Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Guest post. Lysandra Press, a new romance and women's fiction publisher

I’m excited but nervous about the launch of our new website http://www.lysandrapress.com/ today but after a year in development working closely with our authors, I am feeling pretty confident that we have a smashing website and some excellent titles – hopefully something for everyone. - Ruth Little

Here is a taste of what’s on offer:

Fiona Dalrymple is shocked to learn on the death of her grandmother that Doreen Dalrymple was not her grandmother at all. Her real grandmother, her grandfather's first wife, Ellie Marsden is still alive and when Fiona meets up with her, Ellie has a further shock for Fiona. She also has a brother. What is more Tim has disappeared and Fiona is charged with the task of finding him.


Pippa Cavendish is blonde and beautiful and no one's idea of a conventional nanny, but Lilly Fontaine loves her. Marc Fontaine her father suspects Pippa is not all she appears to be and he is right. Pippa is harbouring a secret, one she is determined to keep hidden at all costs.

Behind manicured lawns and bourgeoning gardens, the apartment building is much like any other in the community. The contrast of its aging structure and decorative foyer reflect the charm of Springfield Place – its elegant lobby prominent; its deteriorating corners hidden from view. Home to an intriguing array of characters who pass in elevators and along pathways, its residents – secrets intact – exchange vague greetings, then continue on their journeys. Some find the casual acknowledgement enough. For others, chance encounters and their pleasantries offer salvation.

Stop for a moment at Springfield Place. Share a glimpse within its walls.


Widow of a professional yachtsman, Cassie Lewis is busy running the family boatyard in Devon. When catastrophe strikes, Cassie has to accept she can’t change the inevitable.

‘If you refuse and leave, you will have thrown away your son’s inheritance.’ With those words Nicola is blackmailed by Henri her ex-father-in-law, into moving to France with Oliver her young son.


Wildlife expert Susannah Stevens has landed the perfect job at a hotel on the coast of Kenya. But the last person she expects to be working for is Greg Fairchild, the man who deceived her years ago and who believes she’s just a gold-digger. With the future of the hotel at stake, they agree to work together. But can they put past feelings behind them?


Young widow Val Baker restores musical instruments, but fears her relationship with her Greek-Italian family on Corfu is broken beyond repair. Returning to the island to work on a rare piano belonging to her Greek friend Alexia, she finds her dreams haunted by memories of Hilary; a young English girl raped and murdered ten years before. Val determines to uncover the truth about the case, and set to rest her own doubts about the involvement of her father, Yiannis, and half-brother, Markos, both policemen who were involved in the original investigation. Joined by her friend Harry, Val begins to unravel the threads. When two strange tokens arrive, one for Alexia's daughter Chloe and one for Val, it becomes clear that Hilary's unknown killer is on Val's trail. Her search for the truth becomes a race for life.


I hope to keep you posted on twitter of our progress. In the meantime, if you are a new author, or an established writer who would like any of your printed books to reach a wider audience through epublishing, we would love to hear from you - submissions@lysandrapress.com .

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Being Detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure...


Being a Brit, I tend to base my stories in England. This time, With Silver Lining released today by SirenBookStrand, in the spirit of international relations, I've added a hunky American investigative journalist as hero!



Lauren Miller, jailed for embezzlement, survives her sentence by plotting revenge against the man who put her there. Once released, she’s content to bide her time—until a contact is murdered and she becomes the prime suspect.

Nate Black, an American journalist, offers to help Lauren clear her name by trapping the mastermind behind her crimes in a daring sting operation. Thrown together, Lauren and Nate are drawn toward one another and make passionate love. But still, a vital question remains unanswered, driving a wedge between them.

