Tag Archives: loveahappyending.com

Christmas Time ~ Don’t Let The Bells End

It’s Music Monday!

NewMusicMondayLogo

And I promised you last week that the Christmas tunes would start right here, right now. So today, it’s time to bring light into the season from The Darkness. Oh yes, indeed! I happened to see The Darkness in Cardiff a few years ago and they absolutely rocked. So what better song to express my feeling about the festive season than this one.

In addition, there’s a whole host of exciting authors sharing their festive top tunes over at loveahappyending.com today ~ don’t miss out on the fun. I happen to be the editor of that particular feature and I can tell you, it rocks!

Be sure to come back next week for another of my festive faves! Have a rockin’ time as you get ready for Crimbo. XX :-)

Oh and… feel free to share the love! What’s your favourite Xmas tune?

CentreStage proudly presents: COVER REVEAL for Never Alone by Linn B Halton

Welcome to CentreStage!

CentreStage showcases amazingly talented authors from around the world. These authors might share with you their inspiration for writing, news about their books or… their brand new, hot-of-the-press book covers!

Today, it is my enormous pleasure to welcome my loveahappyending.com friend and go-to-person for all things authorly, the fantabulous Linn B. Halton, with the cover reveal for her next bestseller, Never Alone!

Cover reveal for Never Alone
and Top Tips for keeping your man happy!

I’m doing a fab splash around some wonderful blogs and websites to celebrate a brand new shiny cover, hot off the press. This story is full of heart and a young woman, Holly Atherton, who doesn’t want to say ‘yes’ to having that wedding ring placed on her finger. Even though Will is the love of her life and absolutely gorgeous!

Never Alone is being released in January 2013 and it’s a story of true love, but as we all know the path is never easy. Keep reading to find out how you can win an advance copy to be sent out in December 2012.

Before I tell you all about Holly’s story I wanted to ask my lovely host, the fabulous and talented rock-chic author, Nicky Wells, what top tip she has for keeping a partner happy. Of course, I couldn’t ask that question if I wasn’t prepared to spill the beans myself….

Set aside ‘together’ time, whether that’s an evening out or a short-break away, as long as it’s romantic! Think of it as a date, or if you are going away together re-kindling your ‘affair’. Don’t let ife get in the way!

So, Nicky, what’s your little secret?

I’d say… Recognize the lovely inner child in your man! Thank him for helping out around the house or in the kitchen (and for God’s sake don’t let him see you go round after him doing the job properly!), and let the little temper tantrums and niggles wash right over you… Bliss.

Thank you, Nicky, duly noted (soooo true!) and added to my growing list of ‘Ways to Please Your Man’ – sounds like a new book to me! Ha! Ha!

Holly Atherton has a  seemingly perfect life, until suddenly it  all beings to unravel. She has spent her life living up to other people’s expectations of her, trying to please them.

She has it all – the affluent family who dote on her, a job she loves in her father’s business, and the perfect boyfriend. Will is a successful entrepreneur and they are about to start enjoying a lifestyle many can only dream about. His latest business deal will see them with homes in the UK and Los Angeles.

But what if you wake up one morning and find yourself wondering whether the path you are on is the one you are supposed to be taking? Is she too caught up in pleasing her parents and Will to take her future into her own hands?

When Holly’s psychic sensitivity begins to surface she doesn’t know how to handle it. Vivid dreams seem too real to ignore and she finds herself ‘talking’ to  Nick, the recently deceased brother of her best friend, Celia.

Just having someone to whom she can offload what she’s feeling helps and she feels happier moving forward with Will into their exciting new future and all seems well… the rest is coming soon!

TAKE PART!!
Thank you for helping me to celebrate this cover reveal.
Simply leave your TOP TIP for keeping your man happy and 6 names will be randomly selected from the blogs taking part to receive an advance ecopy of Never Alone in December 2012.

Festive wishes to everyone! Linn

Awesome! HUGE congratulations on a fabulous cover and I can’t wait to read the story of Holly, Nick and Will. Rock on!

Visit Linn B Halton

Website 
A loveahappyending.com author
Signed by:http://www.sapphirestarpublishing.com/linnbhalton
Twitter: @LinnBHalton
Facebook: Linn B Halton
Romantic Novelists’ Association page

Amazon.co.uk (buy)
Amazon.com (buy)

Congrats again to Linn and… let’s hear your top tips for keeping your man happy!

