Thursday, October 29, 2015

Dear Julia re-launches, plus a give-away

Dear Julia, the shortest of my 1920s novellas, has re-released. Previously published by The Wild Rose Press under the pen name Rae Summers, this short, sexy historical romance has had a makeover, including a gorgeous new cover by Sally Clements.

Dear Julia is currently exclusive to Amazon, but the good news is that if you're a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read it for free!

To celebrate the book's re-launch, I'm running a Rafflecopter give-away for the next week. Prizes Dear Julia, an Amazon gift card, and a free eBook. To enter, click here.
include a vintage silver filigree ring similar to the one featured in the book.

The book is available here at your nearest Amazon store.

Rosalie Stanton is a city girl who loves parties and ‘fixing’ people. When she finds a long-lost love letter in a house she’s redecorating she sets off on a quest to find its rightful owner.

Commander William Cavendish has lived as a recluse since his return from the Great War. His peaceful existence is shattered by the return of the letter that once held all his hopes — and by its bearer, the irrepressible Rosalie, who bears an uncanny resemblance to his lost love.

Rosalie is just as determined to fix William and re-introduce him into society as he is determined to resist her. They both might have met their match.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Cover reveal: An Innocent Abroad

Yesterday I revealed the gorgeous new cover for Dear Julia, and today it's the turn of An Innocent Abroad. This cover was also designed by the talented Sally Clements.

Another re-release, this story was previously published by The Wild Rose Press under the pen name Rae Summers, and I am so happy now that I have my own name on the cover! An Innocent Abroad is available on pre-order with Amazon and goes on sale from 10th November.

Ingénue Isobel Harrington, fresh from finishing school in the summer of 1922, experiences a sexual awakening during a visit to Italy's Amalfi Coast.

Sent to visit distant relatives in the hope she will ensnare a wealthy and aristocratic English husband, Isobel falls instead under the spell of enigmatic local, Stefano.

Is their forbidden romance destined to be nothing more than a holiday affair, or will Isobel be brave enough to defy convention and her parents' expectations to follow her dreams?

Pre-order your copy of An Innocent Abroad here.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Cover reveal: Dear Julia

Those of you who have followed my blog for a while will know that my 1920s historicals were previously published under the name Rae Summers. Several months ago the last of my Rae Summers novels was unpublished and the name is no longer.

I am very excited today to bring you the new cover for Dear Julia, which is available now for pre-order on Amazon, under my own name at last. This book goes on sale on 28 October, and will remain exclusive to Amazon until end January.

Thank you so much to my friend Sally Clements for designing a cover which captures my heroine, Rosalie, far better than the previous cover.  Rosalie might well be my favourite heroine I've written so far - I hope you agree!

Rosalie Stanton is a city girl who loves parties and ‘fixing’ people. When she finds a long-lost love letter in a house she’s redecorating she sets off on a quest to find its rightful owner.

Commander William Cavendish has lived as a recluse since his return from the Great War. His peaceful existence is shattered by the return of the letter that once held all his hopes — and by its bearer, the irrepressible Rosalie, who bears an uncanny resemblance to his lost love.

Rosalie is just as determined to fix William and re-introduce him into society as he is determined to resist her. They both might have met their match.

Download Dear Julia from your nearest Amazon store here.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Report back on my trip to the UK - Part 3

Not strictly the UK, but on Friday 12th June I flew to Dublin to meet up with fellow Minxes. These ladies are not only my writing friends and critique partners, they've become like family. We stayed up late every night, drank copious amounts of wine and coffee, and talked, talked, talked.

But all too soon it was over, and  I can't wait until I get another chance to meet with them again - one weekend was definitely too short a time!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Report back on my trip to the UK - Part 2

My next big day in London, Donna (who has been my friend since we were the tender age of 3 years old) and I travelled back into London from Bishops Stortford. We wandered the area around Oxford Street, New Bond Street and Regent Street. While Donna shopped in Whole Foods, I made a phone call home to check on my father, who had been admitted to hospital earlier in the week.

Then while Donna attended a training seminar, I met with author and honorary Minx Zara Cox for tea at Fortnum & Mason. It was a really warm day and after climbing five storeys I was feeling hot and sweaty, so not exactly fitting the ultra-elegant interior, but it was a superb afternoon tea and we had a wonderful chat.

After braving the crowds in Hamleys and around Piccadilly Circus, I re-joined Donna in Leicester Square where we enjoyed a couple of glasses of Prosecco and people watching while the Minions arrived across the square for the premiere of their newest movie, to the screams of their adoring fans.

