Tag Archives: Romance

CentreStage with Samantha March: author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all-round book lover

Welcome to CentreStage!

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CentreStage showcases amazing authors from around the world. These authors might share with you their dreams and hopes, stories about their lives and books, their inspiration, or their writing journey. Today, it is my great pleasure to welcome the amazing Samantha March.

Sam and I ‘met’ in the blogosphere when I first released Sophie’s Turn and we’ve been keeping in touch via Facebook, Twitter and blogs ever since. I was delighted when Sam published her first novel, and I am even more delighted to have her here today talking about her… yes, you guessed it: second novel. That was quick work if I ever saw it!

Congratulations on publishing The Green Ticket, Sam! Here’s a little bit of the story about your journey from book 1 to book 2…

Samantha March

Congratulations again on releasing your second book! How did that feel?

Releasing my second book was a very big deal to me. When I would tell people I was an author, it seemed their first question was always, “How many books do you have out?” When I would (proudly) answer, “One”, their interest would seem to wane. We are all familiar with one-hit wonders, and I started to wonder myself if that is what people thought of me. So to have a second novel on the virtual shelves felt pretty amazing. Now when people ask the question, I (proudly) answer “Two – and I’m currently writing the third.”

Way to go, Sam! I love your style. Was it different to be working on book 2 than working on book 1?

I actually did feel some pressure to get The Green Ticket published that I didn’t feel the first time around with Destined to Fail. It was strange and a bit surreal to get people commenting on my website or sending me an email asking when my second book would come out. That is such wonderful motivation to keep on writing and to feel appreciated within the industry.

Hear, hear. That’s an awesome feeling. What’s on the cards going forward?

Of course I feel that pressure and even a bit more with my third book, which I am currently writing – about a whopping 10K words as I write this post! I worked hard on the plot and characters, and extra research had to go into this one as the setting is in Maine – a state I have not yet had the chance to visit. I’m having a blast writing it and it will be very different from my first two books, so I hope my followers enjoy it!

I’m sure they will. I know I look forward to it. Let’s backtrack a little though and introduce The Green Ticket!

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The Green Ticket

College junior Alex Abrams scores her dream job at the ripe age of twenty – manager to a successful salon and spa. Thrilled to finally have a real adult job, Alex enthusiastically jumps into the world of schedules, conference calls, and getting a massage when interviewing prospective employees. What she doesn’t expect are the very grown-up issues that comes with a demanding boss. Kevin Dohlman quickly becomes Alex’s worse nightmare – covering up his affairs, dealing with his enormous ego, and trying to protect her female staff from him becomes a full-time job in its own right. Alex has also befriended Kevin’s wife and co-owner, Dani, and is trying to keep Kevin’s secrets hidden from her. The situation only worsens when Kevin starts paying Alex off to make sure she keeps her insider knowledge to herself.

While struggling to keep her wits and stay happy with her new grown-up job, Alex is juggling college courses, a new love interest, and keeping up with her close group of girlfriends. When her roommate and best friend Lila gets offered an opportunity to move to Los Angeles and sign with an agent, Alex realizes her life truly is changing, and everyone around her – including herself – is growing up. Knowing she is faced with some hard decisions ahead, Alex struggles with keeping her job at Blissful. But does she really want to throw away what she dreamed of as a career – or will the secret-keeping for Kevin become too much to handle? The Green Ticket is a story about morals versus money, and how one young woman navigates the shaky line between the two.

About Samantha March

Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things health, fitness, fashion, and celebrity related. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and her debut novel Destined to Fail. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers.

You can find Sam on her author’s website, http://www.samanthamarch.com/, as well as Facebook, Twitter and GoodReads. The Green Ticket and Destined To Fail are available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Morals versus money ~ an intriguing conundrum. Ladies, where do you stand on this?

Launch day for Sophie’s Run!

7 February.
On this day in 2012, I had submitted my first novel, Sophie’s Turn, to Sapphire Star Publishing a few weeks previously. I was waiting with bated breath to hear back, having shared this latest submission with only my closest three friends and, of course, my husband. I was trying to keep a lid on it.