CentreStage with Ali Bacon: How The Treatment Room was really A Kettle of Fish

Welcome to CentreStage!

CentreStage showcases fantastic authors from around the world. These authors might write for you about their lives, their books, their inspiration or… their book titles. Or even beauty treatments! Today, it is my great pleasure to welcome my fabulous friend and fellow loveahappyending.com author Ali Bacon.

Ali talks about her novel and how it changed from bearing a descriptive title to something quite lyrical and evocative. Well, I think it’s lyrical and evocative at any rate. But let’s hear it from Ali herself:

The Treatment Room: beauty, truth and depilation!

Hello Nicky, how amazing to be alongside the great writers who’ve been here recently. I’m kind of sidling out on to the stage and taking a nervous bow as that spotlight is leaving me a bit dazzled. In fact I’ve just been reading the fabulous Sue Moorcroft’s article about feet, and it made me think about how a rather strange topic got into my coming-of-age-novel, which is now called A Kettle of Fish  but started life as The Treatment Room .

Nicky *waves* Hi Ali, don’t sidle on the stage ~ walk out with confidence! It’s lovely to have you here and I am intrigued already… from The Treatment Room  to A Kettle of Fish, wow. Tell us more!

Depilation, unwanted hair and the removal of such – something all of us as members of the fairer sex we have all had to consider. At various times I’ve been down all the avenues, from the dreaded creams (back in the day they smelled of perming lotion – yeuch!), DIY wax strips (it’s not that easy to get rid of all the wax but be sure to steer clear of family pets until you do!) until the need to maintain my dignity without splashing too much cash led me to patronise various local ladies who provided this service from their own homes.

Smooth legs required!

As someone who was self-employed at the time, it struck me that this was a nice little trade, but on the other hand would I have wanted to do it myself? Isn’t there a touch of the macabre in ripping off leg hair as an occupation? And how would the rest of the family feel about giving houseroom to a messy and slightly unsavoury occupation?

Nicky: LOL, I know what my lot would say!

All of that was ages ago (Veet is so much improved, don’t you think?!)…

(Nicky *interrupts rudely, clears throat* Actually… no! I had the most awful experience with Veet just before my wedding.  I spent nearly an hour lying in a vinegary bath to get rid of the worst side-effects. I won’t go into any more details but I haven’t used it since. Your home-based ladies sound MUCH safer!)

…but it obviously stuck in my mind and when I found myself dealing with my heroine’s mother, it all came flooding back. Lorraine is the most complex character in the novel. She needs to invoke our sympathy, but not our out-and-out support. Is she hard done by or just needy? Is she on Ailsa, our heroine’s, side, or her own? On the practical side, she’s plagued by ill-health and can’t go out much. And without a husband or partner on the scene, she must need some kind of an income. It was a no-brainer, I gave Lorrraine a white coat and an aura of sugar paste. The Treatment Room was born!

Nicky: Cool. An aura of sugar paste… hmmm, I like the image!

You’ll guess by now that my novel is not a love story (although romance does play a part) but nor is it (I’m glad to say!) horror, and so the first title was dropped. It has been described as ‘a roller coaster family drama’ and I hope the new title reflects its feisty heroine and twisty plot. And there are a few fish in there, but definitely no pedicures!

Nicky: Feisty heroine and twisty plot and fish… who needs pedicures with all this thrown in the mix already? I have A Kettle of Fish on my Kindle and now I really can’t wait to get started! Now that we know about your book, tell us about you!

 A bit about Ali

I was brought up in Scotland and will always be a Scot at heart but I’ve lived in the West Country for so long that I do think of Bristol as home. I started writing quite late (I hope not too late!) in life but I have now given up doing anything else apart that is from golf (glory, despondency, mud!) ballroom dancing (where instead of sweet nothings my partner whispers in my ear slow, quick-quick, slow) and singing in a choir, although so far the lovely Gareth Malone has failed to appear and transform me into a diva. So that leaves the rest of the time for staring at a computer screen and trying not to check my Twitter and FB feeds. Yes, the life of a writer!

