Friday, 20 September 2019

The Accidental Life Swap: Fun Facts


Take a sneaky peek behind the scenes of The Accidental Life Swap with a few fun facts!




















Sometimes one moment can change your life forever…


Rebecca Riley has always been a bit of a pushover. When her glamorous boss, Vanessa, asks her to jump, she doesn’t just ask how high… she asks if her boss would like her to grab a coffee on the way back down!
So whilst overseeing the renovation of Vanessa’s beautiful countryside home, the last thing Rebecca ever expected was to be mistaken for her boss – or that she would even consider going along with it! Far away from the bustling city and her boss’s demanding ways, could she pretend to be Vanessa and swap lives, just for a little while?


Friday, 13 September 2019

My Favourite Board/Family Games



Who doesn’t like a board or family game? Gathering the family together to play, hoping it doesn't come to blows as competitive streaks emerge and sore losers vent their frustrations (or is that just me? I’ve been known to resort to mild violence/threats of). Whether it’s a whimsical game with plastic mice avoiding capture or a battle of wits, board games are the perfect medium to bond and have fun with your friends and loved ones (unless you’re playing with someone like me. My best advice in this situation is to duck). Board/family games feature quite a lot in The Accidental Life Swap, so I thought I’d share some of my favourites with you!




Trivia and a board game in one. What’s not to love? I have to admit I’m not a fan of the pesky sports questions (I haven’t a clue about any sport. My only strategy is to have a guess at Tiger Woods for all golf questions, Andy Murray for tennis and Manchester United for football) and my georgraphy knowledge – or lack of – is scary. But you can buy specialised packs of questions now – no more pesky sports or geography – wahoo!



For the most fun, you need one of the older versions of this game as the new ones don’t launch the pirate out of the barrel with nearly as much force. It was always hilarious when the pirate clunked somebody on the head on the way down, and it was even funnier if the poor sod hadn’t moved away in time and the pirate thwacked them in the face.



A classic that can go on for hours or even days (and that’s just deciding who has to be the banker). Rubbing your hands together with glee when somebody lands on your property pimped up with a hotel. The euphoria of landing on Mayfair – and having the money to buy it – when you already have Park Lane. Picking up a Get Out of Jail Free card. Of course, it isn’t as much fun when you’re having to hand over your hard-earned cash, but it’ll be your pay day any time now…



Even the name is fun. Kerplunk. It is probably my favourite name of all the board/family games out there. Kerplunk. It isn’t so fun having to set it all up, but once those straws are all in place and you’ve managed to get all the marbles to stay inside the tube, you’re in for a treat.



Another classic. Highlights include making multiple words in one go, using high-scoring letters on triple word tiles and finally getting rid of that Q.



I loved this as a kid, even if the timer grated on you. The only downside is the blind maze that is probably the most rage-inducing element of any game, ever. In the end, you just have to wiggle the lever until that bloody ball finds its way out. I’m angry just thinking about it.


So those are my favourite board/family games but what are yours? Let us know in the comments below!






Sometimes one moment can change your life forever…


Rebecca Riley has always been a bit of a pushover. When her glamorous boss, Vanessa, asks her to jump, she doesn’t just ask how high… she asks if her boss would like her to grab a coffee on the way back down!
So whilst overseeing the renovation of Vanessa’s beautiful countryside home, the last thing Rebecca ever expected was to be mistaken for her boss – or that she would even consider going along with it! Far away from the bustling city and her boss’s demanding ways, could she pretend to be Vanessa and swap lives, just for a little while?


Thursday, 5 September 2019

The Accidental Life Swap: Meet The Characters


The Accidental Life Swap is out now and I thought I'd share a quick intro to some of the characters:




Rebecca is feisty on the inside but a bit of a wet lettuce on the outside (sorry, Rebecca, but it's absolutely true). She knows what she wants from life, but she lacks the ability to go for it. When her boss asks her to take over the project management of her new holiday home, Rebecca can’t say no and so she finds herself in the middle of nowhere, in charge of a refurbishment and without a clue of how to manage the project or its builders. 



Rebecca’s boss, Vanessa is feisty inside and out. She knows what she wants and doesn’t care what she has to do – or get others to do – to achieve her goals. When the project manager of her holiday home development is unable to continue with the task, Vanessa has no qualms about sending Rebecca to take her place. Rebecca has no experience in project management, nor any desire to carry out the role, but this is irrelevant information. Vanessa has a deadline that must be met and it’s now Rebecca’s responsibility to make sure it all goes to plan. 



Stacey has lived in Little Heaton all her life and now runs the animal sanctuary next door to Vanessa’s holiday home. She’s grateful for Rebecca’s help when she arrives in the village, but how will she react when she finds out the truth about her new friend? 



Led by Vincent, builders Harvey, Oliver and Todd have been working on the development for the past few months but they’ve fallen behind schedule. With Vanessa’s non-negotiable deadline, can they finish the job on time under Rebecca’s leadership? 



