Saturday 29 December 2012

Giveaway: The Captain's Christmas by Leona Bushman

The Captain's Christmas
by Leona Bushman

Buy links below
While on a rescue mission, Faraway must save her ship from pirates before they destroy her Christmas.

Captain Faraway Hastings sets off on what she thinks is a regular rescue mission, even if it did have the bad timing to be on Christmas. Disparate reports from the medical officer and captain of the downed ship cause her to look more closely at the situation.

Ethan Roarke, lieutenant commander and chief medical officer, is frustrated with the time it's taking for help to come. When he learns that his captain has neglected to inform their rescuers of the dire straits his people are in, he's angry and concerned. But worse, his loyalties are now torn between his captain who lied and the one trying to save them.

When Fara and Ethan meet, the attraction is immediate and strong despite the circumstances. Can Fara and Ethan discover the pirates hidden amongst them before they kill everyone on the ship? Or are they doomed to miss out on their chance of a Merry Christmas?

Scroll down for excerpt & giveaway

About the author...

Leona Bushman
Leona Bushman lives in Eastern Washington with her husband and children writing, painting, gardening, running, camping, or just reading or crafting. She also loves to swim but rarely gets a chance to as she's busy chasing after the three of five children still left at home. Sassy and saucy, she can be found writing about her trials and errors as a mom and writer at the following places:

Blog    Website   Facebook

If you want more of her, she's found on Twitter as often as not at @L_Bushman just follow and don't be a spammer. She follows back if you look like a real person. Besides werewolves, she also likes zombies, vampires, dragons, and fairies. You're likely to catch her attention if you talk to her about any of the above. Or sports. She loves sports but rarely gets a chance to indulge that love. So speak up! Disclaimer: Watch out, she bites :D

Books currently out with Breathless Press:

The Ulfric's Mate: Book 1 in The War of the Weres series
Ravaged Anthology
Rick Sexed Up the Doc (Naughty Nursery Rhyme) 

Excerpt from The Captain's Christmas...

"I assure you, my people can count. And the tally with the last group waiting below is," she pushed some buttons on her wrist unit. "Seven hundred twenty eight men, women, and children. Would you like the breakdown?"

"I'm telling you. I have a complete list of our manifest here, and there are less than six hundred people, sir."

They stared at each other. "Well," she said after a beat of silence. "It seems we have ourselves some stowaways. Possibly—likely—dangerous ones."

"The other ship. I didn't think about it, but there were two main directions that the largest groups came from. That means," he stopped and looked to see if she'd had the same thought.

"That means, Lieutenant Commander Medical Officer Ethan Roarke, that as I'd suspected before landing my first shuttle there, the enemy is amongst us."

"Why would they do that? Why would my captain not tell me or you?"

"You know him better than I, but my take is he's trying to protect us. That, in his opinion, telling us would put us in more danger than not knowing. I happen to disagree. Knowledge is power in my experience."

"And mine," he replied. "It's not like him to withhold this type of information from me. He'd normally want me to be apprised so I can adequately prepare my medical team for the right kind of injuries. Have you asked the first officer?"

"No. I will do so once everyone's on board."

"He's in sickbay from injuries during the walk."

"Thank you for the information. In the meantime, keep your eyes and ears open. It goes without saying that I don't like having an enemy on my ship."

"Any more than I like that my captain may be responsible for allowing it to happen." Somehow, during the last part of their conversation, their voices had become quieter, as if they were afraid of being overheard. He'd placed himself so they were practically touching by the last word. When she said ship, a puff of air had landed on his lips. Their closeness made the tone of his response sound intimate as he dropped his volume in reaction to her closeness.

"I don't like hotheaded medics," she whispered.

"And I don't like pushy, bossy captains," he replied just as softly.

"Then you're going to hate me," she said and kissed him.

Buy links...

Breathless Press
Amazon UK
All Romance eBooks


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Friday 28 December 2012

The Road to Publishing: A Week On

I wasn't supposed to be blogging here today, but my actual blog host for today is missing in action and I didn't really want to miss a day, so I thought a recap post could be good.

Can you believe it's been a week already?

A week since my little 'baby', with all its flaws and imperfections, took its first tentative steps into the big bad world. My nerves were jangling and I was as giddy as a child on Christmas morning all day on release day, which was spent with my laptop in easy reach, hitting refresh and watching my rank rise and fall on both Amazon and Amazon UK. It was utterly surreal seeing people add the book to their Goodreads bookshelves and watching the reviews trickle in on both Amazon and Goodreads - but more on that later.

