Q&A with Romantic Novelist, Karen King

Also on my blog today, I’m very pleased to introduce the romantic novelist Karen King. A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists, Karen King writes sassy, contemporary romance just right for reading on the beach. I DO – or Do I?‘ her first chick lit for Accent Press, was published in May. She has been contracted for two more. And she is delighted that Accent Press have republished her earlier romance novels, The Millionaire Plan and Never Say Forever. The Millionaire Plan was nominated for the RONE Award in 2014.

The Millionaire Plan

Love or money, what would you marry for?

Amber Wynters is on a mission to find a millionaire to marry – and fast. Her parents are nearly bankrupt and being forced to sell their family home, a beautiful Tudor house that has been in the family for generations, thanks to Amber’s ex-fiancé persuading them to invest in his dodgy shares. Armed with a self-help book and a ten-point plan, she sets off to hook herself a rich husband. On a millionaire’s yacht, she meets the drop-dead gorgeous Jed Curtess. The attraction between them is sizzling. It’s a shame that he is only a hired hand. Can Amber ignore her heart and follow her plan?

Never Say Forever

Do you follow your dream or follow your heart?

That’s the decision Kendall McKenzie has to make when she meets hunky businessman Jake Newman. He’s as attracted to her as she is to him – but Kendall has vowed never to get married, and it seems that Jake has too. When they are together, sparks fly. It’s obvious to everyone except themselves that they’re meant to be together. Can Kendall trust Jake enough to give him her heart? And if she does, will she have to give up her dream?

 

Karen has had several short stories for women’s magazine and 120 children’s books published.

When she isn’t writing, Karen likes travelling, watching the ‘soaps’ and reading. Give her a good book and a box of chocolates and she thinks she’s in Heaven.

Here, Karen tells us a bit more about herself in my quick Q&A followed by a sneaky peak of The Millionaire Plan with a brief extract from Chapter One.

  • What is the best thing about being a writer?

Getting a letter or email from someone who’s enjoyed reading my book. That makes my week!

  • What is the hardest thing about being a writer?

Finding time to write down all the ideas that are whizzing around in my head.

  • Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?

It took me seventeen attempts and goodness knows how many years to pass my driving test. Seriously!

  • What is your top tip for new writers?

Stop faffing about and get that first draft down. Then you can go back and reread, revise and rewrite. If you don’t write something you have nothing to hone.

  • Thank you for being such a great guest.

Thank you for hosting me!

*****

Chapter One

Rule number 1: Make sure you’re seen at the right places

Great. Here she was, dressed to kill and without a clue what to do, Amber thought, tugging self-consciously at the hem of her dress. Everyone else was walking around in groups, or at least in pairs, chatting and laughing together and making her wish that she’d taken up Callie’s offer to go sailing with her and Simon instead of wandering around Coombe Bay Marina alone. Honestly, dressed in this skin-tight, short white designer dress, high heels, and the pile of make-up Callie had insisted she wore, she might as well have the words ‘gold-digger’ written on her forehead.

Well, that’s what she was, wasn’t it?

Not for the first time she wondered how she’d let Callie talk her into coming here to try and hook a millionaire. It was mad. Insane. Immoral.

And her only option if she didn’t want her parents to lose their home as well as their business.

Spotting a café overlooking the marina, she bought herself a latté and was making her way over to one of the tables when a white yacht caught her eye. It wasn’t huge or brash, like some of the yachts in the marina, but it was definitely classy. The sort that a millionaire would have for his own use, to sail around in rather than show off and entertain his friends. As she peered over at it, trying to read the name painted on the side, she collided into something hard. Her coffee cup went flying off the saucer, emptying its contents over a pair of cut-off denim shorts that were hugging lean, definitely male, hips.

‘Whoa!’ Strong, suntanned arms held her steady. ‘You want to try looking where you’re going,’ an incredibly sexy voice drawled in an unmistakeably American accent.

