Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Interview with Rachel Lyndhurst

I met Rachel Lyndhurst via Twitter. I'm very pleased about this; with my recently adopted policy of (mostly) buying books by people I have spoken to, without this chance meeting I would never have had the pleasure of reading Storm's Heart, Rachel's debut novel, which has recently been published by Embrace Books.

An extract from the book blurb reads: When Greek lawyer Andreas Lazerides and bistro-manager Kizzy Dean clash over the executing of his mother's final wishes, he takes matters into his own hands and Kizzy back with him to Ancient Greece.

Storm's Heart is a fast-paced novel set on the beautiful island of Rhodes, featuring one of the hottest alpha males I've ever had the pleasure of reading. What else do I need to say? Perhaps, if you have small children (like I do) make sure they are otherwise engaged before settling down to read it.

Without further ado I have the great pleasure of welcoming Rachel here for the first interview I have ever hosted on my blog:

Hello Rachel and welcome to my blog.
When we met via Twitter, I instantly knew that you would become a firm favourite of mine. Do you feel that you are playing a role with your online persona?

Would it terrify you to know that I’m just being myself? Well, I almost am. I do take a step back and think about what I’m about to shoot off into cyberspace because, unlike a chat in the playground, what I say will be there forever and Big Brother is watching us more than he ever was. I also try not to rant about things that annoy me like dog mess, politics or religion, although I broke that rule on the issue of footballers spitting recently! And nobody likes a misery, if I’m having a grumpy moment, I stay well away from the Tweet button!

Let’s talk about your blog. I have to admit it is one that I visit regularly as it never fails to bring a smile to my face. What made you decide to create a blog that was such a work of art in its own right?

Ha! Flattery will get you everywhere! I have to be honest and admit that I’d put off starting a blog for years, as I just didn’t think anyone would be interested in reading it! However when I got ‘the email’ from Embrace, I knew the time had come to grit my teeth and get on with it. I started tweeting and Facebooking at the same time.
I’m not a pastels sort of girl, big bold colours, flavours and visuals do it for me – just like Mediterranean and Latino men! The design just ‘happened’ when I started to experiment with Blogger, somehow the background of spilt red wine just seemed right …

As I mentioned above, your debut novel, Storm’s Heart has been published by Embrace Books. How do you feel now you’re a published novelist?

Vindicated. After years of people asking what I ‘do all day’ (ignoring the hours of childcare, housework and domestic admin a stay at home mum has to do!), I can now say hand on heart ‘I am a writer’. And then the next question always follows: ‘Anything published?’ Being able to say, ‘Yes’ is the best feeling ever because, strange as it may seem, not everyone you meet wants you to be successful.

Andreas Lazarides. Hmm! How did you make your hero so sizzling hot?

I let my fantasies run wild! Storm’s Heart is an escapist read, so if you can’t go mad within the pages or a romance novel when can you? I wrote the romantic hero I wanted to read, and made him as irresistible as I dared. The gamble seems to have paid off – it seems a lot of readers think along the same lines!

What’s next then? How will the perfect hero cope with a sleep deprived wife and being surrounded with nappies and pureed vegetables?

Easy. Kizzy will have all her heart desires, including lots more babies. Andreas will be a hands-on, doting father and husband and still, conveniently, a millionaire. I’ll probably be shot for this, but what new mum hasn’t dreamt about having nannies, cooks, cleaners and a spa retreat for when things get too much? Well I do! I’m keeping the fantasy going – life’s tough enough!

There has been significant online discussion about certain explicit scenes in Storm’s Heart. What would you say if someone asked you to sign a copy of your book and dedicate it to their 86 year old Great Aunt Hilda?

I will tell you now that some of the Great Aunt Hildas of the world are getting up to more mischief than you could possibly imagine, so I’d never discount anyone as a reader. However, I have warned everyone I’ve personally signed/sold a copy of Storm’s Heart to that there’s hot adult content. Strangely, this doesn’t seem to have put anyone off yet …

As for your novels, what do you have in the pipeline for us to look forward to?

Rachel Lyndhurst
I’m currently finishing off a new story that involves an Italian CEO with arctic blue eyes and Welsh roots, a feisty female quarry accountant and high emotional stakes in Portofino, Italy. Oh, and an advance warning, there are more scenes of an explicit nature, Great Aunt Hilda. Just saying …

Thanks so much for having me here today, Rebecca, I’ve been looking forward to this for ages!

