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Saturday, 26 January 2013

I'm going on a Book Blurb Blitz!

I'm off on my virtual travels again soon, so keep your eyes peeled over the coming days if you want to be in with a shout of winning a $20 dollar Breathless Press gift card (that could actually buy you quite a few books, you know!)


Check out the Blurb Blitz hosts' blogs, which I'll also be sharing the links to, so 'like' me on Facebook or 'follow' me on Twitter if you don't want to miss out on your chance to enter and win.

Even better, I get to travel with friends - hurrah!!


And here is where we'll be stopping off, so remember to pop by and say "hi", but please bear in mind that some of these blogs may be of an 'adult' nature.

Jan 28:  Stephanie's Book Shelf
Jan 28:  STOP 2  Urban Girl Reader
Jan 29:  Erzabet's Enchantments
Jan 29:  STOP 2  Musings From An Addicted Reader
Jan 30:  Of Kink, Romance, and Writing
Jan 30:  STOP 2 Wendi Zwaduk
Jan 31:  See Jane Publish
Feb 1:  Donna's Blog Home


Good luck!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Twenty Questions with... Eva Scott AND A GIVEAWAY

And here we are again, but today's special guest brings goodies too!

I am delighted to welcome Eva Scott onto my blog today, author of The Reluctant Wedding Planner published by Musa Publishing.

I’m sure you’re all familiar by now with the format, so here we go with another round of twenty questions as we try to get to know Eva that little bit better…

ACT ONE – all about you… 



Eva lives on the Sunshine Coast, in Queensland Australia with her fabulous husband and gorgeous little boy. When she’s not writing romance you can find her out on the water kayaking, fishing or swimming. When on dry land it’s all about the shoes and the coffee. 




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

I’ve been writing since I could hold a pen. Through my career I’ve done a lot of ‘technical’ writing as well as the odd magazine piece but it’s not until now I’ve written proper book length stories.

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

I basically grab free moments as they float past. I have a two year old who is no respecter of ritual. Luckily I can jot down a bit and come back to it without breaking the flow – thank goodness!

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

There are authors who have left me in awe such as Vikram Seth (A Suitable Boy), Kaui Hart Hemmings (The Descendents) and Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible). They set such high standards. I must confess after I read The Descendents I went about in a blue funk for a week thinking I’ll never write like that. I got over it.

4) Are you a native Australian, and if so, have you noticed a difference in style between Australian and UK/US authors? (Okay, so I cheated and asked two)

That’s such an interesting question. All three cultures are similar yet profoundly different. I notice subtle differences in the ways each culture has its heroines and heroes react to events in stories. I lived in Britain for 6 years so I get the British-mindset. The Americans I’m still working on.

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

I collect aprons. I adore them. They make me feel all domestic goddess-ish.

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

My coffee maker

My lap top (obviously)

A bottle of Chanel Mademoiselle

My kindle

And my jewellery specifically the diamond and pearl stuff

ACT TWO – all about your new release…

Available NOW!
Dr Camden James is a rural vet, not a wedding planner, so he quickly feels out of his depth when, in a fit of generosity, he offers to glam up his sister's budget wedding in a secret move designed to surprise her. With only six weeks to make this the wedding of his sister's dreams he needs to move fast.
Stumbling around in the largely female world of weddings he gets a lead on the go-to girl for wedding flowers - Georgiana Mac Intyre. Georgi, reeling from a very public breakup, is not interested in men in anyway shape or form. Not even super-cute vets - even when they are clearly interested in her.
Cam shamelessly uses his story to get her to help. It has all the elements; romance against the odds, true love, orphans (you can't have good story without an orphan or two), and a bride.

7) Congratulations on your recent release of The Reluctant Wedding Planner! I love the blurb, and have already added it to my to-be-read list, but can you tell us what your inspiration was for writing Cam and Georgi’s story?

The Reluctant Wedding Planner was my first proper attempt at a romance and I was inspired to tell a story about a girl overcoming her bad man karma and recognising love when she sees it. I have girl friends (myself included) who have dated an endless string of the wrong guys only to struggle to see Mr Right when he finally arrives.

