Monday, 30 May 2016

Introducing Closer To SIn by Elizabeth Squire...

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Elizabeth Squire

Released April 15th, 2016

Escape Publishing

Squire brings a fresh voice to historical romance in this tale of intrigue and


Liliane Desailly travels to
Napoleonic France after receiving a plea for help from her French cousin. She
learns she is the key to fulfilling her grandfather’s legacy, but to do so she
must masquerade as a spy and courier secrets on behalf of the British

Sinclair Charlcroft is the British Admiralty’s
last hope. Napoleon’s Grande Armée is poised to invade Britain, an English spy
is missing and a traitor has infiltrated the Admiralty’s intelligence network.

Pursued by Napoleon’s agents,
Liliane and Sinclair cannot reveal their true identities until they unlock the
secrets of the legacy—and only then can they unlock the secrets in their


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Squire’s love of writing romance couldn’t be further from the life she had

carved out for herself. Raised in outback and rural Australia, Elizabeth was
determined to live a life vibrant with passion, travel, adventure and
discovery—other than the one she had already lived through the pages of the
innumerable she read and loved. And so, turning her back on a life in the bush,
she invested a lot of years chasing her dreams—she enjoyed a career as a
commissioned in the Royal Australian Navy, and counts white-water rafting the
Zambezi River, travelling by safari truck through Africa, and back-packing
through Eastern Europe with her young family as just a few of her many adventures.

But amongst the adventure, the urge to write intensified as story lines and
dialogue continued to materialize from the recesses of her mind. She finally
accepted that the voices in her head were really characters enmeshed in the
tumultuous Georgian and Regency periods, vying for life on paper.

After a nomadic lifestyle, Elizabeth has now settled into her own home and
loves nothing better than bringing her passionate heroines and daring rakes to
life. She lives with her own hero and one true love, two beautiful daughters
and two delinquent miniature long-haired dachshunds. Closer to Sin is
Elizabeth’s debut novel.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

My Monthly Review...The Book Lovers Club by Victoria Connelly

This is the second book of Victoria Connelly's I've read and enjoyed it equally as much as I did A Weekend With Mr Darcy.

The Book Lovers Club is the first in an ongoing series, set in the small village of Newton St. Clare. After the breakdown of her marriage, our heroine, Callie Logan relocates to the village from Suffolk in the hope of re-discovering her muse and continue penning of her children's books. Although she's already successful in her work, she relishes her solitude and Owl Cottage is the home she's been looking for.

She soon meets a whole cast of characters, but the mainstay of her self-discovery is the Sam and his colourful family. Between them, the son and daughters run adult and children's bookshops. From the very first page, poignancy, love and laughter prevail and I can't wait to continue reading the series.

A truly wonderful read from Victoria Connelly!

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Welcome fellow RNA member, Margaret Mounsdon...

Hi Margaret! It's great to have you on my blog today and I'm looking forward to learning more about you and your writing. Let's get started with my questions...

  1. What is your favourite thing about yourself?
Having worked abroad and then for an international airline in customer relations I hope I can keep my cool in most situations.

  1. What do you wish you’d known before you started writing?

That it would be so much fun.

  1. Share a romantic moment in your life.

Before I was married my husband to be treated me to dinner in a French chateau and without my knowing it ordered a bottle of champagne. I had never drunk it before and it was a magical evening one I still remember to this day. We also had crepe suzettes and the headwaiter took a shine to us and poured extra brandy on them. I think it was the best meal of my life.

  1. Is there one subject you’d never write about as an author? What is it?
Stories about other worlds do nothing for me.

  1. Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?
a)      I study my genre to find out why other authors were successful this also keeps me up to date with changing trends.
b)      I read my work out loud to identify anything that doesn’t flow.
c)      I often delete the first paragraph of a new chapter something that tends to stop me ‘waffling’.
d)      I limit my use of adjectives and adverbs and try to use strong verbs e.g. instead of walked I might put strode; trudged; tiptoed; crept; strutted.
e)      I use speech to move the story along. For example if a character is scared of heights I show it by having her gasping ‘I can’t do it’, clenching her fists and turning away from a ski lift or a fairground attraction, whatever.  
f)       After I have finished my ms I put it to one side for as long as I can then I re-read it with a fresh eye. It is amazing what you notice the second time round.