I must confess that I still check my rankings a couple of times a day - seeing as it will all be over soon, I'm not berating myself too much - and the overall picture looks a lot like a rollercoaster, with peaks and troughs, dips and swerves. My lowest ranking on both sites was on Christmas Day, but I'd expected as much with the majority of people offline; it's not as if I was online much during the day either.

I was elated when I broke into the top 1,500 contemporary romance novels on Amazon (top 25,000 of all books on Amazon!), so at least I'm easily pleased. I expect sales will start tailing off now, as the Christmas season draws to a close. There are still a couple of review sites yet to post, including Harlequin Junkie, but whether the new reviews will trigger one final rush is something I will have to wait and see. They're good to have in the bag for next Christmas anyway, especially as I will have a print version out one way or another.

So, speaking of reviews...

I'm overjoyed by the response to my debut book - from readers and professional reviewers alike - and even my 'bad' review was good, in so much she absolutely loved the first half of the book, describing it as, "Great. Seriously great." I'm not quite sure what went so hideously wrong but at least she found some merit in my writing even if she then slated the rest of the story. I've added a widget so that you can read some of the reviews left on Goodreads so far.

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that has bought Christmas is Cancelled - and an extra special thank you to those who have rated and/or reviewed it on Amazon or Goodreads, as without those reviews, I'm sure I wouldn't keep seeing as rise in my rank and reaching so many readers.

If you haven't bought it yet but want to, here are the links you will need...

Breathless Press
Amazon UK
All Romance Books
Barnes & Noble – coming soon
iTunes – coming soon

Thursday 27 December 2012

Twenty Questions with... C.R. Everett

Merry Christmas!!

I hope you've all had a truly wonderful Christmas, and got everything you hoped for. If you've been following my blog tour, you'll already know that Christmas was very nearly cancelled for real in the ABR household, thanks to the norovirus that my children felt necessary to share with my in-laws. Whoops!

But I'm not here to talk about me today, I am delighted to welcome C.R. Everett, self-published author of Love, Carry My Bags onto my blog. So, grab yourself a mocha and join us as we begin another round of twenty questions…

ACT ONE – all about you…

C.R. Everett was born in Northern Illinois and has lived in various places over the years, currently residing in Utah. For twenty years she worked in finance, but today devotes her time to writing. She lives with her husband, two kids, Shiba Inu, and cat. When not writing, she updates her website, connects with her readers, does the mom thing, or cleans up after unruly pets. In her free time she enjoys reading, usually at the gym while on a treadmill, baking, taking walks, enjoying nature, and going to Starbucks. Mocha is her favorite.

1) Have you always been a writer, even when you were doing the finance day-job, or is it something you fell into?

I’ve always written, but started getting serious while still working my finance job, squeezing it in on weekends or days off.

2) Do you have a particular writing style or ritual?

Not really. I write on my laptop wherever I feel like it…on the couch, at my desk, at Starbucks, while on travel. Sometimes urgent ideas come to mind and I have to scribble them on a napkin or gum wrapper.

3) Is there a book or an author that has influenced you in your writing?

There’s an older book for kids called Magnifi-Cat by Carolyn and Edmund Sheehan that I’ve never forgotten, about a self-sacrificing cat. It made me cry when I was eleven. I also adore The Thorn Birds and believe it has seeped into my pores.

4) Can you tell us three things about yourself that we probably don’t already know?

1) I got a ‘B’ in Private Pilot Ground School. 2) My dad wrote to the Queen of England when I was young, inquiring about her Corgis and we actually got a reply. I had a Corgi at the time and was a huge Corgi fan. 3) I visited the SPAM museum in Minnesota last summer.

5) What five luxury items or gadgets would you hate to be without?

My computer! Moose slippers (they are so cute). My Acura. Kindle. Starbucks card.

6) The festive season is in full swing, with Christmas already behind us as we turn our attention ahead to the new year. Will you be joining in the madness of New Year’s resolutions for 2013?

No. I try to be good all year.