‘Sorry.’ She looked up into a pair of twinkling tawny eyes that laughed at her from a ruggedly handsome face, topped by thick, light brown hair with sun-kissed highlights. Phwoarr! was her immediate reaction, but she quickly pulled herself together. She’d just spilt coffee over this guy, for goodness sake, the least she could do was apologise instead of drooling over him like a lunatic.

‘I’m so sorry,’ she apologised again. ‘I was looking at that yacht over there. It’s fantastic, isn’t it? I’ve never seen one like that before.’ Not the thing to say, Amber, she scolded herself. You’re supposed to be acting smart and sophisticated as if you come to these sort of events all the time, not twittering away like an idiot and letting the first person you bump into know that you’ve never seen anything bigger than a dinghy before. Then she remembered that she had quite literally ‘bumped’ into this man and drowned him in coffee in the process.

‘Gosh, I’m so sorry,’ she said, fully aware that this was the third time she’d apologised but unable to stop herself gabbling. She looked down at his wet denim cut-offs, trying not to let her gaze linger on the sun-tanned legs below them, then shifted her eyes hurriedly back to his face. ‘Er, I’ll go and get a cloth so you can clean up.’

‘No need. I’m working on that yacht you were admiring so I haven’t got far to go and get changed,’ he replied. ‘Perhaps you’d like to join me and clean yourself up too? You don’t want to leave that to stain. It’ll ruin your dress.’

What? She glanced down in confusion and saw that coffee was splattered all over the bottom of her – or rather, Callie’s – dress and running down her legs. How could she have not noticed? Because I was too busy gawping at him, that’s why.

She hesitated. He had said he was working on the yacht, which meant he didn’t own it – more’s the pity. So his boss could well be on board. And whilst the ‘How to Hook a Millionaire’ book Callie had brought and insisted she read from cover to cover had declared she should ‘seize any opportunity to mix with the seriously rich’ – and let’s face it, anyone who owned that yacht was seriously rich – meeting them with a coffee-stained dress and legs was not a good idea. ‘Always be perfectly made up and elegantly dressed’ was another rule.

‘Is your boss on board?’ she asked.

‘No, only me.’ He was looking at her intently. ‘Perhaps I should introduce myself, I’m sure your mother drilled it into you to never go off with strangers.’ He held out his hand. ‘Jed Curtess.’

She took his hand. It was strong and warm and his touch sent tingles running up her arm. ‘Amber Wynters,’ she told him.

‘Now we’ve been introduced, Amber Wynters, would you like to come on board and get cleaned up?’ he asked, a playful smile hovering on his lips.

She most definitely would but should she? She didn’t even know this man, although she had to admit that she definitely found him appealing. Should she risk going onto the yacht with him? He might not be as harmless as he seemed. She saw the teasing twinkle in his gorgeous tawny eyes and her heart flipped. Cancel harmless. This guy was a danger to her blood pressure if nothing else.

‘I promise I won’t try to seduce you,’ he said solemnly. ‘Unless you beg me to, of course.’ His eyes danced with humour and she thought there was probably a queue of women who would love him to do just that.

****

Both available on Amazon you can look for  The Millionaire Plan here and Never Say Forever here.

Author links

Website: http://www.karenking.net/

Twitter: @karen_king

Karen King Romance Author Facebook Page

Karen King Children’s Books Facebook Page

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/karenkingauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karenkingauthor/?hl=en

 

Karen King

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Author Guest Post by M.A. Comley

I am chuffed to bits to have the wonderful Mel Comley as guest author on my blog today. Author of the Justice Series and the Intention series, Mel is one of the few indie authors listed as a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Here, Mel gives us a fascinating insight into how she started her writing career.

*****

Thank you for inviting me, Eva, it’s been a long time since someone has asked me to write a blog post for them. 🙂

Now, what to choose as a subject, I know, how about writing!

To me, writing and entertaining my fans and the general reading public is like a drug. I’m addicted to writing. I have over thirty titles to my name now, most of which are fast-paced thrillers, the rest are either romances or some erotic titles that I write under a pen name.

