brother wrote his Debut Novel (Notes in the Margin) which unfortunately, wasn’t published. I hope to get this published one day donating proceeds to cancer. My Sister writes a very popular frugal blog too (Mean Queen) she is amazing. The freedom of writing, expressing your inner self and creating is something I would hate to lose. I breathe inspiration from everyday life.

If not a writer, then what 

Thank you Lizzie, for the opportunity to answer this question. It holds so many diverse answers. Naturally life itself is foremost, family, sharing and savouring precious moments.  Thereafter, I’m lucky enough to have time to travel with my touring caravan, to tranquil places taking my pencil drawing subjects with me. I mainly draw portraits, self-taught, from photographs and find it rewarding.  Outdoor life suits me too, so lots to do beyond writing.

A sequel to 76 Silver Street is at its infancy, title coming later.

Blurb – Although she had a roof over her head, Rosa Brown couldn’t abide Dan’s drunken coercive behaviour as his housekeeper anymore. Aunt Mildred’s call from her hospital-bed sends Rosa sneaking out of town, to take over her aunt’s rundown boarding house. Met by Jack Howard on arrival, in Pemberton 1905, Rosa’s heart plummets when her eyes meet with the dingy filthy place and Jack’s dark devilish impudent manner, who thinks she’s mad and has no intention of helping to get the place up and running before it goes bust.

Rosa is shocked when faced with all the ruffians and commoners knocking on the door and struggles to keep Jack’s hands off her. Sprucing the place up and filling it with respectful paying guests, proves harder than expected.

Now, filled with fear for her aunt and her own wellbeing, will Rosa ever find true love and be free from trouble?

Reviews

Jenny Lakin – 5.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced romantic novella of lives in the early 20th century suburbs of working Manchester . The story is fast paced and keeps you reading, I read it in one go.

S. M. Wragg – 4.0 out of 5 starsLively, believable characters. Sets the scene well at the turn of the 20th century. Running away from an abusive relationship, young and feisty Rose Brown has been left in charge of a run-down boarding house by her aunt, who is ill, a happening that brings her into contact with a variety of lively, believable characters. I enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.

Lady Rochford – 5.0 out of 5 stars 
This is a time when life is cheap . . . Manchester at the turn of the last century is no place for a girl like Rose. Just when she thinks she’s found safety and love she needs to draw on all her reserves of strength in order to survive. She needs a way out of the slums; and a call from her aunt provides her with just that.

Thank you Lizzie, for the kind invitation to write a guest post for your blog. It’s a delight to be here. I hope to make this post as fulfilling, interesting and joyful as I can!


Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

You can connect with Anna Maria at –

https://authorcentral.amazon.co.uk/gp/profile

https://www.facebook.com/annaswritingpage/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/writersauthorsreaders/

76 Silver Street – Kindle edition  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07JGQGYRQ

paperback coming soon

New Stories, Old Characters and Happy Beginnings

As we all get down to the WIP I was thrilled to be mentioned in this blog post.

 

 

Source: New Stories, Old Characters and Happy Beginnings

My Writerly Year 2019 #part two

The highlight of the year was publishing my fifth novel – Take Me, I’m Yours. For this one I abandoned Scotland and headed for Wisconsin where I spent a glorious five weeks a few summers ago. However, fear not, there is a Scottish connection as the hero – Logan MacFarlane and the heroine India-Jane Buchanan are of Scots descent – natch. You can read about it here. Within a few weeks it reached #1 in its genre –

If you’d like to read the first three chapters – follow this link – And if any readers think I’ve abandoned Scotland, read to the end of the blog for details of my next novel . . .

July was a busy month. Adrienne Vaughan and I arranged a Literary Lunch at the Belmont Hotel, Leicester which raised £300 for MIND. It was also a great chance to showcase our books and to thank people for supporting our writing. We are lucky to have such generous friends and readers.

It’s funny how good things happen when you least expect them. I was overwhelmed when Simon Whaley of Writers Magazine contacted me and asked if I’d like to contribute to a piece he was writing on BLOG TOURS.  Having taken part in two blog tours in as many months I felt qualified to comment.