Emma is Rebecca’s best friend. She’s a bit of a gossip, but she has a heart of gold and is always willing to lend a hand wherever she can. 



Sonia is Rebecca’s workplace nemesis; they started working at Vanessa Whitely Events at the same time but brown-nosing Sonia is climbing the corporate ladder at a pace while Rebecca is still dithering at the bottom, deciding whether it’s safe to take a step up to the next rung. But if Rebecca can pull of the refurbishment, she may finally catch up.






Sometimes one moment can change your life forever…


Rebecca Riley has always been a bit of a pushover. When her glamorous boss, Vanessa, asks her to jump, she doesn’t just ask how high… she asks if her boss would like her to grab a coffee on the way back down!
So whilst overseeing the renovation of Vanessa’s beautiful countryside home, the last thing Rebecca ever expected was to be mistaken for her boss – or that she would even consider going along with it! Far away from the bustling city and her boss’s demanding ways, could she pretend to be Vanessa and swap lives, just for a little while?



Sunday, 1 September 2019

Writing Book Ten: Part Fifteen - Happy Ebook Publication Day To Me!

I'm keeping a diary of the writing process of Book 10, from the first words to publication.




It's here! Publication Day for The Accidental Life Swap has arrived (for the ebook, at least. We have to wait a little bit longer for the paperback and audio).

It's always a mixed bag of emotions when it comes to publication day; on one hand it's incredibly exciting that all the hard work you and the publishing team have put into the book has paid off and you have an actual book for people to read, but on the other hand you have a book for people to read. And THAT is incredibly nerve-wracking. I don't know how writers end up with any fingernails left at all by the time publication day rolls around!

I have had some lovely reviews already from early readers, which is fabulous and I can let out a teeny sigh of relief that at least a few people have enjoyed the book - and hopefully more will too!

Although I finished writing the book a while ago, I've still been working on extra content in the meantime, and I'll be posting the 'Book Extras' here on the blog over the next few weeks, from my dream cast, the book's playlist and more. I've also been putting together a newsletter (if you're a subscriber, it should be in your inbox right now), with a subscriber-exclusive giveaway of a gorgeous little house pendant. When I was looking for a prize, this pendant jumped right out at me as I think it fits perfectly with the book.


If you haven't subscribed to my newsletter yet, you can sign up here


While I was writing the book, I asked for help naming some of the animals on my Facebook page, so if you took part you might recognise some of the names used. Remember, if one of your suggestions was used in the book, your name will be in the acknowledgements, so look out for that!





Monday, 12 August 2019

A Books & Writing Catch Up

It's been a while since I last posted on the blog - I had a little break after finishing the edits on The Accidental Life Swap, and I'm also pushed for time with it being the school summer holidays - so I thought it was time to have a quick catch up!

Writing-wise, I'm now plotting Book 11. I love this stage of the writing process, although it can be a bit daunting as I'm always worried the idea in my head won't transfer well onto the page, especially if the idea has been brewing for a while. Once my ideas are down on paper (or screen) I need to put together a synopsis for my editor, which is my least favourite part of the writing process. It doesn't matter how times I write a synopsis, they never get any easier. I would much rather write a whole 80-90k novel than a page or two of a synopsis!



I'm also gearing myself up for the publication of The Accidental Life Swap, which is now less than three weeks away. I've planned some book extras, which I'll put up here on the blog once the book is out, and I'll also be sending out a newsletter on publication day. As well as the usual book news and recommendations, there'll be a publication day giveaway, plus you'll get the chance to have your name used as a character name in my next book. I did this with The Accidental Life Swap and I'd love to do it again. Only newsletter subscribers will get the chance to take part, so make sure you've signed up before 1st September! If you haven't subscribed yet and would like to, click here to fill in the quick and easy form.

Each of my newsletters comes with a book recommendation (or two, sometimes even three) but I thought I'd shout about a couple of fantastic reads I've read recently here too. If you have any book recommendations of your own, let us know in the comments below this post :)


A God In Ruins is my favourite read of the year so far. I'd read a proof copy of its companion book, Life After Life a few years ago and loved it so when I saw A God In Ruins on a book-sharing shelf, I knew I had to borrow it.

The book follows Teddy Todd and his family as war breaks out and he becomes a fighter pilot, moving through the decades to see how his life - and those around him - turns out over the twentieth century. It was such a heartwarming (and sometimes heartbreaking) book that I didn't want it to end. And when it did, I didn't want to relinquish it. But I had only borrowed the book, so I dutifully returned it to its shelf - and then bought my own copy, along with Life After Life, which I should have bought myself a long time ago!



Last year, I read my first Kate Morton book, The House at Riverton, which was one of my favourite reads of 2018. I knew I had to catch up on her other books, so a couple of weeks ago I read The Forgotten Garden - and loved it just as much!


Like A God In Ruins, The Forgotten Garden sweeps across the decades to tell the story of a little girl who was found abandoned on an Australian dock after travelling across from England during the lead up to the First World War. I love Kate Morton's writing and the way it draws you into the mystery, and I'll definitely read more of her books in the future!


