Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Sarah England: February 2017 News!

Sarah England: February 2017 News!: Hello February! You find me very hard at work....The fourth book is cracking along now but is still very tightly under wraps. However, I hop...

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Blog Tour: Brake Failure by Alison Brodie


Today I am hosting a tour stop for Brake Failure by Alison Brodie, which is on tour with Neverland Blog Tours. Alison has written a fun guest post about lips, and is also giving away a $25.00 (or equivalent) Amazon gift card! 

About the book:

“Is it too late to tell him you love him when you are looking down the barrel of his gun?”

An English debutante transforms from Miss-Perfectly-Correct to criminally insane as she breaks the bonds of her rigid upbringing. Sheriff Hank Gephart tries to reel her in - but she’s out of control and she’s not hitting the brakes.

What happened to the genteel lady in twin-set and pearls? And why did she shoot Mr Right?

Brake Failure is set in 1999 in the months leading up to Y2K “meltdown” when the US government was spending $150 billion preparing for Armageddon As Lionel Shriver says in her novel, We Have To Talk About Kevin: "1999, a year widely mooted beforehand as the end of the world."


                        

5 TOP LIPS  - by Alison Brodie 

Where would romance be without lips?  Lips are where the first spark flies, when the first thrill enters the nervous system.

I’m pretty sure all my books have got lips in them; if not mentioned overtly then certainly they assume pole position on the faces of my characters. I was just thinking it was about time somebody took a closer look at lips, their role not just on a face but in the heart of romance.

BTW:  I’m not talking about just the TOP lip as my title may imply; I’m talking about both of them: top and bottom.

“She licked her lips.”  In Romance this doesn’t mean she’s salivating over a chocolate éclair.  It means she’s giving the “come-on” to the guy.  And he’d be pretty dense to miss it.
“She pouted her lips.”  Your heroine could be having a tantrum, or more likely, urging the hero to do naughty things to her.

“Giving lip”.  This is not as rude as it might sound.  In English-English it means talking back in an offensive manner, like my heroine in BRAKE FAILURE when she refuses to be arrested.

If your heroine is from the English upper-crust and is about to do something she doesn’t want to do – like, say, get into a police cruiser just after she’s had an argument with the handsome-hunk of a Sheriff - she will have a “stiff upper lip.”

It’s not just the heroine who has lips.  So does the hero.  “He brushed his lips down over her neck.”  Animal-esque, but, boy! does it send a tingle down your reader’s spine.

“Their lips touched.”  Sometimes this is all you need to tell your reader.  You don’t need to put in the whole sex scenario.  Leave it to your reader’s imagination.  Trust me:  it’s dirtier than yours.

“As his lips pressed down on hers, she felt a flame shoot up from between her legs.”  Of course, this is not a real flame.  Hopefully not, anyway.  Of course your character could be a fire-eater.  Here is an observation from Harry Houdini which few can refute and which I suspect is the origin of the phrase “hot lips”:

“Flames from the lips may be produced by holding in the mouth a sponge saturated with the purest gasoline.”

Generally, though, lips in romance should avoid flammable liquids.

Let’s crit. some lit.  Charles Dickens was an intense writer.  Listen to what he had to say:

“To conceal anything from those to whom I am attached, is not in my nature. I can never close my lips where I have opened my heart.”

(To be honest he must have been doing it wrong; it’s actually pretty easy).

Lips can say a lot about us. Take a look at this picture.  Look at the lips. They tell you immediately that this is Penelope Cruz, the famous Spanish person. If she didn’t have those lips she would not be Penelope Cruz. So lips say who you are. They also often say a whole lot more about you that the hugely over-rated heart.  

In summary
Lips in Romance are best used:
1.   as a complete pair
2.   pliably
3.   to show inner turmoil on the face of your heroine
4.   used in a non-flammable environment
5.   to kiss the hero
…and as hot, red, and moist as they need to be for the task in hand.


Connect with Alison:

Website    Twitter   








Giveaway

If the giveaway doesn't appear in the box below, click this link! 