What happened to the money she stole…

Here’s how Lauren reacts to her first sight of Nate.
As she approached the shack, she saw a strange man sitting on her doorstep, reading a book like he had every right in the world to be there. She slowed her pace, her heart hammering in her ears, and did a quick mental revision of the rules. Which one had she infringed this time? Being incarcerated at Her Majesty’s pleasure did that to a person.
Then the anger kicked in. She was free to do as she bloody well pleased, and having strangers foisted upon her did not please her one little bit.
“Who the hell are you,” she demanded belligerently, “and what are you doing on my property?”
The man stood up. He was tall, probably over six foot and well put together with thick brown hair falling across his face, a half-day’s growth of stubble on his chin and intelligent grey eyes. The sort of man a woman would look at twice. Well, any woman except Lauren, perhaps.
“Hi there,” he said, speaking in a soft American drawl. “You must be Lauren.”
Lauren froze. How had an American fetched up in her isolated spot in the forest, and more to the point, how did he know who she was? 
“Not that it’s any of your business, but my name’s Louise,” she said shortly, playing for time whilst she tried to decide what to do.
“Hi, I’m Nate Black.” He took a step toward her and held out his hand, but she ignored it.
“Don’t come any closer.” She could hear the panic in her own voice. He obviously could, too, because he backed off, palms spread outward in a non-hostile gesture. “Right now, just get out of here before I set my dog on you.” Kermit obligingly growled but didn’t move from Lauren’s side.
“Hey, I don’t wanna bother you. I just hoped that we could have a chat. I tried to come and see you inside, but you wouldn’t send me a V.O.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” But Lauren could see that she wasn’t fooling him. This guy knew who she was, and she instinctively trusted him. But then she’d instinctively trusted a man before, and look where that had landed her. When it came to men, her instincts weren’t worth diddly-squat. She needed to shut herself away in the shack until this particular one got fed up with being blanked and legged it. Unfortunately, it didn’t look as though it was going to happen any time soon since he was still blocking her path to the door. “Just leave me alone, okay,” she said, trying to sidestep him.
“Look, I’m an investigative journalist, writing a book about miscarriages of justice, and I’d like to talk to you about what happened to you.”
It was pointless continuing to deny her identity, but that didn’t mean she had to talk to him. “There was no miscarriage of justice in my case. I was guilty. I’ve served my time,” she said, thinking that sounded like a line from a bad movie and, against all the odds, feeling a wild giggle building inside her. “I just want to be left alone.”
“I think there was more to it than that.” He smiled at her, and for the first time, Lauren actually considered talking to him. There was just something about him. Something in his expression that made her think he might understand what she’d been through. But no! She had nothing to say to him and made a fresh attempt to reach her door. Once again he blocked her path. “Part of my book will concentrate on women who commit crimes that are out of character, and the forces in their lives that compelled them to do it.”
Lauren stared at him. “Got your insurance up to date, have you?”
He blinked. “Sorry, I’m not with you.”
“Unsubstantiated written allegations are known as libel in the legal world, in case you didn’t know it, and people tend to get sued for that sort of thing.”
“They told me you were smart.”
“Don’t patronise me.”
“Hey, that’s not what I’m doing.” He smiled in an infuriatingly lazy manner that she found strangely disquieting. “And I don’t intend to publish anything that’s libellous. The book’s been commissioned by one of the big American publishing houses, and their legal team will make sure I don’t get carried away and cross that particular line. But, about your situation, you can’t substantiate your allegations about Williams on your own, but perhaps together we could—”  
“How did you know I made any allegations about him?” she asked, her suspicions on high alert. “It was never made public.”
“I’m an investigative journalist,” he said, flashing a set of perfect white teeth, his air of total confidence almost, but not quite, compelling, “and I have sources you can only dream about.”  
“This might upset your delicate male ego, but I really don’t give a damn.”
“You can’t fight powerful institutions on your own, Lauren,” he said. “But with the might of the press behind you, anything’s possible.”
“Just go away,” she said wearily, aware that she’d already said more than she’d intended to.
“Come on, Lauren, what have you got to lose by just chatting to me? I promise I won’t use anything you say without your prior knowledge and consent.”
Lauren rolled her eyes. “And when a man gives me his word, that’s supposed to make me feel better?”
“He really hurt you, didn’t he?”
The compassion in Nate’s eyes almost floored her. She could cope with just about anything life threw at her, expect sympathy.
“Just leave me alone.”
“If it’s any consolation, I know what you’re going through. My mom was thrown in jail back in the States for something she didn’t do. That’s why I gave up my column on the Sunday Inquirer to go and help her out.”
Lauren nodded without realizing she was doing so. She thought he looked vaguely familiar, and now she understood why. He’d written a popular column in the Inquirer for some years, doing exposés on the rich and famous, his picture accompanying his byline. “Did you get her off?” she asked, regretting showing any interest as soon as the words left her mouth.
“Yeah, eventually. The police thought she was an easy target so didn’t bother to look any further.” He paused to cock one eyebrow. “Sound familiar, does it?”
“Just go away and don’t come back. I’ve got nothing to say to you.”

