Mild-mannered publicist Holly Phillips is unlucky in love.
She’s embarrassed beyond belief when the handsome stranger she meets in a bar turns out to be ‘Ultimate Man’ – a superpowered hero whose rescue attempt finds her hoisted over his shoulder and flashing her knickers in the newspaper the next day.
But when Holly’s fifteen minutes of fame make her a target for something villainous, she only has one place to turn – and finds the man behind the mask holds a lot more charm than his crime-fighting alter-ego.
Can Holly find love, or is superdating just as complicated as the regular kind?
When I first got asked to read this book as part of the blog tour, I found the premise utterly intriguing although at the same time, not quite knowing what to expect. I’m a great fan of Jenny Colgan’s previous novels. I think it’s no exaggeration to say that I love her and her books, (for this novel, she’s writing as Jenny T. Colgan.)
This book is something very different not only for Jenny but also in general.
Holly hasn’t always been lucky in love and is under pressure from her friend to find someone when we meet her at the beginning of the novel.
When something happens that she’s not expecting, she meets Ultimate Man, the resident superhero.
Also, in the ensuing chaos following their meeting, Holly ends up experiencing her fifteen minutes of fame.
Fame and a new relationship with Ultimate Man and his alter ego is full of the ups and downs you’d expect when dating a superhero.
This book pretty much had me laughing from the beginning and I got drawn into it immediately. I couldn’t put it down.by
Hello everyone. Today, I am pleased to be welcoming Annie Lyons to Novel Kicks with the blog tour for her new book, Choir on Hope Street which is due to be released on 6th April by HQ.
The best things in life happen when you least expect them
Nat’s husband has just said the six words no one wants to hear – ‘I don’t love you any more’.
Caroline’s estranged mother has to move into her house turning her perfectly ordered world upside down.
Living on the same street these two women couldn’t be more different. Until the beloved local community centre is threatened with closure. And when the only way to save it is to form a community choir – none of the Hope Street residents, least of all Nat and Caroline, expect the results…
Thanks to HQ and Annie, we have an extract to share with you today. Enjoy!
(Strong language warning.)
‘I don’t love you any more.’
That was it. Six words delivered so simply, as if he were reading the news.
‘Good evening and here is the news. The marriage of Natalie and Daniel Garfield, which lasted for fifteen years, is over. In a statement today, Mr Garfield said, “I don’t love you any more.” Mrs Garfield responded by punching him in the face and trashing the house.’
At least that’s what I wished I’d done later but at the time an odd sensation of calm descended. It was as if this wasn’t really happening to me. It was at best some kind of joke and at worst something that could be sorted.
This wasn’t in the plan. This kind of thing was never going to happen to us. Other people split up, their marriages disintegrating like a swiftly disappearing desert island, but that was never going to happen to us. We were rock-solid – a steady ship; Nat and Dan, Dan and Nat.
It had the ring of one of those American teen shows that Woody loved to watch on Nick Jr.; all jazz hands and sparkly teeth.
We were a great couple. Everyone said so. We were the kind of couple that others looked at with awe and secret envy.
Everybody loved Dan. He’s just one of those men who people like – old ladies, babies, men, women, children have all told me over the course of our marriage, what a really great guy he is.
I would go on nights out with my female friends as they ripped apart their partners and husbands, picking over their faults like vultures feasting on carrion. I would nod with sympathy but never really had anything to add. They would often turn their sleepy, drunken gaze to me, pat me on the shoulder and slur, ‘Course you’re lucky, Nat. You’ve got
Dan. He’s such a lovely guy.’
And he was. Possibly still is.
Dan was my husband, my soul mate. Of course he had his faults. The underpants on the floor and the toilet seat in the perpetual ‘up’ position were an irritation, but not exactly a major crime against domesticity. He was, is a good man – a good husband and father. He was my happyever- after.
Naturally, we had disagreements and wobbles. Who doesn’t? We didn’t spend as much time together on our own as we would like but that’s to be expected. We’re busy with work, Woody and life. Obviously it would be lovely to go on the odd date-night or even have sex but frankly, we were usually too knackered. I’d always thought that the shared bottle of wine o n Friday night with a movie was good enough. Clearly I have been labouring under a major misapprehension.
