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A great weekend, full of fun. Met many of my Facebook and Twitter friends and sold books. Result.
Last year I learned via Jessie Cahalin that a book fair had been held at Narberth, Wales and I was keen to take part this year. One of the great things about having a caravan is that you can rock up, book into a site for a couple of nights and enjoy all the comforts of home. The only down side of the weekend was that weather front Imelda decided to hit the Welsh coast at roughly the same time as us. However, writers are an intrepid bunch so we didn’t let that put us off.
There was a day to go before the Book Fair opened and so we made the most of the opportunity to explore Tenby, a place new to us. What a fabulous little town it is, set above an amazing swathe of beach (reminiscent of The Prisoner), pastel painted houses of Dylan Thomas’s Llareggub…
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If you’re looking for an ebook bargain, Let it Snow has been chosen for a special promotion during October to really get your festive season going. I’m thrilled to say Lily, Isaac and Doggo the Dalmatian are getting fantastic reviews and Let it Snow is into the Amazon Kindle UK Top 100 chart already.
Load up your device and prepare to join Lily on her journey (along with Isaac, Doggo and a small singing group) in a journey from frosty Middledip to Snowy Switzerland, a journey that’s both geographically and emotionally massive.
Download your copy here:
The highlight of the year was publishing my fifth novel – Take Me, I’m Yours. For this one I abandoned Scotland and headed for Wisconsin where I spent a glorious five weeks a few summers ago. However, fear not, there is a Scottish connection as the hero – Logan MacFarlane and the heroine India-Jane Buchanan are of Scots descent – natch. You can read about it here.Within a few weeks it reached #1 in its genre –
If you’d like to read the first three chapters – follow this link – And if any readers think I’ve abandoned Scotland, read to the end of the blog for details of my next novel . . .
July was a busy month. Adrienne Vaughan and I arranged a Literary Lunch at the Belmont Hotel, Leicester which raised £300 for MIND. It was also a great chance to showcase our books and to thank people for supporting our writing. We are lucky to have such generous friends and readers.
It’s funny how good things happen when you least expect them. I was overwhelmed when Simon Whaley of Writers Magazine contacted me and asked if I’d like to contribute to a piece he was writing on BLOG TOURS. Having taken part in two blog tours in as many months I felt qualified to comment.
June saw Bongo Man and me heading for Scotland with our caravan for a month – writing, touring, kicking back. I don’t know what it is about Scotland but it feeds my soul and my imagination. We’ll be returning there this summer, too. This time, we’ll be staying on a site overlooking Castle Stalker which was the inspiration behind Girl in the Castle.
For me, writing is all about making friends and sharing my work with others. Through Facebook and Twitter I’ve made many friends who have gone on to become readers and reviewers of my novels. I never take their support for granted. On our way up to Scotland, by an amazing coincidence, one of my proofreaders was staying on the same campsite in Kendal so I was able to thank her in person for all her help. Later in the summer, on the way to Cornwall in July we were able to meet up again at Exeter Service Station where I gave her a signed copy of Take Me, I’m Yours. Who says writing isn’t romantic? LOL.
In March I attended the RONAs with La Diva, Isabella Tartaruga, who is always first to read the rough draft of my novels and give me honest feedback. I also met fabulous JILLY COOPER – cue fan girl moment. And, in case you’re wondering, Jilly is even lovelier than you could ever imagine.
If I was to choose an author whose books put me on the path to writing, it would have to be Jilly and books such as EMILY, IMOGEN etc. And who could fail to fall for her hero Rupert Campbell-Black in her bonkbuster(s) Polo, Ride and Jump?
We’re getting close to the beginning of the year and Burns Night, which we celebrated at our Danish neighbours’ house. Go figure. As for my obsession with Men in Kilts, I encourage my husband Dave to wear his as often as possible. Purely for inspiration you understand. Here he is on his way to the Burns Night supper, looking quite the part. For those who are wondering, we belong to clan LAMONT (pron: Lam’NT, not La Mont). It’s motto is: Ne Parcas Nec Spernas (Neither spare nor dispose). Not quite sure what that means . . . but I do know that I wouldn’t have achieved half of my success without Bongo Man by my side.