OSo imagine how excited I am today, less than a year that I signed with my publisher, to shout about the release of my second book, Sophie’s Run.

This might be a good time to put a finger in your ears.
LOL!

About Sophie’s Run

Glamour, glitz, intrigue, romance, weddings, betrayal, travel, rock music, food, a fire, an exploding cake, a gorgeous rock star, a zany best friend and a dashing male nurse.

Sophies_Run.inddGirl next door gets incredibly distraught in her quest for true love ~ Sophie‘s story.

Rock star suffers unrequited love ~ Dan‘s story.

Best friend loses her way, big time ~ Rachel‘s story.

Boy next door can’t believe his luck ~ Steve‘s story.

Intrigued? Here’s the blurb:

Her famous star remains her rock while life takes her on a little detour…

So she has finally found the man of her dreams; well, she’s seen him, for sure!  Yet rock star and ex-fiancé, Dan, keeps getting in the way of her new romance—even if he is just trying to be helpful. A fire, an impromptu mini-trip with Dan, and a dreaded wedding later, Sophie is still struggling to meet the love of her life. Then, just as she is getting it together with her perfect man, best friend Rachel commits an act of unspeakable betrayal. Sophie has had enough. Surprising herself and shocking her friends, she embarks on a secret journey and eventually gets her life back on track.

Sophie’s Run is now available in Kindle edition from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, and in Paperback edition from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. You can also get the paperback at Barnes & Noble, or download Sophie’s Run onto your Nook (coming soon).

Stop Press! To celebrate the launch of Sophie’s Run, you can get your Kindle copy of Sophie’s Turn for a special promotional price of $.099/£0.77 for TODAY (7 February 2013) ONLY. If you haven’t got it already ~ here’s your promo chance!!

The Preview Party

YesSR_Siren_badgeterday, I had the tremendous pleasure of hosting a Preview Launch Party for Sophie’s Run over on Siren 107.3 FM. Chief host and producer was, of course, the one and only Alex Lewczuk, who very kindly dedicated the midweek drive show to this launch. We had some illustrious guests phoning in and here are the highlights:

THE_HUSH_at_El_Rey_Theater_Los_Angeles_2010THE HUSH ROCK BAND
Lead singer Jazmine Giovanni and guitarist Lee Landrum phoned in from United States to chat about writing, making and performing rock music and shared some rock star moments with us.

Reviewer Kim Nash plus Amy Lichtenhan and Katie Henson of Sapphire Star Publishing

Kim & BooksReviewer, book lover and ace book blogger, Kim Nash, shared her thoughts on Sophie’s Run… find out who she sees as Dan in ‘Sophie’s Run, the movie.’

main_logoAmy Lichtenhan and Katie Henson of Sapphire Star Publishing chat about signing the Rock Star Romance Trilogy and the appeal of my books. This is the part where I blush!

We had a fabulous time in studio!

Talking to my phone-in VIPs!

Talking to my phone-in VIPs!

And this is only the beginning! I’ll try to bring you a soundclip for our fabulous chat with iconic rock photographer, Nick Elliott, as soon as possible. Meanwhile, you can already listen to the podcast for the Sophie’s Run Special MidWeek Drive featuring  Nick as well as a couple of readings from Sophie’s Run and a chat with Cameron Tilbury here: http://southsidebroadcasting.podbean.com/2013/02/06/the-midweek-drive-sophies-run-launch-day-special/

In the studio celebrating with me were:

~Alex Lewczuk
~Ed Wellman
~Katie Grimason
~Shelley Paulson

Katie Grimason, Shelley Paulson, and Ed Wellman, dream team!

Katie Grimason, Shelley Paulson, and Ed Wellman, dream team!

Sophie's Run on air give-away, competently adminstered and adjudicated by ED WELLMAN. Draw effected by Shelley Paulson and Katie Grimason and the winner is.... SHERYL BROWNE! Congratulations!

