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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Disposed to Shadow than Sunshine, the weather & Writing!

Author of Kill And Tell, Bea Davenport peers out the window to see if there is a storm brewing! "Like the news, weather is always more interesting when it’s bad than when it’s good."

It was a dark and stormy night. All right – this may have been used so often that it’s become something of a cliché. But there’s no denying that, for a weather report, it does a brilliant job of grabbing the reader’s attention.  I’ve been aware for a while that I love using the weather in my work, because it’s such a useful signifier of atmosphere and mood.
Maybe it was all those long hours in the classroom reading the maestros (yes, I know, ‘maestri’ if you’re a bit of a stickler) like Charlotte and Emily Bronte or even the wonderful Mr Dickens. My English teachers would be delighted (and amazed) to know I was paying that much attention!  The greatest writers are not even above starting off their works with the weather. The first line of Jane Eyre - “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day” – reminds us that the weather can be used to dictate the character’s actions. In Wuthering Heights, the storm ensures that Mr Lockwood has to stay in the sinister old mansion and the wildness of the weather is a great metaphor for the overpowering forces of nature. The eerie, creeping fog at the start of A Christmas Carol is a wonderful way to set up the reader to expect a ghost story – but by Christmas morning, when Scrooge has undergone his character transformation, the fog has lifted for a bright, frosty (and perfect) winter’s day.
No, I am certainly not comparing myself to these exemplars. But no characters can work without some kind of a setting. And no setting can avoid some kind of weather. So it’s quite a joy to be able to work it into the writing to create a mood or do a little foreshadowing. The journalist in me is not averse to giving the reader a few shorthand clues to what’s about to follow - and it’s also fun to trick the reader by having something dreadful occur on a beautiful summer’s day.
Like the news, though, weather is always more interesting when it’s bad than when it’s good. When you’re writing about it, I mean. So with my children’s novel The Serpent House, which was set over the Christmas period, the snow and unrelenting cold added (I hope) to the atmosphere. In the sequel, The Witch’s House, the action takes place during early spring, but the persistent rain and mist is again intended to create a sense of menace. It’s been rather useful in that sense – although in no other sense at all!  - that we’ve had such a wet and miserable few weeks, because it’s certainly much easier to write about weather while you’re actually experiencing it. Writing about winter when the sun is beating down certainly does take a lot more imagination – and discipline!
I use weather in my adult writing too, of course. A storm and flash flood was a very useful way of clearing the street for the dark deed at the centre of Kill and Tell. And given what most of us in the UK have gone through recently, no one can claim that it’s too much of a device or not likely to happen!
I hadn’t given it much thought, until Pauline suggested this as a possible blog post. But now that I look over my work, there’s no doubt about it. While I might spend my personal life craving more sunshine, it’s the rotten, miserable weather that usually forms the backdrop to my stories, whether for children or adults. Perhaps I’m just a typical product of the north-east of England – more disposed to shadow than to sunshine. 

You can learn more about Bea by visiting our Books & Author Pages

Monday, 30 July 2012

Great Reviews for Surfing in Stilettos & The Dark Man's Son

We have two great reviews today, one from FFP Reviewer, Kim Fowler for Surfing in Stilettos by Carole E Wyer,I loved this. Parts of it were laugh out loud funny and some parts were very poignant.

And one from FFP Author & Reviewer, Sue Fortin for The Dark Man’s Son by Meg Whitlock. I loved Cassius’ dry and sarcastic caustic humour, he had some great lines – in fact, being a sucker for a bad guy, he was my favourite character in the book.”

Surfing in Stilettos by Carol E Wyer
This is the story of Amanda. She has decided to take a 'gap' year off and travel around Europe with her husband Phil in their camper van, that she has affectionately named Bernie. Along the way Bernie breaks down and they find themselves taking an extended stay in France. There Amanda befriends a chic frenchwoman Bibi, takes on a stepdog and works on her blog. When a family disaster forces Phil to return to the UK, she puts all her energy into her new lifestyle and her blog. Will she stay in France or return to the UK to be reunited with Phil?

I loved this. Parts of it were laugh out loud funny and some parts were very poignant. The addition of the blog to break up the chapters was a great idea, as I felt I was taking a sneaky peak into Amanda's life and she became more real to me. I understand this is a sequel of sorts but it never felt like I was missing out having not read the first. The pacing was just right and the ending was both funny and sad at the same time. I would recommend this as a light hearted down to earth read that doesn't take itself too seriously.