I was lucky enough to be featured on other writers’/bloggers’ posts this year. Here’s a selection (including two blog tours ) if you want to take a look:
- A Night in with Linda Hill
- Books in my Handbag – A Wee Dram with Lizzie Lamb
- Rosie Travers – Comfort Reads
- Being Anne – review of Take Me, I’m Yours (blog post)
As for 2019, the events are stacking up
Carole Matthews Book Launch (February), States of Independence (March), Self publishing Conference (April), Deepings Lit Fest (May) RNA Conference (July), RNA York Tea (September), Narberth Book Fair (Wales), return to DMU to give talk on self-publishing. In addition, there’s monthly Belmont Belles meetings which I organise with mu oppo and great mate, June Kearns.
All that remains now is for me to pick up the threads of the next novel and to get stuck in. What is it about? I’ll let this tweet and the video do the talking – https://twitter.com/twitter/statuses/1079472438176563207
Breaking News – of you would like to order a copy of one of my paperbacks at below the price Amazon charges – and get a personalised book plate and book mark, follow this link. https://wp.me/P3k8CP-1VY
Happy Reading –
A big hello to author, blogger and Facebook aficionado – Anna Shenton. Anna and I met via her writers’ page on Facebook and I wanted to get to know her better. So, here we go.
Anna, tell us a bit about yourself.
Born in a village in Staffordshire, England I experienced an interesting upbringing via my English father, and German mother -together with two elder siblings Ilona and Steven, and later, Ingo, a surprise brother from Germany.
Interesting names: I would like to know more about them sometime.
I live in Staffordshire with my lovely retired policeman hubby. We love to travel with our touring caravan. We share a fantastic family of six sons and daughter-in-law’s, and millions of adorable grandchildren, no shortage of inspiration.
Did you say caravan? Small wonder we clicked on Facebook. Not that OUR caravans are anything like this one – LOL.
Share with us how the writing process works for you
I write purely as a hobby, no set rules to how I work. I rely on what, where and when. I’ve never experienced (what shall I write feeling, or I must do this). Having said that, I hold much optimism for the future and revel in the freedom of writing. A home study course with the Writing School of London helped with publication of Star Letters, Fillers, and Articles in various magazines including Writers Forum.
Indie-publishing is my ideal. I’m free, no deadlines, no criteria, no rules. Thus far I’ve created – Seduced by Mind Tricks being my debut romance novel, followed by Lust for Survival a collection of short stories, Writing Spelled Out a guide on how to start writing, and my recent release 76 Silver Street a historical romance novella.
Freelancing is always lurking at the back of my mind, too. Scanning through magazines often tempts me to submit feature articles. If they’re accepted, great, if not, I’ve enjoyed writing it.
I love social media and through it I’ve made many new friends – writers and readers alike. But it can be ‘time suckage. What do you think, Anna?
My heart has warmness to the social network. Without it I wouldn’t have learnt so much, neither would I have met so many wonderful people. Controlling usage is the key; I don’t allow it to takeover! Many opportunities are there for the taking and I do believe building a social network reputation is essential for all authors! I’ve enjoyed building a Facebook page, and creating the writers authors & readers closed group, almost 1,000 fabulous supportive members.
Tell us who or what inspired you to become a writer –
My flair to create comes from my family. My late uncle, a famous artist, and my late father, a pencil/cartoonist who contributed to the Daily Mirror. My late brother wrote his Debut Novel (Notes in the Margin) which unfortunately, wasn’t published. I hope to get this published one day donating proceeds to cancer. My Sister writes a very popular frugal blog too (Mean Queen) she is amazing. The freedom of writing, expressing your inner self and creating is something I would hate to lose. I breathe inspiration from everyday life.