June saw Bongo Man and me heading for Scotland with our caravan for a month – writing, touring, kicking back. I don’t know what it is about Scotland but it feeds my soul and my imagination. We’ll be returning there this summer, too. This time, we’ll be staying on a site overlooking Castle Stalker which was the inspiration behind Girl in the Castle.

For me, writing is all about making friends and sharing my work with others. Through Facebook and Twitter I’ve made many friends who have gone on to become readers and reviewers of my novels. I never take their support for granted. On our way up to Scotland, by an amazing coincidence, one of my proofreaders was staying on the same campsite in Kendal so I was able to thank her in person for all her help. Later in the summer, on the way to Cornwall in July we were able to meet up again at Exeter Service Station where I gave her a signed copy of Take Me, I’m Yours. Who says writing isn’t romantic? LOL.

Here we are at Exeter Service Station, with a signed copy of TMIY

In March I attended the RONAs with La Diva, Isabella Tartaruga, who is always first to read the rough draft of my novels and give me honest feedback. I also met fabulous JILLY COOPER – cue fan girl moment. And, in case you’re wondering, Jilly is even lovelier than you could ever imagine.

If I was to choose an author whose books put me on the path to writing, it would have to be Jilly and books such as EMILY, IMOGEN etc. And who could fail to fall for her hero Rupert Campbell-Black in her bonkbuster(s) Polo, Ride and Jump?

We’re getting close to the beginning of the year and Burns Night, which we celebrated at our Danish neighbours’ house. Go figure. As for my obsession with Men in Kilts, I encourage my husband Dave to wear his as often as possible. Purely for inspiration you understand. Here he is on his way to the Burns Night supper, looking quite the part. For those who are wondering, we belong to clan LAMONT (pron: Lam’NT, not La Mont). It’s motto is: Ne Parcas Nec Spernas (Neither spare nor dispose). Not quite sure what that means . . . but I do know that I wouldn’t have achieved half of my success without Bongo Man by my side.

A Kilted Bongo Man
I’m sure I say this in my sleep!

I was lucky enough to be featured on other writers’/bloggers’ posts this year. Here’s a selection (including two blog tours ) if you want to take a look:

As for 2019, the events are stacking up
Carole Matthews Book Launch (February), States of Independence (March), Self publishing Conference (April), Deepings Lit Fest (May) RNA Conference (July), RNA York Tea (September), Narberth Book Fair (Wales), return to DMU to give talk on self-publishing. In addition, there’s monthly Belmont Belles meetings which I organise with mu oppo and great mate, June Kearns.

If you like superbly written #Hisfic, check out June’s Amazon page.

All that remains now is for me to wish you a healthy and happy 2019. I’m about to pick up the threads of the next novel which I started just before Christmas and to get stuck in. What is it about? I’ll let this tweet and the video do the talking –

Hip-Hip-Hooray it’s Publication Day Jo Lambert

Welcome to 2019 and Jo Lambert’s new novel – Wicked Game

Hip – Hip – Hooray – It’s Publication Day

Tell us a little about yourself, Jo

Hi Lizzie and thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog.  Well, what can I say about me?  I’m a country girl who despite living a few years in the city has now migrated back to village life. I’m married and share our home with my husband’s other ‘love’ a green MGB GT. We live on the eastern edge of Bath so have a great city/country life balance. I worked all my adult life in PA or Office Management roles and after reducing hours for a couple of years, decided to close the door on my 9 to 5 to concentrate on my writing full time. As an indie author I’ve written seven novels, five set in West Somerset and two in Devon.  In June 2018 I signed a contract with Choc Lit for my eighth book The Boys of Summer set on the north Cornish coast. I write modern romantic sagas with plenty of drama in the mix.

What would be your typical writing day?

 Every day, with the exception of weekends, I take an hour out each morning and walk. My allocated time for writing usually begins after lunch and finishes around five. I rarely set a word count for each day as it depends on where I’ve got to with the WIP. If I achieve 2500+ then I feel I’ve done a good day’s work.   It’s very easy to let writing take over your life, and because of that I feel it’s important to have a structured day. So I try to set aside time for non-writing activities – cooking, regular catch ups with friends, lunch out, cinema, theatre, even shopping – the sort of things that get you away from the computer for a while.  