ACT TWO – all about your new release…

Scroll down for buy links

Camryn Johnson’s world is turned upside down when long lost love, Reese Dahlgren, re-enters her life at a pivotal point in her already challenging marriage. She faces an excruciating predicament: choose between a broken home for her daughter or a broken life for herself.
After escaping the clutches of her Bible-bashing mother and moving in with her remarried mainstream minister father, religion-confused Camryn (dressed in Holstein livery) first meets high school basketball star, Reese, at the 1984 Harvard Milk Day Festival bed races on the streets of Harvard, Illinois, “Milk Capital of the World.” During the festival, she discovers a small-town dirty little secret: sleeper KKK live there.
Camryn already knew about the Klan uniform in the parsonage attic.
Reese has baggage of his own. He lives in the shadow of his otherwise no-good, pro-basketball playing brother, Ryan, his alcoholic father’s favorite. Unable to cope, he unwittingly backs Camryn into a corner during his air force enlistment—love him from afar, or leave him.
Enter ADHD afflicted, aerospace engineering student, Glenn Conroy. Persistent and savvy, he woos emotionally insecure Camryn and wins her heart. Or does he? When Reese re-enters her life, further disrupting her miserable, still undiagnosed, ADHD marriage, Camryn turns to best friend, Megan, for advice, but refuses to believe Megan’s suggestion that she’s caught in a “simple” love triangle.
Camryn unveils hidden mysteries and secrets as she embarks on a life-changing journey of revelation and forgiveness, transcending doormat qualities inherited from her mother, and in the process finds what creation and crucifixions are really all about.
7) Congratulations on your recent release of Love, Carry My Bags, what was your inspiration for writing Camryn and Reese’s story?

I’m pretending you didn’t ask that. Ask me what superpower I’d wish for instead. I’d wish for Wisdom so I’d know the correct choices to make, things to say, and things to do at all times.

8) Did the story flow from your finger tips or did some scenes take a bit of cajoling?

For the most part, the writing flowed. Some of the editing was tedious. I’d fuss an embarrassing amount of time over a sentence or a comma.

9) I see Love, Carry My Bags is your debut, how long did it take for the initial spark of the story to make it onto the page and then what prompted you to self-publish?

I thought about writing it for a year, took four or five years to write it, and another year or so to edit and agent-hunt. Finally I decided I could continue throwing my energy into finding an agent or I could throw my energy into getting my novel out into the world and that’s when I decided to self-publish. I’d heard of other people being successful. I knew I had a good book, so why not?

10) Do you have a favourite paragraph or sentence that you would like to tantalise us with?

“. . . I want to spend every last moment on earth with you. I want you to move here and live with me for the rest of our days, but I’m not ready for marriage and I don’t know when or if I will be.” I cried harder, feeling that I had closed, no, slammed this wide-open door shut.

11) Over to you, what can you tell us about Love, Carry My Bags, to make us rush out and buy it? (Although admittedly, I already have my copy and look forward to reading it)

Love, Carry My Bags is for those having a lost love or challenging relationship or who love an inspiring come-from-behind story. You’ll laugh and cry (some say at the same time). Bring tissues.

12) What can we expect from you next? Is there something you are working on right now?

I’m thinking about releasing a very short story that I wrote about why disastrous things happen. Beyond that, I have a “companion” novel in mind for Love, Carry My Bags that hopefully I can wrap up next year.

QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…

13) Plotter or pantser?

Some of each.

14) Secret Seven or Famous Five? (please tell me you know them!?)

I haven’t read either. Should I crawl under a rock now?

15) Digital books or print books?

Both are lovely.

16) Tea or coffee?


17) Cats or dogs?

Cats, especially after the canine demon escaped and ran all over the neighborhood.

18) Extrovert or introvert?


19) Save or spend?


20) Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook. Speaking of, that’s how I met you. Best wishes on your new release! [Thank you!]

And... that's a wrap!

Thank you so much for taking part, and sharing your new release with us.

You can find C.R. Everett online here:

Buy it now...

Love, Carry My Bags ISBN: 978-0-9882641-0-6


Amazon UK

Friday 21 December 2012

The Road to Publishing: Release Day

It's here!

It's FINALLY here!!!

I'll try and keep this brief, as I seem to be turning up all over the place with the blog tour posts, reviews, unexpected guest blog spots (keep your eyes peeled for a recipe today) and book spotlights, etc.

Yes, in case you hadn't guessed... it's release day.

I've had a good amount of pre-orders on my publisher's site, and then yesterday I appeared on All Romance Books, and Bookstrand. Just as I was shutting down for the night last night, I happened to look at Amazon and was live on there too. This morning, I've gone live on my publisher's, so if you pre-ordered a copy, you can now go back in and download if (and thank you!).

