I’m curious…

Books and coffee
Are you sitting comfortably?
What’s your favourite type of story? I’m keen to start a new project… But I want to put it out there, and into YOUR hands, as the potential reader. What do you like it read? What kind of conflict do you like in your stories? What are your favourite types of characters? I’m not talking specifically about setting, or genre, but rather the characters you, as the reader, can identify with. What really gets you at your core in a powerful story? Of course, if you want to talk about your favourite genre, that’s fine too. Just think… Your input could be the inspiration for the next big thing. 

Leave me a comment below, or drop me a line at fionachapman1@gmail.com. I can’t wait to learn about what inspires you as a reader. 🙂 

Fiona X

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Book Review: The Dangerous Gift by Jane Hunt

It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted one of these, and I’m sure some of you may be wondering if I’ve disappeared off the radar. The thing is, the smallest now-one-year-old-child (together with the four-year-old) is truly running me ragged, and it’s rare I get an opportunity (or, let’s be frank here, a dose of energy) to read. When I do get a chance to indulge, it’s usually at bedtime, and within about 5 or 10 minutes my eyelids are drooping.

So when I find a book that will keep my attention for just that little bit longer, you know it’s going to be a winner. As I mentioned in her cover reveal, I had the pleasure of reading the first three chapters of The Dangerous Gift some time ago, when my friendship with Jane was just blossoming, and we were bouncing ideas off each other and lending a supportive ear. I loved the story. I loved the suspense, and the way she kept me guessing, and was desperate to read more, and felt slightly dismayed that I’d have to wait to find out what would happen. So when she offered me the chance to review this book on publication (the news of which I was absolutely thrilled to hear), I jumped at the chance. Jane – let me just publicly apologise for the time taken to complete reading the book and posting this review, but I can assure you it was well worth it. With a little snippet each night (and some days when I could get away with it, a cheeky half-hour on the sofa with a cuppa), I actually savoured my first book in over a year, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Dangerous GiftThe Dangerous Gift by Jane Hunt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After leaving the life she knew, having been rejected by her first love, Jennie Taylor must return from her new life in England to the Texan ranch and Jared – the very same cowboy who broke her heart – as the two of them are forced together again through tragedy. However, it’s just the start of things to come – as soon as she arrives her visit is fraught with accidents and threats; it seems there’s danger lurking around every corner. And with her feelings for Jared still running high instead of being behind her where she’d tried to put them, Jennie finds herself in turmoil as she tries to determine whether she should remain on the ranch and follow the path of fate, or return to England and her careful, sensible plans. Her life is in the balance but her heart wants to rule her head. After all, you never forget your first love, do you?

As with Jane’s other books, her descriptive voice is wonderful and she has a great ability to draw you into the story, on to the page. The end of each scene was left with a little cliff-hanger, just begging for you to read on to the next page (when you know you should be putting the book down and going to sleep). You’re invested in the characters, and you want to know what happens to them – will they get out of this alive? Can everyone breathe a sigh of relief yet…? Honestly? Don’t be lulled into a sense of security. Not only does this author keep you on your toes, but she manages to weave a couple of red herrings in there too.

The obvious chemistry between our hero and heroine, coupled with the brilliant suspense, makes a very well-written book from this lovely author.

View all my reviews

Thank you, Jane, for bringing me back into reading.

 

Cover Reveal! The Dangerous Gift – by Jane Hunt

I’m delighted to announce a cover reveal for my dear talented friend and author, Jane Hunt – showcasing The Dangerous Gift.

I had the pleasure of reading the first three chapters of this exciting romantic suspense novel some time ago, and can’t wait to read the full story. What a gorgeous cover it is, too, don’t you agree? The hero, Jared, is certainly a sight to behold! Now, I know I am married, but who doesn’t like a nice bit of eye candy and a great romance to sweep you off your feet and away from reality for a few hours?

You can read all about the novel, and the author, Jane Hunt, below…

The Dangerous Gift front cover

 

THE DANGEROUS GIFT by Jane Hunt

Release Date: February 9, 2016

SYNOPSIS

After a tragic plane crash kills Jennie Taylor’s guardians, she returns to her childhood home—and her first love, Jared Stewart.

At just eighteen years old, Jennie had left the Unicorn Ranch in Texas to seek a life in the outside world. But she wasn’t just running toward independence. Heartbroken and confused, Jennie fled her home after Jared harshly rejected her on the eve of her birthday.

Now she must choose between making a new life on the ranch she has grown to love, or returning to her simple but empty life in England. The choice seems obvious at first, but nothing in life is simple…

Jared is forced to share control of his beloved ranch with the woman he wants but can’t have.

When Jennie receives an anonymous note, she goes to Jared for support. But what she finds is more than she was prepared for, driving the two further apart than ever. When an old friend is murdered and suspicious accidents escalate, endangering Jennie’s safety, Jared becomes her reluctant protector.

Jennie knows Jared is hiding something, but does he really want her gone from the ranch? And if so, could he be the one behind the ominous threats?

Determined to prove Jared isn’t involved, Jennie turns detective. Can she succeed in her courageous but reckless investigation…or is the truth a dangerous gift she won’t survive?

COVER DESIGNER: https://www.facebook.com/TOJPublishingServices

 

 Jane HuntABOUT THE AUTHOR: ‘Writing has touched my life in every decade. At fifty, I took a risk and made writing my career, fulfilling a lifetime ambition.’

I enjoy writing blogs, book reviews and especially stories. Vivid imagery, atmospheric settings, strong females and sensual males are essential for my stories. Everyday life and ordinary people inspire me. How would someone react, if faced with something extraordinary? A thread of romance runs through my all my books, whether they be suspense, fantasy or historical.

I want to let my readers escape their lives for a while, experience new places, new people and most importantly, new emotional lows and highs My favorite parts of the writing process are; finding a person, event or place that makes me want to write a story about it and the writing itself; when your fingers cannot type fast enough, to transcribe your thoughts.

Family is very important to me. My two children are my greatest achievement to date.

I am an animal welfare supporter and regularly use social media to promote animal welfare issues.

Limitless Publishing: http://www.limitlesspublishing.net/authors/jane-hunt/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jane.hunt.509511

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jolliffe03

Website: http://jolliffe01.com/

Blog: http://jolliffe01.com/blog/

 

FULL COVER:The Dangerous Gift full cover

Do we really have to have it all?

These past few weeks, I’ve been doing a little soul-searching. While I’m loving being a mummy to my now 9-month-old and 4-year-old (how did my little monkey grow up so fast?!), there is something distinctly lacking in my life.

On a daily basis, I think to myself ‘I did not sign up to be a housekeeper 24/7’, which is how I feel most days. Add to that a severe lack of sleep due to said 9-month-old still waking frequently at night and stealing much-needed rest away from me. It’s rare I get woken up only once in the night, on average it’s twice a night, and a lot of the time it’s before 6am. I don’t understand how anyone can function like this? And yet, on top of this, I’m looking at ways of working from home, as an aside from being a writer. Because, we all know, writing is a rewarding career choice, but it certainly isn’t a lucrative one. It’s been three years since I left the corporate world, and sometimes I find myself wishing I actually had a job, just so I could escape every now and then, to have time for me. You know – have a real excuse to get out of the house and do something that doesn’t revolve around nappies and food preparation and cleaning. Occasionally, I have to escape to the library, because things are too noisy at home. But as a writer, I feel as though it’s unjustified. Like what I’m doing is purely a hobby.

No, it is not a hobby. It is months and months of hard work, a lot of hope, a lot of rejection, and a lot of paranoia, with little reward at the end of it. So, what do I do? I look for other ways I can work from home and potentially earn some money. I have looked into working as a virtual assistant, where there is a whole heap of work available, providing someone is willing to give you a chance first. To be fair, I’ve only given it a few weeks so far, but while I’m juggling this, bringing up the girls, and trying to keep the house in order (easier said than done), I am running myself into the ground. So, last night, I picked up my journal, and a pen, and I sat down and I wrote. Real, dig-deep-into-my-thoughts writing. Something I haven’t done in over a year. And do you know what? I really enjoyed it. I realised that I’ve been neglecting that part of me that needs to write. I don’t know why. In some respects, I’ve been scared to tap into the creative side of me. And now that I’ve peeked in there, I can’t understand why I’ve neglected it for so long. I HAVE to do this. I made myself a promise years ago that writing was my chosen career path. Lots of things have got in the way of that, such as being pregnant twice, losing a baby and having a baby. Life has carried on, and I’ve had to move with it, and I’ve somehow lost sight of what it was I was supposed to be doing. Lack of confidence, perhaps? Too many life changes?

