Monday, 26 September 2022

Using the library versus buying books

 I really wish I had a different answer for this topic from Long and Short Reviews, because as a child I was always in the library and still consider it a worthwhile thing to have in a city.

But I have to admit, while I own a library card, I haven't been to a library in years. I always have new books lined up on my Kindle and download more samples all the time, so I am definitely in the camp of buying books rather than borrowing them.

I don't even get any royalties from people borrowing mine, because most libraries wouldn't dream of stocking the sort of thing I write (unless it's written by E. L. James, who seems to have a pass). So I'm ashamed to admit I tend to forget libraries are there these days.

Speaking of my own writing, I have a new cover to reveal...

He dominates the charts, but can he dominate her heart?

Pop-rock singer Tamsin Keller likes to dominate, but when she breaks up with her cheating ex-boyfriend, she visits BDSM club Dante’s for another reason—to submit.

Her experience is heightened when she locks eyes with a mysterious stranger, who turns out to be rock star and Dominant Aspen LaRoche. Fascinated by Tamsin, he invites her to his holiday home for the weekend and Tamsin accepts, hoping to discover more about her submissive side.

Aspen proves to be an expert tutor, and Tamsin finds herself addicted to the pleasures he shows her. When Aspen also discovers she is a singer, he offers her band an audition with his recording company, and Tamsin jumps at the chance, knowing he can provide opportunities that she has never had before.

But when Tamsin’s jealous ex reappears in her life, will Tamsin’s career and happiness be over, or will this be the start of something for both her and Aspen?

"The Start of Something" is out on December 27th and I'm looking forward to it already.

So do you prefer buying books or using the library?

Monday, 12 September 2022

What makes you pick up or buy a book?

 I had to think about this topic from Long and Short Reviews, because a lot of the time I have books by my favourite authors on pre-order, so it can be quite rare that I'll choose a book from someone I haven't read before. I also get lists of new releases from Goodreads, so I'll use those to check out possible new reads, but what about them makes me pick up a book?

If a book is a historical, the period in history might get me interested. I often enjoy books set at royal courts, but I'm also into American history so that would draw my attention. I also love stories set in schools or universities, so that would probably get me to at least download the sample.

And of course, there's the title.

I admit I'm a sucker for a good title. I read "Here Be Sexist Vampires" and "Stacy's Dad Has Got It Going On" purely because I found the titles irresistible. As a writer I know it's very important to pick one that grabs the reader, and I always work hard to make sure I pick the perfect one for my own writing.

So what makes you pick up or buy a book?

Monday, 5 September 2022

A plotline you love to read or watch and why

 After the topic from last week, this one was a little more difficult. There are very few plotlines I won't at least try, so which are my favourites? Hard to say.

I do know that I've always loved stories in school settings, but I have one preference there - I would rather read about the cool kids. Obviously there is still going to be conflict and that's fine, but speaking as someone who was the nerdy introvert in school, I don't particularly want to live through that again when I'm reading. There was a film I saw last year, "Seance", which handled the cool kids dealing with a ghost in a boarding school, and it was exactly what I was looking for.

And the other point is probably obvious for a romance writer like me - I want a happy ending. Nicholas Sparks is great if you like that kind of thing, but I don't want to read a love story where one or both end up dead. I want them to walk off into the sunset together, and I can promise they'll always do that in my writing.

So what plotlines do you love to read or watch?

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

A plotline you refuse to read/watch and why

 This particular topic from Long and Short Reviews was fairly straightforward, as one plotline immediately leapt to mind. There may well be more if I give it some thought, but I think most will be connected to this one.


I'm not saying it's impossible to include it in a story and have it be good, but all too often I've seen this lovingly lingered on by the writer and it drives me mad. I put down a historical novel once not because the heroine was a victim of rape, but because it was constantly mentioned in every chapter - her parents used it to blackmail her and her rapist was always hanging around her, and after four chapters of this I simply gave up.

Another instance was a TV drama about a couple who liked to spice up their sex life by typing up the wife in her underwear in a public place and have the husband pretend to find her there. According to the description in the Radio Times, the tied-up wife is horrified when her husband's car pulls up and another man gets out and approaches her. That may have been an excellent episode, but my immediate response was "Nope!" I don't want to watch it and I don't want to read about it.

So which plotline do you refuse to read or watch?

Monday, 22 August 2022

Bookmark, scrap paper or dog-ear?

 I can already see this topic from Long and Short Reviews will be a polarising one. I've seen many posts about how people hate people who dog-ear their books.

Fortunately, as I have a Kindle, it's not usually a problem. However, I do occasionally collect signed copies of books, so I have on occasion read hardbacks or paperbacks. But no, I don't dog-ear the pages. I don't have any bookmarks, so I generally use a piece of scrap paper.

Or, horror of horrors, I just leave the book open, which I'm sure does terrible things to the spine.

So what do you prefer - bookmark, scrap paper or dog-ear?

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Where would you spend one day in the past?

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews was an easy one. I spend a lot of time going to the theatre and have an ambition to see every Shakespeare play in the theatre at least once (I've seen them all streamed, but have about ten left to see live). 

So if I was going to spend a day in the past, I would go to the original Globe Theatre and see Shakespeare as it was originally shown.

I would love to see how similar the atmosphere is to the current Globe, and would also love to hear how Shakespeare's language was pronounced back then. There are definitely a few rhymes in there which don't work in current idiom but may have been different back in the day.

So where would you spend a day in the past?

Monday, 8 August 2022

Thoughts on fanfiction

 I'm glad this topic came up on Long and Short Reviews, because it's one I've mentioned a few times in interviews. Whenever I'm asked how a person might learn to write, I tell them one of my best teaching tools was fanfiction. Specifically slash fanfiction.

It might not sound like a great tool - fanfiction is, by its nature, amateur, and so some of the stories posted online aren't great quality. However that didn't matter - I found them very useful. It was good to be able to read a story and analyse why I liked it or didn't like it, or how I enjoyed it but couldn't help noticing its flaws. 

This one is so poetically written I gave up halfway through.

This one is enjoyable, but uses the word "release" in nearly every sentence.

This one is obsessed with food and stops the action every chapter to rave about what the characters are eating.

As a result, when I started writing for publication I was aware of a lot of the pitfalls already, although I admit that some of them (like overusing one particular word) are still easy to fall into.

I haven't read any fanfiction for a while, but I may have to have a look - I'm sure there are lots of new ones out by now.

So how do you feel about fanfiction?