If not a writer, then what
Thank you Lizzie, for the opportunity to answer this question. It holds so many diverse answers. Naturally life itself is foremost, family, sharing and savouring precious moments. Thereafter, I’m lucky enough to have time to travel with my touring caravan, to tranquil places taking my pencil drawing subjects with me. I mainly draw portraits, self-taught, from photographs and find it rewarding. Outdoor life suits me too, so lots to do beyond writing.
A sequel to 76 Silver Street is at its infancy, title coming later.
Blurb – Although she had a roof over her head, Rosa Brown couldn’t abide Dan’s drunken coercive behaviour as his housekeeper anymore. Aunt Mildred’s call from her hospital-bed sends Rosa sneaking out of town, to take over her aunt’s rundown boarding house. Met by Jack Howard on arrival, in Pemberton 1905, Rosa’s heart plummets when her eyes meet with the dingy filthy place and Jack’s dark devilish impudent manner, who thinks she’s mad and has no intention of helping to get the place up and running before it goes bust.
Rosa is shocked when faced with all the ruffians and commoners knocking on the door and struggles to keep Jack’s hands off her. Sprucing the place up and filling it with respectful paying guests, proves harder than expected.
Now, filled with fear for her aunt and her own wellbeing, will Rosa ever find true love and be free from trouble?
Jenny Lakin – 5.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced romantic novella of lives in the early 20th century suburbs of working Manchester . The story is fast paced and keeps you reading, I read it in one go.
S. M. Wragg – 4.0 out of 5 starsLively, believable characters. Sets the scene well at the turn of the 20th century. Running away from an abusive relationship, young and feisty Rose Brown has been left in charge of a run-down boarding house by her aunt, who is ill, a happening that brings her into contact with a variety of lively, believable characters. I enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.
Lady Rochford – 5.0 out of 5 stars
This is a time when life is cheap . . . Manchester at the turn of the last century is no place for a girl like Rose. Just when she thinks she’s found safety and love she needs to draw on all her reserves of strength in order to survive. She needs a way out of the slums; and a call from her aunt provides her with just that.
Thank you Lizzie, for the kind invitation to write a guest post for your blog. It’s a delight to be here. I hope to make this post as fulfilling, interesting and joyful as I can!
You can connect with Anna Maria at –
76 Silver Street – Kindle edition https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07JGQGYRQ
paperback coming soon
10 things aspiring novelists should know via Lizzie Lamb
Delighted to share a fabulous post from Lizzie Lamb today as part of the blogtour for Girl In The Castle. She is sharing her ten top tips for aspiring authors.
My 10 point Guide for Wannabe Authors
The idea of writing a novel is both exciting and terrifying. I know because I’ve written and published five novels in six years. I’ve learned a lot along the way and I’m happy to share some of my thoughts with you.
- The Great Idea
Okay – so you have this novel burning away in your brain and you want to share it with readers. Great starting point. So, roll up your sleeves, get out the notebook and fire up the computer and get started. It may sound stupid, but it does help to have some idea of what you novel’s about before you start writing – you will change themes, ending etc. along…
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What a year. Here’s how the later half – December – September went. Tune in next time to find out more. Thanks, Lizzie xx
Happy New Year to all my followers and friends. I thought I’d look back over 2018 to see what I’d achieved in the writerly sphere. I was surprised by the result . . . So, in reverse order, starting with December here’s what I’ve been up to.
Another cracking meeting of the Belmont Belles which I organise with June Kearns. To round up the year’s activities we were honoured to have best selling romance author Carole Matthews as our guest. Cue an inspirational talk and fabulous Q&A session. Also in December, much To my surprise I won a £40 amazon voucher from Kindle Direct Publishing to spend on author copies of my novels. Colour me lucky.
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From today until December 7th I’m offering my Scottish-themed romances for 99p/99c per download. So, if you want a change from Christmas-themed romances, take a look at one of mine.
