The Celtic Connection: Kilts
#4 The Celtic Connection:
Jennie M Martin.
contemporary fiction, romance, humour
A hot Irish singer, a feisty Canadian woman, and a secluded retreat in the Pacific Northwest. What could go wrong?Irish singer Michael O’Corrain has been looking forward to this retreat in the beautiful Puget Sound for donkey’s years. Well, since his Kilts tour started, anyway. Touring life can be a grind, and he has a major decision to make. A little peace is just what he needs to get his head on straight. Then he meets the retreat’s coordinator, the enigmatic and exotic Gus, and promptly forgets all about his troubles.Gus Yu is the queen of research. But in all the retreats she’s been hired to run, she’s never encountered a group like Kilts. Handling all her curve balls with ease and humour, it’s Gus herself who’s kept off-kilter. She begins to suspect that she’s been hired under false pretenses, especially when she meets Michael, with his dimples and sparkling green eyes. Despite her best efforts, it doesn’t take long before the sparks fly.But when old insecurities rise, on both sides, will they find the courage and strength to stay together?The Celtic Connection is the fourth book in the Kilts Book series.
This is the first in this series that
I have read and found it fun, frothy and with lots of interesting ‘tasks’ set
as the Retreat weekend – imagination..
This is an amusing story about a pop
group that goes on a team bonding weekend, except that they all they know is it
is a mystery tour.
It was not only good reading but it
also tackled a serious issue – that of mental health, depression and suicide.
There was an excellent discussion relating to this and explanation of how
people can be driven to suicide as a way of making other people happy – or that
is what they believe. Very empathetic.
Wedding Bells at Villa Limoncello
Tuscan Trilogy Book 1
contemporary fiction, romance, humour
11th March 2019
Escape to Villa Limoncello… where dreams come true in unexpected ways. Perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan, Jenny Oliver and Kat French
When Isabella Jenkins is unceremoniously fired from her fancy London job, she escapes to Tuscany. A few weeks hiding amongst rolling hills and grape vines at Villa Limoncello sounds exactly like the distraction she needs.
But Italy holds emotional memories for Izzy and with a hapless handyman, a matchmaking village matriarch and a gorgeous – if infuriating – local chef named Luca Castelotti, her quiet Italian get away turns into an unending cacophony of chaos.
Suddenly Izzie finds herself on a mission to pull off the wedding of the century and maybe get her life in order in the process. If only Luca’s gorgeous smile wasn’t such a powerful distraction…
First of all, a huge
thank you for having me as a guest on your blog. It’s great to be here to tell
you about my brand-new book Wedding Bells at Villa Limoncello.
Can you tell your readers something about
why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about
I love setting my stories in interesting
and exotic places, that way I get to spend the day in some amazing parts of the
world. I loved the research I did for the Paradise Cookery School series – each
morning when I started to write, I’d get to jet off to the Caribbean island of
St Lucia and bask in glorious sunshine, relax on white sandy beaches and dream
of swinging in a hammock under a swaying palm tree. Heaven! Equally, with the
Villa Limoncello series, I get to indulge in all-things Italian, from frothy
cappuccinos to crunchy biscotti, tiramisu to a glass of limoncello. I always make sure I have a fabulous
photograph on my screensaver so I can flick back for inspiration.
How long do you think about a topic before
deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you
write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this
I love the research part of writing so I
spend weeks immersing myself in the characters whose stories I’m going to tell,
and reading up on the setting. For Wedding Bells at Villa Limoncello, I did
lots of research on Italian wedding traditions, of local floral arrangements,
and of course, on the local cuisine – I made sure I tried out lots of recipes
too, just to get into the Italian frame of mind, although they didn’t all turn
out perfect! I do have a notebook where I jot down unusual facts I stumble
across, and I also cut out snippets from magazines. I’ve just finished the
Christmas book set at Villa Limoncello, so I’ve had fun testing out some Tuscan
How long does it take to research a topic
before you write? And for this book?
Before I started to write the first book in
my Tuscan trilogy, I spent about a month immersing myself in the places my
characters were going to visit, like Siena, Florence, San Gimignano and the
history of those places. I was also fortunate enough to visit these wonderful
towns and cities with my family which really help to evoke the sights, sounds
and flavours of the place. I also managed to do a piece of research on the
historical importance of lemons to the local area which was the reason I
included the limonaia in Izzie and
What resources do you use? In general and
for the last book that you wrote?
I prefer to set my books in places I’ve
actually been to. It helps me fix the story in my mind when I know about the
places my characters are going to visit, particularly if there are interesting
quirks. Of course, I take lots of photographs to refer back to, I always have a
note book with me to jot down little details, and, in the name of research,
this time I bought a bottle of limoncello so I could make a limoncello
How helpful do you find authority figures
such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good
way to approach them in your experience?