Initially, I went into full-on denial mode when he dropped the bombshell. I wondered later if my body had actually gone into shock in a bid to protect myself from the truth. Certainly at the time, my brain sent me a quick succession of messages to counter his statement: he didn’t mean it (he did), he’d been drinking (he hadn’t), he was tired (true) and angry (not true). It wasn’t until I’d picked over the remnants of that evening with various friends (my turn to be the vulture now) that I’d fully taken in the order of events.
It was a Tuesday evening. I hate Tuesdays. They make me feel restless and impatient. Monday is supposed to be the worst day but for me, it has always been Tuesday. I can deal with the post-weekend slump and Monday is usually my most productive day but by Tuesday, I am longing for the week to move ‘over the hump’ towards the downhill joy of Thursday. I often long for a glass of wine on Tuesday evenings but on this particular day I was disappointingly sober because I was having a so-called healthy week.
At least I was before he said it.
It was around 8.30 and we had just finished dinner.
Woody was reading in his room before lights-out and I had been about to go and tuck him in. I normally love this part of the day: the feeling that another episode of motherhood is successfully complete; no-one died. Everyone is safe.
If I had been paying attention, I would have noticed that Dan was particularly uncommunicative during dinner.
Again, it wasn’t until later that I recalled the details: his downward gaze and hands fidgeting with the cutlery, his water glass, the pepper mill.
I had been telling him about a problem with my latest book. I am a children’s picture-book writer and have enjoyed some success with my series of books about ‘Ned Bobbin –
the small boy with the big imagination’, as my publisher tags it. There have been six books so far and my editor wants another three but I was struggling with ideas and wondering whether to take him down the super-hero route.
When I recalled the conversation later, I realised that I had done all the talking; posing and answering my own questions with just the odd ‘mhmm’ or nod from Dan. That was the problem with being a writer – you spent too much time at home on your own with no-one to talk to.
I talk to myself all the time when I’m working. I read back what I’ve just written, talk to the radio or hold imaginary conversations with all manner of people, including Ned.
I read somewhere that adults have a certain number of words they need to say in a day and that the word quota for a woman is higher than a man’s. I believe this. It isn’t unusual, therefore, for me to unpack my day to Dan when he gets home. I thought he liked it. Maybe I was wrong about that too.
I had finished my dinner: an unimaginative stir-fry containing any vegetable-like items I’d found in the fridge on opening it at 7.30. Woody had eaten earlier. He was eight years old and always starving when he returned home from school so I tended to feed him straight away and then either Dan or I cooked our dinner later.
I stood up to clear the plates, reaching out for Dan’s.
He looked up at me and only then did I notice how pale he looked – his face, slightly pinched with age, but still handsome. He stared at me, unsmiling and I realised he was nervous.
‘What?’ I asked with an encouraging smile.
He swallowed and bit his lip. Then he said it.
At first I assumed he was joking.
‘Yeah right, and I’m having an affair with James McAvoy.’ I shook my head and made for the door.
A lovely welcome to C.L. Taylor and the blog tour for her latest book, The Escape which was released by Avon on 23rd March.
“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”
When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t.
The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two-year old daughter Elise.
What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her.
No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.
This is such an intriguing psychological thriller from C.L Taylor. Straight away, she launches the reader into the action where nothing is as it seems on the surface. Once I had begun Jo’s story, I didn’t want to stop reading. This book is a real page turner.
The characters feel so normal in this book. The struggle Jo is dealing with is dealt with well along with the family issues Jo is having to deal with throughout the book.
I became very attached to Jo and Elise and I wanted things to work out for them. I did know that Jo simply wanted to do what was best for her daughter. She is a stronger character than even she would give herself credit for.
The trouble with a book like this though is that you begin to suspect everyone around the main characters. My theory as to who the bad guy or woman was changed throughout. There are many twists and turns that really do keep you guessing. This is a well plotted novel and the writing style made the book effortless to get absorbed in.by
A big welcome today to John Marrs and the blog tour for his novel, The One which was published as an eBook in January with the paperback following in May 2017.