Nicky: Ah, I miss Bristol. Can’t believe we didn’t meet up while I was still down there. And really can’t believe you missed the lovely Gareth when he was down there!!! Thank you for visiting today and making such a dashing entrance. Now all that remains is to let us know where we can find you and your books.

A Kettle of Fish is available from Thornberry Publishing in Kindle edition and from Ali in print edition.

You can visit Ali on her blog and website and follow her on Twitter.

Awesome! Do you frequent Treatment Rooms or are you a home-based beautifier? And what do you make of A Kettle of Fish?

CentreStage with Jessica Strassner: Introducing the Semi-Sequel, One of the Guys

Welcome to CentreStage!

CentreStage showcases fabulous authors from around the world. These authors might tell you about themselves or their books, their writing habits or their authorly inventions. Today, it is my great pleasure to welcome fellow loveahappyending.com featured author and great virtual friend, the lovely Jessica Strassner. Jessica has just finished writing her latest book, a sequel of sorts… a semi-sequel, so to speak, to her fantastic novel, The One Who Got Away. I adored The One Who Got Away so I can’t wait to read on! But hold on, a Semi-Sequel? What’s that all about?

Take it away, Jess!

 

Introducing… Jessica Strassner!

A little bit about me… I recently packed up my flip-flops and moved from sunny Florida to Washington, DC. I live with my wonderful boyfriend who makes my coffee every morning and bakes me cookies.  I love anything that sparkles. I could eat cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I like just about any kind of music and love going to concerts, even though I have no musical ability whatsoever.  If I’m writing, my headphones are on and the music is turned up loud!

My three novels (Here We Go, The One Who Got Away, One of the Guys) are all available on Amazon.com.

Jessica talks about her latest book ~ a Semi-Sequel!

One of the Guys is a “semi-sequel” to my last book, The One Who Got Away.  I’m calling it a “semi-sequel” (Is there such a thing?  If not, I just made it a thing.) because it continues the story of Lucy and Jackson, but is told more from the viewpoint of their best friend, Kate.

When I finished The One Who Got Away, I kind of left things hanging, because I wasn’t sure how I wanted Lucy and Jackson’s story to continue.  Plus, Kate was one of those secondary characters that I liked writing, and I thought she needed a story of her own!  Readers can find out more about what happens with Lucy and Jackson, and now they get to learn about Kate, too!

In the book, Kate is helping Lucy and Jackson plan their wedding while attempting to juggle a few romances of her own.  Everyone questions when it will finally be Kate’s turn to walk down the aisle, but she can’t even manage to hang on to a boyfriend! She does have several options, though. There’s Chris, the smooth, sexy photographer. And then there’s Max, the boy next door “friend with benefits…”  Kate can’t help but wonder – is it possible to date one of your guy friends? How about two? At the same time? Which one of the guys will she choose?

Visit, follow or watch!

You can find Jess all over the place. She has a website as well as a blog. She has author pages at amazon and lovehappyending.com. You can follow her on Twitter or find her on Facebook. And there’s also a fabulous video called New covers!

Huge congratulations, Jess! I adore the cover and can’t wait to get reading to find out how the story goes on.

Semi-Sequel… I’m intrigued! How do you address the challenge of continuing a previous book without writing an outright sequel?

Readers, what do YOU think of sequels, semi or otherwise?

CentreStage with Janice Horton ~ Visiting the City of the Dead

Welcome to CentreStage!

CentreStage showcases fantastic authors from around the world. These authors might tell you about their lives, their writing, their favourite shoes or their workspaces. In short, about anything relevant to their inspiration and happiness. Today, it is my tremendous pleasure to welcome back the one and only Janice Horton!

Only last week, this blog took part in Janice’s Spellbindingly Fun Blog Party in honour of the launch of Janice’s latest work, How Do You Voodoo? And today, Janice has promised to let us in on some of the nitty-gritty of her research… Take it away, Janice!

Outstanding Bravery in the Name of Research: Get Ready to Be Spooked!

Hi Nicky and Happy Halloween – or should that be Spooky Halloween…?

Hi Janice, and a Happy Spooky Halloween to you to! It’s so exciting to have you back here today telling us all about your very daring research for How Do You Voodoo! Hats off to you, I don’t think I’d be this brave! (I’m easily spooked!)

