Win romance and chocolate for the soul!

Choclit giveaway 3We have one copy of Romancing the Soul by Sarah Tranter and a delicious box of chocolates to give away to one lucky reader. To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer the following question:

If you could choose your past life, who (or what) would you have been and why?

Leave your lovely comments below. Competition closes at 12pm on Wednesday 5th February.

Your Soul Mate is out there! Let a past life lead the way
Rachael Jones hasn’t exactly chosen an average career path. She’s a ‘past-life regressionist’ and is now hoping to help her clients find their Soul Mates through reconnecting them with their past lives. But despite her best intentions, there are problems. Rachael made the mistake of regressing her best friend, Susie Morris, who has since been haunted by events that occurred in her past life.
When Susie meets Hollywood actor, George Silbury in unlikely circumstances, she is completely unprepared for her reactions. There’s an intense mutual attraction that neither can explain nor ignore.
Can George help Susie to overcome the sense of desolation she feels as the result of her past-life regression or will history’s habit of repeating itself ruin all chances of her finding happiness?

First Fictional Crushes

Sue Moorcroft 

Who was your first fictional crush?

Who was your first fictional crush?

 

My first fictional crush was Superman.

My brother and I used to buy a lot of the shiny, brightly coloured Adventure Comics coming out of America when we were kids living in Malta, and Superman stole my heart, even when he was in the guise of Clark Kent. I used to think that Lois Lane was remarkably stupid not to notice it was just the same guy in a suit and glasses but, hey, if she didn’t want him …? I was ready and waiting. In tights or in a suit, Superman or Clark, he was hot, he was clever, he was kind. Bring him on.

I can remember crying over an episode where Superman lost all his powers and was wandering dejectedly around Gotham City with the citizens jeering at him. (I’m not sure why he didn’t just go back into Clark Kent mode so nobody knew he was Superman sans superpowers. Probably it didn’t suit the plot.) Happily, the source of the kryptonite that was disabling him was found and he was soon soaring across the page once more, fist raised in flight, just in time to smash the baddies’ plans to conquer the world and snatch Lois from the jaws of death (not that she deserved it).

I have retained a liking for a tall man with a strong, clean-shaven jaw and I even put Dominic Christy in tights in Dream a Little Dream, when he dressed up for halloween. First love is stronger than kryptonite.

Is This Love? is now available on all e-book platforms and is out in paperback 7th November.

Jane Lovering

As a young teenager, I was as impressionable as an undercooked sponge cake, and regularly fell in love with literary luminaries, but the first who really made a huge impression, growing up as I did in a town with Roman history so deep that we even had Roman sewers, was Marcus Aquila, hero of Rosemary Sutcliffe’s ‘Eagle of the Ninth’.

I had a full mental image of Marcus, although I cannot remember whether or not he is described in the book, although I have to admit that I probably overlaid him with all my real-life ‘crushes du jour’; he was tall, dark and handsome, and he could ride a horse really well too, which was important to me back then, in the days when I was still going to marry Tony Newbery.  He was courageous (Marcus, I mean, not Tony Newbery, although he was pretty brave, being a showjumper of some ability and very lovely horses. I think I was probably leaning more towards the ‘horses’ than the man, even at fifteen). Marcus was travelling in distant lands (well, Scotland), to find the secret that lay behind his father’s disappearance so he was not just brave, he was noble as well, and probably troubled too (I do like a troubled man). The BBC made a TV mini-series of the book and the actor they cast as Marcus definitely didn’t disappoint…Sigh. I wonder if it’s available on DVD…

Hubble Bubble is available on all e-book platforms and is also available in paperback.

Kathryn Freeman

Julian, of Famous Five fame, was everything a boy should be.  At least to a twelve year old girl.  He was brave, tall and strong.  Fearless, as he herded the younger members of the group through dark, secret tunnels.  Gutsy, as he stood up to the bad guys – men older and heavier than he.  Daring, as he led from the front in adventure after adventure.

