Saved By The Firefighter Blog Tour

Saturday, 24 September 2016

My Monthly Book Review...

This month's review is of The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd.

I don't even know where to begin with my review of this fabulously written, fabulously moving story. Inspired by real-life trailblazing woman Sarah Grimke, The Invention of Wings, is a sweeping tale told between Sarah's point of view and that of her slave girl, Hetty "Handful". When Sarah becomes of age, Sarah is 'gifted' Hetty for her birthday and as much as Sarah fights against owning Hetty, her parents insist.

Thus begins a tale of a reluctant slave-owner and a young slave who dreams of freedom and a world beyond the rich Grimke home. Sue Monk Kidd writes each point of view with beauty, poignancy and heart-wrenching emotion. I was gripped from beginning to end, immersed in the story and the lives of this amazing women. I also spent a lot of time wondering if I would ever write so beautifully or skilfully.

This epic story spans many years and has a cast of characters, in addition to the protagonists, who each touch the reader. My admiration and empathy for each and every character grew with each and every page. A truly, wonderful book that I cannot recommend highly enough.


Rachel x

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Welcome historical romance author, Vonnie Hughes...


The internet is over-burdened with writers marketing their wares. And I’m adding to the general plethora out there. But hear me out.

I’ve been writing Regencies for eighteen years now and getting them published. Now my three main publishers have closed their doors, I have joined the endless queue of self-published authors. So many of us out here jostling for position like mid-field marathoners. The chances are you’ll never hear my plea. But I’m chucking this out there in the anorexic hope that you just might read this. Perhaps you have nothing better to do.

I hope you’re one of the many readers who like historicals, and in particular, the Regency era. It was such a short period in Britain’s history, but has given rise to many things such as the development of canals (as trade with its trading partners hotted up with the imprisonment of Napoleon, freeing up trade routes and resulting in large numbers of goods that needed to be transported all over England), the Royal Astronomical Society was founded, the early prototype of the bicycle, the development of the railway system, the Act of Union with Ireland in 1801 etc. All this is from the British point of view. Elsewhere, in the USA, Whitney came up with the principle of manufacturing interchangeable parts as pertaining to firearms. The statue of the Venus de Milo was discovered in Greece (1820) and so it goes on.

So in spite of many Regencies persuading you that it was all about Almacks and dukes, the Regency era was actually a time on the cusp of great changes, not just in Britain but all over the world. Minds were opening up, no longer relying on the dogma of ages past.
In 1814 The Times adopted steam printing. By this method it could now print 1,100 sheets every hour, not 200 as before—a fivefold increase in production capability and demand.  This development brought about the rise of the wildly popular fashionable novels.
The Regency is also noted for its achievements in the fine arts and architecture (Nash springs to mind, and remember that striped wallpaper known as ‘Regency’?) This era encompassed a time of great social, political, and economic change that shaped and altered the societal structure of Britain as a whole. Remember that in London alone, the population increased from just under a million in 1801 to one and a quarter million by 1820.
One of the reasons that the arts flourished during this era was because of the patronage of ‘Prinny’, the fat and at times ridiculous Prince of Wales. We might laugh at him, but it’s thanks to him that the development of British architecture flourished, even if his schemes often left the common people paying for his over-the-top designs.

The Regency era opened up the market for many authors including Sir Walter Scott, Maria Edgeworth, Mary Shelley (who incorporated the general mistrust of science during the earlier part of the Regency era), John Keats and William Blake. Then there were the playwrights and artists…the list goes on and on to confirm how minds began open to new possibilities during that time.
Oh yes, there was a lot more to the Regency period than those autocratic dukes and the patronesses at Almacks!
My latest Regency historical is a re-release called Mr. Monfort’s Marriage wherein a chivalrous businessman who is not overly fond of the aristocracy finds himself married to an earl’s daughter. She teaches him about noblesse oblige, courage and joie de vivre, and he teaches her…all sorts of things!

Mr. Monfort’s Marriage:
My Amazon bookpage is here:

Vonnie Hughes

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Welcome romantic comedy author, Jessica Redland...

1.)              What was your first job? Did you like or dislike it? Why?
My very first job was an Avon Rep. I did this when I was aged 15-18. My round was the area where I lived and I absolutely loved doing it. I made quite a bit of money and used to have such fun organising the orders. I had to stop doing it as I moved away to university

2.)              Do you have a pet peeve? If so what is it?
I have several! My biggest ones are driving-related and include drivers who:
·        Never use their indicators
·        Don’t give you a thank you wave when you’ve let them out/waited for them to pass when it isn’t their right of way
·        Steal your parking space when it’s clear you’re waiting and indicating
·        Drive through red lights, especially on a pelican crossing
·        Park on the zigzag lines outside school or any other no-stopping zones
·        Crawl along then just stop without warning (again, not using indicators)
I could go on!!! My other big pet peeve is spitting. There’s absolutely no need for it. Grr ;-)

3.)              Would you describe your style as shabby chic, timeless elegance, eclectic, country or ___­­­_?
Ha ha ha. I don’t have any sort of style!!! If we’re talking clothing, I’d describe my style as comfortable (leggings and stretchy dresses). If we’re talking my house, it’s probably cosy … and a bit messy!

4.)              Tell me about your book, Dreaming About Daran, and where you got your inspiration for it?
Dreaming About Daran is the final part of a trilogy set in the fictional North Yorkshire seaside town of Whitsborough Bay. Part 1, Searching for Steven, was inspired by a true-life event. I was at a bit of a crossroads in my personal life and my career when a friend gave me a gift voucher for a telephone clairvoyant. It’s not really my thing, but I decided to give it a go. The clairvoyant told me that I’d be leaving work to set up my own business (which I did) and that, shortly after moving back to the north (which I did), I’d meet the man of my dreams called Steven. Which I didn’t. However, it inspired a great premise for a story: what if the protagonist was told that the man of her dreams would be called Steven and she became obsessed by that idea.

In Steven, my protagonist, Sarah, has two best friends: Elise who she’s known since primary school and Clare who she met at university. As I wrote Sarah’s story, it became apparent that Elise and Clare had their own stories to tell, so the trilogy was born.

Part 2, Getting Over Gary, is Elise’s story. It picks up exactly where Steven leaves off, with Sarah getting her HEA as Elise’s marriage falls apart. Dreaming About Daran, which came out last month, is Clare’s story in which she confronts a past she’s kept hidden for seventeen years.

Although Steven was inspired by a real-life event, Gary and Daran are purely from the depths of my imagination.

5.)              Who is your role model? Why?.
That’s an interesting question … without an interesting answer. I can’t say I have a role model. There are writers whose work I love like Jill Mansell, Lisa Jewell, Marian Keyes and Alexandra Potter, but I wouldn’t say I know enough about them as individuals to call them role models. The first romcom book I read was by Jill Mansell and she was responsible for making me discover and fall in love with that genre.

6.)              How much of your book is realistic?
I write about ordinary people doing ordinary jobs and living in ordinary places. For example, Sarah runs a florist shop, Elise works in a comprehensive school, and Clare works in PR. The situations they face are realistic and explore secrets and lies, love lost and love found, hopes and fears, and changes in friendship. I think most readers can relate to a lot of what the three women go through.

7.)              What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Number 1 bestseller, Oscar-winning film, and world domination, of course! Realistically, I’d like to write at least one book a year and perhaps crack the top 100 on Amazon at some point in the next couple of years. Pretty please!

8.)              Share one fact about yourself that would surprise people.

In my late teens to late twenties, I was pretty adventurous. During that time I went parasailing, parascending, bungee-jumping and took part in various other outdoor challenges like climbing, abseiling, zorbing, gorge-walking. I absolutely wouldn’t have the confidence – or the waistline – to do most of those things now.

Dreaming About Daran

Blurb & Tagline

Where do you go when it's your own past you're running from?
Sometimes, you can run from the past, but you can’t hide. Since the age of sixteen, Clare O’Connell has lived her life by four strict rules:
1.      Don’t talk about Ireland
2.      Don’t think about Ireland
3.      Don’t go to Ireland
4.      Never let anyone in
And so far, it’s worked well. She’s got a great career, some amazing friends, and she’s really happy. The future’s all that counts, isn’t it?
However, when her boss insists she travels to Ireland to repair a damaged relationship with a key client, Clare finds herself drawn back to the small village of Ballykielty where she comes face to face with the one person she’d hoped never, ever to see again.
With the door to her past now wide open, the first three rules have gone out of the window. Can Clare stick to rule number four?

