Friends on Twitter

You know something that I really value? Having true, honest to god, could-get-together-and-have-a-great-time friends on Twitter.

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I mean, I value having those kind of friends I have met offline as well. Of course I do. I have my best friends from school and childhood. My BFF in all the world, a woman I truly believe to be a soulmate type. We don’t see each other nearly enough, but life gets in the way, doesn’t it? I have my work friends whom I love. It’s not a deep and meaningful appreciation for student and academic admin that keeps me going back, believe. (Okay, some of it is the regular paycheque. This girl has a reasonably expensive Nespresso habit and a car loan).

But I also have my friends on Twitter. Likeminded, beautiful, strong-AF, hilarious, kind people who mean a lot to me. And that’s rather nice, because I think, as you get older, you get more picky about who you devote time to. You suffer fools less. You learn your worth. And Twitter, as vast as it is, can be pretty superficial in terms of interaction. You might have a little chat with someone, but there’s so much going on that it’s easy to forget. To not check in. To move on to the next thing. That person disappears into the ether. You refresh and they’re gone.

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A few weeks ago, I went to Laura Pearson’s book launch party. It was delightful, for so many reasons. Her debut, Missing Pieces (Agora), is wonderful. A proper tear-jerker. Heavy subject matter, which I knew before I read it, and set in the town where I live, which had me intrigued. I love to be able to imagine the settings of the books I read — who doesn’t? And the fact the book is set in Southampton, and name checks the very place where I am gainfully employed, well, it made the book all the more special to me. Read her book, have tissues handy, but know it will leave you with a warm feeling.

Anyway, the book launch. I’ve never been to one, and I was thrilled to be invited. There was cake (and gin). Laura mingled, did a reading. I won’t forget the look of absolute pure love, admiration, pride, and joy on her husband’s face. Get you a partner who looks at you the way Laura’s husband looks at her. Truthfully, I got a bit emosh. I think we all did. Like I said, it was delightful.

And the other reason I was so excited to be there, was because those smart, beautiful, funny women I’m I spend so much time talking to, they were there, too! (Well, of course Laura was there! It was her book launch! Be a bit weird if she wasn’t.) And it didn’t feel like the first time we’d spent time in each other’s company either. We gossiped and talked about people we fancy (natch), and each other’s writing, and how things are going, and about how it was such a lovely thing to get together like that, under such happy circumstances. If you saw us, sitting around that table, you’d never know we’d never met before that day. We have a WhatsApp group now, and that’s sealed it. Fronds til the Ond.

I said that Twitter’s a vast place, but it can also feel small and cliquey, and sort of like you’re shouting at a room full of people, none of whom are really listening. You can feel as if you’re floating around, on the periphery of conversations, like walking into a place where everyone knows each other and you know exactly no one, and you have to have those awkward introductions time and time again until you stick with someone. Which is why finding people who are listening, who will shoo away the inevitable imposter syndrome that comes with writing, who will celebrate your achievements and send you gifs of delicious men when you’re feeling low or hormonal is a Very Cool Thing. That shit’s important. It buoys you up, it keeps you going.

So, I’m thankful to the people who invented the website with the little blue bird mascot, because we’d have probably never met otherwise, and I’m thankful for my tribe, and now I’m signing off, before this gets too mawkish and I start pulling a Gwyneth At The Oscars. Should probably get back to editing my book anyway.

But look at this, my little Twitter FamJam. BAMFs, the lot of us.

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Look at Lia’s head covering an arty arse picture!
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Review – Madam Love, Actually

unnamed-1Lance Parker doesn’t believe in soulmates. In fact, Lance Parker doesn’t believe in soulmates so much that he wrote a book about it. He’s sticking to his guns. He’s a man who will not be swayed. Emma Wright, aka Madam Love, is a fortune teller from San Francisco, and she definitely believes in soulmates. Her gift has helped countless couples find happiness together. When she hears Lance on the radio, talking about his book, and his distaste for fortune tellers, she’s compelled to call in to defend herself and her gift, and a challenge is set. Can Madam Love find cynical Lance Parker his soulmate? Challenge accepted, but she doesn’t bank on them falling for each other. What will happen when Lance finds out that Madam Love is Emma? And how long can Emma juggle her life before Lance figures it all out?

I haven’t read a whole lot of chicklit/romance novels written by dudes, and this was the first time I’ve read anything by Rich Amooi, so I was excited to get stuck into it. It didn’t disappoint. It’s a sweet, nicely constructed story with a mushy happy ever after ending which made me feel all gooey inside. The characters are likeable, and I found myself rooting for them and for their relationship long before the end. There were a couple of instances where I wanted Emma to make different choices, but in true spirit of the story, going with it led to the best outcome in the end. Madam Love Actually is a pleasant, fun read. Not too long, and easy to get lost in. This happy romcom could while away an afternoon or two quite happily.

Feel like diving in to Madam Love Actually? Buy this book here (US) here (UK) here (AUS) and here (CAN)

What’s this? TWO giveaways in as many days?! Crikey!  Click this here link to win a Sterling Silver Lucky Charm Pendant, plus an autographed paperback copy of Madam Love, Actually. (Open Internationally). Terms and Conditions below.

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About the Author

unnamedRich Amooi is a former radio personality who now writes romantic comedies full-time. He is happily married to a kiss monster imported from Spain. They live in San Diego, California with their very hairy daughter, a mini goldendoodle puppy. Rich believes in public displays of affection, silliness, infinite possibilities, donuts, gratitude, laughter, and happily ever after.

 

 

 

 

 

Giveaway T&C and legal bobbins

*Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter link above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Review – Oh Crumbs

unnamedSometimes life just takes the biscuit…

Abby Spencer knows she can come across as an airhead – she talks too much and is a bit of a klutz – but there’s more to her than that. Though she sacrificed her career to help raise her sisters, a job interview at biscuit company Crumbs could finally be her chance to shine. That’s until she hurries in
late wearing a shirt covered in rusk crumbs, courtesy of her baby nephew, and trips over her
handbag.

Managing director Douglas Faulkner isn’t sure what to make of Abby Spencer with her Bambi eyes,
tousled hair and ability to say more in the half-hour interview than he manages in a day. All he knows is she’s a breath of fresh air and could bring a new lease of life to the stale corporate world of Crumbs. To his life too, if he’d let her.

But Doug’s harbouring a secret. He’s not the man she thinks he is…

Oh Crumbs is sweet vanilla escapism. It’s nicely paced and doesn’t stagnate, or even really meander. I enjoyed the dual perspectives – you’re never really left guessing how Doug or Abby are feeling, which makes for a nicely rounded story. I would have liked a little more sass in parts, and more from Doug’s sisters. Secondary characters perhaps, but you got much more of a feeling Abby’s sister’s personalities, and it would have been great to have learnt a little more about Doug’s, too, if nothing more than for the complete juxtaposition of their lives and upbringings. Still, I found myself cheerleading everyone by the end, especially the Faulkner Matriarch. There’s more to her than meets the eye.

All in, I liked Oh Crumbs. It would make a nice poolside read, probably doable in one sitting if you have the time. You don’t have to think too much about it, it’s not complicated to keep up with, and it’s benign and sweet, sort of like a custard cream or one of those sugary Nice biscuits.

Think this might be up your street? Buy it on Amazon here (UK) or here (US).

Oooh! A giveaway! Open internationally! What fun. Enter via that there link for a chance to win Too Damn Nice, by Kathryn Freeman. Terms and conditions and legal bobbins below.

About the Author

unnamed-1A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero.

With two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.

Follow Kathryn on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

*Terms and Conditions – Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using
Rafflecopter. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all
valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received
within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all
entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is
used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for
fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for
despatch or delivery of the prize.

Cover Reveal – The Lucky Dress by Aimee Brown

We all have our lucky dress… an irresistibly hilarious rom-com: perfect for fans of Anna Bell, Jo Watson and Sophie Kinsella.

I’m so excited to bring you guys this cover reveal for The Lucky Dress by Aimee Brown. I read this a while in its previous life as Little Gray Dress and loved it. Aimee has a way of pulling you in and I read it in almost one sitting.

So here we go!

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Gorgeous, huh?! Can’t wait to re-read with the updates!

