Thursday, 28 February 2013

Time for kick-off! Launch day for 'Striker' is finally here! Now, let the game begin...

The ref's about to blow his whistle, the team are standing by... let the game get underway! Yes, kick-off has finally arrived as today is the official launch day for Striker, my sexy new contemporary romance set in the world of professional football, or soccer, depending on where you come from

Ryan Fisher is young, hot and loaded, not to mention incredibly talented, to boot. A hugely successful professional footballer, he's making a return to his native North East England after more than a decade of playing in London, in a multi-million-pound transfer deal to local club Newcastle Red Star. He's left the bright lights of the capital behind him to return to his hometown and play for the club he's supported all his life, but, is his return back up north as clear-cut as it first seems? Is this just another big-money transfer deal, or is there more to Ryan's return home than he's letting on?

Amber Sullivan is a beautiful, feisty female Sports Editor for a local North East TV news programme. The daughter of Freddie Sullivan, an ex-Newcastle Red Star player, she's a woman who knows her own mind, and she's fiercely determined never to enter into a relationship with a footballer - despite spending her life around the men who play the sport. But there's a reason for that determination. There's a reason why Amber isn't big on relationships, full-stop. Until Ryan Fisher walks into her world...

Jim Allen is an extremely successful, American-born ex-professional footballer. Originally from Washington DC, he arrived in the UK as a teenager, determined to fulfill his ambition to become a soccer player. Now proving himself as a force to be reckoned with as a manager, he's been poached from a top London club to join his old club - Newcastle Red Star - as their new boss in a bid to help them gain the league title success that's evaded them for so long. But is that league title the only thing Jim is intent on winning?

Striker is a book that won't be for everyone, and I must point out that this is most definitely what is termed as a "racy read"! There's strong language, sex, adult themes... it's not a sweet or pretty romance. It's a hard-edged, tough romance. So, if that isn't your bag, then you probably won't like Striker. But, if you like your romance sexy and edgy, and you don't blush easily, then it might just be your thing. 

Striker is the first of what has become a trilogy of books in the 'Striker' series - 'Extra Time' and 'Final Score' are planned for release in 2014, and I really can't wait to get started writing them. I've got so much planned for the those characters.

So, if it's some sexy escapism you're after, Striker might be just what you're looking for. I've dubbed this book "Fifty Shades of Football", and although it just might make you blush, in parts, it isn't quite as full-on as EL James' book! Mind you, there are one or two things that go on in the manager's office that would probably raise a few eyebrows over in the F.A., and some dressing room action that really wouldn't go down well on a match day, so, Striker most definitely has its moments! 

Want to read the first chapter and see what you think? You can check it out HERE.

And if you pop over to Pinterest you can also check out my 'Striker' Inspiration Board and see just what - and who - inspired this new novel of mine.

I truly loved writing this book. It's a genre I feel extremely comfortable writing, and a subject I had no complaints about immersing myself in for a few months, which is why I can't wait to get back to these characters in future books. But, and I must stress this once again, just incase anyone thinks this is a book about football - it isn't. It's a book set within the world of football, but it isn't about football. Did anyone watch Footballers' Wives back in the day? Oh God... I loved that show so much... anyway, it's a bit like that, but in book form.

The cast of Footballers' Wives - fabulous and fun!
So, call it a beach-read, a bonkbuster, a bit of a guilty-pleasure - whatever you want to call it, I just hope people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. And I hope you'll look forward to more from this group of characters - Ryan Fisher will be back. The game goes on...

Striker is available to download now for Kindle from AmazonUK and, as well as all other Amazon stores, priced at just £1.97/$2.99.

Monday, 25 February 2013

It's almost time for kick-off...

I don't think I've blogged for over a week now. And why's that? Well, it isn't because Bradley Cooper suddenly turned up on my doorstep begging me to be his date for the BAFTAs, that's for sure.

