Heard of reverse promotion?

For something different in May I’m offering space on my blog for those who dare to write reverse promotion about their book (or themselves). It’s a fun/evil way of talking about your bad characters, or your characters’ worse traits (they aren’t perfect, I hope!), and dishing the dirt on your writing style. 

Apple
iStore

Here’s my reverse promotion on my romantic comedy – 



A Proper Charlie.



The book is British and set in London, so for any non Britons reading be prepared for a lot Brit lingo that’ll confuse the stuffing out of you. The main character, Charlie Wallis, also has ginger hair, and if that isn’t enough to put you off she’s too needy, too trusting and an utter doormat to her loser of a boyfriend, Andy.

The genre is romantic comedy but love scenes don’t come easy to me so I took the easy way out and wrote bad sex scenes–I’ve had lots of experience (did I just say that out loud?). Anyhoo, here’s short ‘sexy’ excerpt:



He stood
up – it took several attempts – but he eventually stood before her. ‘Had one
pint, that’s all,’ he said, pronouncing pint as “point”. He staggered
sidewards, righted himself, but then staggered the other way. He sat back down.
‘Think my drink was spiked.’
Charlie
sat next to him. ‘Sorry I yelled, love. I’m tired, that’s all. You could have
asked me about having your mates here. I wouldn’t have minded,’ she lied. She
always felt the need to count the cutlery after they’d been round.
Andy
swallowed a belch and nodded.
She
slipped her arms around his waist. ‘I’m not too tired for making love, though.’
‘Need a
piss,’ he said and pulled away from her. Before he got to the bathroom, his fly
was undone and he was pulling his penis from his boxers. He peed with the door
open and then staggered back towards Charlie, tucking it away. He wiped his
hands on his jeans.
‘Let’s
shag until morning,’ he said with a grin. 
He tripped and crashed to the ground by her feet. He laughed, belched,
and fell asleep.

A Proper Charlie is real life, real funny and real pink. If you’re a guy you’ll hate it: no guns (heck, this is a British novel!), no babes (heck, this is a British novel!), and no fast cars (heck this is a …). If you’re a girl you’ll hate it too: no hearts and flowers, no sexy guys (unless you find geeky men attractive) and no shiny, sparkly shoes (I don’t think Charlie has any!).


Charlie lives for love but she’s clueless, and clings to her boyfriend unaware that he’s abusing her trust. She’s clueless in everything she does, in fact, as one reviewer put ‘A Proper Charlie is a piece of steaming shite!’ and her boss Ben Middleton (no relation to Kate) gets covered in the stuff! 

So you see, unless you like annoying characters who are not only unlucky in love but useless, then do literature a favour and DON’T buy A Proper Charlie.

So over to you guys. Write something about your book using one of the below styles (or your own idea):

1. 200 to 700 word article (approx) on why people shouldn’t buy {name of book}.
2. 200 to 700 word article (approx) on why people should avoid all your book(s).
3. 200 to 700 word article (approx) on why people should avoid you completely (as a person and/or as an author).

Article (or bullet points) can be funny, argumentative, evil, an utter piss-take, your call.

Send in your author media (links, bio and pic) and book details (purchase links, blurb, extract etc).

Please send all ASAP so I can arrange everyone with dates using the ‘contact’ button top left of screen. All articles will appear here and tweeted out via Triberr. Intros to your article will be posted to WWBB’s Facebook page. All book covers will be posted on Pinterest in the Book Junkies library.

Come on, be brave…

Bringing the pain of real-life into fiction

Sad. Scary. Tragic. (But Funny!)
by
Francine LaSala
I got a call from an old friend the other day. We’d fallen out of
touch over the years, but she reached out when she’d heard I’d been through a
significant loss. We spoke for a while, sharing memories and getting caught up.

Then she told me the thing I most needed to hear.
“Francine,” she said, “I know you’re going to come through this.
Your sense of humor always pulls you through.”

77p/99c for ONE week only (ending November 8th) 
I thanked her, as you do when people say seemingly absurd things
to you at times such as these. And then I thought about what she’d said and why
she’d said it.

I have always been in the awkward habit of laughing when I hear
terrible news. Not
all terrible news,
but those things that are so terrible that sorrow somehow doesn’t seem
appropriate. That giggling (yes, crazy), somehow makes more sense. It’s not
schadenfreude. Maybe it is
schadenfreude. But whatever it is, it’s the defense mechanism that gets me through.


