Author Interview – Bettina Hunt @BeautySwot #romance #amwriting

A few creative moons ago I read, Without a Hitch, by a romance author called Bettina Hunt. From the start of the book I loved her humour, her relatable characters and her take on romantic comedy. I went onto read one of her other novels; A Tempting Trio, and laughed so much at her hilarious book I nearly fell off my chair. Since then I have become a bit of a Bettina Hunt author superfan. She still hasn’t managed to shake me off – lol.

In real life she’s one of the funniest people I know and always makes me smile. Now that her fabulous new book, High Heels on the Beach, is out I have persuaded her to come on my blog.

I thought it would be fun to do an author interview so you can all find out more about Bettina Hunt.

Please welcome one of my favourite romantic comedy & women’s fiction authors, Bettina Hunt.

Hello, thanks for having me on your blog, it’s such an honour!

  1. Bettina – can you tell us about yourself?

Such a difficult first question, Lucy!

I’m a forty something writer of romcoms and women’s fiction. I have two young boys and I can tell you that homeschooling them during Covid was certainly not an easy thing as one thing I’ve never wanted to be is a teacher, huge respect to those who are!

I used to work in product management however, at one time I was thinking of becoming a lawyer… that attention to detail that I learnt during my law degree has held me in good stead 😉

As a gemini I have so many interests, I can be known to be indecisive but the one thing I knew was that I always wanted to write in some capacity. I started writing a blog about beauty and afternoon tea when I was at home with my eldest boy and then added a Friday Column so that I could share my poetry and short stories. My first book – A Tempting Trio – was originally a short story on my blog.

I’ve published four books and partially written another five. My ultimate dream is to have at least one of my books made into a film. I would also love to be part of a comedy writing team, writing either comedy sketches or a sitcom (i’m not fussy!) Sharon Horgan is one of my favourite writers and she’s written two of my favourite TV Shows – Catastrophe and Motherland. Most recently I’ve become obsessed with the BBC ONE series This Is My House. It’s a brilliant concept, so entertaining and funny.

Just before lockdown I also discovered Schitt’s Creek which is the ultimate heartwarming, feelgood comedy series. With perfectly written characters that evolve beautifully as the series plays out I laughed and cried. It’s the best series ever.

  1. Tell us about your new book?

High Heels on the Beach is a heartwarming contemporary romantic comedy set in both London and the fictional seaside town of Sunny Bay. It tells the story of Becca who’s used to letting her bestie make decisions for her in a twist on the Choose Your Own Story books that they used to read. When her world comes crumbling down, Becca realises she needs to stop relying on others and take control of her own destiny. Her planned voyage of self-discovery is thwarted by the need for her to return to the one place she’s been avoiding, home. In Sunny Bay she’s forced to take on the running of the family’s B&B, bringing her face to face with old flames and adversaries and meeting a host of colourful residents at the B&B. The story follows Becca’s emotional journey and her struggle between the pull of her old corporate life and a new life in Sunny Bay.

  1. Where did the idea for the book come from?

I actually got the idea when I was on holiday in Spain. I was looking around at the people by the pool and wondered how many of them were not looking forward to getting back to their jobs and the idea spiralled from there. I had planned to start writing it during NanoWrimo in November, however I felt compelled to write as soon as I got home and wrote 30,000 words during the Summer Holidays.

  1. When you are not writing books what do you like doing?

Most of this hasn’t been possible since COVID struck but … I love going out for afternoon tea, eating out and enjoying cocktails. I love going on mini breaks. I love the theatre, the west end shows. I love watching comedy shows on TV to lift my spirits. And I LOVE to sing 🙂 just for me mostly although I do lip syncs on Instagram too.

  1. Best piece of writing advice you have ever been given?

You have to turn on the tap to let the water flow AND you can’t edit an empty page.

  1. How long have you been writing books?

I wrote my first full book in 2015 but i’ve always had ideas bouncing around in my head. Still do. Every day in fact. Especially when I’m doing the washing up or in bed, trying to sleep.

  1. What book are you reading at the moment.

I’m reading a romcom (not much of a surprise there!) called The Summer Job by Lizzie Dent. It’s made me laugh out loud so that’s a good sign.

  1. Who are your favourite authors and why?

I love Lucy Vine for making me laugh out loud. Milly Johnson’s books are like a cuddle, warm and funny with fantastic characters. John Grisham for page turning suspense – My favourite book of his was The Runaway Jury. More recently I’ve discovered JP Delaney for thrillers. But honestly I read so many wonderful books that I wish I could give them all a shout out.

9.Favourite social media channel?

Twitter I think – I love how instant it is and I love to talk and chat, connect with people 🙂

  1. Favourite romance film?

How can I choose! I love romantic films and even better if they make me laugh… But if I really, really, had to choose – Okay I have 3 films in mind.

Some Kind of Wonderful made me cry buckets and has some fantastic lines in it. My two favourite romcoms are Sweet Home Alabama and You’ve Got Mail. I could happily watch all three over and over again.