So, now I just have to sit and watch the reviews come in - so far, so good from the ARCs that went out - and see who adds Christmas is Cancelled to their Goodreads bookshelf, whilst trying not to stalk my sales figures too much. And because you're all special here on my blog, here's a little treat for you... you can read the whole first chapter here.

Speaking of sales, here are the all-important buy links:

Breathless Press
Amazon UK
All Romance Books

Links for Barnes & Noble, and iBooks will follow when they go live, but they could be a few days.

If you do happen to buy my book, I hope you like it - actually, I hope you LOVE it - and please consider leaving a review for me.

Thursday 13 December 2012

Twenty Questions with... Jennifer St George AND A GIVEAWAY

Here we are again with another guest ready to play a game of twenty questions with me.

In the hotseat today is another Australian - purely unintentional, even as I look out of the window at the frost and think of sunnier climes - so without further ado, please give a warm (no pun intended) welcome to Jennifer St George, author of The Convenient Bride published by Destiny Romance.

Jennifer will be giving a Kindle copy of The Convenient Bride to one lucky commenter here today!...

ACT ONE – all about you…

1) Having read your bio on your website, I see you had a very interesting and varied career before making the switch to writing. Out of all the skills you acquired in your ‘old life’, which one would you say has helped you the most in your new writing career? 

That’s a good question and the first thing that popped into my head was discipline. I treat writing like a paid job. I have to turn up every day, sit at my desk and produce. The long hours at my previous jobs prepared me well for a life of writing.

2) Do you have a particular writing style or ritual? 

I write so much better when I have a coffee in my hand. Mostly I write in various café’s around my home town of Byron Bay. I’m in them so often that each of the owners wants an acknowledgement in my next book.

3) Is there a book or an author that has influenced you in your writing?

I have so many favourite romance authors that this blog would be full of names. My favourite craft book is Karen Wiesner’s First Draft in 30 Days. 

4) Can you tell us three things about yourself that we probably don’t already know?

Hmmm. (1) – I’ve appeared on a reality TV Show. (2) I’ve run publicity campaigns promoting everything from environmentally-friendly toilet paper to Madonna’s Blond Ambition World Tour. (3) I just bought a gorgeous Cavoodle puppy.

5) What five luxury items or gadgets would you hate to be without?

Chanel No 5, my mobile phone, laptop, an Alannah Hill cardi and my DKNY handbag.

6) The festive season is looming large, do you have a particular Christmas tradition that you like to indulge in? And what about New Year’s resolutions, will you be joining in the madness for 2013? 

We always have a glass of champagne with our croissants on Xmas morning. I always make New Year’s resolutions. One always involves my losing five kilos.

ACT TWO – all about your new release…

Scroll down for buy links
Sienna De Luca will do anything to save her family's hotel, and ruthless Italian businessman Antonio Moretti knows it. With problems of his own, he proposes a marriage of convenience and plans to use Sienna to secure his next business deal. But things don't go quite according to plan.
In keeping with her part of the bargain, Sienna travels to Venice to be with Antonio, who introduces her to a life of great luxury and opulence. As befits the fiancée of the famous Antonio Moretti, Sienna is given a new wardrobe of designer gowns and outfits and instructed exactly how to behave when out in public. But after thinking he can manipulate her at will, Antonio begins to realize he has seriously underestimated Sienna, her intelligence, her skills, her courage – and her beauty. Unexpectedly, Sienna gets too close and when she discovers his dark secret, Antonio's perfectly planned life begins to unravel.

7) Congratulations on your recent release of The Convenient Bride, what was your inspiration for writing Sienna and Antonio’s story?

I visited Venice for the first time a few years ago. I had dreams of winning the lottery and saving one of those historic abandoned houses from disintegrating into the canals. I felt overwhelmed that something of such significance and beauty could be allowed to slowly decay while the world watches on.

It was whilst gazing at one of these grey, crumbling Venetian buildings that the idea for The Convenient Bride was born. The presence of such decay amidst the surrounding baroque splendour led me to reflect on the loneliness people can experience after the death of someone close. Both Sienna and Antonio live with the shadow of such sadness. For Antonio, this means he never notices the beauty that surrounds him every day. Sienna, on the other hand, has locked herself away from the life of love and passion she so desperately craves.

That trip to Venice inspired Sienna’s and Antonio’s story.

