Friday, 24 February 2012

Fogbound In Jersey...

It's our second day of fog and, as is the case when you live on an island, our second day with no flights, newspapers, mail, etc. I don't mind too much because I'm not going anywhere and thankfully am not stranded in an airport trying to get home. However, February is a dull month at the best of times and with the fog and very little to see, I'd much rather be in Antigua, Shirley Heights to be exact.

The lucky winner of Evonne Wareham's fabulous new book, Never Coming Home, and a Wispa bar, is Talli Roland. Congratulations, Talli, I hope you enjoy Evonne's book as much as I did.

Don't forget you can also have a chance to win a copy of this book (and a Wispa!) at Novelicious where I've reviewed, Never Coming Home, and where Choc Lit Publishers are including the giveaway as part of the 'Wispa it...' blog tour. Here's the link. All you have to do is leave a comment.

I love reviewing books for Novelicious and never know what treasures I'm going to find in my postbox each day when I come home from work. None today, thanks to the fog! At the moment I'm lucky enough to have a copy of Liz Fenwick's debut novel, The Cornish House, so I'm going to wish you all a great weekend, make a cup of tea and carry on reading it.

Ooh, before I forget, if anyone lives in London and can pick up a copy of the Metro mag on 27th February (especially the insert) and forward it to me, I'd be very grateful.

Friday, 17 February 2012

The 'Wispa It' Blog Tour - Never Coming Home by Evonne Wareham

Never Coming Home... The ‘Wispa It …’ Blog Tour

‘Wispa It...’ Snippet No. 5
She was as striking as her mother, but with a wilder edge.
The dark curls were barely kept in check by a flamingo pink
scarf. Flawless skin. Wide, dark eyes. Wide, full mouth.
There were smudges under those eyes, and tension in the set
of her head that shouldn’t be there.

Just a short one this time – Devlin’s first sight of Kaz from chapter two of Never Coming Home. Drop in next week to find out what Kaz thinks of Devlin at that first meeting!

Writing both sides of the love story.
There are many types of romance. (Loud cheer.) Lots are written solely from the point of view of the heroine, which provides all sorts of possibilities for delicious misunderstanding and guessing games on the part of heroine and reader. ‘What is he thinking?’ Those are the books where you really get to engage and empathise with the heroine. You follow her journey, and experience all her joys and her sorrows. When you put the book down you truely feel that you have lost a friend.

But that’s not the only way.
A fundamental requirement for anyone who wants to write for Choc-Lit is that the hero will get his chance at a point of view. As well as understanding the heroine, we get to see the hero up close and personal. We get to know what he's thinking as well as what he's doing. As a reader, I love the opportunity to follow the hero's journey on the inside, and experience his heartache as well as the heroine’s. (Of course there will be heart ache. This is romance. The Happy Ever After has to be worked for!)

It's also very rewarding to write from both points of view.
If your hero is an action man, like Devlin in Never Coming Home, there are frequent instances where he is doing one thing and feeling something quite different. I particularly enjoyed exploring the ambiguity of Devlin's past -- the man he was, and the man he might be -- exploring his vulnerabilities as he makes the transition from one to the other. The reader would never know anything about that from his actions. He'd make darn sure of it. He acknowledges that he has issues about being in control of any situation. His business partner, Bobby, who has a pretty clear-eyed view of him, accuses him of thinking that he's some sort of superman. He never lets his guard drop, but inside his head there is all the confusion and puzzlement of a man coming to terms with the path his life has taken. And realising, for the first time, what it might mean to fall in love. It’s immensely satisfying to write both sides of the love story. I hope it is just as satisfying to the reader to enjoy them.

The rest of the blog tour will be as follows:
Tuesday 21st February Sarah Broadhurst Sarah's Book Reviews
Thursday 23rd February Debs Carr Novelicious
Friday 24th February Elle Symonds Trashionista
Tuesday 28th February Tara Chevrestt Book Babe
Friday 2nd March Lou Graham Lou Graham's Blog
Wednesday 7th March Author's Blog Choc Lit website

Evonne was born in South Wales and spent her childhood there. After university she migrated to London, where she worked in local government, scribbled novels in her spare time and went to the theatre a lot. Now she’s back in Wales, writing and studying history and living by the sea. Her membership of the Romantic Novelists’ Association lets her enjoy the company of other authors and gives her an excuse to sneak back to London from time to time for essential stuff, like attending parties. She still loves the theatre, likes staying in hotels and enjoys walking on the beach, where she daydreams about her characters. She hopes that all those things come through in her books – drama, glamorous locations, engaging heroines and dangerous heroes.

For a chance to win a copy of Never Coming Home and a Wispa, please leave a comment saying why you think you deserve to win a copy of this book and I'll ask Evonne to choose a winner.

Evonne’s novel Never Coming Home will be published March 2012 shortly followed by her paranormal thriller Out of Sight Out of Mind.

For more information visit and Evonne’s blog. You can also tweet with her @evonnewareham.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Novelicious Undiscovered 2012 Competition

Do you think you could be Britain's next Chick Lit Star?

We've launched the Novelicious Undiscovered 2012 Competition over at

This writing competition is in association with Avon (HarperCollins), Books and the City (Simon & Schuster UK), and Literary Agent, Diane Banks and invites aspiring commercial women’s fiction writers to submit the first 3000 words of their novel to before April 3rd.

