Tuesday, 26 November 2013

I got the call!

No, not the one from Timothy Olyphant begging me to don my cowboy boots and get myself over to the set of Justified to be the leading lady he's been looking for all his life... sorry. I let my imagination run away with me slightly there... where was I? Oh yeah. I got the call! The call. The call I've been dreaming about from the second I started out on this crazy writing journey of mine. The call I've been dreaming about forever, really.

It had been a pretty average day, to be honest, the day it all started to happen. I wasn't feeling particularly on top of the world. I'd just spent the morning re-watching episodes of Breaking Bad as a way of distracting myself from doing anything constructive, and I was in one of those "meh" moods, if truth be told. My motivation had taken an unannounced holiday, the weather was rubbish, and I was seriously thinking about giving writing a bit of a break. But then I decided to pop into my office and check my emails for the first time in days. And what did I find? One from Charlotte over at Harper Impulse asking if I was free for a chat about the manuscripts I'd sent them! Talk about an instant mood change...

I had to re-read it a couple of times at first, because I just hadn't been expecting to see that. I'd submitted a manuscript to them way back in March, and had assumed that one had been rejected, but then I'd also sent them another one a few months later, but hadn't really thought anything would happen with that one, either. I'm one of life's eternal pessimists, you see. I look on the black side of everything, and if anything good happens then it's a bonus. I can't help it, I'll never change. So, I was just over the moon that a real-life publisher - a publisher! - wanted to speak to me, about my books. Books I'd written. I didn't sleep the night before that phone call, believe me. Publishers don't usually ring you to tell you they've rejected your manuscript, and Charlotte had sent an email back saying it was happy news, so I was just a little bit excited.

And once I'd spoken to Charlotte - who is just so lovely to talk to, but I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to her because when I'm nervous I tend to ramble on and sound a bit like a wittering idiot - I was even more excited! Then nervous, then excited again, then scared, then a little bit more excited... It was a roller-coaster of emotions over those next few days, but I can't tell you how grateful I am to the amazing team over there at Harper Impulse. They have - quite literally - made my dream come true. Well, maybe not the one about Timothy Olyphant in a stetson going all US Marshal on me... maybe I'll keep that one for some book inspiration (first draft is almost finished... no, seriously...) They made my lifelong dream of becoming a published author come true. Oh, I know I've self-published over half a dozen books over the past couple of years, but in the back of my mind I always wondered if I was good enough, if my stories were good enough, for a publisher to sit up and take notice. And one did. And, what's more, it was the publisher I'd set my heart on. And I still can't believe they wanted me.

And, if all of that wasn't enough, I got another call from Charlotte just a week or so ago telling me my little Christmas novella was one of their three winners of the Winter Wonderland Competition they'd been running! More amazing news! That little book I wrote a year ago was good enough to win a competition! To say I'm still stunned would be an understatement, because I'm literally living my dream now.

But it's still scary. There are some incredible authors signed to Harper Impulse, and I sometimes wonder if I can live up to their talent, but all I know is I'm going to give it one hell of a go and work so hard. All I ever wanted to do was write - from the day I could pick up a pen; from the time I started reading those Enid Blyton books to the day I picked up my first Jackie Collins novel and thought, that's the kind of stuff I want to write. I remember telling a lecturer at college back in the early 90s, when she asked me what my dream was, that I wanted to write novels, and I wanted to, ultimately, have a book published. And I hope, one day, she'll see that I finally achieved that dream. Thanks to Harper Impulse. I'm honoured and blessed to be part of such an incredible team.

My first book with Harper Impulse is due for release very soon, so watch this space for news on that, and for the impending cover reveal! Exciting!!

And check out the Harper Impulse website to find out more about their authors, their books, and the special winter sale that's currently running...

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a manuscript to finish...


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

How a hot, hat-wearing Kentucky lawman spawned the book I can't stop writing...

Sometimes, as an author, you just need to hole yourself up in a little space somewhere and lose yourself in your work - am I right? Well, it's certainly true for me. Sometimes. Like, right now. Because, at the moment, I'm actively looking for a few distractions to take my mind off one or two things going on at the minute, so, I decided to set myself a bit of a target and see if I could write a brand new book in just a matter of weeks. Now, when I say I decided to see if I could write a brand new book, it wasn't quite as simple as that. I already had an idea, you see. Unexpected inspiration had hit me like a rocket launcher, and when that happens I just know I've got to get stuck in and write. So, last week I started this new book. Almost six days in I've written over 31,000 words and the story is still pouring out of me. I can't even relax and watch TV in the evenings because my mind is whirring constantly with ideas and notes I have to make.