How far would you go to find THE ONE?
One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.
A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…
Chris’s verdict on The One:
Imagine a world where all it takes to find your prefect partner is a simple DNA test. Should you follow the science and seek out that person, or follow convention and see where your heart leads you?
The book follows the stories of several individuals who are drawn together because they have received a notice from the DNA match website identifying their match. The characters are a strange group – Intellectuals, officials and even a serial killer.
I found that the book asks various questions; if you find your perfect match will you love them? If you fall in love with someone other than your match then will it, or can it, work out? And if you have met your perfect match will they love you despite your flaws?
The stories all occur simultaneously, following linear time though out the book, with individual chapters for each character which works wonderfully so as to draw you though the book as you always want to know what is going to happen to X or Y next.by
The Hit by Nadia Dalbuono was released on 9th February 2017 by Scribe UK.
The investigation of a hit-and-run in Rome leads Detective Leone Scamarcio on a deadly journey to confront his Mafia past.
When Leone Scamarcio is called to investigate an apparent hit-and-run, it seems like a job for a traffic officer, not one of Rome’s top detectives.
But when the victims are kidnapped on their way to the hospital, and Scamarcio discovers that they are the family of one of the country’s top television executives, the infamous Micky Proietti, things start to get interesting. Everyone, it seems ― from Premier League footballers to jilted starlets and even the Calabrian Mafia ― has an axe to grind with Proietti.
As Scamarcio delves into the underbelly of Italian show business, he discovers a possible connection between this investigation and his own Mafia father’s right-hand man. To solve the case he must travel home to Calabria, but can he finally banish the ghosts of the past?
My verdict on The Hit:
Detective Leone Scamarcio is back for his third novel in The Hit.
High flying TV executive Micky Proietti seems to be living the charmed life. He has a successful and lucrative career, a beautiful wife and a perfect son.
Then, when the three of them are in an accident, it is only due to the quick thinking of the driver that they are not all killed. Micky makes it to the hospital, his family doesn’t. They disappear. They’ve been kidnapped. Scamarcio is then in a race against time before this family is hurt further. His enquiries soon unearth secrets he didn’t expect and the investigation means he has to go back to his own past too.
This was my introduction to this series. I had not read the previous two novels. For the overall plot, this wasn’t an issue. You can pick this up and follow it. However, the only advantage in reading the first two before this one is that there are certain passages that elude to an incident in Scamarcio’s past so reading more in the series might give you more of an insight into that.by
A huge lovely welcome today to Helen Fields and the blog tour for her new novel, Perfect Remains (a DI Callanach thriller,) which was released by Avon on 26th January 2017.
On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.
In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness…
Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.
It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes … The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.
Helen and Avon have kindly shared an extract from Perfect Remains. Enjoy!
Jayne Magee was about as unlikely a target as anyone could imagine. There was no suggestion that Elaine Buxton was a regular at any church at all, so religion wasn’t the link. The pathologist hadn’t been able to estimate Elaine’s time of death, meaning they had no established pattern to follow, only the knowledge that she’d been missing sixteen days before her body was found. This time, the abductor might keep Jayne alive for weeks or she could be dead already. The killer had become a male in Callanach’s mind. There was no evidence, nothing solid, only years of past cases and what was screamingly obvious. Maybe it was more than one person, he considered, but Ava was right about looking at personality first. He couldn’t see such an obsessive character working well as a team player.
Callanach met with Jayne Magee’s assistant, Ann Burt, that afternoon. She dropped a dripping umbrella into Callanach’s bin then removed and folded her headscarf before sitting down.
Callanach instinctively tidied his desk as she settled in. Stick thin, shrill and at the far end of her sixties, he guessed, Ann Burt told it like it was. She reminded him of his grandmother, distant though those memories were.
‘So I’m talking to the detective inspector, am I?’ she began. ‘You’re the third person I’ve repeated myself to today. Would you like to tell me what’s going on?’by
It’s blog tour day for the brilliant debut novel, Before You Go by Clare Swatman.