Tell us how the writing process works for you …

I have never written a novel which has been fully plotted. Rather I set certain key events and then begin to write. So much can change during the journey from beginning to end and that for me means I have to be flexible – to have the ability to change things that don’t work and if necessary swap characters around or delete them from the story. In The Boys of Summer for instance I ended up swapping my hero and antagonist because the other way round they simply weren’t working.  I also find lots of external things influence me as I write. Drama on TV, a book I’m reading, music or even having a conversation with someone. One quite innocent event or remark can take my thoughts off in a particular direction and bring about improvements to the story I’m writing.  Although it would be great to be able to simply sit down and write a story from beginning to end, I guess we all write in the way we’re most comfortable with. Me? I take the scenic route. Maybe it takes longer but it works for me.   

mapping the way forward

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?

I grew up listening to stories from my maternal grandfather. He was a grand old countryman who entertained us, his grandchildren, with tales which he tended to embellish – making it even more exciting to our young ears.  Maybe this rubbed off on me, who knows, but there was always something there that wanted to tell stories – and not just tell them, write them.  As I got older, college, career and marriage all conspired to keep that creative spark in me pushed very firmly to the back of the queue.  Eventually a story came into my head and simply wouldn’t go away.  Despite having a busy life, including a full time job I managed to squeeze in the time to begin writing. The result was When Tomorrow Comes, the first book in the Little Court series and everything took off from there.

Tell us a little bit about where you set your novels

 Growing up on a farm in rural Wiltshire it seemed natural for my books to have country flavour – a case of write what you know.   It’s not all about country life though.  I have a bit of a ‘thing’ about Italy and various locations there have featured in more than one of my novels.

Please share your favourite reviews from previous books –

Summer Moved On – ‘What I really like about Jo Lambert books is that there are never any dull moments. The drama and romance comes thick and fast. The pace of the book builds up to an amazing story. The characters in the book are so alive and real that you will become emotionally involved and fall deep into the story.’

Watercolours In the Rain  –I very much enjoyed Summer Moved On, but Watercolours in the Rain is even better.
Finding out what happened to Jess, Talun and Lily – and all the other minor characters – was like hearing about friends and what happened to them.
I was fascinated to see how Jo Lambert managed to get the “right” ending – very cleverly written, I thought.  

Please share the Blurb and link to your current book

WICKED GAME

Fashion designer Thérèse D’Alesandro has recently moved into Westhead Manor with daughter Felicia and stepson Marco. Joining forces with neighbour Ella Benedict, she is about to open a bridal boutique at Ella’s exclusive wedding venue Lawns at Little Court. Marco has both the looks and charm to guarantee him any woman.  Any woman, that is, except the one he wants: Ella’s niece Charlotte.  Marco knows he should walk away as not only is she the most exasperating female he has ever encountered she’s currently in a relationship with rock star Christian Rossetti. But the chemistry between them is undeniable and sensing trouble brewing between Charlotte and the egotistical singer he is prepared to wait.

Photo by Dmitry Zvolskiy on Pexels.com

Charlotte’s cousin Lucy has discovered Christian’s guilty secrets – ones he has been keeping safely hidden from everyone. Determined to cause mischief and at the same time settle her own score with the arrogant star, she sets in motion a chain of events which eventually brings Marco and Charlotte together. Rossana Caravello is due to inherit the one of Italy’s premier vineyards on her twenty first birthday in September. Aware this would make an excellent addition to her husband’s international business portfolio, Thérèse plots to push the young heiress and her stepson together. Rossana is already besotted with Marco, but if the plan is to have any chance of success first she needs to get rid of Charlotte…

download Jo’s new book here

If you’d like to learn more about Jo and her writing, here’s where you need to look –

website:

blog:  

Twitter:  

Facebook:

Well, that about wraps up this interview. Thanks for appearing on my blog, Jo. I wish you mega success with your new novel and all your writing endevours.

My Writerly Year 2018 # part one

Happy New Year to all my followers and friends. I thought I’d look back over 2018 to see what I’d achieved in the writerly sphere. I was surprised by the result . . . So, in reverse order, starting with December here’s what I’ve been up to.