Sophie’s Run on air give-away, competently administered and adjudicated by ED WELLMAN. Draw effected by Shelley Paulson and Katie Grimason and the winner is…. SHERYL BROWNE! Congratulations!

Alex, Nicky, Ed and Katie: CHEERS!

Alex, Nicky, Ed and Katie: CHEERS!

The Party goes on ~ Join in and grab a giveaway!

I am celebrating all day over on Facebook! Pop on over and share your music, your rock stories, and your favourite bits of Sophie’s Turn or Sophie’s Run. I’d love to see you there!

Speaking of sharing, I am offering a giveaway! A double giveaway!

First of all, because I love chocolate almost as much as I love rock music, I am giving away one delicious chocolate gift to a lucky winner in the UK or North America!

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You can enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

 The small print: This Gift prize is a product of Unique Chocolate. The Gift prize is subject to availability in your country. If the Gift prize is not available in your country, Nicky Wells reserves the right to offer a substitute gift prize of a similar nature at her discretion. Nicky Wells will require the winner’s postal address for shipping purposes.

BONUS GIVEAWAY!

I am offering a giveaway of one Amazon gift voucher worth $20/£15 for one lucky winner. To enter, simply share your thoughts on Sophie’s Run with me. Email your comment to nickywells@sapphirestarpublishing.com and your name will be entered into the draw. Competition closes 1 May 2013. Good luck!

Thank you!

Thank you very much for your support over the past months and your enthusiasm for this launch. My job wouldn’t be worth doing if it weren’t for you, my readers, and I appreciate your every tweet, your every like, every email, every piece of feedback, every idea you share. Rock on!

A big thank you also goes to the following people for all their support: my husband and my family, Amy and Katie at Sapphire Star Publishing; Alex Lewzcuk and the team at Siren 107.3 FM; Linn B Halton; everyone at loveahappyending.com; my writing buddy, Sue Fortin; THE HUSH BAND; Nick Elliott; Kim Nash; Sharon Goodwin; Nova Reylin; Tobi Helton; Kate Verrier; Evelyn Chong; Katie Mettner. You guys are my rock stars and I couldn’t do this without you. Mwah!

A Shared Book Birthday: Give It Up for Elizabeth Arroyo!!

TheSecondSign_350elizabetharroyoMy Sapphire Star Publishing sister, the talented Elizabeth Arroyo, is also celebrating today as she releases her first novel, The Second Sign.

Hop on over to Elizabeth’s website or Facebook party to say hello and take part in the festivities!

Congrats, Elizabeth, I hope you have a rocking first Book Birthday! XX

Let’s party….

LOST TO YOU ~ @ALJacksonbooks visits the Hall of Fame

Roll out the red carpet!
Open the champagne!
It’s time to enter the Hall of Fame!

Hall of Fame

It is my tremendous pleasure to welcome into the Hall of Fame for the fourth time the amazing A.L. Jackson, who’s not only a massively talented author but also a profilic one. I simply am in awe at the speed at which A.L. produces books! So raise your glass and give a loud cheer as A.L. brings you…

LOST TO YOU!

LostToYou.indd

People come into our lives. Some stay, and many go. Some build us up, while most tear us down. They become our friends, our enemies, our lovers, our tormentors.

 Christian Davison came into mine, and I knew I’d never be the same.

To Elizabeth Ayers, New York City had always been a dream. She’s worked her entire young life to make it here.

Groomed to one day take over his father’s law firm, attending Columbia University was Christian Davison’s only option.

Neither wanted anything more until they sat across from each other at a café table after being paired as study partners.

Christian wants her, but Elizabeth knows better than to give into their intense attraction. Yet there is little she can do to stay away.

Lost to You, the prequel to the bestselling romance, Take This Regret. A New Adult novella, recommended for readers 17+. It’s unnecessary to have read Take This Regret to enjoy Lost to You.

Check out the fabulous excerpt:

“So how’s your math class going?” Christian wiped a napkin over his mouth, sat back in his chair with a satisfied sigh as he pushed his plate away. Completely casual, he appeared to be unaware of the chaos he created in me.

