Wednesday, February 29, 2012

GUEST AUTHOR: Rachel Lyndhurst on locations...

Today I am very pleased to welcome the lovely, Rachel Lyndhurst. I asked Rachel if she could tell us about how she decided on the location for her latest novel, Kidnapped by the Greek Billionaire.

Location, location, location … is where all my books have started life to date. Not with characters or a ‘seed’, or a particular conflict – although they come pretty hot on the heels. It’s probably breaking one of those writing ‘rules’, but it works for me.

The locations within a book are important. Location has a huge bearing on culture, lifestyle, the weather, traditional values and the jobs my characters do. Location and environment make them who and what they are, it forms the backdrop – from the sights, sounds and smells to the economic climate and the food they eat. It’s a very special author that can write a good book that takes place in just one room (it has been done!). I’m not one of them.

So how do I choose a location? I’m always on the look out for glamour and luxury. The weekend newspaper supplements are a brilliant source of inspiration with loads of glossy adverts and travel features. The Telegraph does a massive one called Ultra Travel which has mind-blowingly exotic locales. And then there’s the television, of course, I love anything by Franceso da Mosto and never miss Rick Stein on his culinary travels.

Not much can beat real travel though, and with every holiday booking I make, there’s the hope that there will be potential research material. I do believe such research is tax deductible as well …

Kidnapped by the Greek Billionaire came to life while I was sunning myself on the beach in Lindos, Rhodes. The acropolis, donkey taxis, narrow alleyways and tzatziki with everything were too good to ignore. I started writing as soon as I got home and then I was invited to a champagne reception on the London Eye – again too good to waste, it had to go in. You can read the first chapter here: if you want to see how I got both locations in!

Here’s the blurb for the rest of the story:


Or that’s what it feels like to Kizzy Dean when a business disagreement with arrogant Greek lawyer Andreas Lazarides leaves her no choice but to accompany him to the Greek Isle of Rhodes. It doesn’t help matters that this sexy brooding stranger, who is unaccustomed to the word No and the very idea of commitment, shows her what it feels like to be truly desired.

Amidst the ancient myths and alleyways, tensions run high as Kizzy feels an immediate attraction for the man she wants to both ravage and strangle.

Accustomed to gold-digging women, Andreas is mesmerized by Kizzy’s feisty nature and Gypsy beauty. Guilt and sorrow have been his only bedfellows since his sister’s death, but Kizzy stirs up a desire he’s unwilling to succumb to . . . until she makes him an offer he simply can’t refuse.

So, where would be your dream location for a romantic novel? (And can I borrow your photographs?)

About Rachel Lyndhurst
Rachel now writes full-time when her children are at school, but is still proud of her law degree and accountancy qualifications. She has worked in the space industry, pharmaceuticals, insurance, a supermarket, a bus station, a railway depot, and a lingerie department.
She lives with her daughter, son and The Exec in Fareham, Hampshire, on the south coast of England and can sometimes smell the sea from her back garden. When not working, her hobbies include rummaging through antique shops, talking to her chocolate brown Rex rabbit and popping into Sainsbury’s. She also has a fondness for wine and expensive lipstick.
Rachel loves to hear from readers. Visit her at

You can buy Kidnapped by the Greek Billionaire here:
Barnes & Noble

Monday, February 27, 2012

My first review!

On Friday, I came home to a nice surprise - The Woman Writer had reviewed The Wordfall Anthology and one of my pieces got a mention.

From The Woman Writer - Reviewed by Pat Alderman 

Wordfall is the 2010 Anthology of Southampton Writing Buddies, the successful informal writing group who meet in Southampton for 'writing-related chat' once a month. It contains the winning entries of a first anniversary competition to showcase the various talents of the group. 

The anthology contains a wide variety of genres - short stories, poetry, articles and drama - and it is nice to see SWWJ members so well represented amongst the winners. There were some amusing and accomplished contributions and the book makes a pleasant read, but competitions offer an invaluable opportunity for adventurous and experimental writing and I was disappointed to find the entries in general rather too safe. I would like to have seen more edge - more risk-taking.

Among the more unusual ones I particularly liked 'Permanent Ink' by Catherine Miller, winner of the One Act Play Competition, with its original setting of a tattoo parlour, sharp, convincing dialogue and a final twist I didn't see coming. I also enjoyed the article 'Living with an Invisible Disease' by Monica Rees, a lucid, informative and very personal look at the latest information on a complex and poorly understood subject.

The notion I have work out there is strange enough, but to find it's been read and well received is astonishing and delightful all at the same time. It's been just the pick me up I needed whilst in the final third of rewrites (the part where you can't quite see the light at the end of the tunnel) and if I lose faith I can look at this to find some reassurance.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I'm a Romaniac!

Today I'm revealed as a member of The Romaniac's blog and am talking about how I met my other half.
The Romaniac's are a group of friends who all met through the RNA's New Writers' Scheme. Since becoming friends we've discussed all aspects of our progress in the writing world and we thought it would be helpful to go public to share our journey. Over the next week the other Romaniacs will be revealed so stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

NEVER COMING HOME BLOG TOUR: Evonne Wareham talks about her character's versions of Valentine's Day

Today I am pleased to introduce Evonne Wareham on her blog tour for Never Coming Home. I'm in the middle of reading the book and I have to recommend even without finishing. Today Evonne shares her thoughts on her character's version of Valentine's day.