8) Did the story flow from your finger tips or did some scenes take a bit of cajoling? 

Actually this book flowed really easily. I spent a long time plotting it, so had all the scenes fully formed before I wrote them.

9) I see The Convenient Bride is your debut, how long did it take for the initial spark of the story to make it onto the page and then onto the publisher’s desk?

From memory it took me about six months to write The Convenient Bride and then a few more months percolating in a drawer before I edited it and sent it off.

10) Do you have a favourite paragraph or sentence that you would like to tantalise us with?

I have lots of favourite scenes, but I do love the end of Chapter Two. It ends with - Whatever happened, she needed to fit into Antonio’s world. But would his world grant her admission?

11) Over to you, what can you tell us about The Convenient Bride, to make us rush out and buy it?

Well if you are an aspiring author of contemporary romance, The Convenient Bride is a good book to read to see what Penguin’s new romance imprint line, Destiny Romance, is looking for.

As a reader, if you love passionate stories, set in glamourous locations with a wounded hero and a feisty heroine – you’ll enjoy The Convenient Bride.

12) What can we expect from you next? Is there something you are working on right now? 

My next book, Seducing the Secret Heiress comes out with Destiny Romance in January 2013. And I love the new story I’m writing now. The characters are from such different worlds. How will they ever get together?

QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…

13) Plotter or pantser? 

A reformed pantser – I now plot everything.

14) Secret Seven or Famous Five? (please tell me you know them!?)

Famous Five

15) Digital books or print books?


16) Tea or coffee?

What a question – coffee of course.

17) Cats or dogs?


18) Extrovert or introvert?


19) Save or spend?


20) Facebook or Twitter?


And that's a wrap!

Thank you so much for taking part, Jennifer.

If you'd like to visit Jennifer around the web, you can find her here:

Buy it now...

Destiny Romance
Amazon US
Amazon UK

And don't forget, one lucky commenter will win a Kindle copy of The Convenient Bride here today.

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Blog Guest: Why I Went Indie by Emma Mills

I am delighted to welcome Emma Mills onto my blog today, an author who I am privileged to be able to call a friend as well as a fellow writer. I am a huge fan of Emma's writing, which grows with each book as she weaves her world so fluidly, and brings her characters to life effortlessly -or at least that's how it feels when you read the WitchBlood series.

I also have a huge respect for self-published 'Indie' authors; having to become a jack-of-all-trades in the publishing business, with the writing almost having to take a back seat at times. To hear that I may have been instrumental in Emma Mills' decision to go that route is a huge honour, and I am very glad she did.

Anyway, rather than hear from me, I shall hand you over to the lovely lady herself...

Emma Mills

Big thanks to Aurelia for having me on her blog today, as she is a very busy blogger, with mountains of books stacked up (probably to the ceiling) and various writing projects on the go.

I thought a chat about why I chose to self-publish might be interesting and would let you know a bit more about me, so here we go…

Buy it now!

I wrote WitchBlood after becoming, quite frankly addicted to paranormal YA fiction. I happily devoured the Twilight series and then moved on to all the vampire fiction that followed. As a quick aside, some of my favourites are, the Sookie Stackhouse Series, Vampire Academy…I’m a big Adrian fangirl, Wings by Aprilynne Pike and more recently The Hunger Games.

The one thing I couldn’t find, at the time, was anything set in the UK. Now I have read, loved and become friends with some great UK authors, but they are hard to find in this genre. I also couldn’t find any YA fiction with witches in it…I hadn’t come across The Secret Circle then! So I decided to combine my two favourites and mix it up a little... vampires and witches, set against the wet, cloudy backdrop of my local city, Manchester.

I wrote WitchBlood throughout 2010 and after a thorough edit I was overjoyed to land myself a UK agent, who loved the book and believed in me. However, by the time she was sending to publishers it was the second half of 2011 and the response was always the same: We like her writing style but we have stopped taking on vampire fiction, or The market is saturated, could she write something else?

Buy it now!

Amazon US Amazon UK
In one way their feedback was great…at least they thought my writing was good enough, but on the other hand it was SO frustrating. I knew that WitchBlood was different, and I knew that people were still buying supernatural YA, but the tides had turned and there was nothing I could do.

I did try writing something new, but my heart wasn’t in it. I still wanted to write the whole series I’d planned out. My characters had become real to me and I couldn’t shut them away in a drawer, so when Aurelia suggested I self-publish on Amazon, I looked into it and decided I had nothing to lose.