When Zoe’s husband Ed dies, her world caves in. But what if Zoe can get Ed back?
You find your soulmate . . .
Some people stare love in the face for years before they find it. Zoe and Ed fumbled their way into adulthood, both on different paths – but always in the same direction. Years later, having navigated dead-end jobs and chaotic house shares, romance finally blossoms. Their future together looks set . . .
Then the unthinkable happens.
One morning, on his way to work, Ed is knocked off his bike and dies. Now Zoe must find a way to survive. But she’s not ready to let go of the memories. How can she forget all of the happy times, their first kiss, everything they’d built together? Zoe decides she has to tell Ed all the things she never said.
Now it’s too late. Or is it?
I’ve reviewed Before You Go below but first, I had a chat with Clare about her novel and her writing process. Hi Clare, thank you so much for joining me today. Your new book is called Before You Go. Could you tell me a little about it and what inspired it?
Thank you for having me. Before You Go is the story of Zoe and Ed. When Ed dies Zoe is left grieving and wishing she could go back and say all the things she didn’t say to him before he died. Then one day, after hitting her head, she wakes up as her 18 year old self, and realises that, for whatever reason, she’s back in the very first day she met Ed, and that she’s going to get the chance to see him again. Slowly, she realises she might even have been given the chance to change the past – and her future. It’s a story about enduring love, and regrets, and second chances.
Most of my ideas are inspired by people’s real stories. I was a true life magazine journalist for years and found that people’s real stories were actually a lot more interesting than anything you could make up! The spark for this came from a story I read about a woman who had an accident and when she woke up she thought she was 17 and didn’t know who her husband and kids were. Although this isn’t what Before You go is about, it got me thinking about what it would be like to wake up as a 17 year old again – and that sparked the idea for the book.
Which writers inspire you?
Margaret Atwood has always been one of my favourite writers. I love the way she writes really simply but conveys so much. I also adore Maggie O’Farrell. For me her stories just flow beautifully and her characters zing from the page. Her writing makes me want to be better. Last year I also really enjoyed the quirkiness of The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon so I hope she becomes one of my favourite authors, and I love Kate Atkinson too; although her books require a bit of concentration, they’re worth it!by
The blog tour train rolls in today. I am pleased to be welcoming Justine John to Novel Kicks. Her latest novel, Gilding The Lily was released on 24th November 2016.
A gripping mystery of jealousy, murder and lies.
An invitation to her estranged, wealthy father’s surprise 75th birthday party in New York sees Amelia and her husband, Jack, set off across the pond to meet a whole new world of family politics.
Amelia, now a successful businesswoman, feels guilty about never liking her father’s women, so does her upmost to give his new socialite partner, Evelyn, the benefit of the doubt. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could just all get along? But there’s something very dark, determined and dangerous about her…
When Amelia’s father, Roger, becomes ill, Jack grows suspicious that there is more to it. Amelia understands why, but no one else will believe them. They travel back to America to piece together the puzzle, but when Roger goes missing, the couple are driven to their wits’ end. It takes a DEA officer and a secret assassin to bring them answers, but the ruthless truth is something no one expected…
I’ve reviewed Gilding The Lily below but first, Justine talks to us about what she feels makes a good novel. Over to you, Justine.
I’ve read a fair amount of books and the ones that I enjoy most are the ones that keep me guessing until the very end, and then for it to be a real wow-factor.
I love to see body language in a setting or a discussion and I like to be able to understand what the character is feeling, so I get to know them, their peculiarities and their traits. That makes them real for me.
Recently I read a novel, where I guessed who the culprit might be half way through – but I also thought ‘no, this writer is too clever – she is leading me up the garden path and in the end it will be someone else’. It made the story almost more intriguing. But the end revealed that the killer was who I thought it was after all. For me it was a big let-down and I was truly disappointed. It also put me off buying the writers next novel. It was well written, grammatically speaking, and the paragraphs, points of view and story rolled and built up nicely. It was just the ending that let me down.by
Today, I am welcoming Amanda Brooke and the blog tour for her latest novel, The Affair which was released by Harper on 10th November in electronic form with the paperback release due for 12th January.
