Saturday, 28 June 2014

My interview with author Marcia Carrington

Well, it's been a while since I did an interview and Marcia asked so nicely, so here goes! Enjoy!
http://marciasbooktalk.wordpress.com/

You can also check out Marcia's Pinterest board which shows you many of the other authors she has recently had as guests.

http://www.pinterest.com/marcarring/marcias-book-talk-author-interviews/

Catch up next week. In the meantime, have a lovely weekend everyone.
Sooz

Friday, 27 June 2014

Guest post by inspirational author Shelley Wilson

Sorry it's been so long everyone. I've been kind of busy, including working on the follow-up to The Christmas Spirit. With a bit of luck I might finish it in time for this Christmas!
For now, I want to introduce you to a very inspirational woman - Shelley Wilson. Her book has made me declutter my house and try to stop procrastinating!
 Enjoy!
What a Difference a Year Makes.


First of all I must say a huge thank you to Susan for inviting me to be a guest on her blog.  To join the many incredible authors that have appeared before me is a hard act to follow, but I will do my utmost to entertain and inspire!


I am a single mum to three amazing teenagers, I run my own holistic health business and facilitate motivational workshops for women.  I was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, but now live in the leafy suburb of Solihull in the West Midlands.  I am a Yorkshire lass at heart but I do love my home town (and not just because it won the ‘best place to live in the UK’ award last year!)  Solihull is full of character and full of characters’ – perfect material for any writer.


I was eight years old when I knew I wanted to be a writer, thrashing out my aspirations on my mum’s portable typewriter, but it took over thirty years for that dream to become a reality.


I went from ‘Professional Procrastinator’ to ‘Published Author’ in just twelve months.


On January 1st 2013 I started a motivational blog.  The reason behind my blog was a simple challenge.  I wanted to succeed at completing my New Year Resolutions, so I set myself twelve challenges to complete in twelve months.  These were resolutions I had failed in the past but was determined to complete in the future.


I wrote the first post sat at my kitchen table, wondering if anyone other than my mum would read it.  Never did I expect it to change my life.


I tackled a huge variety of challenges, from weight loss, writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, doing a zip wire through Sherwood Forest, giving up Social Media and finding happiness.  As the year progressed I began to receive feedback from readers across the globe.  People were reading, people were engaging and people were making changes in their own lives because of me.  It was the most empowering feeling I had experienced.


As my confidence grew I realised that writing had become a huge part of my life and I was ‘living my dream’,  I was a motivational blogger, nominated for two awards, guest blogging on influential sites and it was at that moment I understood that the only person holding me back from my one dream was me.


So I began to collate my crazy year of challenges in to a book, and finally, after many years of procrastination, I am more than happy to say I did it, I published my book and the reviews tell me it was the right thing to do.


You can read all about my year of challenges, and maybe use them to influence a few changes in your own life, in my book which is available as e-book and paperback from Amazon.


How I Changed My Life in a Year

One Woman’s Mission to Lose Weight, Get Fit,

Beat Her Demon’s, And Find Happiness in Twelve Easy Steps




Where will my dreams take me next I wonder?  Isn’t that the beauty of being a writer – I can go wherever my imagination lets me!


Thank you Susan for the opportunity to share my story with your readers and I look forward to connecting with you all in the future.




Tune in tomorrow - I know, my posts are like buses, none for ages and then they all come along at once! I'm featured on fellow author, Marcia Carring'tons blog

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Guest post by author Trish Jackson

And now for something completely different as they say... I'm giving my blog over to Trish for her post and to find out a little more about her.

Susan, first I want to say I'm thrilled to be able to be a guest on your blog.
 
 

My genre is romantic suspense, and here's why...

My own life has been a romantic adventure. The really exciting stuff started in my last year of high school, when I met a very sexy guy with deep blue eyes and that bad boy image we all love. He was a geologist, and lived in a camp in some remote and wild regions, where he prospected for gold and diamonds, shot antelope to eat and interacted with wild animals. It would take more than one post to write about all the adventures we've had together. Read the true story of our honeymoon here: http://www.thewriteroomblog.com/?p=1946 . After we got married we lived in a geological camp. Geologists from all over the world visited our camp, so we were never lonely. Often in the wee hours of the night we would lie awake in our tent and listen to a leopard cough, or a night ape cry like a baby just outside.

A guerilla war started in our country and it was no longer safe to have our kids out in a camp in the middle of nowhere, so we moved to a house in the country. Home invasions and vehicle ambushes by communist trained terrorists became prevalent and we had to start carrying a loaded gun around with us. I was twenty one when my husband was drafted to the military and I was left alone with three children. I had to carry my UZI wherever I went.