Pop across to my website at http://www.wendysoliman.com where you can read the entire first chapter of Silver Lining.
Silver Lining by Wendy Soliman Available now from SirenBookStrand discounted until November 29th to $4.49

Wendy

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Veterinarian by Day...Author Every Chance I Get!

It's true. I really am a veterinarian. I graduated from Michigan State University in 1993 and have been with the same group of veterinary hospitals ever since.  Of course I started out in my home state of Michigan and somehow ended up in usually sunny California.  How I got here is another story.  Today I thought I would give you a little bit more insight in the writer/dreamer Tammy.

As far back as I can remember, I have been writing.  At first it was just in my diary. Then as I got older I kept a journal and still do, but it's not always what I grab when the bug strikes.  I have little notebooks just about every where now, just like I had when I was younger.  My mother loves to remind me that I had an overactive imagination as a child, talking to all sorts of imaginary friends when I played in my room.  Little did she know, that was the beginning of my characters speaking to me.  I came up with elaborate tales to entertain myself then, and still do.  Now I get to share them with anyone who will take the time to listen.

When I look back through the many works in progress and the notebooks filled with ideas, I can pretty much say that I write contemporary fiction across several genres, but right now I am concentrating on erotic romance.  I have a few suspense and espionage stories rolling around in my storage bins, some more mainstream romances nearly completed, tons of poetry, and some sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal thrown in for good measure.  I hope to bring all of these out to revisit and hell, maybe submit them to a publisher or two for consideration.  Why not?  I've already crossed the first hurdle.  I can already call myself a published author!  Whoohoo!

I like the freedom writing gives to me.  I can invent whole new worlds, people, animals, and languages.  I can work through emotional baggage and come to conclusions that can surprise me still to this day.  People think that is funny.  As authors, we write the story and know what's going to happen, right?  Not hardly. Until that scene or chapter is done,  I don't always know what will happen.  Sometimes what I plotted out ends up not flowing well and I scrap it.  Don't you wish you could do that in real life?

Writing my poetry has helped me work through and express a lot of emotions running through me at any given time.  So much has happened in my life over the last few years and it's make for great material for my current Now and Forever series with Siren Bookstrand.

                                                         For The Love of Quinn on Siren

My personal tastes in reading materials is all over the place. I love to read just about anything by Stephen King.  That kind of horror writing is very enticing to me.  I get lost in the story and get scared at all the right points, and a few others that take me by surprise.  I think I like that adrenaline rush that hits me with those books.  My favorite was his Dark Towers series.  I enjoyed how he tied in several of his other titles in those story lines and even brought himself into the story.  Currently I am reading the third book in George R. R. Martin's series A Song of Ice and Fire.  Game of Thrones is the first in this series and so far, Mr. Martin has me turning the pages as fast as I can to find out what happens to everyone.

Nora Roberts is another favorite author of mine.  Her MacGregor Family Chronicles had me begging for more and gave me the inspiration to make Now and Forever a series that keeps most of the original characters so the reader can follow them all and watch them fall in love and find their happily ever afters.  Michael Shaarer and later his son Jeffrey grabbed my attention when their works depicting the battles during the Civil War.  Killer Angels was made into a fantastic movie called Gettysburg.  Watching that movie was like reading the book all over again.  John Jakes was my first introduction into these type of "historical fiction" books.  The entire American series starting with The Bastard followed an entire family through the generations and I learned a lot of my country's history reading those.  They were wonderful!  I may just have to reread those again.

