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Happy Birthday to New Romantics Press!!

Three years ago this month New Romantics Press was born, huddled together in the backroom of a village pub in the wilds of rural Leicestershire. Trembling with fear and trepidation, four fledgling authors launched themselves on the world …

Our Books !!

Dozens of book launches, blogs, reviews, newspaper reports, radio interviews and videos later, we’ve embraced each and every element of what being an author in today’s multi-media environment entails; standing shoulder to shoulder, through drafts, edits, rewrites and great big gaping holes of self-confidence…

 

Yet at the very essence our passion, our need to tell our stories our way, remains. The highlight of our journey so far? Holding a book launch in Waterstones, Kensington. That’s Kensington, London  -in case you’re wondering. We were hoping that Dustin Hoffman (who regularly shops there) was going to turn up, but alas he was otherwise engaged.

Ten acclaimed novels later … the dream is a reality and the greatest reward? Every single time a reader says: “I loved your book, when is the next one coming out?”

Happy birthday sisters, fairy Godmothers one and all. Cue music: ‘Sisters Doing it For Themselves’, and exit stage left.

So what are we up to ATM?

Here’s our news, hot off the press . . .

Adrienne“I’m currently working on my fourth novel, Scandal of the Seahorse Hotel, a contemporary Irish American romantic suspense, steeped in mystery from World War II.”

 

Lizzie? “I’ve started novel number four – working title: THIS HIGHLAND MAGIC. I hope to publish it on our fourth anniversary November 2016. No pressure, then. I have a heroine with a secret and gorgeous new hero who has his own demons to confront. I’m keeping him all to myself until then, ladies.”

 

Mags? “I’m currently working on novel number three (as yet, untitled). Here’s the blurb so far – After her mother’s fatal car accident, Lexie Neave receives four threatening anonymous letters. Private investigator Forbes’s brief is to identify the writer and discover what it is Lexie has that’s “valuable, very valuable; which by rights is mine”. Lexie hasn’t a clue. Forbes’s preliminary investigations convince him Lexie is in danger.”

 

June? “Until October this year, I’d been playing out scenes, progressing the story in my historical romance set in 1960’s London and San Francisco, (all going pretty well, I thought!) Then, I went back to SF, imagination took over and the story just went whizzing off in directions I hadn’t expected! So now, here I am – hanging on, getting it all down!”

 

So, it’s happy birthday to us and a big thank you to everyone who’s helped us on our way. Christmas is just around the corner and what could be better than to find a copy of one of our books in your Christmas stocking? Diamonds, you say? OK – we’re on the case.

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Happy Birthday to us !

 

 

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Fifty Shades of Plaid – or why Lizzie loves a kilted hero

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I’ve always loved romantic heroes, be they highwaymen, pirates, Regency bucks or men in kilts.

I think the element of ‘costume’ removes the hero from the real world and transports both him and the reader into the realm of fantasy. The costumed hero is, generally, aristocratic – and while he does not have to work to earn his daily crust, he often has emotional scars which only the heroine can heal. And, in the case of men in kilts, there is the additional tease of whether or not they’ve gone ‘commando’ , in true Scottish fashion.  So, while I loved the Wicked Lady, Frenchman’s Creek and the Scarlet Pimpernel, my favourite books and movies are Scottish-themed.

www.lizzielamb.co.uk

My interest began as a child in Scotland, reared (courtesy of Saturday morning cinema) on the exploits of highlanders featured in such movies as Rob Roy, Bonnie Prince Charlie, The Ghost Goes West (one of my favourites) and -sob- Grey Friar’s Bobby.  After the movie (or fil-um, as we pronounced it) the children in my street would re-enact Rob Roy’s leap and subsequent escape through the waterfall, and the scene from Kidnapped, where Davie Balfour is almost murdered by his evil uncle. Our dogs were dragooned into being “Bobby”, loyally guarding his master’s grave on Grey Friar’s kirk. But they never quite ‘got’ what was required of them and were always wandering off, much to our annoyance.

The girls, of course, loved to act out Flora Macdonald helping Bonnie Prince Charlie to escape over the sea to Skye.
flora macdonaldFlore Macdonald's grave

In June we visited Scotland, travelling as far as Skye to see the Fairy Pools and  Flora MacDonald’s grave, amongst other things I wanted to research/double check before publishing for my forthcoming novel SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS.

The written word had its place, too; we knew Young Lochinvar off by heart and would declaim:

“He rode all unarm’d, and he rode all alone . . .

He staid not for brake, and he stopp’d not for stone,

He swam the Eske river where ford there was none;

But ere he alighted at Netherby gate,

The bride had consented, the gallant came late.”