The Dark Man’s Son – Meg Whitlock,

The Dark Man’s Son is broken into three distinctive times, the present day, various historic times and ‘From The Journal’. I must admit at first I wasn’t quite sure if this would work, but taking each era at a time, I was able to follow what was happening. Gradually, a vivid back drop to the book was being unfolded. 

Looking back, I think it actually worked extremely well. Drip feeding back stories of the central characters and especially the technicalities of being a Demon , a Guardian, a vampire, a Prince from Hell or indeed Lucifer himself, weren’t things that could easily be explained in a couple of sentences.
Part One of the novel shifts between times and the individual stories told gradually reveal to the reader how the lives of the central characters are linked.  The connection wasn’t obvious but was threaded in very well so when it became apparent it was totally plausible.

It was at Part Two the story really took off for me as the main characters, Jason, the mortal one, Alex the Guardian of all things good and Cassius The Dark Man really came into their own.  There was great chemistry between these three.  I loved Cassius’ dry and sarcastic caustic humour, he had some great lines – in fact, being a sucker for a bad guy, he was my favourite character in the book.

Learn more about Kim & Sue by visiting our Reviewer's Page

Learn more about Carol & Meg by visiting our Author, Books & Trailer Pages

Saturday, 28 July 2012

HUG A BOOK With Famous Five Plus

Today we launch our weekly HUG A BOOK day. There are over SIXTY books on our Books Page, the shelves are heaving with them all so there’s plenty to hug!

Today on HUG A BOOK day we are giving away a signed copy of Regency Georgian Novellas by top selling author, Francine Howarth.

To have a chance of winning this beautiful romantic book, leave your answer to the following question in the comment box below… good luck!

Francine asks: ”What is my favourite period in History?”

(If you don’t know the answer than pop along to Francine’s blog where it is revealed!
There are also excerpts from all her novels!  Please note your answer must be added to the comments on Famous Five Plus NOT on Francine’s blog to have a chance to win!)

Back cover blurb:

Her Favoured Captain - A Georgian story of betrayal, lust, gambling debts, and a buccaneer who saves the heroine from a fate worse than death! 

The Highwayman’s Mistress - A regency tale of love, fear of French revolutionaries, a rebellious heroine, and reckless French aristocrat who may die for love! 

Scandalous Whispers - A Regency tale of arranged marriage, a wilful heroine, a secret affair, retribution and heartache only one man can resolve!

value: $10.95 -

value: £7.50 -

The winner will be notified after Monday 30th July and announced on our next Hug A Book Day!

Friday, 27 July 2012

Welcome Authors, Ken Magee & Owen Carey Jones to Famous Five Plus

It's been a busy week at Famous Five plus with five new authors joining our dynamic group.

Today we welcome to Famous Five Plus, Ken Magee, Author of Dark Tidings and Owen Carey Jones, Author of Rough Cut.

Deep down, I have always wanted to be a writer. Like a lot of people, I was sure there was at least one book in me and I wanted to get it out. Unfortunately life intervened and it decided that I needed a career that would feed the family, so I worked for many years in the IT industry in a variety of roles including programming, sales and eventually CEO. Just to complicate things, in the middle of all this, I also served in the British Royal Naval Reserve for five years.

In 2010, I semi-retired and decided it was time to finish the book I had started writing years earlier. I don’t think any of the original book survived the process, although it did remain a Fantasy novel because that’s my real passion! Even as a young boy, I loved Fantasy and Science Fiction books and, if they had a good sprinkling of comedy, then I was happy. Harry Harrison and the Stainless Steel Rat probably paved the path which eventually led to the likes of Terry Pratchett. I would love to think that my first book at least hints at these influences. One review seemed to think so, and that really pleased me…

“Imagine the worlds of Terry Pratchett and Dan Brown coming together - Dark Tidings provides a witty and clever read that will appeal to all readers.”

I am married with two grown up children, and two dogs. I love reading, writing and words. I have a keen interest in music (mainly rock), technology, movies, travel and the Internet. To keep fit I play badminton when I get the time… and I walk the dogs even when I don’t get the time. 

Owen Carey Jones 

Born in Belize in the Caribbean, Owen Carey Jones is a former banking professional who decided on a change of career at the age of 45 and studied for an MA in Screenwriting (Fiction) at the Northern Film School in Leeds in the UK.

On completion of his Masters degree in 2000, Owen established Carey Films Ltd and went on to become an award winning independent feature film maker whose most recent film was screened in cinemas across the whole of the UK before being taken on by film distributors in both the UK and the USA.

As well as being shown in cinemas, Owen Carey Jones’s films have been seen extensively on television in countries on four continents including China and the USA and in 2004, as a result of his work as a film writer, producer and director, he was elected to membership of the British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA).

