Bubbling ideas by Jane Lovering

I’m going to continue my Q&A in my next post, because I’ve been struck with a meme recently… You must know it, it’s the ’25 things you never knew about me’ one, and it occurred to me that I could use this to tell you a bit more about Hubble Bubble. So I’m going to, and you can’t stop me! Mwhahahahaha!
Ahem
So. Here we have ’25 Things you didn’t know about Hubble Bubble’, although, given my attention span, you’ll be lucky to get ten and a button.

It is set around the market town of Malton, which is 15 miles south of where I live.
‘Barndale Woods’ don’t really exist, although they are based on woods near Sinnington, which aren’t nearly so menacing.
‘Rufus’ is a scaled-up version of my terrier, Tiggy, who is slightly sticky, like dog-velcro.
I absolutely HATE driving in snow, and wouldn’t have even stuck my nose outside in the conditions Holly drives in.
I’ve never delivered a baby, although I’ve assisted at the births of kittens, calves and foals. Well, I say ‘assisted’, I mostly just cried and went ‘awwwwww’.
The spell that is cast in the book, and the ingredients necessary, came to me in a blinding flash, while I was writing something else.
The first draft of Hubble Bubble was written, beginning to end, in six weeks.
I try to work a ‘Doctor Who’ reference into every book I write. Hubble Bubble is no exception.
Likewise, there is either a dog or a cat mentioned in every book somewhere, except, for some reason, Please Don’t Stop the Music. That one has cows.
While I was writing Hubble Bubble, when I got to the bit where the weather closes in and there are terrific snowstorms, we actually had a terrific snowstorm. I’m going to write about someone who finds Johnny Depp on her doorstep next, you know, just in case…
Cerys’ obsession with toast is based on one of my daughters, who appears to eat little else.

And I’m afraid that will have to do, because I’ve run out of things to say that aren’t blindingly obvious. I consider the meme to be discharged!
The 'original' for Rufus

Did we tell you that Hubble Bubble is currently one of the Best Books of the Month at Apple iTunes here?:-)

Hubble Bubble by Jane Lovering causing a stir!

iBookstoreThis fabulous novel which we’ve all been waiting to release, has magically been selected as one of the Best Books of the Month by those amazing people at the UK Apple iBookstore! HURRAH!

Just take a look at this cool screen shot of the iBookstore Features page. Okay, the banner rotates but can you see our fabulous Hubble Bubble is there! We know, our lovely Tasting panel and our book reviewers know, this is another winner for Jane!  BUT now the iBookstore have chosen it.

Spread the news and let folks know about this gorgeous read and purchase today from the iBookstore here . Available internationally but you’ll need to search as the link will only work for the UK store – sorry!  Only £1.99 or $2.99 – a bargain! Can be read using iBooks (free from the App store) on iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch (2nd gen).

There’s even a competition on our Facebook page so wander over and share with your Facebook friends. You could win Choc Lit and chocolate!:-)

Happy reading and sharing!!

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Weddings are about – everlasting love, the happy union of twin souls, and – cake?

What do weddings mean to most of us?

That’s in addition to the ceremony, the public affirmation of love and devotion, the joining of two people and hopefully two families forever?

Well – as I was researching The Wedding Diary, I realised most weddings also mean: gorgeous dresses, gorgeous shoes, fantastic nail-art, amazing table decorations, astonishing hairstyles, lots of polyester (especially among the over-fifties), hugely unsuitable hats, hyper-critical grannies, shiny black BMWs and – cake.

You can’t have a wedding without a wedding cake, so here’s one to get the party started.

Where do your stories start? Most writers get asked this question, and there’s no easy answer. Stories often seem to come out of nowhere, but in the case of The Wedding Diary I owe a great debt of gratitude to my local writers’ group, Exeter Writers, who got the ball rolling in a discussion about writing and weddings and winning, which all came together in The Wedding Diary. It’s about a girl who wins a fabulous luxury wedding. But there are a few problems, not least of them a missing bridegroom.

Last Saturday, Exeter Writers had a little private party to celebrate the publication The Wedding Diary. I took in a batch of cupcakes, which amazingly all got eaten. Who would have thought it?

But I kept one back for Choc Lit.

Reading about Heroes

I’ve been thinking about heroes – well, not all the time obviously – but trying to fathom what it is in romantic fiction that draws a reader to a male character. One only has to think of Mr D’Arcy in Pride and Prejudice, with his haughtiness, condescension and controlled sexuality for most of us to give a sigh. And how we feel about Colin Firth in the role and coming out of the lake in his wet shirt I’ll leave to your imagination. And it’s true that so many romantic novels have as their hero a character who at first seems cold and sarcastic. If D’Arcy had been open minded, friendly and less conscious of his own superiority, would he have been such an interesting character? I doubt it.