My very first published novel, For the Love of Quinn, is available through Siren Bookstrand, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Mobipocket.com.  The print version will be released in January and I can hardly wait.  I love my Kindle, but there is something about holding that actual printed book in my hands that has my stomach all fluttery. Writing this book has been a labor of love and gut wrenching at the same time.  The heroine, Quinn, is a large part of me.  Well, she's at least a fantasy me.  Through her story, I was able to exorcise some demons and get through some very rough patches in my life.  Writing this series has been so cathartic.  I have learned a lot about myself and have finally found my happily ever after.

At this very moment, I am working on the second and third books in this series.  Book two is called My Love, My Friend and book three is called Burning Heart.  Readers will be introduced to more of Quinn's extended family and exactly who ends up with who just may surprise some people!
I"m also working on a menage fantasy series under another pen name, Lia Michaels.  The idea for this series came after I wrote the poem The Vixen, The Witch and The Daemon. Several characters came to life in my head after that poem was written.  Now to get them all on paper!

When I am not writing or saving the lives of my furry patients, I enjoy a lot of different crafts including knitting and crochet.  I would be content to spend an entire day in my kitchen cooking and baking when the mood strikes and around the holidays, it strikes often.  Of course my staff at the veterinary hospital gets to benefit from all of the leftovers, but not one of them is complaining!

Stop by and see me sometime!
Behind Closed Doors (main webpage/blog with the extra steamy stuff and my poetry)
Not Enough Time in the Day (adult blog with less steam, but all the passion)
Facebook Author Fan Page

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Body Shape


Any of your ladies out there who’ve never had a moment’s worry about your body shape, raise your hands now.

Thought so.

Like it or not, we live in a size-conscious world and us women are judged, not always on ability alone, but on appearance, too. I’m no longer in my twenties – or my thirties or forties either, come to that – but I’m every bit as weight conscious as my younger peers. I’m five foot six and weigh 135 lbs, which is pretty ideal. I feel good about myself – up to a point. You see, a few months ago I weighed 130 lbs. Where have the extra pounds come from? Do they show? Will my clothes still look good? Will I gain more? Should I go on yet another diet?

Sound familiar? I’m old enough to know better but still get caught up in the mad ethos of sizism. So too does my mother-in-law, who’s over eighty, and kids as young as nine or ten. Is it right? Hell, no, but I don’t see things changing any time soon.


In Downsizing, my latest release from Musa Publishing, Maxine experiences all of these feelings. She’s just a teenager at the start of the book. Extremely intelligent, she feels invisible in crowded rooms, dismissed as an irrelevance because of her bulk. No one except local heartthrob Noah Fenwick can see through her unattractive exterior to the sensitive girl, with lots to offer, lurking beneath all that extraneous flesh.

Here’s how Noah tries to persuade Maxine that she shouldn’t worry about her size.