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Blog Tour: Be My Baby by A. L. Michael


Two’s company…

If you asked Mollie whether she struggled as a single mum, she’d have to cover her daughter’s ears before answering. Surrounded by friends, watching Esme grow into the sassiest eleven-year-old in North London, and building her name as TV chef Mollie Makes, Mollie’s never been happier. Well, that’s what she’d tell you. But as her best friends pair off, and Esme starts getting into trouble at school, Mollie wonders whether life would be different – not better…but easier – with a team mate.

Three’s a crowd?

But Esme’s dad, Jamie, would be the last man Mollie would team up with. After all, he made it clear eleven years ago that he wasn’t interested in playing the family game. So when he suddenly reappears, Mollie can’t believe her eyes. And soon, she’s got to ask herself the hardest question yet: she knows she can succeed as a single mum. But what if her daughter doesn’t want her to?

Links: Amazon UK      
Amazon.com    

Excerpt

In Crouch End, not far from the studios, a man sat aimlessly watching morning television. He hadn’t slept that night, or the night before, and the mindless chatter of the television kept enough of his attention to stop his mind wandering. There were things he didn’t want to think about. He was back on leave from the army, and he knew the routine – it would take another two weeks before he could properly sleep.

But god, morning television was asinine. Top ten tips to your winter wardrobe, let’s chat to this nineties pop star who is now in a West End musical... why weren’t they talking about war, about politics? Why did no one know about the horrible things happening in other countries and what he’d been fighting for? That said, a bit much to watch whilst chomping away on your Weetabix.
He needed something to keep his mind active, he knew. He needed a distraction, a reason for hope. A new hobby, maybe he could volunteer at a charity or something. That’s what his counsellor said. He wouldn’t be confirmed ready to return to active duty unless he got his head in order.

He often felt that this wasn’t meant to be his life, that if he could follow it back to the root, that moment when everything changed, he might be living in a different place, doing something different. Instead, he had started a life of misguided gut instincts and limited choices, and here he was. A damaged soldier in a dark room, with no one to visit.

‘We’re here today at the Ruby Rooms in Camden Square...’ the perky news reporter with the scary teeth started and the man blinked at the screen, leaning forward and turning on the light so that he could see more clearly. Ruby Tuesday, they definitely said Ruby Tuesday. Which meant... that was really Mollie on screen. His Mollie.

She looked beautiful but awkward, her long blonde hair the same as it had always been, curling slightly at the ends, and her face had softened. She was wearing subtle make-up, and a smart white shirt with black trousers that made her look a little like a waitress for a catering company. Her eyes were still piercing, dark against her light hair. That shirt showed off how her figure had developed since they were teenagers, she looked womanly, warm and soft and strong. She was still as beautiful as he remembered.

He listened intently as she spoke, laughing awkwardly and looking into the camera at certain moments. It made sense she’d go into healthy cooking, her mum was terrible at feeding her. She said she’d once survived for two weeks on turkey dinosaurs for dinner, because her mum got eighteen boxes for a pound when the corner shop freezer broke. Suddenly all those memories started returning, all those moments with Mollie that he hadn’t forgotten, but stored away somewhere safe.

She had a kid, she was a mum. Well, that wasn’t surprising. She always wanted that, eventually. It was a timing thing, that was the only problem with them, back in the day. He was glad their issues hadn’t stopped her. The man ran a hand through the rough stubble on his chin and thought about it – well, he’d been the hurt party, she was the one who’d disappeared without a backwards glance or a telephone number. And if he was over it, why shouldn’t he stop by, see an old school friend? Especially when she was only down the road?

It felt like a sign. He’d been asking for a reason, a reason to turn on the lights, to leave the house, to engage his brain in any way. For the first time in the two weeks since he’d been back in the UK, Jamie MacAllister got up and actually smiled.



About the author
A.L Michael is a writer and workshop leader from North London. She has a BA in Creative Writing with English Lit, an MA in Creative Entrepreneurship and is starting an MsC in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. She likes learning and hates essays.

