Out with the old, in with the new

Morocco: I fell in love

On this, the first day of 2018, like a great many people I’m thinking about my hopes, dreams and plans for the coming 12 months (as well as battling a hangover from hell). On the whole, 2017 could be characterised as disappointing, and I fell foul of low-level depression and a sense of hopelessness (I’m prone to it). There were highlights: two spectacular holidays; publication of Skin Deep and the fantastic reaction to it; another sell-out Beach Hut Writing Academy conference. But, while I’m not going to dwell on them, there have been a great many challenges and disappointments. Not one for resolutions – I always break them – instead I have a plan and I’m recording it here so that I might be held to account, by myself if no one else:

  • To pursue agent representation for my new novel – HIM, HER, US. I signed with Accent Press without an agent (they approached me directly) and while I’m grateful to the team at Accent for all their work on my books’ behalves, it’s time to move on.
  • Self-publish my romances. In December I got the rights back from the publisher of two romances I’ve penned under a pseudonym. After some rewriting, I will experiment with self-publishing and all being well I’ll write the third instalment, too. Here’s to becoming a hybrid author!
  • Write a middle-grade novel. I promised the children at the school where I work part-time that one day I’d write a novel that they might read. An idea has been germinating for some time and I believe I have the key to the story now.
  • Read more for pleasure (I do read a lot though it’s fair to say I lost my reading mojo for a few months in 2017) as well as the not-inconsiderable amount of reading I must do as part of my role as an editor and mentor.
  • Live healthier. I’m starting with a Dry January and plan to rein in the drinking over the rest of the year (and my life…) and exercise more: walking and swimming. Keep mentally healthier as well as physically.
  • Try new creative pursuits. I’m starting with sculpting thermo-plastic, curtesy of my good friends Matt and Ju of Blast Theory.

I have another idea for an adult novel too – more crime-y than anything I’ve tried before, but I suspect the above is enough to be getting on with for now.

Happy New Year beautiful people. Joy, kindness, hope.

Laura x

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Readers, I thank you

Recently I was invited to a book club gathering. The group read was Skin Deep and they were keen to meet with me and ask questions. It’s always nerve-wracking meeting readers even though I have had mostly good experiences and I enjoy it. After a wobble, I accepted the kind invitation.

On arrival in a fluster – late, I lost my way – and anxious I was told that the group (of 12) had eight senior medics and was given a quick run-through of the books they’d considered excellent of late. There were a lot of Booker prize listed novels, most were literary. My stomach knotted tighter. Three (I recall) of the medics were high ranking paediatricians. Jeepers, neither I nor my book are clever enough for this lot, I thought.

An excellent dinner was supplied by the host – lovely Sue – which we ate and made polite conversation. They were a lively and engaging bunch. And then, it time to talk about Skin Deep

I introduced the book, my influences and the journey. As one might expect, the first question concerned Cal’s medical condition. I explained it was fictional, deliberately non-specific, and I had known from the outset with absolute certainty that it would not be based on an actual condition; I would pick and mix from a number of sources. And I spoke about why this felt important: I would not want any individual – or relative, or friend of a person with a deformity – to think that they ‘were’ Cal; that they were ‘ugly’. We spoke of parental consent, abuse, exploitation, unconditional love, the visual world we live in and whether or not we can escape the pressures of this.

And then various members of group spoke of the characters, the details they’d enjoyed or admired, plot points and authorial choices, and I was blown away by what close, attentive readers they were. They talked about things I’d forgotten about! As I drove home I felt honoured they’d given so much to my book and I reminded myself that it is an honour when someone chooses to read your work, invests hours in this world in which there are a great many others demands on our time.

So, this is me, saying a huge THANK YOU to readers – those of the Westdene Book Club and others out there in the big wide world. You are why we authors do what we do.

 

The Cornish Hotel by the Sea by Karen KIng. Extract.

I’m delighted to introduce readers to author Karen King today. Karen’s work is new to me and her delightful romance set in gorgeous Cornwall, The Cornish Hotel by the Sea, is the first of her novels I’ve read – it won’t be the last. A charming sweet romance it’s perfect for lazy days on the beach. Here’s an exclusive extract with information about Karen and the novel following. Enjoy!