“Okay, thanks to you.”

A smirk pulled at his mouth. “What would you do without me, Elizabeth?”

“Oh, I don’t know, find another cute boy to help me with math,” I said, anticipating his reaction if I teased him a little.

For a flash, his eyes narrowed, then a dangerous grin spread across his face. “So I’m just dispensable, huh? Easily replaced?” He hunched and lowered, pressed his chest into the table to meet me at eye level, this slow playfulness coming across him. “How about I let you fail next time?”

“Well how about I feed you the wrong answers when we study for our next government test?” I countered.

He faked a disbelieving laugh, a gentle ribbing that twisted its way straight to my heart. He was so cute like this, like a harmless boy and not the man who made me fearful, not the one who urged me to hold onto my affections, careful not to let them go.

“You’re going to feed me the wrong answers, huh? You?” he challenged.

The entire meal I’d felt his leg stretched under the table, reaching, giving in to  casual brushes, then receding as if they hadn’t happened.

Now Christian abruptly extended his leg, wove it between my legs, direct and bold. My breath caught. It was the closest we’d ever come to an embrace.

I averted my gaze, but couldn’t for long because I could feel him staring at me.

His voice dropped. “You, sweet Elizabeth, the most innocent girl I know, is going to feed me the wrong answers? I bet you’ve never even told a lie.”

Heat flooded my face.

He was taunting me, prodding. Is that what he really thought of me? Innocent? But honestly, I guess I was. Well maybe not innocent. . .just inexperienced. I had no idea how to play Christian’s games, no idea of what the girls he surrounded himself with were like, although I could only imagine. It had to be my greatest disadvantage. Vulnerability oozed from my consciousness, and I shifted in discomfort.

Christian could devour me whole.

His expression shifted as he edged even closer, his voice a whisper, “Just how innocent are you, Elizabeth?”

Well, then, I’m hooked. Just how innocent are you, Elizabeth! I have read Take This Regret and I can’t wait to find out how Elizabeth and Christian started their journey. Rock on, A.L.

Join The Party!

A.L. is celebrating over on Facebook today: Come and join in, and watch out for the special comment to grab your chance to win one of 250 free ecopies of Lost To You!

And here’s a very special song that featured on A.L. playlist while writing:

About A.L. Jackson

ALJacksonSmallPhoto

A.L. Jackson first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student.  She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.

Years later, she shared a short story she had been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel. A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three beautiful children. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves.

Find out more about A.L. Jackson at her author page at Sapphire Star Publishing or on her blog.  You can also follow A.L. on  Twitter or find her on Facebook and Goodreads

Wow! Happy Fourth Book Birthday, A.L. ~ Have a great day and wishing you every success and tons of sales! XX

Sophie’s Run is In The Building!

It only seems like yesterday that I posted right here when Sophie’s Turn turned up in paperback format in my house. It is, in fact, only barely five months. Five months! And I am the proud author-owner of my very own second book.

Sophie’s Run. It’s here!

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This one wasn’t eight years in the making. I wrote it from October 2011 until February 2012, taking about fourteen weeks to complete it.

O

I was going to publish in the summer of 2012. That was before I signed with my fabulous publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing, of course.
So Sophie’s Run got a little waiting period but here it is…

O

Oh my God.

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Of course, this time, I knew what was coming. I knew I would be overwhelmed with joy and… glee. Yes, pure and unadultered joy at holding another book of mine in my very hands. I’m telling you, the feeling is just as great as first time round! And it’s not just me who’s insanely proud, it turns out…

O

Oh, this gives me an idea. Don’t the two books look good together?

O

Oh, let’s try another shot….

O

Oooh yeah, baby!
I’m sorry. I’m sorry! I couldn’t help playing at happy bookshelves with them. Just wait until book 3 joins them. (And book 4… and book 5…)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Work it, baby, work it…

O

Awesome. Not long to go now!
Launch day is 7 February, and I’ll be having the most rocking launch yet. Literally, really rocking!
Watch this space for more news and thank you for joining me.