My love of writing started when I moved to France back in 2002. I began reading a Mills and Boon romance, the only book available in English at a French library at the time, about halfway through the book I threw it down in disgust and turned to my Mother and said, “I could do better than this!” That day, I enrolled in a home study Creative Writing Course and wrote two romances, but I felt something was missing, it was a chore to write them to be honest. A friend of mine lent me a James Patterson novel and the speed of that book blew me away. It was then that I began writing Cruel Justice, that first book took me over 18 months to complete, however it was the second book in the Justice series, Impeding Justice, that I unleashed to the world first.

Back in 2010 the ebook market was still in its infancy, so I picked up some valuable fans right from the word go. Impeding Justice made it into the top 40 in the Amazon UK chart and in the top 100 in the USA. It was such a thrill to see the book doing so well that I quickly wrote Final Justice, when I say quickly, it still took over 6 months to write. When I released Final Justice my fans started writing to me asking to see more of Lorne and Pete’s relationship. I revisited Cruel Justice, tweaked it a little and then released that book. It was simply amazing to see Cruel Justice romp up the charts on both sides of the Atlantic and accomplish a top 20 place in the UK and settle in the top 30  in the USA, but what pleased me even more than the high rankings on my babies, was the wonderful emails I received from my fans, it simply flabbergasted me.

Now, I just can’t stop writing. In the past few months I’ve released The Caller, written by my co-author, Tara Lyons and myself, plus I have two more titles on pre-order, although Mortal Justice will have been released by the time this post appears. The other title, Devious Intention is due for release in Aug 2016, this is a psychological thriller, the third book in the Intention series about a PI duo, Ellie and Brian.

The past six years have been incredible for me, I’m one of the few Indie authors out there who is  listed as a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author but having those accolades under my belt hasn’t altered me at all. I still work over 100 hours a week, why? Because I love writing and entertaining people.

To anyone thinking that this writing lark is a way to make a quick buck – it ain’t. Only people who are committed to their craft and determined to succeed will make it in this world. It takes stamina and a lot of willpower to keep coming up with great plot ideas and believable and likeable characters who the reading public fall in love with.

Thank you again, Eva, I hope I haven’t bored people too much. 🙂

MelMel Comley

My newsletter sign-up is: http://hyperurl.co/su1xnt

My FB page is: https://www.facebook.com/Mel-Comley-264745836884860/

My website is: http://melcomley.blogspot.co.uk

and you can follow me on twitter @melcom1

Author Guest Post by Anna Shenton

I am really pleased to have the lovely Anna Shenton as guest author on my blog today. Author of Seduced By Mind Tricks, Lust For Survival and Writing Spelled Out, Anna also runs the really friendly and helpful Facebook group The Writers Authors and Readers Group. As well as telling us a little about herself, Anna also explains how daydreaming helps her to write.

How daydreaming sessions helped me write! 

Thank you Eva, for the kind invitation to write a guest post. Having read many of your wonderful posts I realise I have my work cut out, and hope to make this fulfilling, interesting and joyful.

Anna Shenton (1954) – I was born in a small village in Staffordshire, England and experienced an interesting upbringing by my English father, and German mother. My two elder siblings Ilona and Steven, and later, a surprise brother from Germany helped fuel my imagination for writing. We lived in the real world in our new council house, metal window frames, freshly plastered walls, newspaper squares on a string in the bathroom, home-made ginger beer in the pantry, strawberries in the garden and lots of helpful neighbours!!! Woow!!!

My flair to create comes from my family, I think. I have a locally famous artist, Uncle Stan Richards, who has and continues to, paint and sell many beautiful paintings, often donating proceeds to the air-ambulance. My late father enjoyed pencil/cartoonist drawing which he occasionally contributed to the Daily Mirror. I spent many hours watching him sketch with charcoal; hence, I also like to dabble for fun myself.

