Friday, 9 November 2018

The Beginner's Guide Series: A New Look & A Giveaway

 

This week, I've been sharing the book makeovers for my Beginner's Guide series. I hope you love the new-look covers as much as I do!

 
Below, you'll find more information about the books, plus find out how to enter my Beginner's Guide giveaway.
 
 
 
 
 
Ruth usually spends Christmas curled up on her parents’ sofa, watching feel-good movies whilst being fed festive food and drink until she can no longer move. But Ruth’s perfect Christmas is shattered when her mum receives a DIY-induced injury and Ruth is forced to take over the preparations.

Shopping. Cooking. A house full of hyped-up kids.

Christmas may no longer be the most wonderful time of the year.
 
 
 
 

A Beginner's Guide To Christmas is a quick, festive read - and it's FREE!

Click the links above to download your copy.

 
 
 
 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?
 
 
 
 
 
Three women. Three weddings. But who will say I do – and who will say I don’t?

Ruth can’t quite believe she’s managed to snag The One but when he proposes, she can finally accept that she’s found her happily ever after. But when Ruth finds herself booking her dream church for just six weeks away, she starts to panic. You can’t plan a whole wedding at such short notice. Can you?

Trina has only just walked down the aisle, but she’s already starting to question whether they can make their marriage work. Will they survive the honeymoon period, or have they just made a very big – and very expensive – mistake?

Erin has somehow found herself agreeing to be a bridesmaid for the tackiest wedding known to man. With drunk hens, ridiculous outfits and a terrifying wedding planner, just what has Erin signed up for?
 
 
 
 
 
To celebrate the bookish makeovers, I'm running a giveaway over on my Facebook page.
 
Head over to my page and follow the instructions on my pinned post!
 
 
 
 
You can find the terms and conditions here
 
Good luck!

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Book Makeover Number Three!


 

Over the past couple of days, I've been revealing the book makeovers for my Beginner's Guide series. If you're a newsletter subscriber, you will have had a sneaky peek at all my new covers already, but if not, here is the final book makeover!

 

Three women. Three weddings. But who will say I do – and who will say I don’t?

Ruth can’t quite believe she’s managed to snag The One but when he proposes, she can finally accept that she’s found her happily ever after. But when Ruth finds herself booking her dream church for just six weeks away, she starts to panic. You can’t plan a whole wedding at such short notice. Can you?

Trina has only just walked down the aisle, but she’s already starting to question whether they can make their marriage work. Will they survive the honeymoon period, or have they just made a very big – and very expensive – mistake?

Erin has somehow found herself agreeing to be a bridesmaid for the tackiest wedding known to man. With drunk hens, ridiculous outfits and a terrifying wedding planner, just what has Erin signed up for?
 
 
 
 

What do you think?

I hope you love it as much as I do!

 
To celebrate my bookish makeovers, I'll be running a giveaway over on my Facebook page tomorrow, so do pop over for your chance to win!
 
 
 

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Book Makeover Number Two!

 

Yesterday, I revealed the book makeover for A Beginner's Guide To Christmas. If you're a newsletter subscriber, you will have had a sneaky peek at my new covers, but if not, here is the second of my book makeovers!

 

 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?
 
 
 
 

What do you think?

I adore Ruth's bookish makeover and I think it reflects her sass perfectly!

 
 
 
 
So, that's two book makeovers down, one to go!
I'll be revealing the final cover tomorrow, here on the blog as well as
 

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Book Makeover Number One!

 

If you're a newsletter subscriber, you will have had a sneaky peek at my new covers, but if not, here is the first of my book makeovers!

 
 
Ruth usually spends Christmas curled up on her parents’ sofa, watching feel-good movies whilst being fed festive food and drink until she can no longer move. But Ruth’s perfect Christmas is shattered when her mum receives a DIY-induced injury and Ruth is forced to take over the preparations.

Shopping. Cooking. A house full of hyped-up kids.

Christmas may no longer be the most wonderful time of the year.
 
 
 
 

What do you think? I absolutely LOVE it and I hope you do too!

A Beginner's Guide To Christmas is a quick, festive read - and it's FREE!

Click the links above to download your copy.

 
 
 
 
So, that's one book makeover down, two to go!
I'll be revealing the next one tomorrow, here on the blog as well as
 

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

The Bridesmaid of Frankenstein

 
Elizabeth held her camera out in front of her, adjusting its position slightly before capturing the perfect shot of her sister and her new husband, toasting their marriage with glasses of champagne sparkling with black glitter. Two fat pumpkins sat in front of the couple, the words ‘Mr’ and ‘Mrs’ carved into the flesh, one either side of the cobwebby candelabra that was creating a gothic centrepiece. Caroline and Robert’s Halloween-themed wedding wasn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but it suited the pair down to the ground and even the groom’s grandmother, who’d been vehemently against the idea since its conception, was enjoying herself. It seemed she’d put aside her misgivings as soon as she’d changed into her witch’s costume that morning. She’d spent the day cackling dramatically (though thankfully not through the vows) and she’d nearly put her back out dancing to the ‘Monster Mash’.
Halloween was already a special date in the Caroline/Robert calendar; they’d known each other all through high school but they were just friends, until five years ago when they met up again at a Halloween party at the local pub. So what better way to mark the occasion? All the guests were decked out in ghoulish costumes: Elizabeth and Caroline’s parents were being Morticia and Gomez for the day, while Robert’s parents, thinking outside the box, had dressed as a Colonel Sanders and chicken combo. The bride had transformed herself into Dr Frankenstein, complete with white lab coat and long, black rubbery gloves, while the groom was her gruesome creation. The prize for scariest costume, however, went to Elizabeth’s Uncle Ernest, who had put aside his usual beer-swilling, brick-laying persona to become Rocky Horror’s Frank-N-Furter, and had somehow stretched his corset over his hairy beer belly. Elizabeth feared she would never be able to unsee that.
‘I'd just like to say a few words,’ Caroline said as she stood, readjusting her bedraggled grey wig. ‘First of all, thank you all for celebrating this special day with us. You’ve all really got in the spirit of our Halloween theme – especially you, Uncle Ernest.’ There was a titter as Ernest attempted to take a bow in the restrictive corset. ‘I’d like to say an extra-big thank you to our parents, who have helped to organise this crazy day. And to my little sister.’ Caroline raised her glass in Elizabeth’s direction. ‘You’re the best sister a girl could ask for and you’re a frightfully brilliant bridesmaid.’ Caroline raised her glass again and addressed the whole room. ‘To friends and family!’
‘To friends and family!’ the room chorused, and Elizabeth grabbed her drink so she could join in the toast.
‘So, you’re Caroline’s little sister.’ A witch (there were several attending the wedding) leaned across the table as Elizabeth slipped her camera into the red and black clutch bag she’d managed to find to match her vampire gown. ‘We’ve heard a lot about you.’
But evidently not my name, Elizabeth thought crossly, but she pushed down the resentment and smiled at the witch. It seemed Elizabeth was forever to be known as ‘Caroline’s little sister’. Everybody knew Caroline, and they couldn’t help being smitten with her exuberance, her sense of humour, her ability to talk to anybody and put them instantly at ease. The teachers loved the studious, arty, sporty Caroline, the perfect all-rounder, and the joy at having the pleasure of teaching her younger sister was always clear on their faces (though Elizabeth was sure that soon waned when they discovered she wasn’t as clever or athletic as Caroline and had little artistic flair). Elizabeth found she was off-limits for boys at school; they either feared being pummelled into the ground by the overprotective Caroline, or they fancied the more mature, more polished sister.
Elizabeth adored Caroline (how could she not?) but she couldn’t help wanting to break free from under her shadow, because even now, all these years later, she was still ‘Caroline’s little sister’. Even when she was wearing a fitted gown, with its black lace and red satin corset, with a tantalising slit to mid-thigh, she was still the baby sister instead of Elizabeth, a woman in her own right.
‘It was lovely to meet you,’ Elizabeth said after the witch had chewed her ear off for a good twenty minutes. It turned out the witch was Robert’s aunt and she had many, many tales to tell about her nephew. Elizabeth couldn’t wait to tease her new brother-in-law about his childhood Barbie collection, but first she needed a champagne top-up.
‘There you are.’ Caroline grasped hold of Elizabeth’s hand en route to the bar. ‘There’s someone I’d like you to meet. Do you remember me telling you about that guy from work?’
William, the tall, extremely handsome IT manager? Yes, Elizabeth could recall that conversation, and she’d been looking forward to meeting him. One of the best parts of being a wedding guest when you were in your mid-twenties and very much single was the potential to meet new people. And William was even more gorgeous than her sister had described.
‘William, I’d like you to meet Elizabeth.’ Caroline pushed Elizabeth, who was rather agog at the Adonis in front of her, forward slightly. Who knew a zombie could be so damn hot?
‘Hi.’ William’s smile was faltering as his eyes flicked from Caroline to Elizabeth and back again. He quite clearly didn’t have a clue who she was.
‘Elizabeth is my little sister.’
‘Ah! Yes!’ William’s smile was full and genuine now he was up to speed. ‘Hello, Caroline’s little sister.’
Oh, for goodness sake.
Elizabeth held back a sigh and plastered on a smile. ‘Hi, William. Lovely to meet you. I was actually just on my way to the bar, but maybe we could chat later?’
Caroline was frowning as Elizabeth backed away, but she wasn’t about to waste her time on a bloke who either couldn’t remember her name five seconds after they were introduced or, worse, couldn’t be bothered to use it. No chance. She’d been ‘Caroline’s little sister’ for too long. It was time to spread her vampire wings and remind people she had her own unique identity. She’d grab a drink and then she’d –
‘Whoa!’ Her arms flailed as she was met by a solid mass. A couple of hands reached out to steady her and she laughed away her embarrassment.
‘I am so sorry,’ she said to the werewolf she’d reversed into. ‘Wasn’t looking where I was going.’
‘No worries.’ He gave a little shrug before his head tilted to one side, his eyes narrowing as he observed Elizabeth. ‘You’re Caroline’s little sister, aren’t you?’
Elizabeth fought to keep her smile in place. Here we go again. ‘Yes, I am.’
He nodded, looking pretty pleased with himself. ‘I went to school with Caroline and Robert. I thought I recognised you.’
But you didn’t, Elizabeth thought. Not quite.
 ‘Come and dance with us!’ Caroline called as she whizzed by, pointing frantically at William, who was just ahead of her.
‘I should…’ Elizabeth indicated the dance floor, which was filling up at Caroline’s insistence. There was no party quite like a Caroline party.
The werewolf nodded. ‘I’ll maybe see you later? It’s Elizabeth, right?’
She paused, the smile slipping from her face, but it was due to shock rather than annoyance this time, and her jaw started to drop.
‘You were a year below us,’ he said, and Elizabeth nodded, her jaw still somewhere near the floor. She peered at the werewolf but it was hard to tell who he was under the grey face paint and fake fur.
You’re Elizabeth.
‘Don’t worry,’ the werewolf said as Elizabeth continued to peer at him. ‘You probably wouldn’t recognise me even without the costume.’ He scratched behind his ear (his real ear, not the furry ones on top of his head). ‘I was too shy to talk to girls at school. Especially the prettiest ones.’
Elizabeth laughed when he winked at her. She couldn’t help it, it bubbled up out of nowhere. ‘You seem to have grown out of it.’
The werewolf gave a slow nod, as though musing the statement. ‘I guess I have.’ His eyes wandered down the vampire costume to the flash of thigh. ‘And I see you’ve grown out of pigtails and fluffy backpacks.’
She pressed a hand to her mouth to stop another giggle in its tracks. She’d loved that fluffy backpack and had thought she was the epitome of cool whenever she used it.
‘You really do remember me.’ Elizabeth felt the corners of her lips pull up into a smile. He remembered her. Elizabeth, the girl with the pink, fluffy backpack. The girl in her own right. Right now, to the werewolf at least, she wasn’t just the bridesmaid of Frankenstein.
‘Just how sharp are those claws?’ She indicated the rubbery tips at the end of the werewolf’s furry gloves. He held them up, a bemused smile on his face.
‘Not very. Why?’
She took him by the paw and led him towards the dance floor just as the intro to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ started.
‘Because I’d like to dance with you, and I don’t want you to snag my dress.’

Monday, 22 October 2018

7 Halloween Activities for Wusses

One of my favourite things about autumn is Halloween (you can see some of the other things I love about the season here) but I'm a massive wimp. I don't do blood or gore or scary films. I don't read scary stories (the last scary book I read was a Point Horror book, back in the mid 90s. It scared the crap out of me and I never picked up another. Embarrassingly true story).

So without the fear-factor, what do I actually like about Halloween? I thought I'd share 7 fun activities you can do this Halloween if you're a scaredy cat just like me.


 
 
 

Carve a Pumpkin

 
 
Confession: I don't actually carve our pumpkin. It's my husband's job because it's pretty gross and smelly. But I do love a Jack o' Lantern and nothing screams Halloween more than a carved pumpkin with a flickering tealight (if we pop the pumpkin outside to encourage more trick or treaters - in a non child snatcher type of way - I always use a battery-operated tealight. Safety first!)
 
 
 
 
 

Listen to Fun Halloween Music

 
 
Useless fact: Monster Mash is my favourite Halloween song.
 
We pop Andrew Gold's Halloween Howls on when we decorate the living room or do Halloween activities (and yes, Monster Mash is on there). You could also make a playlist on Spotify for free.
 
 
 

Get Crafty or Bake-y

 
  
I love getting crafty at Halloween. If you're crafting with kids, simple things like loo roll mummies are great. They're quick and easy and you can pop treats in there too if you'd like. Paper plate monster masks are also a nice activity - it can be as messy or creative as you'd like!
 
 
I also get crafty with the trick or treat sweets, giving ordinary sweets a spooktacular makeover.
 
 
I try to make something different each year, but I liked the brown paper packets so much a couple of years ago that I'm going to do something similar this year too.
 
 
If, like me, you're not much of a baker, you can keep it simple by making spider cupcakes. All you have to do is cover the tops of your cakes (which you can even buy pre-made if you want to keep it reeeeeally simple) with white icing sugar and add a spider design using chocolate buttons for bodies and piped melted chocolate for the legs.
 
 
 
 

Watch Hocus Pocus

 
 
Like I said earlier, I don't do blood, gore or crapping my pants watching horror films of any kind. But you can't go wrong with family-friendly Hocus Pocus. Other scaredy-cat Halloween films include Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Addams Family, Casper, Monsters, Inc and The Wizard of Oz (but not Return to Oz. I watched it once, when I was little, and those changing heads were terrifying).
 
 
 

Read a Halloween-themed Romantic Comedy

 
 
Or write one, which is something I love to do. There aren't any scares in my Halloween short stories, guaranteed. You can find a selection of short stories by clicking here and if you're a newsletter subscriber, there'll be a brand new Halloween short story dropping into your inbox soon! If you haven't subscribed and you would like to, click here
 
 
 

Decorate the House

 
 
Making your own decorations can be fun, or you can buy loads of cute (or mildly scary) decorations for your house. I like to put gel stickers in the window so trick or treaters know we're celebrating the day and can come and knock on our door (please. I've gone to a lot of effort making treats).
 
Top Tip: You don't have to bother dusting in the run up to Halloween - it all adds to the effect ;)
 
 
 

Go Trick or Treating

 
 
You're probably going to need a kid for this one. If you don't have one of your own, borrow one (with permission, obv), pop a costume on and off you go collecting treats!
 
Our dog, Luna goes trick or treating with my husband and our girls (I stay behind to give out the treats at our house). And she even gets dressed up too. As you can see from the photos, she loves us for this. She doesn't hate the costumes. Not. One. Bit.
 
 
 

So, that's my list of 7 things to do at Halloween if you're a big wuss like me. I hope you have a fun Halloween, however you spend the day :)

Friday, 19 October 2018

Coming Soon: Book Makeovers

 

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you may have spotted me shouting about the book makeover that is coming very soon for THREE of my books.


The big reveals will be happening from 6th November, but I'm so excited about them that I can't wait that long - which is why I'm giving my newsletter subscribers a sneak peek next week! And not only will subscribers get to see the gorgeous covers before everybody else, they'll also receive a FREE Halloween short story, plus the chance to win a signed copy of The Little Bed & Breakfast by the Sea.

 
If you haven't subscribed to my newsletter, you can pop your details here - it's all completely free and you'll receive 4-5 newsletters per year, with exclusive giveaways, book news and content, short stories and more! Plus, everyone who subscribes will receive a FREE ebook short, which is exclusive to my subscribers.
 
