Things My Draft Novel Made Me Do Last Week #amwriting

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Here are the things my draft novel made me do last week. Do you like how I am blaming everything on my draft novel? I knew you woiuld – ha ha!

I am not going to say the title of it or the premise as it will take away the excitement. I will say that it is a forced proximity romcom (where circumstances throw the main characters together) and it’s crammed full of comedy, chaos and some touching romantic moments. I am currently doing several rounds of edits. This book has been continually revised since last September. It has had more revisions than I have had hot dinners. I am about to swan dive gracefully into the literary agent query pool so I am just dusting off my frilly costume,

Here’s what my draft novel made me do last week:

  1. Add more conflict. I am changing as a writer. In some of my early novels I shied away from conflict. With this book I have had a little devil on my shoulder whispering, ‘make them suffer more,’ and for once I have listened to it. You should ask yourself as you write – am I making life too easy for my characters?
  2. Hack away pointless scenes. I have been a lot tougher with this book than my others. This was something I also used to avoid. I have found the more you hack the deeper you get into your story because you end up being left with scenes which all serve a purpose.
  3. Experience a range of strong feelings 🤣frustration, anger, happiness, joy, sadness and hope were all felt last week as I knocked this story into shape.
  4. Ignore my inner critic at certain times of the day. I should NOT make crucial decisions on my book before 6.30am. My mind is not rational before 6.30am. Even better I should not think about changes until after I have eaten. About 9am I start thinking clearly. This week I saw how my mind and perspective shifts after breakfast. Also I should not make book decisions after 10pm as I am always tired and I will go for the easiest option. A big shout out to all my past stories which suffered because of this.
  5. Go for more walks. Fresh air is a writer’s friend
  6. Cry. I have found that the books you write which make you cry whilst writing they have something special about them. Last week I cried. Historic moment.
  7. Get impatient. I do hate it when draft novels try to hurry you up. They want to be out in the world seeking their fortune but you know there’s more work to do.
  8. Accepting the following with editing: editing can be soul destroying, there will be some chapters littered with typos and incorrect character names but structurally they will work, there will be some chapters where there will be no typos but structurally they will be a wreck and some chapters where even I, the author, won’t have a clue about what’s going on 🤣
  9. Skip some household chores. I do love novel writing when it makes me do this.
  10. Wear a bolder lipstick – hot pink for writers in 2023 👏🏻

Have a good week 🤩

Lucy x

Things To Consider When Writing The Fake Romance Trope #AmWritingRomance

Due to the success of my post about the things to consider when writing second chance romance I thought i would cover a new trope today – fake romance.

As a romance book blogger I LOVE reading this trope. I love how the fake relationship starts out of convenience; pretending to be together for a social commitment, pretending to be in love for a competition or needing to show the world that a secret love interest does exist, but soon the fake relationship starts to change into somethinge else. I get so excited when the chemistry between the characters gets to work and things get awkward. There’s so much potential for good comedy and hilarity.

Most of the time fake romance stories focus on reputation or pride.

Here are the things I think we need to consider when writing this wonderful trope.