  1. If you could be the original author for any book, what would it be? Why?
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.
It has all the ingredients of a romantic thriller. The descriptions are wonderful and the characters long lasting. You can feel Mrs Danvers’ menace when she tries to persuade the second Mrs de Winter to jump out of the window onto the flagstones below.

  1. What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?
I hate to admit it but I was a goody two shoes.

  1. If I came to your house for dinner what would you prepare for me? Why?
I love poached salmon. I have a proper salmon kettle and it does the dish perfectly. I serve it with watercress sauce, new potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Then it would be our garden blackberries and apples in a crumble with lashings of custard. It’s a meal I love and I tend to put my heart in it and every time it has turned out well.

My two latest May releases are

Finn’s Forest

Ulverscroft Linford Romance
May cover #Romance on Ulverscroft Facebook page

Eirlys Pendragon believed the only way to deal with fear was to face up to it, but was flying down a zip wire into the arms of charismatic Finn Hart the right answer?

Festival Fever

People’s Friend Pocket Novel #809
Fleur Denman sets out to clear the family name but when festival funds go missing Ben Salt is amongst the first to point an accusing finger in her direction.

Margaret Mounsdon
Twitter @SwwjMargaret

After years working abroad, then as a customer relations officer at Gatwick Airport I wound up in a nursing home for the elderly, on the front desk I hasten to add. It was only after I ‘retired’ that I decided to have a go at writing, something I had always wanted to do.

Three months into the Millennium I had The Call from Heartline Books and after that I was off doing a job I absolutely love. I have had short stories published in most of the women’s fiction magazines and now have twenty eight novels to my name, most available in large print and as ebooks on Amazon.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

I have an agent! by Emily Royal...

Trying to secure an agent feels like a fairground tombola. You win the big prize if you pick an odd-numbered raffle ticket – not realising that out of 2000 tickets, 1999 are even.
Almost a year ago I started searching – following guidelines, submitting in batches, issuing new submissions after each rejection.

I got a lot of rejection.

Some never responded, or just said “not for us”. Those sending personal messages all said the same – liked the writing, but didn’t feel passionate enough. A couple said they really liked it but had no idea where/how to sell it. The first rejection hurts. You cry after the sixth. Then immunity kicks in (“another one? – whatever!”).

Up to that point I’d picked agencies using my head, researching agents who broadly fitted the genre or represented writers I knew.

Time to use my heart – it’s romance, after all. I love most of the genre but there are few authors whose writing really fires my synapses. Most of them are dead. One isn’t. Luckily she has an agent.
They’re US based but the heart goes where it must. Where UK agents want a query letter and sample chapters, this agent just wanted a letter. Query letters must be taken seriously – but when it’s all they ask for, that really sharpens the mind. So I drafted, re-drafted, printed, checked, spell-checked, left to stew, reviewed then sent the most important consecutive string of 400 words I’ve written. What did it contain? – a 1-line twitter-style “hook”, a 2-line summary plus a longer blurb (not revealing the end!), finishing with an explanation of why I was passionate about my favourite author, comparing my novel to hers but also explaining how it differed.

It worked.

I almost missed their response. It arrived two days later, 20 minutes after another rejection when I’d just poured a consolatory gin. I had to re-read before realising it wasn’t another “no” – they wanted to see the first five chapters. The lovely lady sounded enthusiastic but my rejection immunity curbed my excitement. A week later they requested the full manuscript; two days after that the agent e:mailed saying she wanted to pursue it. Coincidentally, each time they contacted me I was in an airport departure lounge – I now have a “lucky seat” at Heathrow.