*Janice laughs*  There is nothing better than a good spook, is there? I’ve popped along today to tell you about my romantic and humorous Halloween novella How Do You Voodoo? and to tell you about the spooky time I had writing it. You see, a central scene in the story takes place in a very spooky place, the Necropolis in Glasgow – a cemetery otherwise known as The City of the Dead!

Nicky says: Is this the bit where I get spooked?

The City of the Dead is the burial place of over five thousand people, mostly from the Victorian age.  In those days, when Glasgow was a very important and wealthy port, the rich merchants were basically trying to outdo each other in death as well as life, by commissioning hugely expensive and architecturally fancy mausoleums and monuments as their gravestones. Now, all these years later, they are mostly neglected, wonky, covered in lichen and in a bad state of disrepair. This of course, together with a hanging Scottish mist, all adds to the spook factor!

Nicky says: I bet it does. Did you say something about showing us for real?

*Janice whips out a stack of photos and slithers them nonchalantly across the table.* These are some of the photos I took there while researching a scene for How Do You Voodoo? See what I mean!

Nicky says: Goodness, I wouldn’t want to go there at night-time! But the photos look stunningly eery and haunting (not to say haunted), the perfect backdrop for your story. Fabulous, thanks for sharing. Now tell us more about How Do You Voodoo?…

About How Do You Voodoo?

How Do You Voodoo? is a humorous contemporary story about a loveless fashion model called Nola Nichols, who thinks being beautiful is a curse; that is until she is cursed and her looks begin to fade just a week before the most important photo shoot of her career. Nola rejects all rational explanation on what might be causing her lost looks and decides she has to find a way to get uncursed. This imaginative quest takes her from the Caribbean to Glasgow’s own City of the Dead. Along the way, she finds herself taking part in a rather unconventional funeral, involved in a voodoo ritual, reveals one or two unrests in her own past and falls madly in love with a doctor. Erm, that would be a witch doctor, right…?

Nicky says: Awesome. I have this on my Kindle and can’t wait to get reading!

About Janice Horton

Janice Horton lives in Scotland and writes contemporary romance with humour. Her novels ‘Bagpipes & Bullshot’ and ‘Reaching for the Stars’ are both Amazon Kindle bestsellers. Her latest title ‘How Do You Voodoo?’ is a romantic novella for Halloween and is out now for Kindle at just 77p or 99c!

Visit Janice’s Author  Blog; Follow her on Twitter @JaniceHorton; or Like  her Author Facebook Page

Janice is a Featured Author & Associate Editor at Loveahappyending.com

Find her ebooks on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

So, dear reader: How Do YOU Voodoo? Has this totally captured your interest? Brilliant!

Have you considered writing a novella? And what excites you about reading them?

How do you #Voodoo? The Spellbindingly Fun Blog Party with @JaniceHorton

It’s Janice Horton’s Spellbindingly Fun Blog Party!

Congratulations to Janice as she celebrates the launch of her Halloween novella, How Do You Vodoo!

Loveless fashion model Nola Nichols thinks being beautiful is a curse; that is
until she is cursed and her looks begin to fade just a week before the most
important photo shoot of her career.

Nola rejects all rational explanation on what might be causing her lost looks and decides she has to find a way to get uncursed. This imaginative quest takes her from the Caribbean to Glasgow’s own City of the Dead. Along the way, she finds herself taking part in a rather unconventional funeral, involved in a voodoo ritual, reveals one or two unrests in her own past and falls madly in love with a doctor. Erm, that would be a witch doctor, right…?

How Do You Vodoo is out now ~ and it’s FREE today (26 October), what are you waiting for?

To honour the occasion, I’m taking part in the Spellbindingly Fun Blog Party so here goes…

Nicky’s Rocking-Ever-After Spell

Banish the worry, dry the tears, do away with your deepest fears
Welcome the love, the light, and the precious one
I’ve touched the stone and I will rock on

To banish the worry, dry the tears, do away with your deepest fears
~
Collect one worry stone on a new moon at midnight and put in the freezer until the next full moon
~Climb the highest Scottish mountain to collect thirteen dragon tears; put in the freezer next to the worry stone until the next full moon
~Write a list of your deepest fears and add them to the worry stone and dragon tears in the freezer (remember to use waterproof ink!)