  • Both characters need to be unlikely candidates for a relationship at the start. Fake relationships work best if the characters really dislike each other or are very different. I think the best fake romances blossom from a place of dislike, as healthy relationships sometimes do. Under normal circumstances they would never ever consider dating each other. Also remember both parties must benefit from the fake romance.
  • Both chartacters need to be aware of the arrangement and the detail. Things can get tricky if you have one character being unaware of the plan to fake a romance. Fake romances usually mean a few fibs and some acting so its essential they do some planning in advance. Make sure they set their PDA limits. For instance will they just hold hands, give quick pecks on the cheek and never sit too close together? They have to agree pet names for each other. You also need to include some great lines of fake romance dialogue like – ‘can you at least pretend I’m funny?‘ or ‘just so you know, I don’t like you.’
  • It must be easy and enjoyable at the start. Even though they dislike each other they don’t find it too much of a struggle to fake a romance. This is where they become ingrained in each other’s life. It’s an enjoyable stage for the reader because whilst they are busy faking a romance they are also noticing little cute things about the other like their style of wit, their dirty laugh and the way they touch their hair. However there still must be a question in the reader’s mind about whether it will turn into a romance. We all know there’s a risk with fake dating. So make sure they keep reminding each other that it is just an act.
  • Let them get carried away with faking a relationship. These two are putting on such a good romantic show everyone is convinced they are an item. It is essential during this stage they start to chuck common sense and their ‘fake romance rule book’ out of the window. You can include some great dialogue like ‘everyone’s gone, why are you still kissing me?’ or ‘shall we practice kissing lying down on a sofa? Yeah? Great, let’s get practicing.’
  • Things must get tough as they both start experiencing new feelings. This is my favourite part of this trope. It is great to read a fake romance where one person’s feelings start to turn real. Suddenly the simple act of touching hands becomes charged with electricity. Bring on the lingering touches, breathless moments, intense eye moments…over some balls of wool in the case of the couple below. So much good dialogue can be added here. Things like, ‘I’m starting to think you don’t hate me as you say you do,’ or ‘I never thought I’d see this new side to you.’
  • The big reveal. When they are at their most vulnerable one of the characters will have to take the biggest risk of revealing the truth. They will have been struggling with their strong feelings, missing the other before they leave, on cloud nine everytime they are next to them and replaying all their conversations in their head. After all this time hiding, they must find the courage to speak from the heart. This is a great time to add something like – ‘be real with me – how much of this was fake?‘ Will the other feel the same way?

Enjoy writing your fake romances, writers. They are such fun to read.

Things To Consider When Writing Second Chance Romance #amwriting

This blog post is going to help my writer brain focus on one of my current projects. I do hope someone else out there writing a second chance romance finds it useful.

Second chance romance is one of my favourite romance tropes. I could read these stories all day.

One of my current projects focuses on a second chance romance so I could really do with going back to basics with the trope in order to revise my story.

Below I have come up with a list of all the things to consider when writing a second chance romance.

As I am madly in love with this particular artwork on Canva I am going to use it to pose the questions which I need to answer when writing this trope.

How did they initially connect? Were they childhood sweethearts? Maybe they met at work? The secret here is readers need to see and feel how good that connection was between these two beautiful characters. This breathtaking romance has to be unforgettable for both readers and the characters.

Why did they split up? What made them walk away from each other? Were they too young? Was it a case of bad timing or did one hurt the other? What broke them? Readers need to understand what made these characters go blubber into a box of Kleenex, wedge chocolate into their mouth and go for long solitary walks in the rain.

What personal growth have they experienced? What has life taught them in the years they were apart? What did other relationships teach them? Have they thought about why they have never connected with anyone on the same romantic level as they did with each other?

What made them want to give their relationship another chance? Why can’t they disentangle from each other’s lives? What has made them come together again? Why salvage a broken relationship? The reader must understand and agree with these decisions. There must also be that old connection and the chemistry.

What stuff have they overcome? Have they resolved the old conflict? Readers need to see how these two characters might have had different priorities that caused their breakup. But now that those priorities have changed, so, maybe there is still a chance for them to work it out. It could also be a case of these two characters making mistakes and generally causing an emotional mess. The reader needs to believe these two have changed for the better.

I feel better now.

Do you have any things I should add to my list of considerations?

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 🥰📚❤️

#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

 

Author Interview – Ritu Bhathal @RituBhathal #Books #RomanceReaders #Bookish

Ritu Bhathal’s debut romance novel, Marriage Unarranged, is being launched on 9 February. I am struggling to contain my book excitement as my blog is taking part in the go-live celebrations on Sunday and I was one of the lucky few to beta read this book.

As I think this clever lady is going to be very successful with her books, she’s already created her own genre – Chickpea Curry Lit – Chick Lit With An Indian Twist, I thought it would be nice to interview her over a chai latte.

Also when she’s famous I can say she came on my blog and get some kudos for interviewing a future star *sigh*

So, we’ve both got our chai lattes in fancy cups and Ritu’s made us some home cooked nibbles (she makes amazing cakes!) which I am struggling to stop devouring. We are ready for a natter. Let’s begin.

