Friday, 21 November 2014

A bit of a catch-up...

I don't appear to have blogged for a while, but that's because I've been a bit busy working on my 12th novel, a work-in-progress that started out as something I just couldn't seem to get my head around, and ended up being a book I've fallen completely in love with! Hence my need to, basically, shut down everything else, hide away in the office ignoring social media as best I can, and get on with trying to finish this manuscript before Christmas, so I can spend the holidays going through this first draft and polishing it up, because there's a lot that still needs doing to it. It was, originally, supposed to have been submitted to my publishers in early December, but they've been incredibly understanding of the problems I had with this story in the beginning, and the extension they've allowed me has really helped ease the pressure, and make this book a hundred times better than it would have been if I'd had to rush the manuscript. Because I hate submitting anything I don't truly love. And I truly love this story. Now. 

But I just want to say, to anyone who might think I've been ignoring their posts on Facebook, or not saying thank you for the RTs on Twitter, I'm not ignoring you. I promise. I just need to get my head down and write, or this manuscript just ain't gonna get finished! I promise to work on being a lot more sociable in the new year. ;-)

So, that's what I've been concentrating on for the past few weeks - and the only clue I'm going to give out as to what this new book is about is... well. Let's just say it's businessman versus biker. And I've had so much fun with that scenario, I can't even tell you...

Anyway, what else has been going on with me lately? Nothing earth shatteringly exciting, except... I've only gone and managed to nab tickets to see the Foo Fighters at Sunderland's Stadium of Light next May!!!! Which is what seems to have distracted me a little bit these past couple of days. 

Not been to a live gig for AGES, so I'm a touch giddy at the prospect of not only experiencing another stadium gig next year, but I'm actually going to see one of my absolute favourite bands ever! These guys are celebrating twenty years together in 2015, and I have been a fan for all that time. Always loved them, always wanted to see them live, and the fact I'm now going to see them play just a few miles up the road from me has got me more than a little excited! I knew there was a reason I didn't want to see Take That on tour next year - the first tour of theirs I've ever missed. But there was just no excitement at the prospect of seeing Howard Donald, Mark Owen and Gary Barlow play live. No excitement at all. And finding out the Foos were coming to Sunderland on the same day Take That tickets came on sale, well, I had to make a choice. Couldn't afford both. And Dave Grohl would win any fight between him and Barlow! No contest. Can't frigging wait!!!!!

So, apart from me cracking on with this manuscript, making plans for 'Retribution', the sequel to 'Revolution' and the next book in The Lone Riders Series - which I hope to get back to working on in January - and booking tickets to see my rock idols, things have been pretty quiet around here. Oh, except that I now have all four of my HarperImpulse-released books out in paperback. And I've got copies of all of them, which has been a dream come true for me, to have some of my books in print. 

My babies in paperback...

I just think those 'Striker' book covers look gorgeous together...

And before I go, an update on our latest TV binge-watching box-set experience. We're up to Season 6 of '24' now, and I'm addicted! I just wish people would listen to Jack Bauer. It frustrates the hell out of me when they don't. I can understand why he gets so arsey now... 

I'm also in complete denial that it's only 5 weeks until Christmas, and in even bigger denial that there are only two more episodes of 'Sons of Anarchy' left. Ever. The only thing getting me through that - apart from the thought of seeing the Foo Fighters next year - is that there's still one final season of 'Justified' to go in January. Timothy Olyphant in that Stetson... yum...


Thursday, 30 October 2014

MC Romances, reviews, and a possible re-write...

Yesterday I did something I vowed I would never do again - I let a slightly dodgy review get to me. Thankfully, I didn't see this review until the end of the day so I didn't waste a whole lot of writing time fretting over it, but I did - stupidly - let it bother me for the rest of the evening. 