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

There were a couple of patches that got ‘soggy’. I wrote it out of sequence to try and knit the story together in bits where I had no idea what the characters might do. I was a total pantser in the beginning but I’m more of a plotter now. I think you need a balance between the two.

9) 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?

I wrote The Reluctant Wedding Planner for the Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Competition. I came fourth that year and boldly sent it forth to publishers. A couple of rejections (and some good advice) later I managed to get a contract with Musa Publishing. The whole process took about a year.

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

Cam was busy talking to the sales assistant by the time Georgi caught up with him.


“We're looking for a wedding dress” he was saying. “Not entirely sure of the style. We'll need to see several I think.”

“Do you have a budget?” The sales assistant mentally measured Georgi up. Cam named a figure.

“May I ask what size you are, madam?”

“Who me? No, I'm not…”

“You'd be a size twelve, wouldn’t you?” said Cam.

“Ten actually.” Georgi responded automatically. “But…”

“Size ten it is.” The sales assistant disappeared to round up a selection of dresses.

“What on earth do you think you are doing? I am not trying on a single dress. I said I'd help you pick a dress out but you never said anything about trying it on!”

“You are Katherine's size and of similar build. If you try the dresses on we have a better chance of finding one that would fit. Are they playing Highway to Hell, because it seems a little off to me for this kind of shop? AC/DC? Really?” He pointed upwards, and indicated the music playing in the background.

11) Over to you, what can you tell us about The Reluctant Wedding Planner, to make us rush out and buy it?

If you’re looking for a feel-good story with a couple of cute animals, a handsome rural vet, a feisty florist all revolving around a wedding then this is for you.

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

I’ve branched out and written a historical set in Ancient Rome. Love between a wild warrior woman and a Roman Centurion forms the central story with a bit of adventure along the way. If you like sweaty gladiators then this is for you. Slated for release in April 2013 in partnership with Harlequin Escape.

QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…


13) Plotter or pantser?

Plantser (half and half)

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

Famous Five – of course!

15) Digital books or print books?

Both. Some books demand to be read in ink for some reason. But I’d die first before I let anyone take my Kindle away.

16) Tea or coffee?

Freshly brewed coffee in the morning and Builders tea in the afternoon.

17) Cats or dogs?

I have three dogs so I guess that speaks for itself.

18) Extrovert or introvert?

While I’m outgoing and friendly I’d really rather be at home with a book so I’ll say I’m a secret introvert.

19) Save or spend?

Spend! Spend! Spend! Just ask my husband.

20) Facebook or Twitter?

I prefer the concept of Twitter yet it's Facebook I turn to every morning.

And that’s a wrap!

Thank you so much for taking part, Eva, I don't think I've ever spoken to anybody that openly admits to collecting aprons. Tee hee! But it's probably best not to offend my guest considering she's offering not one book as a giveaway, but two!

Yes, there are two of Eva's books up for grabs, The Reluctant Wedding Planner and also Twas the Night Before Christmas. You can enter just by leaving a blog comment below, but if you're not fortunate enough to win (or too impatient), the all important buy links are here too.

If you'd like to connect with Eva, you can find her at:

Blog     Facebook     Twitter     Website


Buy it now:
Musa Publishing
Amazon (coming soon)
Amazon UK (coming soon)
ISBN: 978-1-61937-440-9
Word Count: 42,426 / Heat Level: 1

Buy it now:
Musa Publishing
Amazon
Amazon UK
ISBN: 978-1-61937-566-6
Word Count: 9,185

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Twenty Questions with... Christy McKellen

Oh dear... this is coming to you far later than planned - thanks to the flattest tyre I have ever seen which resulted in an awful lot of walking for me today, and my fab husband saving the day - but I'm sure you'll agree, it was well worth the wait.

I am delighted to welcome Christy McKellen, author of Her New Worst Enemy onto my blog today. So, let’s get 2013 started with another round of twenty questions…

Hi Aurelia, thanks so much for having me here today. 


ACT ONE – all about you…



Formerly a Video and Radio Producer, Christy now spends her time as either a slave to her children or her muse. When she’s not writing spicy romance, she can be found stomping around the South West of England, glomming her to-be-read pile or escaping from real life with her rather delicious husband.