She's a fan of cheap wine, expensive chocolate and still wants to be a secret agent when she grows up, but she'll settle for lying on the page.
Links:  



Giveaway

(open 28th November - 12th December)
Or see below:

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Nathan Barham - Alora's Tear Blog Tour


Alora’s Tear, Volume I: Fragments
(all books in the trilogy are available)

There is no magic in Vladvir...

Tucked away in a quiet valley, the community of Tolarenz offers a refuge and safe haven for its people, keeping persecution at bay. One young citizen—Askon son of Teral—is destined to lead them, but first he must leave them behind: one final mission, in service of the king.

In the north, leering nightmare creatures known as the Norill gather. Their armor is bone and skin; their weapons are black and crude and cold. They strike in the night, allies to the darkness. It is to them Askon marches, his men a bulwark against the threat.

For there is no magic in Vladvir.

What Askon finds when he arrives seems impossible: smoke and fire, death and defeat, and all around a suffocating sense of dread. The Norill seek something they call ‘the Stone of Mountain,’ but in the half-remembered stories from Askon’s childhood, it was always ‘Alora’s Tear’: a gem with powers great and terrible. A gem that cannot exist.

Unless there is magic in Vladvir…

Buy Links

Excerpt

Marten & Halan

Beyond the farms, two buildings stood twice again as far from the town hall. The first was Askon’s own home. The other was the home of the falconer, Halan. Not only was Halan the last of the villagers in Askon’s tour, the two also had unresolved business.

Everything in and around Halan’s home seemed tailored to the creatures he kept. The trees were tall with many bare, solid branches to act as perches and roosting places. Wood shavings from the carpenter’s shop back in town littered the surrounding grounds. The sheer number of birds was startling. Some hopped from branch to branch along the walkway toward the door, and others, too noble to stoop to such childish games, merely watched like feathered gargoyles until Askon was out of sight.

One such creature, a sable gray merlin who had originally been perched amongst the larger peregrines, glided from tree to tree, stopping periodically to pick through the brown and white feathers at its breast. It followed Askon step for step as he app-roached the fork in the narrow walkway.

To one side was the falconer’s home and a long dock that jutted out over the lake; on the other, the pathway led to the ramshackle mews. Askon passed it by and headed for the water. The merlin swooped fluidly along the ground behind him. On the dock, a figure stared across the lakeside, watching the birds of prey circle and dive.

“Halan?” Askon called. He continued out onto the wooden planks, his steps echoing between water and wood beneath the platform.

“Askon,” Halan said. “Marten and I have been waiting.”

Halan, who was half a head shorter than Askon, appeared every bit an elf, though even he was not fully pure. The long straight hair, lengthened ears that extended out to fine points, sharp features, slight build, and brilliant green eyes made his heritage unmistakably clear.

“Aren’t they just inspiring?” He spoke with a soothing hum that helped to relax his birds. The sound had a similar effect on Askon. “Every movement is pure freedom.”

Askon looked across the water and into the sky. There, in the glare of the midday sun, winged shapes of all sizes soared in great circles above them. He thought to himself how free they did look, but remembered that they were, in a way, Halan’s captives. Askon lowered his eyes to the opposite shore. There he perceived his own measure of true freedom. The people of Tolarenz moved through their daily chores, some studying the arts and others partaking in more menial tasks. Warm pride swept over Askon. The people of Tolarenz were happy and free, and soon they would be in his charge.

“They are indeed inspiring,” he said.

Taking Askon’s meaning, the falconer turned and started back toward the mews. “You’re here for Marten,” he rumbled. “He has spent most of the day in the trees on the outside of the property. He generally prefers to associate with the peregrines. They protested at first, but I think he’s proven his worth to them.”

“Heh, that sounds like him all right,” Askon replied. “I take it he has fully recovered then?”

“He has, but you should try to keep him from being too active. His wings aren’t quite ready for full-time hunting just yet. You can take him home, though.”

The merlin, who had been watching the conversation fixedly, dove from one of the dock’s support pillars and flew in a wide circle just inches from the surface of the lake, so close in fact, that each flap of his wings sent water rippling behind him. When he had finished his demonstration of recovery, he fluttered back up and perched lightly on the leather pad that rested on Askon’s shoulder.