The review in question was a two-star review on Amazon UK for my MC Romance Revolution. And it hasn't had all that many reviews to begin with - although the two it already has on the UK site have been positive - but it wasn't so much getting the dodgy review itself that bothered me, that's all part and parcel of being a writer. I mean, this reader called Revolution the worst MC book they'd read but I've also had someone over on Amazon.com say it was the best book they'd read in a long time, so there you go. Proof that you can't please everybody. As an author you take the rough with the smooth, develop a thick skin and get on with it. I've been doing this long enough to know that now. You really won't please everyone all of the time and if you do happen to manage that then you're extremely lucky. No, I think what got to me was the fact this reader, to all intents and purposes, called Revolution a Sons of Anarchy rip-off. They didn't use those exact words, but that's what they were trying to say. And I'm not going to deny that, yes, Revolution was heavily inspired by Sons of Anarchy. But it isn't in any way based on that show. Because there is a difference. Yes, there are similarities as far as certain characters are concerned, maybe, but for somebody to say there wasn't an original idea or storyline in the book... that's wrong. That's what upsets me. The story has absolutely nothing to do with SOA, the story is original, but, do you know what? Maybe this kind of review actually does me a favour in the long run. People can read it for themselves, form their own opinions, check out the free sample you can get from Amazon, or read the first two chapters for free here on my blog. And then make a decision as to whether the book is for them or not. Negative reviews can work just as well as the greatest ones in my opinion. They all help to form a reader's opinion. But sometimes you also have to read between the lines of reviews, check out the other kind of books that particular reader likes. And when I did this it would seem that this person prefers a different kind of MC Romance to what Revolution actually is, because I don't think it is a typical MC Romance. 



Which brings me on to the subject of this sub-genre itself. There are so many MC books out there, and from what I can gather they all range from the funny and romantic to the violent and harsh. Some readers have their favourite authors, and a style of MC Romance they like, so no way is every MC Romance going to appeal to every lover of this genre. And Revolution, in my opinion, isn't your average MC Romance. Which, to be honest, may or may not be a bad thing, because your average MC Romance is what appears to be incredibly popular. Revolution isn't just the gritty kind of love story concerning one girl and one boy. I mean, yeah, that's all in there, but it's also the story of the club itself, the people involved with it. And the main characters are all slightly older than those in other MC Romances that I've checked out. Yes, it's gritty, but not as gritty as some of these books. Yes, it's got some hot sex in there, definitely! That's what I do best, after all - write hot sex scenes!! But I don't think it falls anywhere near the category of typical MC Romance. It's very much my own style of writing, because the worst possible thing a writer can do is veer from that and try and be something they're not. I spent way too much time in the early days of my writing career writing what I thought everyone wanted to read, and that was a mistake. It's taken me a lot of years and eleven books to find the route I really want to take  - the edgy, gritty side of romance. A lot of years to finally feel settled and happy with my writing, and I honestly thought I'd left those days of letting bad reviews get to me behind. But do you know why I think this particular review really got to me? Not just because they all but accused me of ripping off Sons of Anarchy, which I haven't. It's because I care a hell of a lot about Revolution. I'm proud of that book.


But I'm not going to lie. Reading that review kind of knocked my confidence somewhat. There are so many great MC books out there, and most of them are getting mainly 4 and 5* reviews so that in itself makes you think your own book just isn't cutting it in this market. But that way of thinking has to go. I'm binning it, right here, right now. Like I said before, I don't think Revolution is your typical MC Romance. It's a bit different, therefore the reaction to it is going to be mixed, of course it is. So, should I not just try and write the kind of MC Romance everyone seems to go for, then? Think I've already mentioned that would be a mistake. No, what I have to do is stick to my guns, believe in a book I'm proud of and let it find its own market. Some people have really loved it, others not so much. And that's fine. What's not fine is somebody all but coming out and saying it's a rip-off of something else. That gets to me. As a writer you take inspiration from so many avenues - from things you read, TV shows or movies you watch, a song you hear. And you take those things and you build your own story around that inspiration. I've written eleven books. I don't need to rip-off anyone else's idea. I have enough of my own...