We struck up a dialogue to see if we got on, working on a few edits before arranging a videoconference. They got right down to business – no fanfare – discussing further edits, and I almost missed the words “we’d like to represent this.” Even then, it didn’t sink in until the signed agreement came through. One of the best days of my life and I’m looking forward to a long and productive relationship!

I still cannot say “my agent” aloud for fear I’ll wake up to find it’s not real. But the advice I’d give anyone wanting an agent is:
·         Join an organisation like the RNA – the support is invaluable
·         Join a critique group; share your work
·         Follow your heart when querying agents
·         Perfect your query letter…
·         …review it at least 10 times before sending. It’s the first thing they’ll read
·         Find a lucky seat. Sit on it.

Emily Royal has always loved gritty, emotional stories with dark sexy heroes. She joined the New Writer’s Scheme of the Romantic Novelists Association in 2015 to pursue her passion for writing. She lives in rural Scotland with her family and menagerie of pets.
Emily writes on any surface she can lay her hands on, even aeroplane tray tables or at home on her kitchen table or lap, often with one of her pet snakes round her neck.  She can be found on twitter at @eroyalauthor and Facebook at

[Emily Royal is the pen name of Sally Calder]

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Inspiration…The Temptation of Laura

One of the most frequently questions asked of authors is, “Where do you get your ideas?” The simple answer is everywhere, but that rarely satisfies the curious reader or aspiring author…but it’s the truth.

Ideas can come from newspapers, TV shows, snippets of conversation, the author’s life experiences, their friends and family’s experiences, moral issues, books and films. The list goes on.

The inspiration for The Temptation of Laura was already established before I started writing the novel. Laura is a secondary character in the debut book of my Victorian romance series with eKensington, The Seduction of Emily. In this book, Laura is a prostitute who the hero goes to for help in the hope of imprisoning the villain. The more Laura appeared in the book, the more I learned and liked about her. I wanted to tell her story…luckily my editor suggested it first!

My Victorian books are set in and around Bath so I started thinking about famous buildings in Bath that I could use in my next book. I eventually decided on the Theatre Royal. How could I use Laura’s prostitution and the theatre?

I started trawling the Internet for accounts of famous prostitutes turned actresses – that was when inspiration struck in the form of Nell Gwynn. Nell’s story fascinated me. A prostitute, turned actress, turned mistress of Charles II who bore him two children. What a story!

I read a couple of biographies on Nell’s life and then the novel, The Darling Strumpet by Gillian Bagwell, which I absolutely loved. Roll forward another 200 years and Laura Robinson, prostitute turned actress, was alive and very real in my imagination.

The Temptation of Laura was a joy to write and covers poverty, hope, loss, joy, success and ultimately, true love. I hope you enjoy Laura and Adam’s journey as much as I did writing it.

I’d love to hear how non-fiction and fiction based on real-life people inspires or interests you J

The Temptation of Laura blurb & buy links:

Laura Robinson has always been dazzled by the glamour of the stage. But perhaps acting and selling one’s favors are not so different—for Laura must feign pleasure with the men she beds to survive. Now, with her only friend at death’s door and a ruthless pimp at her heels, escaping her occupation seems impossible. Hoping to attract a gentleman, she attends the theater. Yet the man Laura captivates is no customer, but a rising star and playwright…

Adam Lacey has been driven to distraction since the moment he saw Laura. She is his ideal leading lady come to irresistible life—and so much more. Certain they can make the perfect team on and off stage, he is determined to win her heart—and discover her story. But that is precisely what Laura fears. And she has no idea that Adam harbors shameful secrets of his own. Will the truth free them to love—or destroy all their dreams…?

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Welcome Choc Lit author, Annemarie Brear...

Hi, Annemarie! It's so great to have you visit my blog again and have the chance to catch up with you and your latest release, Where Dragonflies Hover (great title!). Let's start with my questions...

1.)              What is the strangest talent you have?
I don’t think this is a talent, or at least not one I’m proud of but I forget people’s names as soon as they tell me. I’m dreadful.