But it wasn’t just his courage that had me reaching for the books time and time again, desperate to read more about him.  Julian was the responsible one.  The gallant hero who looked after all the others, especially his young sister Anne.  Who couldn’t fall in love with a boy who took such care of his sister?

And don’t forget Julian also had this clever and sensible side.  I suppose it could have made him stray into the nerdy category, but the swots I knew would never have dashed so boldly into danger to protect their friends.  Maybe there was a smidgen of bossiness about him, but Dick, George and Anne needed someone to tell them what to do or they’d never have escaped through those secret passageways.  Perhaps he also took himself a teeny bit seriously, but funny = sexy was a conclusion I came to a little later in life…

So there you have it.  My first fictional hero was Enid Blyton’s Julian.  I spent many years of my childhood wishing he’d ask me out for a ginger beer.  Until I dropped him for David Soul (from Starsky and Hutch).

Too Charming is available on Kindle UK and Kindle US.

Sarah Tranter

I’m going to have to own up and say that my first fictional crush was Lassie. Yep, the dog.

I’m afraid I can’t even say it was as a result of the books, because it was all down to the TV show. I don’t think I ever read about Lassie. At that time it was all Enid Blyton for me and there was zero crushing involved.

Lassie on the other hand was a different matter. It was a case of what you can’t have. I so wanted a dog as a kid but we were never allowed one. At different times we had fish, a hamster (that kept escaping into the loft and eating things) and a biting rabbit ― that had pink eyes and scared me stupid. But never a dog. And it was a dog I so desperately wanted. So I used to watch Lassie and dream of one day having a dog of my own. It didn’t even need to be a Collie. Just something with four legs (actually it didn’t even need to have those) and a wagging tail. You get the gist. Of course now with my own family I understand first hand the reasoning behind my parents’ decision. Hair, mud, walks, more hair. But it’s no good. I still couldn’t be without one. Or two ― should me and the boys get our way!

No Such Thing as Immortality is available on all e-book platforms and is also available in paperback.

Sarah Tranter – What am I working on now … and a tip or two

I consider myself to be a very lucky girl at the mo. I’m spending rather a lot of time with Nate. Anyone who has read No Such Thing as Immortality will know exactly who I mean. Nathaniel Gray, the former Earl of Ridings, but now a two-hundred year old vampire.

copy-of-nstai_packshotI’m working on book 2 of the No Such Thing series. As this book continues Nate’s story, and is written from his perspective, the two of us are finding ourselves engaged in an awful lot of one-to-one time. It’s at times like these I ask myself why I ever became a writer. It’s such a very very hard life :)

He’s intense, too. Seriously intense. And has been leading me astray no end. All he has to do is look at me with those eyes of his and raise a brow. Plot line? There was one once upon a time, but now I have not a clue where he’s leading me. I know where I want him to end up, but he’s presently got other ideas. But it’s his prerogative. It’s his story after all. And I am so enjoying the ride.

I’ve yet to decide on a title for this second book. No such thing as […..]? There are currently four possible blank-fillers, although the count is growing daily rather than shrinking. We will see.

So there you go. What I am presently working on. If you can of course, call it work. And to all those who have contacted me to find out when book two is out ― soon I hope  :)

Edits also loom for Romancing the Soul, due out in January 2014. This one is ratherrts_small different – not a vampire or faerie in sight. Mainstream but with perhaps a twist as two soul mates deal with the consequences of meeting during a past life regresssion.  I adore the cover for this one, too – thank you so much Berni Stevens and Choc Lit!

And a couple of writing tips for those that way inclined. I’m not at all sure I’m qualified to give them. I kind of make things up as I go along. And no doubt I will not be asked to provide them again. But on the basis of recent weeks, I would suggest:

Not letting your characters go into a kitchen when you are on a diet (see – I so won’t be asked again). You might think you have your cravings under control, but your characters will likely prove otherwise. You will end up with a scene incorporating all of your favourite comfort foods. In my case, quite an accomplishment with so many of the cast being vampires, not at all interested in hot toasted bagels with marmite or macaroni cheese. You may be able to make use of some of it. You may not. But it’s safe to say it can rather take you off course.

The second ― I’m actually chuffed to bits with. In my case, it has allowed me dedicated early morning romps with Nate. The advice? If you seem to be struggling to get words down on the page, try making a dramatic change to your writing routine. I’m not a morning person at all. No Such Thing as Immortality was written very late at night and right through it on occasions. But with my boys’ bedtime getting later and later and with that, the point at which I can recommence writing (I am knackered at 9.30pm) I’ve had to take desperate measures. I’ve been setting my alarm clock to go off at 5am. And for me, sitting in front of my laptop in a freezing cold kitchen at 5.10am, kitted out in extreme weather gear, has proved an amazing incentive to write. I am only out of my warm cosy bed to write. If I don’t write, I’ve wasted that huge effort that was getting up. Previously, that pre-feeding the boys 5―7am slot was spent asleep so I now only associate that time with writing. I find I don’t get distracted with washing and cleaning because I simply wouldn’t climb out of my bed at that time in the morning to do that stuff. It may not work for everyone. In fact, it may only work for me (generally work ― kids!) ― but it’s a great sensation to know you’ve words under your belt before the day starts proper. In my case, that sensation, obviously, has absolutely nothing to do with having a bit of extra time with Nate :)

marmite

Sarah Tranter – We have lift off!


If I was clever, I'd have added fire-spouting rocket boosters under this.

If I was clever, I'd have added fire-spouting rocket boosters under this.

No such thing as Immortality is officially launched today. You will be very pleased to hear, that I am not going to attempt to describe what I am currently feeling. There isn’t a chance I could do it justice in any event. Furthermore, I am going to have a crack at being professional. Unlike my earlier posts, there will be no squealing. There will be no over abundance of emotion. I am determined to be professional here.

So I should perhaps tell you a little about the book. The blurb. Think Twilight Saga for adults, but with 200 year old British vampires who apologise for making a scene, endeavour to dine on black pudding rather than people, and struggle with varying degrees of success to fit into the confusing conventions of contemporary life, such as wooing human females.

I thank the lovely Luke for that little summary. A bit of a change so as not to repeat what’s on the back cover.

Mmmm. Yes. So far so good. Professional … So … Right. Yes. And …

You know? There’s not a hope here! It’s publication day! My debut novel is officially out there! I’m officially out there! I am a published author! And this feels so beyond AMAZING! Thank you Choc Lit! Oh dear! Look at all the exclamation marks! And not everyone likes- ! It’s most definitely best I leave now. Right now because I can feel the unmentionable coming on.

Thank you everyone for all of your support. You know who you are. You are unbelievably incredible and I love you to bits. And― I’m so gone.

No such thing as Immortality spotted at WHSmith, London Victoria

No such thing as Immortality at WHSmith, London Victoria

*Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeal*

Sarah’s Wednesday W – W is for Wild

It’s pretty wild in our house at the moment. Not unusual ― but with two boys who both still believe in Father Christmas, things are getting wilder by the millisecond. I know from years gone by, there’s no hope of effective taming until they’ve unleashed their full feral forces on parcels and wrapping on the big day itself.

The build-up starts early with my two. On the first day back to school after the summer holidays, I was informed that winter would soon be here. Followed by the question that has sounded each morning school-run since: ‘How many days until Christmas, mummy?’ It’s not therefore surprising, that by the time they reach December, they have driven themselves into a wild frenzy of excitement.

Everything is that much more extreme with my two in December. Domestication goes out the window. They seem to have lost any taming I may have managed. It is back to basics. They seem to be driven by their raw child. By base instinct. And the same goes for their maleness. My boys are boy-boys year round. Nothing I have attempted to do or instil has helped on that front. Probably quite the opposite. But when it comes to December, they reach whole new levels of innate boy-boyness. There are more and more pranks. More and more dares and daring activities. More and more … stupidity. And of course, more and more fights. And the ferocity of those fights reaches whole new levels.

Whilst my attempts at taming are generally unsuccessful, it doesn’t stop me trying. Although I can say with conviction, that to see a true wild boy-boy child ― shout up the chimney to tell Father Christmas that said wild boy-boy child should be added to the naughty list. The reaction that unleashed had me thinking of tranquillizer darts.

But do you know? I will treasure the wildness this year. This is most probably the last December I will experience in which both my boys believe in Father Christmas. The last year they will write their letters to him and then jump up and down in excitement as they watch mummy and daddy post them up the chimney to magically wing there way to the North Pole ― or heaven. According to my boys, Father Christmas divides his time between those two locations. The last year, that on Christmas morning, they will stare in awe at the snowy footprints Father Christmas has left upon the hearth. Next year, I will no doubt find myself answering my eldest’s questions and explaining all about the ledge inside the chimney that accommodates letters so well. And about the sprinkled icing sugar around a pair of daddy’s wellington boots.

When you look at it that way, there’s a lot to be said for wildness. In fact ― bring it on! Happy December everyone. May it be wild and magical!

I leave you with a picture of the man himself. Don’t you think Father Christmas is just everywhere this time of year?  And he does have a beard … and eyes. And I could say something about base instincts here and the ability to turn one wild. But won’t :)

It IS a Wednesday :)

It IS a Wednesday :)

Sarah Tranter – Ten Days

When sitting down to write a post, I normally have to think about what to write. This time around, it’s more ― what NOT to write. And that’s all down to the past ten days. It has been one amazing happening after another. Just as I recover from one ― another hits me between the eyes. Although, to be honest, it’s my heart that they kind of connect with.

As a debut author, I was expecting many firsts. But I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the past ten days.

· NSTAI went live on kindle. A very good moment

· I held my book in my hands for the first time

· Attended my first function as a published author, rather than as an aspiring one

· Stood beside fellow ChocLiteers as I sold and signed my first book

· I received my first review

· I received messages from readers as they read NSTAI ― and they were positive ones at that.

· Oh ― and my husband, who never read the MS, actually started reading NSTAI. The most shocking of all occurrences. But pretty momentous.

The above is of course a list. It doesn’t touch on the emotions associated with each event. The feeling of exhilaration when you realise your book is available for people to read ― followed immediately by terror. What if they hate it? Is that just me? Does that feeling go away after you’ve the first one under your belt? I am hoping the nervous-wreck moments are down to going through this process for the first time ― and the fact I am cr*p. But I have a horrid suspicion it’s not.

I LOVE the highs. Seriously high highs. I’ve not stopped cradling and stroking my book since it arrived. And receiving positive feedback? It makes it all worthwhile. I dread the moment the negative comes in. But that’s clearly part of the emotional rollercoaster of being an author. I had NO idea what an author goes through. Hats off to you all. I bow to you. Because you seem to have got through the process intact. Emotionally, mentally … Well perhaps some of you, LOL. I think, perhaps, the secret is in the support we receive from our friends and fellow writers. It has been phenomenal ― and humbling. Thank you one and all. And on that note ― thank you ChocLiteers for all your support. And of course Choc Lit! I LOVE the finished product. Well the outside. I can’t bring myself to read the inside. And congratulations go again to Choc Lit for that ‘Publisher of the Year’ win and to Pia for best historical. You see ― all within the past ten days. What a ten days :)

Diddly-squat from Sarah

Diddly-squat. I love that word/those words. It seems to be the perfect thing to blog about ― because yep. Sorry. Forgot it was my turn today. So having sat down to think about what I can possibly talk to you about ― other than school holidays and voodoo ― diddly-squat came to mind. It’s a bank holiday so am hopeful no-one will venture over this way, and I might just get away with it.