So why do women feel a frisson and want to turn the pages to discover more about these fascinating men. And why do we find them so fascinating? An element of danger perhaps and we all know that women are attracted by power and wealth. I regard reading as a form of escapism, and many of us put down a novel feeling refreshed having lived other lives between the cover. There would be little of that in a novel where the ‘love interest’, resembled the boring guy next door.

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Which brings me to reading habits. Since I’ve begun writing, I find it difficult to fit in daytime reading, usually leaving it until I go to bed. And yet from childhood I’ve been a bookworm. Holidays are now an oasis of dedication to books, reassured that as I’m out in the open air and relaxing that’s okay then – no guilt that I should be furthering the current novel. But one skill I have never mastered is to read more than one book at the same time. A single-minded person, that’s me. It would be interesting to hear whether others’ reading habits have changed since they became writers.

What is Christina up to at the moment?

tgf_packshot-copy2When you’ve had a book published, done all the PR/blogging/tweeting etc to launch it into the world and things start to calm down again, the question you are asked most frequently is “what are you working on now?” (That is, if you are talking to fellow book-lovers/writers, not family members who still haven’t realised that writing isn’t a hobby you pursue in between cooking, cleaning or washing up for them.)

For me, that question often doesn’t have a straight-forward answer, because I’m a bit of a writing butterfly. I flit from one story to another, working on one for a while, then get bored and work on something else – I have a very low boredom threshold. Apart from new writing projects, there are also edits for forthcoming novels that have to be done of course, so sometimes that means I can be working on up to four different stories more or less at once. Here’s a little summary of what I’m doing right now:-

Edits for New England Rocks – I’ve just finished the second round of edits for my YA novel due to be published in August (yeah, very excited about that!). There was a small snag, shall we say, which eagle-eyed editor Rachel discovered in between Edit no1 and Edit no2, so that took a couple of days to fix, but I think we’re sorted now (at least I hope so!). I’ll have to wait until next week to find out and then there will be proof-reading.

Umpteenth draft of second YA novel, sequel to the above. I wrote this a while ago and when starting to revise it again I discovered I’d used the hero’s name in another book – disaster! Cue major trawl through endless name lists in order to find one that suited his personality. I can’t write unless my characters have the right names!

Second draft of Monsoon Mists (provisional title), the third in the Kinross trilogy. Those of you who read Highland Storms will know that Brice Kinross’s brother Jamie caused a lot of trouble, but things were not quite what they seemed so I thought it only fair that he should get to tell his side of the story. For the last few months or so, I’ve been working on this and at the moment I’m chewing my nails waiting to receive my beta readers’ verdicts. I know it will need more work, but at least I’ve got to the stage where I dared to send it to them (progress indeed)!

Revision of the third book in my Japanese trilogy so that I might dare to send it to the Choc Lit tasting panel. That’s going to take some time …

In between these bursts of writing, I’m also trying to prepare myself for the RT Booklovers’ Convention in Kansas City which I’ll be attending at the beginning of May with some of the other ChocLiteers. In case you think we’re just going there to have fun (you may have heard that there are parties just about every night and even a ball, not to mention male cover models on the premises 24/7?) – fear not, I promise we will be working hard. Workshops, talks, networking, you name it – we’ll be attending everything. And we’ll report back afterwards with, hopefully, plenty of inspiring photos. With all this socialising, er, I mean working, I have a feeling my wardrobe and suitcase are both going to prove woefully inadequate, but as the convention hotel is apparently situated right next to a shopping mall, I’m not too worried. I may even forget a few things on purpose :-)

So what are you up to?

Romance Day

By Beverley Eikli

I’ve never thought too hard about why I was drawn to writing romance. Romance was just what I “wrote” though as a reader I’m equally drawn to reading mysteries, thrillers and sagas.

Then, a couple of days ago during an Author Talk, a member of the audience asked me the question: “Why do you write romance as opposed to any other genre?”

I thought about my long writing career. When I wrote my first romance at seventeen I wasn’t the disciplined, consistent writer who put words on the page to reach goals. I was living a comfortable life at home and writing was recreation. I didn’t even realise at the time that a romance required a Happy Ever After. Naively, I drowned my heroine on the final page before, with high hopes, sending my ‘romance’ off to the next publishing house on my list. Not surprisingly, I soon had another rejection to add to the folder.

For many years I wrote in fits and starts, however when I look back on the times I got right into consistent writing, I was either isolated in a foreign country (though not all were as beautiful as the Solomon Islands, pictured, where we lived for two years), or a loved one had died, or my husband was away for five months in Antarctica (leaving me pregnant and looking after a toddler), or later, when he was very ill and we didn’t know if he would walk again. And on these occasions the stories I wrote were always romances. True romances with heartrending Happy Ever Afters.

