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#Boom #SuddenlySingle

Suddenly Single final“The most uplifting book of 2019 that you will read!”

Today, I am incredibly proud to reveal the cover of my forthcoming comedy SUDDENLY SINGLE about Chloe Piper, author of a raunchy best-seller, Spank Me Harder, Vicar, who flees her soul-destroying marriage, cheating ex and village gossips for a life of solitude in the newly built Sunny Meadow Farm with her hapless dog, Ronnie.

But Chloe is soon pushed out of her comfort zone. Because with a lively development building crew – headed up by charming Alex – and a larger-than-life neighbour determined to make Chloe’s love life her pet project, Chloe finds herself in a whole new world of chaos…

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Oh my! How I loved researching and writing this book. I hope you find it as hilarious to read as I did to write and come way feeling truly uplifted.

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“This enthralling romantic comedy of self-discovery and new beginnings is perfect for fans of Kirsty Greenwood, Colleen Coleman and Marian Keyes.”

SUDDENLY SINGLE out APRIL 8th but available to pre order now by clicking any of the links below:

Amazon UK – Amazon USKobo –  Apple iBooksGoogle Play

Crime Pays #writers-life

AwardIn January 2017, I moved from comedy to crime. It was a bold move. I’d made my name as writer of comedy and enjoyed much success, written features for and appeared in national magazines, been on numerous BBC radio stations, even interviewed on BBC Breakfast Television (twice!). I’d won the prestigious People’s Book Prize award and had a contract with Bookouture/Hachette to write 2 more romantic comedies… and… I was performing a stand-up gig around the Midlands, entitled, Smile While You Still Have Teeth to sell-out audiences.

Moving from one genre to another is a challenge. You learn skills and techniques while writing one genre that can’t be transferred to another and you have to treat the whole writing process in a completely different way. Where I had once written whatever came into my head and written larger than life, hilarious characters and scenarios, now I had to think up twists and devious red-herrings and imagine the mind of a killer. I had to plot my books carefully, research like mad and lose the humour!

Bold or not, it was the right move. LITTLE GIRL LOST shot up the charts to become the #2 best-selling on Amazon Kindle and even became a USA Top 150 Best-Seller. DI Robyn Carter was taken to my readers’ hearts and more books in the series were commissioned and written.

Earlier this month, I had the most incredible news – my crime novels had sold over 500,000 copies. I had to sit down. Half a million copies? How was that ever possible?

Having pinched myself several times, I checked the email again. It was true and I was astounded. It was beyond my wildest expectations and I felt a huge surge of gratitude to my publisher, to all of the reviewers, bloggers and friends who have helped promote my books and most of all to my readers.

I have always dreamed of selling million copies. I love entertaining people, whether that be by making them laugh, feel-good about themselves and life or by thrilling them and making their jaws drop. To know half a million people have read my books is amazing.

My sincere to all of you who have helped make this happen. THE DARE, the third book in the DI Natalie Ward detective series comes out in April. There’ll be two more after it and one further crime thriller to be written by the end of the year. I have plans for more after that and hope you will continue to read and enjoy my books. I have my fingers tightly crossed that one day in the near future I’ll be able to say I’ve attained my goal but until I hit that elusive one million sales, I am immensely satisfied with what I have achieved so far and can only say that crime definitely pays!

newspaper

Day in the Life of a Writer and Her Grumpy and more #writers-life #new-release

biggie smallsLast week, I was interviewed by chellesandbbooks and I thought I’d share the interview with you. If you ever wondered where my inspiration comes from, or which character I’d really like to bitch slap, read on….

Please tell us a little about What Happens in France and where your ideas for the book came from?
It’s a feel-good story about Bryony Masters, a somewhat quiet and reclusive teacher, whose sister, Hannah, ran away from home when she was 16. Bryony blames herself for the incident and has over the years, tried to find Hannah, but to no avail.