Rough Cut is the first novel by Owen Carey Jones but comes after more than ten years of writing the screenplays for his films during which he says, he has learned a lot about storytelling.

You can learn more about Ken & Owen by visiting our Author & Books Pages.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Lessons Learnt for Bride for a Duke by Fenella J Miller

Fenella J Miller’s second regency romance, Bride for a Duke is now available, Fenella’s talks about the lessons learnt from publishing, The Duke’s Reform.

My second Regency romance Bride for a Duke is now live on both and I made several mistakes publishing the first of my ‘duke’ books, The Duke’s Reform. I had to re-publish this book because of formatting and proof reading problems. The book is as it should be now, but I regret not getting it right the first time.

Therefore I made sure Bride for a Duke was as perfect as I could make it before publishing. I sent it out to be professionally proof read and triple checked the formatting. This book was published as Wed for a Wager by People’s friend last year. I only needed to add a little more sexual tension and the book was ready to go.

Next I found the cover. There are dozens of websites with excellent, inexpensive pictures but I decided to use the same site as I did for my first book. I love the cover – I hope you do too. I think it’s romantic and shows the love between the hero and heroine without being too steamy.

I’m working on my third Regency, To Marry a Duke, which will be ready for publication in August. I bought the cover picture for this story some time ago but now realise it’s the same male model wearing exactly the same coat as I’ve used for Bride for a Duke. 
Do you think this will matter if the cover is perfect for the story?

The Blurb:

Grace Hadley has no option but to agree to a marriage of convenience with handsome, young Lord Rupert Shalford. If she does not do this, Sir John Radcliffe, her step-father, will sell her to the highest bidder. However, Rupert's older brother Ralph, The Duke of Westchester, has ideas of his own and is determined to have the union dissolved. Sir John is equally determined to discover the whereabouts of his missing step-daughter. 

You can learn more about Fenella by visiting our Author & Books Pages

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

FIVE Amazing Reviews From Karen Bryant Doering

Five fantastic reviews today from Famous Five Plus reviewer, Karen Bryant Doering, so sit back and enjoy what could be your next read!

Surfing in Stilettos by Carol E Wyer
I reviewed the paperback copy of Surfing in Stilettos by British author Carol E. Wyer.
Surfing in Stilettos is the follow up novel to Mini Skirts and Laughter which I also reviewed. It continues the journey of Amanda Wilson both on her blog and in her camper van, Betie,  as she and her husband take a year off to travel through the European Continent.
While Amanda hopes she will rekindle the romance that brought them together, it seems the camper van has a mind and destination of its own. Stranded in France while they wait parts for the van, they are taken in by an English couple who give them a guest house to live in with a dog for company.  As they settle into the lovely refurbished house, as dog  sitters,  with its extensive wine cellar, Phill is forced to return to England and remove their partying son and his guests from their home. Left alone to forage for food and friends Amanda begins to immerse herself into the local culture making a new and somewhat  mysterious friend. 
Bibi is hiding a secret. She, too, is hoping to bring back the spark in her marriage but she is using a different tactic than Amanda. One that will pull both Bibi and Amanda into an internet web of deception, mystery and danger.
As with all Ms. Wyer’s novel this one is laugh out loud funny, true to life and fun to read. Once you start it is very difficult to put it down. The humor translates well over the pond, the novel is well edited for American readers and the situations are so realistic you feel like you are there with our erstwhile British friends as they move into the not-so-golden years.

No More Brothers by Susan Russo Anderson
Serafina Florio is a widow living in a small Sicilian village with her children and grandchild. For Serefina life is busy and complicated.  No longer able to spend at will she must guard her finances, keep her budget in line, deal with children who have problems of their own, and just for a little stipend on the side, solve mysteries. After all who but the town midwife would know more about the comings and goings in a small rural village?
Finding a body on the shore Serafina sets out to solve the murder while she enjoys a small flirtation with the medical examiner with whom she shares a secret. With an inept and rush-to-judgement police chief, a town full of gossip and intrigue, Serafina has her work cut out for her.
This was a short story of around 100 pages, that did what a short story is supposed to do. The reader is given enough background on the protagonists to make them interesting and complex characters while moving the story forward and not bogging down with details of back stories.  The novella moves at a fast pace and the pages almost turn themselves. Not a story you will want to put down once you begin. The writing is good, the dialog is crisp and realistic and the mystery is well defined with just enough clues and red herrings  to keep the reader intrigued.
I will recommend this one to my friends.