To welcome the light, the love, the precious one
~Gather stardust and summon Northern lights on the next night of the next full moon
~Pick a single white rose by the light of the next full moon
~Collect a moonstone by the light of the next full moon

BY THE LIGHT OF THE NEXT FULL MOON…

Remove the worry stone and dragon tears and list of your deepest fears from the freezer. Crush with the biggest hammer you can find while reciting the first line of the spell, and place resulting worry, tear and fear dust in cauldron.

Sprinkle the worry, tear and fear dust liberally with Northern lights and stardust. Stir well using the single white rose while reciting the second line of the spell.

Touch the moonstone and throw it high in the air, aiming to land in cauldron. Aim carefully. If you miss, your spell is void.

After (and only after) the moonstone has landed safely in the cauldron, recite the third and final line of the spell. You are now allowed to turn up the music. Congratulations: you will rock ever after!

About Janice Horton

Janice Horton lives in Scotland and writes contemporary romance with  humour. Her novels ‘Bagpipes & Bullshot’ and ‘Reaching for the Stars’ are  both Amazon Kindle bestsellers. Her latest title ‘How Do You Voodoo?’ is a  romantic and humorous novella for Halloween and out now!

Visit Janice’s Author  Blog; Follow her on Twitter @JaniceHorton; or Like  her Author Facebook Page

Janice is a Featured Author & Associate Editor at Loveahappyending.com

Find her ebooks on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

Now it’s your turn to party and make up spells ~ Join Janice on Twitter, be part of the action with #voodoo

Sign, Author, Sign

Yesterday saw another first in this, my year of authorly firsts. I hosted my first meet-the-author and book signing event. Hooray!

A few weeks ago, I connected with my local librarian, the lovely Karen Waring, and she was extremely enthusiastic about the idea of hosting a local author in one of her libraries, complete with book signing event. We picked a date (20 October) and a place (Welton Library, in Welton-by-Lincoln) and even set a time (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.). We were on!

Both of us set to work publicising the event and yesterday morning, I presented myself at 9:50 a.m. to set up shop.

Was I nervous? Of course I was a little nervous. One worry was simply: would anyone turn up? And the second worry was: how would people feel about being invited to buy a book in a library, where they normally come to loan their reading material?

Well, here’s how it went.

Setting Up Shop

Books ~ check. Postcards ~ check. Bookmarks ~ check. Tasty treat ~ check. Visual hooks ~ check (1 book standing up, 1 big poster).

Taking a closer look… yes, I think this is good. Spy the fancy bookmark in the upright copy? This was a publication day present from two very special people and doesn’t it just add panache to the ensemble?

I’m ready… I think!

A big Thank You to my amazing loveahappyending friend, Sheryl Browne. I owe most of the ideas for this display, specifically the visual hooks, getting a copy of my book to stand upright, and the absolute need for a table-cloth (!) to a stellar blogpost she wrote on book signings on the Romaniacs blog. Sheryl, it worked!

The Quiet Before the Storm…

Meet the librarian: give it up for Karen!

Caught sharing a laugh off camera…  Having fun already.

huge Thank You to Karen for her amazing enthusiasm and stellar support. It is outstanding to have a library working so hard at creating a real sense of community and at bringing authors and readers together. I feel honoured and privileged to have made friends and I look forward to many more book signings in libraries up and down the county (and beyond?). You rock!

Thank you also, of course, to Karen’s fellow librarian, Jo, for helping set up, directing people my way, taking photos, printing photos, making cups of tea and generally keeping things ticking over. You ladies are a brilliant team!

…And Action!

Yes! Readers came! My first visitor arrived at just a few minutes after 10 a.m. Witness: my first author signature in a newly-purchased reader’s copy of Sophie’s Turn. Awesome feeling!

That was fun. Let’s have another go…

Of course I’ll sign another!

Meet Some of My Guests

Honestly, I had no idea this would be so much fun! Thank you to everybody who agreed to have their photo taken and let me post it right here on my blog.

And the Verdict?

Obviously, I had a lot of fun. Huge amounts of fun, in fact. I look forward to doing it all again.