The Cornish Hotel by the Sea

“Excuse me.”

The man’s voice made her jolt. Ellie tore her eyes away from the figures on the computer screen and looked up, straight into a pair of deep grey eyes set in a ruggedly handsome face topped by chocolate-brown hair. Very nice. It took her a few seconds to realise that it was Merc Guy, now wearing a black tee shirt and jeans, and to notice the angry set of his jaw and the frown lines in the middle of his thick eyebrows. He was staying here then. Great.  An unhappy customer was all she needed.   She just hoped he didn’t recognise her from this afternoon when he was blasting his horn at her. Thank goodness she’d been wearing sunglasses.

She fixed a pleasant smile on her face. “Can I help you?”

“The shower isn’t working in my room and I have an important business meeting in less than an hour,” he informed her curtly. “So will you either arrange for it to be fixed immediately or provide me with the use of a shower in another room?”

Great. Problems already.

“Did you hear what I said? I haven’t time to waste. I have an important meeting to go to.”

The man’s abrupt tone annoyed her but she kept calm. “Of course, Mr…er…” she glanced at the hotel register for the man`s name.

“Mitchell.” He supplied. “Reece Mitchell. I arrived earlier today. And I’m in a hurry.”

Yes, I got that. A quick glance at the register told her that Reece Mitchell was in Room 12. Luckily the room next to him was empty and there was a connecting door between the rooms. Problem solved.

“I do apologise, Mr Mitchell. I’ll get it sorted for you today. Meanwhile, please use the shower in the room next to you. It’s vacant at the moment and you can access it through a connecting door.” She reached for the key and handed it to him. “I’m very sorry for the inconvenience. Would you mind popping the key back on your way out?”

He didn’t look too pleased. “Well, I guess it will have to do. I must say this hotel isn’t what I’d expected. I’m surprised you do any business at all.” He almost snatched the key out of her hand.

She swallowed the angry retort that sprung to her mouth reminding herself of Mum’s mantra that the customer was always right. And if they weren’t you didn’t tell them so. She watched, fuming, as Reece Mitchell stormed off.

What an arrogant man!  

Author Bio.

 A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists, Karen King writes sassy, fun, heart-warming romance. The Cornish Hotel by the Sea is her second chicklit for Accent Press, her first – I do?… or do I? was published last year and there is another one in the process of publication. In addition, Accent Press have republished her earlier romance novels, The Millionaire Plan and Never Say Forever.

Karen has also written several short stories for women’s magazine and had 120 children’s books published.

When she isn’t writing, Karen likes travelling, watching the ‘soaps’ and reading. Give her a good book and a box of chocolates and she thinks she’s in Heaven.

Author links

Website: http://www.karenking.net/

Twitter: @karen_king

Karen King Romance Author Facebook Page

Karen King Young Adult Books Facebook Page

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/karenkingauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karenkingauthor/?hl=en

Blurb

The Cornish Hotel by the Sea: Escape to Cornwall with this perfect summer read

“A feel-good summer escape.” Mandy Baggot

Ellie Truman’s widowed mum is struggling to keep Gwel Teg, the family hotel in Cornwall, afloat.  Ellie is determined to do everything in her power to help her, even if that means moving back to the sleepy Cornish village she fled from broken-hearted a few years ago.
Things go wrong from the start and she’s grateful for the help from hunky guest, Reece Mitchell. But does Reece have ulterior motives? Will Ellie’s efforts be for nothing?

Buy Links

Amazon

Waterstones

W.H.Smiths

Thank you for hosting me!

Thanks for coming over! Do follow the rest of the tour. Dates here.

Don’t Kill the Dog! Abi’s Neighbour by Jenny Kane

It’s lovely to be here with Laura, my fabulous friend and fellow Accent author, to talk a little about my new novel, Abi’s Neighbour. And it’s fab to have you here again, Jenny.

It’s so new, that it was only released into the wild yesterday! I’m so excited – and a little nervous. Abi’s Neighbour has a lot to live up to.