Blurb

Emi Harrison hasn’t been feeling particularly lucky lately. Ever since her ex-fiancée, Jack Cabot, successfully shattered her heart into a million pieces. She’s managed to avoid him for a whole year, but all that’s about to change at her brother Evan’s wedding…

She will have to face Jack, Jack’s sister, Jack’s parents, and Jack’s new girlfriend: a mean girl that just won’t quit. What could possibly go wrong?

But with her lucky dress on, she might just find new love, life, and maybe even happiness at last!

*This book was previously published as Little Gray Dress (now has a 20k word addition)

Publisher: Aria Fiction
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Chick Lit

Released on August 07, 2018, but click here to pre order now.

About the Author

Aimee Brown is a writer of romantic comedies set in Portland, Oregon, and an avid reader. She spends much of her time writing, raising three teenagers, binge-watching shows on Netflix and obsessively cleaning and redecorating her house. She’s fluent in sarcasm and has been known to utter profanities like she’s competing for a medal.

Aimee grew up in Oregon but is now a transplant living in cold Montana with her husband of twenty years, three teenage children, and far too many pets. She is a lot older than she looks and yes, that is a tattoo across her chest. Aimee is very active on social media and would love to see you stop by and say hello.

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Follow Aimee on Twitter, Facebook, Insta, on her website, and sign up to her newsletter.

Book Review – Production Values

Kat and Bea, best friends forever and business partners. On the brink of the big time after the success of their BBC TV show, 21 Things. The pair are on their way to Hollywood and Kat has her eye on Ian Graham, hot-as-hell star of the show and serial philanderer. He has half an eye on her as well, but is he really just enabling Kat’s dreams, or does he have some other agenda?

Kat and Bea are two very different women, and Stateside, quieter, hardworking Bea begins to see success of her own, whilst all the plates Kat’s been spinning in her pursuit of becoming a Hollywood Darling begin to crash around her, causing a rift between the two.

What lengths will Kat go to in order to get what she wants? Even if her actions call their friendship into question. And will reliable, malleable Bea still be there for her if it all comes tumbling down?

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Production Values is the story of what can happen when you put ambition before friendship, loyalty and the family you choose, and I loved it. Hooked by the end of the first chapter, I could not put this down. I read it on my lunch break at work, I read it late into the night. I read it whilst my daughter had her swimming lesson, and standing in the queue at the supermarket. The dialogue is witty and real. The story flows well and is nicely researched and always entertaining, laced with metaphor. Funny but also gut-wrenchingly heartbreaking in parts, especially when dealing with the omnipresent mess Ian Graham leaves in his wake. Liv Bartlett captures emotion near perfectly and the juxtaposition of ambitious artist and romantic dreamer Kat next to stoic, level-headed, ever-forgiving Bea is refreshing and constant throughout.

There were a few occasions when characters were introduced, but not quite introduced enough, leaving me feeling a little momentarily lost, like I had to skim back a bit, or stop and think, just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything, but on the whole I thoroughly enjoyed this peek into life on set across the world.

Author Bio –

Liv Bartlet is the pseudonym for writing partners Becca McCulloch and Sarah McKnight, who have been building worlds and telling stories together for more than a decade. They’ve logged hours of behind-the-scenes movie and TV footage and challenged each other in a friendly Oscar guessing game every year this millennium. Lifelong Anglophiles, their Monkey & Me world sprang to vivid life on a trip to London that included divine pastries, sublime art, and a spectacular pratfall in the British Museum.

Becca is a professor, a scientist, and a secret romantic who insisted their first order of business in London was a meandering five-mile walk to see Big Ben. She lives with her husband, children, and an ever-expanding roster of pets in Logan, Utah.

Sarah is an Army brat, an Excel geek, and has a lot of opinions on the differences between science fiction and fantasy. She lives with her cat, Sir Jack—who is featured prominently on Liv’s Instagram —just outside Salt Lake City.

You can buy Production Values here if you’re UK based, and here if you’re in the US, and  if you like the sound of it you can enter this giveaway!

Giveaway – Win  Production Values & Off Script e-books & $25 or equivalent Amazon Gift Card (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!

Tomorrow Getting Over Jesse Franklin is THREE! My first baby, the story ignited by my love of 90’s boybands, hot bass players and seaside towns in Orange County was published three years ago.