I frequently found myself in trouble because I wanted to be Lochinvar, and wouldn’t take my turn as ‘the Fair Ellen.’ Nothing much changed there, then.

Those images and the tales of brave Covenanters and Jacobites stayed with me  as I grew up and read more Scottish themed novels . . . The Jacobite Trilogy by D.K. Broster (falling in love with Ewen Cameron), The Lymond Chronicles (who could resist Francis Crawford?)  and, more recently, the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon featuring uber-hero Jamie Fraser. For me, he is the ultimate kilted hero and has it in spades – looks, sense of honour, loyalty, is sex-on-legs and can speak Gaelic. If you’d like to see images of Jamie Fraser, check out my Pinterest board and you’ll see what I mean. I’ll even admit to subscribing to Amazon Prime so I could watch the TV Series: OUTLANDER. For me, a hero wearing a suit, carrying duct tape, rope and plastic ties just doesn’t cut it. Give me an exiled, Jacobite laird every time.

Which brings me full circle to my novels. In Tall, Dark and Kilted my hero is sexy laird Ruairi (Roo-ary) Urquhart who has to fight to safeguard his land and inheritance.

One week to go (3)

In Scotch on the Rocks I give you kilt-wearing, gorgeous Brodie – an American with auburn hair, who arrives on Eilean na Sgairbh on the back of a storm wind and turns my heroine’s life upside down.

Share with us your favourite ‘hero’, whether in book or film.

now available –

Author Event at Waterstones, Kensington, London brings another successful year to a close!

 

The Girls in the Band

 

We are happy to ask you to join us in celebrating an exciting and successful year for the New Romantics Press.

Adrienne’s story:

When you think about it, our story might not be amazing, show-stopping or world-breaking …but it is interesting. What started as June’s original concept: “Let’s hold a showcase for our work.” Quickly followed by Amanda Grange’s advice: “Publish independently and then you’ll have something to show.” Add Lizzie’s gritty determination to keep us all on track; my PR background and Mag’s literary connections and I must admit, as my third novel sits patiently in the wings (ready to be launched at the end of this month), I feel a tiny smidgen of pride for what we have achieved. Nine novels, each individually penned, and one anthology of short stories, to which Lizzie and I have contributed … in just two years, is not bad going. 

Add, excellent reviews, not-to-be-sniffed at sales and some fabulous author-events, topped off with our ‘packed-house’ showcase at Waterstones, Kensington earlier this month and well, it could all be deemed rather dazzling, and perhaps one could take just a second or two to rest on one’s laurels. Ah, what a team!

Not flippin’ likely. Bag about to be packed for the ‘World Premiere’ of Secrets of the Heart, to take place where the story opens, Neary’s Cocktail Bar, Chatham Street, Dublin 2 on Wednesday, December 3rd, 7.30pm – 9pm. See you there? Did I ever tell you, “Don’t Stop Me Now,” by Queen, is my anthem? 

*****

June’s story:

Too far out? Too close to the City.

Pub, Club? Bar or Bookshop.

When son Patrick and his partner Tom suggested hosting a launch for us in London, it set them off searching the streets for weeks – (a bit like trying to find a house, but cheaper.)

Tricky stairs, dicky lift. Too blow-all-of-the-budget? Ooh, no buzz. A little bit Rovers Return?

Then Adrienne wrapped it all up with her cracking connection – Waterstones!

And, it was wonderful – a real winner,(see pictures!)

Wine flowed, books were sold, lots of lovely people came to support us,(thank you, all of you!!) and, as you can see from those pics – apart from missing Mags and her fab new book – we all had A Jolly Good Time.

*****

Mags’ story:

At a Romantic Novelists Association conference I remember a talk by a Literary Agent with a fearsome reputation saying she expected her writers to be healthy, and had no time for sickly ones. How ruthless, how unfeeling, I thought, but as an Indie author-cum-agent-publisher I now understand her. I was gutted not to be able to join my three New Romantics mates, Adrienne, June and Lizzie at our Author Showcase at Waterstones Kensington just 4 weeks after I had a much-needed, total right-knee replacement. Although in my head I believed I could be there, it finally dawned – duhh, no way. To compound my disappointment, my second novel Twins of a Gazelle was ready to be uploaded as a paperback on Create Space, and as an eBook ready for the event. I believed as soon as I was home from hospital I would steam ahead with this. Well, what did I know about how I’d actually feel in the aftermath of surgery?

I published my debut novel Last Bite of the Cherry) in 2012, and my second, Twins of a Gazelle will be available, I hope, in a couple of weeks. I can’t claim either novel is ‘romantic’, though both have a similar theme – clever woman, emotionally naïve, initially makes disastrous choice of man (men) before meeting ‘The One’. Not the conventional Girl-Meets-Boy love stories, but about love in its many guises nevertheless. To quote the latest reviewer of Last Bite of the Cherry, “This wasn’t going to be a straightforward romance. There were darker layers to this story. I was intrigued.” (Sharon Booth, Amazon and Goodreads). I hope readers will be equally intrigued by Twins of a Gazelle.

*****

Lizzie’s Story:

We little thought when we published Tall, Dark and Kilted, The Hollow Heart, An Englishwoman’s Guide to the Cowboy and Last Bite of the Cherry two years ago that we would go on to write second and third novels. Nor did we imagine, even in our wildest dreams, that we would hold an Author Event in a top London Bookshop – yet that’s exactly what we’ve accomplished. How? Through team work, keeping our eye on the ever changing publishing world and having determination by the shedload. For me, the Waterstones evening was a personal and professional milestone. When I set out to become a published author I thought I’d be happy with a few paperbacks to give to friends and rellies at Christmas, and to have the satisfaction of seeing my work in print. Yet, here I am – with readers emailing how much they loved both books; and with an accountant who, when asked what I could do to make his life better, said: “Get another book out there.” No pressure then.

Writing is a bit like trying to climb K9 – just when you think you’ve reached the summit, there’s another hill to climb to break through the clouds and into the sunshine. I couldn’t have got this far without the help of my husband Bongo Man, my many friends and fellow writers. So . . . Thanks to everyone who came to our Waterstones gig, even the Russian gentleman in tracksuit and combat jacket who drank a bottle and a half of red wine, ate all of M&S canapés and then scarpered when asked to buy one of our books. I only hope he wasn’t a famous editor/agent in disguise – or one of Vladimir Putin’s henchmen.

*****

Thank you for helping us have such a terrific year and here’s to a wonderful 2015 for everyone!

(All photographs are the copyright of The New Romantics Press/Carole Matthews)

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Beautiful Heroines? Bah! Humbug!

 

At 13, when I started getting interested in boys, all the heroines in romances seemed to be head-turning, heart-stopping beauties, with bee-stung mouths. Long hair tumbled to their shoulders or was worn in a carefully tousled chignon, like Brigitte Bardot.

One look, one flutter of those eyelashes, and the hero would be smitten.

I’d already suspected that this was how things worked, because my best friend was beautiful, like a young Elizabeth Taylor.

When we started Grammar School, cool fifth-formers with Elvis quiffs would pass her crooning, ‘Wh-a-a-at is luurve, five foot of Heaven and a pony-tail.’ (The song goes on, ‘the cutest pony-tail, that sways with a wiggle when she walks.’ )

I, on the other hand, was more Beryl-the-Peril – small, sturdy, self-conscious, blessed with hair that frizzed in damp weather and a tendency to flush easily.

How could I ever inspire love?

Because this was how the world worked, wasn’t it? So cruel, so unfair! It was a terrible blow.

Then, I read Jane Eyre.

MP

Here was a heroine, as plain and self-conscious as myself (and Charlotte Bronte!), who still sparked passion in the hero. I started to see that passionate relationships could be generated by great conversations, argument and humour.

Ever since, I’ve been drawn to books by Carol Shields,(Republic of Love, Happenstance) Anne Tyler,(all books!) Barbara Trapido,(Temples of Delight, Noah’s Ark) all confirming that belief.

So, I’m afraid my own heroines are condemned never to be beautiful! Too easy for them! Too dull, too predictable!

In An Englishwoman’s Guide to the Cowboy – Annie has a limp. I’d been tempted to give her a stutter, too, but thankfully was talked out of it!

Gerardina, in The 20’s Girl, is no beauty, either.

So, is it just me? Does anyone else prefer plain heroines?

If you do, I’d love to hear about them.

June

 

A New Book from Georgina Troy

Georgina TroyToday we’d like to welcome Georgina Troy to the NR4 blog.

Georgina has a new book out on 2nd April and we are thrilled to share a sneak peak of A Jersey Affair. Georgina lives in Jersey near the sea – well, most people do in an island only 9 miles x 5 miles in size. She’s always wanted to write and being an impossible romantic is always falling in love with heroes both real (hopefully), in fiction (definitely) and those of her own creation (absolutely). 