A shocking story about a fifteen-year-old girl and the man who took advantage of her
“You might as well know from the start, I’m not going to tell on him and I don’t care how much trouble I get in. It’s not like it could get any worse than it already is.
I can’t. Don’t ask me why, I just can’t.”
When Nina finds out that her fifteen-year-old daughter, Scarlett, is pregnant, her world falls apart. Because Scarlet won’t tell anyone who the father is. And Nina is scared that the answer will destroy everything.
As the suspects mount – from Scarlett’s teacher to Nina’s new husband of less than a year – Nina searches for the truth: no matter what the cost.
Hello Amanda. Thank you so much for joining me on Novel Kicks today. Your new book is called The Affair. Can you tell me a little about it and how the idea originated?
Thank you for inviting me on to Novel Kicks, it’s lovely to be here again! The Affair begins with the news that fifteen year old Scarlett is pregnant to a married man. She won’t say who it is, but the two likely candidates are her stepfather and her teacher. The story is told from the point of view of the men’s wives; Scarlett’s mum, Nina and teacher’s wife, Vikki. I also introduce Scarlett’s voice as a narrator, and she describes the early days of her relationship and how she feels when the accusations start to fly. I’m not sure how much I can say about how the idea originated without giving too much away. I had a scene in my head of a schoolgirl watching from the periphery while other people’s lives fell apart. She wasn’t meant to be the focal point of the book, other than perhaps a final reveal, but after long chats with my editor, the premise of the story morphed into something quite different, and it was both a pleasure and a challenge to write.
Can you describe what your typical writing day is like? Any rituals like needing tea or writing in silence?
You’ve asked that question at a very exciting time, because I gave up work this month to write full-time. I’ve spent thirty-one years in local government and for the last five I’ve been juggling two careers, fitting in my writing around the day job. I can tell you what I plan to do, which is to concentrate on my writing in the morning, which allows me to spend the rest of the day thinking about what I’ve written and where I need to take the story next. I’m conscious that working from home will be quite sedentary, so I’ve had my treadmill adapted, with a small desk that fits on top of the handlebars. My first hour of writing will be spent walking and typing so I can wake up my body and brain at the same time. As I’ve said, that’s only the plan so you might need to ask me again in a year’s time to see if I’ve kept to it.
How do you approach writing your novels? Are you much of a planner and need to know your characters well and plot inside out? Do you edit as you go?
When I have an idea for a story, I like to mull it over in my head for a while before I commit to paper. The starting point is a two page synopsis, which doesn’t necessarily cover sub-plots or minor characters but should be enough to capture the essence of the story. My next task is to cut up the synopsis into about twelve sections, which in theory will be the chapters and, if nothing else, it gives me some reassurance that I have enough of a story for a full length manuscript. When I’m ready to start writing, I tend to have a very clear idea of the opening and final scenes, but the rest of the book remains relatively fluid. I enjoy getting to know my characters and they’re the ones who fuel my imagination as I go along, creating situations and conflict I never could have imagined from the start. In terms of editing, I see that first draft almost as a test run, it’s only during the subsequent rewrites that I really get to know the story.by
OK, I admit it, I already have the Christmas songs playing and if I could get away with it, I would already have my tree up. I adore this time of year. I love the songs, the lights and any excuse to dig out the Christmas films whilst eating mince pies.
One of the things I love the most are the Christmas themed novels. I am very excited to say that Bella Osborne is with Novel Kicks today (welcome back, Bella,) with the blog tour for her latest Christmas themed novel, Christmas Cheer which is the second book in the Willow Cottage series.
Beth is running away. With her young son Leo to protect, Willow Cottage is the lifeline she so desperately needs. Overlooking the village green in a beautiful Cotswolds idyll, Beth sees a safe place for little Leo.
When she finally uncovers the cottage from underneath the boughs of a weeping willow tree, Beth realises this is far more of a project than she bargained for and the locals are more than a little eccentric!