I don’t know what it is, but I do know that we should stop trying to have it all, find what it is that our hearts truly desire, the thing that makes our souls sing; and stick with it. And if we temporarily get sidetracked, it’s okay. Because the path you’re destined to take will still be there. I’m keeping faith in myself and my abilities, because writing IS my calling, and it makes me happy. It warms me like the sun on a summer’s eve, and it makes my soul glow.

Book Review: Time by Samantha Darling

TimeTime by Samantha Darling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Isobel Smith believes she is living her very own fairy-tale, until a bombshell shatters her dreams into smithereens. Newly married and pregnant with their first child, she discovers that her life as she knows it is about to come to an abrupt end.

This is a touching story which will stay with you for a long while after you’ve read it. The author has a rare ability to capture and portray raw human emotion with some very sensitive issues that many folk will have dealt with at some point or another. This particular novel struck a personal chord with me, as I’m sure it will with anyone who has had to deal with grief on such a close, personal level. I was also 8 months pregnant when I read this book, which had me crying and cringeing along with the heroine on the journey of her pregnancy, knowing that I’d have to go through the same as her when I reached the end of the gestation! The way the story was delivered made me think the author had actually written a journal of her own experience, it was that realistic.

If you’re looking for a heart-wrenching romantic tale to get lost in and set free any hidden emotions you’ve kept under lock and key, then choose this book. ‘Time’ will take you on an emotional rollercoaster and bring home how precious human life is, remind you of sadder times and encourage you to cherish the happier times.

A truly beautiful tale of loss, heartache, love, and a journey of self-discovery.

View all my reviews

Ambition and drive make a welcome return

Three months. THREE months it’s been since I actually sat down and worked on anything. I know I have a valid excuse, but I’m gobsmacked that October, November and December have just whooshed past in a blizzard of getting ready for Christmas, nesting for our new arrival, and just generally being Extremely Busy (not to mention debilitating PGP/SPD).
Today, the kids have gone back to school, and it’s an absolute blessing to get back into a routine, and back to normality. December was a crazy month, what with several Christmas events and parties and birthdays and shopping and organising… the list goes on.
Perhaps this is why I suddenly have a renewed fervour to throw myself back into writing? The timing just feels slightly off though, considering the obvious impending life change in five or six weeks. Perhaps it’s because of this break, and the desire to get back to normal, which is driving me forward. I’m actually brimming with ambition this week, and long may it last.
Time for Love was rejected twice towards the end of 2014, with some very positive feedback and encouraging comments, but no specific reason for the rejection, other than it ‘wasn’t for them’.
Of course, no writer deals with rejection too well, and we’re all told that the best thing to do is just to keep on writing. But add pregnancy hormones to the mix, and – well, the confidence and desire to keep going just kind of slides off the scale in a downward splat.
I went on a bit of a rampage trying to relocate my identity (not realising I hadn’t even lost it), and desperately tried to get a part-time job, just to remind myself that I was capable of something, anything. But I continuously hit a brick wall due to being pregnant. Legally, companies can’t discriminate against pregnancy and maternity, but to be fair, I can understand why they wouldn’t want to employ someone who would be needing time off in 3 or 4 months (which is what it was back then).
Anyway, I’m pleased to say that the positivity has returned with a big beaming smile and the desire to make 2015 a successful one on my chosen career path. It’s been a rusty start this morning, with total forgetfulness of how to send an email attachment from the iPad, and remembering where to find my contacts (of the people variety, I’m blessed with 20/20 vision), but it feels good to be back in the saddle!
January is often seen as a difficult month, where people get the January blues, no-one has any money, and it’s a bit of an anti-climax after Christmas.
So why not use the time to make some positive plans for the year ahead? You’ll feel miles better for it, I know I do.
And on a totally separate (and irrelevant) note, I really recommend wearing fluffy boot slippers while working from home. They keep you really warm and you won’t have to worry about putting the heating on (thus saving you money). If you have to share your home-working space with your spouse – like I do when he’s not on shift – tell them to get some boots of their own to avoid listening to complaints about the lack of heat (or put a sweater on). Also, (for UK peeps) to cheer you up, remember that there are a couple of council tax free months coming up. 🙂

Anyway, that’s me for today. As my motto dictates:

Dare to dream… then live it. xx

A New Year, a new challenge (or 2!)

It’s a New Year, a new start, a promise of new beginnings and good intentions of success.
After a hiatus of a few weeks, I’m ready to start the year with renewed ambition – together with perhaps one of life’s most challenging roles a person can undertake. Because alongside the rocky road to publication, 2015 sees the arrival of our third baby – having experienced the heart-breaking time of losing our second child in 2013, who was sadly born and lost at 27 weeks.
But this is a year full of promise: the Christmas tree is down, the housework is underway and the nesting list increases as I add to it daily, with the due date looming closer (and in some respects, not close enough!).
I make no secret of the fact that it’s indeed going to be a challenging time, but we all know that the secret to success is pressure, right? 😀
Anyway, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support in 2014, because as any writer knows it’s the continued support and faith in our ability that keeps us going (I wouldn’t still be doing it without such a wonderful group of people). So, thank you, especially so to the amazing TVD ladies 😉

What are your goals for this year?

Author Spotlight – Eve Devon with The Love List

I’m delighted to host the lovely Eve Devon on my blog today, to introduce her newest release, The Love List, published by Harper Impulse.

Eve has a passion for all things crafty, and is even known to have designed her own shoes!

Please join me in giving Eve a warm welcome 🙂

Hi Fiona, thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog today to tell you all about my latest release, The Love List.


The Love List Cover High Res                                                             

Blurb: The Love List

Falling in love is just not on Nora King’s To Do List…

Neither is accidentally super-gluing her shoe to her hand right before the biggest presentation of her life!

With all the hard work she’d put into securing the family business after her father’s death, Nora has no choice but to accept help from a knight in shining armour.

Disaster relief worker Ethan Love is still haunted by his last deployment, and desperate for distraction. He’s in town to ask Nora for a major favour, and swooping in to save her presentation is a sure way to get her on side.

As Ethan sticks around and helps Nora through her grief, her barriers tumble down…but will she dare to swap her To Do lists for a How to Fall in Love list?

Release Date: October 2, 2014

Available Formats: ebook now. PBK from 18th December 2014

Buy Links:

AMAZON

BARNES & NOBLE

GOOGLE BOOKS

iTUNES

KOBO

eBooks by SAINSBURY’s

Excerpt:

‘I should probably not have ridden us so fast,’ she said her breath finally coming out in a rush.

His eyes blazed white heat while his smile was gentle and did something to joggle that twisted mess of emotion inside of her. ‘Speed-freak.’

‘You say that as if it’s a bad thing.’

‘On the contrary. Fast can be good.’

‘Exactly.’ Nora nodded, unable to deny that she wanted to escape this any longer. Making his kiss happen in a rush of heat was what she would focus on to calm the swirling vortex of anticipation. ‘There’s nothing wrong with speed if it means you bypass the waiting,’ she said, staring at his lips and willing him to lower his head.

Ethan chuckled and her gaze whipped up to meet his eyes. Damn it, there she was admitting stuff again. If he didn’t shut her up with his lips, soon she’d be admitting to him how the sheer size of him when he was up this close and personal with her made her feel all… protected and… needy.

‘But if all you ever do is rush to the end— don’t you sometimes feel like you’re missing out?’

‘Missing out?’ she frowned.

‘Hmm.’ Ethan lowered his head to nuzzle her hair away from her ear and whisper, ‘Because sometimes slow can be good. Better even.’

Nora’s eyes rolled back in her head at the combination of his words and the feel of his breath in her ear making her last-ditch cautious, ‘Ethan, what are we doing?’ come out on a distinct sigh.

‘Oh, I think you know what we’re doing.’ His thumbs brushed the underside of her jaw as he tilted her head up. ‘You do know, don’t you, Nora?’

‘Maybe.’

‘And maybe you like. Maybe you want.’

‘Maybe,’ she managed to get out. Her hands came out to latch onto the hard wall of his chest. Definitely. She licked her lips. ‘But—’ What happened after? Her fingers clenched against his sweater. She needed to know. So she could prepare.