A Jersey Affair is the second in a series of stand-alone romances based in Jersey, which Georgina hopes you’ll read, enjoy and maybe tell your friends about. The first book, A Jersey Kiss is out now.

book coverJilted by the man she was expecting to marry, Paige Bingham, a shoe designer from the tiny island of Jersey, decides to enjoy her honeymoon-for-one in Sorrento. What she doesn’t expect is to meet a mysterious entrepreneur, Sebastian Fielding, when she gets to Italy. Sebastian helps soothe her faith in men and gradually the pain recedes from her battered heart as he introduces her to the beautiful sites he knows and loves.

Unfortunately, not long after Paige returns to her small island home off the coast of France, she discovers that  not only is this charismatic man’s company taking over the struggling store where her business is based, but that her concession is probably going to be surplus to his requirements.

How can Paige stop her fledgling shoe design business from falling apart? And what can she do to restore her reputation now that the paparazzi have published their untruths about her romance with Sebastian, as well as the unwanted publicity they’ve generated about, A Jersey Affair?

If you’d like a taste of Georgina’s writing, read on!

Chapter One – A Dizzy Height

I hope you’re phoning to tell me you’ve arrived safely?” Olly asked, his tone willing her to confirm that she had.

Yes.” She blew her nose once again, wondering why she always felt the need to phone him every time she became too miserable. “Nothing awful has happened since you dropped me off at the airport this morning and I haven’t changed my mind about being here, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

Good. Now stop snivelling and go and search for an Italian bloke to take your mind off Jeremy.”

Surely you don’t seriously expect me to be interested in anyone after everything that’s happened?” She slumped down on the balcony chair conveniently placed under the ivy covered pergola, grateful for its shade from the midday Italian heat.

Don’t be such a drip,” he said. “Anyone would think your ex-fiancé was worth keeping. Now get off your bum, put on a pair of your more colourful sandals then go and explore Sorrento.

Fine, but if I can’t find something to wear that doesn’t make my bottom look the size of a small Shetland pony, I’m not going.” Paige glanced at the yellow shift dress she’d just dropped onto the bed and wished she hadn’t bothered packing it.

You’ll be back in Jersey soon enough, moaning about wasting your trip. If nothing else, you can get inspiration for your next set of designs.”

You’ve been talking to my sister, haven’t you?”

How can you tell?”

You don’t know anything about women’s shoes and I’ve never heard you say the word sandal before,” she laughed.

Clem’s worried about you. I had to stop her from racing round to Jeremy’s house and giving him hell for jilting you.”

Paige chewed her lip guiltily. She should turn to Clem before Olly, but worried about upsetting her sister further. Her one-person honeymoon had been the only good thing to come out of this mess. She still couldn’t believe she’d had the nerve to come alone to Sorrento. “I need time to think.”

A break up is always hard and it’s only been a week since everything happened. You’ll be fine though, I just know it. Once you’ve had time to recover from the shock I bet you’ll come back here and be ready to focus on your shop again.”

He was probably right, but it was still a little difficult accepting that Jeremy had changed his mind about their marriage and she hadn’t seen it coming. Then again, at least now she understood why he’d been acting so strangely recently, so much for pre-wedding nerves.

Paige, are you still there?”

Had Jeremy turned to Gretchen because she’d spent all her time thinking about future designs for her shoes like he’d said?

Stop dwelling on that jerk,” Olly shouted, interrupting her thoughts.

Ol, you’re the perfect best friend and always ready to listen to me.” She couldn’t help smiling, he knew her so well and she hated the thought that her situation was causing upset with those closest to her.

Probably because you don’t often moan about things,” he laughed, his voice sounding tinny down her antiquated phone. “When you get back we can spend time working on the new website designs. I’ve had a few new ideas that should perk it up a bit.”

Good, I know the one I have now isn’t nearly stylish enough for the image I want to project.” She brushed a fly off her ankle.

Never mind that now. You go and make the most of that incredible place and I’ll speak to you soon.”

I thought I’d have a look at the shoe shops here and see how their designs compare with mine.”

You see?” Olly laughed. “You must be feeling a little better because you’re thinking about your shoes. Right, I’ll put some ideas together while you go and mooch around Sorrento.”

Thanks Ol,” she said glancing towards the window and staring at the rays of white gold light filtering through the metal shutters.

Good, now get out and I don’t want you back in that room of yours until it’s time for you to go to bed.”

Okay, I’m going, but I won’t enjoy myself,” she teased before replacing the receiver onto the eighties-style phone.

