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My Writerly Year #2

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.

Here we are at Exeter Service Station, with a signed copy of TMIY

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.

A Kilted Bongo Man
I’m sure I say this in my sleep!

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:

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.

If you like superbly written #Hisfic, check out June’s Amazon page.

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 –

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.

Happy Reading –

Looks like someone’s writing anew novel !

School’s Out For Summer

F01At the end of each summer term we could look forward to an eight week break from rules, homework and school uniform. Since forming the New Romantics 4 and publishing our first novels last autumn we’ve learned that tide, time and readers’ expectations wait for no man. Last week, we met in Lizzie’s garden to draw up the road map for the months ahead, culminating in the launch of our second novels on Amazon as kindle downloads and paperbacks, individually launching our novels on our websites, attending the Festival of Romance and hosting four Red Carpet Road Shows in November.
Wisely, Lizzie wouldn’t let us have any prosecco until we’d been through the Agenda, and revealed our writing schedules for the next couple of months. They look something like this.


Lizzie’s Cunning Plan

Having edited #2 and had it back from beta readers I’m leaving it to ‘settle’ before giving it one final edit and then sending it to be checked by a copy editor and proof reader. Then the exciting bit, sending the finished manuscript to Jane Dixon-Smith to be formatted for e-reader and paperback, while I choose images for the front/ back cover. There will be a cover reveal in September, followed by a tweetathon when the book is launched – so you won’t have long to wait. Last time I held a tweetathon, I was locked up in Twitter Prison for sending out too many tweets!! Next time, you’ll need L plates, pink stetsons and bum-freezing skirts to take part in the fun. Oh, and if you can speak Russian, that’d help, too. Intrigued? Good!

I’m also planning to launch my brand new website with some giveaways and competitions and hopefully starting a quarterly newsletter. And to thank those friends and readers who came to our launches last autumn and bought Tall, Dark and Kilted, I will be hosting a garden party at Chez Lamb on July 28th.


Too Cool for Skool – Adrienne Vaughan

Aha amigos, isn’t it strange how the’ Brrr…’ of the British Isles succumbs to the ‘Meh!’ of the Mediterranean whenever we are blessed with more than a few days of consecutive sunshine?

Well, here in the wilds of South Leicestershire, all the doors and windows are flung wide, the heat is on and we love it!

As the tabloids scream ‘SIZZLE’, ‘SCORCHING!’ and ‘PHEW!” with reason enough to display as much exposed flesh as they dare, even those donning layers of linen beneath exotic parasols have to admit, to be able to plan a meal outdoors is heaven. Even better to sip a cool cocktail, watching the sunset as a soft evening breeze flutters candles in the dusk. Blissfully romantic, even if you’re only sharing the view with next door’s cat!

My horoscope said recently that if I stopped looking elsewhere I would find paradise in my own back yard. On days like this, the stars are not wrong. As for editing the new novel…ah manana!

Have a great Summer, see you in the Autumn, when my new novel, A Change of Heart will be ready just in time for a cosy, fireside read.


An Ideal Summer – Mags Cullingford

My ideal summer holiday was, is and always will be to idle away endless days beneath the shade of a Tamarisk at the far end of a secluded Mediterranean beach listening to the soothing schurr-schurr of waves displacing pebbles.  A vast sweep of bay, in the distance a harbour, a white-washed village, a backdrop of spectacular mountains, olive groves shimmering silver in the sun covering the foothills.  Just being, observing the sea’s changing hues, at dawn milky opal, later aquamarine – turquoise – jade – sapphire – streaks of red-gold as the water reflects the setting sun.  A change of scene, submerge, discover the plants and creatures below the water’s surface, or simply float on top face to the sun, eyes closed, let your body rock in its silky cradle. This restores a tired mind, heals an unquiet spirit.

This summer, “due to circumstances beyond my control”, I must be content to live vicariously while polishing my second novel, Twins of a Gazelle for publication in October.  Calista Blake spends three weeks on the Greek island of Ithaca.  Will the island’s magic work its spell, banish the disillusionment she feels about her marriage? Maybe, maybe not. We’ll see.


Distractions From The 20s – June Kearns

This summer, after chop-chopping and pruning A 20’s Girl’s Guide to Ghosts and All That Jazz (still a working title! Eek!) – I’ll be mostly colouring in.

Like many of us, I suppose – when I start writing, it’s all light and shade. Then, some slash and burn, before adding quirky bits and tweaks that hopefully zizz the story up and bring it to life. That’s my colouring in.

But … desk is a mess of old bits of paper, crumpled post-its and blue-tacked bon mots (who said that? why did I need it?)

Plus, I keep drifting over to last, seductive stage, where I fling sequins and sparkly bits all over it!

That 20’s music, it’s distracting me. Tunes of the time. Sniffing out titles as snazzy as the (much later) George Formby hit, that someone in this house keeps singing: ‘If Women Like That Like Men Like Them , Why Don’t Women Like Me?’ (Oh, boy.)

I’ve found ‘Doo-Wacka-Doo’ and a few more gems. ‘Olga, Come Back to the Volga’. Other top 20’s titles, anyone?

No, no! Headphones off. Head down. Must get on. Apparently, someone’s arranging a London book launch for us this year. Ooh heck!


WHAT HAVE YOU GOT PLANNED FOR THE SUMMER? Please leave a comment – we’re dying to know.


Tom for blog My first blog ever and I’m following Lizzie Lamb, Adrienne Vaughan and June Kearns!

Before I learnt to read, my youngest aunt loved to read to me, except when I asked to hear more of The Water Babies.  Aunt Ede preferred fairy tales or any Beatrix Potter.  I loved those too but I wanted to know what happened to Tom.  All her life Aunt read only romance so what she probably hated most in The Water Babies was the ending:

“And of course Tom married Ellie!”  My dear child, what a silly notion!

Water Babies for blogDespite most of it going over my head, I believe The Water Babies sowed the seeds of my yen to write fiction.  As you can see I still have that book.

I’ve loved books forever, couldn’t wait to learn to read, and I wrote, letters, a sort of diary to my absent mother.  As an only and adopted child, inherent loner and compulsive reader, I spent hours curled in a cavernous armchair, like most of my generation, immersed in Enid Blyton, Richmal Compton, the classics – Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island, Three Musketeers, Little Women – how those March girls got on my wick. I thought, one day I would like to write a book.

What sort of book?

Read since Christmas 2012 No.1As you can see from the picture of my recent paperback reads, I don’t favour any particular genre.  On Kindle, since Christmas I’ve also read, Up Close by Henriette Gyland, Terry Tyler’s Dream On and the first two volumes of Peter May’s  Lewis trilogy.   None of these diverse books, in my opinion, are worthy of less than 5 stars, and I have just finished The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides.  Set in the early 1980s, Eugenides shows not tells how, despite ‘deconstruction’, the novel today remains essentially the same as Austen’s.  Like any of Jane’s, and many other ‘literary’ works, it’s about the nature of human love.

So what sort of book, when I finally came to write it, is Last Bite of the Cherry?

Dark romance, Lizzie says.  My heroine, Monica says, “I don’t want to get married.  Not ever.  I want to live”.   Also a quote from one of my Amazon reviewers – “The three interwoven love stories keep up a fast pace which made it very hard to put down.”   And thanks to New Romantics 4 it’s out there being read.

ThistleAnd why the thistle, pleasant to look at yet prickly?  Symbolic of Last Bite of the Cherry and my next novel, Twins of a Gazelle.