2.)              What is the best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?

Being an Australian, Halloween wasn’t very big when I was growing up. We saw it as an American thing. So, I can say I am one of those rare people who have never dressed up for Halloween.

3.)              Are the titles of your books important?
Yes, I think they are quite important. I know it isn’t always easy to think of a title, and two of mine have changed over the years, but the rest are usually spot on to what I feel the story is about.
One of my titles, Kitty McKenzie, hasn’t changed. I felt the story was Kitty’s story, and she is such a strong woman that the title couldn’t be anything flippant or flowery, even the sequel, Kitty McKenzie’s Land, needed to simply state her name and the fight for her land, and it was enough. Her story, her name.
However, I do like some titles that have flair and meaning. My historical, To Gain What’s Lost, is about Anna and her journey to find all that had been taken from her by her cruel mother, a home, a fulfilling life and happiness.
My split era novel, Where Dragonflies Hover, was originally titled The Diary, but my publisher Choc Lit, felt the story, (or two stories,) deserved to be given a title that was more evocative, and I agreed. I love it.

4.)              If you’re struggling with a scene or difficult character, what methods help you through it?
Chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
Coffee. Lots of coffee.
Then I’ll re-read previous chapters and have a think. Then I usually throw a curve ball in to up the stakes. Someone will die, get sick, have a fight, get pregnant, fall in love, etc. Then suddenly the story starts flowing again.
I once wrote death scene while listening to sad love songs, and I ended up a little emotional, but the scene was so good. I was pleased with the result.

5.)              Do you prefer dog, cats or none of the above?
Definitely dogs, especially well trained dogs. I don’t like cats. I’ve always had dogs in my life until the last few years when I relocated from Australia to England.

6.)              Who’s your favourite author? Why?
Such a tough question, and I have no clear answer as there are too many. I will read every book Elizabeth Chadwick releases. Her work is exceptional. When I was younger I read all of Catherine Cookson’s books, and later all of Audrey Howard’s book. Audrey Howard, I feel, is a bit of an unsung author in my opinion. I have laughed and cried reading her books, not many authors has done that. The Woman from Browhead and The Juniper Bush, especially, are fantastic books.
Other than those author I read a variety of authors, including a lot of small indie authors.

7.)              Do you have a pet peeve?
Just one? I have loads. LOL
Lack of respect shown to others and property.
I can’t abide the amount of money footballers get for kicking a ball and are called heroes, yet the armed forces and emergency services are the true heroes and earn nothing close to such money.
The list is endless. I’ll stop now.

8.)              Do you remember your dreams when you wake up in the morning?

Most of the time yes. I’ve always been a dreamer, and had nightmares frequently as a child (the kind where my Mum would find me climbing out of the bedroom window, etc).
My dreams are hardly ever nice and romantic. For some reason my dreams are dramatic. I wake up startled, as I’m usually running for my life or something just as traumatic. It’s exhausting. :o)

Where Dragonflies Hover blurb:

Sometimes a glimpse into the past can help make sense of the future …

Everyone thinks Lexi is crazy when she falls in love with Hollingsworth House – a crumbling old Georgian mansion in Yorkshire – and nobody more so than her husband, Dylan. But there’s something very special about the place, and Lexi can sense it. 
Whilst exploring the grounds she stumbles across an old diary and, within its pages, she meets Allie – an Australian nurse working in France during the First World War.
Lexi finally realises her dream of buying Hollingsworth but her obsession with the house leaves her marriage in tatters. In the lonely nights that follow, Allie’s diary becomes Lexi’s companion, comforting her in moments of darkness and pain. And as Lexi reads, the nurse’s scandalous connection to the house is revealed …