Our view of Leicester Square

We then hurried to the Victoria Apollo for Wicked, the musical. I love musicals, so I'm easily impressed, but I really enjoyed this show. This is the story behind the Wizard of Oz, of how Glinda the Good and Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) became the characters we love and hate - and there are flying monkeys!

"You'll be popular - just not quite as popular"

Tomorrow I'll post about the second half of my trip: the Minxy meet-up in Ireland.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Report back on my trip to the UK - Part 1

And Ireland too (I am aware the Republic isn't part of Her Majesty's Kingdom!)

I arrived in London around midday and it took a few hours to get across the city and out to Bishops Stortford, so I was pretty finished by the time I finally arrived. My first evening was spent quietly with my childhood friend Donna, catching up over steak and wine.

The next day I travelled back into London for lunch with my editor, Charlotte Ledger, at the lovely Rooftop Cafe, across the road from the new HarperCollins offices. Hidden behind a nondescript office building entrance, this little gem was a wonderful surprise, with a great view and even better food. We enjoyed a delightful yet healthy lunch (really yummy asparagus!), accompanied by Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) and lots of chat. We didn't talk much about business but it was wonderful just to get to know each other.

The Rooftop Cafe near London Bridge

The view from the Rooftop Cafe towards The News Building

After lunch, Charlotte gave me a guided tour of the HarperCollins offices in The News Building (previously known as Baby Shard) which began with the most wonderful surprise: a display of my books, including the very latest which I hadn't yet seen in paperback format.

I was also introduced to the two cover artists who designed my covers, met Kimberly Young (head of Women's Fiction at HC) as she was dashing between meetings, and was thoroughly impressed by the light, airy offices filled with books and surrounded by the most spectacular views. What I wouldn't do to work for a company that provides its employees with their own book store!

The view from The News Building

The famous Wall of Books at the staff book store

Me and the lovely Charlotte in the staff book store

Then, feeling guilty at taking up so much of Charlotte's time when she has the workload of three people, I left her to work and went to browse through Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market, where I stopped to enjoy a refreshing glass of Pimms laced with summer fruits.

Southwark Cathedral

The News Building (left) and The Shard (right) from the yard of Southwark Cathedral

I then wandered the area of Southwark, past the Golden Hinde, the ruins of Winchester Palace, down Clink Street where the infamous prison once stood, to the Thames.

Golden Hinde II, modelled on Francis Drake's famous ship

Ruins of the palace of the Bishops of Winchester

I don't really need to caption this photo, do I?

The late summer sunlight was deceptive and I nearly ran late for my next appointment: dinner in Belgravia with HarperImpulse author Brigid Coady. Unbelievably, after having had a big lunch, I managed to pack away another big meal, this time accompanied by Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine).

Brigid and I had such an amazing chat that neither of us thought to take photographs - which is probably just as well since this blog post is already long enough!

More to follow on my London adventures tomorrow...

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Movie Review: The Rewrite

Thank you so much to SterKinekor for inviting ROSA Johannesburg to view The Rewrite prior to its general release. I'm already a fan of rom coms, so naturally I expected to enjoy this movie, but I loved it so much that this one is definitely going on my 'keeper pile'.

Hugh Grant pretty much plays his usual self in this movie, albeit a rather more lined, greyer version than we met in Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill. As Keith Michaels, a 'past his sell by date' screenwriter forced to take a job teaching screenwriting, Hugh Grant manages to bring both humour and poignancy to this story of re-discovering one's purpose in life.

There were laugh out loud funny moments, but I also had to dig a tissue out of my bag at the movie's climax. Yes, this is a rom com, but it's a whole lot more. This story has depth and, in spite of the usual sterotypes, it deals with issues that are universal: dealing with growing older, coming to terms with the loss of one's youth and dreams, and having to rewrite one's own life story.

The writer in me loved being able to watch an entire film set in a world so close to my heart. Experienced writers aren't going to learn much about the 'how to' of writing from this movie, but what Keith Michaels teaches to his class is 100% true. Considering how rare it is for Hollywood to 'get it right' that certainly makes for a pleasant change!

Newbie writers will definitely benefit from watching this movie, and not just because it teaches basics like 'what is a protagonist' and that characters need to learn and grow, but it demonstrates it too. Anyone who has read that 'bible' of screenwriting, Blake Snyder's Save the Cat, will know that The Rewrite hits every beat and ticks every box of a good screenplay.