So there we have it. Isn't she lovely? If you need further convincing, have a look at Rachel's blog for more information about both her and Storm's Heart. I will warn you now, it's not a blog you will be able to visit once and forget about.

If you've read this far you're in for a treat. I am very excited to be able to offer a signed and personally dedicated copy of Storm's Heart to one lucky reader. All you have to do is comment under this blog post to be in with a chance to win it. 

I will leave this open until 12 noon (UK time) on Friday 15th April. I will then pick a winner at random and pass their details on to Rachel.

You can purchase Storm's Heart via the following sites:

Click here for my review of Storm's Heart on Goodreads.

Thank you for reading!

Monday, 28 March 2011

News & Views

Hello! Somehow it feels like a good day today, which must be because of the sun showing it's face over the weekend. I always find January and February a bit of a struggle and embrace British Summer Time with open, hopeful arms.

BST started in a lovely way for me yesterday, not only a lovely day out with the family but when we returned home I discovered that the lovely Ether Books have released another one of my submissions. This one is a collection of 8 flash fiction stories, all very different in length and style, for a mere 59p. Please take a look if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch. There are loads of free stories on the App so you can actually get a lot of pleasure from it for absolutely nothing if you prefer. I've also set up a page to briefly describe all of my Ether content in one place. You can find the link for that at the top of this blog.

On Wednesday I am hosting Rachel Lyndhurst here on my blog. Rachel is one of my favourite debut novellists of recent years. If you like your hero tall, dark, handsome and scorching hot, you'd better visit my blog on Wednesday for a no-nonsense interview and giveaway of Storm's Heart. The champagne is on ice - you'll be more in need of the ice if you treat yourself to a read of this book!

Meanwhile I've started a new novel for adults which will be contemporary fiction. I just wish I could plug my brain into the computer as the characters are screaming at me to get out and the whole novel has formed in my head. But I will plod on in the traditional way!

I'm also a bit chuffed to be watching the anonymous voting on a contest which I entered with one of my flash fiction stories. There have been 12 votes so far and 7 of them are for my story. I've always had confidence issues with my writing, and think people are being 'kind' and probably laughing at me behind their hands, but when the voting is totally anonymous it's a massive confidence boost. I'd recommend this kind of contest to anyone who wants to know how their writing compares when it comes to the vote.

New Beginnings is almost completed. I hope to be able to announce a publication date shortly and then get on to organising a couple of events to celebrate it's publication. A question for anyone who reads this - would you want to come to Oxfordshire for a book launch and/or a more casual meet & greet in one of my favourite haunts? I'd be interested to know if there would be any willing victims attendees.

I think that's enough for one post - I really must go and do some writing and edits as well, so have a great week!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Friday Flash: Colours

Black. The pit I teeter at the edge of. Emptiness. Dark expanse of despair with no way out, drawing me in.

Red. Red for danger, red for anger. Anger that seethes through my veins like molten lava. All consuming, passionate and deadly.

Taste. A bitter taste: salty, bilious, rancid; no amount of scrubbing can reduce it.  

Hole. Where once there was something, now there is nothing. Bitter, thoughts. Negative. Slight decomposition around the edges.

Open. A door. I can exit if I want to?

Blue. Under the blue, the senses improve. Surprise, as I feel a smile.

Orange. Burning, bright sun. Caressing my skin until I feel alive again.

I walk onwards. I will find my path.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Ether Books: Just, wow!

You may have noticed me chattering on about Ether Books in the past few months. This is something that won't be changing, as they continue to impress with their forward thinking and rapidly developing website and app structure.

Ether have recently started a new feature on their website where they promote books by their authors. I'm particularly excited about this now that I'm having a book published of my own, but it does sum up the kind of publisher they are.

Look at all those free reads!
 Also, Ether have recently read some new submissions of mine - six in all, and have said they want to publish all of them. I read this email yesterday and have only just stopped running around the house cheering for long enough to sit down and write this.

One of the six new stories has been loaded into the app already. It's my story 'Listen' which was published in '50 Stories for Pakistan' and Ether have released it as a free read, and loaded the cover of the anthology onto the app with a link for people to be able to buy the EBook. How cool is that!