Would I recommend becoming an indie author? Definitely! Do I still want a publishing contract? Of course I do, but I’d think about it carefully! Basically, self-publishing is hard work. I am the author, editor, cover designer and promotions team all rolled into one! The good thing about it, is that I can set my own timeframes and deadlines. I have total control over my work, when it’s published and what price to set.

On the other hand, I haven’t yet published in print, because self-publishing in print, in the UK, is tricky and can be costly. However, I would love to see my books in print on the bookshelves of my local bookstore.

Coming soon!
Do I think supernatural YA fiction is ‘over’? Not from what I’ve seen. I’ve had 25000 downloads of the WitchBlood series over the last six months and every day people I don’t know leave me messages asking when WitchLove will be out. I don’t think vampires will ever ‘be over’!

Me either, Emma - thank goodness - whatever would I read for fun without my regular dose of vampires?

But did I read that right? 25,000? And in just six months? Wow!! That is incredible, as well as truly inspiring. 

With so many self-published authors churning out what can best be described as 'dire', it is fantastic that readers are recognising your skill and coming back in their droves for the sequels. I've seen many of the reviews that readers and reviewers leave, and can totally see why you have such fantastic numbers.

I'm also not surprised to hear fans are getting in touch to demand to know the latest on WitchLove. I would be amongst them if it weren't for your regular status updates on Facebook and Twitter, letting us know how you are progressing. And on that note, I'm going to stop holding you up so you can crack on with those final edits. Patience has never been a virtue of mine!

Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your publishing journey with us, Emma. I'd like to congratulate you again on your success, and truly hope that this is just the beginning for your writing career.

Tuesday 11 December 2012

The Road to Publishing: Pre-Order!

Don't you just love this, despite the spelling mistake...

Aside from a little update to my 'All Set' post, I haven't really shouted on here that my book is now available to pre-order.

Yes. It's happening... IT'S REALLY HAPPENING!

You can now pre-order Christmas is Cancelled over at my publishers website, in your preferred choice of digital format, from ePub, to mobi (kindle), to Lit, PDB, PDF, Sony and Rocket. There is also a choice of currencies: US Dollar, GB Pound, Euro, Canadian Dollar and Australian Dollar, which hopefully covers the majority of readers.

And a huge thank you to those who have bought Christmas is Cancelled already, although, sometimes I wish I didn't have real-time sales figures!!

Christmas is Cancelled will get onto Amazon sometime on or after its release on December 21st, but will take a while to get onto Barnes & Noble, and iBooks. I shall share links as when they go live.

Christmas is Cancelled is also up on Goodreads, and I'd be delighted if you could add it to your virtual shelf to help spread the word. Click 'add book' and you won't even have to leave the page (I think!)
Christmas is Cancelled

My paranoia of reviews is also building up nicely, with a number of review sites/blogs accepting Christmas is Cancelled for review, with special review copies winging their way to them right now. EEK!

Are you all following me on my blog tour, by the way, it's been fun getting out and about? You might just want to keep your eyes peeled for some giveaways whilst I'm off on my travels...

Sunday 9 December 2012

The Road to Publishing: All set!

The time is almost upon us!

Release day is imminent and everything I need to do as the author is done so now it's just a waiting game...

Today also sees me kick off my blog tour, taking me right up to New Year's Eve. I hope you'll join me as we travel the globe spreading the word about Christmas is Cancelled.

In the meantime, please pop over and add it to your virtual bookshelf if you are a Goodreads user. It is so exciting to see my book there, will all the other ones, and looking like it belongs. A proud moment indeed!

 Christmas is Cancelled

ETA: Christmas is Cancelled is now available to pre-order!!

Wednesday 5 December 2012

IWSG: Rookie Nerves Taking Hold

If you saw my blog post a couple of weeks ago introducing the 'Insecure Writer's Support Group' (see here), then you'll know that today is the day...

I actually have a little confession.

I joined the IWSG a year ago, if not longer, but um... I didn't read 'the rules' properly and got kicked out when I failed to post the required blog posts. Whoops! I'd better get it right this time then.

So, with it being the first Wednesday of the month, I now have to share some of my more neurotic ramblings--or insightful advice (ha!)--with you all.

Insecure Writer's Support Group
As it so happens, I am getting more neurotic by the day...