Keith Michaels teaches his screenwriting class that characters must have goals. And indeed, every character in this story has a well-defined goal. He teaches that characters should be flawed - and indeed, they all are. He teaches that they need to overcome obstacles - and they do. And he teaches that they learn from their mistakes and become better people - and naturally, this being a romantic comedy, they do.

Another aspect of the movie that appealed to me was the way that screenwriting was viewed by the academics of the university where Hugh Grant's character goes to teach. In the beginning, movies are seen very much as the 'poor cousin' to literature, as the romance genre often is too. Yet as he teaches screenwriting, drawing on iconic movies we all know and love, we feel that passion for storytelling come alive. Romance, like movies, are primarily entertainment. No, it's not high art, but it appeals to something in us all, and has an equally valid place in our lives (and our universities!). The acceptance the screenwriter achieves at the university by the end of the movie is something I'd like to see happen for romantic literature too!

But the thing that appealed to me most about The Rewrite is that this isn't a story of a group of twenty or even thirty somethings finding love for the first time, as most rom coms are. Maybe I'm giving my own age away here, but I love a story I can relate to!

This is a movie about more mature characters who already have failed relationships behind them, and who've made mistakes; people who aren't in that first blush of youth and who aren't searching for 'that one true love'. These are very real people who realise that relationships are compromise and work, and yet that they're somehow worth it because a relationship with the right person supports us in becoming the best version of ourselves that we can be. Even jaded as I've become as I've grown older, this is still something I believe in!

Here's the trailer for the movie to whet your appetite:

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

#HIFortnight is underway!

HarperImpulse Fortnight began yesterday with an awe-inspiring amount of support from book bloggers and reviewers. These guys rock!

I'll try to keep updating this post with links for the various blog posts and reviews posted. If you'd like to get involved in #HIFortnight, or take part in the challenge, check out Books with Bunny's blog post here.

Thank you so much to everyone who has gotten involved in #HIFortnight, especially to all the lovely book bloggers who have been so supportive!

[Note: this blog post has been updated and added to throughout #HIFortnight]

My guest posts on various blogs:

Other fun stuff:

Meet the other HI authors:

  • Meet Nikki Moore on Books with Bunny
  • NA author DR Graham talks cowboys on Comet Babes Books
  • My friend Lorraine Wilson talks escapism on Rachel's Random Reads
  • Georgia Hill chats about technology and escaping to the country on Afternoon Bookery
  • On Comet Babes Books, AJ Nuest talks about how Disney influenced her writing career
  • Meet Erin Lawless on Bookaholic Confessions
  • On Alba in Bookland DR Graham talks about her first rodeo experience
  • Q&A with Wattpad sensation Emily Benet on Little Northern Soul
  • Angela Campbell chats about how good romance readers have it these days on Chick Lit Love
  • And on Star Crossed Reviews, Angela talks about her most recent book, Spirited Away. And pets!
  • My fellow South African author, Rae Rivers, talks about writing a series on Comet Babe's Books.
  • Also on Comet Babe's Books, Zara Stoneley talks about writing steamy scenes
  • On Chick Lit Love Lorna Gray talks heroes - with eye candy!
  • Meet Angela Campbell in an interview on Comet Babe's Books
  • Vlog interview with Carmel Harrington by Books with Bunny
  • Caroline Storer reveals the inspiration for her Roman hero on Books with Bunny
  • Birthing a Book by Debbie Johnson on Chick Lit Love
  • Rachel's Random Reads exposes Michelle Betham's soccer series inspiration
  • Interview with Nic Tatano (whose sense of humour I adore) on Bookaholic Confessions
  • Alba in Bookland does a Q&A with Wendy Lou Jones
  • On Star Crossed Reviews Lori Connelly talks about how family history inspired her books
  • Fall in love with London with Nikki Moore on Comet Babes Books
  • On Paris Baker Writing Lynn Marie Hulsman talks about Writer's Space
  • Explore Canadianisms with DR Graham on Sky's Book Corner
  • Jane Linfoot shares her chocolate & banana cake recipe on Comet Babe's Books
  • Meet the creator of Written Fireside, Lori Connelly, on Paris Baker Writing
  • Star Crossed Reviews interviews AJ Nuest
  • Comet Babe's Books interviews Teresa Morgan
  • On Books with Bunny, Lynn Marie Hulsman talks New York in the Summertime
  • Zara Stoneley's Reading & Writing Confessions on Bookaholic Confessions
  • Q&A with Jill Knapp on Star Crossed Reviews
  • Comet Babes Books interviews Teresa Morgan
  • Interview with Wendy Lou Jones on Bookaholic Confessions
  • And on Star Crossed Reviews Wendy Lou Jones unveils even more gorgeous eye candy