Schrodingers Cat by Eileen Schuh
When I received the copy of Schrodingers Cat by Eileen Schuh I was intrigued. A fictional story about quantum physics? I knew I had to read it.
Chorie is a mother in the midst of a dilemma. Her daughter is deathly ill and she is slipping out of reality. At least that is what her family, friends and psychologist tell her. But is she? 
Living her life in two realities as made famous by the Schrodinger theory, she is unaware of which is real and which is fantasy. As time moves slowly forward in both realities she must make a choice, live the life she has, leaving her fantasy world behind or move permanently into the fantasy world. Will she be able to make the sacrifice necessary to make a choice or more importantly does she even know which world is real? Or are they both real?
A psychological mystery of the first order this is a must read story for all who like mystery, suspense and clues that will leave you wondering if you if you are anywhere near the right track.
Ms. Schuh has given us a story to think about for some time to come. I will be putting her on my authors to watch list.

A Salt Splashed Cradle by Chris Longmuir
Belle is a woman with a mission. She needs to leave the not-so-loving care of her pastor uncle and find safety, security and happiness. She believes she has found it with Jimmie, a fisherman from a small village clinging to the cliffs above the northern seas. But all is not well in her new marriage. Her mother-in-law does not care for her, the villagers see her as an outsider and the vicar views her with distaste. With only Jimmie for support, Belle finds herself in the role of village “incomer” never really belonging and never trusted by the other women.
Jimmie loves his wife Belle with all his heart. Enough to defy his parents with the marriage, to fly in the face of tradition repeatedly and side with Belle in disputes.  As Belle and Jimmie move further away from traditional village life they will find their very existence threatened by those who cling to the old ways.
An historical novel set in a fishing village in Scotland, the novel explores the times, morals and lives of the ordinary people who lived and worked hard to eke out a meager living in the 1830’s.
Beautifully written with deeply enchanting and well drawn protagonists, A Salt Splashed Cradle goes beyond the norms of the historical romance to bring us a story of hardship, love, wanderlust and coming of age.  This was a story I did not want to end and I hope the author plans to bring another installment of Belle’s life and loves to us soon.

Night Watcher by Chris Longmier
This is the second novel I have read by Chris Longmier and have found both stories, though vastly different, to be intriguing.
When Julie leaves her home, job, family and friends to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding her estranged husband's suicide she is not prepared for the consequences. Believing the “other woman” to be the cause she embarks on a vendetta to bring Nicole to her knees. After she befriends Nicole, keeping her identity as the woman scorned to herself, her life is turned upside down as she begins to understand that there is something or someone else at work. Nothing is as it seems and the mystery begins to deepen.
With non-existent clues the police are at a standstill, Nichole’s life is in danger and Julie has put herself in the site of a killer. One who comes and goes without being noticed by anyone, a mystery man who has decided who will live and who will die.
In order to save herself, Julie must use all her senses to escape the terror that is the Night Watcher.
A well defined and written psychological thriller, mystery with a little romance to brighten the action, Night Watcher will leave you checking your doors and windows twice. Don’t forget to close the curtains. You may be watched!

Now tell me you don't have anything to read!

You can learn more about Karen by visiting our Reviewers Page

To find out more about Carol E Wyer, Susan Russo Anderson, Eileen Schuh and Chris Longmuir visit our Author, Books & Trailer Pages 

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Summer Writing, Easy or Not? Asks Lauren Milner-Howells

With summer holidays now in full swing just how easy is it to sit down and pen that new best seller novel? Lauren Milner- Howells, author of Permanently Temping, slips on her shades and reveals all!

"Do you find it difficult to write in the summer?

What summer? I hear you all shout. And it’s true, we haven’t seen much of it so far. There was a hot week or two back in May but it’s been drizzling on and off since then in good old Blighty. And so, up until now, I don’t think my writing has suffered too much. However, with predicted good weather on the horizon as the jet stream seems to be moving back up north, what will happen to my writing?

I have to be honest - since I went on holiday to the sunny south of France a couple of weeks ago I have been finding it harder and harder to concentrate. Has my brain been turned to mush? Or am I just holding out for the hot weather we have been promised, knowing that there’s no good in starting something that’s not realistically going to be picked back up until late September?

In the summer, I find I can’t look at my computer screen for long before my eyes drift over to my window and I start thinking about popping out for some fresh air. Where as I am perfectly happy to be cooped up inside on a cold winter’s day.