Timothy Olyphant as Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens in Justified
However, there is one programme I have the ability to concentrate on quite easily - sort of, anyway. And that's the programme that gave me the inspiration for this new book I'm writing. The book that has meant everything else has been put on the back burner because this just needs to come out. Like, really badly! And that programme is Justified. And the man who gave me that head-on, rocket-launcher-style hit of inspiration is an actor called Timothy Olyphant, and, more importantly, the character he plays in Justified, Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens. Described as a "19th century style lawman in 21st century Kentucky", Raylan is a strong, takes-no-crap kind of guy who can handle a gun pretty damn well and carry off a stetson and cowboy boots better than any man I've ever seen. And, after watching just two episodes of this pretty addictive show, I'd created my own sexy lawman - Sheriff Ethan Everett - and a story that I now can't stop writing. It's taken over everything I do at the minute, because I have never felt so excited about a new book, or a new set of characters, for a long time. And I know I should really be concentrating on the third installment of the Striker trilogy, and I will be doing just that, real soon. That book is all but planned out and ready to go, but I just need to finish this (as yet un-named) new novel, while the inspiration is hitting me like it's hitting me now. 

The super-gorgeous Timothy Olyphant, again - funnily enough, this time playing a sheriff in 2010 movie 'The Crazies'... arrest me, please!!!
I've been re-reading through what I've written so far this morning, and I actually felt butterflies in my stomach as I read through it all; I felt excited, and proud of what I've managed to get down in less than six days of beginning this novel. The characters are now fully formed, the story is pushing forward, and I'm in love with writing this book. In love! It's a strong story (even if I do say so myself), it's a heartbreaking story at times, hell, it even made me cry when I read certain bits back, but it's something that has provided me with that much-needed distraction; it's given me a chance to see just what I can do in a short time-frame, and it's given me a chance to create a whole new set of characters I am so in love with, I miss them when I have to shut down the laptop each night. Call me crazy, call me sad; I have no life at the minute, that's probably fairly obvious. But at least parking my arse on the sofa last week handed me inspiration I just didn't see coming, but I'm so, so happy it turned up when I just wasn't expecting it.

What kind of book is it, then, exactly? Well, it's a love story - pure and simple. The story of a woman who goes back to a place where she'd once spent a long summer way back when she was young; a place that harbours secrets, and a man she was never really able to forget. It's a complicated love story, a heartbreaking love story, but it's romance my style. Let's not forget that, so, yeah, it's just a little bit sexy, too...

Loving that hat...
So, I just felt the need to get this off my chest - and to tell the world that, hopefully, one day, Sheriff Ethan Everett will make it onto those virtual bookshelves out there, and people will enjoy reading about him, and this story that hit me from right out of nowhere, just as much as I am enjoying writing it. To get to my desk each morning and literally get goosebumps at the thought of spending the day writing this story, that has to be a good thing, doesn't it? Or am I just a little bit crazy...???

Anyway, I'm aiming to have a rough first draft of the book ready by the time I've finished watching the first 4 seasons of Justified. That's my target. We're about to finish season 2 in the next day or so, so that means we should be caught up in around a fortnight's time. And that's when I aim to have the first draft finished, but, we'll see. Who knows what may come up to thwart that best-laid plan, but, that's certainly what I'm aiming for. And I can be one very determined author when I set my mind to it! This story is going to get finished. You can bet your life on that! 

So, watch this space for more info on how I'm doing, and for a few little teasers from the book, too... I think some of you are just going to fall in love with my very own sexy Sheriff...

Monday, 4 November 2013

Cover Reveal - Offside! by Jamie Tucker Dougan

Today I am delighted to be featuring the cover reveal for fellow author Jamie Tucker Dougan's soon-to-be-released novella, Offside!
So, check out that pretty sexy cover, and then I'll let Jamie tell you a little bit more about the book itself...

'Offside! is the first in a series of novellas following the love life and career of fictional footballer, Shane Henderson. The story is not all about football though and neither is it all about sex, as the cover may hint at. Yes, there are parts of the story that are “adult” themed and some may find quite racy. But the main theme of the story is Shane trying to find who his heart belongs to… or, who deserves his heart.

The picture on the cover hints to one line in the story where a shy Shane is convinced by his girlfriend to pose with her for a charity football calendar.

The first “episode” of Offside! is scheduled for release on Kindle before Christmas 2013. The second “episode” is scheduled for release in spring 2014.'


You can find all of Jamie's other books HERE on Amazon. 
And they're also available HERE from the Kobo Store.  
You can also keep up-to-date with Jamie via his BLOG, follow him on TWITTER, or check out his Author Page over on Facebook!