Friday, 26 August 2011

Dead Silent Blog Tour - Shirley Wells Visits The Shed

First, I must say a huge thank you to Debs and Grumps for welcoming me to The Plotting Shed. It’s wonderful to be here!

Debs and I are both members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and I can’t tell you how many times someone has said to me “But you write crime novels. Why are you a member of the RNA?”. That question always takes me by surprise.

I became a member of the RNA in the early nineties when I was writing romances. Since then, I’ve made countless friends, enjoyed parties and conferences and learned so much. One of the highlights of my month is the Northern Chapter meetings. What can be better than talking shop with good friends over a tasty lunch?

By definition, writers spend long hours shut away from the world with only a keyboard or pen and paper for company. They slog away for months on end on something that may never be published. They go through the pain of rejections or bad reviews. They experience the joy of a new contract, a wonderful book cover or a great review. And I believe that the only people who understand a writer’s lot are other writers.

I also believe that writers, and it matters not a jot whether they give us crime, romance, sci-fi or steampunk, are the friendliest, most generous people on the planet. They’re always there to offer advice and sympathy when a bad review spoils your day (week). They’ll punch the air with delight when you share the good news. They willingly share hints and tips when it comes to publishers requirements, marketing or writing software. In short, they’re the best.

Where would I be without the RNA? It’s difficult to say. I was already published when I joined so was unable to make use of the wonderful New Writers’ Scheme, but I’ve learned so much from fellow writers about the whole publishing business. It sounds strange but I don’t think I’d be shouting about the release of my seventh mystery novel without the help and support I’ve received from the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Thank you for having me, Debs and Grumps. You’re very gracious hosts! Thank you so much for visiting us here Shirley.

Having had several hundred short stories, ten serials and ten novels published, Shirley Wells is finally getting the hang of this writing lark. She’s lived in Orkney, Cyprus and the Cotswolds, and now lives in Lancashire where the Pennines, with their abundance of great places to hide bodies, provide the inspiration for her popular mystery novels. She shares her home with her husband, two dogs, two cats and any other stray animals that fancy being pampered. You can connect with Shirley via her website, Twitter or Facebook.

Her latest Dylan Scott mystery, DEAD SILENT, is available from Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all good e-book retailers.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Puppies - One Day Old

Here's a picture of my sister's puppies. I was going to upload a video, but it took forever, so I gave up.

They were born on Wednesday and although I was only at her house for three hours while the last few were born, I was exhausted. All I did was faff about in the background and make her children supper, change the youngest for bed and help lift puppies away when another was about to be born.

I don't know how my sister managed especially as there were nine puppies. They are adorable and Gypsy, their mum, is the most placid, sweet dog I've ever encountered. She was calm and quiet throughout, which is more than can be said for me.

I'm off to see Alfie Boe with Rob this evening and I can't wait, but before then we're entertaining his nephew who's coming over for the day from St Malo where he's been visiting his French grandmother. He actually lives in New Zealand, but is taking time out to travel for a few months. Lucky devil.

Right, I'd better get on and do something with my nails. I can't go out with them in the state they're in. I've always said I'm not made for housekeeping. Unfortunately, I'm the only one who seems to think this way.

Monday, 15 August 2011

The Star Struck Blog Tour - Shed Visit

And so, here I am, back in the shed. Oh, in a good way, obviously, I’m not locked in – look, door opens and everything – and there are still biscuits. Although I must say, I think she’s hidden the HobNobs, I can see crumbs everywhere but all I’ve got is a Jammy Dodger...

Anyway. I’m not here to talk about the lack of oaty goodness, and it is very good of Debs to allocate me this cushion on the floor. No, I’m here to tell you about my latest novel, Starstruck which, as we speak, should be rolling its way off THE presses and making its way to a the retail outlets, ready for the grand release on 01 September.