‘No buts. Like I said; if I see something I want, I make sure I get it.’

‘And it has to be slow like this,’ she rushed out, her hand snaking under the heavy knit to get even closer. Closer to all that hot muscle.

Her breath blew out and landed against his throat making him shudder against her, but still he insisted, ‘I kind of think it does. I want time to discover the secrets of your mouth.’ His lips hovered a millimetre above hers, intoxicating her, confusing her, mesmerising her. ‘You going to give up those secrets for me, Nora?’ he whispered.

Eve Devon_author photo

Author Bio:

I’m Eve Devon and I write sexy heroes, sassy heroines and happy ever afters…

I kind of secretly believe it’s not too late for me to train as a professional dancer, MMA expert, or get asked to be Angelina Jolie’s body-double. I know. This is why writing fiction is for me!

Growing up in locations like Botswana and Venezuela gave me quite the taste for adventure and my love for romances began when my mother shoved one into my hands in a desperate attempt to keep me quiet during TV coverage of the Wimbledon tennis finals! When I wasn’t consuming books by the bucketload, I could be found pretending to be a damsel in distress or running around solving mysteries and writing down my adventures. As a teenager, I wrote countless episodes of TV detective dramas so the hero and heroine would end up together every week. As an adult, I worked in a library to conveniently continue consuming books by the bucketload, until realising I was destined to write contemporary romance and romantic suspense myself. I live in leafy Surrey in the UK, a book-devouring, slightly melodramatic, romance-writing sassy heroine with my very own sexy hero husband!

I hope you enjoyed the teaser from The Love List and you can find out more about me, or drop by for a chat—which I always LOVE, here:

WEBSITE                   TWITTER                   FACEBOOK              GOODREADS

Eve xx

Well, what a steamy excerpt! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing this with us, Eve, it’s been an honour, and I’m really looking forward to reading The Love List 🙂 

Book Review: Hard to Forget by Incy Black

Hard to Forget (Hard to... #2)Hard to Forget by Incy Black

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow!

I think that just about sums it up, together with 5 glowing stars for this novel, Incy Black’s second offering of the ‘Hard to…’ series.

I loved this novel, from start to finish, with its non-stop action and serious conflict between stubborn, impossible Jack-bloody-Ballentyne, and an equally loveable heroine to boot, who metaphorically speaking, definitely wears the boots when it comes to how to live her life. No-one tells Lowry-bloody-Fisk what to do, which is an absolute nightmare for Special Agent Jack Ballentyne, whose sole mission is to protect her from herself and the danger she’s faced with, despite the extremely inconvenient physical attraction he feels towards her. Not to mention the horribly tragic secret she’s hiding, which I felt the author handled with the utmost sensitivity.
The writing is sharp, witty, and deliciously fast-paced, with superb, descriptive narrative… ‘His chest hurt, a mild understatement given it felt more like a steamroller was using it as a parking bay.’
This is a truly gripping story, and on more than one occasion felt like I was watching a Bond film playing out in front of my eyes. It’s full of action, suspense, conflict and pain – a real page turner. Well done, Incy, and thank you, for a bloody fantastic spin.
I received an Advance Review Copy of this novel in return for my honest opinion.

View all my reviews

The Blurb….

A thrilling category romance from Entangled’s Ignite imprint.

A warning ignored…a love denied

Four years ago, Commander Jack Ballantyne followed Special Agent Lowry Fisk into a death trap. Fortunately, both of them lived to tell the tale, but when he had Lowry drummed out of the British Intelligence Service for her own safety—and his own peace of mind—he knew she’d never forgive him.

Lowry Fisk knew, she just knew, that the Assassins, the secret black-ops unit of the Service she and Jack belonged to, had a mole. And as the Assassins Commander, Jack should have believed her, even though she had little evidence beyond a gut feeling. But when he hadn’t, she’d taken it upon herself to find the traitor—and ended up assaulted, shot, and left for dead. Jack had come to her rescue, but it had been too little, too late. Now all she wants to do is forget the attack, the Service, and the sexy, steely-eyed Commander with the power to make her feel weak.

But the mole is on the move, and he’s coming for Lowry to finish what he started. Jack has to get the stubborn, dangerously gorgeous woman to let him back into her life and allow him the Assassins to protect her—without allowing her to worm her way into his heart.