A chance encounter with gruff Jack, who appears to be the only male in the village under thirty, leaves the two of them at odds but it’s not long before Beth realises that Jack has hidden talents that could help her repair more than just Willow Cottage.
Over the course of four seasons, Beth realises that broken hearts can be mended, and sometimes love can be right under your nose…
Thanks to Bella and Avon, we have an extract from Christmas Cheer. Enjoy…
‘Carly!’ said Beth, her voice sharp.
Carly spun in Beth’s direction with an exaggerated movement. With slow blinks she looked at Beth until something registered.
‘Beth! This is … um … what was your name again?’ She swung precariously back towards Jack who stopped her falling on him with one hand whilst holding the pub table steady with the other.
‘I know who it is.’ Beth was trying to suppress the annoyance that was rapidly developing within her.
‘He’s lov-erly,’ cooed Carly whilst she stroked his arm in a deliberate action.
‘I’d like to know what he’s planning on doing with my drunk friend?’ Beth retorted. Jack let go of
Carly as if she were a lit firework.
As the accusation slowly registered, Carly looked hurt. ‘I’m not dunk!’ she protested as she slowly slid towards the floor.
Jack was looking blindly from one woman to the other as if he’d just been teleported there. ‘I was just …’
‘For someone that wasn’t looking for a relationship a few hours ago you’ve sure as hell come round to the idea quick!’ Beth stepped forward and grabbed Carly by one arm and hauled her into a standing position. ‘Come on! We’re leaving now.’
Carly wobbled on unsteady legs, grinned inanely at Jack and was towed away.by
I’m excited to be welcoming Claudia Carroll (best-selling author and all round lovely lady,) back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her new book, All She Ever Wished For which was released by Avon on 6th October.
Marriage. It’s a dream come true. Isn’t it?
One wet winter night, two women meet on a bridge. One is Tess Taylor, a personal trainer on the way to meet her boyfriend for date night. The other is Kate King, a celebrity married to a handsome billionaire who just happens to make her cry. In the cold dark evening, there is nothing to link them together but the bridge they shiver on. Little do they know they’ll both hold the key to each other’s future marriage…
All She Ever Wished For tells the story of what happens when your dream is about to come true. And what happens when that dream turns into a bit of a nightmare…
Thanks to Claudia and the lovely people at Avon, I have an extract from All She Ever Wished For to share with you. Enjoy!
‘The main thing is not to panic,’ says Bernard, my hubby-to-be, when I call to fill him in on what’s just happened, my imminent heart attack, etc.
‘Try not to panic?’ I say, doing the exact polar opposite. ‘Bernard, I’ve just been summoned for jury service, bloody jury service and you’re telling me not to panic?’
I consult the now half-scrunched letter in my hand for about the thousandth time today. ‘Here it is in cold, hard print. I’ve got to be at the Criminal Courts of Justice at 9 a.m. this coming Monday morning. So forgive me for panicking when this lands on me less than a month and counting before D-Day! Do you realise how much there’s still left to do?’
It’s a rhetorical question; of course Bernard hasn’t the first clue what’s left to do. After all, he’s a forty-three-year-old heterosexual male. What the hell does he know about weddingy floral centrepieces or alternate menu choices for coeliac lacto-ovo vegetarians?
‘Now I strongly suggest you stay calm dearest,’ Bernard says patiently. ‘All this panic is getting you nowhere.
A nice cup of tea, that’ll soon set you to rights.’
Bernard, it has to be said, thinks that there’s no drama in this life that can’t be instantly righted with a cup of Clipper gold blend.
‘The thing you have to understand,’ I sigh, regrouping and trying my best to keep cool, ‘is that with a wedding like this, there’s a whole clatter of stuff that you can only leave till these last, precious few weeks. So there’s no way in hell I can handle something as huge as jury service right now. Besides, I’ve got my family and pals all roped into helping me out before the big day, how could I possibly just skive off to court and leave them to do all the heavy lifting for me?’by
I’m very happy to be welcoming Lenora Bell to Novel Kicks today and her blog tour for the latest novel in the Disgraceful Duke series, If I Only Had a Duke which is due to be released by Piatkus on 30th August 2016.
