Saturday, 16 June 2018

Top 5 Books To Help Writers...

There are so many great How To or inspirational books out there for aspiring and experienced writers, its hard for me to choose just five, but here goes:

1)      Write Naked by Jennifer Probst
I only recently read this book and literally devoured it from cover to cover I cannot recommend it highly enough if you are looking for motivation or have lost your belief that you will make it one day. Jennifer offers some fabulous insight into her journey and how success happened for her despite the doubts, the fear and bouts of wanting to hide away. Peppered with knowledge from other bestselling authors, this book is a must read.

2)      On Writing by Stephen King
There is, and always will be, only one Stephen King. The master storyteller not only shares his own experiences and journey in the pages of this writers bible, but also gives great tips on plotting, dialogue and trusting your instinct. A truly useful and inspirational book.

3)      Goal, Motivation & Conflict by Debra Dixon
I believe youd be hard pushed not to find a novelist who doesnt have a copy of this book on their shelves or at least read it at some point during their career. Ms. Dixon breaks down the vital ingredients to creating great goals, motivations and conflicts for your characters and how to apply them in the telling of your unique story. GMC is the hardest thing, in my opinion, to crack as a writer but this book will definitely help break the concept down.

4)      Creating Character Arcs by K M Weiland
I read this book while tackling the final draft of my twenty-first novel even with all the experience I have, my work in progress was missing something I couldnt pinpoint. I needed help. As often happens, I was trawling through the internet and fate intervened when this book flashed up. I downloaded it and was entirely engrossed within the first few pages. A wonderful addition to any writers bookshelf for really nailing your characters and their journeys.

5)      The Positive Trait Thesaurus/The Negative Trait Thesaurus
These two books are handy volumes to have nearby when you first start creating your characters and thinking about the type of hero and heroine you need to make that plot idea come alive on the page. Broken down into lists of character virtues and traits, these books are a great reference to get the creative juices flowing and identifying characteristics that will cause the most conflict between your protagonists and why.

Happy readingand writing!

Rachel x

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Introducing Out Of Reach by Kendall Talbot... *GIVEAWAY*

of Reach

Exposure Book 1

Kendall Talbot

Romantic Suspense, Adventure

a place where a city can be lost hundreds of years . . . they can
still find each other.

saw the temple of Agulinta on television: a vast stone structure
swallowed by the Yucatan jungle, rediscovered only now after hundreds
of years. So why did the papers she found after her father’s death
show the same mysterious carvings that puzzled archaeologists at
Agulinta? Her search for answers pulls her to Mexico’s southern
border, where the journey to the lost temple will take her through
jungle and mountain, over waters home to crocodiles and drug runners,
and into uncomfortably close quarters with a man whose need to wander
has become a way of life . . .

Carter Logan’s work as a nature photographer has given him the
excuse he needs to roam wherever his restless feet take him. But in
all the time he’s traveled, he’s never been drawn to anyone the
way he is to this determined, cagey young American. Lily’s
perseverance through dirt, sweat, and danger to the heart of the
ancient temple fires through him. But when the two of them are left
alone and stranded in a vicious wilderness, their connection might
prove the difference between life and death . . . if the secrets of
the past don’t come between them first.

to Goodreads

* Apple
* B&N
* Kobo

Talbot is the author of the Maximum Exposure series, and many
other action/adventure stories. A thrill seeker, hopeless romantic,
and award-winning author of stories that’ll have your heart
thumping from action-packed suspense and steamy bedroom scenes, she
lives in Brisbane, Australia with her very own hero and a fluffy
little dog who specializes in hijacking her writing time. Meanwhile,
Kendall’s two sons are off making their own adventures—look out

the tour HERE
for exclusive content and a giveaway!


Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Introducing The Women Of Heachley Hall by Rachel Walkley... *GIVEAWAY*

1.     What do you wish men understood about women?
Many of us women actually like multi-tasking. It may look like we’re juggling too many balls, but trust us, we can do it and act rationally…. Most of the time.

2.     Do you only work on one book at a time?
When writing the first draft I like to focus on that one project and make sure I’m ‘hearing’ the characters’ voices and shape them accordingly. Once I reach the editing stage, I prefer to have more than one book on the go or else I feel swamped by the intricacies of editing. What I can’t do is edit one manuscript and write a new book at the same time. That’s a definite curb on creativity.