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On that day, I watched my sales stats like a hawk (obvs). I paced. I went and got a tattoo (yep), and then I picked up the kids from school. Later in the evening, I drank prosecco, sat on the sofa and did a Twitter Q&A. We may have got a curry. I can’t remember now.

It was so exciting, publishing that book. Nerve wracking, too. What if no one else liked it? What if I’d written a pile of crap? What if Cassie was a bit of a basic bitch? What if Jesse was smarmy and gross, and not at all the amazing, slightly troubled, sexy AF book boyfriend I’d been aiming for? What if the humour fell flat, or the dialogue wasn’t snappy? What if the sex was just cringe?

(Don’t tell me if it is, yeah? It’s terrifying enough writing those scenes. Alcohol is involved every single time.)

After that it was back to it. I’d already started on Jetplanes to Jupiter. Part two. The story carried on because I kinda sorta definitely fell completely in love with this world I’d created, that I’m still creating, that you’ll see a different side to in The Songs We Listened To.

Anyway, it’s a birthday, and birthdays require cake and a celebration, and so, from today until Sunday Kindle readers can download Getting Over Jesse Franklin for the price of free! And if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read it for free any time you like (and that way I still get paid, so you know, everyone’s a winner!)

And if you have read it, and enjoyed it, I’d appreciate a review. Think of it as a book birthday present!

Seal Beach, CA

Last autumn, my friend Ve and I decided that we deserved a trip away. ‘Fuck it,’ we said, ‘Let’s go to LA. YOLO!’

(and, you guys, this is where collecting air miles comes in very handy. My return flight to Los Angeles on Virgin Atlantic was £290. Taxes only. What an absolute STEAL!)

In any case, whilst we were there I used to opportunity to visit a little beachside town just south of LA. It’s a town I’ve written about pretty extensively, but until last Monday, had never actually been to. Seal Beach, Orange County. It’s the town my books are set in. It’s where Jesse Franklin lives, although it isn’t name checked until close to the end of Jetplanes. And as it turns out it was absolutely perfect and I completely fell in love with the place. Gah. Typical.

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Seal Beach pier. Where my book characters pop off to sulk.

Never have I been so proud of myself for randomly sticking a pin in a map and committing to it.

We took an Uber there from Venice, and during the drive I sat and looked out of the window and took it all in. I looked at the mountains on the horizon, and at Downtown LA flicking in and out of view as the freeway curved around, and all the neighbourhoods and the long stretches of road, all places I’d navigated extensively on Google maps and had only visited in my head. We pulled up by the pier and it felt so familiar.

After a stint on the beach, we ambled down Main Street, and poked around in boutiques where Cassie would almost certainly buy all her clothes (I picked up a dress and some jewellery. Would have been rude not to, really). We went to a coffee shop and drank iced lattes. We ate chicken wings and chilli cheese fries and drank a vanilla flavoured beer called Cali Creamin’ for lunch, and we strolled down the pier, watched the sun glint off the water and gazed at the outline of Catalina Island far off in the distance. We looked over the side at the ocean slapping against the legs of the pier and we walked right up to the chain link fence at the end.

We walked down the street with the beach houses on, and I tried to figure out which one of them would have been perfect for my book, but I couldn’t decide; they all were.

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One of these fancy houses is Jesse’s house

Honestly, I felt quite emotional walking around. I make zero secret of the fact that my books are one of my most proudest achievements, and going to their home felt really special. I felt connected to Seal Beach in a way I didn’t expect at all.

And I told everyone I met there about my book; a very lovely British expat we met in Bogart’s, who was surprised to hear another British accent in such a small Californian town. The girls in the boutiques we went to, and the guy we saw walking down the beach holding a god damn guitar. Jesus Christ, can you believe it? It was too good an opportunity to pass up.

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Are you kidding me? I write books about a guitarist who lives in this here very town, and then there’s this guy walking down the beach. IS HE JESSE? No. His name was Michael.

We got a taxi back to Venice late in the afternoon, and although I was almost a bit sad to leave my book home, I was so glad to have made the trip out there. It might not be the most glitzy or well known of OC beach towns, but one thing is for absolute certain, I’ll definitely be back.

If, after reading this post, you felt like buying my books, then I’d be delighted! Here, let me point you in the right direction:

Start here: Getting Over Jesse Franklin

And then read the sequel: Jetplanes to Jupiter