Decision shy Becca is used to her best friend making decisions for her, but after a disastrous 30th birthday, London living Becca realises she needs to stop relying on others and take control of her own destiny.

With her life plans in tatters, she’s forced to return home to the quiet seaside town of Sunny Bay and the family’s B&B, where the bedrooms are covered in chintz and her mother is still serving up culinary delights from the 1970s. Adamant that she’s not staying, Becca embarks on a soul-searching trip to Europe.

She’s barely stepped foot abroad before a family crisis sees her back in Sunny Bay and in charge of the B&B. Coming face to face with old flames and adversaries, Becca’s reminded why she left and is determined to get back to her old life in London.

But when the mysterious Madame DoTell, fortune teller to the stars, insists that home is where the heart is, Becca begins to wonder if she should listen…

If home is where the heart is, where is home?

High Heels on the Beach is a light-hearted and fun packed Summer tale perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Lindsey Kelk.

Book purchase link: click here.

#BookReview #2021reads Beneath Cornish Skies @KateRyder_Books

Firstly I am back after my festive blogging break and I would like to wish all of you a happy and healthy 2021. I have some amazing stuff lined up for my blog this year. Lots of fab books to be reviewed, loads of funny writing tales, some inspiring guest bloggers, and news of my next book 😯 More details to follow so watch this space.

Secondly, I will be posting a writing related post on here tomorrow.

Thirdly I am back with a FABULOUS read for you – ❤️ this book from Kate Ryder. If this isn’t on your 2021 to be read pile – get it on there!

Here’s the blurb:

Beneath Cornish Skies


To an outsider, Cassandra Shaw’s life looks perfect. She lives in a beautiful, luxurious house in the English countryside, with a handsome, wealthy boyfriend who insists she needn’t do a day’s work in her life. But Cassie knows that something is not right. Her boyfriend has grown colder, treating her more like a housekeeper than a future wife. And her time feels empty and purposeless.

Cassandra has always been riddled with insecurities and self-doubt, but, just for once, she decides to take a chance on a new beginning. She answers an advert for a live-in nanny, dog walker, cook and all-round ‘Superhuman’ for a family living in a rambling manor house on the rugged North Cornish coast. The work is hard and tiring, but Cassie has never felt so fulfilled.

As Cassie learns to connect with the natural beauty unfolding around her, Cornwall starts to offer up its secrets. Soon, Cassie starts wondering if she was drawn to this isolated part of the coast for a reason. Why was she guided to Foxcombe Manor? What are the flashes of light she sees in the valley? Is it her imagination or does someone brush past her? And who is the mysterious man living deep in the woods?

A beautiful romance with a hint of ghostliness, Beneath Cornish Skies is for anyone who has ever longed to start their lives again.

Here’s my review:

Wow – what a read!

This book is breathtaking in terms of setting and atmosphere. Kate Ryder does an amazing job in whisking you, the reader, away to the beautiful northern coast of Cornwall and the stunning Sussex Downs. if you are struggling with lockdown and need fictional escapism – read this. I felt like I was there.

I loved this book because it had all the ingredients for a great story, one heroine who needed to reclaim herself, one troubled and mysterious potential love interest a large serving of gorgeous scenery, a spoonful of romance and a sprinkling of Cornish magic.

Cassie is the heroine and her experiences at the hands of her controlling partner, David, tugged at my heartstrings. I loved her journey of self discovery which started after she replied to a magazine ad.

The romance is slow burn but I think that was needed as this story was more about Cassie finding her authentic self again after years of David’s controlling ways.

There are a few twists and turns in the story which kept my interest too.

This was just the sort of inspiring book I wanted to read.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/364FTKy

Author Bio –
Kate Ryder is an award-winning, Amazon Kindle international best seller who writes timeslip and romantic suspense in a true-to-life narrative. On leaving school she studied drama but soon discovered her preference for writing plays rather than performing them! Since then, she has worked in the publishing, tour operating and property industries, and has travelled widely.

Kate is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors. In 2017, she signed a 4-book contract with Aria (digital imprint of award-winning independent publisher, Head of Zeus).

Summer in a Cornish Cove, a contemporary romantic suspense set on the Lizard Peninsula, gained her a nomination for the RNA’s 2018 Joan Hessayon award, while its standalone sequel, Cottage on a Cornish Cliff, reached the heady heights of #2 in Kindle Literary Sagas.

‘Secrets of the Mist’, a mysterious timeslip romance, not only achieved #1 Kindle best seller flags in the UK, Canada and Australia, but also reached #49 in Amazon UK Paid Kindle. In the original, self-published version (The Forgotten Promise) it was awarded the first Chill with a Book “Book of the Month”.

Originally hailing from the South East of England, today Kate lives on the Cornish side of the beautiful Tamar Valley with her husband and a collection of animals.

Social Media Links –
Author website: http://www.kateryder.me
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KateRyder_Books
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kateryder.author
Instagram: @kateryder_author

Don’t miss tomorrow’s writing post – it is a cracker!

How To Come Terms With…Your Book Is Not Going To Write Itself 😧 #AmWriting

This is a tough one and can take some writers several years to come to terms with.