 
 
 
https://mailchi.mp/310b4ee4365f/jenniferjoycenewsletter
 
 

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Hello Autumn

Don't you just love autumn? It's my favourite time of year. Some people crave the heat of summer but I'm all about big jumpers, slippers and my woolly hat.


There's so much to love about autumn but it always seems to go by in a flash. One minute you're crunching leaves, the next you're in the freezing depths of winter. So I thought I would make myself a checklist of all the wonderful things I want to do this autumn, so I can really appreciate all the little things I love about the season.


 
 
Jumping in leaves is my favourite thing to do during the autumn months, especially when they're crunchy (yes, I am a big kid) so it had to be at the very top of my checklist (the others are not in order of preference because I simply couldn't choose between them).
 
I've had a head start on the blanket as I've been working away at it for quite a while now (I'm a newbie at crocheting and still learning the basics!) and I've already bought some wool in gorgeous autumny colours for the scarf, so I'm itching to getting started on that. If you follow me on Instagram, I'm sure you'll get a glimpse at the woks in progress!
 
I had to add some Halloween stuff on my list as it's the BEST and the perfect excuse to get crafty. Although I love pumpkins, it's always my husband's job to carve it as it's icky (😄).

I'm already starting to get the autumn feels just from making my list, so I'm looking forward to getting stuck in!

What would be on your autumn checklist?

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

My Summer 2018

The house is very quiet today, which can mean only one thing; it's back to school time. The past over six weeks has passed in a bit of blur. On one hand, I'm not sure where the time has gone, yet on the other - bizarrely - July seems a very long time ago.


Back in July, we took a little family trip down to London as my teenage daughter, Rianne was desperate to see Hamilton after becoming obsessed with the soundtrack. As Isobel is a bit younger, I took her to see the Matilda musical while Rianne and Chris went to see Hamilton.

 
While in London, we did a bit of sightseeing, including the London Eye, which was fabulously air conditioned (back then we were very much in the throes of the heatwave and baking!), and I left behind a little gift on a bench.
 
A few weeks later, we went on a slightly longer trip to Blackpool and had a brilliant time. The heatwave was long gone (thankfully) and we didn't always have the best weather (we were rained on a few times) but we kept ourselves busy with indoor activities on the crap-weather days, including the Tower circus, the Sea Life centre and - best of all - the arcades.
 
 
We did have some sunny days, so we spent time on the beach with our buckets and spades and an octopus kite (which was a lot of fun flying). We also spent the day at the zoo and bought Luna a little toy wolf to bring home with us.
 
 
 
 
 

I didn't get nearly as much reading done as I would have liked this summer, but I did share the book love here on the blog with my Six Weeks of Summer Reads. What did you read this summer? And did you go on any trips/holidays? Let us know in the comments! :)

Friday, 31 August 2018

Six Weeks of Summer Reads: Week Six

 

I love shouting about books I've loved, and what better excuse is there to jump up and down waving a book you think everyone should read than the summer?

 
 I've been sharing one fab read a week over the course of the summer holidays. They haven't necessarily bene your typical beach reads, simply books I've adored recently and want to share with anyone who will listen.
 
As I'm always on the look out for more books to add to the TBR pile, I'd love to hear your recommendations too! Share the book love either on my blog posts or get in touch on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #sixweeksofsummerreads :)
 
 

 
 
 

My friends think I'm insane, I'm stalking men all over town and I'm on a deadline.

Most people have heard of The Rules of Engagement, the book that promises to teaches to find the man of your dreams in ten easy steps. Cat has decided that, while a lot has changed since the eighties, it might be entertaining to follow it to the letter.

But when you're looking for love - actively chasing it down, actually - a lot can go wrong...
 
 
 
 
I Followed The Rules is a slightly older book (published in 2015) but I only read it earlier this year as I've been catching up on Joanna Bolouri's books after reading - and adoring - The Most Wonderful Time of The Year at the end of 2016. I love Joanna Bolouri's style of writing and her books - and her heroines - are laugh-out-loud funny. I know when I pick up one of her books I'm in for a good time and a chuckle. I Followed The Rules was no exception; it's funny, swear-tastic (I love a good dose of the swears) and uplifting.
 

Have you read I Followed The Rules? What did you think?