1) Have you always been a writer, even during your Video and Radio Producer days, or is it something you fell into?

I’ve always enjoyed writing – creative writing was my favourite subject at school and I’ve written stories purely for pleasure for years. I used to do quite a bit of writing in my job, but it was mostly fact-based. Sadly very little romance is required in the corporate world.

2) 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?

Understanding how to structure a programme has really helped me in structuring my stories. Also, finding interesting ways to talk about what can be pretty ordinary things has been a really useful tool for both careers.

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

I don’t really. I write when I can steal the time and it can be anywhere: the sofa, the kitchen table, in bed… the list goes on. I think of myself as an adaptable writer.

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

I’ve been influenced by a lot of different authors; I like to read widely to keep myself on my toes. If I had to choose one author, it would be Kate Atkinson – I love her voice and her writing is so smart and engaging.

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

Sure. I can’t roll my tongue, even though the rest of my family can (swapped at birth maybe :) I had a great uncle called Gordon Bennett and I used to be pretty good at high jump – not any more sadly, I’ve lost my bend.

Oooh, I got called Gordon a lot at school because my maiden name is 'Bennett' :-)

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

My laptop, my Kindle, my smart phone, my kettle (big tea drinker) and my six-foot bed.

ACT TWO – all about your new release…


Scroll down for excerpt!
Six months ago Ellie Holdsworthy’s life was all planned out - kids, wedding, happy ever after - until her boyfriend dumped her for another woman. Now her best friend, Penny - an heiress to a small fortune - looks set to run off with a gold-digger, and Ellie is determined to save her from certain doom . Unfortunately, the only person who can help is the one person she’d rather not ask...
Little does Ellie know, persuading her brother’s best friend - commitment phobic, playboy businessman, Gideon DeLancy - to hold an intervention at his beautiful Georgian manor would be the easy part. Keeping her hands off him is a whole other matter.
Gideon doesn’t intend to fall for his friend's snarky sister, and he sure as hell doesn’t expect their weekend to develop into a full-on sex-fest. When passion takes a strangle-hold, their differences don’t seem to matter. After all, a torrid weekend affair should be the easiest thing in the world to walk away from, so why are they finding it so difficult...?

7) Congratulations on your recent release of Her New Worst Enemy, what was your inspiration for writing Ellie and Gideon’s story?

A friend of mine went through a similar experience to Ellie’s and came through fighting. She’s a real inspiration to me. I wanted Ellie to have someone as great – albeit as damaged – as Gideon to help her through to the other side. They pretty much save each other.

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

It mostly flowed, I’m pleased to say. There were moments when I wanted to bang my head on the desk, but they were few and far between.

9) I see Her New Worst Enemy 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?

I wrote the first chapter a couple of years ago and it languished on my hard drive until the beginning of last year when I dusted it off and set back to work on it. After I began again, it took about six weeks to write, four more to edit and prepare it for submission.

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

Ellie is a bit off the wall and says some rather snarky things to Gideon when she’s feeling uncertain of herself. She’s barged into a restaurant while his date is in the bathroom to ask for his help and has one last ditched attempt at getting him on board with her rather crazy plan:

Diplomacy lost the fight with desperation. “Gideon.” She cut him off, leaning in, menacingly. “I’m not budging from this chair until you agree to do this. I can make life very difficult for you. I’m not above a bit of stalking, and if you don’t agree right now, your current eye candy will have to finish her meal sitting on my lap.”

Ellie crossed her arms defiantly and stared across at him, her heart racing, inwardly begging him to relent. Maybe she’d gone too far? But desperate times called for desperate measures, and if he didn’t agree she had no idea what she’d do. He was her only real hope.

11) Over to you, what can you tell us about Her New Worst Enemy, to make us rush out and buy it?

It’s sexy, snarky fun. What’s stopping you?

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

I have about three projects on the go, but the one I’m aiming to finish next is set in the South of France and involves a workaholic and a wanderer. Sparks are definitely going to fly between these two!

QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…


13) Plotter or pantser?

