Monday 29 July 2013

Trailer Reveal and Giveaway

Last week saw me hard at work on my book trailer for Popping the Cherry, which unfortunately, I cannot share with you yet, so...

Seeing as I can't share my book trailer with you, how about the brand new trailer from my fellow Carina author, Katlyn Duncan, who was here a few weeks for a round of twenty questions? (See here if you missed it) Better still, there is a giveaway too *thumbs up*

(Quick note: if you want to be among the first to see the trailer for Popping the Cherry, make sure you sign up to my newsletter to get the exclusive preview.)

Add to Goodreads

After-life just got a lot more complicated
Maggie is a Soul Collector. It’s her job to transport souls from the Living Realm to the After – but during a mission to find a stolen soul, she ends up stuck in a teen mean girl’s body. 
Trapped, Maggie’s soul is catapulted into Ally’s life – and the human world she hasn’t experienced for one hundred years. But, as a descendant of the most powerful beings in the After, Maggie must rescue Ally before the girl’s soul dies… 
To survive, Maggie must uncover devastating secrets – because with one soul taken by a terrifying enemy, Maggie’s could be next!

Trailer reveal...


The giveaway is for one Kindle eBook copy of SOUL TAKEN to anyone who can accept Kindle eBook gifts from the Amazon US store.

There will be ONE winner.

Buy it now...

Soul Taken (The Life After #1) by Katlyn Duncan
Release date: June 4, 2013 


A suffocating heat pressed all points of my soul. Even though I hadn’t breathed in a hundred years, I felt the need to inhale, yet I couldn’t. A fire burned in my chest.

I attempted to open my eyes, to move one finger, a toe maybe, but the pressure immobilized my body. The burning sensation tore through me over and over until I had just about given up the fight.

But, just as quickly as the pressure came, it lifted, bringing a seemingly endless barrage of images. I was experiencing someone else’s memories, as if I took a back seat in her mind and watched her life flash before our eyes. I caught her image in a mirror, a small golden-haired girl.


I tried to slow the images or possibly make sense of them but, just as I grabbed a hold on one of them, it slipped through my fingers and moved onto the next. I followed this girl through all the moments of her life as her memories flashed before my eyes.

Darker emotions overlapped the girl’s happy memories. I saw a young red-haired girl in an old-fashioned dress; her demure eyes looked back at me. Jealousy flared through me. My heart squeezed, watching this girl who was not part of Ally’s memories. A rush of energy pumped through my body; the power touched every fiber of my soul. Then the vision dissolved and I was forced back to experiencing Ally.

Was I dreaming?

Souls didn’t dream. I told myself firmly.

The visions started to slow and I was able to focus on one.

I had to tell them, even though Dad said I couldn’t. But in a week I wouldn’t be the same girl. Or would I? I still wasn’t clear on everything. Becoming a Guard: it was my life’s mission, he had said. A life that was no longer my own. Would it be easier to let this life slip away? I would regret each day if I didn’t. Maybe I would start with Seth. Sweet Seth. He’d be crushed, but someone would take my place. Dad had said something about people—humans— was I not human? Humans were drawn to those like me. Maybe Seth only liked me because I was different, unexplainably different.

I ripped the paper off the coffee sleeve. It was now or never.

About the Author...

Katlyn Duncan was born and raised in a small town in western Massachusetts. Her overactive imagination involved invisible friends, wanting to be a Disney Princess and making up her own stories. Her bibliophile mom always encouraged her love of reading and that stayed with her since. Even though she works full time in the medical field Katlyn has always made time for books, whether she is reading or writing them. 

Katlyn now lives in southern Connecticut with her husband and adorable Wheaten Terrier and she is thrilled to finally share her stories with the world. 

Thursday 25 July 2013

Guest post and GIVEAWAY: Cross Genre – Why Has It Taken So Long?

Today, I am thrilled to welcome Sandra Harris onto my blog to talk about something close to her heart, so over to you, Sandra...

