Thursday, 25 October 2012

Friday Flash: Spin

This story features some of my favourite characters (of my own) of all time, from my short story A Rocky Road, which is published by Ether Books.


It was one day in Spring when, by some miracle, the children were playing harmoniously. She sat on the park bench and smiled to herself, wondering where he was, what he was doing, if he was with someone.

Of course he’s with someone she chastised herself. A man like that would never be lonely.

She watched the roundabout spin, fighting the urge to rush and grab the rail to slow it down. They have to learn by their mistakes. And as that thought crossed her synapses, Thomas slipped and fell, his cries piercing her to the core. She ran and almost tripped; steadying herself as she neared her goal.

“Come on, Thomas, you’ll be okay,” she soothed, kissing his palm. And magically that kiss healed everything. He leapt back on the equipment before she’d finished wiping the snotty tears from his face.

Returning slowly to the bench, she wished her own mother could be there to kiss her heart and heal it that way. She thought of him again, probably on the other side of the planet, playing arenas. And there she was; a single parent of two, her husband in Barbados with his new girlfriend; his former secretary, even though he’d always maintained he was never one for cliché.

She closed her eyes and began to hum a guitar riff… the one she’d heard as she stared at him that night as he owned the stage. Five years had passed yet it felt like seconds. She opened her eyes, took out her purse and removed a scrap of paper, so worn it felt like material.

Don’t be stupid, he’d have changed his phone number by now, she thought angrily. She tucked that piece of paper back inside her wallet as if it was a baby scan image.

“Thomas! Natalie! Time for hot chocolate!” she yelled, and as her children squealed in delight she gathered them up in her arms, span them around, and then placed them back on the grass. Grabbing each of them by a hand, she led them in the direction of the café.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop 2012

I am taking part in the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and The Diary of a Bookworm.

The dates for this hop are October 24th to 31st.

All you have to do is tell me which of my books (plus swag) you would like to receive as a prize if you win.

The options are a signed paperback copy of:

New Beginnings  (for 9+)
A Knowing Look and Other Stories  (for adults)
When Dreams Come True (for 10-14s).

You can read a bit more about all of the books here.

You can get extra entries by:
Liking my Facebook Page
Following me on Twitter
Adding me as a friend on Goodreads

Any comments made before midnight PST on 31st October will count, and a winner will be picked on 1 November.

This is an international giveaway.

Good luck and happy hopping!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Guest Blog: Mariam Kobras

It gives me great pleasure today to host a lovely writer, Mariam Kobras, as she celebrates the launch of her book, Under The Same Sun.  So without further ado, I will hand over to Mariam.

Mariam Kobras
The Last Thing On My Mind 

What was that again?

Don’t ever fall into the trap of thinking that all an author does is write books and then sits back and watches the money roll in!

So this is how it goes. I’m sitting here, trying to think of original, witty and moderately intelligent things to say about Under the Same Sun, and in pops the publisher.
“You can’t use that title for the book you’re just writing,” they say.
I try to come out of the muddle I’m in, caught somewhere between the launch, the blog hop, and the writing of a new book.
“You can’t use Lavender Lemonade. It’s a bit  misleading. You’ll need to think of something else!”
Right. Like I’m sitting here at my desk, and brilliant titles just pop out of my head like soap  bubbles. Like I need a new distraction right now.
La di da! A new title, and pronto, since I’ve been blasting the fact that I’m working on something new all over the internet.
I’m for something with “winter” in it, but my favorite beta-reader tells me no, everything with “winter” in it sounds like the title of a decorating magazine.
Gosh, I really don’t need this right now. How to come up with a new title?

As if this isn’t enough, the publisher announces they want to release the third book of the trilogy in fall 2013.
Uh, I might be dead by then? That’s so far in the future I can’t even comprehend it. That’s so far in the future, who knows if the world will still be around?
It’s so far in the future that I’m sure I’ll have to reread it, just to remember what I wrote.  .

I tell them that I can’t wait that long. I’m too old for that kind of planning, and I really wanted to make enough money from the writing to be able to get in and out of the Porsche I want to buy with my royalties. After having renovated and redecorated the house, taken the family on a trip around the world and having hiring a housekeeper.
Oh wait—didn’t I say I wanted to move? Right. So after having tossed all the old crap out of this place and finding a pretty house with a porch somewhere in New England. Right.
Surprisingly, they don’t break out into hysterical laughter at this argument of mine. They just shake their head with an amused smirk on their face and say, we’ll see.

Seconds later, someone asks me to summarize Under the Same Sun in one tweet.
I don’t think so.