Set a year after my bestselling novel, Abi’s House; Abi’s Neighbour continues the story of young widow Abi Carter a year into her new life in the Sennen Cove area of Cornwall. Complete with her new boyfriend Max, and her friends Beth and Jacob, Abi is a very happy girl- until her old, unhappy, life moves in next door…

Blurb for Abi’s Neighbour

Abi Carter has finally found happiness. Living in her perfect tin miner’s cottage, she has good friends and a gorgeous boyfriend, Max. Life is good. But all that’s about to change when a new neighbour moves in next door.

Cassandra Henley-Pinkerton represents everything Abi thought she’d escaped when she left London. Obnoxious and stuck-up, Cassandra hates living in Cornwall. Worst of all, it looks like she has her sights set on Max.

But Cassandra has problems of her own. Not only is her wealthy married lawyer putting off joining her in their Cornish love nest, but now someone seems intent on sabotaging her business.

Will Cassandra mellow enough to turn to Abi for help – or are they destined never to get along?

Complete with sun, sea and a gorgeous Cornwall setting, Abi’s Neighbour is the PERFECT summer escape.

***

I was over the moon when I was asked to carry on Abi’s story. The original novel was indeed to be a standalone story, but thanks to the kind words of my readers, and the amazing number of books sold (which has to be down to the stunning Cornish setting), I was commissioned to carry on with Abi’s story.

When I announced there was going to be a sequel, I was delighted by the positive response from my readers. And also a little surprised- for the first three messages I received – as well as a further sporadic trickle of messages on the subject later- all said the same thing.

“Please don’t kill the dog!!!”

As if I would!

The dog in question is an elderly Golden Retriever called Sadie, right hand girl of pensioner Stan Abbey; owner of Abbey’s House. Sadie is Stan’s best friend, his confidant, his walking stick and his sole source of company until – one day- Abi Carter knocks on their front door and adds a whole heap of fun and laughter (as well as dog walks) into their lives.

And believe me…in Abi’s Neighbour Stan and Sadie have an ever bigger adventure than they did in Abi’s House. Sadie is now living with Abi, as Stan has moved into sheltered housing, but the man and dog connection is as strong as ever. I grant that the above blurb doesn’t even hint at what Stan and Sadie are up to…and that’s because I wanted it to be a total surprise!

If you fancy finding out what Abi does next- and Sadie obviously – then you can buy Abi’s Neighbour from all good book retailers in Kindle and paperback. (You don’t need to have read Abi’s House to enjoy Abi’s Neighbour)

Buy links-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Abis-Neighbour-Jenny-Kane/dp/178615028X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487006698&sr=1-1&keywords=abi%27s+neighbour

 https://www.amazon.com/Abis-Neighbour-Jenny-Kane/dp/178615028X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487006868&sr=1-1&keywords=Abi%27s+Neighbour+by+Jenny+Kane

Thank you ever so much for hosting me today Laura! My pleasure – best of luck with the novel.

Happy reading everyone.

Jenny xx

Bio

Jenny Kane is the author of the full length romance novels Abi’s Neighbour, (Accent Press, 2017),  Another Glass of Champagne (Accent Press, 2016),  Abi’s House (Accent Press, 2015), the contemporary romance/medieval crime time slip novel Romancing Robin Hood (Accent Press, 2014), the best selling contemporary romance novel Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013), and its novella length sequels Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013), Christmas in the Cotswolds (Accent, 2014), and Christmas at the Castle (Accent Press, 2015).

Keep your eye on Jenny’s blog at www.jennykane.co.uk for more details.

Jenny also writes erotica as Kay Jaybee and historical crime as Jennifer Ash.

Social Media Links

Web site – http://www.jennykane.co.uk

Twitter- @JennyKaneAuthor

Facebook -https://www.facebook.com/JennyKaneRomance?ref=hl

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jenny-Kane/e/B00HYZIL1E/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1492502979&sr=8-2-ent

Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7255618.Jenny_Kane?from_search=true

It’s What’s Inside That Counts: Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

Clichés? Certainly. True? Certainly. Except we do judge books by their covers, don’t we? And we judge people too.

My new novel, Skin Deep, is published in June by Accent Press and addresses the sticky issue of outward appearance versus inner reality – amongst other things. But today I’m talking about the cover – because a brand new one is unveiled today and I couldn’t be happier. The team at Accent have done a fabulous job at capturing the tone of the book and as we all know getting covers spot on is hard. Very hard. But this is perfect. I LOVE it, and I hope you do too. Can you tell how excited I am about this new novel?!