I poured my passion onto the page because writing romance gave me a sense of having control over my destiny, which at these times I felt I didn’t have in real life. It was catharsis to pull the strings and dictate happiness for my characters when happiness didn’t seem so assured for me.

It’s only during the past couple of years I’ve become the disciplined, professional writer who writes every day, regardless of what else is happening in my life. I’ve formed good habits I didn’t have before when life was, at times, chaotic. We’re no longer the international gypsies we once were, living in twelve countries or cities in 16 years.

I love writing romance and I love reading a wide variety of genres. I’ve also found that now that my life is more settled, I’ve started writing edgier stuff. My next book is a 1960s illegal diamond buying romantic suspense set in the African mountain kingdom of Lesotho, where I was born.

Perhaps I feel that now Ibevie-and-sophie-on-solomon-islands1’ve got my own HEA I don’t need to exert control over my characters to the same extent.

I wonder what prompts us to write what we do. Why do you write – or read, romance. I’d love to know.

The Gilded Fan – Publication Day!

tgf_packshot-copy2It’s finally here – publication day for The Gilded Fan – and I’m afraid that against Sarah’s advice (well, it was good advice even though you couldn’t possibly follow it for a debut novel), I’m not going to be professional, I’m going to start this post with a ‘squeeeeeeeeeeeee!’

Even though this isn’t my first ‘baby’ to be released into the world, it still feels the same – exciting, terrifying, awesome and a lot more besides! The Gilded Fan is one of those books that has been through dozens of incarnations and each time I’ve thought ‘this is the one’, the one that’s going to get published. And it wasn’t … until now!

What is it about some books that makes it so hard to get them just right? Some stories seem to write themselves, whereas others you sweat blood and have to pummel them into submission. And yet, it’s so worth it when you feel that you finally get there and it’s done. Yes, I could probably have gone on tweaking it for years (do we ever stop tweaking?), but I’m happy to leave it now to fend for itself in the big wide world.

So, The Gilded Fan – what is it about? It’s the sequel to The Scarlet Kimono (although it can be read on its own) and features the daughter of the hero and heroine of that novel. A half-Japanese girl who is forced to go back to her mother’s country, England, to live with relatives she considers barbarians. There’s a handsome hero (long-haired of course – you know me), the small matter of the English Civil War and a whole lot of prejudices on all sides … No, I think I’d better just give you the blurb:-

How do you start a new life, leaving behind all you love?

It’s 1641, and when Midori Kumashiro, the orphaned daughter of a warlord, is told she has to leave Japan or die, she has no choice but to flee to England. Midori is trained in the arts of war, but is that enough to help her survive a journey, with a lecherous crew and an attractive captain she doesn’t trust?

Having come to Nagasaki to trade, the last thing Captain Nico Noordholt wants is a female passenger, especially a beautiful one. How can he protect her from his crew when he can’t keep his own eyes off her?

During their journey, Nico and Midori form a tentative bond, but they both have secrets that can change everything. When they arrive in England, a civil war is brewing, and only by standing together can they hope to survive …

I’m off to celebrate with some chocolate! (Ok, a lot of chocolate, if you insist!)  Why not join me?

Out of Sight Out of Mind. I don’t think so! ….. Liz Harris interviews Evonne Wareham

osom_packshot-2Winning the 2012 Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers was a magical moment for Choc Lit author Evonne Wareham, but it was just one in many special moments since the release of her romantic suspense debut novel, Never Coming Home.

March 2013 sees the eagerly-awaited release of her next novel, Out of Sight Out of Mind, a paranormal thriller, and I thought I’d ask Evonne a few questions about both the novel and about herself.

1. What would be a one-sentence synopsis of your new novel, Out of Sight Out of Mind, which is to be published in March 2013?

Mind reading scientist meets vagrant – then the fun begins.

2. The scientist in Out of Sight Out of Mind has a talent for reading minds. Is this a talent in which you have some first hand knowledge or experience?

No – this is one case of not writing from experience – strictly imagination.

3. What is your own favourite novel, and are there any particular novelists who have inspired you?

I have too many favourites to count – but my inspiration has to be the great American romantic suspense names – Nora Roberts, Karen Rose, Lisa Gardner, Tami Hoag and a host of others.

4. What is your greatest fear?

No comment. I’ve learned enough from the dangerous men in my books never to make anything known that could be used against you, :)

5. What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?

How long do you have? You get used to adverse comment and rejection when you want to become an author – goes with the territory.

BREAKING NEWS There is an exciting bit of ’stop press’ news which can now be revealed about Out of Sight Out of Mind. Following other successful partnerships between Choc lit and National Express, the book is to be available as an exclusive pre publication download in the run up to 14th February – a Valentine gift from Choc lit.

Find out more at www.nationalexpress.choc-lit.com

If you’d like to find out more about Out of Sight Out of Mind, and read the opening chapters, click here

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 :)