It seems that for years, to satisfy my reading experience, I have needed to purchase two types of book. Romance and science-fiction/fantasy. I love reading Mills & Boon (Presents). One of my favourite authors is Terry Pratchett. However, a combination of romance and science-fiction seemed to be something that publishers deemed an unmarketable item. The novel had to be either a romance with science fiction elements, or a science fiction novel with romantic elements.

Why? This is something I could never figure out. I’ve been told it’s because distributors couldn’t pigeon hole it. I’m left scratching my heading thinking, So why can’t you just introduce a new segment for Science Fiction Romance? Fortunately for me, the astute ladies at Soul Mate Publishing recognize that there is a demand for cross genre work, especially of the romance nature.

Alien, Mine is a science fiction adventure with a romance at its heart. To separate the romance from the adventure would diminish the story – and vice versa. It would be like tearing H2O molecules apart. Which is fine if you want hydrogen and oxygen (plus the odd quantum particle), but not if you want water. In the case of cross genre fiction, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

So, how long have you hankered after cross genre romance? Do you scour the net for hours searching for that paranormal/historical/suspense thriller romance? Can’t find it? Then get thee to Soul Mate Publishing and make like a kid in a candy store!


One lucky commenter will win a Kindle copy of Alien, Mine so don't forget to say 'hi.'


Torn from modern day Earth and stranded on the far side of the Galaxy, Sandrea Fairbairn must use every particle of courage she possesses to adjust to her new life and live for tomorrow/a new day.

Eugen Mhartak, a general in the Tri-Race Alliance Army, refuses to bow to the merciless Bluthen. Haunted by the loss of far too many innocent lives he has vowed to drive the ruthless invaders from Alliance space.

The strength and valour of Eugen Mhartak attracts Sandrea as no man ever has, but she struggles to read the enigmatic general’s heart. Determined to help him triumph over the Bluthen she uncovers a diabolical plot against the Alliance.

Drawn by the courage and exotic beauty of Sandrea, Mhartak battles to overcome the barriers of cross-cultural differences that separate them and claim her ardent interest. He must conquer his deepest fears to be the man she needs. When his principles are betrayed by his own government and he is faced with the impossible prospect of taking Sandrea’s life in order to save his home planet, Mhartak desperately searches for a way to keep safe both his world and the magnificent woman who has stolen his heart.

Buy Links

About Sandra

Born in the far north of Australia, yearly cyclones, floods and being cut off from civilization for weeks at a time were the norm. An outrageous imagination helped occupy Sandra’s mind.

An abiding interest in astronomy and a deep-seated need to always see the good guys win naturally influences her writing. Not satisfied with the amount of romance in science fiction novels she set out to redress the balance.

She currently lives in sunny South East Queensland, Australia, with her husband and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who doesn’t seem to realize she comes from royalty and should act in a more appropriate manner.

Sandra on the web

Thursday 18 July 2013

Twenty Questions with... Amy Bird

I gives me great please to welcome Amy Bird onto my blog today, author of Yours is Mine released TODAY from Carina UK.

Fresh from her launch party in London, I have grabbed the multi-talented Amy for a round of twenty questions, to get to know my fellow Carina author even better.

ACT ONE – all about you…

Born in Hampstead, North London, I moved all around the UK for the next 18 years, before coming back to London for university. I’ve been here ever since, only a few miles from where I was born, with my plays and novels often set partly in the area. I’m currently completing my Creative Writing MA at Birkbeck, and I’m also an alumni of Faber Academy. As well as being a writer, I’m also a lawyer – I work 4 days a week at one of the big City firms, specialising in employment law – and a trustee of a new writing theatre. When I’m not writing or lawyering, I’ll generally be found cooking with my husband, or in a theatre somewhere, or out and about sampling the cultural delights of North London. 