“Feeling better, I see,” Askon said, smiling. The bird bobbed his head in response and looked out across the water. “Thank you for your help, Halan.”

“Always a pleasure.”


About the author

Nathan spends most of his working days with the students of Genesee Junior-Senior High School in Genesee, Idaho. Whether it’s essay structure, a classic literary work, or the occasional impromptu dance routine, he strives to keep students interested in the fun and the fundamentals of the English language.

When he’s not teaching, he wears a number of hats, though the one that says “Dad” is the most careworn and cherished (it says “Husband” on the back). It hangs on a hook in a house where music is a constant and all the computers say “Apple” somewhere on their aluminium facades. From time to time it is said that he ventures into the mysterious realm called outside, though the occasion is rare and almost exclusively upon request by son or daughter.

Author Links

Monday, 31 October 2016

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Lindsey Paley's Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes - Guest Post + Giveaway!



When all-round buttercream princess, Millie Carter, becomes stranded at Craiglea Manor Cookery School, she believes her chance of enjoying a merry festive season is over.

The village of Aisford is Christmas-card perfect, but Millie hates it - she hates the snow, her freezing fingertips, and being forced to look like her Aunt Marjory in a mud-splattered wax jacket and wellies instead of her beloved shorts and sparkly sandals.

She plots her escape but ends up locking spatulas with the estate manager, Fergus McKenzie, who is forced to rescue her before she succumbs to a severe dose of hypothermia. Things start to improve with the arrival of handsome Sam Morgan, fresh from the beaches and rum shacks of the Caribbean.

Can Millie accept her fate? And will Aisford sprinkle some of its seasonal magic on her troubles?

Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes is a festive story of love and friendship and reaching for the buttercream icing and edible glitter when life gets tough. 

Buy Links: 


Author Bio

Lindsey Paley is a Yorkshire girl and author of contemporary romance novels with page-turning plotlines and satisfying endings. When not scribbling away in her peppermint and cream writer's retreat (shed) she loves baking cakes, enjoying a spot of afternoon tea with friends and taking long walks in the countryside. Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes is the first book in the Camille Carter series set in the beautiful Lake District and the Caribbean. The latest in the series is April Showers and Wedding Flowers and is out now.
Author Links:




My Writing Process

I write every day. In summer I write in my little peppermint-and-cream writer’s retreat (garden shed) in the back garden amongst the lawn mower and the trowels, and in winter I decamp to the kitchen table. I suppose I would describe myself as a plotter rather than a pantster as I like to have an idea where my story is going and what the ending will be so I can scatter clues along the way, but that’s not to say my character don’t surprise me - they do!

One thing that I am working on changing is my writing method. I write all my novels in an exercise book long-hand and then type them onto my laptop. For me, it seems my creative juices just flow that way - from my brain, down my arm, into my pen and onto the paper. It’s time-consuming so I reassure myself that when I type my scribblings up later in the day, that’s the story’s first edit.

For me, one of the most difficult parts of the writing process is settling on a character’s name. A name bestows more than just a useful label with which to refer to a character. Not only is it the first thing we learn about a person, I believe their name also shapes what we feel about them. There are certain names that mean a great deal to me - those of my family and friends and people who have had an impact on my life, good or bad. It’s important to me to get the name right and I spend hours selecting something I’m happy with. Camille Carter has a French mother and an English father. She lived in the south of France when she was a child then moved to England with her father’s job, so she changed her name to Millie to fit in with her friends. It didn’t help much as she was always going to be an outsider, joining the school mid-term when friendships had been formed and sealed. But the name stuck, except with her family who still call her Camille.

When I was writing Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes I had a medley of Christmas tunes playing on a loop in the background whenever I needed an extra soupçon of inspiration. I also experimented with a few batches of the Christmas cake cupcakes Millie bakes to keep herself sane whilst she is snow-bound at Craiglea Manor cookery school. The warm spices coiled around my kitchen and helped the writing process but did nothing for my waistline.