O

Rock on!

Pssst! *whispers* In case you haven’t seen them: the advance reviews for Sophie’s Run are rolling in on Goodreads. Go take a look! 🙂

The Run-Up to Sophie’s Run

I declare the manic season open!

Oh yes, this is going to be my four weeks of madness ahead of the launch of Sophie’s Run, and I am very excited about it all. Here’s a little sneak peek at what will be happening, and I’ll bring you posts with updates as I go along, of course.

Sophies_Run.indd

First of all, let me remind you what Book 2 is all about; here’s the blurb:

Sophie’s Run

Her famous star remains her rock while life takes her on a little detour…

Who says that the road towards true love is straight and even?  Sophie is certainly discovering that it is anything but.

So she has finally found the man of her dreams!  Well… she knows who he is, even though she hasn’t actually quite met him yet.  But she misses her opportunity, and then her life goes crazy.  Rock star and ex-fiancé, Dan, keeps getting in the way of her new romance—even if he is just trying to be helpful.  A fire, an impromptu mini-trip with Dan, and a dreaded wedding later, Sophie is still struggling to meet the love of her life.  Then, just as she is getting it together with her perfect man, best friend Rachel commits an act of unspeakable betrayal.

Sophie has had enough.  Confused and distraught, she decides that it is time for radical change.  Surprising herself and shocking her friends, she embarks on a secret journey eventually gets her life back on track.

Where is Sophie’s Run now?

Right at this very moment, Sophie’s Run is at the printer. Squeee! I’m hoping to get my trembling fingers on paper back copies of my second book in the next two to three weeks, and you’ll be the first to know when they get here!

In addition, the book is also being formatted for e-publishing in all the various formats so we will be all singing-and-dancing on pub day. (Pub day being 7 February 2013, in case I hadn’t mentioned the date lately).

What kind of launch party will there be for Sophie’s Run?

A fabulous one, to put it simply! Plans are afoot to launch this baby live on air over at Siren 107.3 FM with Alex Lewczuk and various Special Guests on the eve of publication, 6 February, from 5pm to 7pm. Let me hear you say, Hell Yeah! More details to follow when I have the line-up complete.

Siren_Badge

In addition, I’ll also be hosting a lightning-signing event at Welton library at 10 a.m. on 7 February, so if you’re in the area, drop by! You can visit my blog all through the day of 7 February to take part in the party. And if that’s not enough, I’ll also be hosting a Facebook party so that absolutely everybody can take part!

Will you be taking Sophie’s Run on tour?

Why, of course! And, more importantly, I’ll be taking YOU with me ~ on a tour of geographic and culinary discovery, just like a rock star. The schedule is nearly finalized, 90 per cent of the blog posts have been written, and I will post more details right here on this blog very soon, watch this space.

BlogTour_Badge_SophiesRun

And of course, while I’m getting this all organized, I also have a duty to Sophie and Dan to finish their story, so I’m typing away at Book 3, Sophie’s Encore. #norestforthewicked, right? It’s gonna be awesome!

Will you join me on tour? Are you ready to party?

On-The-Road Editing

I know. It’s the festive season and everybody’s posting festive stuff. And so will I, very soon. In the meantime, however, life goes on and work needs to be done.

I recently finished editing my second book, Sophie’s Run, using fabulous input from my editor over at Sapphire Star Publishing. This was a fast-track, polish-it-up edit such as I haven’t done in a long time. And do you know what? It was totally exhilarating. I am so happy with the result, I haven’t stopped smiling since. (Better still, Katie and Amy at Sapphire approve too ~ happy dance).

But here’s the really juicy bit. The edits landed in my inbox just before I was due to leave for the RNA Winter Party. Well, what’s an author to do when she’s got a long train ride ahead of her, all the way to London and then back again? Plus some unexpected ‘downtime’ in a quiet hotel room with no distractions? You got it. A spot of on-the-road editing. In fact, I marked up seventy percent of the manuscript during the two-day trip.