The top twenty entries, as chosen by the team, will be showcased on the site during May and put to a public vote in June. From these top twenty entries two winners will be chosen.

The People’s Choice award winner (the entry with the highest amount of public votes) will win:
· A full manuscript critique with Avon Commissioning Editor Caroline Hogg over tea and cake in their London offices
· A £50 voucher for
· An introduction to and entry critique from Literary Agent Diane Banks of Diane Banks Associates Ltd
· A selection of 10 Avon Titles
· A Kindle

The Books and the City Choice award winner (chosen from the top 20 entries by the Fiction Editorial department at Simon & Schuster UK) will win:
· A full manuscript critique from a member of the Fiction Editorial team at Simon & Schuster UK
· Author Mentoring and meeting with Sunday Times Bestselling author of RSVP, Helen Warner
· A £50 voucher from
· A Selection of 10 Books and the City Titles

Maxine Hitchcock, Fiction Editorial Director at Simon & Schuster UK says:
“We're thrilled to play a part in the brilliant Novelicious Undiscovered competition. Simon & Schuster / Books and the City prides itself on finding new talent and in recent years has discovered wonderful new voices such as Jane Costello, Milly Johnson, Helen Warner and Ali Harris who have gone on to hit the bestseller lists. We're honoured to be working with Novelicious, such a supporter and champion of female fiction, to find potential new stars.”

Diane Banks of Diane Banks Associates Ltd says:
"I'm delighted to have the opportunity to critique the winner of Undiscovered and the option to offer them representation. A competition which is judged by readers is a promising way to discover new talent and I'm excited about seeing the shortlist"

Caroline Hogg, Commissioning editor at Avon says:
“It’s such a pleasure to be involved with the Novelicious Undiscovered competition. For years Novelicious has been championing fantastic women’s fiction and the team there sum up everything that’s best about publishing: a genuine love of good writing and the boundless energy and good humour it takes to keep trying new things. At Avon we’re always on the look-out for brilliant new voices to add to our list of stellar authors – among them bestsellers Miranda Dickinson, Trisha Ashley and Claudia Carroll – so who knows what we might find through Novelicious Undiscovered!”

Kirsty Greenwood, Founding Editor of
“I am so excited to able to extend such an amazing opportunity to Britain’s aspiring writers. Novelicious is passionate about women’s fiction, and we are hopeful that the ‘Undiscovered’ competition will unearth some sparkling new talent in the genre.”
The Winner of Novelicious Undiscovered will be announced on 26th June. For full entry details and terms and conditions please visit

You can find out how to enter here and read the Terms and Conditions of the competition here.

For all further enquiries about Novelicious Undiscovered 2012 please contact

Sunday, 12 February 2012

When The Only Ice...

...I had to contend with were the ice cubes in my drinks from the Commodore Club!

This isn't the view I'm waking up to anymore.

I'm wearing much more than this pink top right now...

Although Duncan 'Donuts' is still showing people around St Thomas USVI.

Here he was showing us the beach where Charles Lindburgh landed his plane, The Spirit of St Louis, in January 1928.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Rob's Tom Cruise Moment!

This glorious view was taken from the viewing platform at the Hyatt Hotel in Fort Lauderdale where we spent one night before beginning our Caribbean cruise to four islands and the Panama Canal.

I'd stayed at this hotel years ago with my father, sister, lovely grandmother and uncle (now both dead) and brother. We'd gone to the revolving restaurant for lunch and then stepping into the lift when we went to leave, my father was horrified to discover (too late) that it was an outside, fully glass lift (including the floor).

When I realized this was where we were staying I told Rob about the restaurant at the top of the hotel and the lift and said I'd like to go up there again and take pictures for my dad. However, there was a large sign saying that the restaurant was closed for a private function and that it was closed.

Well, when I decide I want to do something very little puts me off and a simple 'No' doesn't seem to register that often (a useful personality trait to possess when you have a passion to be published, I suppose). So, we went up to the restaurant and asked the two security guards if we could possibly have a quick look round. By this time we'd been joined by another english couple. The guards soon gave in and Rob left his hand luggage in the restaurant and the four of us raced outside and spent about ten minutes, 'oohing' and 'ahhing', and I felt very nostalgic and delighted with the pictures I'd be able to take home to my dad.

"Right, I suppose we'd better go back in now," said Rob, "We've got to board the ship soon."

It was then that we discovered there wasn't any door handle on the outside of the door to get back in. We all hurried to the window to wave at the guards, who'd both disappeared.

"Phone someone," I suggested.

"No reception," said Rob, gazing across at the Queen Victoria longingly. "We've got to find a way down."

It was then that I noticed an emergency stairway going into the floor. Rob went down and shouted that the door was locked on the following level.

"Don't come down and let that door lock behind me," he shouted. "Wait to see if I can find a door further down that I can use. We don't want to get stuck in this stairwell."

I have to admit that laughing probably wasn't very helpful, but I couldn't help myself. Thankfully he eventually found a landing where the door was unlocked and we were able to get down.

A week later on the cruise, we met another couple and the man embarrassingly admitted that he'd stupidly gone up to the revolving restaurant, gone outside on the viewing deck and... We did tell him that we'd done the same thing. He was english too...

More about the cruise soon.