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Currently Browsing: Romance

Opening Lines: The Wedding Date with Zara Stoneley

It’s ‘Opening Lines’ time. Today I’m welcoming Zara Stoneley to my site to share the first 500 words (exactly) of her romantic comedy, The Wedding Date.

So, put your feet up for five minutes, find some shade and have a read.

Blurb- THE WEDDING DATE

One ex.
One wedding.
One little white lie.

When Samantha Jenkins is asked to be the maid of honour at her best friend’s wedding, she couldn’t be happier. There are just three problems…

1) Sam’s ex-boyfriend, Liam, will be the best man.
2) His new girlfriend is pregnant.
3) Sam might have told people she has a new man when she doesn’t (see points 1 and 2 above)

So, Sam does the only sensible thing available to her… and hires a professional to do the job.

Actor Jake Porter is perfect for the role: single, gorgeous and cheap! Sam is certain it’s the perfect solution: no strings, no heartbreak and hopefully no chance of being found out.

But spending a week in the Scottish Highlands with Jake is harder than she imagined. He is the perfect boyfriend, charming, sexy and the hottest thing in a kilt since Outlander! And his dog Harry is quite possibly the cutest things Sam has ever seen!

As the wedding draws closer, Jake plays his part to perfection and everyone believes he is madly in love with Sam. The problem is, Sam’s not sure if Jake is acting anymore…

First 500 words of ‘THE WEDDING DATE’ 

ACT 1 – THE INVITE

Chapter 1

Reasons I, Sam Jenkins, cannot go to this wedding:

  1. I’m too fat, and just don’t have time to get down to a look-okay-in-a-posh-summer-frock weight.
  2. Lemon is so not my colour (which is the colour theme – Jess knows my aversion to over the top dresses and so has gone for a theme rather than providing the type of dress she loves and I hate). Mum says it drains me.
  3. I have far too much work to do. And house-cleaning, and gardening.
  4. I don’t have a date.
  5. The last man I dated ripped my heart out, stamped on it and is going to be the best man.

Reasons I have to go to this wedding.

  1. Jess was is my best friend.

I could add ‘and my hair looks crap’ but that one is easily handled. Much more easily handled than losing the chocolate-cake-and-chips stone in weight that has very comfortably settled itself round my stomach like an unwelcome lodger who intends to stay. Healthy food is on my to-do list, it just hasn’t made it on to my shopping list yet. I mean, you have to prioritise, don’t you? And I’m not quite ready.

Now don’t get me wrong, I can be pretty determined when I want to be, and show amazing self-control (last summer I lost 5 lb in weight the week before we went away, which meant the 7 lb I put on during the week was totally acceptable), but there are times in life when only a super-size bag of crisps and a bottle of wine will do, and the last few months has been one of those times. It has also been a time for espresso martinis and bumper bags of gin and tonic popcorn.

I was dumped, and now this.

A wedding invite. Well, advance warning of a wedding invite to be more precise.

Normally I love a good wedding, who doesn’t? But, right now, cheering on any happy couple would make me feel slightly hopeless and weepy for all the wrong reasons. And this is worse. This is the worst.

This isn’t just any wedding invite; it’s from Jess. My bestie.

We’ve known each other forever. She told me some time ago to ‘save the date’ (when I was still the deluded half of a happy couple), and now she’s emailed to tell me why.

She is getting married! The invite is in the post! It will be here any day! She is excited! Dan is excited! Everybody is excited! Her mum has already bought a hat!!! The wedding is going to be A-MA-ZING!! (The exclamation marks are hers, not mine – she is excited.)

Normally I’d be pretty thrilled too – after all, I love her to bits. I want her to be happy, I truly, truly do, and she will be. But normally was the time before Liam shredded my heart, hopes, and the perfect future I’d created in my head, as thoroughly as…

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‘The Wedding Date’ is available now from Amazon and all other good retailers as an ebook and in paperback.

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BIO

Born in a small village in Staffordshire, Zara wanted to be James Herriot, a spy, or an author when she grew up. Writing novels means she can imagine she is all these things, and more!

She lives in a Cheshire village with her family, a naughty cockapoo, and a very bossy cat, and loves spending time in sunny Spain.

Where you can find her-

Website: http://www.zarastoneley.com
Twitter: @ZaraStoneley
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ZaraStoneley

Instagram: zarastoneley

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Fabulous stuff! Thanks Zara.

Next week please join Lynne North for the opening lines of one of her children’s novels.

Happy reading,

Jenny xx


Opening Lines: Jane Risdon’s Renza’s Diary (Only One Woman)

I am delighted to welcome the lovely Jane Risdon to my blog, with her ‘Opening Lines’ from Only One Woman.