Read an extract? Download a copy? Be my guest………
Fliss Bagshawe longs for a passport out of Pimlico where she works as a holistic therapist. After attending a party in Notting Hill she loses her job and with it her dream of becoming her own boss. When she’s offered the chance to take over a failing therapy centre, she grabs it with both hands. But there’s a catch – the centre lies five hundred miles away – in Wester Ross, Scotland. Fliss’s romantic view of the highlands populated by hunky Men in Kilts is shattered when she has an up close and very personal encounter with the Laird of Kinloch Mara, Ruairi Urquhart. He’s determined to pull the plug on the business, bring his eccentric family to heel and eject undesirables from his estate – starting with Fliss. Faced with the dole queue once more, Fliss resolves to make sexy, infuriating Ruairi revise his unflattering opinion of her, turn the therapy centre around and sort out the dysfunctional Urquharts. Can she find the happiness she deserves?
ISHABEL STUART is at a crossroads in her life. Her wealthy industrialist father has died unexpectedly, leaving her a half-share in a ruined whisky distillery and the task of scattering his ashes on a Munro. After discovering her fiancé playing away from home, she cancels their lavish Christmas wedding at St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh and heads for the only place she feels safe – Eilean na Sgairbh, a windswept island on Scotland’s west coast – where the cormorants outnumber the inhabitants, ten to one.
When she arrives at her family home – now a bed and breakfast managed by her left-wing, firebrand Aunt Esme, she finds a guest in situ – BRODIE. Issy longs for peace and the chance to lick her wounds, but gorgeous, sexy American, Brodie, turns her world upside down.
Readers mention that they like the multi-generational themes running through the novel, the close knit highland community and a naughty parrot called Pershing.
And, finally, Girl in the Castle
I especially enjoyed writing this one as I was able to weave my love of history into every page. It reached #3 in Scottish Highlands and islands when first published, rubbing shoulders with Jenny Colgan and Peter May in the Amazon charts.
Her academic career in tatters, Dr Henriette Bruar needs somewhere to lay low, plan her comeback and restore her tarnished reputation. Fate takes her to a remote Scottish castle to auction the contents of an ancient library to pay the laird’s mounting debts. The family are in deep mourning over a tragedy which happened years before, resulting in a toxic relationship between the laird and his son, Keir MacKenzie. Cue a phantom piper, a lost Jacobite treasure, and a cast of characters who – with Henri’s help, encourage the MacKenzies to confront the past and move on. However – will the Girl in the Castle be able to return to university once her task is completed, and leave gorgeous, sexy Keir MacKenzie behind
So, those are your choices. It takes about a year to write a novel and another four/five months to polish, shape and format it for Amazon. I hope that you agree that 99p/99c is a bargain for each of my Scottish novels and decide to download one. Oh, and one more thing, they’re all available in paperback, and on Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited, too.
What next for me? I’m about to start writing #6 – another Scottish themed romance, this time with a bit of a difference as the hero and heroine (who can’t stand the sight of each other, natch) have to combine forces and go chasing after two runaways – his son and her niece – all the way from Cornwall to Scotland. Lots of fun, angst and hilarious encounters ensue . . .
Boot Camp Bride is five years old this month. Recently I re-visited Norfolk and the sites which inspired the novel. I’d love to share them with you and, hopefully, remind you of what a great romcom Boot Camp Bride is. There’s a chance to win a paperback copy (UK only) or a mobi. download (worldwide) – details at the end of this blog, so join in the fun and you could be a winner.