Another cracking meeting of the Belmont Belles which I organise with June Kearns. To round up the year’s activities we were honoured to have best selling romance author Carole Matthews as our guest. Cue an inspirational talk and fabulous Q&A session. Also in December, much To my surprise I won a £40 amazon voucher from Kindle Direct Publishing to spend on author copies of my novels. Colour me lucky.

In November I was invited to appear alongside Sue Moorcroft and Heidi Jo Swain at Upminster library to meet readers and talk about my path to publication. A thrilling moment for an indie author was made extra special when I learned that the library had ordered copies of my novels – hopefully I might get some PLR revenue from that.

Adrienne Vaughan and I went to London, Waterstones Piccadilly to be precise there we attended Sue Moorcrofts launch for A Christmas Gift and bumped into many RNA pals. Great evening out which set us up for the festive season. That happened less than a week after my second cataract operation, so I was glad Adrienne was there for support. She makes for a pretty glamorous guide dog.

October saw the inaugural meeting of the East Midlands Chapter of the Society of Authors in Leicester. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was a friendly and supportive group which met at THE HEAD OF STEAM in Market Street. The highlight of the month was being invited to talk to a large group of final year students at De Montfort University on the subject of indie publishing. They’ve asked me back next year and to attend the States of Independence book fair in March 2019.

I’m a great believer in learning from successful authors and so it was a no brainer to attend a master class featuring Cathy Bramley and Carole Matthews at Waterstones in Nottingham. The talk was entertaining and informative and the queue of readers waiting to have their books signed was something I can only dream about.

I organised for Kim Nash, publicity officer at Bookouture, to come along to the Belmont Belles to explain her role and to dispel one or two myths regarding what Bookouture requires from authors. I can’t quite decide if I’m ready to give up my indie status and get locked into a contract as I like the freedom to write what I like, when I like. But – as 007 said – never say never. Right?

In October I attended a SOA meeting in Oxford at Balliol College, where I bumped into RNA members, Liz Harris and Julia Roberts . Dave and I had lunch in the Eagle and Child where Tolkien and other ‘Inklings’ met to talk and write and where he penned some of Lord of the Rings. I hope some of the magic rubbed off on me.

September saw my returning to the Norfolk Marshes to celebrate the fifth birthday of Boot Camp Bride. I visited the locations which inspired the novel. If you’d like to learn more about that visit, click here.

While in Norfolk I made the most of the opportunity to meet up with Kate Hardy and Rosie Hendry in Thornham where we swapped our latest novels.

I’ve appeared on other blogs this year and I always appreciate the time and effort bloggers put into publicising me and my books. I’ll just mention a couple of my favourites, starting with Jena’s Golden Chapters via writer and blogger Jessie Cahalin. You can read the full review here.

I appeared on Sharon Booth’s blog where I described my life in FIVE photos. That was great fun – do pop along and see it if you have time. (Yep, that’s me – determined and cussed.LOL)

I was really chuffed to appear on Being Anne’s list of romances she’d enjoyed in 2018. Anne is an incredible blogger: committed, supportive and widely read.

Well, that about wraps up Part One of my Literary Journey this year. Tune in next time for Part Two (August – January) to learn what 2019 holds in store.

And, as they say in Scotland Happy New Year and Lang May Yer Lum Reek.

Scottish Romance Book Blitz

November 30th is St Andrew’s Day and to celebrate I’m offering my Scottish-themed romances for 99p/99c per download – for one week only – December 1st – December 8th.

Want to know more about my books? Read an extract? Download a copy? Be my guest………

where the men wear kilts and the women are glad of it (1)

Tall Dark and Kilted my debut novel. The story begins in Notting Hill then moves to Wester Ross where the sparks really fly.  You can read an extract here

_. . you had me at . . . (1)Fliss Bagshawe longs for a passport out of Pimlico where she works as a holistic therapist. After attending a party in Notting Hill she loses her job and with it her dream of becoming her own boss. When she’s offered the chance to take over a failing therapy centre, she grabs it with both hands. But there’s a catch – the centre lies five hundred miles away – in Wester Ross, Scotland.  Fliss’s romantic view of the highlands populated by hunky Men in Kilts is shattered when she has an up close and very personal encounter with the Laird of Kinloch Mara, Ruairi Urquhart. He’s determined to pull the plug on the business, bring his eccentric family to heel and eject undesirables from his estate – starting with Fliss. Faced with the dole queue once more, Fliss resolves to make sexy, infuriating Ruairi revise his unflattering opinion of her, turn the therapy centre around and sort out the dysfunctional Urquharts. Can she find the happiness she deserves? 