Did people come? They certainly did. I barely had a moment’s rest during the three hours. I met some wonderful people and had some fantastically interesting conversations. It was amazing.

Did I sell and sign some books? You already know the answer to that. Yes, I sold some books. Not dozens, and dozens. But more than I dared hope.

Moreover, two of my guests took a copy of Sophie’s Turn out of the library there and then in addition to the copy that had already been borrowed earlier in the week.  There are copies in circulation! And as if that wasn’t enough, I’m told that two or three people requested a loan copy today so there is now a waiting list. My heart sings.

Lessons learned. Was it a perfect event? Probably not. Here’s what I will do differently next time.

1) I will have a proper stand for my huge visual.

2) Wherever possible, I will set myself up in direct line of vision (and walking) of the front entrance. The most important tool I had to draw people into conversation, apart from the librarians’ kind assistance, was eye contact. It’s easier to make eye contact if you’re unmissably in the line of sight; therefore, in future, I will put myself there.

3) I will print out and have available for perusing some of the fabulous reviews that Sophie’s Turn has received. This will get me around the uncomfortable moment of reassuring potential readers that of course Sophie’s Turn is a fantastic read. Instead of bragging, I can just let the reviews do their work. Easy, and obvious (hindsight is always 20-20!).

So this was it. My inaugural book signing event. I am elated, excited and exhausted. I feel very fortunate to have had my first signing event in such a lovely and supportive environment, and with such enthusiastic hosts.

I hope everyone who bought or borrowed my book will enjoy it and spread the word. Thank you. And I look forward to the next event… Karen has some places and dates in mind, and I am in her extremely capable hands.

Rock On! :-)

CentreStage with Melanie Robertson-King: of portraits, mansions and stone circles…

Welcome to CentreStage!

CentreStage features fantastic authors from around the world. These authors might write for you about their lives, their writing, their books or any other experience that they’d like to share. Each feature is different, each feature is unique. Today, we’re off to Canada to meet with fellow loveahappyending.com featured author, Melanie Robertson-King. Welcome, Melanie!

A Shadow of the Past… How did your first novel begin its life?

My novel didn’t start out as that. It was an overgrown short story that I wrote a number of years ago (1999/2000) after a friend of mine said I could write something every bit as good as a ‘famous’ author. I pondered the idea for a while then it came to me. I would centre my piece around a portrait, a derelict mansion, and a stone circle.

A portrait, a derelict mansion and a stone circle ~ You got me hooked already. Why these things?

The inspiration for the portrait came from a photo I got from one of my cousins of my grandfather and his first wife taken in 1876 to commemorate their marriage (I’m a romantic; I don’t actually know if that’s why they had their picture done or not, but it sure sounds good). In the beginning my characters were the mirror image of the couple in the portrait.

So, I needed a house to hang the painting in. I fell in love with this spooky old derelict mansion in 1993 when I visited the area of Aberdeenshire where my father was born.

Two down, one to go. What would a novel set in Scotland be without a stone circle? And since this one was in the same area and on the farm at the B&B I stayed in.

Once I had these items, the words flowed from my fingers onto the page. I marvelled at my creation as it came to life before my eyes. I thought to myself, Wow, I’m an author!

That sounds… easy! I bet it wasn’t as straightforward as that?

Another friend came across a creative writing course in a newspaper I didn’t subscribe to and brought me the ad. I took the plunge and signed up.
A number of knock backs, set backs and the like with the short story (that I thought was fab) and I gave up on writing fiction. I turned my hand to non-fiction articles and had success with them.

But you didn’t really give up?

I had a wonderful instructor back in the days of my creative writing course, and with his coaching and encouragement, turned that short story into a novel.
That piece, known back then as Sarah’s Gift, underwent a number of changes over the years, including a new title. A Shadow in the Past as it now goes by is far more evocative.

Before I pitched to my current publisher back in October 2011, I had revised my ‘masterpiece’ a number of times. And since landing the contract, well, I’ve revised it many more times but now I can say, and with authority, I AM an author!