Authors are really lousy at summarizing their own books, I think. What to pick, what’s important, what’s  not?

I mean, I could go on and on about that lovely part of Under the Same Sun where Jon and Naomi go to Italy to meet Naomi’s maternal family.
It’s late summer, the heat has abated, and there’s the azure Mediterranean, The green mountain slopes, the steep hills that drop into the ocean. The family, living in a wonderful old house amid cedar groves and olive trees, welcome them with open arms.
Jon, who until then always thought Naomi was unique, sees her cousins—and they all look like her. For him, it’s almost visual overkill.
He gets introduced to Naomi’s male cousin Ferro, a talented painter who is working on murals in a pilgrimage chapel.
They spend a few wonderful, dreamy weeks in that lovely setting before they have to return to New York and stark reality.

And I’m not going to tell you what happens next, because you are of course supposed to buy the book (and the first one, The Distant Shore, too!) if I’m ever going to get my Porsche.

But just so you know,  the last book in the the Stone Trilogy: Song Of The Storm, will pick off right where Under The Same Sun ends.

And now I’m going to have lunch and then get back to writing of the now (thanks to my publisher) untitled book four.

This was the fifth stop in Mariam’s Blog Hop celebrating the launch of her latest book, Under the Same Sun (Book II in the Stone Trilogy) which hit the bestseller list on its first day on sale!

There’s only a few left, so order yours soon and while you’re waiting you can go to our blog and click the link to read the first two chapters for free. Before you leave, you will want to write a comment below about this blog post for a chance to win one of three copies of Under the Same Sun (plus some pretty gosh, darn, yummy chocolate)! You can get additional chances by following Mariam at every stop on her hop and leaving comments after each post. And hey, while you’re here, why not follow this blog. You won’t regret it.

On Monday, 10/22, Mariam will be visiting Nita Beshear’s blog, where Nita will be reviewing Under the Same Sun. Join us there!

Check our blog for the full calendar and more details!

Buy from


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Next Big Thing

If you are a writer with a blog and would like to be tagged, I have 2 spaces left so please get in touch and I will tag you immediately!

Jack Barrow tagged me in The Next Big Thing Blog meme, which is a self-interview with ten questions, to be answered in a blog post.

So here are my brief answers to the questions, a bit rushed so I will type the first thing that comes into my head because I have been incredibly busy and am writing this very late in the day.

What is the working title of your book?
A Listening Ear

Where did the idea come from for the book?
A friend of mine was telling me some interesting snippets about her life and she said there must be a book in her experiences. She said she didn't have the time to write though, so I asked her if she'd mind if I kind of fictionalised her as my main character. Luckily she said yes.

What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary womens fiction.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Obviously all the really stunning ones: Hugh Jackman, Henry Cavill, Jason Statham, ha ha ha. Real answer: I have no idea as there are loads of characters in this, and they are not all written yet.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When you're a good listener you hear about everyone else's stories...  and somehow a lot of them intertwine.  (I don't have a proper synopsis yet!)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
In my dream world this will be my big break, represented by a huge agency who lands me a contract with a huge international publisher and then Hollywood will come calling.

We shall see.  

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I started it in November 2011. And I'm not done yet. So it's taking a huge amount of time.  

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Not sure if they were in fact originally books, but you know those movies with loads of different stories intertwining and usually including Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson and loads of other English actors. Well, those. 

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
As question 2. She's my beautician. 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
This short story with the same title was written from the POV of the main character.

I'm meant to tag some other authors, so far I only have three so I have spaces for more:
Eliza Green over at Eliza Loves Sci Fi
Chris Martinez at Dunno Where I'm Goin. Any Road'll Do
Sara Banerj

Please be sure to visit these lovely ladies. Their Next Big Thing blogs will be up next Wednesday, 24th October.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Giveaway Winner, More Giveaways, and Me in the Media


I am pleased to announce the winner of the tote back giveaway in my last post with Melanie-Robertson King.  Melanie's husband kindly pulled a name from the hat and the winner is:

Janice Horton

Congrats, Janice, I will be in touch.

Don't forget to check out the rest of Melanie's blog tour as she continues to celebrate the launch of A Shadow in the Past.

Last week I went into my old senior school to talk to the Year 9s and Year 8s about my writing, and New Beginnings in particular. I will be doing a full report of this on my blog about writing for children & teens when I have the photos. This morning I discovered my name in The Oxford Mail related to these talks, which was nice to see.

And finally, I have giveaways running on Goodreads of two of my books at the moment. You can find links to them in the Giveaways tab at the top of this page.

Thanks, as always, for reading.