I could go on, but I guess that's why I love to write what I do.

Coming to live in the USA several years ago was also an adventure. We had to learn so many new things about our new country, but this is our home now and we love it here.

Now to my books –

My stories include country living, and the animals I've always loved -- horses, dogs and cats. I strive to create gut emotional appeal by digging deep into the feelings of my characters. I have also ventured into the paranormal world, with Voodoo, witchcraft and ghosts.

WAY OUT OF LINE is a standalone romantic suspense novel, set in Africa, and I am planning more African stories.

CAPRICORN CRAVINGS, released earlier this year, is the first in my ZODIAC SERIES, in which each heroine belongs to a different star sign, and displays the typical traits of that sign.  AQUARIUS ADDICTION is currently in review by my publisher, and I'm halfway through writing the next one, with the working title THE REALITY SHOW.

We have always lived out in the country, and in the US that means you get to meet rednecks. I think they are the most wonderful people in the world because they are so well grounded and know exactly who they are. I have had so much fun writing REDNECK P.I. and its sequel, KICK ASSITUDE. This romantic suspense series is enriched by a good dose of comedy.

I'm very excited that the third in the series, BACKWOODS BOOGIE is coming out this fall. -- Private investigator and self-professed redneck, Twila Taunton thinks she may be pregnant after some wild make-up sex in her boyfriend Harland's barn. She finds herself working with the person she hates most in the world, her ex-fiancee Jimmie-Ray, but she can't allow Pam Taylor to be convicted of a murder she didn't commit. During the investigation she discovers an illegal puppy mill, where a large number of dogs are living in squalor with little food and no veterinary care. When one of the dogs stares into her eyes, she knows she has to rescue them. But going the legal route will take way too long. She calls on her quirky friends to help--Harley-riding and hard drinking Great Aunt Essie; master hacker, songwriter, and farter of note, Gasser Cunha; her office assistant LaMercy with the big afro, who reluctantly agrees to go Goth, and of course, the love of her life, Harland O'Connor.

Nothing excites me more than sitting in front of my computer putting my fantasies down in words for others to enjoy. I love meeting new people, so please feel free to ask questions.

I'm currently giving away free downloads of REDNECK P.I. for a limited time. I'm also offering free downloads of my novelette RILEY'S STORY which is the prequel to Capricorn Cravings. Oh, and if you're on Goodreads, I'm doing a giveway of a print copy of KICK ASSITUDE, which closes on June 12th. Find out more on my website:  http://www.trishjax.com 
 
 




 

And now for an excerpt from BACKWOODS BOOGIE

 

If someone had told me just a few months ago that soon I'd be sitting in a jumbo jet heading for England, I would have laughed. I mean, me, born and bred in the South and proud to be a redneck. And now here I am. I'm pissed that Jimmie-Ray wouldn't spring for first class, but the flight is not completely full and there's an empty seat between me and the weird looking woman on the aisle seat. I stare at her for a while until she throws me a wrinkled brow look and I suddenly get interested in finding a movie on the viewer in front of me.

I've watched two movies before I decide I'm gonna have to pee. I've been hoping I would be able to last the entire flight without going, but the beers probably did it. And when you gotta go, you gotta go.

It's not that easy to get the bathrooms. First, if you have a window seat like me, you have to wake the woman in the aisle seat. I tap her on the shoulder. She is snoring pretty well, so the people around us must be thankful, even if she isn't. "Gotta go pee," I tell her.

"Wha…? Oh. Oh," she says and pulls the blanket off her legs and slides out into the aisle. I squeeze past her just as the aircraft hits a bump. I don't understand how air can be bumpy, but I fall face-first onto the dude in the next aisle seat along. I mean, my mouth is right over his privates and he's just lucky I don't bite down. When I come up for air he has both his hands up above his head, as if to show people he ain't doing anything wrong. Just getting an impromptu blow job.

The PA system crackles and the captain's voice comes over it.

"We're experiencing a bit of turbulence. Please take your seats and put your seat belts on."

He could have told me before I bit the sausage. I hold onto the back of the dude's chair and haul myself off him. We hit another bump and I crash into a woman on my side of the aisle. She throws me a dirty look. I'm not making much progress and wonder if I'll ever get to the restroom. It seems to be very far away all of a sudden.

"Sorry ma'am," a flight attendant bars my way. "Please take your seat and fasten your seat belt."