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

I started writing a novel when I was 11 and, ever the optimist, sent the first chapter off to HarperCollins for their consideration. I received a very kind response saying that if I finished the book, they would be delighted to read it. Unfortunately I ‘lost the plot’ hallway through it and began writing plays instead. As an adult, I’d shelved writing, apart from the occasional university revue, until I saw the fun my husband was having with his own writing. He encouraged me to start writing again and now here I am…

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

I always go for a walk before I start writing – it sharpens my thinking and lets the ideas circulate in my brain. Out in the sunlight, you can also sense-check whether the ideas you had late the following night actually work. Once back home, I ensconce myself in my study, where I have a lovely view of the garden from my desk, open up my laptop, and begin to write. Then I realise three hours have passed and I really ought to move.

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

So many. When I was growing up, I had a diet of classics – Daphne du Maurier, E.M. Forster, Thomas Hardy and Patrick Hamilton in particular. I also loved the dark comic worlds created by Joseph Connolly. More recently, favourites have included Gillian Flynn and S.J. Watson for their sinister brooding and chilling suspense.

4) Is there one piece of writing (or life?) advice that has stuck with you, or that you would like to share?

Just keep going!

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

I had a piece of work exhibited in the Tate, Liverpool when I was five (it was called ‘Globe with a Nose’ – about as profound as it sounds), I once played Ophelia’s biological clock in the West End, and I recently did a coast-to-coast road trip across America.

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

iPhone, MacBook, iPad, eye pad/ sleep mask, and my husband. Query though whether he is a luxury item or a gadget.

ACT TWO – all about your new release…

How far would you go to get your life back?

Kate Dixon is miserable. So when an email arrives from psychology student Anna, offering her a no-strings-attached, three month long life-exchange, she jumps at the chance. After all: what has she got to lose?

But she doesn’t bank on how much Anna has invested in the swap. How long she’s been watching, putting her immaculate plan together as she waits to enter Kate’s life. And as more comes to light about Anna’s past, Kate finds herself in a desperate race to protect all she holds dear.

Leaving your life in someone else’s hands is a dangerous game; Kate’s about to find out just how seriously her opponent is playing.

Yours is Mine is a chilling psychological thriller perfect for fans of Gone Girl and Before I Go To Sleep.

7) Congratulations on your recent release of Yours is Mine, what was your inspiration for writing Kate’s story?

One of my colleagues had his bag stolen while we were on team away day. That made me think – what is the most important thing you could have stolen from you? Probably your identity. And then I thought – what if you surrendered your identity voluntarily? And who would do that? The answer was Kate, my protagonist – recently bereaved, a lonely and vulnerable ‘Navy Wife’, she sees the chance to get her spark back by agreeing to a temporary identity exchange with another woman, Anna. Crucially, Kate believes that her own identity will be safeguarded. Anna has other plans.

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

Once Kate and Anna appeared to me, the story flowed, as I had a very real sense of them and their progression in my head - I was just writing out their stories. They are very different characters, though (one innocent, one destructive), and as the book alternates between their points of view, I had to make sure I ‘channelled’ the correct one at the correct time.

9) I see Yours is Mine 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 turned the idea for the story over in my head for about a month before I sat down to write, and I finished the first draft of the book nine months later – so a traditional gestation period! It’s gone through a number of revisions since then to make sure Kate and Anna are fully explored. Then in February this year I submitted to Harlequin, through their new digital imprint Carina, my editor (thankfully) loved it, and now here it is on Kindle screens!

10) Do you have a favourite paragraph or sentence from your story that you would like to tantalise us with?
Kate had taken the bait. Anna knew she would. Anyone would, personally selected in that way. People were arrogant, flattered that someone should want to take over their life. Kate was no different from all the rest. Anna had banked on that, and been proved right. Kate had sounded keen on the phone. And so she should. How could anyone wanting to escape their life resist the opportunity Anna offered? London, freelance working, time to explore life. Anna’s life. Too tantalising not to bite. Now Anna just had to reel her in.

11) Over to you, what can you tell us about Yours is Mine, to make us rush out and buy it?

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live someone else’s life, if you’ve ever worried what would be at stake if someone invaded your own, and if you’re the person who (like me) clutched your Kindle until 2am in expectation of the next plot twist in Before I Go to Sleep and Gone Girl, then Yours is Mine is the book for you.