When her father has a sudden stroke, she is propelled into taking more drastic action and egged on by her best friend, Melinda, applies for a televised gameshow in the desperate hope she can use it as a platform to find her sister.

The show is filmed in France and she finds herself teamed up with the gorgeous but unattainable Lewis, and a bunch of hilarious competitors, including a limelight-stealing pug – Biggie Smalls. With Lewis’s help she has to fight off the competition and take part in a series of wacky and fun challenges, not to win the prize but to get the winners’ ten minutes of air time at the end of the show each day, which she uses to find Hannah.

As for the book’s inspiration, well, it was a mishmash of things. My mother suffered very badly from St Vitus Dance as a child and relayed the horrors of her own childhood which gave me the kernel of the idea for the Hannah and Bryony plot. That led me onto how Bryony would manage to find her sister and in turn, took me down the gameshow route. Given our obsession with shows like Love Island and the like, it seemed an ideal solution, so I applied for a variety of gameshows to see what I could find out. I ended up on quite a few (all in the name of research) but they helped fuel my ideas for the ridiculous challenges and games Bryony and Lewis have to tackle.

Finally, I am an absolute Francophile and have lived and worked in France. Nowadays, I visit the country several times a year, renting small gites, so it seemed the perfect place to set the book. A few years ago, my husband, AKA Mr Grumpy, and I travelled around Brittany and the Loire-Atlantique and stayed in chateaux along the way. It was such fun we went back a few more times and saw as much of the regions as we could.

Do you have a favourite character or scene from What Happens in France?

Read more and my life with Grumpy by clicking this link HERE which will open another window and take you to the interview.

 

OMG! My jaw is dangling. #TheDare

I know… bit of a weird title but that is pretty much what happened. There’s no doubt that  after months of writing and editing, one of the highlights is to see the cover for the first time and for those in the know, I am bat-shit crazy about the first two in the DI Natalie Ward series. Both were accompanied by noisy squeals and yelps of delight as I downloaded them and poor Mr Grumpy found my phone shoved up against his face – even when he was trying to fix the car – with me squeaking, ‘Look, isn’t it fab?’

When the cover for THE DARE arrived, I was balanced on my stability ball on a video call to Kim Nash, our PR extraordinaire, discussing publicity for the book’s release in April. She stopped speaking in mid-sentence then said … ‘Check your email.’

‘What? Now?’

‘Yes… go on… check it?’

I attempted to navigate from the video screen to my email account. I’m not very good with technical stuff and I lost Kim completely when suddenly the screen filled with the new cover.

My jaw dropped and stayed dangling for the longest minute. I think I said something along the lines of, ‘Holy cow… oh my… oh my.. oh… It’s phenomenal! Oh… my lord… it’s gorgeous!’ and then went slightly ballistic, bouncing up and down on my ball and performing a weird victory dance that involved a sort of heavy metal head banging ritual and pogoing.

Kim’s voice penetrated my manic activity .’You like it?’ I’d momentarily completely forgotten she was hanging on to hear my reaction.

I found the appropriate key on my keyboard to make the cover disappear and bring her back into view on my screen. ‘It’s fantastic,’ I replied, flattening my hair that had become dishevelled in the mad outburst.

‘I’m just going to email Lydia (my editor) with your reaction,’ she replied.

‘Yes… tell her I liked it.’

‘I can do better than that. I videoed the whole thing. I’m just going to send it to her…’

‘NO!’

‘…Now… Ha! Done!’

She played back the video so I could see what I looked like – a mixture of Animal from the Muppets and a crazed Tigger from ‘Winnie the Pooh’. Embarrassing. Deeply embarrassing.

It is an incredibly exciting moment when you see your cover for the first time, but next time, I’m going to make sure I’m locked away in my garret and no one can observe my reaction.

Suffice to say, the video has been deleted and Kim has gone on holiday with the payment I made. (LOL)

So… what caused such a lunacy?