The late sunshine enveloped the house in a golden glow. Again, it seemed to call to her, begging for attention. A path on the left of the drive looked inviting as it meandered through a small strand of poplars. Lexi grabbed her keys, locked the car and took off to explore again. She had nothing to rush home to now, and if she got caught for trespassing, then so be it.
The overgrown pathway brought her out on the far side of the grounds near the end of a small lake. She gazed over the water towards the back of the house and noticed a paved terrace area. From there the lawn then sloped down to the water. She’d not been around the back before and fell even more in love with the property. She could imagine the serenity of sipping a cool drink on a hot summer’s day and looking out over the lake.
Lexi stepped out along the bank. A lone duck swam by, its movement serene on the glassy, dark surface. This side of the lake was in shadow from large pine trees, and she stumbled on fallen pinecones hidden in the long grass. On the opposite side of the water were some small buildings, a garage, fruit trees in early blossom, and an overgrown vegetable patch, complete with a broken, rejected-looking scarecrow.
She wandered over to a narrow shed on her left and peered through its sole, dirty window. Unable to make out much in the dimness, she walked around to the front and was surprised when she was able to pull the bolt back on the door. Why didn’t people lock things? A covered rowboat took up most of the space inside. She smiled, seeing herself rowing it on the lake. Growing more excited, Lexi edged around it to peer at the workbenches and the odd assortment of tools and useless things one found in abandoned sheds. It was like treasure hunting in an antique shop. She used to love doing that with her grandfather.
She glanced about and spied a dusty painting leaning against the wall. The scene was of a child and a brown dog. Behind the canvas were more paintings, some framed, some not. Lexi flicked through them. The ones that caught her attention she took out and set aside.
She looked for somewhere to sit and study the paintings. A small tin trunk wedged under a workbench seemed the only offering. Thinking it empty, she went to tug it out, but it remained fast.
Using both hands, she heaved it out and was showered in a puff of dust. Squatting down, she inspected the latch that was held tight with a small lock. ‘Why are you locked?’ she murmured. The shed was open to anyone passing by, yet this ugly little chest had a lock on it. The trunk was nothing special, plain and in parts rusted. No ornament or writing hinted at its use.
Intrigued, she grabbed a hammer from the workbench, but then hesitated. She had no right to open someone else’s property. Lexi closed her eyes momentarily. What was she thinking of breaking into the trunk? What am I doing? Never had she broken the law and here she was guilty of trespassing and breaking and entering! She looked around the rowboat as though expecting someone to jump out and arrest her.
Something inside urged her on. She knew she couldn’t stop now. Sucking in a deep breath, she bent and hit the lock hard. The ringing sound was loud in the quiet serenity of the garden. The metal dented and with another few solid whacks the lock gave.
Shivers of excitement tingled along her skin. Gently, she eased up the lid.

Buy links:
Also available in Apple ibooks, etc.

About Annemarie Brear:
Australian born Annemarie Brear writes historical novels and modern romances. Currently living in England, her passions, apart from writing, are reading, researching, genealogy, roaming historical sites, buying books and gardening. She is an author of historical women's fiction, contemporary romance and several short stories. Also lover of chocolate, good movies and her family!

Annemarie Brear on the web: 
   Twitter @annemariebrear.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Welcome to one of my favourite authors, the fabulous Jean Fullerton...

Hi Jean! I am so thrilled to have you visit my blog today - Jean and I became quick and firm friends when we met at the 2010 Romantic Novelists Association conference in Greenwich. Since then I have called on Jean for help with my own Victorian novels, purely because I love and admire her books so much. I am proud to call you my friend, lovely lady! Let's start with my questions...

Hi, Rachel, thank you for hosting me on your website today and what a interesting set of questions. 
1.)                What did you want to be when you grew up?
A costume designer and I nearly was. Because of my love of history and all things historical I was glued to our black and white TV set whenever anything historical was showing. All the women of my family worked in the Rag Trade as machinists and I made all my own clothes so when I left school I followed in their footsteps and got a job as a designer’s assistant in one of the clothing factories in Aldgate. After learning how to draft and cut patterns for new designs I decided to apply for an apprenticeship with Berman's And Nathan's the big constumiers in London.  I got the post too, but sadly the £4 15/- per week they were offering wasn’t enough for me to live on so I had to turn it down.