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Saved By The Firefighter - Preorder today!!

I am thrilled to announce Saved By The Firefighter is available for preorder! This is the sixth book in my popular Templeton Cove series with Harlequin Superromance. All the books can be read standalone so don't worry if you're new to the series.

A mix of mainstream romance and romantic suspense, Templeton Cove has a cast of over thirty characters who make up this fabulous fictional UK seaside town.

Here's the blurb & buy links:

How can she forgive him for what he didn't do? 
Photographer Izzy Cooper feels as frozen as her pictures. Trent Palmer might be the hottest firefighter in Templeton Cove, but she can never face him again. Not after he failed to save her brother. But when they're forced together by a calendar shoot, the sparks between them are undeniable. 
Izzy knows it's not fair to blame Trent for the tragedy, but opening herself up to loss again isn't something she's prepared to do, no matter how determined Trent is to show her that pain is part of life and that love—their love—can make any suffering bearable.

Buy Links:

Rachel x

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Welcome Crimson Romance author, Ashlinn Craven...

Hi Ashlinn! It's great to have you here and have the chance to learn more about you and your work. Wishing much sales and success with your latest release, BUILDING MR. DARCY. Let's kick off with my questions...

1.)                What did you want to be when you grew up?

Like Rhoda Baxter (recently featured on your blog and whose books I adore) I wanted to be an astronaut. Heck, I still want to be an astronaut. I also wanted to be a mom. That, I managed.

2.)                Coffee, tea or hot chocolate?

Coffee. Cannot stand the other two.

3.)                What genre do you typically read? Why?

Romance, subgenres: rom-com, NA, sports, historical, sci-fi—whatever’s looking good on the day. Why? Because I know it’ll be uplifting, and I need uplifting. If any other genre had the same guarantee, I’d probably read more of them too. I used to only read the classics and sci-fi and I didn’t touch romance until well into my thirties. I feel I missed out on much that romance could have taught me in my teens and twenties.

4.)                Share a favourite childhood memory.
The very first time we (me and two brothers and three neighbour kids) crossed the barbed wire fence and the stream at the bottom of our neighbours’ garden and raced into the fields and woods beyond where we had a picnic. No adults. It felt like Narnia and Enid Blyton wrapped in one.

5.)                Do you have any shameless addictions? ie. Tea, Books, Shoes, Clothes?
Music videos on YouTube, anything from piano tutorials to Britain’s Got Talent. Oh the hours of my life that I will never get back.

6.)                What do you think is the biggest challenge of writing a new book?
Truly believing that the plot I’ve written is going to hold up when I’m 27000 words in. If there’s going to be a problem, it’s going to rear its ugly head then. And it happens more often than not.

7.)                Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages a day?
For first draft, I’m trying to do this thing where I do 2k/hour. Doesn’t matter if I then just write one hour a day or four. But I try to get at least 4k/day. Sometimes I dictate with Dragon.

8.)                What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
It’s vital in order to get ahead in today’s crowded(insane) market. I’ve done one, but I need a couple more. Best and most fun way is to collaborate with another writer you trust which I was lucky to be able to do on my High Octane F1 racing series. I want to continue the artificially intelligent Mr. Darcy theme too because it’s got some of my readers very excited!


It is a truth universally acknowledged . . . that Jane Austen set the bar for romantic male leads way back in 1813. What mortal man could live up to the gruff yet golden-hearted Mr. Darcy?
Now programmer Zoe Bunsen thinks she has the cure to two centuries' worth of female disillusionment: a new artificial intelligence program that looks, talks, and thinks like Darcy. No way will she let the chauvinistic atmosphere at her company nor her stuffy colleague, Max, get in the way of her wildest dream - creating the perfect man. Even if he isn't quite human . . .
Max Taggart, project manager extraordinaire, has crossed a continent to secure this high-profile position. His frustrating teammate Zoe may not know it, but everyone's jobs depend on not only the duo meeting the nearly impossible deadline but the new AI being a huge success. Mr. Darcy needs to sell, even if that means selling out a few literary details.
When the AI starts using its scary degree of emotional intelligence to reveal their individual secrets, Zoe and Max must rethink everything, and a surprising connection begins to develop. Will these two unlikely cohorts cling to their prejudices or toss pride aside and admit love is stronger than a fantasy?