The airplane is really bucking now, and it reminds me of the new mechanical bull Ricci and Tina put in the Hogs Waller. "I have to pee," I say and crash into her, knocking her off her feet. I land on top of her in the aisle. It takes a while for me to scramble to my feet. Another flight attendant glares at me and helps her co-worker up. I try to push past them, but now there are two of them blocking me.

"Okay," I say. "I'll just pee right here then, if that's the way you want it." I unbutton my pants. That gets them moving and I walk-crash to the restroom, and on my way I wake anyone who wasn't already awake.

When I finally get there, I heave a sigh of relief that it isn't occupied. There isn't a lot of space in it and it takes me a while to figure out how to lock the door. The toilet smells bad. The blue water inside it is sloshing around quite a lot and I wait until a bump throws me toward the seat and I manage to land on it. I pee, hoping the water isn't gonna slop up and wet my ass. I don't have much time to savor that feeling of relief though. I'm beginning to get a little worried about whether we're gonna make it out of this storm or whatever it is.

The captain wasn't kidding when he told us it was gonna get turbulent.

I flush and head back to my seat. On the way I get quite personal with a number of passengers, and remind myself never to sit in an aisle seat. I heave a big sigh of relief when I finally manage to get back into my own seat and buckle up. Rain is pelting the outside of the window. The turbulence sticks around for a while, but finally things get smooth again and the fasten seat belt lights go off. Phew.

I sit back in my chair and watch another movie, and I finally doze off just as the captain announces that we're starting our descent. I run my hand through my hair and yawn. All I can see when I look down out of the window are clouds, and the captain tells us it's raining.

Doesn't it rain every day in England? We land with a bigger bounce than I would have expected and I feel quite relieved to be back on the ground as I pull my backpack out of the overhead and shuffle, along with everyone else, off the airplane and through the gate to the terminal building.

I pinch myself. I mean, I really do and it makes me yelp. Yep. This really is me, Twila Taunton in London, England. It's kind of surreal. I follow everyone else. They seem to know where they're going. We line up to go through customs and immigration and I dig my passport out of my backpack.
 
Well, that's all, folks. Trish managed to cram all of that into one little post! How clever! Hopefully it has given you a lot to think about.  Hope to be back soon with some more features and news!
Have a great week
Sooz

 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

The Chocolate Book Tag Challenge

Well, who could resist? Not me. Invited to talk about books and chocolate in the same breath?

Thanks to author of the Calling All series, Tara Ford, for involving me in this caper. Have a peek at Tara's post here - very fun and much more aesthetically pleasing than mine, I'm sure! - http://taraford.weebly.com/blog



So the rules are that you should choose between 6-8 chocolate bars or types of chocolate and link them to books you think they might be a good accompaniment for.

Dark chocolate
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova - a tale of the 'true' story of Dracula, it leads us into deepest Transylvania. Believe me you'll be locking your doors when you go to bed after reading this, but it's an amazing book, and of course it involves books about books which I love.



White chocolate
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman  (part of His Dark Materials trilogy) - there's so much snow in that book, as well as the alabaster skin of Marisa Coulter - the baddie, for those of you who haven't read it - that it was a hands-down winner. I couldn't resist the lure of Iorek Byrnison, head of the ice bears in the Arctic!



Green and Black's dark chocolate with spiced chilli - my personal favourite
The Food of Love by Anthony Capella - a wonderfully delicious book, about, funnily enough, love and food and marrying the two. I keep saying I am going to read more of his books, as this was such a masterpiece, but I simply haven't had time. If you haven't read this book, you must. You simply must! Did I mention it was set in Italy?



Flake
Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding.
Well, Bridget is first and foremost a bit of a flake, whilst always trying to be the goddess we see in the Flake adverts (actually do they still air those ads with the woman in the flowing white dress? Thanks to Sky Plus, I just fast forward through adverts these days!) Bridget's also messy and clumsy - has anyone ever eaten a Flake gracefully, apart from yon bird on't telly?!




Belgian Chocolate
Black Coffee by Agatha Christie - well this is sort of cheating, but in a good way. Since there were 33 novels, 50+ short stories and only 1 play featuring our little Belgian friend, Hercule Poirot, I opted for the play, which I actually have (and I don't read many plays these days). Plus, I figured coffee goes very well with chocolate. And you have the usual mix of suspense, family feuds, Hastings and Inspector Japp to help make it a good 'un.