“You dance well, Max. You’re really light on your feet.”
“For a fat lump, you mean.”
“You ain’t fat, darling. Don’t put yourself down.”
“Noah, I weigh nearly thirteen stone.”
“You just need to get a bit of exercise and you’ll look great.”
“Please don’t patronize me.” Tears trickled from behind her glasses and slid down her face.
“Christ, is that what you think I’m doing?” He tugged at her hand. “Come on, let’s get out of here. I feel like a goldfish in a bowl with all these people gawking at us.”
Noah dragged her out of the tent and didn’t let go of her hand until they’d reached the bottom of the garden. He steered her towards a bench and sat down beside her.
“Here.” He delved into his pocket and produced a handkerchief. “I think it’s clean.”
“Thanks.” Sniffing, Maxine dabbed at her eyes.
“What’s wrong, Max? Wanna talk about it?”
“Nothing, other than the fact that I’m fat and ugly.”
“You ain’t ugly.” Before she could stop him Noah reached up and removed her glasses. “You’ve got gorgeous emerald eyes. Do you have to wear glasses? Can’t you get contact lenses?”
“No. I’ve got an astigmatism.”
“Never mind, you’re still gorgeous to me. You place too much stock by appearances.”
“That’s easy for you to say!” Maxine rounded on him. “You’ve got every female under the age of sixty in Colebrook lusting after you. And why do you suppose that is?”
“Yeah, and that’s why I’m qualified to say that you shouldn’t judge by appearances. You’ve got plenty going for you and don’t have to prove yourself.”
“Nobody can see beyond this.” She indicated her body with her hands, looking close to tears again.
“Well, I can. We’ve both had to survive on our wits, you and me. You’ve done it through your intelligence, but I just went to the local school…well, when there was nothing more profitable to do with my time,” he added with a grin. “So I’ve had to learn to run with what I’ve got.”
 “Noah, I don’t think―”
“If it weren’t for you I’d never have discovered the joys of reading.”
“Yes you would. You were obviously drawn towards books or you’d never have come into the library that day.”
He recalled the day in question, a little over a year ago, when he’d strolled into the library on a whim, wearing mud-splattered work clothes that elicited disapproving tuts from its staid occupants. Maxine, having just started her holiday job there, sat behind the counter completely engrossed in a book. He’d asked her what she was reading but she was too tongue-tied to answer him straight away. Noah couldn’t understand why. He was the one out of place, and if anyone felt awkward it ought to have been him.
He’d known who Maxine was, but reckoned she was out of his league intellectually and would never want to know him. To his astonishment, she found her voice and recommended books that he might enjoy. Her recommendations were spot on and he went back the following week to thank her, and to talk about what he’d read. It became a habit and he often waited until last thing so they could have coffee together when she got off work.
“Perhaps,” he said. “But I was too busy making money and had no time to waste reading. Until you opened my eyes and I realized what I was missing.”
Maxine, who he knew always found it difficult to deal with compliments, changed the subject. “How’s your father?” she asked.
“Same as ever.” He drifted into a moody silence.
“Sorry if I’ve said something I shouldn’t have.”
“You haven’t, but as usual you’ve turned the subject away from yourself.”
“No one’s interested in me.”
“I am.”
Noah cupped her face in his hand and his thumb gently traced the outline of her plump jaw. He dropped his head and brushed his lips against hers, parodying the seductive dance they’d just shared in the tent. Maxine gasped, but when her arms slid round his neck and her eyes fluttered closed, it became clear that she wasn’t objecting. That impression was confirmed when, with a deep sigh, she buried her fingers in his hair. Noah’s lips instinctively hardened against hers, forcing them apart as his tongue slid into her mouth.    
“Why did you do that?” she asked breathlessly when he broke the kiss.
“You looked like you needed reassurance.”
“Don’t!” She jerked away from him and groped for her glasses. “Just don’t! You don’t need to stoke your already over-inflated ego by playing games with me.”

In spite of his reassurances, he lets her down. Which is when Maxine learns one very hard lesson in life 
Fat girls aren’t supposed to have fun.

Maxine doesn’t see Noah again for another twelve years, but can never get him out of her heart. To find out what happens when they do meet again, look out for Downsizing from W. Soliman at Musa Publishing. Available November 4th.

Go to my website at http://www.wsoliman.com where you can read the entire first chapter.

And to all you ladies who worry about your body shape, I hope Maxine’s story gives you heart.

Wendy

Friday, 4 November 2011

Introducing Tanith Davenport

Hi everyone, Tanith Davenport here. I’d love to say I’m a woman who needs no introduction, but as I have to admit I do, I’m making use of Lindsay’s kind offer of an interview…

1. Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Absolutely. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t furiously writing in the hope of one day getting published. Fortunately none of those early writings are still in existence, although some of my old school friends probably remember the appalling stories I used to pass around in high school.

