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Currently Browsing: Contemporary fiction

Opening Lines; By Virtue Fall by Carrie Elks

‘Opening Lines’ time is here!

This week I’m welcoming romance writer, Carrie Elks, to the blog with her brand new release, By Virtue Fall.

Over to you Carrie…

First of all many thanks to Jenny for featuring me on your blog. I was excited because as an author I spend hours trying to get the first few pages of a book completely right. 500 words isn’t a lot – for me it probably works out at a third of a scene – but it SHOULD be enough to engage the reader, give them a bit of information about the characters and set the scene for the rest of the book.

The extract below is from my newest release – By Virtue Fall. It’s the fourth book in a series (The Shakespeare Sisters) but can be read as a standalone romance. It’s set in a small town on the East Coast of America (think Gilmore Girls meets the Chesapeake Bay), and features a single mother called Juliet who’s trying to juggle a divorce, bringing up a six-year-old daughter, and getting her new floristry business on its feet.

As if she doesn’t have enough to contend with, a new man moves into the vacant house next door. Ryan Sutherland is a travel photographer, a single father of a six year old boy, and is so attractive Juliet finds him impossible to ignore.

Here are the first 500 words.

‘But I’ve always dreamed of yellow roses,’ the bride said, leaning forward. ‘Yellow roses mixed with white lilies, hand tied with string.’

‘Yellow is very vulgar, Melanie,’ Mrs Carlton, the older woman replied, waving her hand as if to dismiss her future daughter-in-law. ‘At the Smithson wedding they had peach flowers. They were very elegant and tasteful.’ She gave a nod at the end, as if that was her final word.

Juliet chewed the top of her pen lid, watching the two women debating their wedding flower preferences. Since she’d started her florist business a year before, it had become a familiar scene. Sometimes she felt more like a therapist than anything else.

Pulling the blue pen lid from her mouth, Juliet scribbled on the pad in front of her. ‘You know, yellow and peach roses can look fantastic together,’ she suggested, quickly sketching out a picture of a bouquet. ‘We did something similar at the Hatherly wedding in the summer, and it looked divine.’ She leaned in towards Mrs Carlton, as if they were bosom buddies. ‘And you know how discerning Eleanor Hatherly is.’

She was name-dropping but she didn’t care. Though she was an outsider, she’d lived in Maryland long enough to know that in these circles snobbery was still a thing. Hell, she’d been married to one of the biggest snobs in Shaw Haven, after all.

Was still married to him, she corrected herself. For now, at least. Thanks to  Maryland divorce laws, she and Thomas had to live separately for a year before their divorce could be finalised. Six months in, and she was already counting the days.

Melanie looked up at Juliet, a flash of hope in her eyes. ‘I’d love a peach and yellow bouquet.’

Patting her on the hand, Mrs Carlton smiled. ‘I knew we’d be able to agree on this. It’s the small details that are so important. You’ll learn that when you’re a Carlton, too.’

Grabbing her tablet, Juliet scrolled through her catalogue to show them the different arrangements, helping them narrow down the choices until they found the perfect one.

Welcome to married life. A world where you’ll run yourself ragged pleasing your husband, your in-laws and even your friends, while putting all your hopes and dreams on the backburner.

Juliet found her thoughts drifting back to her own wedding. She’d met Thomas when she was studying Fine Arts at Oxford Brookes University, and he’d been a Rhodes Scholar, an American studying at the more prestigious Oxford University. It had been a meeting of pure chance – she’d been working in a local florist at the weekends to try and eke out her student loan, in charge of deliveries in the local area. As she was walking up the path to Christ Church College, dodging the students and tourists who were admiring the fountain in the middle of the green, she’d been practically run over by the suave American post-grad who was running late for dinner.

He’d swept her off her…

WHERE TO BUY BY VIRTUE FALL

By Virtue Fall was released last week on October 11th – and is available to buy right now!

Amazon UK ➜  https://amzn.to/2AcOP2h

iBooks UK ➜  https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/by-virtue-fall/id1363226299?mt=11

Kobo UK ➜  https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/by-virtue-fall-1

 

AUTHOR BIO

Carrie Elks writes contemporary romance with a sizzling edge. Her first book, Fix You, has been translated into eight languages and made a surprise appearance on Big Brother in Brazil. Luckily for her, it wasn’t voted out. Carrie lives with her husband, two lovely children and a larger-than-life black pug called Plato. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found baking, drinking an occasional (!) glass of wine, or chatting on social media.

***

Huge thanks Carrie. Good luck with your novel.

Come back next week to read another 500 words.

Happy reading,

Jenny x

 


Retreating

It’s time for the Imagine Writing Retreat!