Each new day brings me closer to 'release day' and by then, I dread to think what loop-the-loops my nerves will be engaging in. My work... my little story... is going to be out there for all to see.


Not just family and friends, who will hopefully say nice things or at least try to pull their punches a little, but the general public too. I'm just a faceless stranger to them, a stranger that just so happened to type a few (if 40,000+ equates to a few) words into the computer and then hit send.

Will they like it? Will they hate it? Will they write reviews full of vitriol and tear my little story to shreds? Will they write a review at all? Will they even finish the story or will my book make it onto the dreaded 'could-not-finish' shelf on Goodreads?

See... I told you I was getting a bit neurotic.

I'm being realistic as well though.

It's my first book and I know it won't please everyone; nobody knows what to expect from me for a start. Some readers will like it, some will not, and I can only hope there are very few haters.

I know there were little things I was thinking of doing with the story if I hadn't run out of time, but I imagine that is the same for most authors, regardless of how long they have been published. I can hand on heart say I'd be happy if my book averaged 3 stars, although more would be nice of course, but I really hope it doesn't scrape just one or barely reach two.

And as I scan over what I've already written, one word keeps jumping out at me... hope.

Even if it does receive more bad reviews than good, I mustn't give up. I mustn't lose hope. I have already achieved far more than I could have imagined this time a year ago, back when I was still dusting off my notepad and searching for a pen.

My New Year's resolution for this year was to finish a manuscript, that's all, yet here I am having turned down a book deal with one publisher and accepted two contracts from another. In a little over two weeks, I will be a 'published author' and that is something I can be proud of regardless of how many stars my book receives.

There is always going to be room for improvement, I am still learning my craft after all. I can't even write 'seriously' until my littlest starts school next September but I have so many projects and plans that I cannot wait to get stuck into and share with you. I just hope you'll all stick around and give me a chance...

Christmas is Cancelled will be available from December 21st, from Breathless Press and all major ebook retailers.

Keep your eyes peeled for details of my blog tour, kicking off on December 9th and running right through until New Year's Eve. And in the meantime, here is my book trailer again...

Monday 3 December 2012

Twenty Questions with... Téa Cooper

I am absolutely delighted to welcome Téa Cooper, author of Tree Change published by Breathless Press onto my blog today. I have been following Téa's progress for over a year now after meeting her 'virtually' during the New Voices competition in October 2011, and I can't wait to hear all about her debut novel.

We've all heard of twenty questions and seeing as I like to write following the three act structure, it seemed like a good idea to treat my interviews in the same manner. It will all become clear as you read on.

So, without further ado, let me formally introduce you to Téa Cooper...

Téa Cooper's website
Err... yeah... okay, that's enough with the formality; it doesn't suit me. Let's get started...

ACT ONE – all about you…

1) Have you always been a writer or is it something you fell into?

I’ve always been a writer. Apparently even before I went to school, when I had everyone’s name written on pieces of paper and stuck around my bedroom. I’ve got shelves of journals and diaries too. Some years they are full of busy, busy, busy and other years snippets of stories and poems. Being an author is something I always knew would happen one day – it just took me rather a while to get around to it!

2) Do you have a particular writing style or ritual?

Now I have the luxury of choosing I am definitely a morning writer – in winter I’ll stay in bed with a cup of tea, in summer I’m more likely to be outside watching the sun rise.

3) Is there a book or an author that has influenced you in your writing?

No! Not one book especially and not one specific author. I read everything from Shakespeare to billboards and I’m a bit like a sponge. I soak it all up.

4) Can you tell us three things about yourself that we probably don’t already know?

I hate telephones – mobile or otherwise…scary! I lived in India for twelve months. I have a scar through my right eyebrow – I fell through a shop window!

5) What five luxury items or gadgets would you hate to be without?

Does my Mac Book Pro count as a luxury item or a necessity? I couldn’t be without it. Kindle is getting close, coffee machine and probably not much else!

6) The festive season is looming large, do you have a particular Christmas tradition that you like to indulge in? And what about New Year’s resolutions, will you be joining in the madness for 2013?

My birthday is on Christmas Eve so Christmas is on hold until midnight then there’s always a mad rush. Christmas in Australia usually means seafood and beaches – it’s a tradition I have willingly adopted! Tough huh?!