Ritu, welcome to BlondeWriteMore! Tell us about yourself

Well, as you know, my name is Ritu, and at this moment in time, I am days away from being a published author!

But that’s not the whole of me. I’m a British Indian woman, born in the mid-seventies to Kenyan born Indian parents who moved to Birmingham, in the early seventies. I grew up with a true smorgasbord of cultures around me, having a massive extended family already living here, and enjoying the colourful Indian traditions and culture, interspersed with trips to Kenya, and absorbing the culture there. Of course, being born here, I was also immersed in British life too. A true East/West mix, that’s me!

As a child I was sent to an all girl’s private school from the age of three all the way to the completion of my A-levels, at 17. Having such inspirational people around me, teaching me, made me want to be a teacher, which I did in fact end up becoming.

My mother is an avid reader, so I was always, and still am, found with my nose buried in a book. I do love a good book.

I studied, met my now-Hubby Dearest in my last year of university, and we planned our wedding, but not before I had a taste of a few other jobs, pre-teaching. I worked as an assistant manager in a designer clothing boutique in Kingston-Upon-Thames – an experience that, had it been available in those times, would have made for a fantastic reality show! Seriously, the customers! The stories!

Then I ended up in the bank for around 4 years. Marriage meant I relocated to Kent, and I had nine years in a marketing company, before finding my way back to the job I had actually trained to do, teaching.

In between all this, I dabbled in writing, and started a blog which pushed me to write more.

So, right now, you find me as a wife, mother to a teen and a tween, a feline fur baby, Sonu Singh and two feathered ones, Heer and Ranjha, a teacher, blogger, and writer!

Plenty of fodder for the imagination there!

 

Where did the idea for the book come from?

When I started writing this story, it was the year 2001. The working title was Wedded Stress. I was in the midst of planning my wedding and the urge to write was strong. I was entering into a perfect marriage, but what would happen if someone was all set up for the same, and things go belly up? That was the catalyst, but there was no planning at that stage. I started writing, and just wanted to see what happened. I wasn’t even sure if it would be a book length story, or just something short. (At over 86,000 words, I’m sure you will agree that it is most definitely not short!)

But life happened, and marriage, followed by trying for a family, having kids and raising them, meant that my idea languished on a floppy disk for a long while. I remember finding it, one day a couple of years after starting. I loaded it up, and thought, ‘I can do something with this.’ Hubby Dearest was most supportive, and he even bought me my first laptop so I could carry on making my dream come true. Then, it got shelved, again and when I started my blog, that was when the true writing started. When feedback from the first couple of chapters came in, I was encouraged to start writing properly, but time was a huge issue. I ended up using the month of August in 2017, to really write properly, and even used a plan. By this time, I had realised that pantsing a whole story might not be wise. It wasn’t complete, yet, but it was a real story with a beginning, a middle and I knew what the end would be.

And it got rechristened to Marriage Unarranged.

After a few months, I managed to finish it, and here we are now, in the year 2020, and I have a completed, and published book!

 

How long have you been writing?

I have always loved to write, from a young age. I was always telling stories, and when people stopped listening, I started writing them down, instead. At that time, I had no aspirations of becoming an author, but I loved the reading and writing process. I won a couple of school writing competitions and that boosted my confidence.

My real writing, I would say started around five years ago, when I became serious about something that started as a flippant comment about having a book with my name on it. I managed that, with my poetry anthology, Poetic RITUals, but it was this story that really wanted to be told that pushed me to learn more about the writing and publishing process, and finally got me to where I am today.

 

Can we expect more books from you?

I hope so, yes!

During the writing of Marriage Unarranged, many characters popped into the story, and began to want to tell their story. I had to control myself a little, but the feedback I received from beta readers hinted at the fact that they would love to read more about certain people they had met in the book.

And so, another two fiction books in the same genre, (coined Chickpea Curry Lit – Chick Lit With An Indian Twist) have been planned, focussing on other people from Marriage Unarranged. Now I just need to make the time to write them!

