Friday, 29 April 2016

FREE on Kindle Unlimited


Two of my novels, A Beginner's Guide To Salad and Everything Changes But You are part of Kindle Unlimited, which means if you subscribe to KU, you can download them for FREE!

If you don't subscribe to KU, the books cost just £1.99 each.

A little bit about the books...


Ruth loves nothing more than curling up in front of the telly with a family-sized bar of chocolate. She doesn’t do diets and she certainly doesn’t do exercise. But all that changes when she’s invited to her school reunion.

Bullied at school for being overweight, Ruth’s first reaction is to rip the invitation into a million pieces. But then Ruth hatches a plan. She’ll lose the weight and arrive at the reunion looking gorgeous and glamorous, leaving her old classmates in awe. Especially her former crush, Zack O’Connell.

With the help of her friends and a new, unbelievably hot colleague, Ruth begins her transformation. With six months until the reunion, losing weight will be a piece of cake, right?

A Beginner's Guide To Salad is available here



Ally Richmond is dreading turning thirty and bidding farewell to her youth. And when her husband says he wants to start a family, she begins to panic.

Is this all that life has to offer from now on? Popping out babies and growing old gracefully? She wants a life crammed with glamour and spontaneous adventure, not one full of dirty nappies and night feeds.

When Ally makes a silly birthday wish for a new, exciting life, her wish is granted.

But when Ally is presented with the freedom and opportunities she craves, she soon realises this new life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and that there really is no place like home.

Everything Changes But You is available here


If you've read either of the books - or both! - I'd love it if you would pop a little review on Amazon as every one really does help. Plus, I will send you a squillion virtual hugs and kisses and all the good thoughts I can think of :)


Thursday, 28 April 2016

Reach For The Stars


When Elaina James got in touch about a blogging event she was organising around music and writing, I knew I wanted to take part immediately. For me, writing and music go hand in hand. I can't write without music playing, whether I'm using it as a tool for setting the mood of the scene I'm writing or simply as background noise. I can't write in silence. It's just plain weird. And I can't write with the TV on (unless it's on a music channel) but music strikes a perfect balance. I don't find it intrusive as I would a TV program and it takes away the silence - perfect!

Music also helps me with characterisation. When I was trying to figure out who Ruth - the main character from A Beginner's Guide To Salad - was, I turned to her fashion and music choices. Ruth's sense of style is bold and cheerful, bordering on the quirky and I wanted to emulate this with her iPod playlist.

Ruth is a massive fan of cheesy pop. It's certainly cheerful and can be quirky (Aqua's Barbie Girl is a perfect example) and it fit Ruth's personality perfectly. It also helps that I like a bit of cheesy pop myself so it wasn't too much of a chore to set up a playlist on Spotify for Ruth and listen to it whenever I was writing her scenes.

S Club 7 became a firm favourite of Ruth's as the first draft progressed and I rediscovered the joy of the chirpy group myself. So when the band reformed for a nationwide tour in 2015, I made sure I had tickets to see them live.


It was an amazing night and I'm sure Ruth would have LOVED it (I certainly did). The group performed all their hits and everyone joined in. When silver star confetti fell down during one of their songs, I took a couple of pieces home as a memento of the night. I wanted to frame one of the stars so I printed out a quote from one of my favourite S Club songs, Reach and glued the star next to it.


At the time, I was a self-published writer still dreaming of a traditional publishing deal and I found the lyrics inspiring. With the star confetti and lyrics framed, I put it on my desk to act as inspiration whenever I was writing.


A few days after I'd been to see S Club 7, I received an email from Carina UK, an imprint of HarperCollins. I'd submitted a Christmas story to them (The Mince Pie Mix-Up) and they wanted to publish it. And not only that, they were offering me a two-book contract. My dream! It was coming true! Now, I'm not saying the star confetti has magical powers or anything but it - and the song - are very special to me.




You can find out more about Elaina's James's blogging event on Mslexia here or visit her blog.

Monday, 25 April 2016

The Wedding Date Quiz

https://www.goodreads.com/quizzes/1119083-the-wedding-date

If you've read The Wedding Date, you can now test your knowledge by taking the quiz over on Goodreads.

Can you remember which musical is Delilah's favourite? Who her besties are?

Click here to take the test. Do let me know how you on. I got 10/10 *smug face*

If you haven't read the book, there are more details to follow...


About The Book


Delilah James, singleton and smoothie-addict, has six months to find a date for her oldest friend’s wedding. Oh, and to prove to her ex, best man Ben, that she has totally moved on since he dumped her out-of-the-blue nine months, eight days and seventeen hours ago…

So, with her two BFFs playing Cupid, Delilah launches herself into the high-tech, fast-paced and frankly terrifying world of dating. Luckily there’s the hot new guy at work, Adam Sinclair, to practice her flirting on – even if, as a colleague, he’s strictly off-limits!

Yet time’s running out and date after disastrous date forces Delilah to tell a little white lie – and invent a fake boyfriend! But will her secret crush on Adam ruin everything? Does she even care about Ben anymore? And is it too late to untangle her web of lies and take a real date to the wedding…?


Monday, 18 April 2016

The Wedding Date: My Dream Cast


A fun part of writing a book is 'casting' your characters (you know, just in case your book ever makes it onto the big screen or telly...) and I've picked out my dream cast for The Wedding Date. Now I just need a call from the producers...

My Dream Cast

Delilah James:
Jodie Comer



Lauren McIntosh:
Karen Gillan



Ryan Ford:
Ashley Taylor Dawson



Adam Sinclair:
Aidan Turner



Katey-Louise Brinkley:
Lucy Fallon



About The Book


Delilah James, singleton and smoothie-addict, has six months to find a date for her oldest friend’s wedding. Oh, and to prove to her ex, best man Ben, that she has totally moved on since he dumped her out-of-the-blue nine months, eight days and seventeen hours ago…

So, with her two BFFs playing Cupid, Delilah launches herself into the high-tech, fast-paced and frankly terrifying world of dating. Luckily there’s the hot new guy at work, Adam Sinclair, to practice her flirting on – even if, as a colleague, he’s strictly off-limits!

Yet time’s running out and date after disastrous date forces Delilah to tell a little white lie – and invent a fake boyfriend! But will her secret crush on Adam ruin everything? Does she even care about Ben anymore? And is it too late to untangle her web of lies and take a real date to the wedding…?



Friday, 15 April 2016

#AmWriting: Pausing To Brainstorm



Last month, I blogged about diving into the second draft of my latest book. I knew there was a lot of work to do in this draft, especially with Quinn, one of the main characters. I needed to develop her character more and improve/clarify her storyline as it was all a bit repetitive and well, crap.


I made lots of notes before I started the draft and added to them as I worked but Quinn's story was still niggling at me. I got to about half-way through the draft before Easter and decided to have a few days away from it so I could hopefully see it more clearly and eat chocolate. Mainly eat chocolate, if I'm honest.


After a few days away from the book, I still wasn't happy with the way Quinn's story was progressing and decided it needed an overhaul. Her story wasn't working. It was boring and whiny and if I didn't like it, who would?


Instead of diving back into the book, I sat down with my set of multi-coloured pens and markers (they always help) and paper and started from the beginning with Quinn, jotting down everything I knew about her and brainstorming fresh ideas.



I felt much better once it was all down on paper and was ready to return to the second draft - but from the beginning again rather than the half-way point I'd left it at. Quinn's story is around a third of the entire book and I've already wrote some new sections and tweaked others so hopefully, by the end, I'll have a draft I'm much happier with. 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The Drowning Lesson by Jane Shemilt


Doctor Emma Jordan isn't keen when her husband reveals he's been chosen to work abroad for a year on a research project, especially when he adds that he'd like Emma and the children to join him. Emma doesn't want to disrupt the children's lives or her career but she goes along with Adam's plans. Emma has mixed feelings about living in Botswana but she begins to settle into the new rhythms of life in Africa, organising tuition for the children and helping out at a local clinic. But one evening their year away takes an horrific turn when Sam, their young baby, is snatched from his cot and there are no clues to his whereabouts.

I enjoyed Jane Shemilt's debut, Daughter last year so I was looking forward to reading The Drowning Lesson. I can't say I warmed to the main character, Emma as I found her really selfish and sometimes underhand. Her work seems to take precedence over the wellbeing of her children and she has an annoying competitive - and often immature - streak, always wanting to 'win' against her husband by working harder and progressing her career so she's always at least one step ahead. Her need to 'win' is explained by the snippets from her childhood but as these seemed to be plonked in the middle of paragraphs, it was jarring to the story and I felt Emma's past could have been told in a better way.

Although Emma is the main focus and therefore bore the brunt of my annoyance, I also found Adam to be an unsympathetic character. Also a doctor, he was just as neglectful to the children as Emma and didn't seem to bat an eyelid at uprooting his family for a year to pursue his career ambitions. Emma clearly isn't happy about the decision but he forges ahead anyway.

With two unsympathetic characters at the heart of the story, I thought it was going to be difficult to enjoy the story but I did find myself being drawn into the mystery. The build-up is rather drawn out and the conclusion too rushed to be believable but, on the whole, I thought The Drowning Lesson was a good read and I found the pages zipping by, especially when the family finally arrived in Botswana.

Monday, 11 April 2016

The Wedding Date Blog Tour


Today is the start of The Wedding Date's blog tour and there are some fantastic bloggers taking part. The tour will run for two weeks, with a mix of reviews, guest posts and Q&As. I'll list the hosts taking part and update with links on the appropriate day so do come back and check out all the stops. I will, of course, be shouting about the stops on Twitter and Facebook too!

Tour Stops:

11th April


12th April


13th April


14th April


15th April


16th April


17th April


18th April


19th April
 Q&A

20th April


21st April


22nd April


23rd April


24th April






Thursday, 7 April 2016

The Missing by C L Taylor


Claire Wilkinson's fifteen-year-old son has been missing for six months. There was no sign of a forced entry or a struggle on the night that Billy disappeared and there have been no sightings of him since. Where is Billy? And could Claire's family or friends - or even Claire herself - know more than they're willing to tell the police?

After enjoying C L Taylor's previous novels, The Accident and The Lie, I was looking forward to diving into The Missing. It sounded like such an intriguing plot and it really was, from the start to the end. Claire's family are struggling to hold it together as they wait for news - good or bad - about Billy and his whereabouts. You can feel the despair from Claire, her husband, Mark and their oldest son, Jake. Each is trying to cope in their own way but there is only so much they can take before they crumble. I really felt for Claire as she attempted to hold her shattered family together, especially when she begins to question the secrets of those she loves the most. I really wasn't sure who to trust as the family's secrets were unearthed.

Most of the story is told from Claire's POV but the chapters are sometimes broken up by an exchange of messages between Billy and an unidentified acquaintance. I liked this aspect of the book as it gives the reader a better view of who Billy is as a person rather than the slightly rose-tinted view Claire has of him. It also starts to build up a picture of what happened leading up to the night he vanished, tantalising the reader and keeping them guessing.

I really enjoyed C L Taylor's writing and found myself fully immersed in the dynamics of the Wilkinson family. At times I sympathised with the characters, at others I suspected they were involved in Billy's disappearance - including Claire herself. One of my favourite characters from the book was Liz, Claire's neighbour and friend. She's pretty blunt but she's also supportive towards Claire, even though she has problems of her own.

I thought The Missing was a great read with enough twists, turns and emerging secrets to keep me hooked.

Monday, 4 April 2016

The Wedding Date Playlist



One of the fun things I find after writing a book (or sometimes during the writing process) is putting together a playlist that represents either the theme, mood or storyline of the book - or sometimes a combination of the three.

Here's the playlist I put together for The Wedding Date:

Hey There Delilah – Plain White T’s

I'm sorry, Delilah but it had to go in there (it was either this or Tom Jones' Delilah. I plumped for Plain White T's). If you've read the book, you'll know that Delilah is sometimes teased about her name. And if you haven't read the book, you know it now anyway!



Out of Reach - Gabrielle

I chose Gabrielle's Out of Reach as it mirrors Delilah's relationship with Ben. She was (and still is) in love with him, but were his feelings ever really as strong as hers?


