Four Weddings

Move Over DarlingGrab your fascinators – it’s Four Weddings time! To celebrate the release of The Wedding Diary by Margaret James, we’ve asked four lovely Choc Lit authors to imagine their characters’ weddings.

Which wedding would you most like to be a guest at? Don’t forget to leave your vote at the end of the post!

Gethin and Coralie from Move Over Darling by Christine Stovell

What a beautiful spring day and what a glorious setting! Blinking, as she emerged from the cool interior of the old stone building, Coralie paused to take stock. The little church was set on top of a hill, from where emerald fields tumbled down to a turquoise sea. A winding road led to the village of Penmorfa and eventually to the garden centre where the reception was being held. Having popped over there first thing, Coralie knew that Alys and Kitty had pulled out all the stops in the large marquee with its striped-canvas roof spread out jewel-like in the beautiful grounds.

You look absolutely ravishing in that dress, Mrs Lewis,’ said the handsome man beside her in his sexy Welsh lilt.

Coralie shivered, delighted that her gamble had paid off. The vintage silk organza wedding dress had arrived as exactly described; prom-style, with an extravagantly-full skirt, a high neck, deep V back and a cinched-in waist. She’d accessorised it with an orange duchesse silk bow in her piled-up copper hair and matching orange shoes.

She gazed up into Gethin’s face as the sunlight caught the intense, blue-black of his hair, the twinkle of his midnight eyes, and a glint of white teeth as he smiled. Her husband. Her husband! Her once-secret love was no secret anymore and she felt like shouting it from the highest hills, telling the daffodils and anyone else would listen. But, first …

‘I look equally ravishing out of it,’ she said, stretching up to whisper in his ear, just as the photographer snapped them.

When anyone asked afterwards what she was saying to her husband, Coralie just smiled. But the photograph always reminded her of the most perfect start to their married life.

The Gilded FanNico and Midori from The Gilded Fan by Christina Courtenay

The wedding of Midori Kumashiro and Nicholas Noordholt was something quite out of the ordinary.

‘I’ve never seen a more exotic bride!’ cousin Temperance exclaimed when she first saw Midori in her wedding finery. ‘You look like a Far Eastern princess.’

Midori’s gown was made out of the brightly coloured silk material which had once been her best kimono. After the hardships of the recent civil war, and with most of the congregation being Puritans, it wasn’t really suitable. But it was a compromise – better than marrying in the original garment, which would no doubt have scandalised everyone. Her hair hung loose down her back, dark and glossy, almost to her knees and she needed no other adornment – she was quite simply beautiful and radiated happiness.

The groom was exceedingly handsome too, in a midnight blue silk coat, waistcoat and breeches, with a white silk shirt and stockings. It was his expression that drew the onlookers’ attention, however, as he watched his bride come towards him on the arm of her cousin Daniel. He looked like a man who’d found the greatest treasure on earth.

Temperance, as maid of honour, wore a pale blue gown that complemented her lovely eyes. Both she and the bride carried small posies of white damask roses tied with ribbons. Everyone else was dressed in their Sunday best.

A feast was held in the Marston household after the ceremony, featuring pastries, tarts, marchpane, crystallised fruits, cakes and jellies, as well as some foreign dishes concocted by the

bride herself. Wine and ale flowed freely and everyone joined in the dancing afterwards.  It was the most joyous of occasions and one which the guests wouldn’t forget in a hurry.

No Such Thing as Immortality

Nate and Rowan from No Such Thing as Immortality by Sarah Tranter

I stood alone before the altar in the family chapel and closed my eyes. The stale musty air became infused with the fragrance of white roses. My daydreaming of Rowan at Ridings was reaching new heights …

‘Chill,’ James murmured at my side. He patted his pocket containing the Gray family wedding band.

‘Me?’ I queried with a wry rise of my brow. James was the one fidgeting. Aunty Hetty’s presence was more than unsettling him. He sent a fruitful rant my way.

My coat was tugged. I turned and looked down. Rowan’s nephew. I smiled but shook my head. There was a time and place for dressing up as a dinosaur. He returned to running around pews with his brother and being reprimanded by his parents.

My eyes met Elizabeth’s. Oh sweetheart. ‘I’m so happy,’ she bawled into my head, swiping away her tears of blood before they could be seen by the humans in the congregation. Frederick, arms around her, grinned at me and rolled his eyes.

Madeleine, next to him, observed silently, ‘You are the something old, Nathaniel. Any idea as to …?’

My look shot to the open door. And there she was. Dear God! I was barely aware of her being on the arm of her Uncle Fergus. He was wearing a kilt, sword, but no shirt ― even on this day! But Rowan … She was in full-length ivory, her glorious hair piled loosely around her head, her mother’s pendant around her neck. And her smile! Our eyes had met and held and it was as if time stood still. That look within their stunning verdant depths was reflecting all that she felt, all that I felt …

I swallowed hard and inhaled deeply of the dank musty air. How I prayed time was not our something borrowed.