Paige picked up her red clutch bag, slipped on the matching shoes she had designed to complement it, and set off toward the confines of the old town. Treading carefully along one of the narrow roads, she breathed in the scent of oregano from the spice-filled air. This was more like it. She walked down the steps from the back garden of the hotel, at times holding on to the handrail especially where they tilted away from the cliff face. She stopped and concentrating on not looking down, gazed across at the spectacular view across the sea to the other side of the Bay of Naples.

She gripped on tightly watching every step and breathed a sigh of relief as she reached the small supermarket at the beginning of the main thoroughfare. She was a little surprised to see so many designer shops dotted along on both sides of the road. Forgetting her nerve-wracking walk down there, she paid particular interest in the shoe shops and thought about the rumours her father had shared with her before her fateful meal with Jeremy.

What if her dad was right about De Greys? If the store goes bankrupt then she would have to start up her business elsewhere. It had cost most of her business loan just setting up her concession in De Greys, she didn’t think she would be able to afford to set up in another shop so soon after moving to King Street.

She stepped into the road, tripping over the pavement in her panic to avoid an oncoming car that almost hit her. Hands seemed to come from nowhere, catching her under her arms before her bottom smacked down onto the tarmac. She didn’t understand what her rescuer was saying to her in the confusion, but managed to regain her footing with his help.

Grazie,” she said smoothing down her skirt and taking her bag when he picked it up and handed it to her.

She went to say something else, but the immaculate hero smiled briefly, said something and pointed to indicate that he had somewhere to go. Then he was gone among the crowd of pedestrians passing her by. Paige didn’t want to know if anyone else had seen her reckless attempt to cross the road, so stopped to gaze at the closest window display while she gathered her senses. It dawned on her that none of the shoes in this particular shop had designs as quirky as her own. She could see the prices were similar to those that she charged and the shoes were beautifully made. Paige walked in.

Many thanks for sharing your first chapter with us, Georgina.

If you’d like to connect with Georgina, you may do so via her website, blog, Twitter, and Facebook. You can find our about her blog tour and buy her new book on Amazon UK and US.

 

WHEN I FALL IN LOVE . . .

The New Romantics 4 write romance in its many forms . . . romantic adventure/suspense, romantic comedy, historical romance and dark romance with a soft centre. It being Valentine’s Day, we thought we’d share the moment when our hero and heroines experience the coup de foudre which will change their lives . . . forever.

Read our extracts and let tell us . . . when did you know that you’d met the love of your life? 

Love

June Kearns

20s Girl Cover MEDIUM‘Take care of my heart, I’ve left it with you.’  Edward Cullen

True Love? Romance? Ha! Rare as hen’s teeth in England after the First World War. After a trip to Texas, (The 20’s Girl), Gerardina Chiledexter is sure she’s had her one and only glimpse of both.

Back home, she confides in her friend, Prim:

Minutes ticked by.

Then, a slow, slow shake of Prim’s head. ‘Oh … my … Lord.’ She folded arms across her chest.

‘What?’

‘You admire him, don’t you?’

‘No! No, not in that sort of …’

‘You do. You’ve fallen for him.’

Silence.

‘Well …’ Gerry  sighed ‘… what if I have? Nothing happened.’ A few lovely moments of closeness and understanding, a frisson of pleasure. Nothing more. ‘It’s the land that Coop loves, the Circle-O.’

‘I knew it. Oh, Gerry …’

Fallen? Gerry was thinking. Is that like casting yourself over a cliff? Out of control, tumbling, floating through air? How do you get back, then? Can a person ever recover?

If only he hadn’t kissed her.

She could have stayed as she was, a frustrated spinster, in her narrow monk’s bed. Like Prim and most other women here. All those slowly breaking hearts, under buttoned-up layers of woolly cardigans.

Must stop thinking about it, must, must. Such a bad idea. But thoughts kept running away, out of control. She’d forget, eventually, of course she would.

‘Mmmn, yes,’ she imagined herself saying, eons later, ‘of course. I remember it now. There was someone once. That man, the man with no last name. Wrong time, wrong person.’

How long would it take to reach that stage, that blessed blur of not remembering? Until then, whenever the urge to think of him came over her – his touch, his mouth, that kiss – she’d have to lie down and wait, until it passed.

Whatever it was, it was over. The end.

‘Anyway …’ she said brightly, to Prim. ‘I’m here now, aren’t I. I’m home.’

Home. With rain pecking at the windows and the entire rest of her life stretching out emptily, in front of her.

Never again, she said to herself. Never again.

Heart

Adrienne Vaughan

A Change of Heart Movie star, Ryan O’Gorman arrives unannounced on the island of Innishmahon, hoping to rebuild the relationship with the love of his life Marianne Coltrane. Marianne can’t believe he’s turned up, assuming their troubles are in the past, and though she’s never been happier to see anyone in life, she doesn’t want him to know that …just yet.