You have an unfinished draft novel, sat in a drawer or lounging on top of your writing desk or loitering in your writing file on your computer and the thought of finishing it gives you an uncomfortable gut sensation and you have to reach for another chocolate biscuit to make it go away.

Or, maybe you are like me and are taking part in NaNoWriMo2020 and book writing momentum has sadly left your writer body. After a day off you have fallen behind and the thought of putting in the effort to catch up makes you want to binge watch The Crown on Netflix while flipping oreo biscuits into the air and catching them in your mouth.

The thought of sitting down and ploughing on for another thirty thousand words will not be an appealing one.

It’s at this stage you start to consider the possibility of the following happening:

  • Magical elves scurrying in during the small hours and writing the rest of your book.
  • Waking up one morning to find its all been a bad dream and your completed manuscript is lying on your bedside table.
  • A famous best-selling author with time on their hands replying to your ‘my #unfinishednovel is making me sad’ tweet with ‘let’s meet for coffee over Zoom and I might be able to help you finish it!’
  • Planting ‘magical book seeds’ in your vegetable patch with the belief you will be able to dig up your finished novel in a few weeks time.
  • Being visited by your ‘writer fairy godmother’ in the night who waves a magical wand and transforms your unfinished manuscript into a completed one, edited and with no typos.
  • A white book stork flying over your house with its own version of a new baby in its beak – a finished manuscript.
  • Walking along a beach and finding a bottle washed up on the shore with the rest of your manuscript inside it.
  • Your unfinished book writing itself.

So, how do you come to terms with your book is not going to write itself?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but your unfinished novel will stay unfinished if you carry on spending time in fantasy land.

There are no literary elves, magical book seeds, book storks or writer fairy godmothers. Best selling authors have better things to do with their time.

Your book is not going to write itself.

It’s time to wake up and drag your lazy writer self over to your chair and write the rest of your novel.

Get to work writer – only you can make the literary dream happen.

Have a fabulous day!

PS: I have written this post in the hope it gives me a kick up the writer ass.


Psst…if anyone does know of some efficient and reliable literary elves, send them my way 😊

Writing Romance? 5 Things About Writing Kisses @KileyDunbar

I am so excited about this post. As a huge fan of all things romantic and someone who gets very carried away at the sight of any romance, within a ten mile radius, this blog post is going to leave me lying on my sofa with a cold compress on my forehead. Today we are talking about how to write a good kiss. 

Now, back in the day, when I was looking for love in Leeds (in the 90s) kissing was a big thing. Especially since most of my dating was done in Ritzy’s nightclub and once a male suitor had impressed me with his dance moves, surrounded by clouds of dry ice, we’d go in for the kiss.

The kiss was an important stage – because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with anyone whose kissing skills reminded me of:

  • My washing machine on a fast cycle
  • A plunger for my blocked sink.
  • Snogging a block of ice.
  • Snogging some sandpaper
  • Snogging a Jack in the Box – his tongue was the Jack which popped out when I wasn’t expecting it and made me jump.

Back in the day I thought I had struck gold when my suitor had velvet lips, no crab stick breath, a shy tongue (at first), a gentle swaying action and maybe one of his hands gently running through my hair. Kissing heaven 😂

When we write romance we have to bring the joy of kissing to life and this is tough. We have to get so much right as writers so that our reader lets out a sigh as they read about our characters engaging in a delicious kiss.

So, I have asked fabulous author of heart-warming and escapist romantic fiction, Kiley Dunbarto come on my blog and give us some tips.

Kiley Dunbar

In their last moments on earth nobody every says, ‘you know what, I wish I’d done less kissing.’

In fact, I can guarantee if you think back to your hottest ex, or take a glance at your significant other, you’ll be inclined to agree it would have been nice if there’d been a lot more kissing and a lot less humdrum.

There’s just isn’t enough kissing in the world. Happily, the romance genre has always been around to redress the balance and to inspire us all to perfect our pout, take one step closer and lock lips.

As well as being oh-so-much fun, kisses are an expression of attraction, an opener for intimacy, and they bring reassurance and reconnection when things have gone wrong. Kisses also make for very special moments: first kisses, you-may-kiss-the-bride-kisses, break-up kisses and make-up kisses. There are some kisses you’ll just never forget, and this applies to kisses on the page too.

As romance readers we’re literary kiss connoisseurs. One of my all-time favourites is Pernille Hughes’s divine eight page clinch in Probably the Best Kiss in the World (One More Chapter, 2019) which has lips that linger long enough to rival Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr’s epic screen smooch amongst crashing waves in From Here to Eternity.
I love writing kisses too. Whether you are crafting a slow-burn love story that builds up to one perfect smacker on the final page or a sizzling snog-fuelled steam fest, here are my top five tips for writing kisses your readers will really feel.

1. Consent.

The reign of the grabby hero who stifles a heroine’s protests with a stolen kiss is over.
Long live the considerate, consenting kissers of modern romantic fiction. If it’s not mutual and enthusiastic, it’s not romantic.

2. Desire.

On-page kisses are motivated by wanting.

When your characters’ lips meet there must be the full force of their attraction behind it. Even if your characters are good at communicating with words, their kiss should also speak volumes about their feelings. A kiss is also a good way of showing any lingering internal conflict: can your characters give way to their desire or is the moment less than perfect due to niggling worries, doubts or obstacles that still require resolution?

3. The bubble.

A really good kiss should be powerful enough to shut out the rest of the world.

You can draw readers into the bubble with unique little details that make the moment intimate: eyes locking; Adam’s apple bobbing with swallowed nerves; the steadying grip on the lapel of a sharp suit; fingertips straying into hairlines and thumbs caressing cheekbones as your lovers move closer. Delicious! And never underestimate the magic of antici … pation. Make your kisses worth waiting for and everyone will be satisfied.

4. Kisses add character.

No two couples are alike so no two on-page kisses should be alike.

Does your cinnamon bun hero live up to his adorable, attentive characterisation and deliver sweet nose-tip rubs as a prelude to mouth to mouth contact? Does your sensual couple linger over eyelid, temple and earlobe kisses to make your reader swoon? Does your whip-smart heroine who knows what she wants guide her partner’s kiss so it’s just right for both of them? Make the kiss fit what readers know of your characters and the dynamic you’ve built up between them.

5. Embodied kisses.

Take the chemistry further than just lips caressing.

The heat of a good kiss should spread through the body. If you can convey hitched breaths, goosebumps rising, hearts beating harder, inner muscles tensing and softening, and the acceleration and deepening of arousal then your reader will be right there in the bubble with your characters.
Right – that’s got me fired up for writing a nice new kissing scene in my Work In Progress. My hero happens to be just-the-right-height-for-delivering-a-forehead-kiss (swoon) and my heroine deserves a truly unforgettable kiss (the kind you feel all the way down) after all the pain I’ve put them through. I hope you’re feeling inspired to get your characters closer too. Now more than ever the world needs the unique healing magic and loving connection of (good) kisses.

Wasn’t that great?

I am going to nip off and start writing a few kissing scenes. Thanks, Kiley, you did me proud with this fab post.

Kiley’s latest romance novel is out and is just a click away.

FINAL Summer at the Highland Coral Beach cover

#BookReview That Night in Paris #romance @sandybarker

I loved Sandy’s first book, One Summer in Santorini and I didn’t think she’d beat that in terms of reader enjoyment but…I was wrong. Oh my goodness – That Night in Paris is now my favourite (sorry Sandy x).

On this blog I like to create new lingo so I think the phrase – ‘I’m going to do a Cat Parsons’ – should be what we say when we want to run away from the problems in our life and go wild. Cat Parsons is our inspirational figure as she went on a fabulous holiday, made some new friends along the way, drank beautiful wine, ate wonderful food, laughed a lot and had a spot of romance in a gorgeous destination.

This is how I see this new exciting phrase being used (post lockdown obviously):

Friend 1: ‘what are you doing this weekend?’

Friend 2: ‘Well, I need to get away from my life right now so I’m going to…do a Cat Parsons.’

Friend 1: *Gasp* ‘Nooooooooo! You’re going to do a Cat Parsons?”

Friend 2: *Nodding* ‘Yes, I think everyone should do a Cat Parsons in their life.’

Friend 1: ‘Gosh I’m so envious.’

Friend 2: ‘I know you are!’ *Squeal*

Here’s the blurb

Note to self: don’t sleep with your flatmate after a curry and three bottles of wine… especially if he’s secretly in love with you and wants you to meet his mum.

Cat Parsons is on the run. She doesn’t do relationships. After ten years of singlehood even the hint of the ‘L’ word is enough to get Cat packing her bags and booking herself onto a two-week holiday.

A European bus tour feels like a stroke of genius to dodge awkward conversations at home. But little does Cat realise that the first stop will be Paris, the city of love itself.

Joined by new friends, Cat has got two weeks, eight countries and a hell of a lot of wine ahead of her. As they discover hidden treasures and the camaraderie of life on the road, will Cat find a new way of looking at love?

Discover the beauty of Europe’s most romantic cities in this uplifting and laugh-out-loud novel for fans of Samantha Parks, Alex Brown and Mandy Baggot.

Here’s my review:

I thought the romance and travel plots were great but for me the standout was the way this book brings to life Cat’s relationship with her new friends on the coach trip. Sandy writes female friendships really well and I loved how each bus bestie had a backstory and a reason for taking this life changing coach journey; Lou and her divorce, Jaelee and the love for her best friend who had just got married and Danielle whose best friend did not invite her to her wedding. I loved the bond these women forged, how they didn’t try to put each other down and how they were like a rock for each other. I also loved Mama Lou‘s hugs What took this book to the next level was that each of these women learnt something about themselves during this coach trip. It wasn’t just Cat who had a life changing experience.

The surprise meeting with friend from childhood Jean-Luc, who was an exchange student and stayed with her family in Australia, was brilliant. He’s grown into a really gorgeous man and YES I had feelings for him. At one point I wanted to move Cat out of the way and ask whether he fancied spending a fictional night in Paris with me instead.

The travel plot was fabulous and it does make you want to go see some of these places. Sandy weaves in so much detail with each place her characters visit and at times you do wonder whether Sandy should host a TV travel show.

This book was brilliant escapism!

Have you ever done a Cat Parsons? 🤣

Click here to find out more about That Night in Paris.

Sandy has kindly done a quick Q&A if you fancy getting to know her better:

Author Photo Sandy Barker

When and where do you prefer to write?

I work fulltime, so I tend to get up early (between 5am and 6am) to get in a couple of hours of author biz before work. A lot of the time that will be writing or editing, but it also includes engaging with other authors and social media―both of which are an important part of being an author.

And I am very fortunate to have my own writing space, a study with my desk and a little couch in case I need a break. It’s also where we keep the wine fridge, though I assure you, that’s just a coincidence.

Do you have a certain ritual?

I tend to check emails and social media sites before I get to writing―although, this can be dangerous as it is a wonderful distraction, especially when I’m in the editing stages.

Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
Tea! I consume two or three giant mugs of tea as I work in the mornings. I should dedicate my next book to tea.

What is your favourite book?

This is such a hard question as I imagine it is for any author. I love To Kill a Mockingbird. When I was an English teacher, I taught it many times and found something new with every read. But I also write contemporary romance, so I’ll choose the book that sparked something in me and made me want to write, which was Lindsey Kelk’s first book, I Heart New York. Reading it was a catalyst for my own writing career (thank you, Lindsey!)

Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?

Yes! I am in early talks with another author about pairing up to write a dark contemporary drama/thriller.

Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?

I do! Many of my characters are inspired by people I know. The main character in That Night in Paris is inspired by my sister, Victoria. And many characters I write are a composite of people I know.

Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?

I should! If I get a great idea while I’m out and about, I will type a note into my phone.

Which genre do you not like at all?

This is also a tricky question for me, because I read broadly. As well as romantic fiction, I love crime thrillers, contemporary fiction, (some) literary fiction, SciFi, historical fiction, and even biography or autobiography. I suppose I don’t read much fantasy, though I never say never, because there are some incredibly written fantasy stories out there.

If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?

Fiona Leitch. She writes these incredibly funny crime thrillers and I’m hoping our idea to write something darker (for both of us) will pan out.

If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?

I write travel fiction, so travelling and research are important to my work―I only write about places I’ve been to. I have a trip to Scotland planned in July as my 5th book is set partially in Edinburgh. I loved our trip there in 2018 and want to refresh my memories before I write that part of the book―such a great city!

Many thanks for having me!

Thank you Sandy and I am honoured to be part of such a great book blog tour.

That Night In Paris Full Tour Banner

Guest Post – Things To Consider When Writing Sex Scenes in Romance Novels by @Lucy_K_Author

I have such a treat for all you romance writers!

Author Lucy Keeling is here to talk to us about writing naughty scenes in romance novels. I have to say I avoided them in my novel, Instructions For Falling In Love Again, because all my saucy scenes had the cringe factor. After writing one I would find myself hiding under my dressing table.

One day I hope to overcome this hurdle so I am going to see what Lucy Keeling has to say…

 
Hi there,

I’m Lucy Keeling and my debut novel Make It Up To You’ has had many lovely reviews, many more than I ever dreamed, but one thing that keeps being discussed is the, ahem, …saucier aspects of the novel.

If the rumours, tweets and texts from friends boyfriends* are to believed, then apparently I can write good sex. (*yes seriously, and no I don’t think I can look at them again)

And so whilst I never thought for one minute that I would be writing a blog post on this topic here I am with the five things I think will help you write good sex.

1. In the mood?

I suppose the seasoned professionals that write sex day in day out can just put pen to paper and go for it. I’m not saying that I need candles, a glass of wine, a quick neck massage and then I’m good to write the steamy stuff. It’s just if I’m trying to get the kids ready for school, if I know I need to deep clean my oven, if my car insurance is due, you know what, suddenly I’m not in the mood. I need a quiet space, a space that’s not likely to be interrupted, and yes, you know what a glass of wine sometimes helps. So think about what’s going to help you write the steamier bits and what’s not, and try to get yourself in the mood… to write.

2. What words can I use?

Ohhh, ok so you’re in the mood to write something a little steamier, but you’re looking at your screen and suddenly it feels like you’re writing a scientific journal of anatomical references. Or maybe, in order to avoid being crude, your work is instead a bit too flowery? Hmmm. For me this is honestly one of the hardest parts, as it were. You’ll have your own words for things that make you cringe, and if that’s the case do not use them. If you’re making yourself cringe you’re going to struggle to continue. It goes back to step one, being in the mood. So, if you don’t like the word Moist don’t use it. I, for one, am not a fan of mounds. To each their own.

The biggest piece of advice I can give you here is to study your contemporaries. Are there words that they don’t use, words that they do. If you know the market your aiming for then write in that tone.