A Stitch in Time

John and Sarah from A Stitch in Time by Amanda James

Sarah Yates, time traveller extraordinaire, looked at her reflection and felt her heart do a rumba against her ribs. Even if she said so herself, she looked beautiful…and yes, even a little radiant. The ivory silk gown clung in all the right places and rippled sumptuously to the floor. Sarah grinned, noticing that with her slightest movement, the silk caught the light and poured material across her curves like cream over a spoon.

A single string of pearls adorned her neck, the matching teardrop earrings adding lustre to her peaches and cream complexion. Hand-made lace decorating the neckline tumbled to a halt, revealing just a hint of cleavage rising and falling to the rumba rhythm.

Artistically twisted into Botticelli tendrils; her long golden hair, the side tresses secured behind her head in a simple pearl clasp, looked absolutely perfect. And today was going to be perfect. Allowed carte blanche for one special day by ‘the powers that be’, she and John had chosen a very special wedding venue and a very special time.

In a clearing of an English forest when the world was young and full of hope, accompanied by birdsong, Sarah walked a path of flower petals towards her fiancé. Divine in a dark grey suit and green shirt, his dark hair curling over the collar, John turned and shot her a smile rivalling the sunlight streaming through the leafy canopy.

At the end of the path he took her hand, his deep green eyes twinkled and his wide sensuous mouth broke into another heart-stopping smile. And Sarah knew that despite their very much ‘less than normal’ relationship, she was soon going to be the happiest woman in the world.

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 :)

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 :)


Sarah Tranter – my first post!

I cannot believe I am doing this. That I am actually in a position to be writing a post on this blog in order to introduce myself as the newest Choc Lit author. Wow. Truly wow. Yet even now it doesn’t feel real. Ever since Choc Lit said yes to my book, reality has remained the preserve of moments. Seriously incredible moments. Seriously squealy moments. And I’m not a squealy person (and I know spellchecker is telling me squealy is not a word but it should be). But I now squeal. And normally at the most inappropriate times because I have no control over when these moments of reality might hit. But anyway ― sorry! This is not meant to be a blog about squealing. So….

A pretty pic of Wiltshire

A pretty pic of Wiltshire

Hello. My name is Sarah Tranter and I am the latest addition to the Choc Lit author family. And what do you know ― I just squealed! Right. Professional. I believe I need to tell you a little about myself and my book. I’m not used to talking about myself so my advice is to skip the next couple of paragraphs in order to get to the interesting stuff about the book.

I live in Wiltshire with my long suffering husband (nobody likes being woken up at 3am as a reality moment hits their bed buddy) and our two beautiful boys. So, yes, I am a proud mum and I also write. Obviously. Not that I can possibly imagine you are interested, but before the mum and the writing bit, I worked in London in public relations although I initially started out in

2 Wiltshire boys who may or may not be related to me

2 Wiltshire boys who may or may not be related to me

politics. Still can’t quite believe that fact but yep. I did a degree in politics at Leicester,

some voluntary work for the Labour Party in Yorkshire and then a stint as a constituency researcher for a Labour MP. I loved it too.

Yet writing has always been there. If it hadn’t been for a boy (my now manly husband) changing my plans, I was all set to study English Literature and creative writing. It’s something I knew, even then, I wanted to do. It took the passing of far too many years before I got back onto the creative writing track. And then it simply happened. I still don’t know how. I was at home with my boys and at my lowest after a car accident and found myself writing a scene ― about a car accident. That first scene grew into a chapter and then more scenes, more chapters written during stolen moments and before I knew it I had a book. In fact I had the ingredients for a trilogy.

So the book! ‘No such thing as… immortality?’ is the first book in the ‘No such thing…’ paranormal romance trilogy and will be published in January 2013!

A vampire.  NOT Will but I needed a visual

A vampire. NOT Will but I needed a visual

It is Choc Lit’s first book to be written entirely from the hero’s perspective. It obviously includes a car accident but to give you some blurb, this opening book is about a community of five vampires in residence at a remote house in Derbyshire. Their community and relatively peaceful existence is shattered by the discovery that despite the fact they don’t believe in faeries, it seems that fate may have thrust one into their midst.

It’s essentially Will’s story. And he’s a vampire. Not only does he not believe in faeries but he has taken great comfort over the years in both his physical and emotional invulnerability. So from my perspective, he was long overdue a shake-up :) So as not to give too much away, I will say no more. Except that I am very much hoping it is as enjoyable to read as it was to write.

So there you go. My hello and an introduction to the book. And if you are still reading this, thank you! And thank you Choc Lit and its wonderful authors for such an incredible welcome into the family ― and to my writerly (spellchecker can go and jump) friends for their support. You know who you are. Thank you!