This….

dare 2-2

It’s pretty stunning, isn’t it?

You can pre-order the book now and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. 

http://geni.us/B07N3WYYLDCover 

How a Celebrity Pug Dog Stole My Book #pugs @canelo_co

Biggie Smalls.pngMy new release, WHAT HAPPENS IN FRANCE is out in 3 weeks. It’s a brand new romantic comedy that I can’t wait to unleash onto my readers.

I loved writing it – every single word, every character and every silly scene. I loved researching for it – getting onto gameshows (even though I felt a right idiot on some of them), travelling around France, collecting information about the country, and I even loved lying awake at night, conjuring up crazy games fit for It’s A Knockout and a gameshow that would be a delightful mixture of Big Brother meets Love Island meets I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

I wanted my readers to laugh uproariously at the antics in it and in the parts, shed tears and come away from the book uplifted and feeling that life is good. What I didn’t anticipate was for everyone to fall for a lesser character – a pug dog called Biggie Smalls!

Biggie has not won over every reader who received an ARC but my publishers Canelo, who were so enamoured by him, they had stickers featuring him made especially for a giveaway.

The idea of a media star pug came from an article about owners and their pugs. The feature showed the dogs dressed in various outrageous outfits and I wondered what it would be like to own a dog dressed like the notorious rapper, Biggie Smalls.

Biggie doesn’t play a huge role in What Happens in France but my goodness, he has stolen the show to a large extent. Even those who are not ‘dog people’ have been emailing me to say how much they like him.

It seems that in order to sell more books, I’m going to have to buy a real -life pug and dress him up in COOGIE jumpers and jewellery and parade him around bookstores because no matter how good the book is, and regardless of how much readers enjoy it… they’ll all remember it as the book about Biggie Smalls – the media star dog!

 

WHAT HAPPENS IN FRANCE  OUT 28TH JANUARY

“This delightful read is done with excellent pacing, thus showcasing the marvelous talents of this prolific author.” Robin Reads

“Wow, wow and double wow….What a fantastic, fun and beautifully written book this was”

 WHAT HAPPENS IN FRANCE is available to pre-order now for just £1.99 click HERE 

Video made by Inky Covers.

 

Practical Tips for Writers #wednesdaymotivation #am-writing

animal-avian-bald-1025586I don’t know about you but when I’m lost in my manuscript, I can type hour after hour. I caught sight of myself the other day and well, I bore an uncanny resemblance to a vulture. Inevitably this poor posture takes effect and like many of my fellow writers, my shoulders, neck and back ache like crazy some days.

Having suffered with serious back problems for decades I already write while sitting on a stability ball rather than a chair. It ensures I maintain an upright position, but I have been known to topple off on many an occasion much to everyone’s mirth, and it requires concentration to stay on the ball in the correct position for lengthy spells. I recently heard that sitting on a memory foam pillow can help writers from getting too sore, so maybe that’s one to try out.

The last few years, I’ve also been suffering from frozen shoulders – a condition that sounds mildly amusing but is in reality, absolutely agonising and results in lack of sleep and perpetual pain. It’s something many writers can expect to get, so be warned. I was given cortisone injections into each shoulder but refused the operation that seemed inevitable because my surgeon advised me they would ‘defrost’ in time… five years to be exact. They took three years and three months and although I can move them more freely, my shoulders are like bags of rocks that would benefit from a daily deep tissue massage. Given that isn’t possible, I’ve been looking at other ways to resolve these writing aches and pains and apart from taking up QiGong, which is awesome, I have stumbled across massage balls.

These little miracles are so simple to use and cheap that it seems crazy not to give them a go. I bought mine for under £9.00. I chose the non-spiky version and tried them out immediately. Instant relief! It’s like experiencing a massage.

There are videos on YouTube to show you how to use them effectively but the simple act of placing them between my shoulder blades and a wall and then rolling against them was heavenly. Ten minutes later I felt like a new writer and got back to my WIP.