However, that review also made me think about the next book in The Lone Riders Series - Retribution. I was planning on making it a full-blown prequel to Revolution, covering the eight years or so Lexi had been exiled from the Paradise chapter; her time spent over in England with her father, the President of the Mother Chapter and the son of the man who founded The Lone Riders MC. But now I'm seriously thinking about changing that idea. Is a prequel really a good idea? Are people really interested in reading a story they already know the vague details of, if they've read Revolution? As I've already written almost a quarter of this book, seeing all that work go to waste really is a wrench, but I'm trying to think of the bigger picture here. I want to succeed in this genre, even though I'm an extremely small fish in a huge pond full of established MC authors with a fan base bigger than I could ever dream of. But I'm just starting out in this genre. And I want to continue writing MC books, to get better and progress and maybe, one day, I can be up there with the best of them. Anything's possible, if you believe in yourself, and the books you write. Which I do. Like I said, I'm extremely proud of Revolution. I wrote that book in just six weeks, because the words just wouldn't stop flowing. And that was so exciting. That's what made me want to carry on with these books, to bring The Lone Riders MC back to life by continuing the series, and whilst book 2 will still be released early next year, the form it takes is still undergoing a re-think. It may not be the full-blown prequel I first intended it to be, instead it might be the brand new story it maybe should be, with relevant flashbacks included. I don't know. I haven't had enough reader feedback to help me decide what to do for the best, so I just have to trust my own instincts on this one. But what I do know is that I made the mistake of letting a review get to me yesterday, and that isn't going to happen again. I believe in Revolution. So check out the review for yourself. Read it. Then read the first couple of chapters of the book HERE, or download the free sample from Amazon and see what you think. 

All I know is I'm in love with a different kind of MC Romance. And that's what I'm going to continue to write...

Monday, 27 October 2014

Sons of Anarchy Season 7, Episode 7 - My Favourite Moments...


*Yeah, the usual SPOILER warning applies here*


So, we're up to episode 7 already as this final ride hurtles towards its inevitable climax way too soon for my liking. But, I actually got a few laughs out of this one. And even though this final season is still getting criticism from some for its lack of "big"  moments, I'm too sad it's coming to an end to criticise anything. I'm just enjoying it. And hoping that Kurt Sutter still has something incredible up his sleeve for the climax. 

Anyway, 'Greensleeves' - here are my most memorable moments...

* Juice not getting killed. Because I honestly thought that's what was going to happen after the end of last week's episode, even though, in hindsight, it was probably way too obvious an outcome to be honest. Instead, Jax has kind of given him a way to get back into the club by getting himself sent to prison in order to kill Lin. Yeah. Jax is still barking up that wrong tree. But I'm seriously hoping it won't be too long before he finds out the truth behind who really killed Tara... Which brings me onto this next one...


* Abel overhearing Gemma tell Thomas that it was her who killed his mom. Poor kid. Not the words you really want to hear coming out of grandma's mouth... 

* A little bit of light relief - that exchange between Jax, Rat and Happy after Jax told them to get Gemma up to the cabin:

Rat - "What if she says no? Your mom can... you know, be a little... difficult." 

Jax - "Are you afraid of my mother?" 

Happy (with a completely straight face) - "We all are."

Not half as afraid as poor Abel must be feeling...

* Unser's growing suspicion. This man used to a police officer. Surely he's beginning to put two and two together by now?

* Gemma's terrified expression when Happy and Rat turn up to take her to the cabin. Not entirely sure why they didn't just tell her the reason why they were taking her there, but I suppose it was to try and heighten the tension somewhat. Have to say, though, Katey Sagal does a pretty good terrified expression. Even if we knew she had nothing to be frightened or nervous of. Yet...

* More light relief in the shape of Jax and Chibs dealing with the nasty pimp Greensleeves...

Chibs - "That was a very sloppy suicide." (And he even managed to make that sound sexy...)

Jax - "Yeah. It worked. He's dead."

I do like it when SOA throws in these occasional one-liners. And that particular exchange made my husband laugh for a good few minutes afterwards.

* Nero, becoming increasingly pig-sick of everything! I am loving Jimmy Smits as Nero. You can just tell he wants out of all this, but nothing's that simple, is it? And just what does he know, exactly? How's he going to deal with it all...? 