Copy of photo courtesy of scotweb.co.uk

Next up – Scotch on the Rocks  #1 bestseller in its genre – runner up in the Exeter Novel Prize. Read the opening chapters – and enjoy this short blurb . . .

ISHABEL STUART is at a crossroads in her life. Her wealthy industrialist father has died unexpectedly, leaving her a half-share in a ruined whisky distillery and the task of scattering his ashes on a Munro. After discovering her fiancé playing away from home, she cancels their lavish Christmas wedding at St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh and heads for the only place she feels safe – Eilean na Sgairbh, a windswept island on Scotland’s west coast – where the cormorants outnumber the inhabitants, ten to one.
When she arrives at her family home – now a bed and breakfast managed by her left-wing, firebrand Aunt Esme, she finds a guest in situ – BRODIE. Issy longs for peace and the chance to lick her wounds, but gorgeous, sexy American, Brodie, turns her world upside down.

1-1-1-what readers have said about SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS (1)

 

Readers mention that they like the multi-generational themes running through the novel, the close knit highland community and a naughty parrot called  Pershing.

 

And, finally, Girl in the Castle 

I especially enjoyed writing this one as I was able to weave my love of history into every page. It reached #3 in Scottish Highlands and islands when first published, rubbing shoulders with Jenny Colgan and Peter May in the Amazon charts.

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Her academic career in tatters, Dr Henriette Bruar needs somewhere to lay low, plan her comeback and restore her tarnished reputation. Fate takes her to a remote Scottish castle to auction the contents of an ancient library to pay the laird’s mounting debts. The family are in deep mourning over a tragedy which happened years before, resulting in a toxic relationship between the laird and his son, Keir MacKenzie. Cue a phantom piper, a lost Jacobite treasure, and a cast of characters who – with Henri’s help, encourage the MacKenzies to confront the past and move on. However – will the Girl in the Castle be able to return to university once her task is completed, and leave gorgeous, sexy Keir MacKenzie behind

So, those are your choices. It takes about a year to write a novel and another four/five months to polish, shape and format it for Amazon. I hope that you agree that 99p/99c is a bargain for each of my Scottish novels and decide to download one. Oh, and one more thing, they’re all available in paperback, and on Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited, too.

What next for me? I’m about to start writing #6 – another Scottish themed romance, this time with a bit of a difference as the hero and heroine (who can’t stand the sight of each other, natch) have to combine forces and go chasing after two runaways – his son and her niece – all the way from Cornwall to Scotland. Lots of fun, angst and hilarious encounters ensue . . .

Boot Camp Bride – Book Birthday Blitz

Boot Camp Bride is five years old this month. Recently I re-visited Norfolk and the sites which inspired the novel. I’d love to share them with you and, hopefully, remind you of what a great romcom Boot Camp Bride is. There’s a chance to win a paperback copy (UK only) or a mobi. download (worldwide) – details at the end of this blog, so join in the fun and you could be a winner.

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Blurb? I’ll allow one of my latest reviews to do the talking for me –

“Charlee is forced to attend a boot camp to get a scoop for the magazine she works for. I adored the situation set up for this story – such fun! The author is very clever at painting her characters and adding poignant brushstrokes of humour and vulnerability. Oh my, Charlee’s anecdotes will chase away the winter blues! Charlee guided me through her adventure, and I could not stop laughing. How does Lizzie Lamb manage to combine humour, adventure and romance? Charlee was feisty, fun, intelligent and clumsy – perfect. Undeterred by the alpha male, she managed to fight him with wit and stubbornness. Lizzie Lamb’s characters and style of writing sparkle in Boot Camp Bride. This romantic comedy is classic gold: it is the equivalent of comfort food and a good night out with friends.” 