How do I keep myself writing through the summer? Well, I’m not sure I have come up with a way yet, especially since a looking at a laptop screen in the sun is not the most comfortable thing. I could sit in a dark room but I would still know it was warm outside. I could possibly pop out for ten minutes every few hours - but I know I would end up spending longer outside. So, what is the solution? I have come to the conclusion that I’m just going to have to live with the fact that I don’t get as much writing done when the sun is out. Bring on the summer - I will be outside enjoying every last second of sun, as only the English do. "

You can find out more about Lauren by visiting our Author & Books Pages

Monday, 23 July 2012

Sue Fortin Reviews Devils With Wings, Silk Drop by Harvey Black

Author and Book Reviewer, Sue Fortin reviews, Devils With Wings, Silk Drop by Harvey Black. “An excellent read with all the things I enjoy - action, tension, great scene setting and characters I became very fond of.”

This exciting fictionalised retelling of the invasion of Crete is written by an author with extensive experience in army intelligence. It's the follow up to Devils With Wings, and continues the wartime adventures of Fallschirmjager paratrooper Paul Brand and his Feldwebel Max Grun. On a high after their successful subjugation of Fort Eben Emael, Paul Brand, now in command of his own company, and Feldwebel Max Grun, are parachuted into Greece to help capture the bridge spanning the Corinth Canal. Tough times are ahead when the German High Command decide to invade the Island of Crete. This will be the first ever airborne invasion in military history. The Fallschirmjager, supported by the famous Gebirgsjager mountain troops, are up against 40,000 allied soldiers - who will fight to the bitter end to protect Crete. Operating behind enemy lines, Paul Brand and Max Grun will face challenges that not only tests their fortitude but strains the close bond between them. Silk Drop is a thrilling sequel to Devils With Wings and is based on a factual episode.

My Thoughts
This is the second book in the the Devils With Wings series and my review of the first can be found here.  I really enjoyed the first book so was looking forward to reading Silk Drop - I'm pleased to say it lived up to and beyond my expectations.
From the beginning I felt involved with the story, it was set at a good pace and I had trouble putting it down.  I liked the feeling of being up close to the action, with some very intense scenes depicting personal battles, which had me on the edge of my seat. I enjoyed learning more about the strategies involved in preparing for operations and how these translated in battle.   The setting was described extremely well and again I had a real sense of being there - I could picture the island and villages clearly in my mind.
Silk Drop also showed the contradiction of war. One minute men are injuring and killing each other, the next when the battle is over, they are caring for the wounded and trying to save the lives of their enemies.  The novel showed the human side of war and the effects it can have on individuals which added another dimension to the story.  I felt very connected with the characters and was concerned as to what would happen to them.
An excellent read with all the things I enjoy - action, tension, great scene setting and characters I became very fond of.
You can learn more about Sue & Harvey by visiting our Author, Books & Trailer Pages

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Welcome Mohana & Debbie to Famous Five Plus

Today we welcome two great authors to Famous Five Plus, Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar who is living in Qatar and Debbie Ingram from the UK.

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a South Asian American who has lived in Qatar since 2005. Moving to the Arabian Desert was fortuitous in many ways since this is where she met her husband, had a baby, and made the transition from writing as a hobby to a full time passion.  She has also published five e-books including a mom-ior for first time mothers, Mommy But Still Me, a guide for aspiring writers, So You Want to Sell a Million Copies, a short story collection, Coloured and Other Stories, and a novel about women’s friendships, Saving Peace . Most recently, From Dunes to Dior, is a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf. Since she joined the e-book revolution, she dreams in plotlines.

Debbi Ingram. I am a mother of two boys, and a new grandmother to baby Amelia. I was born and raised in Islington London, but have lived in East London for seventeen years. I am passionate about animals and dogs in particular. I have two dogs, a Labrador and a Parsons Jack Russell. I started writing seriously five years ago as I had to give up work after a stroke.

I had always loved writing, but had never had the time before to pursue it. I made a full recovery from the stroke and heart surgery and it changed my life for the better. I started taking my writing seriously. Poppy Days was published on Kindle in February 2012.

You can learn more about our two new authors by visiting our Books & Trailer Pages

Friday, 20 July 2012

Double Whammy for Francine Howarth!

It’s been a double whammy for regency and contemporary romance author, Francine Howarth with two books released on the same day. “Never Again!” exclaims Francine as she takes time out of her busy schedule to share her two new novels.


I loved writing The Billionaire’s Dilemma: Identical Twin Mistresses because it really is a cross-genre chick-lit/category romance. The blurb says it all. Am I happy at its release? No I am not but that’s another story in itself, which I’ll reveal at a later date.

In the past Tania masqueraded as Nina at parties, and likewise Nina pretended to be Tania. As far as Tania is concerned one more act of deception isn’t going to hurt anybody. Despite Nina’s reluctance, she’s won over by Tania’s pleading ways and travels to London on a pre-arranged date with a Polo playing playboy. Against her better judgement she becomes as smitten by Allessandre as that of his prized stallions, and one mad moment of intimacy seals an inescapable bond between them.