You definitely are, Melanie: congratulations. It’s wonderful to hear how you came up with the ideas behind your masterpiece. A portrait, a derelict mansion, and a stone circle: magic ingredients, indeed. Thank you for sharing the backstory behind your novel. Now tell us more about the book itself…

A Shadow in the Past

When a contemporary teen is transported back in time to the Victorian era, she becomes A Shadow in the Past…

Nineteen year old Sarah Shand finds herself in Victorian Era Aberdeenshire, Scotland and has no idea how she got there. Her last memory is of being at the stone circle on the family farm in the year 2010.

Despite having difficulty coming to terms with her situation, Sarah quickly learns she must keep her true identity a secret. Still, she feels stifled by the Victorians’ confining social practices, including arranged marriages between wealthy and influential families, and confronts them head on then suffers the consequences.

When Sarah realizes she has fallen in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, she faces an agonizing decision. Does she try to find her way back to 2010 or remain in the past with the man she loves?

A Shadow in the Past is widely available from these sources: 4RV Publishing, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk,  Barnes & Noble and ChaptersIndigo.

Don’t forget to visit Melanie on her website or her blog, Celtic Connexions; or follow Melanie on Twitter as @robertsoking. Melanie is on Facebook and she also has an author page at loveahappyending.com!

So Melanie had a constellation of very precise objects that inspired a story, and a whole novel. How do you get started on your ideas?

CentreStage with Kit Domino: Pen, or Paintbrush, or both?

Welcome to CentreStage!

CentreStage showcases fantastic authors from around the world. These authors might share with you stories about their writing, their books or their lives… or anything else that takes their fancy. Each feature is different, and we are never bored here on CentreStage.

Today, we are rockin’ and rollin’ with fellow loveahappyending.com author and editor, Kit Domino. Go on, Kit, paint us a picture of how you work…

With Pen or Paintbrush? It Doesn’t Matter Which I Hold

As many of you know, as well as being an author, I am an acrylic artist. This is a fairly new departure for me, something I only took up four or five years ago and came to quite by chance whilst on a writers’ holiday in Fishguard, Wales, with a friend. The tutor who was scheduled to host our course fell ill, and a replacement stood in. Disappointed, as we both were keen to hear the intended tutor, my friend and I made the snap decision to jump ship and take the art workshop instead.

Wow, that’s radical, and unexpected. How come?

I’d always had an interest in art and painting, and though dabbled many times with watercolours, never got on at all with them. The art teacher at Fishguard introduced me to acrylics, and with that first sweep of the brush, I had found my medium and haven’t looked back since. I’ve been lucky in having sold quite a few paintings, some selling abroad thus allowing me the epithet of “international artist”, and recently at my first “public” exhibition, at the Loveahappyending.com Summer Audience in June, I sold a further two pieces – something I’m told by the experts is rare to happen at a first showing.]

Congratulations, that’s amazing, Kit. It’s wonderful to see your passion blossoming into success, but tell us: what drives you to put brush to paper rather than pen?

So why do I paint? Many have asked whether I prefer art to writing or which would I rather be doing. The answer is simple. I love both, neither taking preference over the other. I write because I enjoy doing it, and I paint because I’ve found I can. Painting is also very relaxing and, like a book, find I can lose myself within it, become totally absorbed to the exclusion of all else, and indulge and explore my own little world.

How do the two art forms compare?

Painting is a lot like writing. It’s creative and allows you to use and stretch your imagination and create places that may not necessarily exist but given just the right amount of detail can appear very real indeed. Bits you do not like in a landscape or image, you can leave out when interpreting the scene onto canvas, just as when you are employing a real place in your writing, you can invent streets or houses along with the people who live there. Tweak the truth and reality.

And like writing, sometimes I find myself staring at a blank piece of paper or canvas, wondering what on Earth I am going to paint. But that feeling never lasts long. Thankfully. Not everything I paint is good; I’ve done some pretty awful works, just the same as some of my writing is fit only for ripping up and burning.

Where or when do you get your ideas, Kit?

When I began writing novels way back in the – well, let’s leave it as “way back” – I found I became more observant of everything going on around me. I would eavesdrop conversations in restaurants and on buses, sit back and people watch, make notes. As a writer you see and hear things in everyday life people who do not write would never notice. The same is also true now that I paint. I am far more aware of shapes and colour and, surprisingly, of shadows. It’s shadows and the dark places that give depth in a paintings, that give it realism, and that is just as true when writing. It’s the little background snippets that give life to a story. Painting is a story in colour; writing a story in words.