I do it in writing, too. All of my books–the two that are
published, and the ones that are in progress and will be published next year–have
all been born from some pain or loss. For Rita
Hayworth’s Shoes
, it was the heartache of a boyfriend’s betrayal. For The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything,
it was the fear of financial ruin, dread of the dentist–among other things. No
one would ever call my books “tragic”; they’re all totally screwball
and silly! Yet they center on various plights of the human condition. Laced
with laughs.

I don’t think you need to be sick in the head like me to find the
humor in any given situation, and then weave that humor into your own stories. Sometimes
you can do it with a situation; sometimes with a kooky character you bring in
to the situation to help break the tension. The
Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything
is peppered with these characters.
There’s Char-a’tee Pryce, who continually mocks protagonist Mina Clark for
allowing the world to roll over her. There’s neighbor Harriet Saunders, who
takes all of Mina’s “bad mother” anxiety and flips it on its ear. (I
wrote a character piece for Louise
Wise
a few months back that will give you a taste of just how kooky Harriet
is.

What I’ve come to learn is that in any horrible situation, there
is the possibility to laugh. To take “Turn that frown upside down” to
the extreme in your life and in your books. It feels good to laugh. It pulls
you (and your characters) out of the gloom and doom; it helps you take a step
back and detach so you can breathe.


Here’s just such an example from The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything (which is on sale this
week for 99 cents, BTW!):

  “Girl, you in trouble. You better start watching your ass.”
  “What do you mean?” Mina was more than a little taken aback by Kim’s foreboding tone.
  “Have you made any new friends lately?”
Mina had in the past several days made more new friends than she had in years, but she gave no reply.
  “I’m gonna take that as a yes. Okay, well, here’s how it goes. Don’t trust anyone. You hear me, girl? No one.”
  “What do you mean—”
  “What I mean is, the bank’s watching you. You know this. And they got folks working for them. Out in the field and such. Spies, I guess you could call them. Special agents. Could be anyone—”
  “Kim, are you drinking?”
  “Look, I’m not shitting you here. They’re around to keep tabs on you. They’re gonna tell you all kinds of stories, like they’re looking after you—that kind of thing. So you gotta know this. It’s gonna get much worse for you soon, especially if you keep bouncing your payments. You and your family are gonna be in some serious trouble. You gotta watch your ass—”
  The connection cut out. Mina checked the caller ID and tried to call Kim back. She was greeted by a few shrill siren-like noises and an automated message. “The call you have made cannot be completed. Please check the number—”
  She hung up and dialed again.
  “The call you have made cannot be—”
  Mina hung up again. Now she had to pull herself together. This was not adding up. No phone gets disconnected that quickly.
  Why did she have so many new friends in just a short time? Coincidence? Maybe she had decided to open herself up to having new friends. Although all of them . . .Harriet and the other mothers, Char-a’tee, Alex . . .they’d all seemed to steamroll her into being friends with them, hadn’t they? And what of her old friends?   She hadn’t heard from Esther in days. Was Esther still angry with her? Was she pushing Esther away? And how the hell did she get her car back?
  Mina couldn’t think clearly and she began to fear the worst. That Dr. Barsheed might have been right. That knowing too much too soon could take her mind, and now she was in the midst of losing it completely. Was anything any of these people told her even true?
  Mina found Emma in her room, sitting in the middle of the floor, naked. She had managed to find and open a set of magic markers, and had completely covered the entire surface area of her hands in bright green. She had also drawn a giant green circle around one eye. With a red magic marker, she’d colored in her belly button, spilling over to her tummy. It looked like she’d been stabbed.
  Mina sank against the doorjamb and cried. Emma came over to her, snuggled her mischievously marked-up naked body into her mother’s lap, and said, ever so sweetly,
  “Don’t cry, Monny,” before peeing all over Mina’s pants.
  “What do you mean?” Mina was more than a little taken aback by Kim’s foreboding tone.  “Have you made any new friends lately?”Mina had in the past several days made more new friends than she had in years, but she gave no reply.  “I’m gonna take that as a yes. Okay, well, here’s how it goes. Don’t trust anyone. You hear me, girl? No one.”  “What do you mean—”  “What I mean is, the bank’s watching you. You know this. And they got folks working for them. Out in the field and such. Spies, I guess you could call them. Special agents. Could be anyone—”  “Kim, are you drinking?”  “Look, I’m not shitting you here. They’re around to keep tabs on you. They’re gonna tell you all kinds of stories, like they’re looking after you—that kind of thing. So you gotta know this. It’s gonna get much worse for you soon, especially if you keep bouncing your payments. You and your family are gonna be in some serious trouble. You gotta watch your ass—”  The connection cut out. Mina checked the caller ID and tried to call Kim back. She was greeted by a few shrill siren-like noises and an automated message. “The call you have made cannot be completed. Please check the number—”   She hung up and dialed again.   “The call you have made cannot be—”  Mina hung up again. Now she had to pull herself together. This was not adding up. No phone gets disconnected that quickly.  Why did she have so many new friends in just a short time? Coincidence? Maybe she had decided to open herself up to having new friends. Although all of them . . .Harriet and the other mothers, Char-a’tee, Alex . . .they’d all seemed to steamroll her into being friends with them, hadn’t they? And what of her old friends?   She hadn’t heard from Esther in days. Was Esther still angry with her? Was she pushing Esther away? And how the hell did she get her car back?  Mina couldn’t think clearly and she began to fear the worst. That Dr. Barsheed might have been right. That knowing too much too soon could take her mind, and now she was in the midst of losing it completely. Was anything any of these people told her even true?  Mina found Emma in her room, sitting in the middle of the floor, naked. She had managed to find and open a set of magic markers, and had completely covered the entire surface area of her hands in bright green. She had also drawn a giant green circle around one eye. With a red magic marker, she’d colored in her belly button, spilling over to her tummy. It looked like she’d been stabbed.  Mina sank against the doorjamb and cried. Emma came over to her, snuggled her mischievously marked-up naked body into her mother’s lap, and said, ever so sweetly,   “Don’t cry, Monny,” before peeing all over Mina’s pants.