No, the reason why I haven't written a post for over a week is simple - I've been holed up in my office (otherwise known as the back bedroom), making sure that 'Striker' is finally ready to publish. And, being the pessimistic person that I am, there are probably still one or two tiny, minor errors that have passed me by but which some pedantic reviewer will no doubt flag up and make me aware of at some point (not cynical in the least, me) but cut us indie authors some slack, okay? If I win the lottery or lose enough weight to enable me to sell my body for a decent price (I'm joking with that last one, by the way) then I'll be first in the queue to hire an editor but in the meantime, I can't. Funds will not allow. So, it's just little old me doing all the work, and I've been working hard, believe me. I've been over this thing with a fine-toothed comb to try and make sure it's as perfect as it can be, so I just hope I've succeeded. Because, in a couple of days, it'll be out there, available for everyone to read, review, comment on - and I'm still so nervous about that. In fact, I honestly think I've been deliberately delaying this book's release because I'm so nervous about letting it go. I've become very close to the characters, and I guess I'm just a bit scared about how others are going to portray them. I might love them, but that doesn't mean everybody else will, too.

Still, it's finished now. I've done as much as I can, so, once the technical support (my husband) gets home, it will be uploaded onto my Kindle one more time so I can double-check the formatting is okay, and then, provided my technical support has a spare five minutes either tomorrow or Wednesday, 'Striker' will finally be added to those virtual bookshelves. 

So, if you're one of those patient people who's been waiting for this book, waiting whilst I put the release date back and back, then you really don't have much longer to wait before you finally meet Ryan Fisher, the sexy and slightly cocky Geordie bad-boy of North East football, Jim Allen, the handsome, charismatic, American-born manager of Newcastle Red Star, and Amber Sullivan, a beautiful, feisty local sports reporter.

And I really can't wait to see what people think about this book - remember, it's a little steamier than my previous books, a little sexier, a little harder. It isn't a sweet romance by any stretch of the imagination. far from it! There's sex, strong language and adult themes in there, but, if you're ready for all that, and you prefer your romance more Jackie Collins than Jane Austen, then you might just like this. I hope!

For the past few months my life has been one full of footballers, football managers, more footballers, in fact, I now can't switch on 'Match of the Day' without breaking out in a cold sweat so full-on has this footballing experience been. But, please note that this book is not about football. It's just a story set in and around the world of football. So, if you don't know know your offside rule from your goal kick it doesn't matter one bit - it's not about the game itself, just the people who frequent the world around it.

So, I'd better get off and do this final formatting check, then, because, the more time I spend faffing about with other things, the longer it'll be before I can finally get 'Striker' published...

'Striker' - kick-off Thursday February 28th...

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

New-book nerves - they're setting in fast!

    "His arms fell around her, pulling her closer against him, their mouths still moving together in that same beautiful rhythm; a kiss that seemed never-ending. His hands stroked her back, his tongue touching hers as that kiss continued to send Amber’s heart racing, her skin breaking out in a million goose bumps as a cacophony of warning signals fired off inside her head, one after the other, all of which she ignored. The deepening kiss was silencing them..."

That's an excerpt from Striker, my new novel that's due out soon. Very soon. Within the next couple of weeks, actually. And I feel sick. I feel so sick that I'm actually having a few restless nights as I await the release of this football-themed romance of mine. Mind you, I'm not feeling sick enough to be off me food or anything, God forbid! It takes a lot to put me off my food, and releasing a new book hasn't quite moved me onto that stage of panicking just yet. Waiting for the reviews to come in might just do it, though...

Seriously, though, I think most writers experience what I'm going through right now. Every time we put our work out there we worry about what people will think, what their reactions will be. And I guess there are a couple of reasons why I'm slightly more nervous than usual with this book. I'm reluctant to say goodbye to these characters, for one. I've become very attached to my gorgeous, bad-boy footballer, his rather attractive manager, and the feisty female sports reporter I've created. But, I have to let them go at some point, and doubtless some people will love them, and others won't. I'm prepared for that now. 

But, I'm also nervous about this book because it's just that little bit sexier than the others I've written. Oh, I know No Matter What, Illusions of Love and See You At The Show had more than a smattering of sex scenes in them, but Striker has a few more. And they're hotter than those that may have gone before them. Oh, I'm not talking full-on erotica, and I'm not even sure we're talking 'Fifty Shades of Grey' here, but as I'm only 20% through reading that I can't actually say for sure. All I know is, they're a touch more graphic, a bit more steamy, and possibly a tad more frequent. All relevant to the plot, I hasten to add, just a teensy bit sexier than my other books. But I don't want people to think that the book is one non-stop round of dressing room sex with hot footballers, it isn't. Although, there is a dressing room scene in the book that doesn't follow match-day protocol one bit, in fact, there's quite a few things going on behind the scenes of my fictional football club that would have the F.A. throwing a major fit, but... Sorry, where was I? Oh yeah... It's not just a load of sex scenes put in for their gratuitous value, there's a story. But it is a book with more than a few hot scenes in it. And I guess I want people to be aware of that. 