Chucky... give that guy a cut...
* A long overdue appearance from Chucky. Patch the poor guy in, come on! The sight of him riding into TM on that moped was just brilliant... Seriously. Patch him in...

* Poor Bobby! What's going to happen now? Is he going to survive? Spend the last few episodes wearing an eye-patch? Yeah... this mess is just getting bigger and bigger, but that's probably only to be expected. And whereas, before, I feared Juice would be the first club member to die, I'm now more than a little nervous for Bobby.

* Still not enough Tig! I want more Tig! Although, to be fair, there was quite a bit of Chibs in this episode so I shouldn't complain...


* Katey Sagal's truly haunting rendition of 'Greensleeves' during the montage at the end. So fitting, and beautifully done, even if I couldn't get the bloody tune out of my head for days afterwards...


The Final Ride continues... and I'm still in denial that it'll all be over before Christmas...

        

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

'Revolution' - Prequels and Sequels to my MC Romance

At the time of writing this post I'm doing some work on book two in The Lone Riders MC Series - Retribution. And that book is actually going to be a prequel, looking back in more detail at the eight years Lexi Hart was exiled from Paradise, the northern Californian town she's called home since the age of fourteen. Exiled from a chapter of the club she's been a part of since the day she was born; the club her grandfather Thomas Hart created. The club her father, Charlie Hart, now runs.


And why am I making Retribution a prequel? Because it is a risk, I know that only too well. Revolution has sold pretty well over the past couple of weeks since its release. And I'd like to think the next book in the series will repeat that pattern, but yes, it's a big risk to embark on a prequel for the next book. Because I'm sure most people who've read Revolution, and enjoyed it enough to look forward to Retribution, may be quite keen on finding out just where the club goes from where it left off in book one.

But I just really felt the need to write this prequel. I think there are questions that still need to be answered from that first book; questions about what happened during the time Lexi was away from Paradise and, indeed, the few months leading up to the events that saw her driven out of town in the first place. I felt the need to explore the person she was before Revolution; the reasons why she did what she did, what drove her to it, the relationships she had. 


I also wanted to introduce the Newcastle chapter of The Lone Riders - the Mother Chapter. The British chapter ran by Lexi and Kip's dad Charlie. Because that chapter is going to play a big part in future books. 

But will it work? Writing a story that the readers of Revolution already know the bare bones of? Well, that's just it, really. They know the bare bones. They know what went on, on the surface anyway. But I wanted to dig deeper. I wanted to explore further - both the club and the people who live by the rules of The Lone Riders.


So, Retribution will begin just a couple of months before the events that saw Lexi driven out of Paradise. And then it will focus on her time spent over in England with her father, and everything that happened whilst she was over there - the consequences of those actions she undertook, and the eventual reason why she had to come back to Paradise.


Am I nervous about this? Yeah. Of course I am. Not everyone will be happy with a prequel, but this felt right, to do this first before beginning work on book three in the series - Resurrection - which will jump forward again, back to present day.

Have I made the right decision to make Retribution the book it's going to be? I'd love to know what you think. All I know right now is that I've fallen in love with MC Romance. I've fallen in love with my own fictional club and the characters who inhabit it. I've fallen in love with writing these books, and I just hope people love reading them as much as I'm enjoying writing them...


Revolution - Book one in The Lone Riders MC Series - is available to download now from Amazon.





    Are you ready for the ride...?


Monday, 20 October 2014

Sons of Anarchy Season 7 Episode 6 - Halfway through already...?


* The usual spoiler alert applies... *


Can't believe this final ride is almost halfway through now. It's going by way too fast for my liking, but it's building, that's for sure. Into what, I'm not even going to hazard a guess because I still think Kurt Sutter's a genius and he's probably got something up his sleeve we couldn't possibly anticipate, and even though I can't wait to find out how this all ends, I don't really want it to end at all.

Anyway, episode 6 of this final season... Here are my thoughts...