Plotster.

Well that's a new one on me - somebody that does a bit of both, perhaps?

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

I really liked both, but I’ll go with Secret Seven.

15) Digital books or print books?

Again both, but I buy way more digital books now I have my Kindle.

16) Tea or coffee?

Tea, definitely.

17) Cats or dogs?

Cats. I have a jazz cat called Zorro at home. He’s a bit unhinged, but very loving.

18) Extrovert or introvert?

Introvert.

19) Save or spend?

Spend!

20) Facebook or Twitter?

Probably Twitter. I like the brevity of it.

And that's a wrap!

Thank you so much for taking part, Christy, I wish you lots of success with Her New Worst Enemy and already have it in my 'to-read' list.

Thanks for having me, it’s been fun!

Christy loves to hear from readers. You can contact her at:


Facebook     Twitter     Blog


So, we've seen the cover and read the blurb, now for all important details and a excerpt to whet the  appetite...


Published by Crimson Romance
Released 7th January 2013

Buy links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
iTunes



Excerpt:


Ellie Holdsworthy took another long, shaky sip of wine as she waited for the perfect moment to put her plan into action.

From her vantage point at the restaurant bar she had a perfect view of Gideon and his date as they took turns impressing each other over their untouched food.

He hadn’t changed a bit since she’d last laid eyes on him nearly a year ago. His short, pitch black hair shone in the dim light of the candles flickering on the table, and even from this distance she could make out the sharp contours of his cheekbones and the full curve of his lips.

Her body thrummed with nerves. At least, that’s what she put the unsettling feeling down to.

She continued to watch him charm his date, his athletic, rangy body draped comfortably over the chair. A couple of women on a table to his left were also surveying him surreptitiously, mesmerized by his striking looks and effortless charisma.

Fools.

She snorted with derision as he tipped his head back and gave a deep growling laugh at something his blond companion said. It was sad really, how the poor girl had no idea what she was letting herself in for.

If she hadn’t known him since she was twelve and seen this very same act being performed year after year with a different woman each time, she might have been taken in herself. As her brother’s best friend, Gideon DeLancy had been in and out of her life now for seventeen years. She was well versed in his womanizing ways.

Ellie knew why women fell for him. He was an amazing looking man, confident, funny...rich. In fact there wasn’t a single reason not to fall for him—if you didn’t mind your relationships short-term and emotionless. That was why she’d kept her own childish crush on him so well buried; there was no happy ever after with him. It was men like him who gave women like her false hope.

A flash of scarlet skirt at his table brought her focus back. She watched as his leggy blond companion rose and sashayed off towards the ladies room, finally leaving him alone.

Show time.


Wednesday, 2 January 2013

IWSG: What a Difference A Year Makes

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time for...

Insecure Writer's Support Group
Seeing as it's also the start of a new year, I thought it would be good to look back over the past year.

If you'd have told me twelve months ago, that I would be published by Christmas and have a second contract under my belt by this time, I'd have probably laughed. Quite possibly, hysterical laughter, bordering on maniacal. Not because I didn't believe in my writing, but because it has all happened so fast, without the mass rejections I'd prepared myself for beforehand.

This was my goal as we entered 2012:

"I have two manuscripts on the go at the moment, 'The Masquerade Must Die' and 'Love in the Aisles', and I intend to finish the first draft of at least one of them during 2012.
Ideally, I will also revise and edit one of them and get my first query letter sent out but I don't want to go as far as making that a resolution - I would much rather wait until I had a worthy manuscript than rush it off because of a self-imposed deadline. Maybe I'll have it ready in time for next year's Mills and Boon New Voices competition and can go down that route instead, maybe not. I'll just have to wait and see how it goes."

So how did I do?

Well, The Masquerade Must Die is now called Pussy Kat, Pussy Kat (Where Have You Been?) and it will be book two in my self-published Peer Pressure series. Although this story is fully outlined, I suspect it will be 2014 before I can really get stuck into this one. What of Love in the Aisles then? Sadly, that too is languishing 'in the pipeline', having been shoved aside by one project after another. I will get to it, but it isn't one of my priority projects.