I find it invaluable if there’s an expert
available to check facts with or to give you a personal perspective on what you
are writing about. I have a neighbour who’s Italian and he’s been very generous
with his time, talking me through recipes, traditions, customs, particularly
around Christmas. I’m always very grateful for his time. How do I approach him?
With a bottle of Chainti and a large bag of his favourite biscotti.
What is your favourite genre?
MY favourite genre has to be travel
memoirs. I love stories about people who have ditched their every day life and
taken off for foreign shores to make anew life for themselves and their
families, or who have decided to travel around the world with just a rucksack
and a guide book. I’ve recently read A
Bike Ride by Anne Mustoe, an account of her 12,000 cycle ride around the
world – by herself! I also really enjoyed Tuk
Tuk to the Road by Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent, a story about Antonia and her
friend Jo driving a pink tuk-tuk from Thailand back to London! Amazing people!
What have you done with the things you wrote
when in school?
I’ve been writing since I was in primary
school, creating my own hand-made book by stapling pages together and trying to
sell them to my relatives. I really wish I had that! I have a full-length novel
which I wrote in my teens in a shoebox on the top of my wardrobe , gathering
dust. I don’t think it will ever see the light of day, but I can’t bear to part
Which of your books are you most proud of?
Gosh, that’s like asking which of my
children am I most proud of! I’ve really enjoyed writing every one of them,
perhaps for different reasons. Some I love for the exotic settings,
particularly The Paradise Cookery School series. Some I love the recipes, like
There’s Something About Cornwall and The Vintage Cupcake Company. And some for
the fabulous characters, like Kirstie in Christmas at the Dancing Duck or
Gabbie in The Summerhouse of Happiness.
Do you have an unusual hobby?
Actually, I do. I play archery. Although I wouldn’t say I’m the best archer in the world I really enjoy being out there on a field with my bow and quiver filled with arrows, trying to hit a gold – a rarity for me!
Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her summerhouse, she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.
The Stars in Her Eyes
Love in LA Quartet #1
Contemporary, New Adult, Reverse Harem, Romance
March 26th 2019
When Creslyn Knight auditions for the role of a life time, she never expects three things:
To know the casting director—intimately.
To be insanely attracted to the three stand-in actors at the audition.
That she’d soon be putting her morals to the test when her resolve weakens.
Acting is in Creslyn’s blood, and she’s focused her sights on one thing: landing the role of a lifetime. But she’s always been told that everything comes at a cost. The casting director names his when he tells her she must make him believe she can surrender to a harem of men, or he can’t justify giving her the lead role.
Determined to prove him wrong and show him she can tap into a passion that deep, Creslyn throws herself into rehearsals. But the fine line between script and reality soon starts to blur, leading her and three men into unchartered territory. The only problem? She has a jealous roommate, a disgruntled mother, and a string of paparazzi hot on her trail, making Creslyn question the cost of everything.
In a world where some things are best kept secret, is the price of fame too high when it comes to the heart?
The Stars in Her Eyes is book one of the Love in LA Quartet and is a new adult, steamy contemporary romance reverse harem LOVE STORY that can be read as a stand-alone or as an introduction to the series. All the heat you’ve come to expect with a reverse harem, AND a storyline worthy of a contemporary romance love story. Finally, the best of both worlds!
USA Today Best Selling Author C.M. Albert writes heartwarming romances that are both “sexy and flirty, sweet and dirty!” Her writing infuses a healthy blend of humor, inspiration, and high-heat romance. She’s a sucker for a good villain but is a die-hard believer in everlasting love. In her spare time, she and her husband wrangle their two kids and enjoy spending time outdoors. When not writing or kid wrangling, C.M. Albert is also a Certified Medical Reiki Master, chocolate chip cookie aficionado, kindness ambassador, and seeker of naps
Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?
Thank you so much for having me! This is actually my first Reverse Harem novel, and boy was it a challenge at first. I was inspired by a publisher who asked me to write a short RH for a boxset—and since I love stretching myself as a writer, I accepted even though I’d always said I’d never write a RH. But as one reader said, I always need to put a “Colleen spin” on the concept. And that was very true for The Stars in Her Eyes. I wanted the story to be realistic and not just a bunch of sex for the sake of sex. Since it’s a contemporary romance and not a paranormal or fantasy RH, I really wanted to understand the female main character and how she could find herself realistically falling for three men at the same time—let alone having an arrangement to explore their relationships sexually. This book seriously wrote itself. It’s a cliché, but it truly did. Creslyn Knight came through hard and fast demanding that her story be told, and it’s now my favorite story to date. I think it’s different than most RH’s in that it is a longer book, and is equally balanced between the HOT HOT HOT scenes you expect with an RH (and there are plenty!) and the plot-driven storyline and characters readers need with a contemporary romance love story.