2. What genres of fiction do you write? What attracts you to those genres?
I write erotic romance, which has the benefit of covering a wide variety of genres. Mostly I write contemporary, although I’ve been trying out paranormal erotica as well. It came as quite a surprise to me that I enjoyed writing erotic fiction, and even more so that people actually wanted to read it, but erotica is infinitely more than just titillation and offers so many opportunities for settings and plots.

3. What genres of fiction do you like to read? What attracts you to those?
At the moment I’m reading a lot of historical fiction; I find royal history fascinating, although I also have several novels on US and UK witchcraft lined up. However, I’m willing to read just about anything – I’m a great fan of Lauren Oliver in particular.
4. Can you tell us a bit about the work you have had published so far?
My debut novel The Hand He Dealt was released earlier this year by Total-e-Bound: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=1380
Astra Scott likes to live life to the full. A sorority girl and Gaming Management student, she spends her days studying and practising guitar, and her nights partying or working at the Fountain Casino, where she has an internship as part of her final semester. The only blot on her landscape is Ash Drake, her best friend Sasha’s boyfriend. Arrogant, physical and blond, Ash has never forgiven Astra for her rejection months earlier and enjoys annoying her at every turn.
But when Astra’s boyfriend Harry reveals a shocking secret, Astra responds in the only way she can think of: by finding a way to take on a more attractive, masculine role in the relationship. Her experimentation with sex toys finds a surprising outlet in Sasha, but when Ash discovers their secret and wants to get involved, Astra finds herself torn between dislike and desire…and as their undercover relationship grows, Astra finds herself falling in love, a path she feels can only end in heartbreak. For Ash may be the only man whose own fantasies are a match for hers, but can she knowingly steal his affections from her best friend?

5. What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a number of short stories for submissions calls and also finishing off my second novel, which is another contemporary erotic romance. I’m doing NaNoWriMo to make sure I get that one completed quickly!
6. What do you do when you're not writing?
I love trying out new things – I could keep the experiences market in business. I’ve tried skydiving, bungee jumping, firewalking and just recently did a track day in an Ariel Atom. When I’m not trying to kill myself doing dangerous sports, I also love going to the cinema, visiting new restaurants and travelling.

7. What do you enjoy most about writing?
For me, it’s the chance to let my imagination run riot and live my characters’ lives for a while. I also love the research side of things – thanks to the research I did for Hand I am now an avid NFL fan and have developed a fascination with casinos. I also went on a paranormal investigation recently for a paranormal short story I’m working on, which will be a lot more entertaining in print than it was in reality!
That's all from me for now - I'm about to fly out to the US for a holiday, but am looking forward to reading everyone's posts on my return.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

'Voices in the Dark' reissued

My romantic suspense novel 'Voices in the Dark,' first published by Hodder and Stoughton in 1995, is now re-issued as an ebook and is available for all the usual formats (including Kindle) on Smashwords.

UPDATE: Both Voices in the Dark and Night of the Storm are now available from Amazon.com and Amazon UK.


Here are the details:

Julia Rochfort, a young opera singer, visits Italy to take part in a competition judged by Roberto Padovano, a world-famous bass. When he and Julia meet and fall in love, the consequences will be devastating. Julia and Roberto are already connected by terrifying events that took place before they were born: the atrocities inflicted on a Tuscan village in 1944 by a torturer known only as 'Scarpia' after the villain in Puccini's opera Tosca. As they uncover the intricate web of betrayal, deception and guilt, the danger grows. For Scarpia and some who share his guilt are still alive - and desperate to keep their past secret for ever.

Smashwords 2011
$3.99

Buy the ebook: Smashwords
Amazon Kindle (US)
Amazon Kindle (UK)


Reviews from the original UK print edition:

Birmingham Sunday Mercury: Lindsay Townsend's mixture of arias and skullduggery turns into a highly readable thriller.

Yorkshire Post: Confident debut.

Grimsby Evening Telegraph: She obviously has a passion for writing. This is a book you will not be able to put down.

Lindsay Townsend
http://www.lindsaytownsend.net/
http://www.twitter.com/lindsaytownsend