Talking of waistlines, there’s no getting away from the fact that an essential part of the writing process is applying your behind to your seat and getting on with it. If you don’t do that regularly you will never type those glorious words THE END. But spending hours and hours with a pen in my hand or my fingers on a keyboard is not a healthy way to spend the day. So, as part of my writing day I make sure that I weave in some time to take a walk or a trip to the local café to stretch my legs and my imagination. I call it research as you never quite know when inspiration might strike. I’ve often found myself scrabbling for a piece of paper, the back of a bus ticket or even an old tissue, to jot down a snippet of conversation or a brilliant idea that has scorched into my mind.

Where do you prefer to write? Or, where is your favourite place to read? Do you prefer complete peace and quiet or do you crave the burble of conversation as background music to your creativity? Let me know in the comments below.

Giveaway


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Blog Tour - Rhuna: The Star Child by Barbara Underwood + Giveaway!

This thrilling sequel to Rhuna: Crossroads is set in mystical Ancient Egypt where Black Magic was developed by the followers of the legendary villain, The Dark Master.

As strange and frightening curses plague the population, Rhuna discovers the underground organization that performs this uncanny new magic, but she can only combat it with the help of her long-lost father.

Having learned from her father amazing new skills to empower her on the Astral Plane, Rhuna once again strives to preserve peace and harmony in the idyllic Atlan civilization.
Far more challenging than fighting powerful Dark Forces, however, is Rhuna’s personal anguish when her daughter becomes involved with the leader of the Black Magic movement, and the once-perfect Atlan society based on utopian principles begins to crumble all around her.

Shocking events escalate Rhuna’s world to a breathless climax as she and her family undergo a momentous upheaval, and she is forced to make great personal sacrifices for her loved ones.



Guest Post - A Writer’s Journey

Some people might wonder whether someone is born an author, or if it is a career choice, like any other job.   In my case, I believe it’s a combination of the two, perhaps leaning towards the first case, namely born to write. 

It started in 4th grade when my class was given the project to write/draw/make a children’s book.  Although mine was probably not spectacular in any way, I clearly remember writing my first book with much excitement and joy.    And then, a couple of years later in 6th grade, we again had a writing project.  Instead of a short story, I wrote about 50 pages, prompting my teacher to comment at the bottom: “I can see we are going to have another author.”

At that age, however, I had no concrete plans for my future, and despite enjoying English class and getting good grades, I thought my future career(s) would lie in far different directions.

During my teens, I found myself wanting to write about an episode in my life, and embarked on a few such projects without ever finishing them because High School became more demanding, and the concerns of everyday life took over. 

Somehow, in my spare time and without being fully aware of it, I was always writing.  If not to dozens of penpals all over the world, then in travel journals which I showed my friends.  It struck me that many of my friends commented, after reading my travel stories, that “you should write a book!”

When I heard this for the umpteenth time, I suddenly perked up and thought “Yes, why not?!”   Still in my spare time, after work (and also during work) I did a correspondence course in writing, and my tutor, who was a former newspaper editor, gave me a lot of good pointers.

Finally, after completing the course, I had several short stories ready, but the market for them was rapidly shrinking.   Two stories were published in literary journals with a very small readership, and I kept hearing that familiar phrase again:  “write a book!”

So I did!

But even as I was writing, I still kept thinking that it was “just a hobby”, and “something I always wanted to do”.  Getting serious about being an author and going through the publishing process was quite another thing.

Going through that process, as well as on-going marketing and all the other things involved in becoming an author felt overwhelming, and it came down to one question in the end:  do I believe in my own book enough to make the effort and sacrifice?  Even though I hadn’t received much feedback (and I figured I couldn’t really trust the words of a few best friends!) I just had to follow my instinct and belief that my book was worth the effort.  I had to have faith in it, and so I pushed on, and now I’m already working on the fourth book in the series while sales and readership steadily grow.  I think I’ve made the right choice!  What about you?

About the author

As an only child of older migrant parents, I was exposed to a different culture and outlook as I growing up in the suburbs of Sydney. At the age of 10 I became interested in history and travel, and in sixth grade my teacher commented on my flair for writing.

After a lot of travel and reading about history - I started with Thor Heyerdahl's adventures which led me to other books about unexplained mysteries such as pyramids and other megaliths around the world - I came to a point where I wanted to put it all together in an epic fantasy novel.