What’s the craziest thing you ever thought was funny? Please share by leaving me a comment below.

Introducing…
The Girl, the Gold Tooth
and everything

Mina Clark is losing her mind—or maybe it’s already gone. She isn’t quite sure. Feeling displaced in her over-priced McMansion-dotted suburban world, she is grappling not only with deep debt, a mostly absent husband, and her playground-terrorizer 3-year old Emma, but also with a significant amnesia she can’t shake—a “temporary” condition now going on several years, brought on by a traumatic event she cannot remember, and which everyone around her feels is best forgotten. 

A routine trip to the dentist changes everything for Mina, and suddenly she’s not sure if what’s happening is real, or if she’s just now fully losing her mind… especially when she realizes the only person she thought she could trust is the one she fears the most. 


A Goodreadsgiveaway for the paperback copy is running now through November 8! Please feel free to
share the link starting Monday, October 28: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/70037-the-girl-the-gold-tooth-and-everything-a-novel

To celebrate GIRL turning one, the eBook will be 99 cents for one week only. This is a limited time offer that is perfect for your readers to discover this quirky satire for themselves. Please be sure to spread the word!
FRANCINE
LASALA
has written nonfiction on every topic imaginable, from circus freaks to
sex, and edited bestselling authors of all genres.



She is now actively taking
on clients for manuscript evaluations, editing services, copywriting (covers,
blurbs, taglines, queries, and more), website and blog creation, and developing
kickass social media campaigns. 



The author of novels Rita Hayworth’s Shoes and
The Girl, The Gold Tooth and Everything, and the creator of The “Joy Jar”
Project, she lives with her husband and two daughters in New York.


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Under the influence of trashy TV