I think it’s the ‘diddly’ bit of it I like so much. It’s that double ‘d’ in the middle next to the ‘l’ ― diddly ― it makes your tongue do strange things and the sound is so…umm…diddly? If you have ventured over here, why? It’s a holiday. It’s the squat bit that seems to get the meaning of the word/s across. Nothing. Or in some cases, a small, worthless amount. I do think diddly-squat sounds so much better.

Despite googling, I’m still not sure from where the words (word/phrase?) originate, other than the US. According to The Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang ― diddly-squat is a derivation of doodly-squat from 1934. Clicking through to the link for doodly-squat it brings up diddly-squat ― or perhaps I should say ‘nothing’ there ― other than doodly-squat possibly being a derivation of diddly-squat.

I rather like that doodly bit though. It gets me thinking of absent-minded doodles – the doodles themselves being physically worthless and achieving nothing upon the page. I can’t help but wonder if it can apply to words too? Yet, I suppose whilst absent-mindedly drawing upon the page, your mind may have reached a phenomenal breakthrough….Yet there are occasions when doodling words upon the page might just get you where you want to be. Or is that just me?

I’ve looked up doodle and doodly too. It was that or cleaning the house for the first visitors in yonks (another word with problematic derivation ― yonks, not cleaning). I could spice things up no end by telling you some of the meanings of doodle ― but it was the archaic, a foolish or silly person that hit the mark. I’ve also looked up Yankee Doodle Dandy and as a result ‘macaroni’ ― and that is interesting. Perhaps I’ll blog about that next time?

But for now, I’m going away. Not to clean but to read the wiki-answers bit about Diddly Squat once being born in a noisy inn on the outskirts of Philadelphia at 3pm one Thursday afternoon in 1732. And whilst I do, I’ll have a think about what I might come up with as a spoof source for ‘yonks.’ Donkeys will no doubt be involved…Anything, anything to avoid toilet cleaning.

You would have been so much better off had I simply opted for nothing rather than diddly-squat. Sorry. And here’s a picture of a donkey (image courtesy of free-clipart.net).

A picture of a donkey

A picture of a donkey

Sarah: whining on a Friday

65571_293069960759273_1915019023_nWhilst so many of my fellow Choc Lit authors and writerly friends are partying away at the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Summer Conference, I get to blog. Or whine. Because I wish I was there too!

I also wish my 8 yr old hadn’t broken his arm. If he hadn’t, there’d be nothing half way sensible (other than money ― but what’s that?) keeping me away!

dmg-60_medInstead of great company and conversation, I’m sat at my kitchen table all alone, my eldest insisting on going to school to show off his cast and I am listening to the incurable dripping tap, and the higher than usual shrill of the fridge-freezer. Because even that is joining in with the whining.

No doubt, today will be the day it decides to shrilly whine its last, pop its clogs, implode, spontaneously combust, or whatever it is fridge-freezers do in their death throes. Because of course, just to make me feel so much better, I’ve just clocked: it’s Friday the 13th.

So I’ve googled. It had to be done in my present frame of mind.

And where is my husband when I need him? Evidently, I should not be doing the school-run today. If you believe everything you read, women drivers have a 64% increased chance of death when driving on Friday the 13th. Best excuse for getting out of the school-run I’ve ever come across ― and for being in Penrith today (removing broken child from the equation)!

scaredy_cat_0515-0909-1716-2629_smuOf course I should take comfort from my googling. As far as I can see, there are no stats on increased chances of fridge-freezer implosion. And neither am I, a Knight of the Round Table back in the fourteenth century. Poor blokes. They had an appalling Friday the 13th…. Or at least I don’t think I am. Eeek! I recently got past life regressed (research for my latest work in progress) and…today is NOT the day to go there!

It’s not that I suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia (don’t you love that word to describe fear of Friday the thirteenth?) I may be a little more cautious on the day ― and will definitely be factoring in school-run avoidance in the future (really chuffed with that discovery!) ― it’s just, today…I want to be in Penrith!

For all those at the RNA Conference ― have a FABULOUS time! For all those not ― Happy Friday the 13th!

And sorry for whining. Particularly on a Friday and not a Wednesday :) Quite therapeutic though!