Written in tandem with Christina Jones, Jane is sharing the first 500 words from her part of the story, Renza’s Diary.

Over to you Jane… 

It is 1968 and Renza is about to go to Germany with her family, joining her father who is working there with the MoD. She’s facing 3 years overseas and isn’t happy. Scott and his band, Narnia’s Children, move next door to her. They are over from the Channel Islands to tour and record their first single. It is love at first sight but it is short-lived. Vowing undying love and secretly becoming engaged, Renza leaves for Germany within weeks, Scott believes the band will be in Germany soon and they can meet up. Renza promises to come back to England as often as she can. Narnia’s Children tour up and down the country and one night they take the stage at St. Barnaby’s Hall where he sets eyes on Stella who has only days to live, she is convinced. Set in the UK music scene of the late 1960’s Only One Woman is sheer nostalgia: the music, fashions, the changing society of the Swinging Sixties, the Cold War, and so much more – a love triangle set in Europe, the Mediterranean, Jersey and England in the grooviest decade of the 20th century by Christina Jones and Jane Risdon.

First 500 words from Renza’s Diary (Only One Woman)

May 24th 1968 – late

What a flipping nightmare of an evening. I really thought I’d never get home in one piece. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Someone up there hates me I’m sure.

If only Selina hadn’t lost her handbag at the Top Rank, I’d have caught the last bus back from Reading and I would’ve been home on time. Instead I’d gone back with the others to look for it – thankfully it had been handed in at the cloakroom and nothing was missing. Luckily I had just enough money for the train, which I’d had to run for. Selina’s dad took the others home in his brand new car as arranged, and there wasn’t room for me as well. I reckon he could’ve taken me but Yvette refused to let me sit on her lap in the front, in case I ripped her Mary Quant stockings. Sometimes I really want to do her a mischief.

They’ve got to do something about our local station, it’s just too creepy for words. Steam from the train almost suffocated me as I crossed the bridge to the exit on the opposite platform; all very ‘Brief Encounter’ I remember thinking, in an effort to stop my mind wandering off into ‘Hitchcock-land.’ Talk about cough myself silly, and my eyes stung something rotten as I tried to find my way in the pitch black; the two over-head lamps didn’t help much, they should do something about those flipping lights, I could’ve broken my neck, or even worse, tripped over in my new pink kitten heels and broken one of them.

I slowly took the steps down to the lane beside the station, glancing around me all the while – I admit it, I was a little freaked out. It’s always deserted, and you can never be too careful. Not long ago a dangerous prisoner escaped from the nearby asylum and hid in the waiting room for days before being recaptured. Hardly anyone uses the station since the cut-backs by that old idiot, Beeching, and the trains are a bit hit and miss since they messed with the timetable, so the convict was able to wait for his twisted ankle to mend without much danger of discovery. For all I knew, another Jack the Ripper could’ve be lurking in there waiting for me to pass, that’d just be my flaming luck.

I was in so much trouble. Forty minutes later than agreed. She’d never believe me about the bag, but no other excuse came to mind as I walked down the lane. I was going to be so dead.

Oh God!

I had such a fright. Something or someone, made a noise behind me, so I stopped and listened, but I really felt like running. Some sort of night creature, silly girl, I decided as I walked on. But there it was again. Was someone behind me?

I turned and peered into the pitch dark – I’m still shaking as I write this…

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Author Jane Risdon
 
http://wp.me/2dg55
http://www.facebook.com/JaneRisdon2 
https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00I3GJ2Y8
http://www.accentpress.co.uk/jane-risdon
 

https://twitter.com/Jane_Risdon

 
Only One Woman Accent Press
http://amzn.to/2x1UIdr
 
Only One Woman Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/RenzandStella/

 

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Many thanks Jane.

Don’t forget to come back next week for 500 words from Elizabeth Ducie.

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

 

 


The Prosecco Effect by Cheri Davies

I’m delighted to welcome Cheri Davies to my site today to share an extract from The Prosecco Effect.

Why not grab a drink- possibly a prosecco – and have a read?

Blurb

Can love shine brighter than a super trouper spotlight for Felicity and Orlando?

Felicity Joy is a fallen star: axed from the leading role in a TV drama and jilted at the altar, her life is a mess. A six month theatrical tour of Italy offers escape: a chance to rebuild her career, mend her broken heart and indulge in her favourite cuisine.

Orlando Locatelli is an Italian restaurateur superstar. But his family are trouble – his theatre director father has a penchant for his leading ladies.

Damaged by secrets and with careers their number one priority, Felicity and Orlando aren’t looking for love. But when they meet, the attraction is instant.

Will theirs be a brief encounter or can they overcome their fears to be together forever?