by
Deborah Nam-Krane

I’ve got a confession to make: I grew up
watching Trashy Television. I’ve got another confession to make: I think it
influenced what I write – but I don’t think that’s necessarily
something to be ashamed of. I’m not the first person to say that even low art
can be instructive, and frankly by the standards we have today, much of what we
considered trash in the Seventies and Eighties would be critically acclaimed
today.
Here’s what I learned:
Dallas
Nothing is as much of a game-changer as a high
stakes storyline.
“Who Shot JR Ewing?” picked Dallas up from a middling show
that many said was in danger of being canceled to one that everyone and their
grandmother had to watch. Their strategy worked for two reasons: first, their
lead was a compelling but a frequently bad character; second and almost as a
corollary, almost everyone on the show, with the exception of his sainted mother, had a reason to want him dead or at least out of commission.
That story also worked because for the next
several years it continued to reverberate. The would-be murderer was really his
sister-in-law Kristen, but she escaped punishment because she was pregnant with
his child. Those revelations further poisoned the marriage between JR and Sue
Ellen, and years later it would come back to complicate the lives of his
brother Bobby and his wife Pam- which is exactly what you’d expect from a toxic
family secret.
J.R. and Sue Ellen Ewing- the perfect couple from Hell
Dynasty
There was so much here. The Carringtons were
as wealthy as the Ewings, but they were more glamorous and ran with a slightly
more international crowd. The family dynamic was made for drama- the wealthy
divorced patriarch Blake marries his former secretary Krystal, who had just
ended an affair with Matthew, one of his other employees after she discovered
he was married, and his spoiled daughter Fallon can’t stand her but is devoted
to her gay brother Stephen (a breakthrough character for the Eighties)- but it
wasn’t until the second season that it took off. Why? Because Blake’s ex-wife Alexis
walked into a courtroom to give damaging information about Blake and spent the
rest of the show warring with Krystal for Blake’s affections while building her
own empire. There’s a lot to be said about Joan Collins’ performance as Alexis
Carrington Colby, and nuanced isn’t one of them, but at the time it was a
breath of fresh air to see an older female character who didn’t want to be a
matriarch but wanted to be just as powerful as the men in her life.
Alexis Carrington, showing it’s possible to be beautiful, glamorous and powerful after the age of 30

Falcon Crest
Billy R. Moses as Cole Gioberti

But Alexis Carrington didn’t hold a candle to
Angela Channing of Falcon Crest. She was the matriarch of an old California
wine producing family (hey, they liked wine even more than oil in the
Eighties!). The show opened with the accidental homicide of her brother Jason
at the hands of her childlike, eccentric daughter Emma. Upon hearing of his
father’s death, Chase immediately flew his family out of New York and to
California to solve the mystery of what happened.

It was an unusual set up for television, because
the viewer already what had happened and why
. We also knew that Emma wasn’t a
“villain”, but someone who had made a terrible mistake. And while we disapproved of Angela keeping the
truth from Chase, we also knew that part of her motivation was to protect her
child.
 Angela’s biggest sin was that she was
a control freak, and while she may have kept her children and grandchildren
relatively safe, it was clear that it wasn’t the same as happy. And that’s the
perfect family dynamic for a drama.
Lorenzo Lamas as Lance Cumson

Shortly after the show debuted, they
introduced the game-changing character Richard Channing, the illegitimate
stepson Angela never knew she had who just happened to be Chase’s half-brother!
He was as ruthless as Angela, but he didn’t have a sense of family to ground
him. The only person that humanized him: Chase’s wife Maggie, and that caused
plenty of problems in their marriage.

Alright- who am I kidding? That’s all well
and good, but the real reason we all wanted to watch Falcon Crest at ten
o’clock on a Friday? Angela’s grandson Lance and Chase’s son Cole. When spoiled
Melissa Agretti had trouble choosing between the two of them, we didn’t blame
her.
Flamingo Road
“Hmm… which one of these do I want?”

Before David Selby moved over to Falcon Crest as
Richard Channing, he was on Flamingo Road
The Weldons were a wealthy
family in Florida with what looked like the perfect family: a mother, father,
son and daughter. But it didn’t take too long to see that the lines were drawn
in that family: Constance was Daddy’s Little Girl, and Skipper was Mama’s Boy.
Constance, spoiled and selfish, was married to Fielding, who couldn’t stop
seeing Lane, who was also loved by good guy Sam.

Meanwhile, Lute-Mae had been in town for
years, and she’d tangled with both Sheriff Titus and Claude Weldon. We’d find
out later just how much: it turned out Constance was her daughter, not Claude’s
wife Eudora’s! And who told Constance that? The vengeful Michael Tyrone, played
by… David Selby. Why? Because he held Lute-Mae, Claude and Sheriff Titus
responsible for his father’s ruin, and he was going to make sure that he
destroyed them piece by piece. Nothing like a little intergenerational revenge
to glue you to a screen.
 

Join her mail list to find out first about new releases
Introducing…
The Smartest Girl in the Room

Nineteen
year old Emily wants her college diploma fast, and she’s going to get it. But
when the perfect night with perfect Mitch leads her to a broken heart, Emily is
blind to her vulnerability. When the person she cares about the most is hurt as
a result, Emily’s ambition gives way to more than a little ruthlessness. She’s
going to use her smarts to take care of herself and protect the people she
loves, and everyone else had better stay out of her way. But shouldn’t the
smartest girl everyone knows realize that the ones she’d cross the line for
would do the same for her?
The Smartest Girl in the Room is Book One in The
New Pioneers series.
The Family you Choose


Miranda Harel has been
in love with her guardian Alex Sheldon since she was five years old, and
Michael Abbot has despised them both for just as long. When Miranda finds out
why she wants both men out of her life for good and questions everything she
believed about where and who she came from. Finding out the truth will break
her heart. Without family or true love, will her friends be enough?