ACT TWO – all about your new release…

Buy it Now
$3.49 / £2.49
(Amazon links below)
Forced to choose between the world she wants and the man she loves, Cassia opts for fame and fortune. But it's not enough—one taste and she's hooked again...
Despite her success in the Sydney art world, Cassia yearns for the idyllic life she once lead with Jake in their shack over looking the Pacific Ocean. Seeking closure she falls, like an addict, straight back into his arms, and out again equally quickly. Not only has he taken up with his brother's wife, but it seems they have a child.
Truth is, Jake's living a lie, sworn to secrecy, and hamstrung by the debt he owes his estranged family. But one glimpse of Cassia and he knows he cannot live without her. Her fey, artistic character and magical body possess his imagination and his heart. Can he convince her to trust him long enough to save the crumbling remains of their relationship?

7) Congratulations on your recent release of Tree Change, what was your inspiration for writing Cassia and Jake’s story?

Tree Change was originally called The Shack. The Shack actually existed many years ago. It overlooked one of my favourite NSW beaches – Pearl Beach (check out my Pinterest). Unfortunately the old houses have all been knocked down and the area has become a bit of a millionaire’s paradise but the view is still great. Cassia and Jake took over … I didn’t have much to do with the rest of the story!

8) Did the story flow from your finger tips or did some scenes take a bit of cajoling?

The story flowed pretty easily – the sequence was more of a problem.

9) With Tree Change being your debut novel, how long did it take for the initial spark of the story to make it onto the page and then onto the publisher’s desk?

It seems like forever but in actual fact not long. Tree Change was my 2011 New Voices entry and I wrote it specifically for that purpose in around October, sitting at Pearl Beach. After NV I decided to finish it. I sent it to M&B and got a R&R and truthfully I was disgustingly impatient so I sent it to a few e-publishers and signed with Breathless Press in April 2012.

(M&B = Mills & Boon and R&R = revise and resubmit)

10) Do you have a favourite paragraph or sentence that you would like to tantalise us with?

Her finger traced the text message. "2moro fwm. cu < 3"
Tomorrow. Fine with me or...fine with Madeleine? Good question.
Love you too.

11) Over to you, what can you tell us about Tree Change, to make us rush out and buy it?

If you like a tear jerker, and who doesn’t – Cassia and Jake are the perfect torn asunder couple. And if you’ve ever fancied a trip Downunder it’s a lot cheaper than a plane ticket – there’s a bit of suspense thrown in as well. There are some great images on Pinterest to get you ‘in the mood’, and most of them are originals.

12) What can we expect from you next? Is there something you are working on right now?

I have just finished my second Australian historical romance called Matilda’s Madness (Thanks to NaNoWriMo). It is a sequel to Lily’s Leap which will be published by Lyrical Press in May 2013. Both are set in Wollombi, the time-warp village I call home. I also have a couple of contemporary rural romances – The Protea Boys and Passionfruit & Poetry which I’ll have some exciting news about very soon….And I am waiting, and waiting, to hear about a novella I wrote called A Winning Streak. It’s a romance set in Ancient Greece.

QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…

13) Plotter or pantser?

Panster turned plotter 

14) Secret Seven or Famous Five? (please tell me you know them!?)

Famous Five

15) Digital books or print books?

Print first – digital for the convenience

16) Tea or coffee?

Tea when I wake up – coffee after that

17) Cats or dogs?

Dogs – everyone knows Poppy!

18) Extrovert or introvert?

Depends on my mood!

19) Save or spend?

Depends on my mood!

20) Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook – I talk too much to cram it into however many characters it is!

And there we have it!

Thank you ever so much, Téa, for answering my questions. It's been lovely getting to know both you, and Tree Change better.

I am SO with you on the hatred of telephones - can't stand them and avoid talking into them at all costs. Try to separate me from my smartphone, however, and the scenes wouldn't be pretty - just because I don't "talk" into it, doesn't mean I don't use it for everything else. And you know I'm going to have to ask you about the shop window incident some day, right?

Hey – thanks for having me over! Hope Christmas is Cancelled is a raging success!

Oh yes, not long now! EEK! I'm looking forward to coming over to your blog and telling you all about it on December 15th. In fact, this seems like a good time to share the ways to keep in touch with you:

Website     Blog     Facebook
Twitter     Pinterest     Goodreads

And, of course, the buy links for Tree Change I promised...

Breathless Press

Thanks again for stopping by, Téa, and I wish you every success with Tree Change. Maybe you like to come again soon to tell us more about Lily's Leap?

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