Based in the beautiful Victorian Manor of Northmoor on Exmoor, a small group of writers will be joining myself and my fellow ‘Imaginer’ Alison Knight, for 5 days of writing time, chatter, author talks and – very probably- wine sippage.

I’m banking on being considerably fitter on my return (there are lots of beautiful walks and plenty of stairs up to my attic bedroom)- and, hopefully, I’ll be in a position where my next novel is plotted, my latest proofing commission is complete and all my student workshops for the rest of 2018 are drafted. Do you think maybe I’m asking too much?

Our prime concern however, is to make sure that every single person attending has a fantastic time! We have two amazing guests (Dan Metcalf and Kate Griffin) a quiz, optional one-to-one advice sessions and lots of biscuits. What more could a writer ask?

While I’m on Exmoor the chances of decent Wi-Fi is slim, so there won’t be an Opening Lines blog this week.

If you try to contact me, then please be patient. I will get back to you asap.

See you on the other side…

Jenny xx

 

 

 

 

 


Blog Tour: Dakota Son

I’m delighted to welcome Mary Ramsey to my place today, as part of the blog tour for her YA novel, “Dakota Son.” 

Over to you Mary…

Dakota Sun is a novel that will make readers, laugh, cry, and encouraged to do more for the people they love.“- Ella Vincent, Pacific Book Review.

Although, throughout Dakota Son, there are many instances one of people standing up the ones they love, my favorites is the friendship and compassion displayed by London Sharp. The idea of a reality star turned supermodel was inspired by Kendall Jenner, with the name ‘London’ coming from London Breed, San Francisco’s first female African-American mayor.

London is a role model by virtue of her family’s wealth, and her hard earned fame.  But  it is by choice that she is also the kind of person that is everyone’s best friend.

When North Dakota native Sean Foster makes it to California he is convinced by his wife Jen, to try for the LA dream. He is signed by a small time agent and sent on a once in a life time casting call. But despite his strong, sexy features Sean has been living with the struggles of cystic fibrosis all of his life.

His confidence is put to the test, as his body is scrutinized by the panel of judges.  But despite this being their first meeting London takes on the role of the mentor, older sister- the kind of person who can make the worst situation a little less stressful- The type of person who makes the world a better place.

Excerpt

I wasn’t even sure how to dress. I simply threw on a tank top and dark jeans, assuming I needed to look like a veteran model that didn’t care what people thought.

Nineteen-year-old London looked like a ballerina with her long black hair in a tight bun. She sat on a panel with her mother Linda, a middle-aged Italian woman with blonde hair and a fake looking tan, and Sofia, a marketing representative from the company launching the makeup line. When it was my turn, I made the sign of the cross before approaching. I handed over my envelope of Jen’s photos.

“Oh look, we have mail,” Linda laughed. “I know Angelina sent you, but at least have the professionalism to invest in an actual portfolio.”

I figured she meant a book, or at least a binder. Or maybe a binder would have looked just as amateur. “I’m sorry, Ms. Sharp.”

I need to cough. Dear Lord, if you can hear me, please calm my lungs.

Linda looked me up and down. “What is that girl trying to pull? You’re not eighteen. You have the look of someone at least twenty-five.”

I wasn’t sure what to say. Linda reminded me of Jen’s mother, so easily able to knock the chatter out of me. “I’ve always looked old for my age.”

“Tell us something about you,” London said, looking at my headshot.

Her smile was kind. Before the audition I’d done a quick internet search on her, since I don’t exactly follow fashion. I knew her four sisters married celebrities and built their stardom on tabloid rumors. London was different. She was an artist in her own right—a model, but also, according to Vogue magazine, a creative visionary of her generation.

I looked at London’s face, focusing on her kindness. “I’m originally from North Dakota.”

“Is that a PICC line?” Linda cut in.

Here it comes. I went into a coughing attack in front of London Sharp. This is so humiliating! I wanted to run, but my chest hurt so badly

I needed to find somewhere to sit.

Linda snorted. “Please exit to the right.”

“Are you okay, do you need water?” It was London.

“You want to… know something about me? I’ve battled cystic fibrosis my entire life.”

She helped me to my feet. “Sean, you’re stunning. You have a beauty that will inspire.”

Linda’s expression suddenly turned sickly sweet. “Do you have a girlfriend?”

I nodded. “I’m making plans to marry the mother of my child.”

Linda rolled her eyes, looking to her daughter. “That’s the end of it, right? The sexy sick boy is not available to be your arm candy. Let’s move on.”