How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?
I usually research as I go, when I discover I don’t know something or one of the characters throws a curve ball at me – like River in The Stars in Her Eyes, who ended up going to Julliard and was a classic cellist. On the plus side, as a result, I discovered the amazing duo 2Cellos during my research. But sometimes the topics are heavier, like with an upcoming novella where some of the characters are LGBTQ. I’ve already started interviewing several people who identify as this so I can do the story and characters justice from the get-go. But for The Stars in Her Eyes most research, particularly around location, was done as the need arose.
Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?
So far, I am strictly self-published by choice; most of that has been because of a need for complete flexibility in my schedule up to this point. I am also a stay-at-home parent and my family comes first every single time. That’s not always the answer a publisher wants to hear. That said, I’m lucky enough that as the kids have gotten older and are in the same school now, I am able to write a lot more than I used to during the day. In general, I do believe it’s helpful to build a strong audience and brand before approaching a publisher. It’s certainly not required, but I think it does help them to see your dedication, commitment, and business savvy ahead of time. It also doesn’t hurt for them to know you have a built in audience and to see how people respond to your stories before taking a chance on an unknown author. In today’s market, it’s not that uncommon for authors to take this approach, or for publishers to find writers who bust their butts and are able to shine in a very dense market of eBook self-publishers. I also think it benefits the author because it helps give them a broader understanding of everything that’s truly required to publish a book and be successful, because only a small percentage of that is actually writing.
What do you read when you are ill in bed?
I tend to go one of two ways, depending on my mood: YA dystopian (like The 100, Steelheart, Pure) or romance (Colleen Hoover, L.J. Shen, Skye Warren, Elle Thorpe, Melissa Foster).
What is your favourite genre?
Hands down it’s romance, which is why I write it. I’m a hopeful romantic and love characters who are able to overcome personal challenges and still find a way to open up and love. In real life there’s always a lot going on politically and socially, so I think romance is a nice escape; it strips things down to the individual level while still giving us the bigger hope that love wins, despite the odds stacked against us. Humans are very complex (alone and in our relationships), and I love peeling back their layers to discover motivation. It takes a strong person to soften and open their heart to love again after experiencing tragedy, pain, heartache, or loss. And I think most of us can relate to that. Nothing makes me happier than for characters to get their happy ever after, whatever that looks like for them.
If you recommend a living author – who would it be? A dead author?
I could recommend a dozen living authors, but if I had to pick just one right this moment, I’d probably choose L.J. Shen. I never understood the appeal of “the bad boy,” until reading her books. And she writes hot bad boys like nobody’s business. I haven’t read a book of hers I didn’t end up loving, including her latest release, The Kiss Thief. What she excels at is making the bad boy sympathetic by the end of the novel (even if he still is a bad boy). It takes talent to make a reader cringe at someone’s behaviors throughout a book but by the end everything clicks into place and you love them more than any regular hero—exactly because of everything they had to overcome to brave it all for love. There’s something about cracking open a hard heart and seeing the light. As for a deceased author, I grew up reading Bertrice Small. She is the QUEEN of sexy as sin historical romance. I’m not even a huge historical romance reader, but I devoured every one of her books and miss her greatly. She was so detailed in her knowledge of the time period, wrote an amazing anti-hero, and set the pages on FIRE. That’s probably where my love for explicit romances began, as I read my first Bertrice Small book—Skye O’Malley—when I was just sixteen.
Which author had the most influence on your writing? Your writing style? Your writing genre?
I’d probably say Melissa Foster. Her knack for writing both sweet, soul-quenching romance with a lot of heat really inspired me that it could be done well and be done successfully. Most writers are either sweet and clean, or bad and dirty. I think you can be both—which is why my author tagline nails what you can expect with my books so perfectly: “Sexy & flirty, sweet & dirty.” My first book, Faith in Love, was originally published as a part of Melissa Foster’s Kindle World. I chose to do that because I knew our audiences would be similar and I loved the world she created for her characters the Remingtons. It was an easy fit for my contemporary writing style that combines real, complex emotions with a high dose of heat and soulmate level attraction. Even though Kindle Worlds went away, I’m forever grateful that it pushed me to write and release my first book in the genre I love most.
In your opinion who is the funniest author now writing?
I don’t read as many funny books, but in the past I’ve enjoyed Laurie Notaro, David Sedaris, and Elise Sax when I needed a dose of laughter with my books.