That’s so beautifully said. :-) I hear you’ve won a competition, but not in the way you’d expect?

I still find it amusing that I won my first painting competition shortly after I took up acrylics: not by painting a picture, but by writing why I wanted a particular set of new paints that had just been introduced. I haven’t yet won any writing competitions, although I have come close. Not that it matters. For me, the doing it is the fun part. The mixing and weaving of intricate plot lines, creating my world on paper. Sometimes the results surprise me, occasionally a masterpiece emerges, that sublime order of words and dialogue that tugs at the heart or the stunning, visually pleasing tree or flower that bends in the imaginary wind in just the right way. That is what makes it all worthwhile. The rest is just icing on the cake.

What a fascinating interview, Kit: thank you for sharing your passion for writing and painting with us today. I love the parallels you draw and the differences that you highlight. You are an all-round artist! Tell us more about yourself, though: let’s have the official blurb!

Kit Domino is the author of Every Step of the Way, a 1950s story of the struggles of a teenager left to cope alone with her baby sister following the death of her mother as a result of the Great Smog of London in 1952. It is full of the social history of those times.

You’ll be delighted to hear that you can buy Every Step of the Way on amazon.co.uk. Why not visit Kit on her blog or her website, follow her on Twitter or find her on Facebook

Over to you! Are you a budding artist as well as a writer? Or perhaps a musician? Do you find your writing cross-fertilizes other hidden talents?

CentreStage with Darlene Jones: All Screwed Up By the Aliens?

Welcome again to CentreStage!

Having had a little break last week, we’re back in full swing. CentreStage features fantastic authors from around the world. These authors might tell you about their lives, their writing, their books, books they like reading (or hate), their cats, dogs or ships… or indeed, their favourite Alien powers!

Today, I welcome fellow loveahappyending.com author Darlene Jones with an out-of-this world post.

Miss D came to me one day with this page of scribbles. She thought it was some kind of communication from aliens and she wanted me and my buddies to try to figure it out. I like Miss D and all. She’s not bad for a school teacher principal type. You can talk to her and she doesn’t make fun. But, sheesh, a secret code from aliens? Anyway, to keep her happy, I said I’d help.

Thing is, once I started studying the scribbles, I could see messages. I told Miss D that Coder Guy (that’s the name Miss D gave to whoever was sending the messages) wanted her to fix things. Of course she asked what things? I didn’t know so I made up some stuff. Miss D wrote letters to newspapers and the things she asked for started to come true. She even let our class write letters on this special paper she had and the stuff we asked for came true too.

Now Miss D is in the hospital. She’s all screwed up by the aliens, and their messages, and the letters. This guy named Sam messed with her too. Miss D said he’s a war correspondent. I think she really liked him, but he dumped her or something and that sent her over the edge. I’m going up to the hospital to see her now.

Intrigued? This little feature was penned by Curtis, who helps principal Abby Davies figure out what the weird scribbles are all about.

Embraced is the third book in the Em and Yves Trilogy. Yves, who fell in love with Em, has loved her through her life as Jasmine, still loves her in this life as Abby. He fumes as one of the rookie gods fumbles communication with her. Once again, Yves breaks the rules to help Abby, but with deadly results.

Embraced is available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, as well as Smashwords.

About Darlene Jones

A long time ago, I lived in Mali. Every single day, I wished I could wave a
magic wand to relieve the heart-wrenching poverty. The story line of my books
reflects my desire to wave that wand and make the world a better place. If only
wishes could come true. And of course, every novel needs its love story, so
along with the sci-fi magic, I’ve added the requisite romance. Initially, I
intended to write “a” novel. The story and characters took over and the ending
of the first demanded another. Two books became three and three became four.
I’ve always believed we can’t be the only beings existing in the vastness of the
universe. There must be others “out there somewhere” and I brought some of them along for the ride. The setting stays, for the most part, within the realities
of our world, but I’ve found that I love the magic the sci-fi element of other
beings can bring to the story.

You can find out more about Darlene on her website or at her loveahappyending.com author page. Darlene is on Twitter and Facebook.

So then–are you ready for your fix of Embraced? I know I am! Congrats, again, Darlene and best of luck with the launch!