London flipped her mother off. Linda blinked in shock and Sofia suddenly felt the need to busy herself with a bunch of papers, twisting her chair around to sift them on her lap. I thought she did a good job keeping her laughter totally silent.

London turned back to me. “Come back on the sixth, bring a swimsuit.”

“Seriously?” I was damn near ready to cry—it was just about the first time ever that the coughing hadn’t screwed things up for me. “Thanks… for the opportunity.”

Blurb

Sean Foster has lived with cystic fibrosis his entire life. He falls in love with Jen, a girl with a dark, emotionally painful past. Living with chronic illness, Sean knows a little something about overcoming pain. But when he meets her family, his courage will be put to the test.

Jen’s father, Diego, is a disabled military veteran. He is being mentally and physically abused by his wife, due to his role in the death of Jen’s brother.

Sean must find a way to save Diego, to help him see that there are people who truly care. From Sean’s sister Sara, who views Diego as a heroic father figure. To Remy, Sean’s holistic nurse with a talent for healing wounded souls.

Accompanied by a mysterious, supernatural, presence, it will fall to Sean to play the hero. All while navigating a life with chronic illness, and chasing his dreams in California.

Available from:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dakota-Son-Mary-Ramsey-ebook/dp/B07DR9YNBH/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dakota-Son-Mary-Ramsey-ebook/dp/B07DR9YNBH/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dakota-son-mary-ramsey/1128896239?ean=9781546233077

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Mary_Ramsey_Dakota_Son?id=BFtgDwAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dakota-son

Author bio

Mary Ramsey is a blogger, artist, and writer. She served in the United States Air Force and has a BA degree in Cinema. Although she was born in California, her work in the military took her all over the world including the diverse Midwest, from the beautiful landscapes of the Dakotas to the small towns of Wisconsin.

She has always had a fondness for unique superheroes; underrepresented minorities, LGBTQ, abuse victims, and so on. She loves an inspiring story that will make her cry.  Her favorite movie will always be 13th Warrior.

https://dourdan.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/pisforpearl

https://www.deviantart.com/dourdan

 

*****

DON’T MISS THE GIVEAWAY!

Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here: http://writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/mary-ramsey/

Use the Rafflecopter to enter for your chance to win one of two Amazon or iTunes gift cards.

Here’s the link-  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/8b9ec5be187/?

GOOD LUCK!!

***

Happy reading everyone.

Jenny x


Opening Lines: Torn by Gilli Allan

It’s that time again. Is it me, or is Thursday arriving more quickly each week?

Anyway! I have a great set of opening lines for you once again. This week the fabulous Gilli Allan is with me…and she’s a little Torn…

I chose TORN as my ‘Opening 5oo Words’ offering for this feature, as it holds a special place in my heart.  It was the first book I wrote in the second era of my “career” (I use the word loosely) as writer. After having the first ever book I wrote published in the pre-digital age, I thought I was set up for life as “An Author”. My second book was also published a year later, but then the publisher ceased trading.

There are many reasons, even excuses (which I won’t go into now) why there was then a hiatus. Suffice to say that after an interlude that was probably far too long I began an entirely new project.

Up until I began to write this book, I had always used myself as a sounding board when I imagined my heroines. How would I react to this? What would I do if? And supposing I had done this instead of that?

But Jess is as unlike me as it’s possible to get.  The consequence was, when imagining how this woman would negotiate her way through the challenging set of circumstances I gave her, I was far more tested as writer.  The result is TORN.

FIRST 500 WORDS

New Year’s Morning

Jess opened her eyes. Though her brain was crystal clear, her head ached and her mouth was sour and parched. Drunk’s dawn. Brilliant.

For a moment she thought she was alone. What a relief. The man had had the decency to creep away while she slept – she could get up and fetch a glass of water. Then she heard his breathing and the dip of the mattress as he stirred. She froze, revolted by the thought that her skin might come into contact with his. The idea of touching a bony, hairy male leg – or worse – was repellent. And if he was rousing she didn’t want him to know she was awake. He turned over and then turned back again. She remained still, feigning sleep.

It was a long time since she’d done anything so impetuous, so stupid, and had lost some of the brazenness needed to face the stranger in the morning. Especially after she’d thrown her guts up down the loo a few hours earlier. Had he fancied her sufficiently, after she’d vomited, to proceed with what he had every right to believe was on offer before? If there had been any sex she’d been too far gone to remember it now.

She had only the haziest memory of what he actually looked like. More importantly, did he use a condom?