3. It’s all very… textbook

Hmmm ok, assuming that you want your reader to stay with you here, I recommend going back and making sure that you’ve covered all of the senses. ALL OF THEM. What does he smell like… what does she taste like… what does it sound like when he… what does it look like when she… what does it feel like when they… you get it right?

But please make sure that what you’re writing is physically possible. I won’t go into too much detail (the original 18+ blog post can be read on my website lucykeeling.com) but look out for clothes magically disappearing, and an excess of arms etc. For brilliant examples of senses and sex scenes you can read pretty much anything by Talia Hibbert, Alisha Rai and Rachael Stewart.

4. Do I need to write sexy times?

No of course not. A heck of a lot of really good romance books are ‘closed door’. But will a sex scene show a personality insight that would otherwise be hard to get at? Will it move the story along? Will it add another layer, an additional conflict, or resolution? Then yes you might want to think about including it, especially if you’re not going to get these aspects in any other part of your story. Gorgeous stories that don’t include and don’t need to include sex can be found by Kiley Dunbar, Maxine Morrey and our very own Lucy Mitchell.

5. Consent & Contraception

If you write sex and it’s non-consensual then guess what? I’m not finishing that book. Sex has to be consented to. Simple as. It can be done simply, it can be done sexily, I honestly don’t care how, but it needs to be explicit consent.

On that note can we also talk contraception. If you fail to include contraception in your story, I’m thinking one thing and one thing only. The one with the uterus is getting pregnant, or a sexually transmitted disease. If you think writing Historical Romance gets you out of writing either consent or contraception think again. And if you need examples please see, Tessa Dare, Courtney Milan or Virginia Heath.

So, there you have it, off you go and write all the steaminess your heart desires.

Good luck with the words,

Lucy K x

If you want to check out Lucy Keeling’s novel, Make It Up To You, please click here.

Don’t miss my blog tomorrow as I have a very important book review 🥰📚❤️

5 Things Every Romance Series Needs – Guest Post by @sandybarker #Romance #WritingRomance

Oh my goodness, author, Sandy Barker, has written me a fabulous guest blog post below.

Sandy writes gorgeous and funny romances set in far away places. Her heroines go on wonderful journeys of self discovery and experience heartwarming romances. She’s published by Harper Collins and her debut novel plus her latest book in the same series are below.

I have added links to the book covers below so just click on them to find out more. Please read her post first!

One Summer In Santorini - Sandy Barker - Updated (1)

That Night in Paris Cover

So, let me hand over to Sandy Barker.

Hello all, 

Here are the 5 things I think every romance series needs

Lovable and relatable main characters

This may seem a little obvious―shouldn’t all main characters in a romance be lovable and relatable? Yes, absolutely, but even more so in a series, because the reader will be spending lots more time with them than in a stand-alone.

TIP: Think about your closest friends (yes, even the ones who sometimes drive you around the bend) and ask yourself why you love them. Those are the traits you can build a lovable and relatable character around.

If I think of mine, I love them because they make me laugh ’til I can’t breathe, they love every version of me (even grumpy, morose, or self-pitying Sandy), and they show up―no, not uninvited on my doorstep at inopportune times. I mean, they’re there―when I need them, no matter what. And, those are the women I write.

Interesting and well-developed supporting characters

The most wonderful thing about supporting characters in a romance series is that once they have played their supporting role, you can give them their own story, their own romance! And all the work you did to create and develop them in the earlier book(s) will pay off (big time) when they get the starring role. You will already have established the cadence of their speech, their looks, their mannerisms, and how they feel about life, the universe, and everything. They’re already part of the world you’ve created, so a lot of the heavy lifting of creating a person from scratch is already done.

TIP: Create detailed character profiles for your supporting characters as well as your main characters, including their vernacular, style choices, and the minutiae that makes them them.

A thread or a theme

I write travel romcoms, a sub-genre of romance novels that will one day properly take off and be a thing―known across the world to readers everywhere (I digress and yes, I may have an agenda). But what this means is that travel is a prominent thread that weaves its way through all the stories in my ‘Holiday Romance’ series. And, more specifically, it is the transformational effect of travel that acts as a catalyst for my characters’ arcs. Simply, if my main characters stayed put instead of opting to travel, they would not transform.

TIP: Consider what will link the books in your series together―besides the characters knowing each other. Many series are set in one location (e.g. Phillipa Ashley’s ‘Cornish Café’ series). Many series will have a theme, such as ‘the importance of family’ (e.g. Lucy Knott’s How to Bake a New Beginning and its sequel), and many series centre around an overarching story where all the characters have buy-in (e.g. Katie Ginger’s ‘Seafront’ series).

No matter the thread or the theme, ensure it speaks to you. You’ll be spending a lot of time with it.

A thoroughly developed character arc

Yes, here’s another one that is essential to every story, but if you’re writing a series, you have time to really marinade in the main character’s development. In romance, this may mean that the main character gets a ‘happy for now’ ending for one or two books before getting their ‘happily ever after’. And maybe their ‘happy for now’ isn’t about the romance at all. It could be a major decision they’ve made, or a self-discovery. The main thing to remember is that by the end of the series, they will have significantly transformed―even if for some of series they have been a supporting character.