The Family You Choose is
Book Two in The New Pioneers series.
Deborah Nam-Krane 
Deborah Nam-Krane has been sharing mental space with Miranda, Alex, Michael, Stephen, Jessie and Lucy for almost three decades. About six years ago she decided Emily, Zainab, Mitch and Richard needed to lighten them up (and calm them down). Then things really got interesting. A resident of Boston-proper, she spends more time than she should imagining what each of her characters would do in some of her favorite local haunts.


A Year and a Day by Patsy Collins

Their differing reactions to a fortune
telling bring happiness, love, flowers, danger, tears, fabulous food and
cocktails, to best mates Stella and Daphne.
Amazon.UK
Amazon.com
Despite Stella’s misgivings her best friend Daphne persuades
her to visit a fortune teller. Rosie-Lee promises both girls will live long and
happy lives. For orphaned Stella, the fortune teller’s claims include a tall,
dark handsome man and the family she longs for. Stella doesn’t believe a word,
so Rosie-Lee produces a letter, to be read in a year’s time, which will prove
her predictions are true.

Stella remains sceptical but Daphne is totally convinced. She
attempts to manipulate Stella’s life, starting by introducing Stella to her new
boss Luigi, who fits the romantic hero image perfectly. In complete contrast is
Daphne’s infuriating policeman brother John. Despite his childhood romance with
Stella ending badly he still acts as though he has a right to be involved in
her life.

Soon John is the least of her worries. Daphne’s keeping a
secret, Luigi can’t be trusted, romantically or professionally and both girls’
jobs are at risk. Worse still, John’s concerns for their safety are proved to
be justified.

John, and Rosie-Lee’s letter, are all Stella has to help put
things right.
I’m a fiction writer so I make stuff up. Therefore I didn’t really need to spend a lot of time in
Italian restaurants, gazing at glossy haired waiters, inhaling the scent of
fresh basil and brandishing a pepper grinder inappropriately as I researched
for A Year and a Day. I did.
All the cocktails gorgeous Luigi makes in A Year and a Day are
a different matter. I did have to mix and drink every one of those, for research
you understand. It wasn’t so much to help me describe the flavour and colour but
rather to put me in the right frame of mind for John’s terrible puns. There’s a
good reason that man is a copper and not a comic. Honestly, would you trust a police
officer who arrested someone for the theft of a vanload of food for a kid’s
party with the words, ‘Jello, jello, jello. This is no trifling matter, I’m
going to have to take you into custardy’? No, me neither which is why I didn’t
let him do it. He got away with worse though when I was distracted by thoughts
of his sister’s cooking.
Talking of Daphne, I did need to eat the chocolates and
desserts she created. Poor girl used to be a school dinner lady. I felt a bit
mean about giving her that job, so once she started working in Luigi’s
restaurant I let her get a lot more adventurous. Her best friend Stella was
chief taster of her bruschetta, fresh tomato soups, quirky pizzas and all those
indulgently sweet goodies.
Fortunately, as Stella is another character from my
imagination it had to be me who had to do the actual tasting. That was mostly
for my mental health. Spending hours at the computer editing descriptions of
handmade white chocolates decorated with pistachios and cherries and creamy
panna cotta without having at least a taste would probably have resulted in
some kind of emotional trauma.
Patsy Collins

Although none of the characters in the story are based on
real people, the relationship between Stella and Daphne is very like that
between my friend Nicola and I. We used to spend the summer holidays together,
getting into and out of minor scrapes. Obviously I’d love to tell you every
detail of the embarrassing things we did, but there’s one thing about Nicola
which prevents me doing that. She kept a diary. That means she has more on me
than I have on her.
Some of the events are based on reality, though of course
they’ve been altered or exaggerated, or even toned down to suit the plot and
characters. If you’re wondering if I’ve pushed anyone down the stairs, been a
stalker, got stuck in a window, owned a stuffed cat, found a towel-wrapped
blonde in my boyfriend’s flat, experienced a dognapping or been serenaded in a
boat then yes, I’ve done some of those. Quite a few in fact, but not all.