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

I’m lucky enough to have a three-book deal with Harlequin, so I’m working on my second novel with my editor right now. Expect something dark and North London...

QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…

13) Plotter or pantser? 

Plotter. If you’re writing thrillers, there needs to be a plan.

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

Famous five.

15) Digital books or print books?

It isn’t an ‘either/or’. I love the accessibility and convenience of my Kindle, but as I write we are also taking delivery of two new bookcases for the piles of print books in my study. Ultimately, a novel is a novel, whatever form it’s in.

16) Tea or coffee?

Tea. Coffee makes me too jittery – I prefer to save that effect for a good thriller!

17) Cats or dogs?

Cats. Sadly, they make me sneeze, so I can’t own one. Happily, if I use ‘Written Kitten,’ I get a virtual one when I meet my word count.

18) Extrovert or introvert?

The correct balance.

19) Save or spend?


20) Facebook or Twitter?

Don’t make me choose!

And that’s a wrap!

Thank you so much for taking part, Amy, I wish you every success with your new release.

To discover even more about Amy Bird, and to keep up with her latest projects and shenanigans, you can visit her at:

Facebook     Twitter     Website

Buy it now… 

Add to Goodreads

ISBN: 9781472018045

Carina UK
Amazon UK


At the last stop on her blog tour ( on 7 August, Amy will be doing a giveaway of a Mira Ink bundle – some great titles from the single-title imprint of Harlequin and a canvas book bag – so catch Amy there!

Monday 15 July 2013

A Summer Sun Award... For Me?

Ooooh look!

I got nominated for a Summer Sun Award from the delightful Incy Black, who I hope is very near publication with the first of her book deal. Hint hint. (Okay, forget hints; where the heck is it already, Incy?!)

Anyway, I now have to answer some lovely summery questions and then pass the buck to nominate eight more wonderful bloggers. Easy peasy, huh?


Yeah right.

Here we go!

Favourite song with summer in the title or the lyrics (give the line):

Oooh, an easy one to kick off with...

This absolutely has to be 'Summertime' by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. An awesome summer anthem that never fails to put a smile on my face. Just remember to crank up the volume and wind the windows down.

Favourite book about summer:

I'm struggling on this one, and I can't for the life of me remember if these are summer books or not, but I seem to recall good weather and I absolutely love these from Susan Elizabeth Phillips and will most definitely be making my way through the other Chicago Stars/Bonner Brothers books:


Favourite hot summer film:

I'm not quite sure what the context is for 'hot' so I'm going to go with temperature.

My film of choice is so lame, but I do love it, and it was the only one that sprang to mind for a 'summer' theme.

Credit/movie download

For what it's worth, I much prefer the third film... High School Musical 3 is easily in my top ten, but I probably shouldn't be admitting to that, huh?

Favourite summer memory:

This one is a bit of a struggle too, so I'm going to go with the first holiday I took with my 'then' new boyfriend - my 'now' husband of seven years - coming up ten years ago because it was a huge turning point in my life.

Hubby and I lived at opposite ends of England at that point, and had only got to spend a few weekends together, having met only a couple of months earlier through mutual friends, so it was the first big chunk of time we'd spent together. Two weeks in each others' pockets was either going to make us, or break us, and thankfully it was the former. The two weeks sped by far too fast - five days of it spent under water in the Red Sea as we took our PADI Open Water qualification - but during our time in Egypt, the decision was made for me to relocate to the North.

We got back off holiday and I noticed a flat for rent in the local newspaper, then managed to arrange a viewing before I returned south that same day. The flat was gorgeous! I drove home then went back into work the next day after two weeks away and handed in my notice. Within a month of jetting off on holiday, I had moved from Southampton to Liverpool, to a flat overlooking the Irish Sea, and lived only two miles from hubby, instead of two-hundred and fifty (ish).

Favourite summer holiday destination:

I don't really have a favourite summer destination.

To be honest, I'm not really a big fan of hot, sunny days as I tend to get cranky. I much prefer bright Spring and Autumn days, where I don't fear burning to a crisp within minutes, and I don't have to find a extra ten minutes before the school run to slather the kids in all-day sun cream.

So, with all that in mind, I prefer to stay in the UK in the summer...see answer below ;-)

What books will be in your suitcase this summer?

I have so many books I am desperate to read but this summer is all about getting Popping The Cherry ready for release in September, as well as writing Christmas is Cancelled... Again. I may just have time to draw breath before getting stuck into A Girl Called Malice, which is the sequel to Popping The Cherry and needs to be written by Halloween.

At least you can now understand why I'm struggling to find time to read, especially with the school summer holidays less than a week away.

What’s your likely destination this summer?

This summer, like most summers, me and my little family will be headed to our usual retreat in North Wales. We'll stay in a fabulous old quarryman's cottage situated halfway up a mountain and overlooking the bay at Penmaenmawr (which is in-between Conway and Bangor if you were wondering).

Sunset in Penmaenmawr
(c) Aurelia B. Rowl

What hottie would you most like to be sharing the hot days and long nights with his summer?

Oh come off it...

If you follow me on Facebook, you've seen some of the fine specimens making it into my inspirations file. It's like asking me to choose my favourite child, or favourite meal, drink, whatever.

With that in mind, I shall name my lovely hubby.

Yep, total cop-out LOL

And that's me all done!

To my fellow nominees, rules of the award are as follows:

1. Display Summer Sun Award logo and link back to the blog of the person who nominated you.
2. Answer the questions as listed above.
3. Nominate a further lucky eight recipients (one for each sunray on the picture).

Bonne Chance!

For the record, it was really hard choosing just eight bloggers to pass on the sunshine. so I tried to avoid my 'usual' crew and go for a bit of a mix-up of authors and reviewers, whose blogs I follow and would happily suggest checking out.

Thursday 11 July 2013

Twenty Questions with... Annie Lyons

I am delighted to welcome Annie Lyons onto my blog today, author of Not Quite Perfect released yesterday by Carina UK.

I suspect I have a fair amount in common with Annie, what with us both having younger kids and managing life as a write-at-home-mum, so I was interested to see how Annie would answer during a round of twenty questions...

ACT ONE – all about you…

After leaving university, Annie Lyons decided that she ‘rather liked books’ and got a job as a bookseller on Charing Cross Road, London. Two years later she left the retail world and continued rather liking books during an eleven-year career in publishing. Following redundancy in 2009 she realised that she would rather like to write books and having undertaken a creative writing course, lots of reading and a bit of practice she produced Not Quite Perfect. She now realises that she loves writing as much as coffee, not as much as her children and a bit more than gardening. She has since written another novel and is about to start work on her third. She lives in a house in south-east London with her husband and two children. The garden is somewhat overgrown. One day she hopes to own a chocolate-brown Labrador named John and have tea with Mary Berry.

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

I’ve always loved books and enjoyed writing but it was only quite recently that I felt confident enough to call myself a writer. For so many years I was simply too afraid of trying and failing. It took the birth of my children to make me realise that it was what I wanted to do. It also helped me re-locate my brain when I thought I’d lost it.

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

Drop the children at school, go home, make a large pot of coffee, put on the washing machine and write...

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

Anne Tyler made me want to be a writer. I love the way she portrays the wit, joy and melancholy of what it is to be human and her dialogue and eye for the minute detail of life is second to none. I met her last year and to say it was a landmark moment in my life would be as understated as her writing.

4) Is there one piece of writing (or life?) advice that has stuck with you, or that you would like to share?

Stop putting it off and write. You can sort the washing later and the garden likes to be a bit overgrown and there’s no point in tidying the house if you have children.

Oh and back-up your writing. Many times.

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

I have Grade 6 trumpet

I speak fluent(ish) German

I once played football for Bristol University (we lost 17-0)

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

My laptop, portable hard-drive, iPod, mobile and Mr. Bialetti stove-top espresso maker.

ACT TWO – all about your new release…

Sometimes having it all isn’t enough…
Emma has everything she’s ever wanted. Her boyfriend’s just proposed and her career has finally taken off. And so what if her latest client just happens to be downright gorgeous? She’s getting married. Isn’t she? 
Rachel’s married with 2.4 children (well, actually, 3) and life is all about trying to leave the house in a non-stained top. Once it was about skinny cappuccinos, cocktails and dynamic ad agency meetings. She wants her old life back, but can it ever be the same? 
A sparkling, funny tale of two sisters and how often you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

7) Congratulations on your recent release of Not Quite Perfect, what was your inspiration for writing Emma and Rachel's story?

Thank you very much! I did a Creative Writing course at my local Adult Education Centre and our tutor introduced us to Harlequin and their brilliant editorial guidelines on novel writing. I started to play around with ideas for characters to see if I could produce the germ of a novel. Emma, Martin and Richard came to life, while Rachel’s family and the other characters came later.

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

There was quite a bit of cajoling and pushing and prodding and editing and re-writing. I remember getting stuck at 20,000 words but I kept going and it flowed from there.

9) I see Not Quite Perfect 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?

It took me 18 months to write and then another two years of being considered by various editors before it landed on the right publisher’s desk!

10) Do you have a favourite paragraph or sentence from your story that you would like to tantalise us with?
He answers after one ring. ‘Emma Darcy.’ His voice is warm and welcoming like an embrace.

‘I just wanted to say that I thought the article was great.’

‘Thank you.’ His voice is expectant. 

‘And to apologise again for Martin. I felt bad that our lunch ended that way.’ 

‘Well, I admire your fiancé for staking his claim.’ Emma detects a note of irony. 

‘Yes well, he has been severely scolded.’ 

‘Lucky man. And where is he at the moment? I’m guessing he doesn’t know you’re making this call or is he about to come onto the phone and give me what for.’ 

There is a playfulness to his voice, which Emma knows should be sounding alarm bells in her brain. He is clearly enjoying the illicit nature of their conversation. 

‘Actually, he’s out for the day.’ As soon as the words are out of her mouth she knows she’s in trouble. With one sentence she has made herself sound available and suggestive all at once. 

‘I see.’ He is toying with her, she knows this but her heart is beating fast and there’s another emotion. Is it longing or excitement? She is on the brink of ending their chat when he says. ‘Well, I’ve got this lunchtime thing to go to at a pub in north London if you fancy it? A friend of mine is doing a poetry reading and I’ve promised to go. To be honest, I’m dreading it but it would be altogether more palatable if you were to join me.’ 

And there it is. The beginning of the end or is it the beginning of the beginning? Emma isn’t sure. This isn’t an author meeting, it isn’t a discussion about plots or publication plans. There are no excuses this time. Richard Bennett is asking her out on a date.

11) Over to you, what can you tell us about Not Quite Perfect, to make us rush out and buy it?

It’s a story that everyone can relate to because it’s about not realising what you’ve got until you’re on the verge of losing it. It’s funny, fast-paced and a little bit heartbreaking too...

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

My second book, Getting A Life is finished – it’s about a group of friends who meet on the first day of university and follows the course of their lives over twenty-odd years. I’ve just started work on my third, which is about what it means to be a wife.

QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…

13) Plotter or pantser?

I wish I was a plotter but I am very much a pantser.

14) Secret Seven or Famous Five?

Secret Seven (and Malory Towers).

15) Digital books or print books?


16) Tea or coffee?

Proper coffee.

17) Cats or dogs?

A chocolate-brown Labrador named John (I don’t own him, I just want him).

18) Extrovert or introvert?


19) Save or spend?

Long to spend, have to save.

20) Facebook or Twitter?

Writing first. Twitter and Facebook only when I’ve reached the daily word count.

And that’s a wrap!

Thank you so much for taking part, Annie, I wish you every success with your new release.

To discover even more about Annie Lyons, and to keep up with her latest projects and shenanigans, you can visit her at:

Carina UK     Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads

Take the quiz…


Take this quiz to see if you’ve got it all or if there’s something better out there...

1. Your favourite tipple is:
a. A glass of Cristal.
b. Something cold, crisp, dry and white. 
c. Whatever’s open in the fridge and provided it’s after 4pm.

2. Your morning routine includes:
a. A massage, a facial and a skin buff.
b. Grabbing a pain au raisin and a skinny latte on the way into the office. 
c. Trying to leave the house in a non-stained top. 

3. For your annual holiday this year you will be:
a. Staying on Richard Branson’s island.
b. Going on a last minute break as you’re saving up for your honeymoon next year. 
c. Hoping the camping shop has an alcohol licence as you embark on your two week holiday under canvas with your husband and children. 

4. At work you are:
a. The boss. No question.
b. The bright young thing.
c. The one who picks up the dirty pants.

5. The last time you had sex was:
a. In the Red Room of Pain.
b. In the living room, the bedroom, the kitchen, the stairs and then the living room again. 
c. On my birthday? Or maybe his birthday? 

6. The animal you most identify with is:
a. A panther.
b. A dolphin.
c. An orang-utan – one with really droopy tits and a sad face.

7. The person you most admire is:
a. Margaret Thatcher.
b. Emily Bronte.
c. Supernanny.

8. What do you hate most in the world?
a. Bad service.
b. Scheming work colleagues.
c. Being made to feel like a domestic drudge.

9. Your ideal man is:
a. Handsome and very, very rich.
b. Witty and attentive. 
c. Anyone who is prepared to do the washing up and pour you a glass of wine. 

10. Your best quality is:
a. Your generosity. You can afford it after all.
b. Creative passion.
c. You would do anything for your family and friends.


Mostly A’s On paper you have the perfect life. You’ve got the job, the contacts and plenty of money. You can afford anything and you are generous with it (mainly because if you’ve got it, flaunt it right?) But you might want to dig a little deeper. Do people actually like you for who you are or just because you always pay the bill?

Verdict: Perfect but only if material things matter to you more than people. A bit like Emma’s godmother Rosie.

Mostly B’s You’re doing rather well aren’t you? You’ve got a promising career, an often steamy relationship and a bright future ahead of you. You’re very close to having it all if you can just keep everything together.

Verdict: Almost perfect but beware taking your situation for granted and thinking there’s something better out there. You’re a bit like Emma Darcy so read her story to find out how not to live your life...

Mostly C’s Ok, so life is a bit of a struggle sometimes isn’t it? It used to be dynamic and stimulating now it’s all about the nutritional merits of fish fingers and how long before you can legitimately have a glass of wine. You’ve got to take a step back and remember it won’t always be this exhausting or intense.

Verdict: Far from perfect so tread carefully. It would be easy to start questioning your situation and be drawn to temptations elsewhere. You’re a bit like Rachel so read her story but try not to live it...

Buy it now…

Add to Goodreads

Carina UK
Amazon UK
Nook UK

Thursday 4 July 2013

Twenty Questions with... Sarah Painter

I am delighted to welcome Sarah Painter onto my blog today, author of The Language of Spells, recently released by Carina UK.

Another fellow Carina UK author, I have had the pleasure of getting to know over the past month or so, with the aid of social media, but now it's time to get the lowdown on Sarah and get stuck in with a round of twenty questions.

ACT ONE – all about you…

Sarah Painter has worked as a freelance magazine journalist, blogger and editor for the last thirteen years, combining this ‘career’ with amateur child-wrangling (AKA motherhood). Sarah lives in rural Scotland with her children, husband, and two enormous cats. She drinks too much tea, loves the work of Joss Whedon, and is the proud owner of a writing shed.

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

I've always wanted to be a writer, but for a long time I was too scared to try. I went into magazine journalism as that was a kind of writing and it felt more achievable. For years, I put off writing fiction in case I discovered I couldn't do it.

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

When I'm drafting a book, I try to write every day. Otherwise I lose my nerve and start to get really freaked out about opening the WIP. Sad, but true. It also helps to keep the story and characters fresh in my mind, though, so it's not all bad.

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

Loads, I'm sure! I've been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, and am also midly obsessed with reading about authors and the craft of writing. I've definitely been inspired by my writing friends, too, (their persistence and productivity).

4) Is there one piece of writing (or life?) advice that has stuck with you, or that you would like to share?

People always say that you need to persevere and this is definitely true, but I'd also say that it's okay to take a break from writing (or from whatever else in your life is draining you/is no longer fulfilling). Sometimes you need to 'refill the creative well' or, sometimes, just have a rest.

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

Um... I met my husband during my first week of university and we got together on his 19th birthday. I also had a (short-lived) career as a club night reviewer, but I often fell asleep before the headline DJ came on… Thirdly, I can't stand polystyrene. I hate the feel of it, and the sound it makes when it's snapped makes the hairs stand up on my neck and my shoulders hunch. Argh. Now I'm thinking about polystyrene. Shudder.

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

My netbook (for writing), my PC (for writing without totally knackering my back), pain killers (for when I've totally knackered my back), wine (needs no explanation), and, of course, my Kindle.

ACT TWO – all about your new release…

When you are ready, seek, and you shall find. It is your gift. Gwen Harper left Pendleford thirteen years ago and hasn’t looked back. Until an inheritance throws her into the mystical world she thought she’d escaped. Confronted with her great-aunt’s legacy Gwen must finally face up to her past. The magic she has long tried to suppress is back with a vengeance but gift or burden, for Gwen, it always spells trouble. She has to stay – she has nowhere else to go – but how can she find her place in the town that drove her out after branding her a witch…?

7) Congratulations on your recent release of The Language of Spells, what was your inspiration for writing Gwen's story?

Thank you! I always start with a character chatting away in my mind and Gwen's voice was irresistible. I've always loved books which combine the real world with magical elements, so I was delighted when I realised Gwen had an uncanny ability to find lost things.

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

I wouldn't say a story has ever flowed from my finger tips, but I usually find that if I force myself to write a steady 1000 words every day, eventually I have a rubbish draft which I can work on.

9) I see The Language of Spells 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?

It took about a year to write, then six months to get my agent, then a few months of revisions for her, before it was ready to be submitted to publishers, then a few more months of final revisions and so on, before publication day. I was offered a deal by Carina in January and the book came out at the end of May, which is incredibly fast in publishing, and one of the bonuses of a 'digital first' deal.

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

It’s too tricky to choose a favourite, so I’ll just go with the opening…

Gwen Harper had been brought up in the sure knowledge that everything in life came as a pair. Every coin had two sides, every person had an angel and a devil lurking inside, and every living thing was busy dying. Gwen couldn’t imagine a good side to returning to Pendleford but, since she had no choice in the matter, she hoped that Gloria had been right about all that ‘light and dark’ business. 

11) Over to you, what can you tell us about The Language of Spells, to make us rush out and buy it?

It’s a funny, romantic read with plenty of mystery and magic.

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

I’m working on the follow up. It’s a stand-alone title, but set in the same place, seven years after the events of The Language of Spells.

QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…

13) Plotter or pantser?


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

Famous Five.

15) Digital books or print books?


16) Tea or coffee?

Tea. Tea. Tea.

17) Cats or dogs?

Cats. Although my mum just got an adorable Jackadoodle puppy which I'm rather fond of.

18) Extrovert or introvert?


19) Save or spend?


20) Facebook or Twitter?


And that’s a wrap!

Thank you so much for taking part, Sarah, I wish you every success with your new release and have already added The Language of Spells to my TBR list.

To discover even more about Sarah Painter, and to keep up with her latest projects and shenanigans, you can visit her at:

Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads

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When you are ready, seek, and you shall find. It is your gift.

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