And the moral?

Actually, there are two. One, there’s no such thing as a wasted train journey. And two, my brain definitely kicks into high gear on the road.

When the hotel grows quiet, the author gets editing!

When the hotel grows quiet, the author gets editing!

Scratch, scratch, replace, alter... in several colours for several rounds of thoughts. And the whole thing looked amazing once it was 'clean' back in Word.

Scratch, scratch, replace, alter… in several colours for several rounds of thoughts. And the whole thing looked amazing once it was ‘clean’ back in Word.

Have manuscript, will edit... even on trains, in planes and automobiles!

Have manuscript, will edit… even on trains, in planes and automobiles!

Do you enjoy editing (or writing) in unusual environments?

Oh. And here’s the thing. Sophie’s Run is currently undergoing proofing and I’m awaiting the fair copy for author approval. Because yes, this baby is coming your way on 7 February 2013 ~ watch this space!

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?

My Next Big Thing

Oh yes. My Next Big Thing. Are you ready? It’s going to be big. Huge. Fantabulous. If I say so myself!

Preamble: I was invited to take place in The Next Big Thing by several lovely people in the past few months, and I had to regretfully pass on each invitation as I was in the throes of launchig Sophie’s Turn. You know who you are and you know how much I appreciated your invitation! This most recent invitation came at the tail end of my blog tour and therefore I couldn’t resist taking part and shouting about my WIP. Thank you for your understanding, my friends!
🙂 xxx

Last week, my Romantic Novelists’ Association friend and writer of family sagas and historical novels, Freda Lightfoot, tagged me in her post The Next Big Thing ~ and this week it’s my turn! The idea is that I answer ten questions about my current Work in Progress (my Next Big Thing!) and tag five other writers to tell you about their latest work next week!

So here goes:

What is the working title of your next book?

~ Sophie’s Run ~

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Sophie’s Run is the sequel to Sophie’s Turn. The ideas inside the book have been inspired by events in my own life, whether they happened to me, were witnessed by me, happened to others, or were a fancy flight of my imagination based on something I read, heard or saw on television.

What genre does your book fall under?

The obvious answer to this question would be that it is a contemporary romance, or even chick-lit. However, the entire trilogy is also so much more than that. There is a big element of self-discovery going on here, especially in Sophie’s Run. And undeniably, Sophie travels a lot. So I’d say it’s romance with a twist!

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Her famous star remains her rock while life takes her on a little detour…

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Neither, nor. The book will be published by my wonderful publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing (how many ‘publish’ words can you fit in one sentence, Nicky?) but we have a direct relationship without an agent involved. Oh, and before I forget: release date is 7 February 2013 ~ not long to go!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Fourteen weeks exactly. 🙂

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Do you know, I don’t know how to answer this questions. There are elements of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones in there, just in terms of the bizarre situations Sophie finds herself in. Obviously the rock star theme likens it a little to Public Secrets by Nora Roberts. But the Trilogy as a whole charts Sophie’s life over a period of almost ten years so that reminds me of some of Maeve Binchy’s great works. So ~ a tough one to answer.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Evidently, Sophie’s Run being a sequel, this inspiration arose from the first part of the story. However, I can pinpoint the impetus for actually writing it very precisely. It was 12 July 2011, a few days after I launched Sophie’s Turn onto the world (in indepenedent publisher format). I had temporarily exhausted all promotional avenues, or so I thought (little did I know!) and when I had a bit of a tearful conversation with my long-time friend, Shirley Mukisa, she had only one answer to my conundrum. “The next logical thing will be to write the second book.” So I did. 🙂

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Apart from being fun, sexy, wildly romantic and an absolute page-turner, Sophie’s Run also is a story about keeping the faith when life takes you down its long and winding road. I hope it inspires faith and patience in everyone whose life, like Sophie’s, doesn’t seem to work out to plan. Sophie’s message is that you are in charge of your destiny, ultimately, and if life doesn’t follow your intentions, you have to make it so. (Goodness, that sounds deep!)