My reviews of HarperImpulse books:
Angela Campbell's On The Scent
Angela Campbell's Something Wicked
Angela Campbell's Spirited Away
Mandy Baggot's Do You Remember?
Nic Tatano's Wing Girl
Nic Tatano's It Girl
Lorraine Wilson's Confessions of a Chalet Girl
Charlotte Phillips' Your Room or Mine?
Vonnie Davis' Santa Wore Leathers
Teresa F Morgan's Plus One is a Lucky Number
Rae River's The Keepers: Archer
Lynn Marie Hulsman's Christmas at Thornton Hall
More to follow during the second half of #HIFortnight...

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

HarperImpulse Fortnight

Book blogger Bunny Lovell is running a HarperImpulse Fortnight (#HIFortnight) on her blog and social media from April 27th to May 10th.

She has issued a challenge to readers: read and review (either on your blog / Goodreads / Amazon / all three) at least one HarperImpulse book during #HIFortnight.

I'll be taking up the challenge. It's about time I read and reviewed some of the HI titles on my Kindle! I'll also be doing a guest post on Bunny's blog, so watch this space.

Come join in the fun! Check out the HarperImpulse website to get an idea of all the various titles on offer, or follow the hashtag on Twitter.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Snippet Sunday: Not a Fairy Tale

Here's a short excerpt from Not a Fairy Tale for Snippet Sunday, especially for Oscar night.
This scene takes place on the beach at Point Dume, near Malibu, in the early hours of the morning after the Academy Awards.

He raised an eyebrow. “And you think I’m going to be able to teach you all that?”
She grinned, expression cheeky. “You’re the most badass person I know.”
“I’m not badass. I live in the suburbs and drink green tea.”
“What can I say? I don’t get out much.” She cast him a sideways glance, all but batting those too-long fake lashes of hers. “Besides, you wouldn’t really want me to go hang out in some biker bar to learn to be badass, would you?”
He frowned. Not that he believed she would, but even the mere thought of Nina in a bar full of drunken men was enough to make his fists clench. “It takes most people a lifetime to become badass. How much time do you have?”
“Six weeks. But I’m an actress. With the right training, I can fake it.”

Friday, February 20, 2015

Not a Fairy Tale's magical place

Readers of my books will know that setting plays an integral part in all my stories, whether it's castles or snowscapes or a Caribbean beach bar.

Not a Fairy Tale is another summery, beach-filled story, but this time the setting is California - fewer coconuts and cocktails, and way more surfboards than The Trouble with Mojitos.

Among the beaches featured in Not a Fairy Tale, the most magical is Point Dume, one of California's most pristine beaches, and in spite of its proximity to Los Angeles not usually crowded with people - a perfect place to get away from the rat race. This is the place Dominic Kelly helps beleaguered actress Nina Alexander escape to after her embarrassing Oscar night, and it features in a few other scenes too.


Would you want to walk these stairs in three inch heels (and what's left of a couture ball gown)? Nina does...


For more glimpses into the magical places (and pretty people) that inspired Not a Fairy tale, you can check out my board on Pinterest:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Release day!

It's Release Day for Not a Fairy Tale, my fourth book for HarperImpulse!

I'd like to say a very big thank you to the reviewers who have already read this book and shared their thoughts on Goodreads:
"The witty banter, the solid characters and their development, and the honesty in the story just plain moved me."
 "I loved the characters and honestly just could not put it down."
And an even bigger thank you to everyone who has already downloaded a copy!

If you haven't yet bought your copy of Not a Fairy Tale, you can it today. It's available to download from AmazonBarnes & NobleKoboiTunesebooks by SainsburysWH Smith eBooks and All Romance eBooks.

Since I'm off in the Karoo on a film shoot today, I'm leaving you these treats. Enjoy the party, and I'll join you as soon as you can!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

First glimpse into 'Not a Fairy Tale'

Today you get a chance to read a first ever, exclusive extract from Not a Fairy Tale. You'll need to register to view more than the first few lines, but please do! I'd also really appreciate your comments and feedback (or just say "hi!")

Find it here: Exclusive Excerpt