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Writing in the Sunshine. Writing in the Shadows.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

How I came to write that book

As you will have noticed from the gorgeous cover, designed by Berni, my latest book from  Choc-lit is a bit different – so first, a word of reassurance – I have not given up writing the romantic suspense. I enjoy indulging my dark side too much for that, but this is my more frivolous side coming to the surface. And I get to have a pretty, glamorous, sunshiny cover, which I am totally in love with, so it’s all good.
Summer in San Remo has got some stolen money and a mysterious stranger, so there is a little bit of a mystery about it, but it also has food, fabulous clothes, parties, swimming pools, luxury villas – and sunshine.
The book began life as a novella, which was then called A Hand Picked Husband, and which I wrote one year as my submission for the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme, after a marvellous Riviera holiday in – San Remo. I had a lot of fun writing it, and the feedback was good, but no one was able to suggest where a book mixing romantic comedy and light crime might find a home, so it was added to the (very large) pile of manuscripts in the bottom drawer.
Fast forward a decade or so – yes, it was that long – and the call went out to the authors of Choc-lit for any novellas we might have stashed under the bed. I dusted off ‘Husband’, and put my hand up. It went through the Choc-lit tasting panel as it was, they liked it enough to give it the thumbs up, and I signed the contract.
And that was when the fun really began. I still loved the book – the chemistry between Cassie and Jake was still strong and the sparks still flew between them, but the book needed a lot of tweaking, not least because of the changes in technology. And then life threw me one of those curves when everything that can happen does. Work on the manuscript simply ground to a halt, and there it stayed for a long time.
But now I’ve finally got back on track, Summer in San Remo is up to date, and longer, but the sparks are still flying between Jake and Cassie and I still love the book. And in the meantime, I’ve had time to think about, and enjoy, writing light as well as dark, and to hope that I will have the chance to do more of both.  I’m hoping that this book will be the first of a series – called The Riviera Rogues. The first draft of book two is already written, with a brand new heroine and a hero from Summer in San Remo that you might not expect – I certainly didn’t.  It still needs a lot of work, and the panel hasn’t seen it yet. Fingers crossed that when they do they will like it and we might have a date again on the Riviera again sometime next year. 

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Summer in San Remo Give away

I'm currently running a give away on the Tripfiction Facebook Page. If you haven't encountered Trip fiction yet, it's a site that features books by location, so that you can chose where you want to read and well as what. I'll give you a link to the giveaway at the end of the post. Nothing complicated involved, only likes and shares, and you could be in with a chance.

I had a lot of fun putting the give away together - it's got a nautical/beach theme, as you might expect for a summer holiday read.

There's a Summer in San Remo tote bag, fine for a trip to the beach, or some shopping in the city. A nicely nautical scarf/wrap, patterned with yachts, and a box of bath bombs from Lush. In the book Cassie finds that she may not have packed everything she needs for a trip to the Riviera, but she does have her Lush goodies - I chose a box with bergamot and lemon scents that seemed to fit with a setting on the Mediterranean. I think there may be some lavender in there too.

Still on the theme of scent - there's a small Yankee Candle - of course in the Italian Escape fragrance, and what might be my favourite piece in the pack, frivolous and fun, a money box shaped like a beach hut, complete with a seagull on top, just like the ones on the cover of the book.

I hope you'll wander over to the Trip fiction site and try your luck.

The link is HERE

You'll need to scroll down to the post for 2 August. The contest runs for a few more days, until midnight 13th August.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Anatomy of a Cover

As you know, a cover is a very important part of the presentation of a book. It’s what prompts the reader to take their first look. Getting a good one is important. My publisher, Choc-lit, is particularly known for the attractiveness of its covers, courtesy of their design wiz, Berni Stevens (who also writes vampire romance, when she has some spare time) 

I’ve loved all my covers, and Summer in San Remo is no exception. Some of that is because it’s been such a long time since I actually had a book out and having any cover is a thrill, but it’s also because the cover perfectly captures the essence of the book. A colourful, sunny summer read – which is a new direction for me. I love the way Berni has captured the essence of the ‘Old Town’ elements of the towns on the Riviera, the feel of sun, sand and beach, and the bougainvillea that trails over the edges. 

Flowers and beautiful gardens are one of the elements of the book, and although I haven’t mentioned bougainvillea – an omission I must rectify in the next one in the series, as the flower is one of the trademarks of the Mediterranean.  I remember bringing one home from a trip to Italy, many moons ago. Of course the British climate is a bit of a challenge, but I managed to keep it for a while in a very sheltered part of the garden, next to the back door, and it gave me a great deal of enjoyment while it lasted. The flowers mentioned in the book are mostly jasmine and roses, which I also grow. I have lots of jasmine plants – they grow from cuttings like weeds.

But this is getting away from cover art. Of course the focal point of the cover is the portrait of heroine Cassie, who looks perfectly at home there. I covet her blue dress. I’ve spotted one very like it in M&S and I have had to talk severely to myself to stop me buying it. Jane Lovering has been known to match her hair to her covers, so why can’t I dress like mine? Don’t answer that one!

All the elements of the cover combine beautifully, but you know the thing that really gets me? It’s the seagulls. I think they really are the finishing touch. The real thing, nesting on the roofs in the street – I live 10 minutes from the beach – are a bit noisy. Make that a lot noisy, and are hell on wheels on bin collection day, but on the cover of the book they really give it that quirky, beach holiday feel.  

So – that’s it. I’m in love with my cover. It says everything I wanted about Summer in San Remo.   

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

On being a 'treat'

Last week I was the Choc-lit Friday Treat. I’ve never been a treat before – it sounds slightly wicked.

For those who have not signed up to Choc-lit’s mailing lists, a treat is a short story – a piece of flash fiction, really, from a Choc-lit author – often someone who has a new book out. It usually arrives in time to be read with morning coffee/tea, which is very civilised.

If you’re signed on to Choc-lit’s mailing list, and to receive the treats, you know about this. If you aren’t signed on, why not? It’s free, and it means you get those little treats arriving in your in box on a Friday – not every Friday – and a monthly newsletter with info about new books, events, the occasional chance to win stuff. If you hop over to the Choc-lit site you can sign up. But don’t go yet. I’ll give you a link at the end. 


Anyway back to my treat. As regular readers know, I’m not much for short fiction. I always blame it on the plotting requirements of romantic suspense, which need more room than 500ish words, which is true, but it’s also that I don’t have a big facility for writing short. It’s not my thing. Except sometimes it is. I occasionally get an idea, and then I enjoy putting it down in a short format. Which is what happened with this one. I wrote it when I was editing Summer in San Remo (a process that took on the proportions of painting the Forth bridge, it had so many stops, starts and beginnings again) which meant that I had it all ready when the book was finally released – which earned lots of brownie points with the lovely Lusana in the Choc-lit HQ (at least, I hope it did) and not a little astonishment.   

It’s a very romantic piece, set in Paris, and I particularly tailored it to include echoes of Cassie and Jake’s story in Summer in San Remo, although it’s not about them. That was quite satisfying to do, a little test of skill, like trying to complete a crossword – I’m not all that good at those, either – I won’t talk about what those were, because it would be spoilers, but if you’ve read both you will probably have picked them up, and if you’ve only read the treat, that’s a little added extra when you come to read Summer in San Remo. I hope you will read it. I think you’ll enjoy it.

To sign on for the treats, you need to email with Treat in the subject heading. If you ask nicely they might even be able to send you mine, if you haven't already read it.

You can sign on for the monthly news letter via the Choc-lit website.

The link to the CHOC-LIT site is HERE

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Launch day and cover reveal!!!

Tarrah! Here it is - the cover of my new e-book from Choclit

Summer In San Remo

Isn't it pretty?

And different?

That's because the book is different. Not the kind of thing I usually write, it's a chase around the Riviera involving confidence tricksters, mysterious strangers, cocktail parties, film crews,  picnics, shopping for shoes  ... A summer fling, if you, will.

Crime, but with a much lighter touch.

Not a dead body in sight.

The chance for some fun, in time for the holidays.

Available NOW from all e-book platforms.


Monday, 17 July 2017



On sale on all e-book platforms and of course, the COVER REVEAL.

It's a secret, but I think this guy may know something.