As the tagline says – meet Charlee Montague – your new best friendThis is how I imagined her and delicious alpha hero, Raphael Fonseca Ffinch (aka Rafa)  . . .

Noel Coward was not a great fan of the county and quipped: awfully flat, Norfolk. That’s what I thought the first couple of times I visited Thornham where the novel is set. But after a time, I started to understand the appeal of this beautiful landscape. Here’s what Charlee thinks as she looks out across the marshes for the first time, Rafa at her side. windmills on the fens 2018-09-26 14.23.31

Now she was out of the wind and the sun had come out, the marshes didn’t look so grim after all. There was a stripped back beauty to them, she could see that, and the flocks of birds heading for the feeding grounds down by the shoreline ensured the view was ever changing. And she had to admit, just sitting there, eyes closed, face soaking up the weak January sun, was the perfect antidote to the last couple of manic weeks. When she glanced at Ffinch he was scanning the marshes through his binoculars, his cup of hot chocolate untouched on the bench beside him. Why did she get the impression it wasn’t the birds he was watching so intently? ‘What’s out there?’ Charlee asked, slipping on her sunglasses against the almost overwhelming expanse of bright blue sky that filled three quarters of the landscape. ‘The Wash. And over there you can see the wind turbines on the shoreline at Skegness.’ Charlee followed his pointing finger and squinted at the distant shore where almost a hundred huge turbines were turning like quiet ghosts.

the lifeboat inn

Boot Camp Bride is set in Thornham, near Hunstanton. The Lifeboat Inn, an alleged haunt of smugglers, doubles for The Ship in the novel. This is where Rafa and Charlee  spend their first night together – strictly business, natch – very much aware of a growing physical attraction.  lifeboat stairs.jpg

“Charlee and Ffinch climbed the stairs to their respective bedrooms. Charlee was rather unsteady, a combination of vertiginous heels and the quantity of wine she’d consumed. She pulled a face and groaned, thinking of the hangover she would wake up with and the windswept salt marshes dashing ice-cold rain and sleet into her face. Ffinch walked up the stairs behind her, his hand resting lightly on her waist as if keeping a loving eye on her, whereas in reality he was holding her upright. Bidding the other guests goodnight, he whispered in her ear. ‘Smile, for goodness sake. You look as if you’re going to your doom, not a night of passion in The Ship’s best room. Stay in role.’ ‘I’m concentrating on my balance, if you must know, and,’ Charlee whipped round as his words sank in, almost falling backwards into his arms. ‘A night of passion, now hold it right there, mate. It’d take more than two glasses of champagne -’ ‘Half a bottle of Rioja, a sticky with your pudding and cognac with coffee – to do what? Make the thought of sleeping with me more palatable?’ Although he kept a straight face, Charlee detected banked down humour there.”

My friend Joan and I sitting in the hall of The Lifeboat Inn. It was at her and husband Roger’s place in Thornham that the idea of Boot Camp Bride first took shape.

It was easy to imagine Thornham Manor as the phoney Boot Camp for Brides – the front for drug smuggling on the marshes. At high tide it would be easy to land contraband on the nearby quay without arousing suspicion. jlnbqYou can also read an extract HERE

Boot Camp Bride is also available as a paperback and would make an ideal Christmas/ birthday present for someone who enjoys reading romance with a light sprinkling of humour and quick fire dialogue. Oh, and there’s a classic VW Camper Van featured in it, too. What’s not to like?

If you’d like to enter Boot Camp’s Brides Birthday Competition, all you have to do it FOLLOW my blog and/or share this post on any of the links below. The winner will be notified by email.

And, finally – If you’d like to read more about Rafa and Charlee’s adventures, download  a copy of Boot Camp Bride – It’s 99p/99c from Wednesday 21st November for one week.  

Guest Blog Post – Rosie Travers – Theatre of Dreams

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It’s a pleasure to welcome Rosie Travers to my blog today. 

