Monday, 21 April 2014

Forthcoming Events: Doncaster Literary Festival

I'm excited to be part of the Literary Festival organised by Doncaster Libraries.  I'll be speaking alongside prolific Mills & Boon author Kate Walker, whose '12-point guide to writing romance' has long been one of my go-to reference books.  Details of the event are below, followed by a link to the rest of the festival programme - if you're in or near Doncaster in June, don't miss it!  

Wednesday 4 June, 3p.m. - 4.30p.m.
Authors Kate Walker and Stephanie Cage – Central Lending Library, Waterdale

Behind the Hearts and Flowers. Popular Mills & Boon author Kate Walker will be talking about being a romantic novelist and her latest book, which is released on the 30th anniversary of the publication of her very first book! Joining her will be new author Stephanie Cage who is a Doncaster-based romance writer and author of Perfect Partners (Crimson Romance).
Ticket Price £3

  
http://library.doncaster.gov.uk/web/arena/literary-festival

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Book Review: A Man Like Him

A Man Like HimA Man Like Him by Rachel Brimble
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'A Man Like Him' is an exciting read, balancing plenty of drama with a truly lovely romance storyline. I fell in love with Templeton Cove in 'Finding Justice' and in 'A Man Like Him' we get to learn more about the people in this charming seaside village, and to see what happens to Cat and Jay after the end of their story.

Chris, Cat's brother, is a perfectly believable character and a perfect hero: strong and powerful yet damaged by his broken relationship, and not yet living up to his full potential. Angela, the manager of Templeton Cove's holiday park, is so clearly the person who brings out the best in him, but their relationship is convincingly threatened by her stalker ex-husband. Everything about this story was believable and exciting (with the possible exception of how easy it was for Angela to keep a gun, and how unfussed the police seemed to be by the fact that she was prepared to defend herself with it... come on guys, this is Britain!). Anyway, that tiny detail aside, I loved everything about 'A Man Like Him': the seaside setting, the small-town people and the larger than life drama.

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Saturday, 5 April 2014

Book Review: Finding Justice

Finding JusticeFinding Justice by Rachel Brimble
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Rachel Brimble's writing, and I quickly fell in love with the setting and characters in Finding Justice too. Cat Forrester is a strong woman with major trust issues - not surprising considering the mess that her family life has turned into since her father's death as a result of a drink-driving incident and her mother's descent into alcoholism. Jay Garrett is an attractive, successful businessman and an old friend of Cat's who also just happens to be a recovering drug addict and a suspect in the murder of their mutual friend, Sarah. The investigation takes Cat back to Templeton Cove and reminds her of what Jay once was to her, but there are huge challenges that both of them must overcome if they are to build any kind of future.
Both Cat and Jay's feelings for each other, and their doubts about their future, came across strongly, and the twists and turns of the investigation kept me guessing to the end. Finding Justice is a powerful and suspenseful story which narrowly missed out on a 5-star rating only because I felt that sometimes the issues overshadowed the plot.

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Saturday, 8 March 2014

Book Review: In the Shadow of Malice

In the Shadow of MaliceIn the Shadow of Malice by Nancy C. Weeks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nancy C Weeks' 'In the Shadow Of' series are ridiculously addictive reads: romantic suspense with a hint of paranormal, rather in the vein of Rebecca York or Nora Roberts.

'In the Shadow of Malice' features Adam Blake, a tough ex-CIA agent with a weak spot a mile wide where his adorable daughter Anna is concerned, and Calista Martin, a music graduate moonlighting as a waitress in her grandfather's diner, who's determined to protect Anna as she failed to protect her murdered roommate. Both are strong characters, but while Adam is in many ways the driving force of the adventure, Calista can be just as determined when it comes to forcing her way past his defences.

Although an unlikely couple, they are clearly well-matched, and drawn together by their determination to protect Anna from the consequences of Adam's past.  Anna is traumatised into silence by her mother's violent death, but soon finds a way to communicate with sensitive Calista, instigating a roller-coaster ride of an adventure involving the head of an international crime syndicate, who just happens also to be Adam's biological grandfather. Secrets and surprises abound, and although the scenario sounds implausible when summarised, Nancy Weeks' meticulous attention to setting and character make the story chillingly believable.

If things move a little fast between Adam and Calista at times, and she's surprisingly willing to throw herself into life-threatening adventures, it's not hard to put this down to a combination of her immediate devotion to Anna, with her survivor's guilt after the events of 'In The Shadow of Greed'. All in all, Nancy has woven a compelling story featuring a convincing, terrifying villain and a surprising couple whose developing relationship must contend against almost overwhelming odds. For me this is a must-read which scores top of the scale on both romance and suspense.

(NB: 'In The Shadow of Malice' officially releases on 10th March but is available for pre-order now at http://www.amazon.co.uk/In-Shadow-Malice-Crimson-Romance-ebook/dp/B00IPSCP8O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394296054&sr=8-1.  I received an advance copy of this book for my honest review - thanks, Nancy! Just in case you didn't gather... I loved it!)

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Monday, 24 February 2014

Talking about romance at Book-in-a-Week

I'm lucky enough to be a regular blogger at Book-in-a-Week and each month I post about some aspect of writing.  It's February, so it could only be... Writing Romance.  That's right.  I got to share the reason I love writing romance so much, and some of the answers I give to people who think they couldn't do it.  I wonder if any of these reasons have ever crossed your mind? 
* I can’t write sex scenes. My Mum/daughter/boss might read them.
* I can’t write romance. I’m single / happily married / going through a divorce.
* Aren’t romance stories boring and formulaic?
If they have, click through to http://www.book-in-a-week.com/2014/02/writing-romance/ and see what I have to say.