Chapter One

A Few Weeks Earlier

Coloured lights were strung in swags, lamppost to lamppost. Lights delineated the stone gables and studded the fir trees on shop front pediments. She smiled, enjoying the sting of the night air on her cheeks as she paused on the step of the Prince Rupert to shrug on her coat. It had only been a few months, but the fact was undeniable. Already she’d begun to relax, begun to see the future with optimism, begun to feel safe – safer than in a long time.

She must bring Rory into town one evening soon. He had many childhood years ahead of him – plenty of time to make trips back to London for its bizarre cocktail of the gaudy and the glamorous. For now, the simple Christmas decorations in this old market town would seem magical enough to him. His happiness and security were all important. It might just be the two of them from now on, and their pleasures might be simple, but life would be normal and safe; on that she was determined.

Without warning the lights jagged upwards, meteor tails zigzagging through the sky. The ground tipped. A jarring thud reverberated up her spine. At first, she was too stunned by the heavy fall to understand what had happened. Then came the flash of embarrassment and self-blame. Why had she chosen to wear stilt-heeled boots? Who on earth was she expecting to impress in this backwater? Already, in the split second since the world had tilted and smacked her on the bottom, she sensed the damp chill of the stone flags seeping up through her clothes, reaching….

***

Blurb

You can escape your past but can you ever escape yourself?

TORN is a contemporary story, which faces up to the complexities, messiness and absurdities in modern relationships.  Life is not a fairy tale; it can be confusing and difficult. Sex is not always awesome; it can be awkward and embarrassing, and it has consequences. You don’t always fall for Mr Right, even if he falls for you. And realising you’re in love is not always good news. It can make the future look daunting….

Ex-City Trader Jess has made a series of bad choices. Job, relationships and life-style – all have let her down. By escaping the turmoil of her London life, she is putting her role as a mother first. This time she wants to get it right, to devote herself to her son.

But the country does not offer the idealised ‘good life’ idyll she pictured. There are stresses and strains here too. The landscape she looks out on is under threat, new friends have hidden agendas, and two very different men pull her in opposing directions.

In the face of temptation old habits die hard. She is torn between the suitable man and the unsuitable boy.

***

Biography

Gilli Allan began to write in childhood, a hobby only abandoned when real life supplanted the fiction. She didn’t go to Oxford or Cambridge but, after just enough exam passes to squeak in, she went to Croydon Art College. Gilli didn’t work on any of the broadsheets, in publishing or TV. Instead she chose to be a shop assistant, a beauty consultant and a barmaid before landing her dream job as an illustrator in advertising. It was only when she was at home with her son that Gilli began writing seriously. Her first two novels were quickly published, but when the publisher ceased to trade, she went independent.

Over the years, Gilli has been a school governor, a contributor to local newspapers, and a driving force behind the community shop in her Gloucestershire village.  Still a keen artist, she has recently begun book illustration.

Gilli Allan’s three books, TORN, LIFE CLASS and FLY or FALL, are published by Accent Press.

 

Links

Find TORN at:                    MyBook.to/gilliallansTORN

Find all of Gilli’s books at: https://www.accentpress.co.uk/gilli-allan

or                                       http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gilli-Allan/e/B004W7GG7I

Connect with Gilli:             https://www.facebook.com/GilliAllan.AUTHOR

https://twitter.com/gilliallan

Gilli’s Blog:                         http://gilliallan.blogspot.co.uk/

***

Many thanks Gilli. Great stuff.

Come back next week for 500 words from Richard Dee.

Happy reading,

Jenny x


Opening Lines: Vengeance by Roger A. Price

It’s that time again! Opening Lines blog day is upon us. This week I’m welcoming Roger A. Price to my place, with the first 500 words of his crime thriller, Vengeance.

Over to you Roger…

I’m thrilled to a guest on Jenny’s Opening Lines blog which serves as such a great opportunity for authors and readers alike, and I can only thank her for all the work that running her blog must entail. I’m an ex-detective from a CID and Specialist Ops background who can’t really talk about what I did, but love to use those experiences to drive my pen. Authentic, gritty and pacy, my novels don’t  let you rest for too long, hopefully. I hope you enjoy the opening to Vengeance, and thanks again to Jenny for having me stop by.

First 500 words

Chapter One

Jack Quintel didn’t need to be here, he’d requested his usual proof of death, but as he hadn’t used this killer before, he wanted to see it for himself. It took him a while to find a spot among the trees, and he was conscious of not flattening too many bluebells that were everywhere at this time of year. He knew the killer Charlie was no mug, nor was the target, Jim Reedly. If all went well Quintel planned to use Charlie again. The last thing he wanted was for him to realise he’d been here checking up on him; after all, he’d asked for his normal, if not unusual, evidence that the job had been done. He just wanted to satisfy himself, and watch the killer’s craft. Enjoy the show.

It was starting to go dusk so that would help; he just hoped Reedly wasn’t late home and it became too dark – he knew that wouldn’t bother Charlie, but he was beginning to wish he’d brought a pair of night-vison glasses.  It took a couple of minutes to settle himself as he took in the surroundings. The house was a fairly new build, but a grand affair nonetheless, detached in its own grounds with a tree-lined private driveway – the privileges of rank. Its location was handy though, Fulwood was an established district of Preston and had more than its share of such houses – especially on the eastern side of the city where a lot of the newer builds were situated. It wasn’t far away from the industrial unit Quintel had hired, or had had hired for him. That was in a traditional brown field estate behind a newish built Asda supermarket. Perfect; as it backed onto the M6 motorway. Quintel always liked an emergency egress from anywhere he used; he was cautious, he had to be.

Quintel passed the time trying to fathom out where Charlie would be. He guessed somewhere where the car would stop, somewhere near the house-front. He could see a turn-around in front of the property which would seem to be the obvious place, but he couldn’t see Charlie, which wasn’t entirely surprising, given the circumstances. He just hoped his suspicions were ill-founded; it was not that easy finding a good assassin. You couldn’t just type ‘killer wanted to join enthusiastic team’ into an internet search engine, well, not without a world of trouble landing on you. It was just that he had learned long ago not to ignore his hunches; he wouldn’t have reached his forties if he had.  The setting sun was dropping behind him now so he made sure he had good cover behind the oak trees. A peaceful vista, which was about to be shattered…

***

Blurb

Jack Quintel is a hit man. When a job comes in to kill the Deputy Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester Police Jim Reedly, he contracts it out to a new guy, Charlie Parker…
Watching in the shadows, Quintel sees Parker shoot out Reedly’s windscreen, then drag him into the woods and thinks the job’s been done.
But when Parker tries to pass off a pig’s heart as Reedly’s, things start to go very wrong. Jack’s right hand man Jason kills Charlie, who it turns out is an undercover police officer.
Detective Vinnie Palmer is with the Preston police. He was called in when they received the information about the impending hit.
Now he has to figure out how to clean up the mess.
And he wants whoever killed Parker bad. He finds the man who put Parker in touch with Quintel, a low life hood named Dempter, living in an estate in Preston.
He doesn’t know much, but motivated by money, agrees to be an informant for the police.
Christine Jones is a TV reporter. She and Vinnie had worked together before, chasing a serial killer.
They meet again at the warehouse where Charlie was killed, and realise their relationship could be more than professional.
But first, Christine wants to know what’s happening. Christine is working on a documentary about positive discrimination against non-Catholic officers in Northern Ireland since the peace process. She makes contact with a former police officer in Northern Belfast named Paul Bury, who feeds her some of the information she needs.
Meanwhile, as the bodies start to pile up in Preston, there’s another attempt on Reedly’s life, when a grenade is thrown at him at his brother-in-law’s funeral.
As Vinnie fights to keep Reedly alive, suddenly Christine’s life is in danger.
And they both start to wonder if the contract against Reedly has anything to do with her documentary on Northern Ireland. But how could it?
Filled with twists and turns and gritty detail, Vengeance is must read for crime fans everywhere.

***

LINKS:

Amazon UK Author Page: https://goo.gl/h2IYX8

Amazon UK for Vengeance: https://goo.gl/oxy9BI

Amazon US Author Page: https://goo.gl/tqFi0h

Amazon US for Vengeance: https://goo.gl/NSeSZi

Roger’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CrimethillersbyRogerAPrice/

Roger’s Twitter:  https://twitter.com/RAPriceAuthor

Roger’s website: www.rogerapriceauthor.com

Bio

Roger spent thirty years in the police retiring as a detective inspector in charge of a covert undercover drugs unit which received national acclaim, before turning to the pen. His first two novels – By Their Rules, and A New Menace – are in their own series driven from the covert side of crime and his ‘Badge and the Pen’ series is too but with normal investigative fiction thrown in as well.

Vengeance is the second in this series which stars maverick DI Vinnie Palmer and his sidekick, investigative TV news reporter, Christine Jones. They are unlikely bedfellows, which makes their relationship interesting as they chase dark forces which only become even darker.

The third book in this series – Hidden – is written and will hopefully be next year. Roger’s novels can be read in any order as they work well as standalones too.

Roger is also developing an original TV drama script and is planning to adapt some of his existing novels into script too.

***

 

Many thanks Roger. Great opener.

Don’t forget to come out next week for some opening lines from Gilli Allan.

Happy reading,

Jenny x


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