Guest post from author Nancy Jardine

Today fellow Crooked Cat author Nancy Jardine is taking over my blog for a guest post:

How comfy is your genre butt-cushion?

Some authors find themselves a neat little genre niche, they pop into it and continue to write there, happy as a burrowing bunny. Other authors don’t settle into place so easily. If they’re like me, they’re trying out caves, tents and corners of old houses seeking the perfect place to spend the next writing phase as they produce work in different writing styles and across sub-genres. This isn’t necessarily due to a scattershot mind- it’s more of finding butt-comfort in many different locations and writing as the heart dictates.

Does the idea of different butt-cushions appeal to you?new crannog pic

What’s absolutely spectacular about butt-comfort writing is finding a publisher – like Crooked Cat Publishing – who accepts those different writing styles because they choose to publish quality work across diverse genres. The Crooked Cat Publishing cradle of authors has produced an amazing variety of work in a very short time. I’m delighted to be one of them, and reading a newly published Crooked Cat novel is a treat I look forward to when I can snatch some precious reading time.

However, appreciating the variety that’s produced by Crooked Cat doesn’t mean I want to try to write in every one of those diverse writing styles. I don’t see myself as forming a dystopian cushion dent, a political thriller one, or a pure fantasy one just yet – though who knows?

How many genre styles would you be prepared to write in?

To date, my personal butt-dents are in squashy moss-filled cushions in Celtic roundhouses, Ancient Roman tents and Roman Fortresses- in my Celtic Fervour Series of Historical Romantic Adventures (Crooked Cat). For Topaz Eyes – a mystery thriller (Crooked Cat), I needed to sit on a deep-filled cushion. The hidden jewellery cache contained in it prodded and poked me very regularly till I got the details of the complex family tree structure, and the murderous and grasping family members, smoothly into place.

Two of my contemporary novels are in between first and second publishers just now. One is a contemporary mystery set in an old Yorkshire manor house: an antique tapestry cushion was perfect for this ancestral based mystery. The second is a contemporary mystery thriller with humorous romantic elements. This needed a large and squashy cushion with a humorous ‘highland-hero image’ adorning it- this writing being a real mix of romantic sub-genres.

Where’s my current comfort to be found?

A cushion I’ve completely butt-flattened recently has been filled with a curious mixture of bracken and polystyrene chips. This time-travel for early teens zips from present day back to third century AD Scotland. Picking out the jagged bits of bracken from my butt is almost complete, though it has been a painfully slow process.

I’ve a new filling for Book Four of my Celtic Fervour Series of historical romantic adventures (Crooked Cat Publishing) – my current WIP. It’s now got heathers as well as mosses and brackens since my Garrigill warriors are heading even further north in my far northern Britannia of AD 84. I might have to top it up a few times as I conduct more research, to ensure I give my readers an authentic backdrop. I want them to be able to really live the lives of my characters during this ancient era. I don’t fancy adding any stones to the filling but the ancient brochs of northern Scotland are very interesting structures and are begging to be included!

In the corner of my writing area, there’s a trio of tartan covered cushions dating from 1850. A complex family tree adorns them: the ancestral details of my family saga. This tree is easier to read than the one in Topaz Eyes (Crooked Cat) since the names are mostly Scottish and not German and Dutch, but the structure of the plot is also a complex challenge. The first cushion for book 1 isn’t dusty at all because as soon as I sit on it and ponder, my resident 24/7 grandchildren find me another occupation. It’s a nice springy cushion, though, and accommodates me every now and then.

What about you? Got a nice place to sit?

12Feb2014Find Nancy Jardine at:

Blog: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.com

Website: http://nancyjardineauthor.weebly.com

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1hLgWT7

Twitter: @nansjar

Also found as Nancy Jardine on Pinterest, Goodreads, Google+, LinkedIn …and many more places.

 

Nancy’s Crooked Cat Bookstore Page: 
http://www.crookedcatbooks.com/index.php?route=product%2Fmanufacturer%2Fproduct&manufacturer_id=24

 

Amazon US author page http://amzn.to/RJZzZz

Amazon UK author page http://amzn.to/1ehiqSt

*Celtic Fervour Series – 3 full length reads for less than £5 from Amazon UK.*

 

Guest post from author Jane Bwye

Today I welcome fellow Crooked Cat author Jane Bwye to my blog for a guest post. Over to you, Jane:

janeThe art of writing is like any other art. If the muse hits, the words flow steadily onto the page and foolish is the person who ignores the impulse; for the time can flee, never to be recalled…

…Or that’s the mystic’s view, and aren’t we all mystics at one point or another in our lives? I defy anyone to deny they have experienced the feeling.

But who hasn’t ignored it at the dead of a wintry night, when a soft pillow and a warm duvet cocoons them in easeful luxury – at their peril? It is a transient gift, capricious. But I have learned in the past year that it can be cultivated like any other.

A musician requires hours and hours of practice and aching fingers; painting needs an abundance of time, contemplation, experimentation and a mountain of material to discard; a singer has to practice long hours to strengthen the voice, open the throat, raise the diaphragm and produce the impeccably tuned note at a given time; the dancer suffers agonies from broken toes and bunions in order to pirouette with effortless ease and create an airy impression of faerie lightness.

At the beginning of this year, when I realised I was, amazingly, a REAL author, I resolved to act like one and practice my craft in public. My blog is regularly updated twice a week. Yes, I know that every Tuesday I host a different author – but we have to interact also – network with each other to advance our skills and keep in practice. On Fridays it has become less and less of a burden as the weeks progress, to dig out old diaries and pictures and tell of my travels round the world.

Comparatively speaking, only a tiny insignificant fraction of the world actually views my blog. But, amazingly, that matters less to me than obeying the urge to be productive, whether or not I am feeling like it at the time. One reader is always better than none.

That also goes for times when I respond to invitations to be a guest on other blogs. Like now. This piece has disturbed my peace for many weeks, grating on my conscience and causing despair and procrastination. Now, at the eleventh hour before dawn on a Sunday morning I suddenly pick up my pen and it writes for me. In a flash, 400 words appear of their own accord.

Take them as you will.

Visit Jane’s blog to read more about her and her books >

New Chick Lit novel: Independent Jenny

Well hello! Today sees the launch of my third romantic comedy book Independent Jenny. It’s now available as a paperback or e-book from all good online book sellers :)

Here’s a free extract … [Jenny's husband Ross has moved out after confessing his infidelity, and he's come to visit with his brother, Aiden:]

Independent Jenny…on Sunday at six, the doorbell rang and there, acting like a formal guest outside his own home, was Ross and just behind him was Aiden, smiling awkwardly. I knew he’d be feeling weird about this but I was glad he’d tagged along. Ross gave me a quick hug and went into the kitchen with a bag of Chinese food. Aiden gave me a hug too and whispered in my ear:

“How you doing? I told him he’s an arse, you know.”

“Thanks Aiden.”

He smelled nice. As he pulled away from the hug, our eyes locked and suddenly I thought: why hadn’t I gone with Aiden, instead of Ross? He wasn’t as lazy or selfish enough to ever cheat on a woman. We looked at each other for a moment and something sparked in my chest. Then, as if he’d heard the flame ignite, he looked alarmed and walked away quickly.

What was wrong with me? Was I really that much of a mess that I was now getting a crush on my brother-in-law? I sighed and went through to the dining room, where Ross was getting out plates and glasses. We sat and tucked into the food and drank the wine. Aiden and I did most of the talking, mostly him asking me about my week, about seeing my sister, and so on. It felt staged and strange and I kept wishing Ross wasn’t there so we could just talk normally and I could tell him how I really felt about my week. Aiden had always been a friend to me, but somehow Ross’ actions had now put a divider up between us.

“I’ve had a manic week,” Ross butted in while I was talking about Sadie.

“Oh yeah?” I asked, sipping some wine. I hadn’t eaten much and was on my third glass. It was quickly going to my head and somehow, Aiden was looking more and more attractive compared to his cheating, lying bastard of a brother.

Ross started talking about work and I listened while nibbling on a pancake roll. Now that I thought about it, I remembered that Aiden had hinted he liked me when we first met, at their parent’s house the first Christmas I’d spent with them. Ross had a headache on Christmas Eve, and went to bed early. Aiden and I sat up late talking and he’d said something like;

“Ross is a lucky guy. If I’d met you first…”

Or something like that. And we had a moment. We nearly kissed. Or had I imagined it? I’d only been seeing Ross a few months and I felt guilty about it the next morning. But I didn’t see Aiden again for a long time, and by then Ross and I were more serious and, well, I hadn’t given it another thought. Until now.

I looked at Aiden as Ross continued to bore us about his job. I couldn’t help but notice how cute he was, now I looked properly. He glanced at me then back at Ross. Then he glanced at me again. Was I staring? I went back to looking at Ross but I couldn’t resist.

I imagined kissing Aiden and my heart fluttered. Was it just the wine or did everything suddenly make sense?

Find out more about Independent Jenny here >

Review of Wish I Was Here

So last night I went to an advance screening of Zach Braff’s new movie Wish I Was Here. I was one of 46,520 backers who helped fund the film via crowd-sourcing (and I LOVE that I was a teeny tiny part of this … I mean, it’d be a 19 on the end of that figure without me, right?) Read this previous blog on why I backed Zach Braff’s movie here.

Wish I Was HereNow, although I didn’t get to meet him (I’ve met him before so I can’t complain … too much), it was fantastic to see Zach at the screening. He came out beforehand full of energy and spirit, and said hi to everyone. He thanked us for backing the movie and said if we like a particular part of the film, we can know we contributed to that part – “if you see a prop you particularly like, you can say: I frigging paid for that prop!”

Then the movie started… and I was a little nervous. I mean, I trust Zach – I wouldn’t have given him my money if I didn’t – but after all this waiting, was it really going to live up to my expectations?

Yes, of course it did. It exceeded them, which you wouldn’t think could be possible if you saw how psyched I was before we went in.

Now, enough waffle I hear you say, what about the movie? What happened?

I’m not going to give a bunch of details about the story, but Aiden (played by Zach) is in a bad place. His father is dying, his brother’s unhelpful, he doesn’t have a job and his pursuit of his life’s dream isn’t happening, his wife isn’t particularly happy and he’s got two kids to feed. Although the movie centres around him, the whole family have their own little tales to tell…

It’s about family, relationships, the pursuit of your dreams, spirituality, death, life…

It made me cry … but it also made me laugh. A lot.

It made me feel the way I did the first time I saw Garden State (Zach’s first movie) and when I saw All New People (a play he wrote and starred in): Uplifted. Inspired. Motivated.

But enough about me and how it made me feel. Let’s talk about YOU. You should so go see this movie. It’s out in the UK this Friday, 19 September. Go see something honest and real and moving … You’ll love it.

Finally … in the unlikely event that Zach should read this blog, I have a message for you. If I had met you again, I’d have told you that your movie is absolutely amazing, thank you for allowing your fans to be a part of it, and thanks for the inspiration. You went out and made your dream come true; and each time I encounter something new that you do, it inspires me to work that bit harder on my own dreams. So: thank you a thousand times over.

Enough with the cheese … Readers: Independent Jenny – my third novel – is out on Tuesday! Woo-hoo! :)

Interview with author Isabella Louise Anderson

Today I have Isabella Louise Anderson joining me for an interview. Isabella’s novel The Right Design is out now, and I for one can’t wait to read it! Welcome to my blog, Isabella!

Firstly (I always ask this!) how long have you been writing fiction and what first inspired you? I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but didn’t really start taking it seriously until March of 2010. After I took a Gotham Writers’ Workshop class, I was inspired more than ever to become an author.

The Right Design Isabella Louise AndersonTell us something about The Right Design: In 2011, I wrote “The Right Design” during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It was my first time to try to win, and on day thirty, though I was exhausted, I was thrilled to say that I wrote a book in a month.

I see the novel is mostly set in Palm Beach, is that a favourite spot of yours? No, I’m more of a country girl, who loves living Texas, but since my family has a vacation home in Palm Beach, it seemed like the right place for the storyline to take place.

Tell us a bit about your main character, Carrie? She’s worked for everything she has, and is very successful in her career as an interior designer. Carrie is also very close to her sister and brother-in-law, and would do anything for them. Carrie is a very independent woman, though at times, and in certain situations, she can be vulnerable to a man. She’s the kind of woman who would like to give people a second and third chance, but after Roger cheated on her, she just can’t trust again.

And what about your next book, what can we expect? **SMILES** My next book, “Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop” is very different from “The Right Design.”

Here’s just a quick summary:

“Florist owner, Khloe Harper is focused on creating original and exquisite arrangements for her clients, not upon the fact that she’s single. However, on one of her busiest days, Derek walks into her shop. He immediately mesmerizes her with his charm and striking good looks. The next day, he has to leave for an unknown amount of time. As they get to know each other through phone calls, emails, texts, Khloe can’t get him out of her mind, or a possible future together. However, her dreams of thinking she’d found the one are shattered when a woman’s voice answers his phone, leaving Khloe heartbroken.

Determined to get over Derek, Khloe concentrates on her work, and her customers: Gabriella, a widow who begins dating again; Richard, a married man who’s having an affair; and Connie, an insecure woman who sends herself flowers from her imaginary boyfriend.

What will Khloe do when she learns the truth about the woman on the other end of the line?; Will Gabby move on with her life, and accept a proposal?; What bomb does Richard’s wife drop on him, and will he try to save their marriage?; And will Connie’s lie be revealed?”

I’m can’t wait for this release, and am working really hard to make it the best it can be. I’m hoping to publish it at the beginning of 2015!

Sounds fab, I look forward to reading that too! Who’s your favourite author and why? Emily Giffin is my all-time favourite Chick Lit author. After I read her book “Something Borrowed,” I knew I’d finally found the genre that I loved to read, so I tried to write one. It didn’t work that well, but I kept trying, because it’s certainly not dying. :)

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do? Besides writing, I love to spend time with my hubby, our cat, and read! :)

Thanks so much for joining me, Isabella :)

About Isabella:

Isabella grew up with a book in her hand, and to this day nothing has changed. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and has been featured on several blogs. While Isabella doesn’t blog a lot, she focuses her time on featuring other writers, along with working on her next book.

She created Chick Lit Goddess to share the love of the following genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, Romance, and Romantic Comedies!  She loves featuring authors and their books.

Currently, she lives in Dallas with her husband and cat. She enjoys spicy Mexican food and drinking margaritas, and can be found spending time with family and friends, cheering on the Texas Rangers, and reading.

Isabella’s short story, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, was featured in Simon & Fig’s Christmas anthology, Merry & Bright, in November 2013. The Right Design is her first novel.

Visit Isabella’s website >

Connect on: FacebookGoodreadsTwitter.

Buy The Right Design:

Amazon – US: Kindle … Paperback … Amazon, UK …  Amazon, Canada … Barnes & Noble 

Sneak Peak: Meet some of the characters from Independent Jenny

Well, with just two weeks to go, I thought I’d write a little about the characters you’ll meet if (when!) you read Independent Jenny.

First up – JennyIndependent Jenny

Jenny thinks she has it all; her own photography business, her loving husband Ross, a nice house, a golden retriever, and great friends… until Ross confesses that he’s cheated on her. With some girl from a bar. Ugh.

Ross

Everyone makes mistakes, right? Can Jenny overcome Ross’ infidelity and get back to their life together?

Aiden

Ross’ brother. Who is cute. Very cute. Turns out, he’s had a bit of a thing for Jenny for quite some time… Will Jenny feel the same way about him?

Shane

Jenny’s best friend, always ready to give advice. But will she listen to reason? It seems unlikely.

Hayley

Jenny’s oldest friend. Hayley thinks a girly holiday is the answer to Jenny’s problems. But Hayley has an ulterior motive, and a whole side-story of her own.

Will

Jenny’s old boyfriend, who, for the record, she wasn’t in love with. She hasn’t seen him since he went off to university and although a few sparks fly when she sees him again – he’s married.

Finally… Wentworth

Jenny’s trusty golden retriever. What will he make of all this? Should Jenny forgive Ross? Should she give Aiden a try, or is that going to be too complicated?

Find out in 2 weeks…

 

Independent Jenny

Well, all of a sudden it’s only 30 days until the launch of my next novel: Independent Jenny.

I’m rather excited to share the front cover and blurb with you… let me know what you think in the comments below, or via Twitter or Facebook


Independent Jenny“I slept with someone else.”
Those five words changed everything.

After her husband Ross drops a bombshell, Jenny’s emotions go hay-wire. Things are made even more complex when his brother Aiden makes a confession of his own…

A holiday escape with her friend Hayley seems the perfect way to figure out what – and who – she wants. But Hayley has a hidden motive that results in Jenny spending time with her ex-boyfriend Will, who is now married.

Should Jenny forgive Ross? Can she ignore her feelings for romantic Aiden? And why can’t she get Will out of her head?

One thing is for sure: Jenny doesn’t want to be alone. Surely any man is better than no man, right?


Independent Jenny, a new chick-lit novel, will be released as an e-book and paperback on 16 September 2014.