My Late brother wrote his Debut Novel (Notes in the Margin) in Mumbai, which unfortunately hasn’t been published. I hope to look into this soon. And last but not least my Sister writes a very popular frugal blog (Mean Queen) she is amazing.

Always known as a bit of a daydreamer in class I was determined to put my vivid imagination onto paper someday.

Having left school at the ripe old age of fifteen I started work in a new Sainsbury’s store where I trained and became Senior Chief Clerk.

Ok, you want to know a little more about me  today!!!

I live in Staffordshire with my lovely retired policeman hubby. We love to travel with our touring caravan – Any country goes!! Our favourite pastimes being walking, cycling, eating and enjoying a bottle of wine or two.

Ah yes… we do go to the gym and swim daily too, whilst not gallivanting!

We share a fantastic family of six sons and daughter-in-law’s, and millions of adorable grandchildren, so to say the least, there is no shortage of inspiration.

We fill the garden with vegetables to share with them and the toy cupboard overflows onto the bunkbeds which they occasionally in turn sleep in, with the famous big ted!

Christmas is always a family affair!!

Always loved to write. Kids flown the nest! I ploughed into a home study course with the Writing School of London. Amazing stuff!  Success with Star Letter Pages and Fillers for Women’s’ Commercial Magazines was encouraging.

Venturing forward, my articles where soon published in Hobby publications, Practical Caravan, Caravan Magazine, Modellers World and Writers Forum International.

Poems didn’t go a miss either. Growin’ Owd – my pet poem – won World Book Day prize 2015 with Vind & Vag Publishing House, and, I loved writing short stories for writing group anthologies, where I used to be fund organiser.

Inspiration from life experiences, and reading other authors, helped me write Seduced by Mind Tricks, my debut romance novel and create short stories.

Want to share my love for writing, with – I wanna be a writer friends. My eBook Writing Spelled Out is devised and rewritten from my articles to help all budding authors.

Take a peek at an excerpt – How Daydreaming Sessions enriched my writing.

Whatever you’re doing take your characters, ideas, events with you. Adapting a habit of holding daydreaming sessions with yourself will compose a sketchy plan and actuate results.

The mind is a very powerful thing, daydreaming uses a complete range of images, feelings and sounds from your memory. It can conjure up an alternative life and outcome for you characters for instance.

Memory is not abstract, it’s built from bits and bobs and provides the writer with material, and all we have to do is probe every mortal strand possible. But with that, comes a word of warning, don’t allow yourself to slip into living in solitude as a hermit.

It is imperative to keep juices flowing and add to your personal memory bank getting as much on board as possible. So get out there and get involved in as many events, functions, and social affairs as possible with your eyes and ears wide open. You are probably thinking well how am I going to find the time to do all that in my already busy life? Don’t worry; your daily routine will also throw up a few ideas for good measure. Even half an hour sitting in the park or café can illuminate the exact situations or answers you’ve been looking for. Listen and watch! Then note! It works for me.

Everyone’s creativity is sparked by unique circumstances, so start searching deeply and laboriously into your subconscious with the following examples in mind which will throw out varying shades of sunlight. The power of daydreaming can transform rags to riches. So if you are sitting comfortably, close your eyes: slow your mind down and get ready to lift-off into the unknown.

Using characters for instance – to get the imagination revolving begin with a simple exercise by inventing lives for strangers you’ve seen in the park or café. You haven’t got a clue what this person does, no plots, goals or aims. So who is she? Where is she going? Why is she walking alone? Does she resemble someone you know? Give her a name to shape her image. This will add to or may conflict with your mental picture later.

Bait planted firmly, you can now expand on it. Exercise the imagination, turn your first impressions, thoughts around into different lights, hear what its saying, and play with it. Note down anything interesting, images perceived. The woman I saw in the park looked pale and fragile, her skin like tissue paper, her grey-hair greasy and thin – like rats tails. She will make a perfect third character in my short story, Family Inheritance, once I have taken her up to my domain, and dissected, with what if…? Or suppose that…?

A prime example for an exercise is to re-enact in mind an incident that has happened, imagine what the outcome would have been if things had gone differently.