Instead, I started Their Last Goodbye and got 35,000 words into it. I even sent off a chapter and synopsis for the Mills & Boon Romance Fast Track, but wasn't at all surprised when it was rejected. Until I heard back from M&B, it was stuck in limbo as I couldn't really proceed in case I completely needed to change the heat level to suit them.

Then came the submission call-out for Christmas themed stories and it got rudely shoved to one side. It was almost like a switch flicking on, and I suddenly got it... writing, I mean. Overnight, my writing improved dramatically. Christmas is Cancelled became the first manuscript I ever typed 'the end' on, achieving my goal for the year. It was, of course, snatched up by Breathless Press (not to mention the contract I turned down from another epublisher) and meant I finished the year as a published author.

After that, I got the idea for my Peer Pressure series, but rather than go into that again, you can read all about it here. Now, it's back to Their Last Goodbye as the characters are getting upset at being ignored, and a dog barking inside your gets a little bit irritating. The story has already been back on the cutting room floor once, with the first couple of chapters getting a complete overhaul, and reading much better now as a result.

Later this year, my youngest starts school full-time so I will be able to make the switch from hobby to career, and I have to be honest, I can't wait. I even have my office ready and waiting so I can physically 'go' to work. In the meantime, I have to remember to make the most of her whilst she is at home as I will miss her enormously when she's at school all day. For now then, my writing time is limited to the two hours she is at nursery school and evenings, with the occasional weekend.

After the reaction, reviews and response I've had to Christmas is Cancelled, I am really starting to believe in myself - albeit in a paranoid, what if I can't match it, kind of way - but I know I am writing some good stuff right now and look forward to sharing it with the world.

Bring on the next twelve months!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year for 2013

Another year gone in the blink of an eye, so that must mean it is Resolutions time again.


Okay let's start of with the recap, so what were my Resolutions for 2012?

Um... uh-oh!!

1) Shed that extra stone


I haven't got a clue if I've achieved this or not, as I haven't weighed myself in months. I doubt it very much, but my clothes fit well and I feel good in myself, and I certainly don't think I've gained either. I did at least do the Race For Life, albeit walking a lot of it, AND I jogged the Sport Relief 3-mile fun run with my year-old son, raising hundreds of pounds for very worthy causes.


2) Read 100 books


This one was cutting it very close, and resulted in a reading marathon to hit that elusive '100' on Goodreads.

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Aurelia B Rowl has
read 60 books toward her goal of 100 books.
hide

3) Complete the first draft of a full manuscript


Well, I did a lot better than that, wouldn't you agree? My first completed manuscript was released eleven days ago, and my second completed manuscript was also contracted and will be released this Spring under my other alter-ego.

Two out of three isn't bad - especially as I stomped all over that third one, which is partly why the others didn't do so well.


So what about my resolutions for 2013?


I'm sticking with the three - one personal, one professional and one other...

1) Read 50 books


After cutting it so close last year, and knowing the number of writing projects in the pipeline, I think just under one book a week should be plenty. If I read more, hooray, but I'd be happy to reach fifty anyway.

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Aurelia has
read 0 books toward her goal of 50 books.
hide


2) Self-publish my first novel


This year I want to finally finish Their Last Goodbye, and get that submitted, and then I want to return to Bye Bye, Black Sheep (Peer Pressure #1) and get that self-published this year. Obviously from September, I can treat writing as my job rather than my hobby, and my productivity will hopefully improve dramatically.

3) Take part in another sponsored event


I've been caught by the bug and would like to raise funds for a worthy cause again this year. It is currently a toss-up between doing the Race For Life again, or doing the Manchester Midnight Walk. I have to say, I really fancy doing the midnight one, and then maybe volunteer to be a marshall or carry out some other role for the Race For Life.



So what about you?
What goals have you set yourself for the year ahead?



Related posts:


New Year's Resolutions for 2012 (13 December 2011)
> Off topic: Race for Life 2012 - for Nan... (18 January 2012)
Off topic: Sport Relief 2012 (26 March 2012)
> My Poor Neglected Blog (29 June 2012)
Update: New Year's Resolutions 2012 (20 July 2012)