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Ah, Sophie’s Run, the movie! This is obviously after we’ve made Sophie’s Turn, right? So… the dream cast would be:

Dan the Rock Star…. Played by Ewan McGregor! (Or Jon Bon Jovi, but he’d have to adopt an English accent!!!)

Sophie… Played by Keira Knightley!

Rachel … Played by Emma Watson!

And that’s my Next Big Thing. Here are the writers I’m tagging: rock on!

The amazing Jen Tucker, who writes hilariously funny biography giving amazing insights into family life and parenting.

The fabulous Jane Risdon, who posts some very intriguing articles-with-a-difference on her blog, who’s acting as my chief adviser on all things to do with rock-star lifestyle, and who’s been secretely slaving away at her WIP: I’m dying to see what it’s all about!

My brilliant Sapphire Star Publishing sister,  Jane Lark, who writes historical fiction and has just started a brand new author’s blog.

Wonderfully candid ‘scarlet woman’ Tanith Davenport, who I met through Freda Lightfoot and whose blog has me thoroughly intrigued.

The fifth spot… is open for YOU, if you want to take part. Don’t be shy, go on, I’d love to hear about your WIP! 🙂

CentreStage with Susan Buchanan ~ Even professionals seek professional help in The Dating Game

Welcome to CentreStage!

CentreStage showcases fantastic authors from around the world. These authors might share with you stories about their books, their lives, their writing or anything else that takes their fancy. We’ve had picture posts and music posts, interviews, guest posts and all manner of exciting things. So grab a cuppa and a slice of cake as I welcome the fabulous Susan Buchanan!

Susan has just launched her second novel, The Dating Game, and she is chatting with her main character, Gill McFadden, about… well, the dating game. Take it away, ladies!

Taking the plunge… going dating the professional way!

S: *makes sweeping hand gesture to introduce her guest* Today we meet Gill from The Dating Game. She has just taken the plunge and joined a dating agency for professional people.

S: Hi Gill, and thanks for joining us

G: Pleasure

S: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? I believe you work in Recruitment?

G: That’s right. I have my own agency, in Glasgow, which specialises in Engineering and Sales and Marketing roles.  I set it up about 3 years ago.

S: That sounds exciting, but I’ve heard it’s a very cut-throat industry. How are you coping with the recession?

G: It is a very difficult industry to be in and now more than ever with 40 candidates chasing every opportunity. It’s very disheartening when you see good candidates fail to get employment.  But on the flip side it’s very rewarding when I place a good candidate in the right role.  It is, however, the bane of my social life. I set up the agency just as the recession started and the job situation, as you know, has only got worse and worse. That means I have to work more and more hours to make a success of things.

S: I imagine that must be difficult when you’re in a relationship, or trying to find a partner.

G: *sighs deeply* Yes, that’s about the long and short of it. Most guys can’t live with the hours I’m putting in. They want all my attention focussed on them and quite frankly, that’s when you meet a good one.  I thought New York was the city where it was meant to be difficult for single women, but Glasgow must come a close second. Plus, the very idea of having time to try and meet someone is just laughable. By the time I’ve finished work (I am here from 7am to 9pm most days) all I want is a hot shower, dinner and bed. Although it would be nice if there was someone to share the bed with.

S: That doesn’t sound a very satisfying an existence…

G:  *gives an ironic laugh* You’re telling me! In more ways than one, I can tell you! The problem is because I don’t have time to go and meet guys in the normal way; pubs, night classes, rambling clubs, even work colleagues (although I don’t recommend that) the only dates I’ve been on in the last few years are blind dates set up by my friends, Lisa, Angela and Debbie.

S: Oh right, so how have those worked out for you, and what did you think of the whole blind date experience?

G: Well, I think the fact that I’ve just joined a dating agency speaks for itself. But generally they consisted of men who spoke about themselves all night, didn’t ask anything about me; were more interested in their appearance than anything else and bitched about their past relationships/wives. And those are the ones I’m not too embarrassed to tell you about!