The following example is taken from a short story in progress. The plot is a little sketchy at this point; I need to dress it up, add fire and colour, present my characters vividly and move the story forward. So I’ll take Jenna and her mum with me while I sprawl out on the sofa and gaze expressionless at the lounge ceiling.

Jenna and her divorced mum get on well, the dilemma being that Jenna wants to move in with her fourth boyfriend. Mum hit’s the roof, it won’t work.

What situation can I conjure up to make Jenna see she’s making another mistake?

Muddling it around in my head finding several conclusions I try to envisage every possible route by applying suppose that… or what if..?

I decide to let Jenna go, but in the meantime because of the upset she has caused, mum rents out Jenna’s room to a dear old friend.

On the other hand, mum could have sold up and moved north – or disagreed with Jenna entirely, disowning her – or insisted on moving in with the happy couple to make sure he doesn’t do the dirty.

My daydreaming session helped me visualise the most appropriate situation to move the story forward and entice the reader. Jenna and her mum in your head, what does your daydream reveal? Take your time, various scenes will appear and you may find that some elements you originally thought just don’t fit. You can then ask yourself; why did her mum do that? Or why is Jenna doing this? You will begin to think further ahead and the story will form into a plot as you guide it. Although, this doesn’t mean we should ignore the initial plot, as it is essential to have an early framework.

To refresh your daydreaming delve into your private fantasies, and keep your mind active. Read widely, observe details and study people. Daydreaming also creates ambitions and goals, setting you on the path to achieving these things. It really does wonders for the imagination.

Thanks for taking the time to read this fellow writers, authors, readers and friends. I hope you found it fun!!!

Currently, I am working on a Historical Novella early 1900’s I don’t intend to rush this as I want to enjoy the experience and create the book as I wish.

Also, The Writers Authors and Readers Group is my passion. A layman in Facebook skills landed me with the group accidently, but hey it has turned out to be awesome. We have some fab people on there and I am happy to help others. You are welcome to join, send a request it really is inspiring!

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

Lovely to meet you all! Other places to find me and leave comments!

https://www.facebook.com/annaswritingpage

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Anna-Shenton/e/B009MO4JHU

Anna Shenton

As If I Were A River by Amanda Saint

As If I Were A River

I’m very pleased to introduce fellow Urbane published author Amanda Saint on my blog today. Only released in April this year,  As If I Were A River is Amanda’s debut novel and has already received some rave reviews. It was selected as a Netgalley Top 10 Book of the Month for May 2016 and included in the WHSmith Travel Fresh Talent promotion.

Alison Moore, Man-Booker shortlisted author of The Lighthouse, says of As If I Were A River: Amanda Saint’s intricately plotted debut novel is a juicy Pandora’s box of mysteries and revelations.” 

As well as being a novelist, Amanda is also a short story writer and features journalist. She also runs her own creative business, Retreat West, providing all sorts of writing events. A nomad at heart, her feet haven’t stopped itching yet so she keeps on moving. 

Today, looking at the idea of missing people, Amanda discusses some of her research behind her debut novel.

 

Missing People

The premise of my debut novel is built around people that have gone missing but also about missing people, both in the physical sense as they are not there anymore but also in the emotional sense of wondering what might have been if they were still around.

One of the narrators is Kate, the youngest generation of three women in a family who tell the story. The story starts when her husband, Jimmy, vanishes and she has no idea what has happened to him or where he might be. But this serves as a catalyst for her to confront the issues she has been holding onto since childhood when her mother left the family and was never seen or heard from again. How this has affected everything she’s done since and how her personality has developed.

In researching the novel, I read many stories and watched documentaries about people who had gone missing, spoke to volunteers at the Missing People charity, and questioned the police in the local missing persons unit where I was living at the time. This helped me to create a realistic scenario around how Jimmy’s disappearance would be dealt with on an official level.