I mean, if some readers have only read Christmas Without Icing, for instance, and liked it, they might not like Striker because it is so far from the sweet and gentle romance of my Christmas novella. Could give some people quite a shock, actually, if they go straight from that book onto Striker! They're two completely different books.

Striker is pure escapism. It's not a book that's going to change the world, it certainly wouldn't win any high-brow literary awards, and it definitely won't appeal to everybody - I just hope it finds its way into the hands of readers who will take it for what it is and enjoy it. It is, as I said before, pure escapism, nothing more nothing less. But I'm still as nervous as hell about putting it out there, even though I, personally, am really, really happy with it. I love the characters, I'm pleased with the way the story went, and I'm incredibly happy to say that a sequel is already in the pipeline. 

So, I guess all I can do now is continue to get the book ready for publication, cross my fingers, and just hope that people will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

But the nerves will always be there, that stomach-churning moment when you realise it's now out there for the whole world to see. Those feelings will never change, whether it's your first book or your fiftieth. But it's also an exciting time, because, yes, I'm excited to get this book out there. I can't wait to see what people think, whatever their opinions. 

So, now that I've got all this off my chest I'd better get back to making sure Striker is ready for release - hopefully sometime during the week beginning February 25th, but watch this space for more details. And get ready for what I'm dubbing Fifty Shades of Football! Kick-off is imminent... 



Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Team 'Striker' - it's time to meet another player: feisty female sports reporter Amber Sullivan...

OK, so, we've met the two main male characters from my new, soon-to-be-released sexy, football-themed romance Striker - bad-boy footballer Ryan Fisher and handsome, sexy football manager Jim Allen. But what about the main female character? Well, here she is - it's time to meet feisty Sports Editor Amber Sullivan

North East born and bred, Amber is ambitious, independent and beautiful. In her mid-thirties, she's worked on a local, Newcastle-based News Programme for over ten years and as far as she's concerned, her career comes before anything. She doesn't have time for romance - she knows exactly where her future is heading, or, at least, she thought she did. Until Ryan Fisher walks into her life...

Amber is the older woman, a sexy, sassy northern girl who always assumed she knew her own mind, but when her once well-ordered world starts to show cracks, is she really as strong as she makes herself out to be? 

I loved creating the character of Amber. I guess I've always wanted to be someone like her - strong, independent, a little bit bloody-minded, all things I'm not! But, underneath all of that, Amber is also incredibly vulnerable. She has a past, and sometimes the past can be something that needs to be kept hidden, pushed to the back of someone's mind as they cross their fingers and hope it never catches up with them. Is this what happens to Amber? Well, you'll have to read Striker when it's released to find out. 

She's not perfect, but then, who is? She's flawed, she has weaknesses, but she's only human, in the end. 

When I wrote Amber, as is the same with most of the main characters I create, I had a picture in my head of the kind of person she would be and who would be the perfect person to play her (it works for me) - and the first person that came to mind was Sarah Parish.
I wanted Amber to be a beautiful, sexy woman, as well as being forthright and ambitious. But I also wanted her to have a vulnerable side, to be able to show her real feelings at times, instead of constantly being on her guard. And after seeing Sarah Parish in some brilliant programmes such as Cutting It and  Mistresses, I knew she could be Amber. Without a doubt. She'd play her perfectly!

So, we have the three main characters - hot and handsome Ryan Fisher, the enigmatic and charismatic Jim Allen, and sexy and ambitious Amber Sullivan. 

And, in just a few weeks' time, you can meet them - and a few other characters I haven't introduced you to yet - when Striker is finally released. There's Amber's boss Kevin Russell, her best friend - ex-footballer-turned-TV pundit Ronnie White, and Ryan's team-mate, defender Gary Blandford. 