As I said, I’m a fiction writer so I have to make some stuff
up. And no, I won’t give you Nicola’s email address so you can ask her.’ – 
Patsy Collins

Holidays from Hell

by

Zanna Mackenzie




So, it’s September and the end of the peak holiday
season, the schools are back and summer seems but a distant memory. We all look
forward to those weekend escapes and week-long holidays but do they live up to
the great expectations? Sometimes yes – but, it seems, most of the time, no
they don’t.  Am I the only one who finds
there is an inexplicable and confusing difference between how a hotel/holiday
cottage looks in the photos on the internet or in the brochures compared with
the view you get when you’re actually standing in the property?

Booked via a reputable cottage agency a property we
stayed in during a break in Norfolk looked fantastic on the internet, the
reality was unfortunately quite different. The lounge sported an ultra-creepy
ancient lace and white silk christening robe pinned to the wall which gave the
whole place a very unsettling ghostly atmosphere
– we avoided the lounge and
sat at the dining table in the kitchen all the time instead!

In Keswick in the Lake District our property had an
added extra which wasn’t welcome – a mouse which liked to come out for a night
time stroll. The whole place had laminate floors so you could hear it scuttling
around everywhere – we didn’t get much sleep and left after a few days. Then
there was the barn conversion near Ambleside which sported a dilapidated
caravan right outside the kitchen window – needless to say that didn’t feature
in the internet photos!

A log cabin in Scotland’s Argyll had a strange and
rather unpleasant smell which refused to dissipate even with all the windows
open and a bracing Scottish gale whistling through the rooms. It also had a
bathroom which you felt grubbier, not cleaner after visiting – I still shudder
at the memory of that one.

In North Wales there was a property with the added
convenience of the railway line ten foot from the lounge window, all the
crockery in the kitchen rattled alarmingly from the vibrations of the high
speed trains en route to Holyhead.

Holiday disasters don’t seem to be restricted to the
UK either. In Greece there was the studio apartment with a bathroom not much
more than a hole in the floor, ripped sheets on the bed and a grapevine so
overgrown you had to fight your way through to the front door
like a fairy tale
prince trying to machete his way through the forest to rescue his princess. In
Romania – when it was still under the old Communist rule – our flight was
diverted from Bucharest due to fog and our plane instead landed in Timisoara and
was immediately surrounded by armed guards. We were herded onto a bus like
criminals and put up in a dingy tower block of a hotel with mould all over the
walls, damp bedding – with 10 people to a room!

On reflection there have been some vacation
successes scattered in amongst the never-again- hols, so in the interests of
presenting a balanced view of vacations here are some of my holiday highlights:

*Ten days touring British Columbia in western
Canada, breath taking scenery, excellent standards of service, friendly people
and the most gorgeous and romantic B&B on Vancouver Island which only had
one room – a whole suite with its own sundeck right on the water’s edge.

*An ultra-tasteful little cottage in Snowdonia that
looked even better than the internet pics (!!)  had stunning views of the mountains and a
little study/writing room with views of said mountains.

*A cottage next to a private beach in south west
Scotland – step out of the door and there was the sea – spectacular and
blissfully peaceful too.

To prove to us that you don’t need to endure traffic
jams on the M6 or flight delays at the noisy airport one of our best holidays
was barely four miles from our own home! We house (and pet) sat for some
friends who own a barn conversion set in 2 acres of grounds – the sun shone, we
sat out in the gorgeous gardens all day loving having all that space around us,
read, ate, chatted, walked the dogs and totally and utterly relaxed. There was
no urge for frantic sightseeing, no unfamiliar surroundings in which you
struggle to settle or sleep, no long journeys or having to pack everything but
the kitchen sink ‘just in case’. 
Holidays can come in all styles, lengths and budgets, and sometimes they
even manage to be relaxing…

The Love Programme

Amazon.com
Amazon.UK
Thanks to an embarrassing incident involving a
wedding and her ex-boyfriend Marcus, Lucy has to leave her home town in a hurry
and needs a place to escape to for a while.

Best friend Fiona is convinced now would be a good
time for Lucy to get herself a new life with some potential for romance thrown
in. Fate seems to agree when Lucy is given the once-in-a-lifetime chance to
star in a TV show and be a contestant on The Love Programme – two weeks of
luxury living on a grand Highland estate coupled with, she hopes, fun and
romance in wildest Scotland.