3.     Who is your favorite fictional couple?
Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester. Love often blossoms in unexpected ways and this couple are a wonderful example of how romance evolves alongside the characters.

4.     Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

Live adventurously. An advice given by Quakers and one I find inspiring.

5.     Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?
No goals or word counts. I have an overall idea of how long I want a book to be, but I don’t set myself daily targets. With family and other work commitments, I don’t want to set myself up to fail. It’s hard enough being a writer as it is without forcing the words to come when they aren’t there. I do try to write or edit every day, including blogging or writing flash fiction or short stories. If not, I’m reading, which is something I miss and wish I had more time to do.

6.     What do you like better, Twitter or Facebook? Why?
I used to detest Twitter. Really couldn’t work out the 140 character limit. Now I admire those who can craft so much meaning into so few words. It is a pity there are trolls and bots, but I’ve learnt a lot about the world around me that is good and uplifting. FB has lost its appeal and I often miss posts by friends. I’m trying to branch out into Instagram because I’m also an amateur artist and it suits the medium well. My daughter loves Snapchat. I’m struggling to keep up!

7.     What are you working on now?
I’ve a few projects on the go, but the one I’d like to see published next is another mystery with touch of magical intrigue. Three talented sisters who struggle with their gifts and keep secrets from each other. I wouldn’t characterize it as romance between a couple but love plays a part in the story.

8.     Tell us about your latest release and where we can find it

My current release, The Women of Heachley Hall, is a blend of mystery and romance with a dash of history. The house is just as much a character in the book as Miriam, the woman who is set to inherit it. But first, she must live in its decaying walls for a year. She doesn’t know why and that’s the mystery she must solve. The story is a classic tale of love and redemption, but the twist is something most people don’t see coming.

Author name: Rachel Walkley
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Family Saga
Release Date: 4/5/2018
Miriam has one year to uncover an unimaginable past and a secret that only women can discover.
The life of a freelance illustrator will never rake in the millions so when twenty-eight year old Miriam discovers she’s the sole surviving heir to her great-aunt’s fortune, she can’t believe her luck. She dreams of selling her poky city flat and buying a studio.
But great fortune comes with an unbreakable contract. To earn her inheritance, Miriam must live a year and a day in the decaying Heachley Hall.
The fond memories of visiting the once grand Victorian mansion are all she has left of her parents and the million pound inheritance is enough of a temptation to encourage her to live there alone.
After all, a year’s not that long. So with the help of a local handyman, she begins to transform the house.
But the mystery remains. Why would loving Aunt Felicity do this to her?
Alone in the hall with her old life miles away, Miriam is desperate to discover the truth behind Felicity’s terms. Miriam believes the answer is hiding in her aunt’s last possession: a lost box. But delving into Felicity and Heachley’s long past is going to turn Miriam’s view of the world upside down.
Does she dare keep searching, and if she does, what if she finds something she wasn’t seeking?
Has something tragic happened at Heachley Hall?

‘Are you sure you’re alright being here alone?’ Ruth asked for the umpteenth time, as I stood at the kitchen window: my favourite viewing spot. ‘We’re doing really well on the cleaning. There’s no need to unload anything in the dark, just leave it in the van until tomorrow. And don’t forget, I’ll be back in a couple of weeks to visit. Half-term.’ She put her arms around my shoulders and squeezed them.
‘Sure.’ There was no point lamenting the solitary nature of my occupation. It wouldn’t do me any good to paint myself as a failure before I’d spent one night in the house.
‘I can’t believe your aunt left it to you without explanation. Something has to be out there to explain it all. A missing letter? ’ Ruth picked up a dishcloth and scrubbed a mark on the worktop. Her boundless energy was infectious and I returned to wiping down the windowpanes.
‘I’ve been over it all countless times in my head, read the will over and over, and there isn’t a clue to her reasons why anywhere.’  I chased a smudge of something around the glass, never quite removing it.
‘Nothing in her personal effects in the nursing home?’
 I shrugged. ‘Possibly, but according to Mr Porter it’s all gone.’
‘Do you trust him?’


Born in the Midlands, Rachel Walkley grew up in East Anglia and is now firmly lodged in the North West of England. Her first writing achievement was her Brownie badge and after that she never let go of the dream of becoming of an author. Once a librarian and caretaker of books, she’s now a teller of tales and wants to share with you the secrets that hide in the pages of her books.

Win an ecopy of The Women of Heachley Hall!

Saturday, 9 June 2018

A few revelations about me...