An uplifting, sweet romance set in Italy and the glamorous world of show business – a perfect holiday read

Here’s an extract…

They ate in companionable silence; Susi’s proposition swirling around Felicity’s head, competing with the memory of the sexy waiter, wondering if he’d come back to top up their drinks. He never did, which was probably just as well, Felicity reasoned.

Susi paid the bill and they prepared to leave. ‘Think I’ll pop into the little girls’ room before I go. Call me as soon as you’ve decided, darling. End of the week deadline. And say, yes, for Pete’s sake.’

Susi kissed the air either side of Felicity’s cheeks and went. Felicity pulled her old parka back on, climbed the stairs to the exit, noting a hole in her leggings at the knee. Even before she had fully stepped out onto the pavement, camera bulbs starting flashing.

‘Fliss, Fliss, darlin’. Got a minute?’

‘Hello, gorgeous, give us a smile now!’ The yells and jeers cut through the air. Elbows jostled and shoulders shunted Felicity from side to side. Instinctively, she raised her forearm to cover her face and began to shout, ‘No comment.’

How the hell did they know I was here?

And then one question cut through the rest: ‘Fliss! How’d you feel about Rafe’s forthcoming fatherhood? Did you know she was pregnant when they married?’

Felicity dropped her arm and stared at the journalists. The crowd was smaller than it seemed, a bit pathetic really.

‘How does it feel to find out they were seeing each other for months before you guys broke up?’ another hollered, a short man with a shiny head and thick rimmed glasses.

There was silence. It felt like minutes, though it could only have been seconds. Felicity stared at the rabid faces. ‘I didn’t know,’ she whispered and the yelling seemed to grow yet louder as lights started flashing again and everything came flooding back: the hurt, the humiliation, the confusion, the loneliness. Felicity started to shake and tried to push her way through the little throng, holding onto her wig for fear it might come off. She scuttled along the pavement, the paparazzi sliding alongside, like a Roman legion in battle formation, cameras like shields, determined to march on for the kill. Felicity wanted to scream. Instead, dizzy with wine and fear, she ploughed on.

She stumbled. The dark pavement rose before her eyes, pigeon droppings and encrusted gum zoomed towards her. She put out her hand to break her fall but before she could meet the unforgiving ground, a powerful hand grasped her wrist, heaved her upright and pulled her down a side street. Heart hammering at her ribcage, hand held tight in her rescuer’s, Felicity ran on through the alleyway, weaving this way and that, led by the shadowy form in front of her.

The swell of paparazzi faded and Felicity’s pace slowed, as did her saviour’s. He stopped abruptly and glanced to his right. Felicity was certain it was the waiter who’d served her and Susi earlier. She was about to thank him when the noise of the journalists drew louder again. Without missing a beat, the waiter yanked open a metal door to their right and pushed Felicity inside. Once inside himself, he slammed it shut, plunging them into darkness.

The Prosecco Effect is currently on sale for ONLY 99p 

You can buy The Prosecco Effect from https://www.amazon.co.uk/Prosecco-Effect-heart-warming-glamorous-business-ebook/dp/B07D6V754H

Bio

Cheri Davies is a mother to ginger boys and author of the new novel The Prosecco Effect. A former actor, Cheri loves to write romance and intrigue set in the glamorous world of show business. The Prosecco Effect is the first book in the Stage Door series, following the adventures of Felicity Joy and Orlando Locatelli in Italy. Cheri has published four novels and numerous short stories in another guise. An unsporty girl, Cheri surprised herself, and many others, when she broke the school long jump record aged 12. It was the first time she’d jumped – competitively.

http://cheridaviesbooks.wordpress.com

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Don’t miss your chance to snap up this story at its current bargain price of 99p!

Happy reading,

Jenny xx


Competition: Name a character in Edward’s Outlaw!

Book Three of The Folville Chronicles is almost fully drafted.

Continuing the story of potter’s daughter, Mathilda of Twyford, Edward’s Outlaw, takes her away from Ashby-Folville manor and into the dark shadows of Rockingham Castle…a well known haunt of felons on the run from the law…

Before I can finish my story however, I need your help.

Help me find a female name for one of my characters.

This is your chance to have your name, a favourite name or a loved one’s name, featured in a novel.

Should the name you suggest be chosen, then, not only will it be used in the book, but Edwards’ Outlaw will also be dedicated to you.

I’d love you to pick a name for me!

Remember that the book is set in the fourteenth century- so no Kylie’s or Chardonnay’s please. Otherwise, all you need to do is leave your chosen female name on this thread (via my publisher’s Facebook event page)

https://www.facebook.com/events/387647131739270/

In the meantime, why not have a peep at Books’ One and Two…

Good luck!!

The competition closes on 30th June.

Jennifer xx

 


Interview with Julie Ryan: Going Greek

I’m delighted to welcome Julie Ryan to my place today. We are chatting fiction, the Greek Islands and romance.