So, who's ready for a steamy, sexy ride against the backdrop of top-flight football? But, I'll warn you now, this is the hottest of my books so far, and if you prefer your bedroom action to stop once that door is closed, then I'd probably avoid this. But if you're not shy, and you like your romance hot (I'm not talking full-on erotica here, but I haven't tiptoed round anything either), then you might just get a kick out of this... Did you see what I did there? Football-themed romance, kick...? I've got a string of 'em, believe me... ;)

Striker is due for release end of February/beginning of March 2013.   


Friday, 1 February 2013

Meet the Author - Miriam Wakerly

I really am enjoying these Meet the Author posts because I am discovering some incredible writers, and some amazing books, that I may not otherwise have come across. And today is no exception. 

Yes, it's time for me to introduce to you another fabulous author, and another fellow Famous Five Plus member - step forward Miriam Wakerly! Want to find out more about Miriam, and her books? It's time for the lady herself to take over... 


Hello everyone! Many thanks to Michelle for inviting me to appear on her blog; it’s good to be here.

Michelle writes romantic fiction and since I am her guest I thought it might be fitting to share with you some romantic moments in my own books. Can I do this without giving spoilers? I hope so.

Readers are often surprised by what they find inside my novels! Their themes may not suggest love and romance, but trust me, it is there! The windows are probably not going to get steamed up, but the all-important emotion, passion, conflict, jealousy, deceit, obsession, rejection and other multifarious aspects of that old thing called love figure in all of three of them.

You want proof? Yes, I hear you cry! Here are a few teasers from Shades of Appley Green:

‘She had this way of crinkling her eyes, and leaning forward, squashing her breasts so they plumped up in the cleavage. He felt stirrings. Not many girls would be so ready.’ (thus speaks the villain)

‘I wanted his lips on mine – oh my God,yes! I wanted his hands to be all over me, to touch to stroke … I imagined him giving me a massage. I would rip his clothes off. I can picture him naked coming towards me. Oh, this is bad, really … At night, I would …’ (from Steph’smost confidential Diary)

‘She tentatively put her fingers around the back of his neck. His skin felt cool, still fresh from the freezing outdoors, but quickly warmed under her touch. The heat of desire flooded through her; the first time since …’ (AT LAST!)

Not what you might expect from the cover? Well, you know the old saying.

Steph is a special, but troubled young woman. Chosen by the most venerated man in Appley Green to fulfil his mission, she feels publicly admired rather than privately loved. She certainly does not trust men!

In helping a once famous, elderly architect with Parkinson’s regain a social life, she finds herself taking personal risks, fending off objections, blind to danger. We wait for the moment when it dawns on Steph what is driving her deep-seated obsession; for only then can she find the happiness she deserves.

Appley Green is a charming English village. Everyone says so. But people are still people. With the emotional turmoil that comes with love, birth and death, a close-knit community can harbour betrayal and guilt, as well as joy and laughter.

2013 - and how wonderful it is to find such an array of authors who offer a rich, stimulating pick of books. I do love bookshops, but with the Internet there is something for everyone, making readers more discerning perhaps, not resorting to the lazy option of scanning the bestsellers’ lists and trusting that these books must, inevitably, be the best choice for them. (I have, at last, given in to my nagging curiosity and read the record-breaking Fifty Shades of Grey and … well, enough said.)

"Wakerly’s writing style is, as always, tantalising: the kind of gripping you only normally experience with crime novels. If you only read one book this year, make sure this is it." 
Online review:  Bohemiacademia, Scarlett de Courcier

Shades of Appley Green gives you faith in human kindness! Another deeply engaging read by Miriam Wakerly.
Review, Lou Graham's Blog

Lovely, heart-warming story … draws you in and keeps you there … The twist at the end, I didn’t see coming at all … for me, was very emotional and did bring a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. 
Review Sue Fortin,Love Reading Love Books

All my books are available in Paperback and on Kindle:

Gypsies Stop tHere, No Gypsies Served and Shades of Appley Green 

'Shades of Appley Green' is available for a few days at the special low price of $3.00 or £1.89 on Kindle.’

Here’s my blog: Join me there too!

Review on Famous Five Plus:


Miriam, thank you so much for a really fabulous post! I shall definitely be putting 'Shades of Appley Green' on my TBR list, and I hope others do too. 

It's been an absolute pleasure to have you guest here on my blog today, and I wish you lots of success with your current books, and with all your future work too.

Thank you for popping by to visit!