What? I hear you cry, so soon? Yes indeed, my hungry friends... ’tis but a matter of less than three weeks away! And, if you fancy a taste of heat and dust (items with which this summer has been sadly underendowed if you ask me), then this is the book for you – set in Nevada, where the sun is hot and there is no underendowedness of any kind.

A small snippet, to allow you to MEET a couple of the characters as they meet each other...
‘Oh. My name’s Jack, by the way. And you’re…?’
‘Skye. Skye Threppel.’
‘Well, Skye. Here’s to hiding from the world.’ Jack picked up another glass from next to the laptop and raised it, seeming to toast the screensaver picture of purple-heathered moorland, as though he was blocking out the Nevada desert with a picture of home. Then he plonked himself on the floor, knees drawn up. The only chair in the room was in front of the laptop and covered in papers, so for want of anywhere else available, I sat on the bed.
‘Are you? Hiding from the world?’ I asked, jiggling my wine between my fingers.
‘Ah, now there’s the question.’
‘I know. That’s why my voice did that going up at the end thing,’ I replied a little sharply. I was nervous and being nervous made me edgy these days, and defensive. ‘Maybe I should write the conversation down for you.’ Jack seemed nice, a little tense perhaps, but the raw feeling of connection that we’d shared earlier had ebbed and I was concerned that maybe I’d imagined it. I couldn’t always trust the way I felt, when those feelings were built on memories or associations I could no longer recall. It was as though my body reacted in certain situations without my mind having any kind of control and I was very conscious that this made me easy to take advantage of.
He made an appeasing gesture, holding his hands out and spilling some of his drink on the T shirt. ‘Point to you. I’m still struggling with the lack of dramatic convention.’ He sipped and looked at me over the rim of the glass.
I felt the blush start again and the edgy sensation that my nerves had all been driven to the surface.
‘Maybe I should go. Rather than sit here and force you to make conversation.’
‘Maybe.’ Jack rested his glass on his knees and looked up at me. It might have been my imagination but I was fairly certain that what was in his glass wasn’t wine. It was too clear, too transparent. ‘But I’d quite like it if you didn’t.’
Despite the Valium I could feel my skin growing clammy and my hands had moistened as though beads of blood were seeping through the palms. ‘I ought...’ My voice sounded croaky and about a hundred years old. I cleared my throat but it didn’t help, just made the air thicken around me so that I had to concentrate on breathing.
‘What is it you’re frightened of, Skye? You look terrified right now, and no-one’s ever found me that scary before – arrogant and self-righteous, yes, scary, no.’ His head tilted to one side. ‘Panic attacks worse when there’re lots of people about, yes? And yet being alone, closed in, scares you too. Am I getting warm?’
Suddenly uneasy at the intensity with which he was looking at me, I drained my glass in one gulp. ‘I’m not scared. It’s stress related, I get... when I’m a bit... when things are different, when I don’t know what’s going to happen next, sometimes I get panicky. But it’s not that, I’m just worried that Felix will wonder where I am.’
Jack stood up and refilled my glass. ‘Do you want me to leave the door open? Will that help?’ He was looking at me with an expression that seemed partly compassion and partly curiosity and I hated myself suddenly, which surprised me. Hated this pathetic, helpless Skye with her inabilities and her carefully modified behaviour. ‘I’m guessing the panic attacks have to do with feelings of loss of control,’ he tilted his head to one side, stubbing out his nearly completely smoked cigarette without taking his eyes off me. ‘You might feel better if you know you can run whenever you want. A bit more in control of the situation. And if Felix comes back, you’ll be able to hear him.’
I gave a short, tight nod and he snicked the door off its latch, propping it open with a lone trainer. ‘Thank you.’ I could feel my airways relaxing. ‘It isn’t you, I’m sorry, they think it’s something to do with the accident, the head injury, it’s been over a year and a half and I still can’t…’
‘Oh, and there was me feeling special.’ Jack grinned and his face was suddenly attractive.