Recommendations: I recommend a documentary recently aired on British TV called Nicholas and Alexandra presented by one of my favourite historians Suzanna Lipscomb – discussing the lives and reign of Russia’s last Imperial family through the surviving love letters written between the Tsar and his devoted wife. Fascinating re-telling of a well-known part of history…

Reservations: Any reality TV “starring” late teens/earlier twenties men and women who can’t seem to string a sentence together without swearing. How these programmes continue to be made astounds me.

Remarkables: Looking forward to reading books from two of my all-time favourite authors! The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory and Come Sundown by Nora Roberts.

Favourites: My husband and daughters, sunshine, the beautiful, picturesque villages around Snowdonia in Wales, cruises, dogs (including my beloved chocolate Lab, Tyler), knitting and watching far too many US crime dramas and British period dramas.

Frustrations: Prejudice in any form, cruelty, bullying, ignorance and on a lighter note, housework, broccoli and book revisions!

Fabulous: My close friends, holidaying abroad, my amazing author friends who keep me sane and writing books for a living.

Best and Worst Writing Advice I ever received…                
Best – “Give yourself permission to write a ‘crappy’ first draft.”
This simple piece of advice changed my entire prospective and output as a novelist.

Worst advice – “Give up now…you’ll never be published.” Anonymous contest judge circa 2005
Hmm, I’ll let this one go by without comment…

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Introducing Don't Call Me Cupcake by Tara Sheets... *GIVEAWAY*

Don't Call Me Cupcake

The Holloway Girls #1

by Tara Sheets

Genre: Supernatural Romance

Most families have a favorite recipe or two, handed down through
generations. The Holloway women are a little different. Emma
Holloway, like her grandmother before her, bakes wishes into her
delicious cupcakes, granting the recipient comfort, sweet dreams, or
any number of good things. It’s a strange gift, but it brings only
happiness. Until gorgeous, smooth-talking newcomer Hunter Kane
strolls into her shop, Fairy Cakes—and Emma makes the mistake of
selling him not one, but three Sweet Success cupcakes. 

Hunter, it turns out, is opening a fancy new restaurant and bakery right on
the waterfront—Emma’s competition. To make matters worse, the
town committee has decided to split the upcoming summer festival
contract between the two, forcing Emma to work with her nemesis. But
she can’t afford to split her profits. The solution: create a
recipe that will make Hunter leave town permanently.

The Holloway charms are powerful. But there are other kinds of magic in
the world—like red-hot first kisses, secret glances, and the
feeling that comes with falling truly, madly, inconveniently  in love . . .

Tara Sheets is an award-winning author of contemporary romance and women's
fiction. Her debut novel, Don't Call Me Cupcake, won the 2016 Golden
Heart® award sponsored by Romance Writers of America. Tara began her
career as an author in the Pacific Northwest, inspired by the rain
and the misty mountains and the rivers of Starbucks coffee. She now
lives in the warm, wonderful South where she can stand outside with
no coat on, and she finds that pretty inspiring too. When not
writing, Tara enjoys life with her book-loving family and a
book-eating dog named Merlin.

Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive content and a giveaway!

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Introducing The Things We Need To Say by Rachel Burton... *GIVEAWAY*

 Hi, Rachel! It's lovely to invite you back to my blog and be a part of your ongoing tour for your new release, THE THINGS WE NEED TO SAY - let's kick off with a few questions...

1.)                What was your first job? Did you like or dislike it? Why?

I stacked shelves in a health food shop on Saturday mornings when I was 14. I hated it but the shop was next to a record store and I earned just enough money each week to buy a new CD!

2.)                Do you have a pet peeve? If so what is it?
Yes. If you say “3am in the morning” it makes me cringe a bit. You don’t need both “a.m.” and “the morning”!!

3.)                Would you describe your style as shabby chic, timeless elegance, eclectic, country or ___­­­_?
Somewhere between shabby chic and eclectic I think!

4.)                Tell me about your book The Things We Need to Say and where you got your inspiration for it?

5.)                The Things We Need to Say is the story of a marriage, a strong and mostly happy marriage, and about what happens to that relationship in the aftermath of a traumatic event. It’s an exploration of grief and hope and the enduring power of love and friendship. I wanted to write a book about an established relationship, rather than the fledgling one that is in my first novel, and I wanted to write about that relationship from the points of view of both husband and wife. I also wanted to set a book on the Catalonian coast – one of my favourite places in the world. Then my editor asked if I’d ever thought of writing about a yoga retreat and the relationships formed on such a retreat – and so The Things We Need to Say was born.