2.)                Coffee, tea or hot chocolate?
Tea for me, please. Milk no sugar. 

3.)                What genre do you typically read? Why?
That’s a tricky one as I’m happy to read anything that holds my interest. For contemporary fiction I’d go for Carole Matthews, Jill Mansell or Julie Cohen and I do like a bit of crime but my real love is well-written and historically-accurate story that transport me back in time. I’ve found a couple of new authors recently Paul Fraser Collard and William Ryan’s his Korolev series set in 1930s Stalin Russia but as I say I’m open to offers and like to discover new authors   

4.)                Do you have any shameless addictions? ie. Tea, Books, Shoes, Clothes?
Matching underwear I’m always buying new sets. When my three daughters were younger and money was tight I used to have to make do with washed out miss-matched undies but not anymore. I know if I ever got knocked down and taken to hospital I’d have a great many things to worry about but thankfully, my underwear wouldn’t be one of them.   

5.)                What do you think is the biggest challenge of writing a new book?
Getting to know the characters and that normally take the first 1/3 of the book after which the writing becomes quicker. By then I’ve already established in the readers mind the world my protagonists inhabit so I don’t have to describe everything again and as I get to know them they start to give their own responses to situations. 

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

I try to get at least a scene done each day. That usually works out to about 1200 – 1400 words but if possible I like to push on to do hall of the next before I finish for the day. Of course it doesn’t always work out like that but if I don’t set a target time would just slip by. I write a log for each day of what I’m going to do so perhaps admin 9.30 – 11 then a bit of social media until 12 then lunch followed by four hours of writing between 1.30 and 5.30 then another couple of hours after dinner from 7 – 9 after which I flop in the armchair alongside the Hero at Home to catch up on some TV.  

7.)                What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
Readers love them and so do I. They allow you and your readers to follow your characters through various stages of their lives and it’s very satisfying. However, there are a couple of the drawbacks for the writer is you can get stuck there and too comfortable but the big problem is you can get bored. Luckily, after 4 books of my Victorian East London series I was asked to jump forward 100 years and write the East London Nurse series and now I’ve been contracted to write a World War 2 East London series title and released to be announced later this year. The wealth of research into such a fascinating period of East London’s history will keep me engrossed for a while, I’m sure.

 Thanks again for inviting me, Rachel. XX  


It's 1948 and the nurses of the East End of London are making the most of life post-war. For Connie in particular, things are looking rosy as she looks forward to planning a future with her sweetheart, Malcolm. But, as many a young bride-to-be has proved, the course of true love never did run smooth and Connie finds herself having to grapple with interfering mothers and Malcolm's reluctance to set the date.
But while there are many obstacles to overcome before walking down the aisle, at least Connie can relax in the knowledge that she'll soon be married to the man of her dreams, can't she?
Life at work isn't all smooth sailing either. The newly-formed NHS is keeping the nurses of Fry House extremely busy and as ever in the life of a nurse heartbreak lurks at every turn. But there are some new faces to keep things interesting. And one in particular might be the answer to all of Connie's problems...

Writing about Jean’s earlier books readers have said:
‘A delightful, well researched story that depicts nursing and the living conditions in the East End at the end of the war’ (Lesley Pearce)

‘...The writing shines off the page and begs for a sequel’ (Historical Novel Society)

‘…you will ride emotional highs and lows with each new birth and death. Beautifully written with some sharp dialogue.’ (THE LADY)

‘5 star read! Going on my Top Reads for 2014!’ Dizzy C book blogger

‘I just love Jean Fullerton's books - they are so evocative of a time gone-by in the East End of London.’ Chris a Reader

Wedding Bells for Nurse Connie available in paperback and kindle from WHS, Waterstones, all good bookshops and supermarkets and from Amazon:

Visit Jean’s website on

or Twitter @JeanFullerton__