* Gemma walking 12 miles in spike heels... Kudos to the Biker Queen for this one. I can barely make it round Sainsbury's in mine...

* Tig, being Tig. Again... 



"...we could have left the bodies on the floor. They'd still come back." *Awkward silence* "Too soon?"  ... When talking about customers being reluctant to come back to Diosa's. Classic Tig...

* Juice and Nero meeting in the cupboard... awkward situation, not...

* Nero, when that penny finally started to drop...


Think that just about says it all, really... should make things interesting...

* That conversation between Wendy and Bobby - what the frig was that all about???

* Chibs telling Jarry she should be thanking him for the sex. Well, it doesn't hurt to be polite, does it...?

* Juice, breaking my heart, still... 

Chibs and Juice... once brothers, but now what?
And to see him with Chibs now just breaks my heart even more, remembering how they used to be...

* That ending! What the hell is going to happen now? I actually found those last shots quite chilling, as they led Juice out...

What's going to become of him? My hubby reckons it's the end for him, this is it, it's over. I'm hoping otherwise. For once my pessimism is taking a holiday... 


The final ride continues... But I'm really, really not ready for it to end... I tell you, it's Breaking Bad all over again... 


 

 

Release Day! Caught Playing Offside by Jamie Tucker Dougan

I'm really happy to be part of launch day for my fabulous friend Jamie Tucker Dougan's latest book, Caught Playing Offside, the second book in The Shane Henderson Diary Series. So, if you're looking for a hot sports romance to heat up your Kindle, you might want to check this out.

Read on to find out more about Caught Playing Offside, and about Jamie himself...



Author Bio

It was never my dream to be a writer. But having a good imagination and being good at writing essays and short stories at school led me to writing more short stories in my spare time after leaving school and then again when I was a bit older. Writing then became an escape from the stresses of real life.

Being an old romantic at heart, and a football fan, I wrote a short story during my lunch breaks at work a few years ago. That story was called Grande Plage. It’s about a young footballer who is loaned out to a French club one summer and falls in love with a girl while he’s there. His stay in France is cut short and he has to leave the girl behind. Many years later, with an aching heart, he returns to France to see if the girl is still there. After receiving a few good comments about it from people I’d privately shared it with, I posted the story on my blog and eventually, I published it as a short story on Amazon for Kindle.

Football related romance has become the subject I’m comfortable with since writing the two novels that are The Shane Henderson Diary Series.



*



The Shane Henderson Diary Series


Shane Henderson is a professional footballer. As a teenager, all he wanted to be was a footballer like his dad, brother and uncle. His best friend Mia Rodrigues had the same dream. 
As they grow older, they realise their dreams… and the feelings they have for each other. But not everything is that simple. 
 
Offside!: Not Everyone Plays By The Rules is the first of Shane’s diaries charting his life from being a shy teenager to the present day Premier League superstar with a love for a club he no longer plays for and a girl he knows he can’t have. He also learns that it’s not just on the football field that the players are playing offside; people in his life are too… including himself! 

"It's a saucy romance set in the world of football" 
Caught Playing Offside carries on from where Offside! leaves off. This time, not only has he caught someone he loves playing offside again, he also discovers that she has never been playing by the rules and has always been playing offside. 

After some time away, Shane returns to his first loves – Milton Keynes Rangers and their sexy new manager, Mia Rodrigues, his best friend. 

As the new season progresses and the pursuit of the only title Milton Keynes Rangers haven't won reaches its climax, Shane realises that playing offside with his best friend is only making his feelings for someone else stronger and the risks of getting caught, greater. 

For someone who wants an easy, private life Shane Henderson doesn't half make thing complicated for himself.

Football, love, friendship, sex, secrets and lies… all part of Shane Henderson’s life and kept in the diaries he keeps.


Buy Links:-




Caught Playing Offside - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00O924TFW
 


Contact Links:-

Twitter - @JamieTDougan

Facebook – facebook.com/jtdougan


Instagram – jamietdougan
 




Good luck with the new release, Jamie! Wishing you so much success with Caught Playing Offside.


Thursday, 16 October 2014