I have also got ideas and words for three possible children’s picture books. All I need to do is finish the rhymes for the last one, and then I need to look for an illustrator. That’s something I need to research.

Sigh. The life of an author is not just creation, but perpetual education…

Thank you, again, Lucy! I do hope your readers choose to enjoy learning about Aashi and her journey.

Marriage Unarranged.

Here’s the blurb:

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.

If you want to check this book out here’s the info you need:

Blog Tour Banner

 

In other news, on BlondeWriteMore on Thursday I have such a treat for all writers of romance. One of my FAVOURITE authors – ZOE MAY has written me a gorgeous guest post titled – 5 Things Your Female Character Needs To Have. 

I am honoured to have all these wonderful people like Ritu and Zoe wanting to come on my blog x

#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

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘Mr Make Believe’ by @beezymarsh. Includes Unforgettable Movie Star Character ❤️, Motherhood Chaos & Much Hilarity

You find me in what I call, ‘Book Recovery’ mode (lying in state on the sofa, a cold compress over my forehead, a concerned dog sat watching me and an electric fan blowing cool air over me).

I know this is controversial but I believe romance readers have a harder time getting over a good book than readers of other genres. This is where all the crime readers, who read my blog, start shouting about how they have to recover from grizzly murder scenes etc and all the historical fiction readers moan about how they have to adjust to modern-day living after hanging out in another time period for a few weeks, but I don’t agree. With romance novels we have to wait for our emotions to settle down before starting another book, we can feel churned up for weeks and we have to GET OVER our character crushes. I often fall for the male characters of romance novels and it’s not easy forcing myself to stop loving my fictional love interest.

The reason why I am in ‘book recovery mode‘ is due to a male character in Beezy Marsh’s ‘Mr Make Believe’ who is quite simply – divine. For me the sign of a good romance novel is a strong character who draws me to them like a magnet.

This one is called Maddox Wolfe. He’s the main character’s movie star crush and he is over 6ft, lean, hunky and features heavily in her (and my own) fantasies throughout the book.

Moving on swiftly, let’s get on with the review of ‘Mr Make Believe’ by Beezy Marsh.

What did you think of the blurb?

The blurb talked about Marnie, a struggling, stay at home mum, whose life revolved around sock matching, the ironing pile, having fantasies about her movie star crush and wondering why her life had not gone to plan.

In a moment of madness Marnie starts a blog and becomes the voice of imperfect mums everywhere. Not only this but she comes into real life contact with her favourite film actor and things get chaotic.

The blurb was certainly enticing and as a frazzled mummy myself I could relate to Marnie’s situation. My blog is the voice of imperfect writers and after a chance meeting with Brad Pitt my life could also get chaotic.

What did you think of the main female character?

I loved Marnie. She enjoys wearing baggy sweatshirts, furry slipper socks and hasn’t shaved her legs for awhile. There is a clothing mountain, languishing in a wicker basket in the corner of her bedroom, the nearest thing to exercise she does is lifting coffee cups to her lips and she describes her chest as possessing a massive mono-boob.

Marnie is hilarious. At the start of the book she’s deep in the trenches of motherhood, questioning her marriage and reading a saucy novel, ‘Harsh Winter’ based on Maddox Wolfe’s on screen character. The opening chapters are so funny.

Her children are young and demanding which is realistic and they provide some good conflict.

The blog Marnie creates is great and through it she does start to change.

I think Marnie is a great character and by the end of the book I was proud of what she’d achieved.

What did you think of the other characters?

Marnie is a failed food columinst for a newspaper. She starts to do freelance work for the newspaper again as the book progresses and her editor, Barker, is a really funny character. Some of the things he says to Marnie during her moments of chaos are fab.

I didn’t warm to Marnie’s husband, Matt, at the start of the book but I think this was what the author wanted.

Maddox Wolfe is an unforgettable male character. I know I am making him sound like a perfect male character, he isn’t, he has issues in the book which I liked. No one wants a perfect male character. I just loved how the author painted this picture of an older movie star, a bit rough round the edges and combined this with his flirty, almost cheeky dialogue. Sigh…

Were there any naughty bits?