Fudge
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende - my favourite childhood book and one of my favourite books of all-time. Like Fudge it epitomises childhood for me. I can recall my mum buying into the marketing spiel that a finger of fudge was just enough for kids to eat between meals. A happy day would have been having a Fudge and reading The Neverending Story, but watch out for the flying dog - the film version looked nothing like that of my imagination!


Well, that's it from me. A few author friends have agreed to get involved as the next step, so you can check them out here and look out for their posts next Sunday

Author Maria Savva has more strings to her bow than I can count on two hands, and must never sleep to achieve everything she does! http://www.mariasavva.com/site/

And new Scottish author, Kayrin McMillan, is going down a storm with her debut novel The Bluebell Wood  Check out what's new with her and the songs accompanying the book here - https://www.facebook.com/kayrin.McMillan

And last but not least, author of the Evolution Trilogy, Vanessa Wester - can't wait to find out what her choices are next week! - www.vanessawesterwriter.blogspot.com

I'll be back on Tuesday for that interview with Trish!
Have a great Sunday
Sooz

Friday, 23 May 2014

The Dating Game on Kindle Countdown Deal at 99p/99 cents from 23rd to 29th May

Hi everyone
Just a quickie to let you know about a wee sale for The Dating Game (85 x 4 & 5 STAR reviews!)starting today. So if you haven't already picked up your copy, here's your chance.
http://amzn.to/RuSl7Y (UK) http://amzn.to/WZQtZK (US)


There will be a special post on Sunday about chocolate, so I am sure you won't want to miss that!  Plus put a note in your diary to pop by on Tuesday, as I welcome author Trish Jackson to the blog.

Have a great weekend!
Sooz

Sunday, 20 April 2014

My Picks for World Book NIght 2014 and How I Got There!

It's almost time - 2 more days (or nights) to go and it will be World Book Night 2014!
I wrote a post a few months ago about which WBN books I would buy purely on the basis of the cover, and I also talked about those I had already read.
Today I want to talk about which of the books, having now read all of the blurbs, are my top picks and which I will potentially be buying on Wednesday.


For those of you who fancy choosing a World Book Night book, here's the link - http://www.worldbooknight.org/books/2014-book-list

Gorky Park, whose cover I liked from the start, has intrigued me further after reading the blurb - set in Russia and the USSR, this thriller by Martin Cruz Smith holds a lot of promise.

Confessions of a GP I wasn't sure if I had already read. I must have read a similar book, as this isn't it. Looks funny and since I can only imagine the avalanche of tales told to the doctor by his various patients, I would definitely pick this up - by Dr. Benjamin Daniels.

59 Seconds - I'm not a great fan of self-help books in general, but have recently been re-thinking this, after editing a Mind, Body, Spirit book. The cover for 59 Seconds is pretty boring, but the blurb had me interested - and since my memory seems to be failing after having had baby Antonia, I could do with all the help I can get! Any book that can get me in shape simply by thinking about going to the gym gets my vote!

CHERUB: The Recruit looks very exciting and novel in that the spy is a teenager, bugging a terrorist's home. Who are best at using computers these days after all?! I am pretty sure I will be buying this - Robert Muchamore - a new author for me.

Vengeance is Mine Inc. and other stories by Roald Dahl. We've all read, I'm sure, many of Dahl's children's books, but what about his adult ones? As a fan in the '80s of Tales of the Unexpected, it would be remiss of me not to consider this, although I am not the biggest short story fan ever.

After the Funeral - I was so sure I had read all of Agatha Christie's books when I finished university, but I don't recall this one, so feel duty bound almost to right that wrong. Apart from being a nostalgic trip down memory lane, it  looks good.

Rivers of London had interested me a few months ago by its cover - I almost gave up when I read the blurb, but I happened to read further down and see 'what we think' on the WBN website and I read that the key witness is a ghost, so it's going on my shopping list (where am I going to get the time to read all of these? Plus I must pick only three!) - Ben Aaronovitch

Whatever It Takes by Adele Parks - I've a few AP books in my home library which I haven't read yet - so I was automatically discounting this book on that basis. Some of her books I've enjoyed and others I thought were just OK. However, this book really does have a premise which attracts me and I think it's a more 'grown-up' book than some of her others I have. There seems to be very little women's fiction on this year's list - so this might have to be my nod to it.

Four Warned - I read all of Jeffrey Archer's earlier books and even got a Pointless answer the other day on, well, the quiz show Pointless, by knowing that Twelve Red Herrings was written by him. Although, as I've said, I am not a huge short story fan, I would read pretty much anything by JA, except his prison diaries. I think this will be getting picked up for sure.