6.)                What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I would just like to keep writing contemporary women’s fiction novels and see where they take me. Also I’d really like Richard Curtis to make The Many Colours of Us into a film…so if you’re reading Richard…..
7.)                Share one fact about yourself that would surprise people.
I absolutely love the Fast and Furious movies!

About Rachel Burton
Rachel Burton has been making up stories since she first learned to talk. After many false starts she finally made one up that was worth writing down. 
After graduating with a degree in Classics and another in English, she didn't really know what to do when she grew up. She has worked as a waitress, a paralegal and a yoga teacher.
She has spent most of her life between Cambridge and London but now lives in Leeds with her boyfriend and three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and very tall romantic heroes.
Her debut novel THE MANY COLORUS OF US was an Amazon Kindle bestseller. Her second, THE THINGS WE NEED TO SAY, is out in May 2018. She is currently working on her third book about a woman who followed the love of her life to a city in northern England. It has no autobiographical elements at all.....maybe. 

Find her on Twitter & Instagram as @bookish_yogi or search Facebook for Rachel Burton Author. She is always happy to talk books, writing, music, cats and how the weather in Yorkshire is rubbish. She is mostly dreaming of her next holiday…
Blurb: A true novel of the heart, Rachel's The Things We Need to Say is at once beautifully written and achingly honest. This is a story that carries you away, taking you on an incredibly poignant journey, and which stays with you long after you finish. Read it! Jenny Ashcroft, author of Beneath a Burning Sky
Devastatingly beautiful, inspiring and extremely thought provoking; Rachel Burton has written from the heart as she unintentionally becomes the voice of everything we need to say.’ The Writing Garnet

Sometimes the things we never say are the most important.

Fran loves Will with all her heart. They had a whirlwind romance, a perfect marriage and a wonderful life. Until everything changed. Now Fran needs to find her way again and teaching a yoga retreat in Spain offers her just that. Leaving behind a broken marriage she has some very important decisions to make.
Will needs his wife, he needs her to open up to him if they’re to ever return to the way things once were. But he may have damaged any possibility he had of mending their relationship and now Fran is in Spain and Will is alone.
As both Fran and Will begin to let go of a life that could have been, fate may just find a way of bringing them back together.
From the best-selling author of The Many Colours of Us comes an emotional story perfect for fans of Katie Marsh, Amanda Prowse and Sheila O’Flanagan


Prize: Bound proof copy of The Things We Need to Say & a pack of Yogi teas


Saturday, 2 June 2018

America and it's inspiration in my writing...

I’m such a fan of US TV and books that I was recently asked “If you could go to any US city/region to research a book, where would it be and why?”

Such a great question!

I have thought about this a lot for years – so far I have only been to Manhattan in New York for four manic days and nights. As much as I loved my trip, where I really want to go is Washington.

I am obsessed with American history and feel this is one of the places where I will become really immersed and properly educated. My imagination and knowledge of Washington and its history is mostly fueled by what I see on TV and what I’ve read in numerous biographies and non-fiction books…so how much is true to real-life? I look forward to finding out.

Shows like Scandal and The West Wing have had me glued to the screen for years and when I think of all the presidents, their achievements and history, everything intrigues and fascinates me.

There are so many past presidents whom I’d love to learn more about and how they came to such an incredible and powerful position. I love to think one day I’ll write a blockbuster of a novel set in Washington.

From Washington, I would then travel to Boonsboro, Maryland. I’m a huge Nora Roberts fan and, her and Jill Shalvis, are probably the biggest influences on my writing and career. I would love to visit Robert’s husband’s bookshop, having timed it right so I get to one of Nora’s booksignings and then stay in one of the fantastic, literary-themed rooms at her hotel in Boonsboro.

Washington and Boonsboro are first on my list but there are many, many other places in the US I’d love to visit and write about my experiences in future novels.  New England looks beautiful, I have a dear and close friend in San Antonio, Texas as well as desperately wanting to visit Margaret Mitchell’s house in Atlanta…Gone With The Wind is my all-time favorite book.

Fingers crossed, I will visit all these places through my lifetime but, in the meantime, I have many friends in the US and the World Wide Web, so, next on my writing agenda is a trilogy set in New York…watch this space!

Rachel x