So, that's my books and writing catch up. Remember to share any recommendations in the comments below :)

Friday, 12 July 2019

Writing Book Ten: Part Fourteen - The Book Has Left The Building

I'm keeping a diary of the writing process of Book 10, from the first words to publication.



It's been about six weeks since I last updated about The Accidental Life Swap, but a lot has happened since then: I've completed each of the editing stages and have whisked the manuscript back to my editor, and I've had some very good news about the book. Not only will the book be available as a paperback in December (the ebook version will be out in September), it's also being made into an audio version too!

It's the first time one of my books will be available in an audio format, so I'm VERY excited about this. I would have shouted about it sooner but I've spent the past couple of weeks feeling sorry for myself on the sofa as I was plagued by chest and stomach bugs. It wasn't fun (and I had to miss the HarperCollins summer party *sad face*) but I'm feeling better now (even if the stubborn cough is refusing to budge completely) and I did discover that Glee has been added to Netflix during one of my self-pity parties on the sofa.



As well as completing the edits for the book, I've also written the acknowledgements, which includes a big thank you to everyone who helped name the animals. So if you provided one of the names used, you'll find yourself in there when the books is published!

You can pre-order the book in all three formats here






Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Writing Book Ten: Part Thirteen - Cover Reveal & Edits

I'm keeping a diary of the writing process of Book 10, from the first words to publication.



My publishers revealed the cover of The Accidental Life Swap last week and I was so excited to be able to share it. I'd already had a sneaky peek and couldn't wait to shout about it because it's just so gorgeous.



What do you think? Isn't she a beauty? The ebook is out in September (with the paperback following in December) but you can pre-order right now. Click here for more info.

Having a cover reveal for a book you're still working on is a bit strange, but it's really fired me up to make this the best book I can, to do justice to the amazing cover. So the edits landing in my inbox a few days later came at the right time!

Getting the first round of edits in can be a bit daunting - overwhelming at times - but I'm learning to take a few deep breaths, to not panic and know that I'll get through them one step at a time. The first thing I do when I get my editor's notes is to read through them and then step away. I let her thoughts sink in so I can process them before I make my plan of action.


I take my editor's notes and put them into more manageable bullet points, adding ideas and thoughts of my own and answering any questions that may have come up. It all looks neat to start with, but by the end, these sheets of paper will be a mess as I mark off the points as they're addressed and scrawl new notes as I go along.

With my revision notes, I'm almost ready to dive back in, but I need a couple more things to hand; cup of tea (obviously) and my Kindle containing The Emotion Thesaurus, The Rural Setting Thesaurus, and The Urban Setting Thesaurus.


I've got the main story down, but with the help of the above writing tools, I can start to add more depth and make the book shine!





Monday, 20 May 2019

Writing To Music


I don't do silence while I'm writing. It's too weird. I like background noise (as long as that background noise isn't a couple of kids arguing about who's taking up more than their fair share of the sofa. Yes, I am talking about my kids) but it can't be a TV program as I'll end up tuning in and my writing will be forgotten. So, music, for me, is the perfect solution.

I like the music to set the scene, so if I'm writing something festive, a bit of Noddy Holder shouting at the top of his lungs that it's Christmas is spot on (plus, I'll use any excuse to listen to Crimbo music). But most of my books aren't set at Christmas so I need something to suit my non-festive rom coms. I'll usually head for 80s or 90s pop compilations but I've recently set up a romantic comedy playlist of my own, made up of the playlists of some of my favourite rom com films.


So far, the playlist consists of playlists from:

 13 Going 30
You've Got Mail
Picture Perfect
Clueless
Groundhog Day
Notting Hill &
Bridget Jones' Diary

It's a work-in-progress, so I'll be adding more playlists (usually after I've watched them, because why not? Who doesn't love a good rom com?) but it's the perfect compilation to listen to while I'm writing. It's full of upbeat and quirky tunes as well as more melodic songs oozing romance and love.


You can listen to my playlist below via Spotify, or you can save it to your own account to listen to it whenever you're in a romantic comedy mood!

Monday, 15 April 2019

Writing Book Ten: Part Twelve - Deadline Day

I'm keeping a diary of the writing process of Book 10, from the first words to publication.



Today is deadline day.

And I've just sent the completed draft of The Accidental Life Swap to my editor! Excuse me while I:

  1. Punch the air in celebration
  2. Weep with relief and
  3. Collapse in a heap




Even though I've loved writing the book over the past few months and there's still a ton of work to, it feels like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I did it! I wrote another book, from beginning to end. And it doesn't matter that the finished book may look nothing like this draft, because I've passed a massive hurdle and no matter how much editing is required, I have something solid to work with.

Now I really am going to collapse in a heap. I'll be back with more updates when I have them, but for now I'm going to have a little rest and enjoy the last week of the Easter holidays :)