Hopelessly Devoted To You – Olivia Newton-John

Hopelessly Devoted To You is represents Delilah at the beginning of the book. She's still completely hung up on her ex and secretly hopes that they will get back together somewhere down the line.


Also, Delilah is a massive fan of musicals so a song from Grease is perfect for her!



Survivor – Destiny’s Child

I needed to put a little message in there for Delilah that she will get through her break-up with Ben, one way or another. It was a toss up between Survivor, Gloria Gaynor's cheese-fest I Will Survive or Cee Lo Green's Fuck You. I went for the non-cheese, non-sweary option.


Love Today – Mika

Love Today is a happy, upbeat song that I think represents Delilah's return to the dating world. A few of the lyrics are a bit questionable but I'm sticking to the fun, meeting-new-people-and-perhaps-falling-in-love vibe. Plus, the dating website/app that Delilah uses is called Love Today!


Crazy For You – Madonna

We already know Delilah is madly in love with Ben in the beginning, but this song fits in with her story later on. But is it Ben she's still crazy for... or someone else?


I’m Yours – Jason Mraz

I've chosen a happy, laid-back song to end the playlist with. But who would Delilah dedicate this song to?


I hope you enjoyed The Wedding Date's playlist.

If you've read the book, I'd love to hear what you thought. Give me a shout on Twitter or Facebook or leave a review over on Amazon here. If you haven't read the book, read on for more details...

About The Book


Delilah James, singleton and smoothie-addict, has six months to find a date for her oldest friend’s wedding. Oh, and to prove to her ex, best man Ben, that she has totally moved on since he dumped her out-of-the-blue nine months, eight days and seventeen hours ago…

So, with her two BFFs playing Cupid, Delilah launches herself into the high-tech, fast-paced and frankly terrifying world of dating. Luckily there’s the hot new guy at work, Adam Sinclair, to practice her flirting on – even if, as a colleague, he’s strictly off-limits!

Yet time’s running out and date after disastrous date forces Delilah to tell a little white lie – and invent a fake boyfriend! But will her secret crush on Adam ruin everything? Does she even care about Ben anymore? And is it too late to untangle her web of lies and take a real date to the wedding…?

Friday, 1 April 2016

March In Pictures

March has been a funny month, weather-wise. We've had it all: rain, hail, snow, thunder & lightning, sunshine and Storm Katie. These two photos were taken 9 days apart:



Madness! Isobel's school was closed due to the snow so she enjoyed getting bundled up and making a snowman. Luna also enjoyed herself in the snow!


Hopefully Mother Nature has got the bad stuff out of her system now and we'll be treated to a bit more sunshine.

Anyway, I'm going to stop being terribly British and discussing the weather. Let's move onto one of the best things about March (this year, at least) - Easter!


Easter is always fun - and not just because you get to eat chocolate for breakfast. Isobel had fun painting a family of Easter chicks (which you can see drying in the sun) and making bunnies out of polystyrene balls for her Easter bonnet for the competition at school. She didn't win (it was a complete fix, obviously :P) but she had fun getting messy with the paints.


Also happening at school was the World Book Day celebrations. Isobel's class topic was The Owl and The Pussycat, which she wanted to use as a theme for her costume. Luckily we already had the bits and pieces (and tail) to make a cat costume but we didn't have an owl. So out came the craft box (any excuse...) and I made her a little owl. He's a bit wonky but Isobel loves him!


Continuing on the book theme, I read some fantastic books in March. I didn't quite read as many as I usually do but I enjoyed them, which is the important bit.

I read: The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell, Ursula's Secret by Mairi Wilson, After The Last Dance by Sarra Manning and The Drowning Lesson by Jane Shemilt.


Continuing again on the book theme, my own was published in March too. My fourth novel, The Wedding Date is now out (and available here, FYI).

To celebrate, I ran giveaways on Twitter, Facebook and here on the blog (there's still a bit of time to enter here if you fancy winning a cute sparkly necklace and other love-themed prizes) and my husband bought me a canvas print of the book cover to hang up on my wall above my desk. There was lots of support on social media, which was lovely!


So that's my March In Pictures. Don't forget you can see more photos over on Instagram

I'd love to hear what you got up to over the last month. Feel free to share your news or book recommendations in the comments below!