TIP: Even if you’re a pantser, at least have an idea where your main and supporting characters will end up by the time the series concludes.

A good name

What’s in a name, right? Well, my publisher and I agonised over my series title for months (yes, really). And then we realised we were over thinking it. It’s a series about holiday romances, so that’s what we called it.

TIP: Choose something that no one else is using so your series stands out! The brilliant Julie Caplin snagged ‘The Romantic Escapes Series’ before I even discovered her. Otherwise, I would have wanted it for myself.

If you want to check out Sandy’s books here are the links:

Amazon.co.uk – click here.

Wasn’t that fabulous? Huge thank you to the wonderful Sandy Barker!

Author Photo Sandy Barker

#BookLaunch #BookReview Marriage Unarranged @RituBhathal #Romance #ChickpeaCurryLit

I am ridiculously PROUD to be part of the team for the LAUNCH OF THIS WONDERFUL AUTHOR’s DEBUT ROMANCE NOVEL – Marriage Unarranged.

Oh my goodness what an honour!

I was one of the beta readers for this FAB book and this is such a gorgeous debut.

So proud of you, Ritu!

Congrats from all of us at BlondeWriteMore 😍

Here’s the blurb:

Chickpea Curry’ Lit — Chick Lit with an Indian twist!

It all started ended with that box…

Aashi’s life was all set.

Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.

And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…

Here’s my review:

If you are looking for an uplifting romance plot, a great cast of characters, a good sprinkling of humour and a glimpse of true India – this book is for you!

My heart went out to the main character Aashi. Her broken engagement is heartbreaking to read and I wanted to reach inside the book and hug her.

The trip to India with her best mate and her brothers is inspired as its during this trip Aashi starts to find herself. This book is crammed with vivid descriptions of true India and I thought it was a refreshing setting for a romance book.

Ritu has done a fantastic job on bringing the smells and sounds of the markets, the rickshaw journeys and the kaleidoscope of colours to life.

I will say this – the romance in this book will make your heart flutter!

A fabulous read and congrats to Ritu xx

This book is now live and just a click away!

http://getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

Ritu Bhathal

Here’s how to connect with Ritu:

Author.to/RituBhathal
myBook.to/PoeticRITUals
http://getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

Author Bio

  • Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her.
  • From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally encouraged her to continue writing.
  • As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn on inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes.
  • A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing!
  • Ritu also writes a blog, http://www.butismileanyway.com, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was awarded first place in the Best Overall Blog Category at the 2017 Annual Bloggers Bash Awards, and Best Book Blog in 2019.
  • Ritu is happily married and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the fur baby Sonu Singh.

 

Blog Tour Banner

 

#BookReview Make It Up To You @Lucy_K_Author #TuesdayBookBlog #Romance

I think author Lucy Keeling rocks for a number of reasons:

  1. She’s called Lucy.
  2. She writes witty romance.
  3. Her insta stories where she talks to her followers everyday from her car are fab! Check out Lucy’s instagram because this lady always makes me smile on a morning before I shuffle into work.
  4. Her debut novel which I am reviewing below is one of my best Romcom reads from 2019.
  5. She’s part of the UK RomChat team and loves a good tweet.

This book, Make It Up To You, will transport you into the world of make-up artist, Sophie Timney and online make-up tutorials.

I have two teenage daughters who are GLUED to watching makeup tutorials on YouTube and they make me watch them (in an attempt to teach me how to apply makeup. At forty something my makeup skills are sadly lacking and anything other than a quick finger dab in something sparkly is a challenge), so I could relate to this book.

Here’s the blurb:

What do mascara wands and gardening shears have in common?

Absolutely nothing! At least that’s what wannabe beauty influencer Sophie Timney thinks when her friend Polly suggests involving her brother Marcus in Sophie’s make-up tutorials. She needs more views, Marcus needs promotion for his gardening business – in Polly’s mind joining forces will help them both. Sophie isn’t so sure.

Because Marcus Bowman has a habit of getting under her skin in a way that no exfoliating face scrub ever could. But, as the views and comments on her videos begin creeping up, it becomes increasingly obvious that Sophie’s subscribers like Marcus, and what’s even worse is that Sophie might be starting to feel the same way…

Here’s my review:

When the story opens Sophie is having a bad day as she thinks she’s uploaded the wrong makeup advice video and she’s fretting because her followers are not increasing.

I really warmed to Sophie. She’s passionate about her makeup advice tutorials and will do whatever it takes to make it a success.

Her relationship with Marcus is funny. They bicker and argue whilst this gorgeous romance grows between them. Sophie thinks he’s cheeky, wonders what fake tan he’s using and gets frustrated when he makes a tea for himself. He enjoys winding her up, thinks she can be a bit of a diva and can’t stop thinking about a kiss they once shared.

This book gave me lovely warm tingles especially around Marcus ❤️ He is gorgeous and it really was a delightful read.