After four failed seasons and a disastrous jilting, Lady Dorothea Beaumont has had more than enough of her family’s scheming. She won’t domesticate a duke, entangle an earl or vie for a viscount. She will quietly exit to her aunt’s Irish estate for a life of blissful freedom. Until an arrogant, sinfully handsome duke singles her out for a waltz, making Thea the most popular belle of the season.
Well, the duke ruined her plans and now he’ll just have to fix them.
Dalton, Duke of Osborne, is far too heartless for debutantes or marriage – he uses dalliances to distract from his real purpose: finding the man who destroyed his family. When his search leads to Ireland, the last thing he needs is the determined, achingly innocent Thea, who arrives in the dead of night demanding he escort her to her aunt. His foolish agreement may prove his undoing. The road to the Emerald Isle is fraught with unforeseen dangers, but the greatest peril of all might just be discovering that he has a heart . . . and he’s losing it to Thea.
I’ve reviewed the book below but first, I’ve had a chat with Lenora. Hi Lenora, thank you so much for joining me today. First, can you tell me a little about your typical writing day and how many words you aim to write on a daily basis.
Hi Laura! Thanks for having me here at Novel Kicks! I see you have a cat named Buddy. Every writer should have a cat, don’t you think? They’re such good companions for long writing sessions. They just curl up and sleep to the sound of your clicking fingers on the keyboard as if it were rain pattering on a tin roof. (Yes, Lenora, I totally agree!)
Writing for me is both agony and ecstasy. There is a certain amount of slogging through the trenches that needs to happen before the words on the page learn to fly. A typical writing day for me means churning out extremely rough stream-of-consciousness pages and then spending three times as many hours trying to wrestle those rough pages into something fit to be seen by other eyes. I may have ten rough pages and only produce one edited page *sigh*. But when things go right there truly is no better feeling.
Do you have any writing rituals (plenty of coffee, writing in silence etc?)
Coffee, of course! Absolutely necessary for those late night writing binges. I find what helps me the most to focus on the emotional heart of scenes is to do some yoga and light a candle before I write, and then stop every hour or so and take a quick yoga break. It helps me focus as well as helps stretch all those cramped writing muscles.
Your new book, If I Only Had a Duke is the second in the Disgraceful Duke series. Can you tell me about it?
I’m so excited about this book! It’s the second in the Disgraceful Dukes series and is loosely inspired by the Wizard of Oz. If you read it with that in mind you’ll find subtle references throughout the novel. This is the story of Lady Dorothea Beaumont, who’s had more than enough of her family’s scheming and just wants to escape from London and live a quiet life as a spinster, and Dalton, Duke of Osborne, who uses public spectacle to distract from his true purpose—finding the man who destroyed his family.
How did you approach writing this novel in terms of planning and research?
I worked closely with my fabulous editor at Avon Books, Amanda Bergeron, on planning and plotting. Sometimes my plots tend to wander and she always reined me in and redirected me to the heart of the story. As for research, I read books and watched videos on everything from Regency-era traveling coaches, ships, and gaming hells to etiquette and recipes for trifle. It was tons of fun!by
Because of You by Helene Fermont is released today by Fridhem Publishing.
Because of You spans 36 years in the life of Hannah Stein, a Swedish teenager who arrives in London, at the tail end of the disco era, for a gap year before embarking on a teaching career. The people she meets change the course of her life irrevocably and the novel charts her changing personal and professional fortunes over the next three decades. Because of You is about love, coming of age, friendship, bereavement, stillbirth and rape. Its themes include redemption, acceptance, fidelity and family. Because of You is a story that every woman can relate to.
Thanks to Hélene, Fridhem and Palamedes PR, we have an exclusive extract to share with you. Enjoy.
As soon as Easter and Passover were over, Hannah organised a meeting between her grandmother and friends. “I booked a table at Cosmo,” she told the girls. “Ella and Granny’s old friends Katja and Tanya will be joining us.” May was approaching and with it, sunny hot weather. The ladies made the effort to look their best.