As always, I am grateful to anyone who downloads my stories via Ether, it fills me with joy to see my stories up there on the bestseller list on a regular basis. Thank you all so much.

x X x

Stylish Blogger Award

I would like to thank Rosalind Adam for giving me a 'Stylish Blogger Award' over on her delightful blog 'Rosalind Adam is writing in the rain'.

I am sorry to say due to time limitations I am unable to pass this on or do what I'm meant to do in this post, but I did want to publically thank Rosalind. Please do take a look at her lovely blog; her children's books, which you will find on there, are well worth a look at.

I received my copy of 'Bathtime Rap' today and it's wonderful!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Authors for Japan

When the lovely Keris Stainton posted about Authors for Japan, I read the post and thought to myself, "What an amazing thing to do, I wish I had something to donate". This was at 6am, pre-coffee, and it took all day for the penny to drop. I *do* have something to donate. (This sums up how I feel like I have been talking about someone else when I have been telling everyone about my book being published!)

I immediately went back to the page and pledged a signed copy of my novel. So now that the Authors for Japan site is set up, it's in the middle of a bunch of amazing items. I have looked at all of the other lots and I have to say, there are some incredible things for everyone to bid on. I'm just hoping that one kind person will bid on lot 14, so I don't look like a complete Billy-no-mates!

I would like to say a big thank you to Keris for organising this. I have no idea how she has managed to get everything sorted out so quickly. Please do pay a visit to the site, and support the people of Japan at this time.

Thank you

 x X x

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Friday Flash: The Balloon

I recently joined the forum My Writers Circle which is full of useful information and friendly, helpful people. When I mentioned that I liked flash fiction, I was pointed in the direction of a contest, so I entered it. The task was to write a flash containing exactly 200 words, using one or more of the words circus, clouds or zombie.

The option was to start the story 'Never before...'

So below is my entry, which was voted 2nd place in an anonymous poll:

The Balloon

Never before had the village green looked so exciting. A Big Top was being erected as I walked past and my stomach flipped with excitement at the sight of it.

“Can we go to the circus?” was the first thing I asked when I got home.
“Look what I bought today,” Mum said, smiling as she showed me two tickets. “Tomorrow at two.”


“Want a balloon?” a woman asked. She wore gloves, despite the warm weather.
“Go on, pick one,” Mum said.
I picked a red balloon with an image of a clown. The woman handed it to me with a toothless smile.

The smell of sawdust filled the air as the trapeze artists flew above our heads. Later, they called everyone with a clown balloon into the ring, and I was allowed to help the clowns with their magic.

At the end of the show, the ringmaster asked everyone with a zombie balloon to stay behind for a special treat.  As the balloon seller slammed the doors behind us, she suddenly yanked the balloon out of my hand. As I tearfully watched it float skywards towards the fluffy white clouds, she hissed at me: “Lucky escape, sonny, lucky escape.”

New Beginnings - Coming Soon To a Bookshelf Near You!

I am delighted to announce that my debut novel New Beginnings is going to be published by Grimoire Books, a children's imprint of Punked Books.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

In Search of Perfect Harmony

I have been so excited recently to see six of my stories published on the Ether App. I have submitted a few more, so hopefully later this year there may be more up there as well, if I keep my fingers crossed hard enough!

I have such a thrill every time I look at the App and see my stories on there. I have to admit the main place I look is the Bestsellers list, and for the past month, my story A Rocky Road has been bobbing around in the top ten so this is a massive feeling of achievement. The Gift is further down the list, but Perfect Harmony has disappeared completely.

I'm wondering if anyone out there with an iPhone or iPod could bear to seek out Perfect Harmony  and have a read of it? I know this is massively cheeky so only if you use Ether and love reading already, obviously. It would be such a thrill to see all three of these stories in the Bestselling list, even if it's just for a few hours.

If you do read this, or any other of my Ether stories for that matter, please do put a comment on this post so that everyone can see just how fablous you are.

x X x

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

New Beginnings

The title of this post has a double meaning. Firstly, it's the name of my first novel, which I may have mentioned previously. But also:

It is with a great deal of pleasure and excitement that I can tell you that I am in discussions with a publisher who enjoyed the beginning of my novel, requested the full manuscript, and is interested in publishing it. Hopefully I will have an update for you all before too long.