When Lucy meets Paul – the young, handsome owner of
the Highland estate – she thinks she may have found the love of her life but
who is the mysterious Hannah and what part does she play in his life? When she
discovers that Marcus is planning to follow her to Scotland to win her back
Lucy has some serious soul searching to do. Does she have a future with Paul,
with Marcus or is she yet to find the man of her dreams?
About the author Zanna Mackenzie: Mackenzie lives in the UK with her husband, 4 dogs, a vegetable patch that’s home to far too many weeds and an ever expanding library of books waiting to be read.

Being a freelance writer and editor of business publications is her ‘day job’ but, at every opportunity, she can be found scribbling down notes on scenes for whatever novel she’s working on. She loves it when the characters in her novels take on minds of their own and start deviating from the original plot!
Formerly a travel agent and therapist (she has qualifications in clinical aromatherapy, crystal healing, naturopathic nutrition and herbalism) she loves walking the dogs and gardening – that’s when she’s not writing or reading!


Zanna has written two novels, The Love Programme (Astraea Press) and How Do You Spell Love? (Crooked Cat Publishing) and both were published in early 2013.


Read an extract of The Love Programme below:

Extract 
The Love Programme
“Just sit on this suitcase, will you, Fi? I can’t
get the stupid thing shut!”
Fiona, obligingly perching her bottom on the bulging
case so Lucy could tug the zipper to close it up, said, “I can’t believe you’ve
agreed to do this. You’re going to be on a TV show about love! Won’t you be
embarrassed having everyone know all your business?”
Her face red from doing battle with the suitcase
and, thankfully, managing to win, Lucy shook her head. “No, it’s all for a good
cause. Where else could I get a few extra weeks off work and live the life of
luxury whilst a man tries to impress me with extravagant dates? Plus, I’ll be
getting relationship coaching from a top expert.”
Lucy checked around the room to make sure she hadn’t
forgotten anything. “Do you think I’ve packed the right clothes?”
Fiona lay back on the bed, stretching and spreading her
arms out around her as though she was making the duvet version of a snow angel.
“How should I know?”
“Mel said the programme is being recorded at the
home of some Scottish laird. It’s a real mansion with a spa and acres and acres
of land.”
Fiona pushed herself into an upright position,
suddenly all attentive. “A laird, eh? Sounds interesting. What else do you know
about him?”
“He’s not going to be one of the dates so don’t get
all excited. He’s just rented his home out to the TV production company. Apparently
he’ll be away on business most of the time we’re there, so we probably won’t
even get to meet him.”
Fiona shook her head. “Shame, how exciting would it
have been? Meeting a real life laird would be amazing.”
“He’s probably about sixty, balding, as round as he
is tall and arrogant to boot.”
Fiona slapped Lucy on the arm. “Don’t spoil it for
me. I was just picturing him as about our age, the classic tall, dark and
handsome type. Big brown eyes…” She sighed happily. “Is it just me or do you
find all those green wellies and Barbour jackets the country gents wear
incredibly sexy?”
“No, it’s definitely just you!” Lucy shook her head
despairingly.
As Fiona stared into space, no doubt continuing her
little country gent fantasy, Lucy flopped down onto the bed. “Do you think I’m
doing the right thing?”
“Of course you are. This could be a life-changing
opportunity.”
“I’d like to be able to go on dates without feeling
guilty about Marcus all the time.” Sighing, Lucy added, “I want to be free to
have relationships like everyone else does.”
“I know you do. So, how can you doubt if you’re
doing the right thing? You have to go to Scotland. You know you do.”
“I suppose so but will you be okay? I hate leaving
you with your wedding just weeks away. There’s still some preparations to do
and I am chief bridesmaid. Maybe I shouldn’t go. This is all crazy, I won’t go.
I must be mad even contemplating it.”
“You’re going! End of story! The wedding is being
perfectly managed by my mum and by Luke’s mum, so no worries there.” Fiona
hauled Lucy to her feet. “What time’s your train?”
“I’m getting the overnight sleeper up to Inverness
and then Craig, the TV guy, is going to meet me at the station and drive me to
the country estate.”
“I’m so envious.” Fiona sulked, folding and unfolding
the corner of the duvet around her fingers.
“I thought you were happy with your
Mr-Not-So-Perfect?”
“I am.” Fiona sighed. “But a girl can dream, can’t
she?”

It’s not all about shoes, handbags and glitz, you know!