Have you ever tried to imitate another author’s style? And if so, why?
I really haven’t, and that’s because I think for your writing to feel authentic to readers, you have to write it from your heart. There is something missing when a person just writes words to spit out books. The connection is missing. For example, I LURV L.J. Shen’s sexy AF, bad boy anti-heroes, but I would fall down all over the place if I tried to write one like her. It’s just not ME. And I think my readers would feel that disconnect in an instant. I always think it’s best to tell the story your way, because you’re the only one who can. The best feedback I get from readers is when they say they are touched by the way I was able to so easily blend heart, hope, and high heat—and I think this is my own unique style and brand – my “Colleen spin!” One of the best reviews I got was simply, “Fun, sexy, and poignant.” That’s what I try to hit every time.
What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?
I have kept them, but haven’t published any. In high school I wrote a lot of very angsty, depressing poetry. My dark years. Haha! I still have every horrible poem because that was what I was needing to release through my writing at the time. In college, I wrote more non-fiction and poetry (which got marginally better when I was told I could throw everything I thought I knew about poetry out the window).
Do you have any pets?
Absolutely! I think pets bring so much happiness and healing, so I’m a big believer in the strong connection you can forge with your pets. (I have had one soul mate kitty and one soul mate dog.)
If so, what are they? We currently have 1 dog, 3 cats, 1 fish, and a bearded dragon. My daughter wants a chinchilla since she just lost her fish named NASA, and I’m obsessed with adorable little hedgehogs, but I doubt either will join our household. We have enough chaos right now!
And what are they called? Dog, Beau. Cats: Patty, Sarah, & Leo (who is our asshole kitty; there’s always one). Fish: Javier. Bearded Dragon: Waffles.
Do they help you write? Beau is my faithful companion. Sometimes the cats curl up with me, but Beau always is my sidekick. I write in a big club chair for comfort, and Beau is always napping on the couch right next to me in the sun, just being near me for love and comfort. It’s sweet.
What is the funniest thing they have done while you are writing? Mostly it’s just Leo who chases the other cats. I’ve been concentrating before on a really intense scene and two cats will tear through the room at warp speed, flying off the couch over the coffee table like mini super heroes, all spitting and hissing. Scares the bejesus right out of me every time because it’s so fast and unexpected. Leo is ALWAYS the instigator too. Haha!
Do you want to add a photo of them to this Q&A? Sure. I’ll attach a rare photo of Leo not being an asshole and snuggling up with my baby Beau on the infamous couch in my writing room.
Thank you so much for having me today—this was fun!
A Single Dad To Heal Her Heart
Romance , Women's Fiction medical
Mills and Boon
21 Mar 2019
Could a single dad of two… …be the answer to her dreams?
Trauma doc Livvy Henderson loves her job and friends, and she’s been cancer free for five years. She’s content… until she meets widowed father, handsome surgeon Matt Hunter on a team weekend in Cumbria. Their powerful connection reawakens her fears, desires and longing for a family she’s long-since locked away. But Matt finds he’s ready to convince her she belongs in his, whatever the future holds…
So there these two doctors – each has a past that influences
strongly in their current life, and she has a very good reason for her
extremely healthy diet and her parents’ concern.
There is a very rapid romance as they fall in lust over a
few short weeks which then turns into love and a resolution of their past
issues so that a true partnership can be forged.
Not an unusual version of the trope but nicely told with a strong empathetic feel to the style and phrasing. Very pleasant reading.
(The Knead to Know Series) #1
contemporary fiction, romance, humour, fantasy
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
(27 Jan. 2016)
Maggie Edwards can’t sleep, eat, or die—but, she can bake. However, just before the Halloween grand opening of her bakery, a pesky reporter witnesses an accident in her kitchen and gets a little too close to the truth. If she can’t convince him to keep quiet, not only will she lose her chance at happiness, but they both could lose their lives. Fairytale Ambrosia: When your professional life is going well, fate has a way of ruining everything else. At least, that’s what’s happening to Maggie Edwards. While her bakery is taking off without a hitch, her personal life is going up in flames. Her best friend needs Maggie more than ever, a demon is out for her blood, and Boone keeps having visions of a magical woman kidnapping people in their sleep. Maggie has to hurry up and figure out how to balance her human friends with her very supernatural life before someone pays the ultimate price.
Also reviewing Psyche Souffle #3 in the series.
So we learn from this series that half-vampires don’t eat blood but black souls, preferably those of demons. They love to bake but can’t taste anything and don’t need to eat anything in the food line. Hmm.
I quite liked these stories but found them too short and that everything was resolved too easily. there was not enough suspense.