 “You mean you don’t want me here,” his voice was harsh in his throat. He laid a hand gently on her shoulder. It branded like an iron. She swallowed. She could smell him. He moved closer, his musky sea-scent filled her nostrils. She could not breathe. She ducked under his arm and found sanctuary by the kitchen door. She opened the top half, letting the breeze cool her. He came to stand beside her, following her gaze out past the little windblown garden, the gate to the lane and the sliver of sea beyond. Grey clouds broiled above the Atlantic.

“Marie,” he whispered, “tell me you want me back.” She did not answer. He stayed there, looking out to sea. She stole a glance at him as he watched the horizon, the breeze lifting his hair, thumb prints of tiredness stamped beneath his eyes. He caught her looking at him, and moved to block her view, lifting her chin with a finger, eyes burning into her.

“Well?” he lowered his mouth to hover over hers, she tasted his breath. She stepped back, slamming the top of the door closed.

“You’re wet. Go and shower, we’ll talk later,” she dismissed him.

“Did I do the wrong thing?” he asked again.

“Yes, Ryan you did,” she replied.

“Don’t you love me then?” he spoke quietly.

“Yes, Ryan I do,” she told him, avoiding his eyes.

“Gotcha!” he shouted, making them all jump. “Knew I was still in with a chance, can’t resist me, mad about me, that’s obvious.”

She picked a cushion up and threw it at him.

“Don’t get carried away, boyo, we’ve a lot to discuss, things we should have agreed before now, before this.” She made a gesture encompassing them all.

He gave an involuntary shudder.

“Shower!” She pointed at the door.

He left, attempting a sort of squishy samba, she rolled her eyes as he sashayed up the stairs.

“God loves a trier,” she told Monty, who was waiting patiently for his soup.

lovers

Margaret Cullingford

Last-Bite-of-the-Cherry_Cover_SMALLAugust 1973, Monica Sommers, eighteen years old, and Will Ackroyd, twenty one, are on their way to Florence, Italy on Will’s motorbike stopping off to spend a week on the French Riviera:

At last Cap d’Antibes, unerring, Will found their quaint little hotel . . .

Monsieur, comme vous voulez, un chambre avec un grand lit.’ . . .

‘You specifically asked for a double-bed?’ Monica said

‘Ah, bliss.’ Sitting on the side of what looked like a comfortable modern divan, Will undid his boots and kicked them off, then flung himself backwards, bouncing as he landed flat on his back. He closed his yes. ‘No road winding in front of me.’ A few seconds and he sat up looking concerned. ‘I’ll see if we can swop for singles, shall I?’

She turned away to pull open wider the tall window, push back shutters, lean over the wrought iron balustrade, breath in warm Mediterranean scents, wormwood, rosemary and pine. There room overlooked a secluded garden vibrant with scarlet geraniums, magenta bougainvillea, and white jasmine. To her left, an awning shaded a terrace where the hotel guests could sit and eat. Swivelling round, she inspected their room, white walls, white linen, white-matt painted armoire, dressing table, except the white wasn’t white. In early evening the room shimmered shades of pale apricot, its shadows tinged amber.

She looked across at Will. He was watching her, wary. Wet with sweat his curls clung tightly to his head, his face flushed with heat, beads of perspiration glistened on his upper lip. He was beautiful.

There’s a small hotel . . . Softly, she sang the opening lines of a song she remembered from one of her father’s old 78’s.

Will’s smile of relief only made him more beautiful. She rushed over, and pushing him backwards, threw herself onto him. He responded to her kiss with such hunger, she was taken by surprise.

flowers

Lizzie Lamb

Boot Camp Bride

There was a certain something about him; an air, a manner of just being that set him apart from the other men in their Paul Smith suits and two-hundred-pound shoes. It was almost as if, like her, he was here under false pretences. Then she assured herself that it was his clothes – battleship grey linen and silk mix trousers, loose-fitting jacket and white Sea Island cotton shirt – that made him stand out. Nothing more. Except – perhaps – his Byronic good looks. Charlee grimaced. If she was beginning to think in clichés, it was time for her to put down the empty glass and head for the cloakroom.

She was intrigued by him, by his mood switches and sudden change of tack. There was a story here, one the journo in her wanted to investigate. Why, for example, did he have a long, grey cashmere scarf wound loosely around his neck in this overheated room. Affectation? How come his eyes were dark-circled beneath his tropical tan – as though he was recovering from a long illness? Why, despite his obvious youth and vigour did he look world-weary – as though he’d been there, seen it, done it – and had worn out the tee shirt?