Never Coming Home... The ‘Wispa It …’ Blog Tour 
‘Wispa It...’ Snippet No. 4
Devlin went through the door she indicated. The room
stretched from the front to the back of the house, cool, airy,
lots of white paint, luxuriant plants, pictures on the walls.
One in particular.
It was hanging alongside rather than over the fireplace.
The oil paint was thickly applied. The smudgy, mixed-white
background made the central tracery of lines, in multiple
shades of red, stand away from the canvas. The pattern
seemed abstract until you looked closer. Then you saw it –
the clear profile of a woman.
Devlin’s eyes went automatically to the right-hand
corner. The signature he’d expected was there – a slashing
letter K incised, like the mark of Zorro, in red paint. ‘An
Olivier Kessel.’ His voice sharpened. ‘This is you, isn’t it?’
Realisation hit him as she nodded. ‘Hell – you’re the other

That’s the fourth taster from Never Coming Home.  Another snippet from chapter two at Deb’s Daydreams on Friday.

Today is Valentine's Day.  The most romantic day of the year.  Or is it?  If the man (or woman, for any guy reading this) of your dreams does and says all the right things, and means them, it's magic, but if not …
With that in mind, I thought today I’d stop talking about myself and take a look at Devlin and Kaz, my hero and heroine from Never Coming Home, to find out their experiences with Valentine's Day.
Well -- I could actually stop right here, as far as Devlin is concerned.  He doesn't talk.  Ever. About anything. Finding out about his love life is a virtual impossibility, so I have to go with intuition, impressions and reading between a lot of lines. I guess, and it is only a guess, that for a pretty hot guy, Devlin doesn't have that much serious history with women -- maybe one or two relationships that teetered on the brink of something more, until he pulled back, or his mysterious bosses sent him off into some new undercover operation, and effectively ended the relationship.  And, deep down, that's the way he wants it. Because of his past, because of who he is and what he's been, Devlin doesn't think love is a possibility for him.  So – he’s certainly celebrated Valentine's Day with particular ladies, but it's not a date that looms large in his calendar.  When it does come around, I'd guess he'd be the traditional type, jewelry, perfume, a dozen red roses, or maybe two dozen, but the message on the card would be simply his name -- the one he's using at the moment.  But never, ever, his love.
Evonne Wareham

Kaz hasn't had a good time with Valentines.  She has memories of her parents -- her father sometimes whisking her mother away for a surprise weekend in Paris, or maybe New York, but more often immersed in his latest work of art and forgetting completely, with the resulting spectacular sulks and slammed doors.  If there was one thing that Suzanne and Oliver enjoyed it was a good row. They still do, even after years apart. 
Kaz married young, to a man she thought had walked straight out of her dreams.  Early in their relationship she got used to her husband’s slightly off-beat ideas of celebrating Valentine's Day – a picnic by the river, a quirky piece of sculpture, a ride in a hot air balloon -- even though her taste was more for a romantic dinner at a cosy corner table in a favourite local restaurant -- or a home cooked meal, lovingly prepared in her own kitchen. After a few years of marriage the gifts and celebrations got a little more conventional – wine, chocolates, flowers. Then came the day that Kaz accidently discovered Jeff’s order for two identical bouquets of spring flowers. One for her and one for his latest girlfriend –
Valentine’s Day doesn't have the same ring to it now.
That's Kaz and Devlin's romantic history -- a little crinkled around the edges.
But maybe, in the future …
I hope your Valentine's Day brings all that you dream of, and more.

Thank you, Evonne for stopping by. For the chance to win a copy of Never Coming Home and a wispa bar tell us about your best or your worst Valentine's day. Please add your comment below with a way to contact you. End date is 21st February.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Romaniacs Launch!

Today is the launch of The Romaniacs blog, facebook and twitter pages and I have a confession - I'M A ROMANIAC! Over the coming week and a half all the romaniac members will introduce themselves. Please follow... it promises to be lots of fun.

Friday, February 10, 2012

WISPA IT... Blog Tour Dates

For Valentine's Day this blog has a very special date with Evonne Wareham on her blog tour for Never Coming Home. Check out all the dates below for the rest of the blog tour - there are chances to win copies of the book and Wispa bars. Choc Lit and Chocolate - the perfect combination.

Friday 3rd February Jera's Jamboree
Tuesday 7th February
The Nutpress
Friday 10th February
Love Reading Love Books
Tuesday 14th February
Katy Little Lady
Friday 17th February
Debs Daydreams
Tuesday 21st February
Sarah's Book Reviews
Thursday 23rd February
Friday 24th February
Tuesday 28th February
Book Babe
Friday 2nd March Lou Graham's Blog
Wednesday 7th March Choc Lit website

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My first talk!

Last Thursday I completed my first talk as a writer on blogging and social media. I made my husband come along with me for moral support and here are some of the photos he took:

Answering questions
I've had a few emails saying the talk was excellent, helpful and enjoyable. I haven't done any teaching since my physio days so I did wonder if I may be a bit rusty, but I got the trusty powerpoint out to keep myself on track.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Half Way!

Oh, half way point how you've eluded me, but here we are, finally together. Hoorah!

45,000 words done and partly polished.

Based on my pace it will hopefully be no more than eight weeks before I have completed the re-write.

But for now I'm off in search of cake. And no, I won't be eating half.