Opting to wear a light blue dress, her hair in a soft shade of red perfectly matching her lips, Zipporah admired Tanya and Katja’s bright kaftans, the latter wearing a turban to conceal her loss of hair due to old age. Meanwhile, Hannah assisted dressing Ella, choosing a lavender dress with matching jacket. Rosie and Sanna also made the effort to dress up.
Seated at the large table in the buzzing restaurant overlooking the crowd around them, Rosie kept thinking everyone looked wonderful. “You look years younger than your actual age!” she blurted out, referring to each by surname.
“Please don’t! Unless you refer to us by first name, we’ll feel ancient,” Zipporah whispered in her ear.
It was difficult choosing from the extensive menu. “I’m postponing my diet,” said Sanna. This place’s worth it.”
Nodding her agreement, Katja replied, “You’re a girl close to my own heart. Women are wrong assuming being thin as a stick’s attractive – men prefer a fuller, feminine figure!” Her Russian accent matched that of her friends’. Beaming, Sanna wholeheartedly agreed.
“I’d never contemplate cutting down on my food, neither would Tanya,” Katja added, winking at the larger woman seated next to her.by
I’m very happy to be welcoming Tracy Buchanan back to Novel Kicks and her blog tour for her new novel which is called No Turning Back (published by Avon on 28th July 2016.)
When radio presenter Anna Graves and her baby are attacked on the beach by a crazed teenager, Anna reacts instinctively to protect her daughter.
But her life falls apart when the schoolboy dies from his injuries. The police believe Anna’s story, until the autopsy results reveal something more sinister.
A frenzied media attack sends Anna into a spiral of self-doubt. Her precarious mental state is further threatened when she receives a chilling message from someone claiming to be the ‘Ophelia Killer’, responsible for a series of murders twenty years ago.
Is Anna as innocent as she claims? And is murder forgivable, if committed to save your child’s life…?
I have reviewed it below but thanks to Tracy and Avon, here is an extract from chapter seven of the book. Enjoy. (Warning, small amount of bad language.)
The Third One
‘My friends call me Coolio,’ the boy says.
‘Not for the reasons you think though,’ he adds. ‘It’s ’cos I once got my fingers stuck in a freezer door.’
I laugh again. This one’s funny.
‘I like it here,’ the boy says. We’re sitting in his garden, looking out towards the sea through the broken panels of his fence. It’s boiling hot and we’re both trying to huddle under a small tree, the one piece of shade out here. He’s new here, only been living in The Docks for three weeks.
I can’t help but look towards his pond. It shimmers under the bright exhausting sun and I have a flashback to the week before and the pale body that had lain prone in filthy water.
Guilt swirls with excitement. You said that will change, the guilt will eventually fade. I think you’re right, I’m starting to feel braver, fingers tingling with excitement.by
I am pleased to be welcoming Liz Nugent to Novel Kicks today and the blog tour for her new book, Lying in Wait.
‘My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.’
Lydia Fitzsimons lives in the perfect house with her adoring husband and beloved son. There is just one thing Lydia yearns for to make her perfect life complete, though the last thing she expects is that pursuing it will lead to murder. However, needs must – because nothing can stop this mother from getting what she wants …
I’ve reviewed the book below but first, Liz chats to us about her approach to writing psychological thrillers. Over to you, Liz….
I have always been interested in the psychology of killers. What makes them tick, how they deal with the horror of what they have done. Two books which were hugely influential were John Banville’s The Book of Evidence and Sebastian Faulks’ Engleby. Both were first person narratives about deeply flawed men.
I used to work on a TV soap opera and one day in a story meeting, we were discussing a character who had just killed somebody and I insisted that he must be extremely distressed and I said ‘You know the way when you dream you’ve murdered somebody and you wake up in the horrors?’ Everyone just stared at me and that was when I realised that I was the only one who had those nightmares. I kill people in my sleep!
In real life, I am a pacifist and actively avoid confrontation, so I’m not sure from where this murderous side of my psyche comes, but I hope it has given me an edge when writing from the point of view of murderers!by