Yes, there were naughty bits and they were written very well. They were not too naughty but saucy enough if you know what I mean. Oh my goodness, Maddox Wolfe, you made me turn on my electric fan to full power at one point!

Overall what did you think?

I really enjoyed this book. You can’t get better romantic escapism than reading about a frazzled stay at mum, who becomes a successful blogger and catches the attention of a famous movie star. It is well worth a read and I will warn you, Maddox Wolfe will leave you feeling churned up.

You can find the book by clicking here.

Take it easy readers.

Have a great day.

10 Things I’ve Learned About Writing A Novel @toodletinkbaby #Books

Here are my reasons for letting author Roxie Cooper guest post on BlondeWriteMore today:

  1. Her guest post is fab. It is written from the heart and it resonated with me in so many places.
  2. She has the name ‘Roxie’. Anyone who has same first name as my fictional character Roxy Collins is always welcome on my blog.
  3. Roxie Cooper is a fellow blonde romance writer.
  4. Her new book ‘The Law of Attraction’ is destined to be on my ‘To Be Read Pile.’
  5. Like me she can dance. I am not a professional or anything but I like to think of myself as a professional dancer, once I get on a dance floor at a party. *Sigh*
  6. She sounds like she would be great company for a coffee and a chat.

So, here she is, Roxie Cooper, author / Barrister / Ex-ish dancer and Classicist.

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Hi,

Before I started writing The Law of Attraction I researched all the technical stuff; how to create good characters with internal conflict, what story arcs were, and what made a good sub-plot. But there are some things you simply can’t learn in a book. Between plotting the outlines of what became my debut novel all those years ago and my publication day last week, I’ve learned so much.

So here are my top ten most surprising things.

1) Writing is cathartic

People have their own reasons for starting to write. I’d never written anything before this book. I started writing it when I was in an unhappy marriage with two babies, living in a town where I didn’t know anyone, and I’d go weeks without speaking to another adult. I was in a very bad place. Writing suddenly gave me something to focus on and allowed me to ‘escape’. As the book progressed, so did my self-esteem. Words are powerful.

2) People can get a bit judgemental

Some people have written six novels whilst holding down three jobs, five kids and a circus of pets. Others have written one novel with no ‘real’ job or responsibilities. And then there’s everything in between. I think everyone on this scale is pretty impressive, to be honest. But some people like to be a bit judgy-face about it.

I don’t have a ‘proper job’ at the moment. This means that a lot of people think I spend all day sitting in a beautifully lit orangery, smiling smugly, sipping on chilled chardonnay as I gently type my latest novel out off the top of my head. Comments like “Oh! You must be well-off if you don’t have to work!” and “Alright for some!” are standard. Rarely can I be bothered to explain that I gave up my lucrative career as a barrister after much consideration to care for my son who has special needs. After home-schooling him for several years, it became impractical for me to return to the Bar once he finally settled in school, for various reasons. Everyone has a story behind them, everyone makes sacrifices, but many are quick to judge.

But…

3) People can be wonderfully supportive

You truly do find out who your friends are when you write a book. It’s such a gruelling, exhausting process. You’ll be so grateful for the little “Keep going!” comments when you’re close to collapsing, which then lead onto “I bought your book!” when you’re published. These people who prop you up all the way through the whole writing, edits, submission, book deal, revisions polava are the special ones. The week before I was published I had a little local drinks gathering for my friends to thank them for their support, because I couldn’t have done it without them. They made me feel so very loved and I couldn’t thank them enough for that.

4) You read other novels and watch films in a completely different way

I find it impossible now to read novels without deconstructing them. Even films follow a formula (if you want a classic, basic template for a story – watch any Disney film). Breaking down films and books has really helped me find out what makes a great character, plot and twist in a story.

5) Your house will become a rubbish tip.

As you get more into your book, the more time you will dedicate to it. When you have a deadline, don’t even think about doing anything else remotely important like eating, dressing your children or cleaning your house – all of these things can wait until you press SEND. If you’re a dust control freak like me, this WILL drive you crazy, but you’ve kind of just got to run with it.