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Welcome Accent Press author, Georgina Troy...

Hi, Georgina! It's such a pleasure to welcome you to my blog and have the chance to learn more about you and your latest release, A JERSEY BOMBSHELL! Wishing you much sales and success - let's start with my questions...

1.)           What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a nurse (when I was about 5yrs), then an actress (about 10yrs) and then a vet, but I ended up running my own businesses and then after a divorce worked as a PA.

2.)                Coffee, tea or hot chocolate?

Tea, I love tea!

3.)                What genre do you typically read? Why?

I read all genres depending on my mood, but particularly enjoy historical (usually around WW1 and WW2) and psychological thrillers. When I want a pick-me-up I read contemporary romances.

4.)                Share a favourite childhood memory.

Meeting Tony Curtis when I was a teenager. I loved the film, The Vikings and also the Persuaders and couldn’t believe it when I met him. He was lovely and very handsome.

5.)                Do you have any shameless addictions? ie. Tea, Books, Shoes, Clothes?

Chocolate! I eat FAR too much of it.

6.)                What do you think is the biggest challenge of writing a new book?

Fretting that the book I end up writing won’t be nearly as good as the one I’d hoped to write.

7.)                Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages a day?

I aim for 1,000 and often write up to 2,500 – 3,000.

8.)                What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

I loved writing the four current books in the Jersey Scene series. Although each book is a standalone story, the main characters from each one appear in the other books. Jersey is a small island and most of the locals know each other in some way, so it made sense to let the characters from each book pop up in the others. The books are based in Jersey and apart from A Jersey Kiss that is solely based on the island, the other three are also based somewhere else. A Jersey Affair is also based in the Sorrento, A Jersey Dreamboat in the South of France, and A Jersey Bombshell also in Vietnam. I’ve loved being able to set scenes in various places around the island and have really enjoyed writing the series.

Gabriel has returned to the island of Jersey after ten years abroad to help his aging showbiz parents revive their failing Art Deco hotel. This proves to be something of a challenge, especially as his singer father and actress mother are more concerned with staying in the limelight than keeping track of the cash-flow. Gabriel isn't going anywhere fast... Meanwhile, he's stunned to find that the hotel's new receptionist is the girl he fell in love with two years earlier in Vietnam, and someone who is tied to Jersey is the last thing she needs ...

Buy Link:

Georgina Troy lives in Jersey, an island fifteen miles off the coast of France. She's a hopeless romantic is constantly falling in love with imaginary heroes. Jersey has so much scope for stories, with beautiful wind-swept beaches and intriguing inhabitants, and when Georgina realised that no one else wrote romances set there, she decided she had to provide some.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Writing Tip...Use Your Senses!

A few weeks ago I attended a literary festival in Tiverton, Devon and one of the sessions I signed up for was a ‘Historical Fiction Masterclass’. As you’d expect, the multi-published author running the class covered research, the importance of accuracy and setting, costume etc. Funnily enough, it wasn’t these aspects that struck me the most, but a very simple exercise on the importance of using the five senses in our writing.
A fundamental part of the writing process that could well have been sorely lacking in my own work recently…
Touch, sight, smell, sound & taste are vital in fiction if you wish to immerse your reader in the time and tone of your story. The exercise the tutor had us do was simple, but brilliant in getting the imagination flowing! We had to choose one of the five scenes she pinned on a board and list three items under the heading of each sense that the scene provoked.
I chose a desert scene and here are some of the things I listed:
Blue skies, sand, camels, stone
Animals, shouting, whistling winds
Spices, water, sand
Maybe my instinctive responses aren’t particularly imaginative BUT they did give me a clear understanding of how the senses need to be expressed in each and every scene. As I start revisions on my latest historical novel, I will be much more diligent in where I can enhance the scene by using each and every sense!
Happy Writing!

Rachel x