Wonderful Wednesday: Sarah’s official cover…Choc Lit’s ‘Twilight’

On this rather Wonderful Wednesday, I can share with you the official cover for No such thing as…immortality. Needless to say, I love it!

No such thing as...immortality. Choc Lit's 'Twilight'

No such thing as...immortality. Choc Lit's 'Twilight'

You may note a ‘Twilight-esque’ feel to the design. That’s for good reason. No such thing as…immortality is to be promoted as Choc Lit’s Twilight.

  • As told entirely from the hero’s perspective ― this is vampire, Nathaniel Gray’s story
  • British
  • For grown women

Controversial? Quite possibly, but these days, any powerful first person love story featuring a vampire is likely to attract comparisons with Twilight, no matter the plot or the characters. We therefore decided to embrace such comparisions, particularly as the white rose on the cover couldn’t be more perfect for Nate’s story.

So Choc Lit, the home of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s, 2012 Romantic Novel of the Year and best New Comer awards (well done again Jane and Evonne!) will now be home to a grown-up and very British, Twilight.

Thank you Choc Lit for having the faith in me and the book to market it this way. And thank you Berni Stevens for the perfect cover. How excited and squealy am I?  And look! That’s my name on there…*squeeeeeeel*

Sarah reveals her unofficial covers

max-master-22

arun-master-1

Visual 1. Arun age 8

I thought I would share with you my visuals for No Such Thing…as immortality? Okay, they are unofficial. The official one is currently in the pipeline which is very exciting.

But these are the visuals I currently use (at home) ― produced by my two children. Up until a couple of days ago they would argue constantly, normally on the school-run amidst their constant bickering of who was speaking first, who was interrupting who, who punched who first etc ― about which of them would produce the cover for my book. So I thought, let’s give them a shot at this.

Of course, when it came to coming up with the goods, they weren’t quite so keen. It was so much more preferable to simply argue about it.

The brief didn’t particularly help:

  • A love story (Eurghhh) They are boys
  • With vampires (Yay! ‘But I can’t draw vampires’ my 8yr old advised and then insisted on a £5 fee for his services)
  • Humans (shrugs)
  • And possibly faeries (eurghggh, spit, fingers down throats, raspberries you name it and probably lots you couldn’t). Faeries can be bad, I said cunningly (‘Nah, still not a chance,’ from he who is 8. ‘Can they have horns, mummy?’ from my 5 yr old)
  • There’s a pretty cool scene on a boat ― me at my most persuasive (thoughtful pause from my 5 yr old followed by, ‘Are there sharks in your book, mummy?’ A dismissive shrug said it all from he who is 8 ― you’ve paid for a vampire and not a boat.

Visual 2. Max age 5

Visual 2. Max age 5

Okay….

Visual number 1. From Arun who is 8 (and a half).arun-master-2

A vampire. He has thrown in a full moon, a couple of bats and eight stars for free, which impressed me. I have to say, I actually think he has drawn a VERY cool vampire. I didn’t give Arun a physical description, feeling Will’s finer points would not be suitably appreciated. But he got the tall and dark right…

Visual number 2. From Max who is 5.

We have vampires, faeries, a boat and bats (one hanging upside down, just as they do). To the left are three vampires. To the right are two faeries…with horns. He advises me they are demon faeries which I must say is providing me with food for thought. They are all above the safety railings on a boat. Max it would appear has gone for a cruise liner style of boat rather than a yacht (my fault, I said boat in the brief!). The boat is complete with potholes. In fact they are portholes (in yellow) but as he was drawing them he confused me for a while by referring to them as potholes. The faerie with the red all over its face has been attacked by a vampire and apparently there are two dead faeries that have gone into the sea out of the picture.

These covers might not be quite right. But I would say, I love them to bits. In fact, I fully intend to put them behind glass alongside my actual cover!

In a post sometime soon, I  hope to reveal the ‘official’ cover of No Such Thing…as immortality?

Thank you for humouring me :)