I have now written two further books following on from "Rhuna, Keeper of Wisdom." The 2nd and 3rd books are both set in Ancient Egypt, and I am working on the fourth book in the series, so stay tuned and enjoy "Rhuna"!


GIVEAWAY Amazon $20 / £16 gift card! 
(Go to the Rafflecopter giveaway here if the giveaway does not appear automatically below)


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Mortiswood Tales books on sale!

The first two Mortiswood Tales books are on a Kindle countdown (US and UK) until the 9th October. Each book is 99p/99c so if you haven't already nabbed a copy now is the chance before they go back to full price! Both books are also free for Kindle Unlimited.


Buy Book One on: 

"Whether you like fantasy, New Adult or simply a feisty female protagonist, you should certainly pick up this book."

"Loved the adrenaline and the fighting scenes are fabulous."

"From the first chapter I was drawn into Kaelia's world."

"Punchy and packed with bite this book is a fantasy novel with a difference."

"Bran who is one of those bad ass magical characters."

"Descriptions are very vivid." 

                                     "Constantly grabs you, it thrills and scares you."



Buy Book Two on:


"I cannot give this series enough praise."

"Has me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next instalment."

"Really looking forward to reading more."

"Enjoyed discovering The Salloki world through its very descriptive narration."

"Great characters and a stunning world built around them."

"An excellent follow-up to Kaelia awakening."

Blog Tour: The Wave by Lochlan Bloom and Guest Post



When μ returns home to find a sinister screenplay has arrived from Brazil it propels him on a quest to track down a character he believes to be called Ddunsel.
As μ’s search progresses it slowly becomes entangled with two parallel tales – the stories of DOWN, a troubled publisher, and David Bohm, a real-life quantum theoretician in post-war São Paulo.
Just how far is it from London to Gotham City? Or from Paul Auster to Pierre Menard for that matter?  Some people may think these sorts of questions are idle and ultimately meaningless but this book is not for them.
The Wave combines multiple narratives to blend metafiction, historical fiction and screenplay as each of the characters struggles to understand what is reality and what is fiction.
Buy links
Amazon UK:
Waterstones: 





About the author

Lochlan Bloom is the author of the The Wave as well as the short novellas Trade and The Open Cage. The BBC Writersroom describes his writing as ‘unsettling and compelling… vivid, taut and grimly effective work’. He has written for BBC Radio, Litro Magazine, Porcelain Film, IronBox Films, EIU, H+ Magazine and Calliope, the official publication of the Writers’ Special Interest Group (SIG) of American Mensa, amongst others. Lochlan lives in London and does not have a cat or a dog.







Guest Post

One of the threads in the novel follows a character called David Bohm and whereas the other characters seem very much fictional Bohm was a real historical figure. Can you explain a little about why you chose to incorporate this real-life character?

Bohm was an American physicist from the mid-20th century and he not only worked with some of the greatest scientific minds during the McCarthy era, such as Einstein and Oppenheimer, but also lived through some fascinating political changes.

I was keen to include a real life character to provide another perspective on the question of what is and isn’t fiction. Having a character who was a real, living, breathing person instantly tethers the story to the real world in a way that the other sections are not. Given how the section ends it is obviously not purely historical but nonetheless it forced a different discipline in writing in that I was forced to research more into the real life David Bohm.

For most of his life, Bohm was obsessed with quantum mechanics and he was largely uninvolved in politics and yet was expelled by the United States. He was forced to travel to Brazil for a time before moving around the world and in his later years developing a close working interest in Eastern philosophies

The section in The Wave is set shortly after his arrival in Brazil and as the book as a whole is concerned with ideas such as uncertainty, duality and hidden connections there was a huge resonance with his work. There is certainly more than enough for a whole book about him alone.

Bohm developed this hidden variable theory of quantum mechanics which at a basic level suggests that all the interactions in the universe are intimately connected. The guiding wave is a part of a hidden order, an implicate order, and this concept tied in with the connections between story and reality I was exploring in the book.