Aware his heart is already captured, nevertheless Allessandre has it in mind he’s been duped by identical twins. Although a man borne of honour, he has a ruthless and vengeful nature. Determined to unveil the twins and teach them a lesson they won’t forget, revenge proves bittersweet when the one he truly desires takes flight. Forced to travel half way around the globe in attempt to redeem his unforgivable behaviour he has no idea she walks with lions, nor that a lioness will challenge his desire to be the life-long protector of the one he loves. 


Chapter 1

Nina stepped from the train to the platform at Paddington Station; her mind whirling in a vortex of uncertainty as to whether her identical twin had lied to her.
After all Nina Klaassen now had to pass herself off as Tania Klaassen. She could do it, she had in the past…sort of.
Oh, Hell, this was nothing short of a blind date.
According to Tania, her so-called date was well educated, extremely astute and no walkover conquest. In fact, Tania had claimed him to be the most challenging man she’d ever met. Therefore Nina Klaassen. No, no, think Tania, Tania, Tania.
Oh God. This trip to London could so easily become a highly embarrassing situation. Why I agreed to this charade just doesn’t make any kind of sense You fool, Nina, utter fool. The thought alone caused her fist to tighten around her cell phone.
She drew a deep breath. A taxi, she needed a taxi. The last message left on Tania’s cell phone had stated her new date could not make it to pick her up from the station. A tad inconvenient, but a taxi was not a problem. There were dozens lined up at a short distance. She walked on rather glad the taxi rank lay within the station precinct and the whole place sheltered from the elements. Throughout the journey from Oxford the train had thundered through a continuous wall of water, and outside was probably monsoon like, if the sound of drumming rain from above was anything to judge by.
Taxis began pulling away from the taxi rank one after the other. If she didn’t get there, soon they’d all be gone. She hurried onward. The concourse itself was surrounded by eye-catching displays from postcards to teddy bears in various on-station booths, all reminding her she’d stepped out of her comfort zone into unknown territory. Nevertheless, Tania’s need for three cell phones amused her.
Number one phone for family calls, number two for business and number three for new love interest. Tania had a place for every thing, and every person, too, kept in the right place just like her shoes in all the right boxes. Subsequently, number three phone now hers for the next twenty-four hours simply because she was supposedly Tania.
To feel edgy was normal despite the fact she’d travelled this path more than once, though not in circumstance of a blind date. Past masquerades had involved light-hearted teasing of joint friends and associates at parties and the like. This time was different, and she really wished her identical twin could be a little more responsible in not expecting her to stand in while Tania went off somewhere else other than where she was supposed to be. To commit to minor deceptions at parties had been fun but to actually pretend to be Tania and on a date with a polo playing billionaire, another game entirely. A first real date for Tania, admittedly, and hopefully Allessandre Romão would not suspect any sense of duplicity.
She and Tania both had long hair the colour of ripe corn, so no problem there that came to mind. Tania for the most part kept hers pinned back in a clasp. Whereas, her own preferred choice was that of loose flowing except when styled up for evening dos and or for riding horses. Having her crown hair scraped back severe in a clasp for today felt akin to torture. Their eyes, damn, were not absolute identical. Oh, Hell, such hadn’t entered into the equation until now. Where Tania’s were deep sapphire edged with pale aquamarine, hers were fathoms deep bordering on violet. Would she be able to convince this unknown man that she, Nina, was Tania?
Tania had sworn she had not slept with the new man, and had only kissed him. On balance, it was not that easy to have sex at a polo match without a prime player being missed from field of play, especially with spectators relatively up close and personal. But, Tania had ended the day at this man’s house, when in fact she’d gone to the polo ground with someone else. She had not enlightened further, beyond the no sex thingy. So, it was going to be a case of playing it by ear, and her heart skipped for she was off to the opera something she adored and Tania hated. In fact, she suspected a night at the opera to be the sole reason for Tania’s panic phone call begging her identical twin to stand-in for her.
         Whatever, this was Tania’s night in name only, and Nina was walking into the unknown with arias from La Bohème revolving in her head. She hailed a taxi.

Joy of Joys!

Venetian Encounter

I loved writing this historical, too, and the publishing process was bliss… To say I adore Commander Herne is setting precedence for favouritism, but he is deliciously sexy and the image of him in the book trailer speak for itself. Also featured are Lord & Lady Hamilton and Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson

A Romantic Georgian Murder Mystery: the year is 1800: Naples & Venice.

Amidst a gathering of nobility and gentry a daring jewel theft occurs. A young naval lieutenant suggests the notorious Venetian jewel thief could well be a woman, but a beautiful Russian countess scoffs at his suggestion albeit in coquettish manner. Determined to unmask the identity of the thief, at the same time intrigued by the countess, Lt Herne covertly follows Therese around Naples. But where the countess treads murders occur with frequency and she suddenly takes flight to Venice.

Ordered to the Adriatic on naval business Herne drops anchor in Venice. Tempted ashore by Carnivale a second encounter with the countess proves fatal for both. Madly in love they indulge in pleasurable pursuits but become embroiled in the mysterious death of a Russian count, and Therese feels duty bound to return to St Petersburg. Herne awaits her promised return to no avail. Three years later and back in England he discovers the countess on his doorstep, and wonders if he dare let his heart rule his head again? Equally, Therese fears a secret is best kept secret but Herne asks a potent question and she cannot lie for the truth is staring him in the face!            


Naples: 1800

“That’s a ménage à trios, if ever I saw one,” said Lieutenant Herne, a mere whisper.
   “You’re positively indecent,” she said, glancing his way. “I take it you are somewhat familiar with such.”
   “And you are not?” came the reply, his eyes not for one moment leaving that of the trio before them.
   “Hateful man,” she said, a hasty slap direct to his shoulder with folded fan. “I shall have you . . .”
   He swung round alarmingly fast, his chestnut eyes laughing, mocking, and his face creasing to broad grin. “I meant, have you not noticed a certain familiarity erring intimacy between the beautiful couple and, the old goat?”
   Oh,” So he had not assumed she, Countess Roscoff, keened engagement in scandalous pursuits, though what a shock it might be if the truth about her became known. “Is it not simply that of good friends betwixt the threesome, though a tad overly familiar?”
   He chuckled. “Ha, not as innocent in thought as you would have me believe, eh?”
   She flicked her fan open and raised it to shield a rosy flush to her cheeks, though purposefully coquettish in manner, for Lieutenant Herne in his naval uniform certainly cut a dash with the best of the men present despite a knife-edged scar to his right cheek. “Are you aware your hair tied back in a blue ribbon bow affords a pleasing image to the female eye, which implies a buccaneer spirit beneath your pristine appearance.”
   “Change the subject all you like, and hide behind your fan dear Countess, but I can read those china blues of yours as well as any man familiar with warning of storms ahead.”
   “Oh, and what pray do my eyes reveal to you?”
   He cocked his head infuriatingly to one side and deployed long fingers to his chin, his expression one of deep consideration and air of delight. “Now that’s asking a lot of a man with a buccaneer spirit, and I am not sure I should answer in such a public place.”
   “Pray, do not hold back, for I wish to know if you are indeed able to read my thoughts.” His tanned rather fetching godlike features seemed to freeze, though a discernable pulsing twitch to right jaw erupted at the tip of his scar. Perhaps he was not used to forthrightness from a lady. “Well?”
   “All right, if you are sure.”
  “Absolute sure.” Chin held high, biting her lip to prevent a smile, she withstood the challenge of his eyes roving over hers searching for sign of weakening under stress, which was utterly unbearable, decidedly frustrating and temptingly delicious. “Go on, please do.”
   “From the moment you entered the room I perceived noted interest in the affairs of the beautiful couple before us, and indeed sensed a little sympathy bestowed toward Lord Hamilton, the cuckolded husband. At the same time you were pondering the why and wherefore of such a marriage. And now, you think my previous comment a tad coarse, though somewhat honest in observation.” Herne smiled, a captivating smile. “At this very moment you are deliberating my past life, and whether I may have indulged in a similar assignation.”
   “You did not deny such,” she said, more abruptly than sensible and too late to recant.
   “Ah hah, so I am right in my assumption, you are a one-man woman.”
   She laughed. If only he knew what had really attracted her eyes to the trio, astonishment would be etched upon his visage. Her reason for being there must never come to light, and to that aim, she said, “In the latter you are mistaken. I have no inclination whatsoever to delve into your past.”
   “I beg to differ, and the former caused a flush to your cheeks.” He leaned closer, lowered his voice to a whisper. “Did you not question Lady Hamilton as to my past, and whether I had a wife at home?”
   Damn him, damn him to hell and back for causing a second flush to cheeks.
   “I asked the very same of Colonel Barton.”
   Fatty Barton?” he said, clearly taken aback.
  “I think him a fine officer, and highly respectful of young ladies, unlike some men I can think of within this very room. His red tunic is very fetching, and his legs set him solid to deck when at sea I shouldn’t wonder.”
   He leaned closer still, mouth almost brushing her ear. “Liar,” his whispered rebuke. “You said yon Royal Marine officer was gross in manner and drools when lusting after young flesh.”
   As he backed away their eyes met and clashed in combat, and his of such a teasing manner as to necessitate rapid fluttering of fan to cool her cheeks and calm her fast beating heart. It was nothing short of a stand off, each attracted to the other, but she would not engage further, such would be folly.

You can learn more about Francine by visiting our Author, Books & Trailer Pages.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Carol E Wyer Signs with Thornberry Publishing

At Famous Five Plus we are celebrating…! Today we congratulate bestselling author, Carol E Wyer who has just signed a contract for the e-publishing of her second novel, Surfing in Stilettos with ThornBerry Publishing.

ThornBerry Publishing is a new publisher in the UK bringing innovative and exciting ideas to the novel world of e-publishing. Carol says she is delighted to have signed a two book deal with such a dynamic and forward thinking publishing house. “There are many plans and projects in the pipeline for ThornBerry Publishing and I am very excited to be part of that team. I consider myself very fortunate to have secured a two book deal which will allow me to concentrate my efforts, for the time being, on the paperback versions of my novels and marketing. Technology still manages to bamboozle me and I am very grateful to have someone to deal with that for me. Thanks to ThornBerry I am now able to exploit the full potential of e-publishing.”

Carol’s novel Surfing in Stilettos which will be launched in paperback on August 16th and will be available in e-book format in September.

Thornberry Publishing is a small Independent publisher who specialise in e-book publishing.  

Carol’s best selling debut novel, Mini Skirts & Laughter Lines is available in paperback and e-book format.

You can learn more about Carol by visiting our Author, Books & Trailer Pages.
Carol also features on our Author Showcase Trailer.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

If I wasn't a Writer, I'd be....

Michelle Betham, author of five best selling steamy contemporary romances, reveals what she would have chosen to do had she not meandered down the winding writer’s path!

What would I be if I wasn’t a writer?  Well, that one’s an easy one for me to answer, actually, because I know exactly what I’d like to be, and no, it’s not Bradley Cooper’s wife!  Although, if he asked me…

No, seriously, if I wasn’t a writer I’d love to have worked in the theatre – as a Deputy Stage Manager.  I’ve always loved the theatre, right from an early age when my first experience of it was being taken to see a pantomime at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal.  I’d loved the atmosphere, the excitement, and that love of live performance never went away.

So, many years later, I finally plucked up the courage to do a Performing Arts course, and I loved every second of those years at college.  I’d quickly realised, after the first month or so there, that the acting side of things wasn’t where I was going to feel comfortable – behind the scenes was definitely more my forte.  And when I was given the role of Deputy Stage Manager I threw myself into it like an eager child – and I absolutely adored it!  You have a certain kind of authority as a DSM, and I'd initially wondered if I was going to abe able to pull it off, but, for the first time in my life I found myself in control of something, able to do a job well that I enjoyed beyond belief, and I was good at it!  However, after getting used to the DSM desk and everything the role involved during a live performance, to be told that our week-long run of Bertolt Brecht's The Good Person of Szechwan (we’d all wanted to do Grease but our lecturer’s were having none of it!) were going to be performed with the crew in visible roles, ie: I was sat at the side of the audience rather than hidden away where I couldn’t be seen, I did wonder how that was going to work, but it did.  And I think it gave me a rush of adrenalin every night that I probably wouldn’t have got if I’d been stuck backstage.  Even when the cast decided to skip an entire page of script one night, leaving me frantically trying to communicate with lighting and sound about the unexpected omission, it didn’t faze me.  It was covered up seamlessly, but it’s hardly surprising that none of the actors from my year have turned out to be Award Winning stars!

I was told by our lecturer that I’d given an outstandingly professional performance in the role of DSM, and doing that job gave me more confidence than I’d ever imagined I could have, because I am such a painfully shy person in reality.  And I think my biggest regret is probably not taking that career path further, but I didn’t because that lack of confidence did finally catch up with me – I’d been able to carry off the role in a college environment, but could I have done it in a real-life theatre?  I don’t know.  Maybe.  All I know is that I loved the whole atmosphere surrounding those live shows; I loved everything from the first read-through of the script, to the technical rehearsal, to the final performance.  It was a place I felt comfortable, a role I loved, and I could do it, and do it well. 

So, if I had my chance again I would definitely throw myself into the world of theatre… mind you, I could always write a book about it, I suppose…

Find out more about Michelle by visiting our Author & Books Pages. Michelle also features on our Author Showcase Trailer playing in this page!