So. There you go. I hope you enjoyed that taster... more of a HobNob than a Jammy Dodger, I think you’ll agree. And thanks again to Debs for allowing me in here to chat to you all. Now, I’d better go and ... hang on, the door opened a moment ago... must be stuck...
If you’re reading this blog, please send help, a locksmith and HobNobs...

Jane Lovering is, we are assured, real and not a cover for the McVities biscuit advertisers. She writes books, which, now you come to mention it, do seem to have a lot of biscuits in them, has five children (largely raised on biscuits), and has taken to keeping chickens (to dispose of the excess biscuits). She also works in a school, in a job which doesn’t feature biscuits at all. She is often described as ‘quirky’, and cannot understand why, since everybody loves biscuits.

If you've been following Jane's blog tour you'll know about the competition to win one of three copies of this fab book. If now, here's how it works, follow Jane's blog tour to be in with a chance of winning one of the three copies, together with some delicious Montezuma chocolate and pick out the word in capitals and write it down. Each succeeding blog will have another, or maybe several capitalised words and each one of those must be noted. When the tour is over you should have a collection of words which you then have to put in to a sentence, which will form a question. You then e-mail the answer to Choc Lit.

Although we're part of the way through The Starstruck Blog Tour, you can visit the previous stops to find the words you need to take part and then carry on with the final two stops after this one. They are as follows:

18 July – The Nut Press

25 July - LoveRomancePassion

01 August - Dizzy C’s Little Book Blog

08 August - Katy Little Lady

11 August - Novelicious (for my review, but no words for the competition!)

15 August - Debs Daydreams In the Plotting Shed

22 August - Lucie Wheeler

29 August - Choc Lit Author’s Corner

Starstruck is Jane's second novel is published by Choc Lit pm 1st September. You can pre-order it from, Amazon UK, or The Book Depository.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Zumba, Battle of Flowers, Book & Puppies

This is me. Okay, that's a big fat fib, how can it be me, I'm blonde. Hang on a sec, that's a fib too. Well, this is how I expect to look at the end of my 12 week Zumba course. Shouldn't be too hard? Should it? Hmmm? Well?

Today was the Battle of Flowers parade and as fun and jolly as that is, sitting in one place in your car for 40 minutes on the way to work while the floats make their way to the grounds is a bit of a bore. My usual 20 minute journey took an hour and I was late for work. Not fun, especially as I spent most of the time trying to figure out how my car radio worked so that I could listen to the local news about the traffic. Needless to say, I didn't get it to work, and as I wasn't moving it was pretty obvious, even to me first thing in the morning, that whatever they said, I couldn't take a different route, so really didn't matter too much.

The winner of the copy of The Woman He Loved Before by Dorothy Koomson is Mama J. I've left a comment on her blog and will be posting off her copy of this fab book as soon as I know her address. Thanks everyone for entering.

Hope you have a fab weekend. I'll be 'on call' as my sister's labrador x retriever (the sweetest dog I've ever known) is due to have her puppies any day now. I'll probably be more of a hindrance than a help, but I thought I could at least offer my assistance. (Nurse Debs, I'm not, so this should be interesting).

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Dorothy Koomson Day at Novelicious

Today we're having a Dorothy Koomson Day over at Women's Fiction Thursday on the Novelicious site to celebrate the publication day of Dorothy's brilliant latest book, The Woman He Loved Before, out today (4th August).

There are four copies of this fantastic book waiting to be won over at Novelicious, as well as my review, an interview with Dorothy Koomson, discovering about her writing space and much more. All you'll need to do is visit Novelicious and leave a 'pick me' comment at the bottom of one, or if you like, all of the features on the site.

I also have one copy to give away here, so should you wish to be in with a chance of winning, please leave a 'pick me' comment below and I'll announce the winner next Thursday when I also post the winners of the four copies of, The Woman He Loved Before.

Good luck.