Right, oh dear, I can choose only three (self-imposed limit) - the others will have to wait until I have more time...
so the votes have been counted, the jury is back and - TA DA!!

Gorky Park - without question
Rivers of London - the ghost won out!
CHERUB: The Recruit - for its novel concept

Well, those are my choices, but what are yours? Please note I haven't discussed all 20 books here. Follow the link near the top of the page to find your choice.

Have a great World Book Night and I'll report back at some point on my choices. I didn't do a Sooz's First Quarter Book Round-Up at the end of March, so you have that to look forward to - I will have it once every four months this year!!

Enjoy Easter Monday everyone - can you believe I haven't even opened my Easter eggs yet? That has to be a new record - such restraint!!




Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Why An Overhaul Is Needed by Louise Wise

Here's an unusual post for you and on a subject which I feel must have been a hard decision for the author. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
But first a little about the author and the book.


Married, with four children, Louise Wise lives in England. She is a pharmacist technician by day and a writer by night. She was educated in an ordinary state school and left without achieving much in the way of qualifications; you could say she was the result of a crap school. Hungry for knowledge she enrolled in an Adult Education centre and studied English, maths and creative writing. Whereas other young girls asked for makeup and clothes for their birthdays, she asked for encyclopaedias!

Louise Wise used her general love of romantic fiction and interest in astronomy to write her first book. The book received many rejections stating the novel was too original for the current market, until finally, an agent took the book on but subsequently failed to find a publisher for it. Instead of becoming despondent, it made Louise realise that becoming a published writer WAS possible. She turned her back on traditionally publishing, threw herself into the indie world and went on to publish her first chick lit book, A Proper Charlie and then Oh no, I’ve Fallen in Love!

As for the ‘too original’ Eden it has been such a hit that Louise has now followed it up with the sequel, Hunted. So far, they are both selling well.

 

 


 And now for the book:
 

Oh no, I’ve Fallen in Love!

On the surface, Valerie Anthrope was happy with her life. She had her own brokerage with Sunny Oak Insurance and was financially solvent. But once asleep, she was plunged into a world of nightmares that reminded her she was cursed.
And that meant she couldn’t fall in love. Ever.

Lex Kendal was a multi-millionaire. Women flocked to him, preened and flaunted for his attention. But one woman, Valerie, knocked him back. Hard. It dented his pride and Lex set out to convince himself he still ‘had it’ by pursuing her.

Only he found himself being needed in a way he never, ever, expected and, for once in his life, money wasn’t the answer.

And finally, here's the article - a very brave decision I thought, so I am wishing Louise the best of luck with it.

 



Why sometimes an overhaul is needed

by

 Louise Wise

The Fall of the Misanthrope has been re-launched with a new cover and title: Oh no, I’ve Fallen in Love! I should’ve listened to advice when I released it back in 2012. ‘It sounds too literary,’ they said. ‘What the heck is a misanthrope?’ they cried. ‘Awful title,’ they moaned.
But I liked it and I stubbornly stuck with it. My character was called Valerie Anthrope and single so therefore Miss Anthrope, which becomes misanthrope. Geddit? She isn’t an easy person to like and the misanthrope word matched her personality perfectly. I thought I was onto a winner!
It didn’t do too badly in the beginning and I told myself it needed to be out for a year before I saw decent results. Oh how we convince ourselves we’re right!
After that first year, I played around with the blurb and tag lines. I tweeted it and shared it (and begged others to do the same) but to no avail.
So, to all the people and especially my editor Doug Watts, I’m sorry. You were right and I was oh so very wrong.
 
My advice to those looking for a title is to write a list and then Google each and every one to see (1) how many books there are sharing it and (2) see what the title is matched against (horrible to find later that your sweet romance is matched against an erotic title!). Delete the ones on your list that are too popular or, better, that are the same as yours and also delete those that have something linking to the title that you don’t want to be associated with.
Your list should now be a lot shorter.
Then sit on it for a while, just like your final draft, and go back and arrange them in order of preference. List why they SHOULDN’T be used: too long, too short, too obscure, too cliché…
Narrow your list.

Ask writer friends for their opinion (especially those who have read the book) and take into consideration what they feel. Don’t just ask them what they think, ask them what feelings your title evokes.
And, like me, if your book has been out a while, don’t be afraid of changing it. That’s the beauty of being an independent author.
 
You can buy the book via the following links:
You can keep in touch with Louise via the following means: