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Tuesday 15 December 2020

Books that would make great gifts

 It's coming up to Christmas, and there's nothing better than a book as a gift - or so I believe, anyway. So this topic from Long and Short Reviews was nicely appropriate. What would I recommend as a gift for someone?

The first one I thought of was James May's Oh Cook! I watched the show on Amazon Prime and loved it - James May, as a presenter who can't cook, makes cooking complicated recipes seem remarkably easy. I picked up the book shortly afterwards and am planning to try some of the recipes out, so if you have a friend who can't cook and wants to try, suggest this one. Straightforward cooking with a dash of humour.

The second was Agatha Christie's The Mysterious Mr Quin. This would be ideal for people like me who have read all the Poirots and Marples and are looking for something new. These stories put a new spin on standard murder mysteries and introduce great characters in Mr Quin and Mr Satterthwaite.

And, since I'm a writer, I couldn't go without one of my own - Ready For Him.

In the bar at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Jade Bleecker celebrates with her three best friends, all of whom are there to get married - Jade is their bridesmaid, and beginning to believe that three times a bridesmaid really does mean never a bride. Tattooed, pierced and a martial artist, Jade is used to inspiring fear rather than desire in men, and even if she did find one who could handle her - well, no man is worth trusting with her body.


But, as she is leaving the bar, she comes upon a mugging in progress and, with a few swift moves, makes short work of the mugger. Invited up to the victim's room for a nightcap, she is stunned to discover he is Will Vandenmeer - billionaire poster child of the Vandenmeer hotel and casino chain, and owner of The Sanctuary, one of the best known BDSM clubs in New York City.


Jade finds herself hopelessly attractive to the sensual, dominant Will, and when he offers to induct her into the world of BDSM, she accepts... but can she truly give herself to him, and is Will ready for what Jade has to offer?

I picked this one because it's a good introduction to BDSM, so if you've never read it before and aren't sure if you'll like it, give this a try. It's BDSM-lite, if you will.

So which books do you think would make great gifts?

Half the Calendar is Open!

 Goodies Given Away Every Day Totaling $350

It’s Christmas every day with this romantic Advent Calendar giveaway. Twenty-Four authors have teamed up to bring you over $350 worth of prizes. Every day another door opens and another giveaway chance for you to win!

Each day, return to the site to click on the calendar and open the door to another fantastic prize. Be swept away this holiday season by gripping romance, pampering treats, cozy gifts, and an amazing offer hidden inside the calendar.

The giveaway is sponsored by these wonderful authors:

Ellen Mint • January Bain • Katherine McIntyre • Erzabet Bishop • Rosanna Leo • Jaqueline Snowe • Tracy Krimmer • Mary Kit Caelsto • Mona Karel • Megan Slayer • Tanith Davenport • M.C. Frank • Maggie Blackbird • Seelie Kay • Caroline Akervik • Melissa McClone • Ayla Asher • Lorelei Confer • Gayle Irwin • Cassie O’Brien • D. F. Jones • J.J DiBenedetto • Lyndell Williams • First For Romance 

Monday 7 December 2020

A profession from a book I'd love to try

 Coming close to the end of the year now, and we're coming up to the last few prompts from Long and Short Reviews - so what profession from a book would I love to try? Well, I generally choose professions for my own characters that I would love to try, so I'd say paranormal investigator.

Tamar Steele, of I Heard Your Voice, Tamar Rising and Spiritwalker, is a psychic sensitive who works for a paranormal investigative team. I personally have never considered myself sensitive, but I've always been fascinated by the paranormal, so I would love to try being a ghosthunter.

I did go on one paranormal investigation as research - there are companies such as Compass Paranormal who run investigations the public can pay to join, so I attended one at Bolling Hall in Bradford. Sadly the scariest thing that happened was when my satnav abandoned me on the way there. The resident medium, Barrie John, did his best but very little was coming through, apart from a ghost on the ouija board who told us to go away (and who I strongly suspect was one of the other participants pushing the planchette).

So I'm not convinced it would be a very successful job, but I'd love to give it a go.

So what profession would you like to try?

Tuesday 1 December 2020

An average day in my life

 I'd love to be able to say, as a writer, that an average day in my life consists of sitting in front of my computer creating magic. Isn't that what we writers are supposed to do all day? But sadly my usual days are a lot more prosaic than that, although writing is at least included.

On an average day I'll be working from home 9-5, so I get up at seven to give me time to get things done first. I'll get in an hour of writing and also surf for a couple of hours, making sure I'm up to speed on my email and have my to-do list up to date. Then at about quarter to nine I'll fire up my work laptop. I work as a debt advisor so will spend the day dealing primarily with emails from clients and creditors, along with occasional projects as they come in. At twelve I'll break for lunch - one of the benefits of working from home is I can have a hot lunch every day, since I never did like having to take sandwiches to work.

At about 3pm my husband will come home so I'll have a background of Top Gear and Wheeler Dealers for my last two hours of work, then I'll feed the cats and start dinner. We tend to cook just for ourselves as our schedules are out of whack - my husband doesn't get lunch until about 3 so won't be hungry for dinner when I am - so, as I'm not much of a cook, I'll usually fire up a ready meal. We'll then spend the evening watching either a film or junk TV, which in my case tends to be paranormal or quiz shows. I admit to having a soft spot for shows like The Cube or Tenable.

I'll also set aside some time to plan out my writing for the following day, as I am definitely a planner rather than a pantser. 

So what's your average day?

Saturday 28 November 2020

Advent Calendar Giveaway - starting December 1st



December 1st-25th

Goodies Given Away Every Day Totaling $350

It’s Christmas every day with this romantic Advent Calendar giveaway. Twenty-Four authors have teamed up to bring you over $350 worth of prizes. Every day another door opens and another giveaway chance for you to win!

Each day, return to the site to click on the calendar and open the door to another fantastic prize. Be swept away this holiday season by gripping romance, pampering treats, cozy gifts, and an amazing offer hidden inside the calendar.

The giveaway is sponsored by these wonderful authors:

Ellen Mint • January Bain • Katherine McIntyre • Erzabet Bishop • Rosanna Leo • Jaqueline Snowe • Tracy Krimmer • Mary Kit Caelsto • Mona Karel • Megan Slayer • Tanith Davenport • M.C. Frank • Maggie Blackbird • Seelie Kay • Caroline Akervik • Melissa McClone • Ayla Asher • Lorelei Confer • Gayle Irwin • Cassie O’Brien • D. F. Jones • J.J DiBenedetto • Lyndell Williams • First For Romance 

Monday 23 November 2020

Recipes from fiction books that I want to try

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews was interesting. In terms of specific detailed recipes, I couldn't remember any. I can, however, remember a number of dishes I've seen mentioned in books that I would love to try if I could figure out how to make them.

The first was in Tipping the Velvet, a lesbian novel about an oyster-girl who becomes a masher. Nancy mentions seducing her girlfriend over a dish of oysters rolled in flour and stewed in cream. I have never been a lover of raw oysters but I've never tried them cooked, so when I read this I got on Google and hunted for a recipe, but without any luck. I've seen oyster stews a couple of times but nothing specifically like this.

The second was the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster from The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. There are a number of recipes online for this but as yet I've never tried one. At least one of them boiled down to a pint of top shelf, which might well be a head-splitter of a cocktail but sounds like it would taste terrible.

And finally there were vanity cakes from one of the Little House on the Prairie books. I believe there are recipes for these online but I've heard negative reviews of quite a lot of them, stating that they don't match up to the delicious description in the book. Mind you, I'm not sure that much would. They sounded spectacular.

So what recipes would you like to try?

Monday 16 November 2020

Funniest things that have happened to me

 It's funny how it works. I'm sure there are hundreds of things in my life that have been funny, but when Long and Short Reviews asked for some of them, suddenly I was completely unable to think of any.

So I stuck with something that is a constant source of amusement - people's reactions to my blue hair.

People often tell me I'm brave for having bright blue hair. I don't know about that. It definitely draws attention - I've often had comments about it from complete strangers, and frequently hear little kids squealing "Look mummy, blue hair!" For some reason medical professionals always say the same thing about it, which is "You look like a mermaid!" It's almost always positive, so I don't mind it.

It has, however, been negative three times.

Once from the bloke in the corner shop near my old house, who felt the need to tell me I would look much better with a more natural colour while I was waiting for him to stop talking and hand over my change.

Once from a car salesman who asked me "Did your mother bang the Cookie Monster?"

And once from a charmless idiot last Saturday as I was crossing the car park to go to the supermarket. Mr Loudmouth pulled up in front of me in his car and shouted out of the window "You Smurfy-looking fuck!"

Everyone's got an opinion, apparently.

So what funny things have happened to you?

Monday 9 November 2020

Movies that were better than the books

 I'll be honest, I very rarely find films to be better than the books they adapted, and I have a theory as to why that is. With many adaptations it feels to me like one person read the book and wrote a series of bullet points on it, followed by the screenwriter reading the bullet points and writing a script that covers all of them but doesn't include any of the plot or character development that occurred between them. It would certainly explain why so many film adaptations have events occurring out of the blue instead of emerging organically from the plot and characters, and why in some cases (such as the version of "Persuasion" I saw recently) pivotal plot points are actually swapped round so that they no longer make any sense.

So the only film I could come up with for this was the Daniel Radcliffe adaptation of "The Woman in Black".

I read the book after seeing the film, and I'm not sure if it was technically better, simply because they were two very different animals. Other than the fact that the film contained a woman in black and a rocking chair, there were very few similarities between them. However, the film did include an excellent performance from Daniel Radcliffe and was genuinely scary, which I didn't feel the book was - it's rare that I'm scared by a book.

So have you seen any films that were better than the books?

Monday 2 November 2020

Favourite songs or musicians

This topic from Long and Short Reviews was an interesting one. I have a fairly wide-ranging musical taste and will have songs I like from most genres, with the possible exception of dubstep, which I have never yet managed to enjoy. However, my favourite genre?


My absolute favourite band is Queen, but I also love The Darkness, Def Leppard, Bryan Adams and most other classic rock band. I've seen a lot of bands in concert and would almost be able to say it's impossible not to be entertained at a rock gig, were it not for that dire Motley Crue gig I went to a few years ago. If not for the rotating drum kit I'd have fallen asleep.

Choosing particular songs is more difficult. My husband and I like to spend the evening on YouTube taking it in turns to pick songs to play, and this can very easily go on into the early hours because there are so many we love. My favourite Queen track is "Don't Stop Me Now", but there are many other tracks that have meaning for me, including several which are attached to old stories of mine in my brain.

The current track connected to my latest WIP is Peppercorn's "Hyperventilating". It gave my WIP its name, and I'm hoping to have Hyperventilating finished next year. But in the meantime, give the song a listen. It's great.

So what are your favourite songs or musicians?

Tuesday 27 October 2020

How I decide what to read next

 I have to admit, I struggled a little with this topic from Long and Short Reviews, because lately the decision of what to read next has almost been made for me.

How, you might ask?

Because I have so many pre-orders that every time I switch my Kindle on I've got new books recently downloaded, so I always have at least two new ones to get through once I finish the one I'm on.

One thing that determines what I read is who I follow on Amazon - every time someone I like has a new one due I pre-order it, and if I find someone new I enjoy then I work through their back catalogue. I'm currently working on Agatha Christie's Mr Quin stories, having finished all the Marples and Poirots.

And then there are celebrities. I love autobiographies, but am also reading Richard Osman's new novel. If you're wondering how that's going, I've already pre-ordered the sequel, which should tell you everything. I also have Amy Bruni's ghost-hunting book on standby - I'm fascinated by the paranormal, even if I'm on the fence about it.

So how do you decide what to read next?

Monday 26 October 2020

Eleanor Harkstead's new book is released today!

Take it away, Eleanor...

How to Make the Perfect Halloween

 I’ve always been fascinated by Halloween, with it coming just as the nights get dark and the days become shorter. In England, less than a week after Halloween we have Guy Fawkes’ Night, where we light bonfires and let off fireworks, and it’s part of the run-up to Christmas – and my birthday!

Trick or treating didn’t really exist in England when I was a child, although it’s something that happened a lot in Scotland when my partner was younger. He used to go ‘guising’ with his friends. They would dress up in homemade costumes – my partner said he’d dress up as a tramp or borrow his mum’s clothes and turn up in drag – and tell a joke or a silly story, recite a poem, or sing a song. In return they’d be given sweets. He finds the idea of children knocking on doors and demanding sweets without putting on some sort of show in return rather strange!

A friend of mine at school had a birthday close to Halloween, so one year, when I was ten, she had a combined Halloween-birthday party. I loved it. I’d been reading Jill Murphy’s Worst Witch stories since I was seven, and was ecstatic to be dressing up as a witch. My dad found me a broomstick, and a novelty pencil topper that was a chattering skull, and I borrowed someone’s long black dress. We ran about in the darkened garden, and I enthusiastically participated in my first ever go at apple-bobbing and ended up nearly half-drowned. I had a wonderful time.

Although my birthday’s in December, for my fifteenth birthday I decided to have a horror party to make up for the fact that I couldn’t have a Halloween party. It was fancy dress, so one of my friends turned up with a line of fake blood around her neck with the story that her head had been cut off and reattached. She arrived with another friend carrying a plastic axe from a toyshop, who had fake blood all over her T-shirt. I appreciated the effort that went into it! I went as a vampire, which is entirely the fault of watching The Lost Boys far too often.

I don’t go trick or treating myself, but I do enjoy a good ghost story – I will usually turn to MR James’ work if I fancy a scare. And I like to see people’s houses decorated with cobwebs and spiders and pumpkin lanterns. It would be marvellous to be invited to the Chief Wizard’s Halloween ball, as Aubrey and Trismegitus are in How to Make the Perfect Man, but until that happens, I will just have to imagine how fun that would be!




How to Make the Perfect Man
Published 27 October 2002 by Pride.
Available in ebook.

Love isn’t science. It’s alchemy.

Needing a date for the hottest Hallowe’en party in town, scientist Aubrey Waldegrave sets to work creating his perfect man. Unfortunately, the Adonis who emerges from his laboratory is a free spirit who has no time for Aubrey’s brogues and tweeds.

Alchemist Trismegistus Nimlet can turn anything into gold, but when his apocathery's alligator starts talking back and his werewolf allergy leaves him sneezing, it looks like Halloween might be a washout. Worse still, is Tris really about to lose the chap he secretly loves to a manmade surfer dude who’s more flash than Frankenstein?

With werewolves leaving fur in the ornamental fountains and a banshee making enough noise to wake the dead, Aubrey’s Halloween is going from bad to worse. All he wanted was to make his perfect man, but what if he was right there all along?

Buy link:


About the authors:

Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead began writing together in the spring of 2017 and swiftly discovered a shared love of sauce, well-dressed gents and a uniquely British sort of romance. They drink gallons of tea, spend hours discussing the importance of good tailoring and are never at a loss for a double entendre.

They are the authors of numerous short stories and two novel series, the de Chastelaine Chronicles, and the Captivating Captains, published by Totally Bound and Pride. Their novel The Ghost Garden was shortlisted for the 2020 Romantic Novel Awards.

Find out more at

Follow Catherine at: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Bookbub

Follow Eleanor at: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Bookbub.

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Monday 19 October 2020

My earliest memory

 What is my earliest memory? This was a tricky one, because I have a lot of memories of when I was a child, but trying to place them chronologically wasn't easy. I can never remember exactly how old I was when something happened. So this is a guess, but probably a close one.

My earliest clear memory is of a visit to my great-aunt's farm in Gisburn, Lancashire.

My father decided to take me and a friend to visit her during the sheep-shearing period. Sadly I have no photographs from the visit even though we definitely took some - I can remember one photo of my friend looking awe-struck as she stroked a lamb and another of me holding a chick. But my most vivid memory is of the various farmhands holding onto the sheep as they sheared them, carefully holding legs in the air as they worked their way round making sure as much as possible was off. 

And then we went and had roast lamb for lunch. The connection was lost on me at the time.

While I'm here, I just had to draw everyone's attention to the fact that it's release day for my new novella Spiritwalker...

Tamar Steele, a successful medium for a paranormal investigative team, should be happy with her life—but life seems to be against her. Her psychic field is being mysteriously blocked, causing her physical pain and, worse, making it more and more difficult for her to come, creating stress in her relationship with long-term boyfriend Jason.

But then, during the filming of a paranormal TV show, Tamar picks up on Leslie, the recently murdered sister of her co-worker Hana—who later tells her the murderer was in the room with them. Knowing the best way to enhance her psychic ability is through sex, Tamar must rekindle her troubled relationship with Jason and rebuild their passion as she fights to solve the murder. Can she find the killer in time?

Spiritwalker is part of the Some Like It Haunted Collection by Totally Bound. Check out the other books in the collection:

And if you do, one of the collection's writers has put together a bingo card for the collection. See how many you can mark off!

Monday 5 October 2020

Recipes from my area

 I thought long and hard about this topic from Long and Short Reviews. What is a good recipe from my region? And, after much consideration, I decided it had to be Yorkshire puddings.

You can make one large pudding or several small ones - my mother used to make it in one large tin, but I personally prefer the smaller ones.

Take 200g plain flour, 3 eggs, 300ml milk and 4 tbsp vegetable oil.

Put the flour into a bowl, season to taste, then stir in the three eggs.

Whisk in the milk to a smooth batter.

Chill in the fridge. We usually did this for about an hour.

Heat the oven to 220C. Take a 12-hole muffin tin, pour the oil into the holes and heat in the oven for about five minutes.

Add the batter mix to the tin and bake for 30 minutes.

If you're making one large Yorkshire pudding you can also make something on the side, such as mince or a stew, to put inside the pudding after it's cooked, but I prefer to have these by themselves. They go great with a roast beef dinner.

So what recipes would you share?

Tuesday 22 September 2020

Favourite things to do in the autumn

 Another topic which is heavily affected by coronavirus, sadly, as we yet again are under tight restrictions. So much of what I enjoy doing has been curtailed this year by either my own illness or the world at large. So what do I enjoy doing in the autumn?

While there's still some daylight, I enjoy going for walks in the evening. This is less likely at the moment as I'm in recovery, but we try to get a short walk just to get out in the air. What is more likely is my husband's favourite hobby - taking night shots with his camera. We drive out to remote areas which aren't affected by street lights and take photos of the night sky. We even got a shooting star once.

The other things I used to like in autumn were going out to dinner and the cinema. I don't fancy watching a film in a steamed-up mask but we can, at the moment, still eat out if we're careful. In fact, health permitting, we're planning to visit one of our favourite restaurants this weekend as a belated birthday celebration for me. Here's hoping the rules won't have changed by then.

So what do you like to do in the autumn?

Tuesday 8 September 2020

Topics I never get tired of talking about

 So what topics do I never get tired of talking about? This was an interesting one, because frankly I'm not much of a talker in public, so it's not always easy to get me onto a topic I'll open up on.

The first is probably tattoos.

My friends are fairly evenly split on tattoos - I have eight of them, all easily covered, and half my friends disapprove while the others think they're great. Personally, I find tattoos addictive. As soon as we're fully out of lockdown I have at least three more planned. They'll all be fairly small, though - I have a back piece which took four and a half hours and I refuse to do that again.

The second - Richard III and Henry VIII.

I am a closet Ricardian and have also always been fascinated by Henry VIII. I recently read a book about the possibility of Henry having a Kell positive blood type, which would explain his own illnesses and his inability to father living children - a great theory, even though we'll never be able to test it.

Then we have my favourite music.

I love rock, particularly The Darkness and Queen. I'm deeply missing being able to see live music at the moment, but then aren't we all? These two bands in particular have a great way of filling the stage and exciting the crowd, which may sound obvious but the extremely dull Motley Crue gig I once went to would suggest it isn't.

And last of all - horror films.

I subscribe to the streaming service Shudder which is full of great horror films and, needless to say, has been very helpful during lockdown. If you like horror at all I strongly recommend it. Just having the three "Hell House LLC" films has made it worth the subscription in my book.

So what do you never get tired of talking about?

Monday 31 August 2020

Topics that make me stop reading a book

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews gave me pause. Usually when I stop reading a book it's because it simply isn't working for me, not because of a particular topic. However, I then remembered a few I had given up in the past and thought about what had put me off.

First off - rape. I accept rape can be a plot point and that's fine, but I was recently reading a historical in which the heroine had, in the past, been on the verge of being forced to marry her rapist and had been rescued by her now-husband at the last second. In the space of the first three chapters we had at least four instances of either her rapist approaching her at the royal court or her parents threatening to "expose" her if she didn't do what they said, and after the fourth of these I just thought "You know what, I'm done." I was there for the machinations at the royal court, not for all this.

The other main issue I had, having read a lot of short romance stories, was jealousy fiction which uses sex as so-called "punishment", i.e. one character deliberately makes the other jealous so the other will be all "Right, you're totally going to get it tonight!" Maybe it's because I find those sorts of headgames irritating in real life. In any event, I don't want to read about them - ever.

So what makes you stop reading?

Monday 24 August 2020

The strangest things I've eaten

 I write this from the depths of self-isolation, as I've started with mild covid symptoms, so please imagine me with a mask over my face.

I have never shied away from trying unusual foods. As a child, my dad and I used to make a game of finding new foods in the supermarket so that we could try them. I'm sure my mother was thrilled to bits to be presented with an acorn squash and told she was supposed to cook it.

So what have I tried? I'm not sure if starfruit and white currants count as strange (although I've never seen white currants since, much to my annoyance as they were lovely) but the weirdest fruit I've tried was the tamarillo. Surprisingly sharp and tasty, if rather messy with all the seeds. I'd love to try durian one day but have yet to go anywhere that sells it.

In terms of meat I've had snails, frogs' legs, kangaroo, alligator and alpaca. The alpaca was at a local restaurant called Rare (sadly no longer there) which did special evenings where they would serve unusual meats. To be honest, it had the flavour and texture of lamb - there was nothing about it that screamed strange - but it was remarkably nice. The frogs' legs were a bit of a disappointment, as they were served with so much sauce that I could barely taste them, although they felt rather like chicken.

So what's the strangest thing you've eaten?

Monday 17 August 2020

Favourite book or movie quotes and why

 The last time book quotes came up on Long and Short Reviews I posted one from Isaac Asimov about one of his fellow writers achieving an impossible dream. This time I gave some thought to film quotes, although whether they're as inspiring is open to question.

One favourite of mine is a very simple one from "The Conjuring". Ed and Lorraine Warren are discussing whether she should come with him on a paranormal investigation, as Ed wants to protect her, so Lorraine brings up the fact that he once said they had been brought together for a reason. But it's the way she introduces it that I love.

Lorraine: "Do you remember what you said to me on our wedding night?"

Ed: "Can we do it again?"

Lorraine: "After that."

It's a beautiful character moment, because people often forget that films, even horror films, live and die on their characters, and it's important that we buy into Ed and Lorraine's loving relationship for the film to have an effect.

My other favourite quote is technically not from a film, as originally it's from a poem by Arthur O'Shaughnessy. In "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory", Willy Wonka whispers "We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams." As a writer I love this quote, as it sums up a lot of what I love about writing - the fantasy and the creation. It's the sort of thing that keeps me working when I have a character who refuses to do what she's told.

So what are your favourite quotes?

Monday 10 August 2020

What I wanted to do when I grew up versus what I do

Another topic from Long and Short Reviews, and this one is a good one. 

I wanted to do a lot of things as a child. The first thing I wanted to do was be a secretary, primarily because I wanted to use a typewriter. That wore off after my dad actually bought me a typewriter; I used it constantly as a child, but as soon as we got writing programmes on our Amiga and PC, I was using those instead.

I briefly thought about being a journalist, but then decided I wanted to be an actress instead. The theatre and cinema have always fascinated me, and I was at the time a decent actress and good singer, so I stuck with it until I was about seventeen, when I got sick and tired of arguing with my dad over career choices and picked a different subject to study at university. For a long time after that I had no idea what I wanted to be, although I always knew I enjoyed writing - I just didn't believe you could make a paying job out of it.

After spending several years as a university administrator, I now work as a debt advisor and am a writer in my spare time. I don't think writing will ever be my primary job, but I think it's less stressful to be able to write what I want when I want rather than be restricted by what pays the bills. Debt advice is surprisingly similar to my previous field - it's all about helping people and imparting knowledge, it's just that the knowledge base has changed.

So what did you want to do when you grew up?

Monday 3 August 2020

Tropes of romance

The topic from Long and Short Reviews this week is actually my favourite tropes, but I've decided to subvert this a little bit, because I don't particularly like tropes. Romance, including my own field of erotic romance, is full of them and they drive me up the wall. And my least favourite is one which you'll all be familiar with, that of Tears Before Bedtime.

It was something I learned to grasp with pinpoint accuracy when I was reading romantic fanfiction as a starter to my writing. About two chapters before the end of the story some calamity would happen which is supposed to make the reader think that things might not end happily. If you're reading Nicholas Sparks it may well not do, but for the most part we expect romance to have a happily ever after ending, so very few people are going to be convinced that things really are doomed. But we do it anyway, because...plot.

I got very sick of writing these dramatic moments since, nine times out of ten, it could all be resolved if our romantic leads would just talk to each other. So whenever I can, I try to subvert this and have the catastrophe be something that isn't character-based. In Photograph I had my heroine get shot, for instance. Nice and dramatic and doesn't rely on a ridiculous misunderstanding.

And I subvert it as well in my new short Spiritwalker, which is out on 20th October (pre-order 8th September), but you'll have to see for yourself how I do that. 

Tamar Steele, a successful medium for a paranormal investigative team, should be happy with her life—but life seems to be against her. Her psychic field is being mysteriously blocked, causing her physical pain and, worse, making it more and more difficult for her to come, creating stress in her relationship with long-term boyfriend Jason.

But then, during the filming of a paranormal TV show, Tamar picks up on Leslie, the recently murdered sister of her co-worker Hana—who later tells her the murderer was in the room with them. Knowing the best way to enhance her psychic ability is through sex, Tamar must rekindle her troubled relationship with Jason and rebuild their passion as she fights to solve the murder. Can she find the killer in time?

So what are your favourite or least favourite tropes?

Monday 27 July 2020

Stuff on my bucket list

This topic from Long and Short Reviews was an interesting one. I am the kind of person who adds stuff to my bucket list all the time - I'm always wanting to try new things. So I could be here all day listing stuff I want to do, but to spare everyone I'll narrow it down to a few.

Go up in a glider. I've always loved flying as long as it's not in a commercial plane (I do hate all the messing about at airports) but have never been up in a glider, although I've been up in a hot air balloon. There's something very peaceful about being up in the air.

Visit Iceland. It's always been ruled off our holiday list as being too expensive, but since my sister-in-law went a few years ago I've wanted to go. I'd love to see the Northern Lights.

Dinner on the Orient Express. This one is potentially easier as voucher companies have this all the time. It's only the getting there that has put me off. I love Agatha Christie, so the idea of going on the Orient Express - even within the UK - thrills me.

Write for Harlequin. I've looked into this one more since they started their Dare line, but so far have been put off by the long list of requirements. However, I may get there in the end.

So what's on your list?

Tuesday 14 July 2020

Things I collect

Looking at this topic from Long and Short Reviews, there was only really one answer to give. I've been a collector of a lot of things over the years - I used to collect keyrings as a child, and had a huge bunch of them before I was forced to throw them out when I left home - but I have one thing in particular I've been collecting for the last few years.

Autographs. Occasionally via eBay, but primarily through writing to celebrities.

The above is one of my Holy Grails. Gene Wilder was well known for being difficult to get unless you jumped through certain hoops - you had to provide your own photo, mention more than one thing you'd seen him in (no hardship there, I loved his work) and add that you knew he was a very busy man, otherwise you'd get a pre-print and a note about how he was too busy to sign. I managed to get it right, and the above picture was the result.

I have also bought autographs by way of celebrities' websites, such as the Felissa Rose one above. These are better than going via eBay since you can pretty much guarantee they're genuine and you can also get them personalised, which is a win for me since I'm never going to sell them.

So what do you collect?

Tuesday 7 July 2020

A project or hobby of mine inspired by a book

This topic from Long and Short Reviews was an interesting one. I couldn't think of any interest of mine that had been inspired by a book. There was, however, an interest which had been revived, if you will, by a book - that book being The American Presidents Without The Boring Bits.

As a teenager I was fixated with the USA. I would spend hours poring over world atlases and an enormous dictionary my dad had bought because it had all the presidents in the back, memorising state capitals and presidents and anything else I could come up with. I fully intended to emigrate and get my green card as soon as I finished university, so I figured I needed all the information I could get.

However, life happened, and here I am still in the UK. I happened upon the above book, bought it, and found myself fascinated by the USA all over again. I no longer have plans to emigrate (I'd be lost without the NHS) but my retro-Americana is all over the house and I can still remember all the state capitals. Well, nearly. I still get the Dakotas and Carolinas mixed up.

So what about you?

Wednesday 1 July 2020

The last place I travelled to and why

This topic from Long and Short Reviews made me smile.

Ah, travel. After so many weeks in lockdown I feel like I've forgotten what that's like. I haven't gone further than the supermarket lately, and my holiday was of course cancelled. So where was the last place I travelled to?


It's one of my ambitions to see every Shakespeare play in the theatre at least once, and where would be better than the Royal Shakespeare Theatre? So I drove four and a half hours (I can see Americans laughing at my thinking that that's a long way) to Stratford-upon-Avon to see King John.

It was an amazing play, despite being seated next to a man who put his legs in two different counties, and Stratford is a beautiful town. I got there early so had plenty of time to look around and relax in the park.

So where was the last place you travelled to?

Monday 22 June 2020

My "go-to" book or movie for a pick-me-up

This topic from Long and Short Reviews was an interesting one. For one thing, when I need a pick-me-up, I don't tend to turn to a book. I don't know why - I think it's just the immediacy of a film that does it. And my favourite film, funnily enough, is not one that people are likely to think of for a pick-me-up.

Heavenly Creatures.

I know a lot of people would look at that film and think "How on earth could a film with an ending like that be enjoyable?" And I would agree, except that the rest of the film is both passionate and uplifting. Peter Jackson's direction takes you through a wild swirl of romance and excitement which sweeps you up, all the more to shock you at the end - by which point I'm in a better mood and more ready for it.

My other two go-to films are Blazing Saddles and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I absolutely adore Gene Wilder and he is at his hysterical best in these two films, especially Blazing Saddles which is one of the few comedies I actually like. Even though I've seen them both dozens of times I don't miss a moment whenever I watch them.

So what do you go to for a pick-me-up?

Monday 15 June 2020

My life in photos

I am terrible at taking photos - my husband is the photographer in our family. So when this topic from Long and Short Reviews came up, I had him to thank for taking so many. In fact, I almost had too many to choose from. Before lockdown we went to a lot of scenic places and he always, always takes his camera, knowing full well that if he doesn't a red kite will start posing in front of him.

Firstly we have Dash and Spot, my two adorable little furballs who like to watch me write while begging for treats.

Then we have Cala D'Or, which is our favourite holiday destination. The bar in the photo is Kallypso Tutti Frutti, owned by two of our friends and governed by their two parrots Tutti and Frutti. We intend to go back there as soon as we're able, which will probably be next year now.

This was taken at Bruntingthorpe. We love going to aircraft museums - my husband gets to explain what everything is, while I get to admire them. We came here specifically to see this plane as I had never seen one before.

And of course, we have my writing.

The green bag above was a gift from a Smut By The Sea event run by Victoria Blisse. I haven't got to a Smut event for a while, but it was always fun playing games and listening to readings. I will always remember one by Rachel Kincaid which caused someone behind me to gasp "Oh my God!"

"The Hand He Dealt" was my first novel, published after being critiqued by the Romantic Novelists' Association, and it still holds a place in my heart after all this time. I've had many heroes and heroines over the years, but Ash will always be the hero to die for.

I'm so looking forward to seeing your photos!

Monday 8 June 2020

Favourite poems, short stories or novellas

An interesting topic from Long and Short Reviews this week. Most of my favourite stories are novel-length, so I had to stop and think which shorts I enjoyed. The first one was probably obvious.

Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle.

Oh, how I love Sherlock Holmes. Not so much as a personality - Watson is more likeable - but I love his stories. My favourite in particular is Silver Blaze, which contained the famous phrase "the curious incident of the dog in the night-time".

The others I immediately thought of were Stephen King, although I can't remember which book they were in. One was "Dolan's Cadillac", the other was "You Know They Got A Hell Of A Band".

"Dolan's Cadillac", which was later made into a rather poor quality film, involved a car being buried under a road and, according to King, could never have happened the way he told it as he didn't want to give people ideas.

"You Know They Got A Hell Of A Band" is probably best read without spoilers, but it was one of the creepiest King stories I've ever read, focussing on the fact that so many rock stars died young.

So which are your favourites?

Monday 1 June 2020

Things I wish I were better at

What do I wish I were better at? If you asked my husband, he'd probably say housework, which I admit I'm terrible at. But to be honest, I've never wanted to be any better at cleaning. I can run a dishwasher and that's about it.

What I would like to be better at is dancing. As a teenager I wanted to go into musical theatre; I studied acting and was a trained singer, but I fell down on the dance side of things. I have some rhythm, but can't remember a routine and lack the precision to be in a chorus line.

I have also always wanted to be able to write songs. I attempted this several times in my teens and can still remember most of them, but all were an embarrassment. I occasionally hit on an OK lyric, but I struggled to write original music and was limited by what I could play on my keyboard.

The final thing? Driving. I've been driving for years, but a few years ago I made use of vouchers for a drifting course and the chance to drive a Lamborghini and an Ariel Atom. Because it was made clear to me that if I spun the car it would immediately be taken back in and I would lose the rest of my laps, I didn't dare push either of the fast cars to do what I knew they could do. As for the drifting, I spent my five laps spinning round in circles. I never did manage a proper drift.

So what do you wish you were better at?

Monday 25 May 2020

Books set in my city or state

This topic from Long and Short Reviews was a tough one. For a while I honestly couldn't think of any book set anywhere near where I live. However, I then remembered that Haworth is within an hour's drive of me, which means only one thing... Bronte Country.

While the Brontes liked to obscure the names of the places in their stories, they famously set them in Yorkshire. "Shirley" is particularly well known for taking place in a Yorkshire mill town dealing with the Luddites, while "Wuthering Heights" is set up on the Yorkshire moors. I've often gone walking around the area to enjoy the moors the Bronte sisters would have enjoyed during their lives.

In my own writing I have often set stories in Yorkshire, but rarely described it to that degree. I did, however, write a short for Smut By The Sea called "I Like It Wet" which was set in Scarborough - a place I would love to visit again now that I'm stuck indoors.

So which books have been set near you?

Monday 18 May 2020

How I'd fare in a zombie apocalypse

I can safely say this topic from Long and Short Reviews was not one I had ever considered. I don't generally watch zombie movies, I don't watch The Walking Dead, and I don't really read zombie novels, either. So I had to really think about what would be required during a zombie apocalypse.

I admit I'm not much use for practical purposes. I'm not a great hand-to-hand fighter, not much good at scavenging or McGyvering equipment, I don't like leading groups and wouldn't know much about building shelter if necessary. So that's not a great start.

On the other hand, if I got the chance to spy on zombies from afar I think I'd be quite good at figuring out their behavioural patterns and ways to defeat them. I'm also a good follower and, having watched many horror movies, have no qualms whatsoever about using weapons - I would quite happily pick up a gun and blow a zombie's head off.

So I'd be the intelligent follower in the group. Whether that would help me survive long is open to question. I can't speak for zombie films, but I do know that in horror films it's often the comic relief that gets killed, so I'd be behind them at any rate.

So how would you fare in a zombie apocalypse?

Monday 11 May 2020

A villain that I wish could be redeemed and why

I struggled a bit with this topic from Long and Short Reviews, because I don't tend to think about redeeming villains. I suppose there was Draco Malfoy of the "Harry Potter" series, but from what I read he was mostly redeemed already by the end of the story.

So the only one I could think of initially was Heathcliff. I love "Wuthering Heights" and Heathcliff's doomed love for Cathy drives the story even as he ruins the lives of everyone else around him. I've read the Clandestine Classic version which shows him living an eternal life in Cathy's arms and definitely found that to be a great ending.

I did, however, come up with one of my own - Reed James.

In my shorts "I Heard Your Voice" and "Tamar Rising" Reed is very much the antagonist - I've had readers tell me they want to slap him. A celebrity medium who secretly uses the sensitives around him to leech their psychic powers, he is an arrogant jerk and I very much enjoyed making him suffer. So I thought when writing the third part of the trilogy, "Spiritwalker", I would try to redeem him.

Sadly for anyone who will read this later this year, I failed. Reed is basically irredeemable.

I did, however, manage to make him suffer a bit more.

So which villain would you like to redeem?

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Favourite holiday of the year and why

This topic from Long and Short Reviews was an easy one, because for me there is only one real holiday in a year. I don't tend to do anything for Easter (apart from the odd egg), we go out for dinner on Halloween to avoid having to pretend we're not in to trick-or-treaters, and as we're in the UK Thanksgiving doesn't happen - although I do envy Americans for the fantastic Thanksgiving feast.

No, for me it all comes down to Christmas.

I love the build-up, the dark nights lit with fairy lights, the mulled wine and the presents. I love having Christmas dinner with family and cooking beef on Boxing Day. For me it really is the most wonderful time of the year.

So I'm hoping the current circumstances have settled down by then and we can actually spend it with family, because we haven't seen them in weeks.

So what's your favourite holiday?

Monday 27 April 2020

Reason why I stopped reading a series I loved

This topic from Long and Short Reviews was a tough one, because when I start a series I usually finish it even if it is driving me mad. So I struggled to find one that I had actually given up on.

I did, however, find one.

"The Forest of Hands and Teeth".

I had never read a zombie novel before so I thought I would give the series a try. The first one I enjoyed, although I did notice a couple of points which should have given me an idea of where the series was going. Unfortunately these points became serious annoyances in the second novel, which is why I gave up.

The reason? The utter inertia of the characters. Nobody could make a decision, nobody could do anything, they just sat and agonised about everything. I spent most of the second novel screaming "Just DO something!" Needless to say, the third novel and the prequel remained unbought, because I couldn't face any more characters who let the world go past them.

So what led you to give up on a series?

Monday 20 April 2020

My silliest pet peeves

Another tough topic from Long and Short Reviews, because I struggled to think of pet peeves that could be considered silly. All mine seem quite obvious to me. I did, however, manage to think of a few which might not fit into everyone's world.

My first is best explained by saying that I hate, absolutely hate, being in the cab on the way home from a restaurant thinking "I wonder what that would have been like?" If there is something weird or new to me on the menu, I have to try it. Often this has worked out (cactus sorbet, anyone?) but a number of times I've been left with a meal I couldn't stand, leading my husband to get annoyed that I didn't just order the spaghetti bolognese like a normal person.

Another hate? Streets that don't show up properly on satnavs. Mine is built into my dashboard and can't be updated, which means new streets (like the one I live on) completely confuse it - but even without that, I have spent many times driving in circles because my satnav has decided that there is no number 125 on this street even though I know that's where the restaurant is.

And finally, as a film lover - trailers that give away the plot. Particularly, as a horror fan, trailers that give away all the good bits. I recently saw a film called "The Prodigy" which had, in its promo, announced that they had had to re-edit a scene after test screenings because audiences had been so floored by one scare that they missed all the dialogue in the following scene. It was a good scare, I agree, so why the hell was it in the trailer? What a great way to ruin a film!

So what are your weirdest pet peeves?

Tuesday 14 April 2020

Characters I'd invite to a dinner party

Since I'm not a dinner party person, this topic from Long and Short Reviews was a tricky one. I ended up going from episodes of Come Dine With Me for inspiration as to what makes a good dinner party guest. And going from that show, what I really want is someone who doesn't nitpick over whether I hand-rolled my pasta. However, I did manage to come up with a few possibilities.

Emma Woodhouse and Jane Fairfax. Two rivals from Jane Austen, to a degree anyway, as both are far too polite to openly rival each other so wouldn't be bickering over the soup. Emma Woodhouse has the wit and charm to carry a good conversation, while Jane Fairfax could entertain everyone by singing and playing the piano.

Eric Northman. Primarily because he was my favourite character from the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries, although I can't remember if vampires can eat, so maybe he could just stop in for drinks afterwards.

Lorraine Warren. I'm thinking of the character from the "Conjuring" films rather than Lorraine in real life, who obviously I didn't know personally. Lorraine in the films is a fascinating, caring woman who I think would be a great conversationalist.

So who would you invite to a dinner party?

Tuesday 7 April 2020

Topics I could give an impromptu speech on

This topic from Long and Short Reviews made me cringe, simply because the idea of giving any sort of impromptu speech is enough to bring me out in hives. I can’t even bring myself to join Toastmasters. However, I used to run student inductions, so I suppose I can’t claim to be as terrible at speech-making as I’m making out, although I still would never volunteer to do it.

So what could I give a speech on?

There are only two topics I can think of that I know enough about for this. One is the Parker-Hulme murder case. Slightly odd thing to know a lot about, I admit, but as my favourite film is “Heavenly Creatures” I did a lot of research into the background of the case and read a lot of the considerable literature on the subject – into the families of Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, their schooling, the fantasy worlds they created, and the ultimate murder trial. So I could probably manage that, if anyone would actually want to hear it.

The other possible topic is paranormal investigating. While researching one of my stories I went on several paranormal investigations and, while very little actually happened, I could go into some detail on the sorts of activities these crews use to try and coax spirits out of hiding. I could also give plenty of information on how people fake this, too – I don’t believe the actual organisers were faking, but there were definitely a few attendees who I’m certain were playing tricks.

So what could you give an impromptu speech on?

Monday 30 March 2020

Favourite book series and why

I had to think a bit about this topic from Long and Short Reviews. What book series do I actually read? I've read quite a few YA dystopian series but wouldn't consider most of them to be among the best I've read - I always had some sort of problem with them.

The first series I could think of was Philippa Gregory's Tudor series. I don't think any of them are as good as "The Other Boleyn Girl", but I love that period in history (and I am aware there are disagreements as to the accuracy of Gregory's books) and I felt like she made the period come alive. It takes a lot to make me interested in Anne Boleyn after having read a dozen different versions of her story.

Similarly I loves Suzannah Dunn's series of Tudor novels. Written in a more modern style, they capture the mood well without getting caught up in language.

Isaac Asimov's Foundation series is always a favourite. I always admire people who can write good science fiction, since I love the idea of complex world-building but never have the nerve to try it myself.

And I couldn't leave it without mentioning one of my own. My trilogy "I Heard Your Voice", "Tamar Rising" and the upcoming "Spiritwalker" were some of my favourite stories to write. I love writing paranormal romance, and paranormal investigator Tamar Steele was an amazing character.

So which series have you loved and why?

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Favourite things to do in the spring

Ah, if only we'd known, when this topic from Long and Short Reviews initially came up, that we'd be spending the spring behind closed doors. At least, I am. As of today the UK is on lockdown, I'm working from home and not setting foot outside except to go to the supermarket or pharmacist.

So it's a little unfortunate that one of my favourite things to do in the spring is go to nature reserves, because that won't be happening this year.

I also had hopes to go back to Alnwick to see the cherry blossoms, but again, that's closed.

What else do I like to do in the spring? Well, the nights are lighter but the weather is still cold, so I also like to go to the cinema and visit new restaurants. Again, not much chance of that at the moment.

So my plans this year are to watch as many films at home as I can, read a lot of books, and drink a lot of Mojitos. May as well enjoy being inside!

So what are your favourite things to do in the spring?

Monday 16 March 2020

The weirdest thing I learned while reading

I had to twist this topic by Long and Short Reviews, because I honestly couldn't think of anything weird I had learned by reading fiction. I tend never to assume that weird things I read in fiction are true. So I came up with one weird thing from non-fiction and two from researching my own writing.

Otters play. I was a great lover of Gavin Maxwell's "Ring of Bright Water" and was fascinated to discover that otters are playful animals, spending hours tossing rocks around for sport. He also described that when playing fetch with an otter, it is the otter that throws the ball and the human who fetches it.

What happens if you squeeze a full can of drink. I had a scene in "The Hand He Dealt" with Ash squeezing his can of beer in shock and spraying it all over his girlfriend. My husband insisted the beer would simply run down the sides. So we filled a can with water, my husband stood in the shower and squeezed it. The resulting jet of water hit the ceiling, proving my point entirely.

You can pin someone to a tree with a spear. I haven't actually used this one yet, but my husband likes to remind me of it as a weird question I once asked him. Although apparently you'd be better using a pike. A spear is for throwing.

So what weird things have you learned while reading?

Sunday 8 March 2020

One skill I wish I had but don't

The main problem I had with this topic from Long and Short Reviews was narrowing it down. I can think of plenty of things I wish I could do and can't, many of which I've attempted and failed miserably at. I did, however, manage to get it down to three.

Songwriting. As a moody teenager I spent a lot of time trying to write songs. I wasn't as bad with the lyrics as I was with the music - I can't play any musical instruments, so was stuck trying to pick out notes on a keyboard - but, looking back, they were angsty, badly rhymed nonsense. As was demonstrated when I showed one to an ex and his response was "Well... you've certainly put a lot of effort into it, anyway."

Dancing. I can just about stick to a beat, but that's it. As a child I wanted to be in stage musicals, but while I could act and sing quite well, I can't remember a dance routine for the life of me. I also have no balance or elasticity - I can't even do a high kick.

Rock singing. I haven't sung in years, but I used to be a classically trained singer. The snag with that is that, while I could manage classical songs and some musical theatre, I couldn't do pop (apart from LeAnn Rimes) and really couldn't do rock, which I love. My singing teacher thought I'd be even unhappier if it was the other way round, and maybe she was right.

So what skill do you wish you had?

Monday 2 March 2020

Characters who remind me of myself and why

Long and Short Reviews always comes up with interesting topics, and this one was particularly thought-provoking. Even when I write characters myself they're never that close to me, although we may share some characteristics. So I gave it some thought and managed to come up with three possibilties.

"Rebecca" - Mrs de Winter. The nameless Mrs de Winter suffers in the shadow of her husband's first wife, the charming Rebecca, but starts to come into her own as the novel progresses. I found she resonated well with me as a teenager, as I was also deeply introverted and often thought I wasn't good enough alongside my more confident friends.

Laura Ingalls. Okay, I accept that she wasn't technically a character since the books were semi-autobiographical, but the imaginative and determined Laura was someone I could easily identify with, much more than her pretty and goody-two-shoes sister Mary.

"I Heard Your Voice" - Tamar Steele. I couldn't let this one pass without one of mine. Tamar is probably the closest of my characters to me, with her fascination with the paranormal and determination to make her own way in the world.

And I'm happy to announce that Tamar will be returning in another story, "Spiritwalker", which will be on general release from Totally Bound on 20th October.

So which characters remind you of yourself?

Monday 24 February 2020

My favourite memory and why

This topic from Long and Short Reviews got me thinking. I honestly had no idea what my favourite memory would be - it's not something I think about. In the end, I came up with one which is likely to seem very obvious.

My wedding day.

We got married at the local registry office in a family-only ceremony, walked down through town to a restaurant for the wedding breakfast and then had a larger reception in the evening at a hotel.

That was thirteen years ago in April, a surprisingly warm and bright day in which everybody got along famously, nobody turned up late and everyone had a good time.

And I got to dress like a medieval princess. You can't lose.

So what's your favourite memory?

Sunday 16 February 2020

Types of exercise I enjoy

When this topic from Long and Short Reviews came up I could hear my husband laughing hysterically. I am not a person who exercises and never have been. So my favourite type of exercise?


My husband and I like to go for long walks around the area. Yorkshire is known for its beautiful scenery and wildlife, so we'll go out walking and take photos everywhere.

This was taken at Snaizeholme up in the Yorkshire Dales. It took some getting to, but the red squirrels come right up to you to eat.

This was at Brimham Rocks, a beautiful natural area.

And this was up on Ilkley Moor. Again a bit of a hike, but worth it.

So what types of exercise do you enjoy?

Monday 10 February 2020

Books I re-read

This topic from Long and Short Reviews was a surprisingly tricky one. I read voraciously, but don't always have time to re-read even if I want to. However, when checking my Kindle, I did find a few that I faithfully re-read because they never, ever get old.

Royal Blood - Bertram Fields. This book is what made me a Ricardian, and it's always fascinating to dip back into it and remind myself why Richard III interested me so much.

This Is Going To Hurt - Adam Kay. This book and its sequel "Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas" are an absolutely hilarious take on being a junior doctor. How that man managed to keep a straight face through some of these incidents is beyond me.

The Wilder Life - Wendy McClure. Wendy McClure travels America following Laura Ingalls Wilder's life, and it makes for an amazing read.

So what do you re-read or want to re-read?

Thursday 6 February 2020

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In the bar at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Jade Bleecker celebrates with her three best friends, all of whom are there to get married - Jade is their bridesmaid, and beginning to believe that three times a bridesmaid really does mean never a bride. Tattooed, pierced and a martial artist, Jade is used to inspiring fear rather than desire in men, and even if she did find one who could handle her - well, no man is worth trusting with her body.

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