6) People will ask you wildly inappropriate questions.

Because you’ve created a literary piece of work and thrown it out into the world, some people think it’s okay to ask things like “So, how much money do you earn now?”, “How much was your advance?” and, most cringingly, “Who was that sex scene based on?”. The best way of dealing with these questions is to throw it back in their face: “Tell me how much YOU earn first…” and “Well, Gordon, that scene isn’t based on you going by what your wife tells me… *all the sarcastic LOLZ *”

7) You’ll develop amnesia at the most inconvenient moments.

You’re in the shower. You’re walking to pick the kids up with your iPod on. You’ve thought of THE most incredible scene; rich dialogue, beautifully descriptive, the whole thing is swoon-a-rama. “My God”, you think. “I have NAILED THIS!” You finally sit down to type it up…and you can’t remember a damn thing. You remember bits of it, but on the screen it literally sounds like a half-asleep toddler has written it.

8) You develop the patience of a saint

This one is hard, but it pays off. So, you’ve started writing this new book and the first three chapters are GREAT. You’re desperate to send them off to an agent. DO NOT do it. Why? Well, not only because – even if it’s brilliant – they will tell you to write the rest of the book. Some wise soul said “You can’t write the beginning until you’ve written the end” and this is 100% true. Your characters and plot change so much by the end, you may want to change those early chapters. So much depth was added to The Law of Attraction by adding the prologue…which was done after I’d finished the entire book. Don’t be in a rush to show your book off to the world, make sure it’s the best it can possibly be.

9) You become obsessed

Writing consumes you. You cannot switch off. I no longer watch TV on an evening (well, apart from Game of Thrones, obviously). Every non-child weekend I spend writing because I’d feel guilty doing anything else and, ultimately, I am addicted to it. Who knows if I’ll be successful? All I know is that I love it and can’t stop.

10) Some stuff you type will be the worst writing the world has ever seen…

Terrible. I mean, REALLY awful. The words won’t come. You’ll cringe. You’ll hate yourself. You might cry. Okay…STOP. Shut your laptop down. Go out with friends and have a drink. Go dancing. Go to the cinema. Forget about it for a day. There will be other days when you write stuff so bloody brilliant, you’ll read back on it and think “Yeah…I got this”.

***

Roxie was born and bred in Middlesbrough. After studying Classics at University, she became a dancer in a nightclub for a few years, before going travelling and living in Australia. When she returned, she swapped dancing on a bar, to practising at the Bar, and became a barrister for 7 years.

It was after being constantly told “Ooh! You don’t look like a barrister!” by absolutely everyone she met, that the idea for her debut novel was born.

Roxie lives in Yarm, a pretty little market town in the North-East. She’s a bit (lot) obsessed with Prince and spends far too much time watching him on YouTube. Her hobbies include watching musicals, making her hair as big (and blonde) as possible, and wishing she was Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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THE LAW OF ATTRACTION

Amanda Bentley has always dreamed of being a barrister…

But as a platinum blonde bombshell from the wrong side of town, with a perfect tan and sleek high heels, she doesn’t exactly look the part – or fit in with the brash public school boys and cold posh girls of Newcastle Crown Court’s robing room. Amanda’s never been one to back down from a challenge, and so when she wins a prestigious pupillage following law school, she’s determined to make the most of her chance – and make all her dreams come true.

Only three things stand in her way: Sid Ryder – the sexy, irresistible barrister who she absolutely cannot, under any circumstances, sleep with. At all. Marty Gregg – her smarmy law school nemesis, who she’s in direct competition with for the top job. And her big, dark secret that could jeopardise everything she’s worked so hard for.
Who said that following the laws of attraction was going to be easy…?

Isn’t Roxie Cooper fab?

I think this is an excellent guest post Roxie and thank you for taking over BlondeWriteMore today! Yay – blonde romance writers rule 🙂

You can contact Roxie on Twitter at @toodletinkbaby or on Facebook here. 

Have a great day all.