For the emotional reaction, I spent a lot of time just sitting and thinking about how I would feel if it happened to me and suddenly my life was no longer going to be what I thought it was. But in order to really create a compelling story I needed more conflict for Kate, there needed to be something else from her past that would add more pressure and that’s when I realised her mother, Laura, had disappeared from her life too. Once this piece of the puzzle fell into place then the story really took off.

But I realised that part of the reason I was so interested in missing people is that my life has this theme running through it too. I didn’t meet my biological father until I was in my thirties; at the time when I started writing this story my husband hadn’t seen his sister for about 15 years and, due to a family falling out I wasn’t a part of, I hadn’t see any of my cousins, aunts and uncles for about 20 years. So I had done a lot of that wondering about what relationships might have been if people had stayed around.

All of this fed into each of the three women’s narratives who tell the story and although it is a very sad tale, there is also a strong vein of hope, optimism and redemption running through it. Now that I’ve had time to step back from the story and be a bit more objective about it – I think what it essentially boils down to is that all you really need is love.

You can purchase As If I  Were A River here.

And you can contact Amanda here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmandaSaint.Author/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/saintlywriter

Amanda Saint

 

A day at Beaconlit with Rachel Dove

The Chic Boutique

Winner of the Mills & Boon Prima Flirty Fiction competition, I am very pleased to have the lovely Louise Dove, author of The Chic Boutique on Baker St. as guest author on my blog today. Rachel is a mum of two from Yorkshire. She has always loved writing and has had previous success as a self published author.

Having recently returned from the Beaconlit Festival of Books and Writing, Rachel gives us a fascinating insight into how it felt to be one of the members of the New Voices panel.

BEACONLIT

Saturday 2nd July was another first for me, in this year of being a published author. My first literature festival ever, and I was lucky enough to be a member of the New Voices panel, with Angela Clarke and Jeannie Waudby, crime and YA authors respectively. I arrived dressed up, nervous, armed with books and pens. I had spoken to the organiser Dave Sivers, an author himself, and the other panel members beforehand on social media, and was looking forward to meeting them and our moderator, author and tutor Morgen Bailey in person.

The experience was wonderful. I felt like I had stepped back into my mother ship, and all the other like minded people there were book loving aliens, lovers of the written word, like me. I was home!

The panel session flew by, I even raised a few laughs (intentionally, I might add) and the other panel members were a joy to chat and work with. I chatted about books, writing, agents and publishers with gleeful abandon, and very much enjoyed other talks too.

I sat afterwards in my hotel room, sniffing my goodie bag full of flyers, contacts and signed books (don’t tell my husband I bought books, ssshh!) and I am already looking forward to the next festival or writerly event. They are by far the best places to go to chat books, and be inspired. I shall be putting pen to paper this very night and making the most of the renewed enthusiasm I feel. Beaconlit, I salute you. Beam me up, Scotty.

Rachel is currently working on a new novel, and still submits regularly to magazines and competitions. You can purchase her novel here or alternatively contact her via social media (see below).

Rachel Dove author page https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1?ie=UTF8&text=Rachel+Dove&search-alias=books-uk&field-author=Rachel+Dove&sort=relevancerank

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterDove

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rachel-Dove-Author-373524896089079/

183 Times a Year – Eva Jordan

Thank you to the lovely John at The Last Word Review for such a wonderful review of 183 Times A Year!

The Last Word Book Review

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183 Times a Year by Eva Jordan

The Last Word Review

The trials and tribulations of family life are all captured beautifully within the pages of 183 Times a Year the debut novel by Eva Jordan. Look closely at the title and you may wonder what lies beneath the title of the book, apparently it is the amount of times a teenage girl will argue with her mother. Now I don’t know if this is a scientifically proven fact but I am sure there are mums out there who will actually think it could well be higher than 183 times a year.

AuthorCover 1.

Lizzie is a hard working mother, with a teenage daughter Cassie and a younger son Connor from her first marriage but now re-married her second husband has brought into the family fold his daughter Maisy, Connor seems to be the only child in the family who has a…

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