Blurb? I’ll allow one of my latest reviews to do the talking for me –
“Charlee is forced to attend a boot camp to get a scoop for the magazine she works for. I adored the situation set up for this story – such fun! The author is very clever at painting her characters and adding poignant brushstrokes of humour and vulnerability. Oh my, Charlee’s anecdotes will chase away the winter blues! Charlee guided me through her adventure, and I could not stop laughing. How does Lizzie Lamb manage to combine humour, adventure and romance? Charlee was feisty, fun, intelligent and clumsy – perfect. Undeterred by the alpha male, she managed to fight him with wit and stubbornness. Lizzie Lamb’s characters and style of writing sparkle in Boot Camp Bride. This romantic comedy is classic gold: it is the equivalent of comfort food and a good night out with friends.”
Noel Coward was not a great fan of the county and quipped: awfully flat, Norfolk. That’s what I thought the first couple of times I visited Thornham where the novel is set. But after a time, I started to understand the appeal of this beautiful landscape. Here’s what Charlee thinks as she looks out across the marshes for the first time, Rafa at her side.
Now she was out of the wind and the sun had come out, the marshes didn’t look so grim after all. There was a stripped back beauty to them, she could see that, and the flocks of birds heading for the feeding grounds down by the shoreline ensured the view was ever changing. And she had to admit, just sitting there, eyes closed, face soaking up the weak January sun, was the perfect antidote to the last couple of manic weeks. When she glanced at Ffinch he was scanning the marshes through his binoculars, his cup of hot chocolate untouched on the bench beside him. Why did she get the impression it wasn’t the birds he was watching so intently? ‘What’s out there?’ Charlee asked, slipping on her sunglasses against the almost overwhelming expanse of bright blue sky that filled three quarters of the landscape. ‘The Wash. And over there you can see the wind turbines on the shoreline at Skegness.’ Charlee followed his pointing finger and squinted at the distant shore where almost a hundred huge turbines were turning like quiet ghosts.
Boot Camp Bride is set in Thornham, near Hunstanton. The Lifeboat Inn, an alleged haunt of smugglers, doubles for The Ship in the novel. This is where Rafa and Charlee spend their first night together – strictly business, natch – very much aware of a growing physical attraction.
“Charlee and Ffinch climbed the stairs to their respective bedrooms. Charlee was rather unsteady, a combination of vertiginous heels and the quantity of wine she’d consumed. She pulled a face and groaned, thinking of the hangover she would wake up with and the windswept salt marshes dashing ice-cold rain and sleet into her face. Ffinch walked up the stairs behind her, his hand resting lightly on her waist as if keeping a loving eye on her, whereas in reality he was holding her upright. Bidding the other guests goodnight, he whispered in her ear. ‘Smile, for goodness sake. You look as if you’re going to your doom, not a night of passion in The Ship’s best room. Stay in role.’ ‘I’m concentrating on my balance, if you must know, and,’ Charlee whipped round as his words sank in, almost falling backwards into his arms. ‘A night of passion, now hold it right there, mate. It’d take more than two glasses of champagne -’ ‘Half a bottle of Rioja, a sticky with your pudding and cognac with coffee – to do what? Make the thought of sleeping with me more palatable?’ Although he kept a straight face, Charlee detected banked down humour there.”
My friend Joan and I sitting in the hall of The Lifeboat Inn. It was at her and husband Roger’s place in Thornham that the idea of Boot Camp Bride first took shape.
It was easy to imagine Thornham Manor as the phoney Boot Camp for Brides – the front for drug smuggling on the marshes. At high tide it would be easy to land contraband on the nearby quay without arousing suspicion. You can also read an extract HERE
Boot Camp Bride is also available as a paperback and would make an ideal Christmas/ birthday present for someone who enjoys reading romance with a light sprinkling of humour and quick fire dialogue. Oh, and there’s a classic VW Camper Van featured in it, too. What’s not to like?
If you’d like to enter Boot Camp’s Brides Birthday Competition, all you have to do it FOLLOW my blog and/or share this post on any of the links below. The winner will be notified by email.
And, finally – If you’d like to read more about Rafa and Charlee’s adventures, download a copy of Boot Camp Bride – It’s 99p/99c from Wednesday 21st November for one week.