‘You walked off without giving me a chance of a rematch,’ he said smoothly, looking over Charlee’s shoulder at the photographs of the exhibition. His warm breath stirred the tendrils of hair on the nape of her neck and a tiny shiver of reaction travelled the length of her body. Charlee put the frisson, and the goose bumps in its wake, down to the fact that the gallery was cooling now that the evening was almost over and the big doors were wide open.

Oh, My Giddy Aunt!

       ‘I have always maintained the importance of aunts.’

Jane Austen

‘Aunts are not bad but they are inclined to be soppy and call you darling chiz chiz chiz.’

Nigel Molesworth

‘Aunts,’ someone said recently, ‘seem to have starring roles in all of your stories.’

Do they? Well yes, I suppose that they do.

I think the stiff-as-sticks Beatrice and Eugenie, from An Englishwoman’s Guide, were probably summoned-up by Lady Bracknell – Algy Moncrief’s awful aunt in The Importance of Being Earnest.

Lovely Leonie, from The 20’s Girl – who taught her niece to dance the hoochie coochie and the turkey trot, while wearing ostrich feathers and waving an Egyptian cigarette in a long ebony holder – is possibly more like Auntie Mame, who sent her nephew to a school where all classes were held in the nude, under ultra-violet ray!

I adored my own aunts. I was the first girl in my mum’s family, and her sisters completely spoiled me – sitting me on their knees,  twirling my curls around their fingers. Sigh.

June Aged 2

PG Wodehouse seemed to have a thing about aunts, too. As a schoolboy, he was passed around between quite a few of them, apparently.

In his stories, they keep being blamed for all ills and failures.

‘Behind every poor innocent blighter who is going down for the third time in the soup,’ Bertie Wooster moans, ‘you will find, if you look carefully enough, the aunt who shoved him into it.’

Then, there are Agatha and Dahlia – sister’s to Bertie’s father in The Mating Season. Agatha, according to Bertie, ‘is the one who chews broken bottles and kills rats with her teeth.’ She has ‘an eye like a man-eating fish and wears barbed wire next to the skin.’

Who could resist characters like that?

AuntiesThis picture of my mum and her sisters, Nell and Kath was taken in  Somerset, when they were all in their late eighties. We were spending a few days together at a hotel in Somerset. I have never got through so much brandy in my life. ‘Ooh, just another nip, ducky! Helps you to sleep, y’know.’ All three lived well into their nineties. 

I think of them every day.

Eccentric, exotic, mad, bad or dotty – for me, aunts do seem to offer a new angle on the world and on my writing. Does anyone else feel the same attraction?!

June

 

 

 

 

SANTA BABY, PUT A NOVEL UNDER THE TREE

Happy ChristmasWhat would YOU like Santa to leave under the tree, apart from a food hamper and an army of staff to serve Christmas dinner for you? Maybe a nice armchair to curl up in with a good book . . .

Talking of which – here is the latest selection from The New Romantics 4: BOOT CAMP BRIDE, A CHANGE OF HEART, 20’s GIRL, THE GHOST AND ALL THAT JAZZ, TWINS OF A GAZELLE.

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 Boot Camp Bride by Lizzie Lamb

Boot Camp BrideTake an up-for-anything reporter.  Add a world-weary photo-journalist.  Put them together . . . light the blue touch paper and stand well back!

Posing as a bride-to-be, Charlee Montague goes undercover at a boot camp for brides in order to photograph supermodel Anastasia Markova. At Charlee’s side and posing as her fiancé, is Rafael Ffinch award winning photographer and survivor of a kidnap attempt in Columbia. He’s in no mood to cut inexperienced Charlee any slack and has made it plain that once the investigation is over, their partnership – and fake engagement – will be terminated, too.

Soon Charlee has more questions than answers.

What’s the real reason behind Ffinch’s interest in the boot camp? How is it connected to his kidnap in Columbia?

In setting out to uncover the truth, Charlee puts herself in danger. And, as the investigation draws to a close, she wonders if she’ll be able to hand back the engagement ring and walk away from Rafa without a backward glance.

Buy Boot Camp Bride from Amazon

Twins of a Gazelle by Margaret Cullingford

Twins of a Gazelle Only fifteen months since her low-key wedding, anxious, lonely, Calista Blake begins to realize she should have followed her instinct and not been persuaded when Adam Burgess sweet-talked her into marrying him.  Feeling guilt for what she believes was her role in the break-up of his first marriage, she suspects Adam goes along with the premise, marry your mistress, you create a vacancy.   She hopes their holiday on the magical Greek island of Ithaca will banish her disenchantment. Instead there Calista is spellbound by P.J. Wood – ‘I take photographs. Tell stories . . . True ones. . . . Where-ever there’s trouble.’  Meeting P.J. added to what Adam reveals when she questions him,  makes Calista’s previous angst seem mild compared with the cauldron of trouble she falls into, the consequences of meeting P.J. Wood.