The object of this post is to stress the importance of taking breaks from your writing, no matter how involved you are. You need to stretch your hands, back, hips, shoulders and neck. If you don’t, eventually you will have health problems and speaking as one who has suffered more than her fair share, I live by the motto: prevention is better than cure.

So, grab yourself some massage balls and take ten minutes out to stretch and have a go at QiGong and you’ll be much more productive… and a lot healthier.

 

How to Write a Novel in Seven Days #amwriting

Last Lullaby - Square GraphicYes… you did read the title of this post correctly. I’ve been seeing a lot of social media posts offering to teach writers how to write a book in month or ten days, but you can actually write a novel in seven days without any instruction or shelling out for a course or book teaching you how to do it.

Last Lullaby due out in December, was written in May this year in… seven days.

I hadn’t planned on writing the entire book. It sort of happened. I was supposed to be going away on holiday to a small gite in France with my husband, but he couldn’t go last minute. I took advantage of the peace and quiet to start work and boy… did I work!

Anyway, here is my light-hearted diary of how I accomplished such a feat:

Day 1 – I am alone. No distractions. It’s raining. I have provisions for a couple days – largely lager, crisps, and some ready-made quinoa which looks nice but tastes weird. I’m very excited because I can please myself and write… write… write.

Decided to watch a little online telly first and discovered Sneaky Pete on Amazon Prime. It looked interesting so I decided to watch it for a while to unwind.

Day 2 – Woke up at 11 a.m. Watching back-to-back Sneaky Pete all night wasn’t my best decision, still, I have all day today to work and it’s pouring with rain.

Typed until dinnertime some seven hours later. Decided not to watch Sneaky Pete Season 2 and opted for Spooks instead. Couldn’t sleep afterwards because I’d been scared rigid by one scene in Spooks. Decided to write to take away the fear. Conked out at 5 a.m.
Day 3 – Woke up at 7 a.m. Two hours sleep and I felt fine. Got no milk and couldn’t be bothered to get dressed and go to shop, so drank a can of lager for breakfast and returned to bed to type. Got up when the battery on my laptop ran out and I had to find the charger. Stopped by fridge to collect can of lager and some crisps. Returned to bed. Typed.
Day 5 – Realised I’d typed for two days solid without sleep. The story is in great shape but maybe some shuteye would be good at this point. Drank a can of lager and ate the last of the quinoa for breakfast. That perked me up so I abandoned the idea of sleep and having reached a critical part in the storyline, typed.
Day 6 –  Checked in on social media and frightened myself at how many notifications there were. Couldn’t face them so logged out again but not before I read the cheerleading messages left by my fellow authors in our Facebook group who knew what I was trying to achieve. Felt boosted and remotivated. Cleaned my teeth and gargled with a glass of lager to celebrate the book coming along nicely. Typed all day and into the early hours, pausing only to demolish the remaining crisps and lager.
Day 7 – Last day today so got up at 4 a.m. to begin writing. It has finally stopped raining and the sun came out. but I resisted the urge to lie in sun all day doing nothing and typed.

7.30 p.m. I’ve just  ran around the gite, shouting “I did it.” Fell over my trousers which are now so loose on me they slid down over my hips. Cheered again. Double bonus – the first draft of the book is written and I’ve lost weight Yay!

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I would like to add that Last Lullaby has been through a strict editing process since that first draft and at the time of writing this post, still has to undergo a final proof check, but I’m very happy with the result and early reviews are extraordinarily good.

So if you fancy shutting yourself away, avoid sleeping, eating and washing for an entire week, then you too will be able to write a book in seven days. Bonne chance!

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ARC reviewers are giving a massive thumbs up to Last Lullaby: “awesome” “even better than The Birthday” “I don’t want it to end it’s soooooo good!”

Out 7th December but available to pre-order right now:

Amazon: