Thursday 31 October 2013

Twenty Questions with... Kerry Barrett

Oops, I would appear to have neglected my blog of late but I promise it's because I have been hard at work on Popping the Cherry book two - Alice's story - rather than gallivanting around and putting my feet up.

Anyway, I am delighted to welcome my friend and fellow Carina author, Kerry Barrett, onto my blog today. Winner of the Carina Halloween contest and debut author of Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered  - out today!! - Kerry has kindly stopped by for a round of twenty questions.

ACT ONE – all about you…

Kerry Barrett was a bookworm from a very early age, devouring Enid Blyton and Noel Streatfeild, before moving on to Sweet Valley High and 1980s bonkbusters. She did a degree in English Literature, then trained as a journalist, writing about everything from pub grub to EastEnders. Her first novel, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, took six years to finish and was mostly written in longhand on her commute to work, giving her a very good reason to buy beautiful notebooks. Kerry lives in London with her husband and two sons, and Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes is still her favourite novel.

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

I’ve always been a writer professionally. I started out on a local paper about 15 years ago and since then I’ve written for lots of magazines. I’m currently features editor on All About Soap magazine. I’ve been writing for ‘myself’ for many years too, with varying degrees of success and learning a lot along the way.

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

I have got a fear of ‘fuss’ so I guess both my writing style and my ritual is to just get on with it!

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

I am a big fan of Jilly Cooper, who I think writes the most wonderful characters. I also love Stephen King and On Writing has been a big influence on me.

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

My hero Jilly Cooper said: “Just try to say what it was like to be there.” That’s good enough for me!

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

*My husband proposed to me as we crossed the finish line of the London Marathon in 2005.

*I was born in Edinburgh but I’ve lived in London for most of my life.

*I’m scared of birds. A pigeon once landed on my head at Balham station and I nearly wet myself. I didn’t stop shaking for about two hours!

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

I’m not really one for ‘things’ but I do like my phone. I also carry my whole life in a bright pink Filofax, so I’d need that. I write my novels in longhand with a pen so I’d want a nice notebook and my favourite Muji pen. And as I never go anywhere without a book, I’d like my kindle!

ACT TWO – all about your new release…

A Kind of Magic 
Part-time witch, full-time glamorous high-flyer Esme Mcleod rubs shoulders with celebrities for a living, has a sort-of-boyfriend …and just enough magic in her fingertips to solve life’s little irritations; why shouldn’t she cast a little spell to catch the busy barman’s attention, or to summon a latte to aid her all-nighters?

Called back to her small Scottish home town and meddling family, stiletto-clad Esme is way out of her comfort zone… But Esme must embrace her abilities as a witch, or watch her family lose their beloved café.
Except Esme has never claimed to be a whizz at witchcraft, and her charms are starting to go awry - she certainly never meant to cast a love spell on her ex-boyfriend Jamie! It’s time for urgent lessons in magic as well as love – it seems there’s only so much that muttering a few words over cupcake batter will fix…

7) Congratulations on your recent release of Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, what was your inspiration for writing Esme’s story?

I’ve always wondered what life would be like with a bit of magic in it. From that small beginning, I thought about how it would make some things easier but make others – the big things, like relationships – much harder.

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

When I did get down to writing, it flowed but it took me a long time to get into the rhythm of writing.

9) I see Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered 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?

A VERY long time. Back in 2005, I did a novel writing course at Morley College and started writing Esme’s story. It went well for a while, then I got made redundant, got pregnant, found a new job, had a baby, had another baby, and basically life got in the way. I eventually finished it in 2011 and it took another two years for it to be published!

10) Do you have a favourite paragraph or sentence from your story that you would like to tantalise us with?
It was a man. A rather handsome man, actually. He was wearing running gear and because he was higher up the steeply shelving beach than I was, my eyes were level with his toned, tanned thighs. Thighs that told me this wasn’t a local man – this must be Chloe’s hot American.

11) Over to you, what can you tell us about Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, to make us rush out and buy it?

It’s a fun, funny read for Halloween – all about witches with a dash of romance for good measure.

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

I’m working on the sequel to Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, which follows Esme, and her cousin Harry, to Edinburgh where they don their Miss Marple hats and get involved in a murder mystery.

QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…

13) Plotter or pantser?

Bit of both! I plot vaguely at the beginning – often just a few paragraphs on a page, then add in more details as things come to me while I write. I like to just start writing and see where I end up.

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

Famous Five.

15) Digital books or print books?


16) Tea or coffee?


17) Cats or dogs?

Neither! I quite like dogs from a distance.

18) Extrovert or introvert?

Mostly extrovert with some introvert traits.

19) Save or spend?


20) Facebook or Twitter?

Ooh, I love them both. I like the immediacy of Twitter.

And that’s a wrap!

Thank you so much for taking part, Kerry, I wish you every success with your new release and in getting that second one written.

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

Blog     Twitter     Facebook

Buy it now…

Add to Goodreads
ISBN: 9781472054760
Release date: 31st October 2013
Publisher: Carina (Harlequin UK)

Thursday 10 October 2013

Twenty questions with... Shelli Rosewarne (GIVEAWAY)

I am delighted to welcome Shelli Rosewarne onto my blog today, author of Love Reawakened which is available now for pre-order ahead of its release tomorrow.

So... stick the kettle on, pull up a seat and let's get to know Shelli better with a round of twenty questions...oh, and keep an eye out for the giveaway at the end ;-)

ACT ONE – all about you…

Shelli Rosewarne had always had a dream in the back of her head about wanting to be a writer, from the time she was handing in ten page stories at primary school and driving her teachers crazy. However, like with so many things, life and paying the bills got in the way and she worked in various jobs from call centers to shops to offices. She eventually realized that life is too short not to try and follow your dreams, and has since had her first stand alone novella published with Breathless Press, along with several submissions in anthologies, another novel contracted for later in the year and various works in progress in the pipeline. Yup, she's having to pinch herself as well! She currently lives in Edinburgh with her long-suffering fiancé and slightly psycho cat. When not writing she loves reading, music and photography.

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

I loved writing at school but it was never exactly pushed as a viable career option! After college I didn't write anything for a long time, I think more down to lack of self confidence and fear that I wouldn't be able to write anything good. Then I ended up taking a short Creative Writing class, started scribbling and just didn't want to stop!

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

Not really. I suppose like most writers I have a lot of other commitments so while I would love to be able to write every day between set hours then sadly that very rarely happens. When I do write I'm a complete pantser – and that is actually one of the things I love most about writing. It's like going along on the journey with the characters and most of the time I have no more idea what's going to happen than they do.

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

It would be hard to pick one I think. I've always read a huge amount of fantasy and romance, so when I discovered authors like Sherrilyn Kenyon and Christine Feehan combining the two that was a big influence for me.

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

I think probably the main one is that writer's write! For a long time I kind of wanted to write but I would constantly put it off – I think I was too worried that whatever I wrote wouldn't be 'perfect' or as good as the authors I love. In the end I bit the bullet, started writing and of course it was nowhere near perfect (or even reasonably good at that point!). But it was a start – and once I did start then I could practice and work on my writing and edit, edit, edit. :)

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

Erm, let's see... I'm a bit of a fantasy and sci-fi geek. I'm also a wedding photographer, so I end up surrounded by romance :) Plus, I'm a huge Rockband fan – my neighbours are probably not!

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

To be honest, I'm not that into gadgets. I do love my laptop so that would have to be one. Does chocolate count as a luxury or a necessity?

ACT TWO – all about your new release…

Click here for excerpt

Emma needs to find an escaped zombie!

With lives on the line, the only person who can help is the man who broke her heart.

Emma Strachan is a professional witch and quite frankly a zombie raising should be all in day's work. Now, though, something has gone horribly wrong and with lives on the line Emma is forced to turn for help to the one person she never wanted to see again.
When Emma Strachan shows up on Garret's doorstep he knows she must be in trouble – after all nothing else would bring her to his door. Still, he never imagined a zombie gone rogue, or that the blazing attraction between them would be as strong as ever.
As Emma and Garret risk their lives to track down the missing zombie can they put aside past insecurities and trust in each other – before it's too late.

7) Congratulations on your recent release of Love Reawakened, what was your inspiration for writing Emma and Garret's story?

I originally saw a call out from Breathless Press for zombie-themed submissions. I'm actually a complete wuss when it comes to things like that – I have to watch horror films from behind the sofa! – so my first thought was 'not for me'. But an idea kept nagging at the back of my mind and before I knew it I was jotting down a few ideas and was up to chapter three :)

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

Most of it actually flowed really well – some bits even too well as some of the secondary characters kept trying to take over! The end was a little tricky as I knew it wasn't going to have a conventional happy ending from some points of view and that was quite hard to balance.

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?

It was very quick! Because I'd been dawdling a bit to commit to the initial idea by the time I actually started writing it properly there were only a few weeks left before the deadline so it was fully written in less than a month and subbed immediately. I kept noticing mistakes in it for days afterwards but luckily my lovely editor still accepted it and didn't complain about the red pen needed all over the first copy :)

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

Shocked gasps came from behind her, but the vibrations were already running through the ground. Quickly she smeared the blood around the edges of the circle. The energy was rising now; waves spreading out as she could feel the hairs on her arms standing up and tiny tremors through the soles of her shoes. She drew a final symbol in the blood on the gravestone itself, the rough stone grazing her fingers and making the lines awkward.
"Patrick Connell rise. Come from your grave at my command, rise from your sleep at my bidding."

The earth in front of her practically bubbled now, and then it parted and a tall figure emerged. Neil almost shrieked behind her but her attention stayed focused on the corpse in front of her. He was newly dead and so perfectly preserved. In fact, gazing at him, you would barely know the difference if you saw him walking down the street. She was quite proud. She didn't do this spell much, but this was a damn good raising!

"Patrick Connell, you have been raised at my command. You will do as I say and nothing more, bound to me by blood and magic. Do you understand and obey?"

The corpse looked at her, surprising clarity in his deep blue eyes. She didn't think she'd ever raised one this 'new' before and it was actually a little disconcerting how alive he looked. He'd obviously been a handsome man, tall with broad shoulders, thick dark hair, strong jaw, and quite startling eyes. Then he opened his mouth and said a single word.


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

It has a sassy witch, a slightly battered round the edges necromancer, some action, romance, *ahem* slightly steamy scenes and a zombie cat called Mittens. What more could you want? :)

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

Lots of exciting things going on at the moment! I'm actually currently a finalist in the Piatkus Entice Romance Writing competition. The next stage is all down to public vote, so if anyone would like to drop by and if you like my chapters then put a vote in, I would really appreciate it.

Apart from that, I'm working on a shifter novella with a bit of a Red Riding Hood twist, and some of the secondary characters from 'Love Reawakened' will be getting their own story soon as well.

QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…

13) Plotter or pantser?

Complete panster!

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

Of course I do! Famous Five definitely, I was a bit of a tomboy when I was a kid so I always related to George, and I loved Timmy the dog.

15) Digital books or print books?

Hmm, that's a toughie. I must admit that I do have a soft spot for print books, there's just something about the feel of them in your hands. That said, I can't deny the convenience of digital (especially after holidays where half my suitcase would be full of books!), not to mention the extra opportunities to be published because of digital books and the fact that the cheaper price can make readers more inclined to try new authors. I do think there's room for both!

16) Tea or coffee?

I'm a little weird because I don't drink either. I am a Diet Coke addict though so still get my caffeine fix!

17) Cats or dogs?

Well, since my cat is currently half sprawled across the laptop, I think I better say cats :)

18) Extrovert or introvert?

Introvert, though I have my moments.

19) Save or spend?

I'm usually skint so it rarely comes up :)

20) Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook. I am trying to get into Twitter more but I just don't get it as much. Maybe I just need a 'twitter for dummies' session.

And that’s a wrap!

Thank you so much for taking part, Shelli, I wish you every success with your new release and congratulations on being chosen as one of three finalists in the Piatkus Entice Romance Writing competition. Remember folks, there is still time to vote for her entry, Psychic Shadows.

Lieutenant Shannon Dempsey had always known she was different, that she could see and hear things that others couldn’t. When she finds a frightened boy at the scene of a murder, it leads her to a mysterious man who may hold the answers she’s been seeking all her life.
Forced to work with David, Shannon can’t deny the blazing attraction between them or the lure of someone who finally shares her talents. But what is the shadowy agency that David works for, and what is their connection to the murder she’s investigating? Can he really provide answers, or just danger?

To discover even more about Shelli Rosewarne, and to keep up with her latest projects, you can visit her at:

Facebook   Twitter   Blog

Buy it now…

Release date: October 11 2013
Published by: Breathless Press

Breathless Press
On Amazon etc from Friday!


Just leave a comment and you'll be entered into my Rafflecopter giveaway. Prizes include a zombie themed mini book bag, a spooky halloween phone cover and a witchy (and lavender scented) keyring – who said scary can't be cute! I'm also giving away a free copy of Love Reawakened in the ebook format of your choice. Good luck :)

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Wednesday 9 October 2013

Please welcome... Katlyn Duncan (GIVEAWAY)

I am so happy to be on Aurelia Rowl’s blog today for my Soul Possessed Pre-Release Blog Tour! Today I am going to introduce you to two of the main male characters in The Life After trilogy.

Ally, Maggie and Cooper were the first characters developed while I was writing the initial drafts in this series. Cooper has always been the one to accompany Maggie on her journey. He is described as blond with gray eyes. He deeply cares for Ally, which at times becomes a problem for Maggie when she is stuck inside the human girl’s body. I loved exploring their relationship throughout Soul Taken and I can’t wait for you to read what happens in Soul Possessed.

P.S. The model for Jackson is Aurelia’s friend Steven Mather which graciously allowed me to use his photo.
Jackson is the character that has changed the most since this story’s inception. He’s been through many names and has gone from one end of the spectrum to the other in terms of his background and motives. I have to say I’m quite pleased with how he is shaped now, but he is one of the most challenging characters to write because he has a lot of secrets. A little background about him: He’s been a soul for a very long time and he has the most beautiful piercing blue eyes.

I am hosting two giveaways below. The international giveaway is for a $25 or gift card. All you have to do is pre-order Soul Possessed and email me your pre-order confirmation at and you are automatically entered! The second giveaway is for U.S. only and it is an eBook of Soul Possessed from Good luck!

Thanks for having me Aurelia!

Release Date: October 28, 2013

Publisher: Carina UK

Series: Book 2, The Life After Trilogy

Genre: YA Paranormal

ISBN: 9781472044556

Pre-Order Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iTunes US | iTunes UK

Add on Goodreads

Life after Life

Now Maggie has been given the chance of her after-life to become a Guard, nothing will stand in her way. Not even the undeniable attraction she feels for her trainer and past love—Jackson. But when the battle between Shadowed and Guard begins again which side will she choose?

When her boss, Felix, partners Jackson and Maggie up with Ally and Cooper to investigate terrifying Shadowed activity, she doesn’t think it could get any worse. Jackson and Cooper barely tolerate each other and this time, Maggie isn’t just proving her loyalty to the Guard during one mission...she has a side mission too. One so secret and so dangerous she can’t tell a soul...


"Margaret!" Gemma shouted with glee. "Come out of there, I know you are trying to scare me!"

I watched the young red-haired girl put her hands on her hips, trying to be brave. She scanned their father's study, narrowing her eyes. The fire roaring in the hearth was the only source of light in the room, casting dark shadows across the furniture.

Maggie hid behind her father's chair, in silent wait for her prey.

"I'm going to tell Mother!"

Maggie's little hands tightened on the chair but she didn't make a sound. I walked over to her, watching her mouth twist up into a sly grin. She was the older of the girls, but she protected her sister fiercely, proclaiming she was the only one who could tease her. Gemma hated when Maggie played games, but it thrilled Maggie no end and I could feel excited anticipation roll off her in waves.

Gemma's bravery faltered as she stepped forward toward the overstuffed armchair, expecting her sister to jump out at her at any moment.

But Maggie waited. She had incredible patience, but I sensed that part of it was stubbornness and a desire to test boundaries. Her head poked out from behind the chair just as Gemma turned toward the love seat. I watched as Maggie slowly came out of her hiding spot and charged at her

Gemma let out a scream but Maggie covered her sister's mouth with her hand.

Both girls collapsed on the floor, Gemma's muffled squeals threatening to break through Maggie's tiny fingers.

"Shh," Maggie cooed.

Gemma managed to wrestle her mouth away from Maggie's hand. "I hate you!" Her indignation faltered into a fit of giggles and Maggie quickly joined her.

As she helped her sister up from the floor Maggie said, "Gemma. You need to always expect the unexpected. You can't go through life being scared all the time." Even though Maggie was a mere nine years old, she spoke as if she'd lived lifetimes before. It was one of the things that drew me to her more than any other Prognatum I'd watched.

Maggie took a handkerchief and wiped her sister's cheeks.

"A lady wouldn't do that to her sister," Gemma said, finally relaxing.

"I don't want to be a lady," Maggie stated firmly. "I want to see the world and not just make babies for the rest of my life."

Gemma shook her head. "That's what we are supposed to do. That's what Mother does."

Maggie's indignation flowed through her and into me. I knew Maggie was born to follow through with her Prognatum duties, she just didn't know it yet. It was rare for a Prognatum to want the Guard position but Maggie would be thrilled when her father revealed it to her at seventeen.

As Maggie reached down to help Gemma up from the floor she whispered, "It's not for me."