Lucy Keeling has written a fab novel about what happens when career paths and romantic urges are bound together. She’s thrown in some fab female relationships for good measure and drizzled over a good helping of love.

If you want to find out more check out this book here.

It is perfect with a cup of coffee and a pastry!

#Lucy Mitchell

Important news:

Tomorrow I will be back with a fantastic book cover reveal. 

Watch this space!

#BookReview One Summer in Santorini #TuesdayBookBlog #BookTour @sandybarker

Warning: Sandy Barker’s One Summer in Santorini will whisk you away to a beautiful place with some fabulous characters, it will tug at your heart strings and leave you gasping for more!

After finishing this book you will find yourself doing one or more of the following things:

1. Ignoring your bank balance, Love Island, the ongoing Brexit saga and locking yourself away to browse Greek sailing holidays on the Internet.

2. Frantically pinning gorgeous pics of Greek islands and handsome men lounging on boats on Pinterest.

3. Upgrading your work daydreams so that they now feature sailing boats, windswept hair, deck shoes, kissing in a cabin and looking at the sky through a cabin ceiling hatch while lying in the arms of a handsome man. After reading Sandy’s book, gazing out of the office window or staring blankly at your Greek islands themed computer screen until you start to dribble will become a major part of your day.

4. Waking from a lovely night’s sleep to find your loved one, looking agitated and wanting to know why the hell you were murmuring, ‘you handsome American boy,’ in your sleep.

5. Getting yourself in a fluster over pinning pics of sexy silver foxes on Pinterest.

This book is pure escapism. After you will feel like you have been away on holiday and enjoyed a little bit of holiday romance.

❤️

I do love books where you get to go abroad in your head and live out someone else’s life. I am just going to take a moment to appreciate the genre of holiday romance fiction.

If I was back out there (single) and on a gorgeous foreign sailing holiday, surrounded by hot men and getting the flutters for someone I would have the following worries:

Sunburn, sunstroke, my sweaty neck, my salmon pink face, staying hydrated, cocktail hangovers, sea sickness, crab stick breath, eating too much of the local cuisine, insect bites, over sharing after too many cocktails, anxiety over whether my handsome holiday suitor will want to kiss me, his kissing technique being better then mine, white bikini strap marks, how I look in swimwear, sweating into my dinner, wondering whether I will fancy him in his budgie smugglers, hoping I will impress him with my swimming style, praying he enjoys swimming alongside someone who generates a lot of sea froth, worrying whether I bought enough holiday contraception in Tescos, how much storage space I will have in the cabin and over thinking about my holiday romance lasting when we get back.

The beauty of holiday romance fiction is that all of the above has been sorted! You don’t even need your factor 50, a sunhat or your bikini. All you have to do is sit back in your armchair, relax and tell your loved one to either put the kettle on or run the hoover over the lounge carpet.

Enough of all this holiday talk!

Here’s the blurb:

Sarah has had enough of men. It’s time to rekindle her first true love – travel – so she books a sailing trip around the Greek islands with a group of strangers.

The very last thing Sarah wants is to meet someone new, but then a gorgeous American man boards her yacht… And when she also encounters a handsome silver fox who promises her the world, she realises that trouble really does come in twos.

Will Sarah dive into a holiday fling or stick to her plan to steer clear of men, continue her love affair with feta and find her own way after all?

Here’s my review:

Sarah is an inspirational character. She’s one of those characters who you read about and think, ‘I wish I’d had the bottle to go off travelling on my own and join a sailing boat full of strangers after one of my relationships ended. It would have been better than sitting on my own, eating a kebab while listening to my ‘break up’ playlist and crying into my cat’s fur.’

I like Sarah’s independent streak, her fun side, her sweet relationship with her sister Cat and the way she makes friends instantly with everyone on the boat.

The camaraderie on the boat between all the holiday makers was fun. Sandy Barker has pulled together a unique cast of interesting characters.

The delicious flirtations with both Josh and James draw you deeper into this book. There’s a lot of soul searching going on with Sarah but there’s also a lot of chemistry, arm tingles, twinges, a flip flopping stomach and an aching heart. 💓

Just so you all know I am #teamJosh

James is very attractive but there is something about this handsome American and his incredible kisses that does it for me.

This book is a lovely read. It is set in a beautiful location, has an amazing set of characters and the romance will make you demand more from Sandy Barker!

Don’t worry about not being able to get away this summer, Sandy Barker will bring Santorini to your sofa!

Here are those all important links:

Amazon Australia – click here

Amazon U.K. – click here

Amazon US – click here

Kobo – click here

Catch up with Sandy on her website – click here

Three Things I Like About This Author:

1. She’s a regular at the #UKRomChat Twitter events on a Monday night. If you enjoy reading or writing romance you should check it out. Sandy is an expert at coming up with a thought provoking GIF!

2. Her passion for travel comes through in her writing. This girl has had lots of foreign adventures and weaves her own experiences into her books.

3. She calls herself a coffee snob!

I feel honoured to have been part of this amazing book tour. Thank you, Sandy xx