If you don’t know Rosie or her novels, here’s your chance to find out – 

Welcome Rosie, tell us a little about your background

I grew up in Southampton on the south coast of England and loved escaping into a good book from a very early age. As a teenager I landed my dream job working in a book shop, and spent much of my spare time scribbling numerous short stories and novels, none of which I was ever brave enough to show anyone. Sadly, the real world took over and my writing habit was put on hold for marriage, mortgages and motherhood. In 2009 I moved across the Atlantic to Southern California when my husband took up a three year overseas work assignment.  Life as an ex-pat wife wasn’t quite as glamorous as I’d first envisaged, so to fend off the loneliness and homesickness, I began a blog about our life in Los Angeles, which re-ignited my creative juices.

When I returned to the UK I undertook a creative writing course and boosted by a couple of short story competition successes I joined the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers’ Scheme. My debut novel, The Theatre of Dreams, was published on 1 August 2018.

Tell us about Theatre of Dreams. Great cover and it sounds an intriguing read. 

Rosie Travers Theatre of Dreams

Rosie said: The wonderful thing about being an author is being able to rewrite history – my inspiration for The Theatre of Dreams is the historic Lee Tower which was once situated on the seafront at Lee-on-the-Solent in my native Hampshire.  The Art Deco complex was constructed in 1935 and originally comprised a cinema, ballroom, restaurant and 120ft observation tower. The buildings were demolished by the local council in 1971 and the site is now a car-park – a travesty in a town with so few amenities. I spotted a commemorative notice about the tower and my imagination was captured.

The Theatre of Dreams is a story of new beginnings, laced with romance, tragedy and intrigue. Set in a fictional south coast resort,  a devious octogenarian, a disgraced actress and a bankrupt architect form an unlikely alliance to save an iconic local landmark,  but each has a very different motive.

I was so intrigued that I searched for Lee Tower on Google and here’s what I found – Sadly, the images are copyrighted, but you can look for yourself. 

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Official Blurb

Musical theatre actress Tara is down on her luck and in desperate need of a job. When terminally-ill octogenarian Kitty invites her to take over the running of her former dance academy in the old-fashioned resort of Hookes Bay, Tara thinks she’s found her guardian angel. But it soon becomes very clear Kitty is being far from benevolent. Too late, Tara realises helping Kitty will signal the end of an already tarnished career, unless she can pull off the performance of a life-time.

The Theatre of Dreams is published by Crooked Cat Books

Here’s what some reviewers have said about The Theatre of Dreams

“a true pleasure to read from first page to last….I challenge anyone to read this book and not become completely enthralled with these characters. The character development in this book was just simply stellar!”

“This is a highly enjoyable book with just the right balance of all the elements needed to make it a satisfyingly great read. it really does deserve 5 big shiny, glittery stars!”

The Theatre of Dreams is available on Amazon in ebook and paperback.

Official Blurb

Musical theatre actress Tara is down on her luck and in desperate need of a job. When terminally-ill octogenarian Kitty invites her to take over the running of her former dance academy in the old-fashioned resort of Hookes Bay, Tara thinks she’s found her guardian angel. But it soon becomes very clear Kitty is being far from benevolent. Too late, Tara realises helping Kitty will signal the end of an already tarnished career, unless she can pull off the performance of a life-time.

The Theatre of Dreams is published by Crooked Cat Books

If you’d like to read an extract – click on this link:

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If you’d like to learn out more about Rosie, here’s where you need to look –

Website: www.rosietravers.com

Twitter @RosieTravers

Facebook: www.facebook.com/rosietraversauthor

Instagram: rosietraversauthor

STOP PRESS * Rosie’s second book, Your Secret’s Safe With Me, will be released next year.   

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My 10 point guide on how to be a (successful) indie author – part #1

This blog post is the result of #UKROMCHAT inviting me onto their fab site. I thought the notes were too good to be hidden away in one of my box files. I hope you find the post interesting.  Do share/comment/ask questions, that’s what this post is all about.

 1.Please tell us about your latest book Take Me, I’m Yours

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India Buchanan plans to set up an English-Style bed and breakfast establishment in her great-aunt’s home, MacFarlane’s Landing, Wisconsin. But she’s reckoned without opposition from Logan MacFarlane whose family once owned her aunt’s house and now want it back. MacFarlane is in no mood to be denied. His grandfather’s living on borrowed time and Logan has vowed to ensure the old man sees out his days in their former home. India’s great-aunt has other ideas and has threatened to burn the house to the ground before a MacFarlane sets foot in it. There’s a story here. One the family elders aren’t prepared to share. When India finds herself in Logan’s debt, her feelings towards him change. However, the past casts a long shadow and events conspire to deny them the love and happiness they. Can India and Logan’s love overcome all odds? Or is history about to repeat itself? You can read an extract.