S: Okay. So, did you ever think ‘stuff this, I’m better off just being single’?

G: Sure, loads of times. And for the most part I do like being single. I don’t need a man in my life.  I make good money, have a nice flat, lovely car (Audi)  great friends and am very close to my brother and his family.  But sometimes, just sometimes, I wouldn’t mind having someone that I could tell about my day when I come in from work, that I could laugh at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival with or who would go to a classical music concert with me. Plus, there’s the physical side of things…

S: So would you say it was the ‘physical side of things’ that led you to join Happy Ever After?

G: No, although if I meet the right person, I’m not ruling that out, at all! It’s been so long since… I mean, it would be great just to be shown some male affection.  I do miss that. But I’ve thought long and hard about it, and I want a relationship.  I don’t necessarily want kids and marriage and all that, but I do want to be with someone that enhances my life.

S: So, tell us about the dating agency? How does it work?  Is it expensive?

G: *looks a fraction uncomfortable*  Well, I saw the ad on a bus. It’s really expensive actually. £400 joining fee.

S: Four hundred pounds?

G: Yes, and that was a half-price offer. Then it’s £40 a month direct debit.  They say you should expect 20-35 introductions in a year for that.

S: I should think so, at that price!  That will certainly weed out the time wasters.  I must ask, did you tell the complete truth on your dating profile?

G:  *hesitates* Well, mostly.  Everyone likes to present the best side of themselves, don’t they?  I didn’t put I spoke fluent French or anything, but I may have exaggerated a few things. Doesn’t everyone?

S: Hmm, interesting. So, what’s the state of play now?

G: I’ve received three profiles. Two look great, the other, I’m not so sure. I’m meeting my friend Debbie later to go over them.

S: Well, Gill, I wish you the best of luck. Three sounds quite promising. Hopefully you will find your ideal date in that lot.

G: Yes, well, I’m going to reserve judgment until I decide whether to meet them or not, although one in particular I have to say, is definitely my type.  Fingers crossed, but I don’t want to get my hopes up just yet.

S: Will you come back and tell us how you got on?

G: Of course. I just hope it’s good news.

S: I’m sure it will be. Good luck and thanks for agreeing to this interview

G: You’re welcome and I think I’m going to need that luck!

Nicky says: Wow, good luck, Gill, and I look forward to reading about your dating experiences!! 🙂

About Susan Buchanan and The Dating Game

Susan Buchanan lives in Central Scotland with her partner, Tony. The Dating Game is her second novel, released 2nd Nov 2012. Sign of the Times, her first novel, was published in Mar 2012. She will shortly start work on her third novel, due for release Spring 2013.

Here exclusively is Susan Buchanan talking about The Dating Game:

The idea for The Dating Game came from a friend who had joined a dating agency for professional people in Glasgow. Although none of the escapades or experiences Gill has in The Dating Game are those my friend had, the seed was sown! How does a busy, career-oriented woman in her late thirties, find a guy, and not only a guy, but the right guy? I wanted the relationships she had had and the dates she would have, to be as realistic as possible. As I love travelling, I always incorporate at least one foreign country into my books. You’ll have to read The Dating Game to find out where it is!

When I read, I love to read books about foreign parts that I have visited – it immerses me more in the story. I wanted to do the same in my own novels. I love reading, always have – romantic fiction, crime, contemporary drama, pretty much everything.

Visit Susan on Twitter @susan_buchanan or on Facebook, or check out her blog. The Dating Game is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com; Sign of the Times is also available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. Happy reading!

 Susan has a fantastic launch give-away going on her blog; you could win one of 54 Kindle books by 54 different authors (including yours truly! 🙂 ) so it’s well worth checking out. Visit Susan’s launch party  for details!

Now then. Dating. How did you find your perfect match? Or if you’re looking where are you looking?

And just to take the awkwardness away, I’ll go first. I met my other half singing in the choir ~ go figure!

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! 🙂