Gemma wrapped her sister in a tight hug. "I will love you either way, dear sister."

Maggie rested her head against Gemma's shoulder. "I love you too."

Release date: June 4, 2013, Carina UK

: Book 1 in The Life After Trilogy

: YA Paranormal

: 978-1-472-01709-3

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!


I knelt down again next to Ally and reached out to touch her skin. Even though the sensation was unpleasant, I could feel her pulse as it rapidly declined.

"No," I moaned.

I looked up again to see if any of the Guard could help, but no one was around.

I looked back down at Ally. Her face was paling by the second. My soul started to tingle. I leaned closer to her body, reaching my hand out to touch her face again, when her arm moved toward mine.

I jumped back.

Heather pushed through the crowd. “Did she just move? Did I see her move?” Streaks of black mascara ran down her cheeks.

A ringing sensation tickled my ear and I tuned in to the True Soul’s presence. I looked at each human. The True Soul was close, but who had it? They all seemed equally shocked at the tragedy.

An uncomfortable pressure in my chest drew me closer to her body.

My soul slanted toward hers until I was practically on top of her. I helplessly watched my hand morph and stretch toward her body. "What the—?” I tried to pull back but the strength of whatever was happening had other ideas. My hand disappeared first, then my arm, then my torso.

But before I could call for help, my world went dark.

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To Purchase:
Mills&Boon | Kindle (US) | iBooks (US) |  Kobo |
Google Play | Sony Store |
Kindle (UK) | Nook (UK) |  iBooks (UK)

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.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Goodreads | Carina UK

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Saturday 5 October 2013

Happy birthday to... ME!

Wow, another year older. GULP!

I've had some lovely gifts though: a canvas picture of my Popping the Cherry cover art to add to my collection, an awesome and super warm winter coat, a hard copy of the Hunger Games books (for the 'keep and re-read shelf), lots of music including a John Williams compilation and a Ludovico Einaudi set (hubby was clearly paying attention to things on my wishlist and I hadn't even realised I was hinting!), Percy Pig sweets (the veggie ones, woo!), a Percy Pig birthday cake, and some lovely dosh to spend on what I want (am thinking new boots).

If you'd like to show me some love too - or maybe even just some like - how about taking part in my little birthday challenge?

Popping the Cherry has been out a couple of weeks now and I'd love to create some buzz again so if you could help by sharing some links, or share the trailer, or maybe share some of the awesome reviews then that would be amazing.

Click here to find out more and read an excerpt

Of course, I'd be over the moon if you bought a copy too to help push my ranking back up: Popping the Cherry is currently ranked #107,890 on Amazon UK, 175,990 on, and 4,945 on Kobo. As an experiment, I shall check again at the end of the day and see if it has risen or fallen further. Either way, it's a good excuse to eat cake, right?

It's my birthday, so...

Popping the Cherry

Thank you for letting me indulge in some shameless promo!!

I shall be spending much of the day writing book two so not the most glamorous of birthdays, but that's deadlines for you :-)

Thursday 3 October 2013

The Popping the Cherry tour bus is now visiting... Eva Scott

G'day mate, I'm off visiting Australia again today... 

It's not every day you visit a tour host knowing in advance that they have already read - and thankfully enjoyed - your book but it certainly generates some interesting questions! Eva Scott put me on the spot with questions like: How much of Aurelia is in Valentina? Any plans to tell the story of the other girls? What do your kids think of Mum writing a book like Popping the Cherry? Come on over and see for yourself:

As part of my blog tour, you can enter the giveaway - both giveaways if you're in the UK! - via each days tour stop and also via the Blog Tour page on my website.

Out Now...

Popping the Cherry

Wednesday 2 October 2013

The Popping the Cherry tour bus is now visiting... Natasha Hardy

Gemma and I taught a jaunt to Africa today... 

Yes, it wasn't just me in the hotseat with today, I got to take Gemma along for company when I paid a visit to Africa to chat with Natasha Hardy. Read all about it here:

As part of my blog tour, you can enter the giveaway (both giveaways if you're in the UK) via the Blog Tour page on my website.

Out Now...

Popping the Cherry

Tuesday 1 October 2013

The Popping the Cherry tour bus is now at... Dawn's Reading Nook

I'm back in the hotseat again... 

For today's tour stop I am visiting Dawn's Reading Nook to answer a few probing questions. Come and check it out here:

As part of my blog tour, you can enter the giveaway (both giveaways if you're in the UK) via the Blog Tour page on my website.

Out Now...

Popping the Cherry

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