So here it is – the Skin Deep jacket. And the blurb and a link should you wish to pre-order.

It’s what’s inside that counts…

Former model and art student Diana has always been admired for her beauty but what use are good looks when you want to shine for your talent? Insecure and desperate for inspiration, Diana needs a muse.

Facially disfigured four-year-old Cal lives a life largely hidden from the world. But he was born to be looked at and he needs love too. A chance encounter changes everything; Cal becomes Diana’s muse. But as Diana’s reputation develops and Cal grows up, their relationship implodes.

Both struggle to be accepted for what lies within.
Is it possible to find acceptance in a society where what’s on the outside counts for so much?

PRE-ORDER LINK

Laura x

Calling All Foodies: Kristen Bailey’s Festive Food Blog Party!

Today, I’m kicking off another Accent Press author Kristen Bailey‘s Christmas blog party with a fairytale of New York. Do pop over, take a look and follow the rest of the tour. It’s going to be a blinder. Essential reading for all book, booze and food lovers.

http://www.kristenbaileywrites.com/single-post/2016/12/07/Christmas-Blog-Party-Laura-Wilkinson

xmasblogposter1

Guest Post: ’Appily Ever After by Nicola May

Lovely to have another Accent author, the bestselling Nicola May, over to introduce us to her latest novel, set in the world of dating apps. Married nineteen years, apps like Tinder are gobbledegook to me, but Nicola’s book sounds fantastic fun, and one of my life mottos is ‘never say never’… Over to you, Nicola.

love me tindeeeer change positionI was once told by a baby faced Filipino security guard on the beautiful Island of Boracay that if I agreed to marry him I would never want for love, happiness or beautiful sunsets ever again.

At the time I kissed him on the cheek, laughed and went back to my hotel room. A year later, sitting in grey old Blighty with Stanley the cat and a glass of Prosecco, I thought perhaps I should have taken up young Arturo’s offer.

But being single’s alright, isn’t it? You don’t have to answer to anyone. There is neither sight nor sound of snoring, farting, dirty socks, wet towels and the toilet seat is forever down.

Who am I kidding? We all want to find that special someone to love, trust and basically snuggle into when the weather gets cold or the going gets tough. Don’t we?

So… with this quest in mind I decided to embark on a dating mission. And, oh, how I found out that this dating in the modern age lark is not for the faint-hearted.

If you thought standard internet dating sites was fast, wait until you download an app. It’s like being sucked into a whirlpool of testosterone and thrown out the other side wearing one stiletto, a ripped stocking and Mona Lisa’s smile.

Joking aside, on my search for love, I actually went on some very fun dates and met some interesting men. I didn’t find my Mr Right, however what I did find was that there was so much to write about!

In fact, almost immediately I realised that the minefield of good, bad
and indifferent dates I encountered was a gift for creating interesting and
amusing plot fodder, and so the idea for Love Me Tinder was born.

In brief Love me Tinder revolves around heroine, Cali Summers who decides to hit the world of fast love after her marriage breaks down.

Using room 102 in the hotel where she works as her dating ‘lair’, she opens herself up to a world of sex, lies, deception, as well as personal discovery and passionate romance.

The reader will laugh, cry, cringe, squirm and nod along with Cali’s antics as she finds out if it is risky freedom or dull security that she really craves.

This book is for anyone who has immersed themselves into the crazy world of app or internet dating or in fact anyone who wants an insight into what it’s all about.
Link to book:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Love-Me-Tinder-Nicola-May-ebook/dp/B01HD2QN4O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1469186443&sr=8-1&keywords=love+me+tinder

Twitter: nicolamay1

nicola orbaWebsite: www.nicolamay.com

Love me Tinder is out on eBook on July 31. You can hear Nicola talking to Anne Diamond on BBC Radio Berks on August 1 at midday.

Biography

Nicola lives in Ascot in Berkshire with Stanley her rescue cat. She has a penchant for Prosecco, ripe peaches and flapjacks. Love Me Tinder is her eighth novel.