Read TWINS OF A GAZELLE to discover how Calista resolves her dilemma.

The Twenties Girl, The Ghost, and All That Jazz by June Kearns

The Twenties Girl, the ghost, and all that jazz1924. The English Shires after the Great War – all crumbling country houses and no men.

When her jazzing flapper of an aunt dies, Gerardina Mary Chiledexter inherits some silver-topped scent bottles, a wardrobe of love-affair clothes, and astonishingly, a half-share in a million-acre ranch in south-west Texas.

Haunted by a psychic cat, and the ghost voice of her aunt Leonie, Gerry feels driven to travel thousands of miles to see the ranch for herself.

Against a backdrop of big sky, cattle barons and oil wells, she is soon engaged in a game of power, pride and ultimately, love, with the Texan who owns the other half.

Buy The Twenties Girl, The Ghost and All That Jazz from Amazon

A Change of Heart by Adrienne Vaughan

A Change of Heart ‘Maeve Binchy meets Jackie Collins’ says one fan of Adrienne Vaughan’s latest novel A Change of Heart, the standalone sequel to her highly-acclaimed debut, The Hollow Heart.

Escaping to a remote Irish isle, journalist Marianne Coltrane had not bargained for a tumultuous affair with movie star Ryan O’Gorman.

When Ryan leaves to pursue his career, Marianne remains on the island to care for those who need her most, but Ryan soon realises he cannot live without her and returns to woo her back.

Tricky enough without his problematic ex-wife or the contract he cannot break, but when a good deed puts all they treasure in jeopardy, it’s time to take stock and fight for what matters most …or is time running out for this charismatic couple and everything they hold dear?

Buy A Change of Heart from Amazon

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 Christmas TreeSo, tell us, what would YOU would most like to find under the Christmas tree.

The most amusing or original reply will win an Amazon voucher which will enable the winner to download one of our novels onto a kindle.

Midsummer Madness with the New Romantics 4

Midsummer Madness with the New Romantics 4.

 

Check out our fabulous blog on the Romaniacs site today.

via Midsummer Madness with the New Romantics 4.

What She Said!

Lizzie and Adrienne’s Literary Lunch

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In a trail blazing moment the New Romantics 4 hosted a literary lunch at The Belmont Hotel, Leicester. (See the poster on our EVENTS page) Adrienne secured the gig through a long-standing business connection and co-presented it with Lizzie. The event was part of Leicester’s 2013 Book Fest and fitted in well with the NR4’s aims to bring their books to the attention of a wider audience. The majority of the twenty-three ladies who attended the lunch were businesswomen – although one brave gentleman (Rodney!) and a fellow writer (Lilian) bought a ticket, too.

photo-10 Fortunately, Adrienne and Lizzie are no strangers to public speaking – so, the event held no terrors for them. Adrienne regularly gives talks to business leaders as part of her role as a MD and PR consultant; and after 34 years in education Lizzie declared that the audience was better behaved than the 350 primary children she regularly ‘entertained’ during school assembly.

The lunch consisted of a complementary drink and three courses followed by coffee – and the time simply whizzed by. The first talk was down to Adrienne and she described her reasons for becoming a writer. When it was Lizzie’s turn, she simply pointed to Adrienne and declared: “What she said!” – much to the amusement of the lunch guests. Between courses, Adrienne and Lizzie gave brief précis of their novels and then read an extract. This was followed by a question and answer session after a delicious dessert.

Their lunch guests were interested in all aspects of writing and were keen to know

  • where Lizzie and Adrienne they got their ideas from
  • if they’d be writing a sequel
  • were their heroes based on real men
  • how closely the heroines mirrored THEM !
  • what was their next novel called and when would it be published

photo-12To round off a very pleasant lunch, Lizzie and Adrienne read a further extract for their novels, posed questions and awarded a prize to the winning entries. There was a quick signing session of the guests’ complimentary copies of Tall, Dark and Kilted and The Hollow Heart (cleverly included in the cost of the luncheon) and then the hard working executives returned to their businesses. During a short de-briefing session, the literary lunch was pronounced a great success and it is hoped that June and Mags will host a similar event lunch sometime this autumn when the New Romantics 4 publish their second novels.