2.This is your first book set outside of the UK. What drew you to Wisconsin. 

Back in the day I trained a teaching student from Oshkosh University for two terms. We became great friends and I had a standing invitation to go over to stay with her in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. I did just that for five weeks one summer and when I flew back from Chicago I promised I would write a romance set in Wisconsin. Last year I learned she has Parkinson’s Disease and that galvanised me into action – this book is for her.

3.OK, we need to know about Sexy Scottish Lairds and Hunky Marine Biologists…

#3cWell, if you insist. I am a dyed-in-the-wool romantic. For some women, it’s Regency Rakes, Cowboys or Navy Seals, but for me it’s a man-in-a-kilt. If he’s a highland laird or the heir to a highland estate so much the better. Not because of wealth or  belonging to an aristocratic family but because I love a hero who isn’t afraid to shoulder responsibility, care for his tenants and who has a strong connection with the land. Those attributes, allied with a sharp mind, a sense of humour and a willingness to care for the heroine wins me over. As for marine biologists: who could resist Daniel Craig or Sean Connery emerging from the surf in a wetsuit – budgie smugglers, not so much! Urgh.

4 and 5.Please tell us about your writing journey prior to New Romantics Press being founded

I had bagged an agent (the late Dot Lumley) and HM&B were showing interest in my writing.  In 1990 I reached a crossroads, continue with my writing or accept a deputy headship of a large primary school. Because of the demanding nature of teaching, I knew I couldn’t do both and chose the latter. In 2006 I took early retirement from teaching joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme, wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted and submitted it for a critique. I was told it was ‘almost ready’ to start sending out to agents but needed more polishing. etc. In the meantime, I co-founded NRP with other members of the RNA/NWS. Then, over lunch in my garden, author Amanda Grange advised us to consider self-publishing on amazon. The algorithms were changing and . . . well, you can read more about it here –  That was in 2012 and we’ve never looked back. I only wish I’d had the chutzpah to self-publish a year earlier because terms were more favourable on Amazon at that point.

New Romantics Press is keen to find new readers and share our work with them. Over the last six years we have published fifteen books between us and are currently working on new titles. Our motto is: Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves and you can read more about us on in this blog

6.What are the benefits of collaborating with other authors?

Well, for one thing, you are never more than a phone call away from a good mate who will listen to your writing woes, meet you for coffee and offer sound advice. Between us, we have a wealth of knowledge about indie publishing, social media, PR – and what one of us doesn’t know, the others will find out! I couldn’t imagine being without my NRP support system.

Your events sound like fun . . . #5bMost readers and bloggers mention how much fun we have promoting our books. Writing can be a lonely occupation. As authors, we spend most of the time hidden away in our studies/offices tapping at the keyboard. When we do get out, we like to let our hair down. Warning: our events involve laughter and prosecco, so only like-minded writers and readers need apply.

In 2019, Adrienne Vaughan and I will be running a series of workshops for novice and intermediate writers, sharing our knowledge and giving them the confidence to finish their WIP. On a more personal note, before the end of 2018, I have a library talk, a lecture on indie publishing to deliver at De Montfort University, I’m hosting a workshop featuring Kim Nash of Bookouture – and organising a Christmas Party for the Belmont Belles (the Leicester Chapter of the RNA) with guest speaker Carole Matthews. Oh, and I have another novel to write – no pressure, obvs.img_3267

Here endeth the first part of my talk. Do join me next time when I will be covering the following aspects of writing:

  • the difference between self-publishing and indie publishing
  • advice for writers considering self-publishing/indie publishing
  • my thoughts about taking a hybrid approach
  • plotters vs pantsers
  • top tips for finishing a novel 
  • choosing and researching the location of my novels
  • why I write happily ever after novels 

Laters,

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– BREAKING NEWS –  TMIY hits #1 spot

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