Crazy fun from us to you

For the whole of September WWBB has been taken over by authors of chick lit. They’ve been invited to blog about anything, and I assure you it isn’t going to be all about girlie stuff… well, that’s to be seen, but nevertheless it’s going to be fun.


It’s going to be a crazy, crazy month and I hope you’ll join them, and me, for what’s sure to be a fun event.



Order of appearance (so far): 

Introduction to the madness
Juliet Madison’s blog hop
Lara Barnard
Zanna Machenzie
Monique Mcdonell
Marylu Zuk
Nicky Wells
Amy Baker
Patsy Collins
Janet Eve Josselyn
Deb Nam-Krane
Lizzie Lamb
More authors to come end of the month



And to give it a kick start A Proper Charlie is on sale (only on eReaders) all through September. It’s pink, flirty and fun.


A Proper Charlie
only 77p or 99c for the rest of September.

A British contemporary romance novel…
jolly good fun!

What happens when prostitutes go missing, and Charlie’s shy boss, Ben Middleton, is a suspect? 


What happens when Charlie pretends to be a hooker for the newspaper story she’s working on, and is “picked up” by Ben? 


What happens when she is abducted and only the handsome Ben knows where she is? 

Poor Charlie, she only wanted recognition. She really should’ve stayed home. 
Buy A Proper Charlie in ANY eFormat for 77p/99p

AppleiStore
Paperback 
(paperback isn’t included in the discount)

Chick Lit Authors Confess!

  •  Confessions, confessing, confess . . .



    When I’m alone in the kitchen, I sometimes pretend that I have my own cooking show on the Food Network and I speak to my “audience” in a fake British accent as I go through a recipe. That’s not weird… right? – Cat Lavoie

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     I got a cat recently. Most of the time, while I write, she’s sitting on my chest with her cat behind facing me. It’s lovely. (Not really.) About three weeks ago, while I was working on my second novel, her tiny little paw inadvertently highlighted a bunch of text and deleted it. I laughed, knowing I’d be able to undo the delete.


    The next day, I reviewed what I wrote, with my cat on my chest again. When I got to the part she’d deleted, I told her it was the part she didn’t like and I am not kidding, she deleted the section again! I decided there was a reason that part shouldn’t be in the book and rewrote the entire scene. I thought it was much better, too! – Carolyn Ridder Aspenson


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    Hubby and I were going to a black-tie event, which involved sitting at the ‘top’ table with his boss and wife. He wanted to make a good impression, but on the way the car broke down. He mended it, but forgot about his tie, and when he was bending over the engine it became covered with oil. 


    We had left early to make sure we weren’t late, but would be very late if he went back to change. So in the car I took off my patterned black tights and secured them around his neck so they looked like a tie. I’m just glad I shaved my legs! – Louise Wise




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    My novel Tear Stained Beaches is a fictional story. However, Chase, the main male lead is based on a person I know from real life. Originally, when I wrote the story I wrote him more true to his real persona, and as I wasn’t too happy with him, he came across a little more arrogant, disrespectful and just not so nice.

    Once I stepped back, I realized that I needed to tone it down a notch. So I began to rewrite his actions and settle his personality a bit to create that character I really wanted. It’s not always true what they say ‘write what you know’, in my case it was ‘write cautiously what you know’! – Courtney Giardina

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    I must confess that when I was 11, in the 6th
    grade I had a HUGE crush on a Franciscan priest who regularly came to my
    all-girl’s Catholic school to hear confession. 

    It was the 1970’s so confession
    consisted of sitting in a room across from this lovely, kind man telling him
    your sins – no old school confessional for us. So how could you get more time
    with such a man? Obviously you lie and make up sins! 

    All the other girls in my class were jealous of my ‘extra time’ with
    him. It was hard to think of sins back then and his penance was appropriately
    seventies…help your mum with the washing up, be kind to your sister. I’d
    already lied in confession. I was burning in hell, no penance would cover it,
    not of course that he knew that! – Monique McDonell





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    I wrote a novel about life in an upscale suburb of
    Boston (Dover, MA, where I actually live) and the title is THIN RICH BITCHES.
     Apparently some people in Dover think they know who the characters are
    based on, although I have never revealed that in any interviews, and never
    will. While it is a work of fiction, I confess that almost all of the
    characters in the book are based on people I rub elbows with every day in town,
    at school and at social and athletic events. – Janet Josselyn

    Meet the chick lit writers on Twitter see their books on Book Junkies’ chick lit section