Grab a cuppa and come and join in!

What inspired you to write your book?

I lived in Greece in my twenties but it wasn’t until I was at home in Gloucestershire years later that I idly began to wonder how my life would have been different if I’d stayed there. I began writing what I thought would be a short story but ‘Jenna’s Journey’ took on a life of its own. I love the idea of ‘What if..?” and gave my book a kind of ‘sliding doors’ double ending.

Do you model any of your characters after people you know? If so, do these people see themselves in your characters?

A lot of my friends look at my characters to see if they can see themselves in my books. The truth is I may take an element from someone I know and then mix it with the looks of a person I’ve seen on TV and the voice of someone I overheard on the bus. I don’t consciously base my characters on anyone I know but if you look closely enough you may find just a little bit of you in there.

What type of research did you have to do for your book?

I chose to base my book on what I know so that’s why it’s set in Greece in 1987. I didn’t have the opportunity to go back and see how Greece has changed so I deliberately set the story on a fictional island. I did do a lot of online research into Greek customs as well as getting out all my old photos and a map of Athens from the period. I think setting it during the time I lived there gives the book a sense of authenticity that I wouldn’t have got by just Googling it.

Which Point of View do you prefer to write in and why?

It really depends. I chose third person for most of Jenna’s Journey but sometimes find myself using first person too. The characters and storyline usually decide for me as I often find that I need to switch person if it’s just not working. Third person is useful as the narrator can tell the overall story from different characters’ points of view, whereas first person means you are usually limited to just one character.

Do you prefer to plot your story or just go with the flow?

I like to have a general idea of where the story ends and then throw in a few characters and a setting and see where it takes me. I can’t possibly plan out all the novel in detail chapter by chapter as it wouldn’t be a surprise to me either. I rather like not knowing where the story is going but it does mean a lot of revisions!

What is your writing regime?

I write when I can and wherever I can. In practice this usually means in the morning at my dining room table once my son has gone to school. I fit it around teaching and am lucky that I work from home. As I’m nearing the end I may take my laptop to bed and write for an hour or so. I also write longhand in a notebook on long car journeys. It really is a case of when inspiration strikes – write! The opposite is also true. If I have writer’s block there is no point just looking at a blank page – I just get on with something else.

What excites you the most about your book?

Finishing it! I’ve always been a reader and admired writers for the pleasure they bring. I never actually thought I had it in me to finish a book. Seeing it in print ranks up there as one of the top three moments of my life, after my wedding and the birth of my son. It’s hard to  believe that I’ve now written four books in total, three in the Greek Island mystery series and a Christmas humorous romance.

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Blurb for Jenna’s Journey – the first book in the Greek Island Mystery series

Heading to the Greek Isles without telling husband or friends is heady medicine for a failing marriage. Seduced by Grecian sun and sky, Jenna innocently obtains an ancient urn that tangles her into a web of a criminal world more sinister then she could ever have imagined. Romance is always afoot in the Greek Isles and Jenna gets a large helping with the seductive Nikos.
Twenty-five years later, Allie takes this same journey in a story that spans 25 years and intertwines the lives of mother and daughter. Twisty as the streets in a Greek island village, full of unexpected characters and threatening villains, Jenna’s Journey will keep you turning pages far into the night.

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Buy links

JENNA’S JOURNEY

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jenna s-Journey-Island-Mystery-Myste ries-ebook/dp/B01GGOCKLK

SOPHIA’S SECRET

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sophi as-Secret-Greek-Island-Mystery -ebook/dp/B00LFJGCWA

PANDORA’S PROPHECY

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pando ras-Prophecy-Greek-Island-Myst ery-ebook/dp/B00V6CWVBW

CALLIE’S CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Calli es-Christmas-Countdown-Julie-R yan-ebook/dp/B0188T7H2I

Bio

Julie Ryan’s roots are in a small mining village in South Yorkshire. After a degree in French Language and Literature, wanderlust kicked in and she lived and worked in France, Poland, Thailand and Greece. Her spirit enriched, her imagination fired, Julie started a series of mystery romances, thrillers set in the Greek Isles.

Jenna’s Journey is the first novel in Julie Ryan’s Greek Islands Series, a series she did not set out to create but which took on its own life and grew, rich and fascinating. This is the first of three published so far and promises to delight readers looking for the hidden dark sides of dream vacations in the Greek Isles.

In a new venture, Julie’s latest book is a short rom-com called Callie’s Christmas Countdown.

A prolific and well-known book review blogger, Julie does her writing and reviewing from rural Gloucestershire, where she lives with her husband, son and dippy cat with half a tail.

You can find Julie on her websites:

Website/blog for book reviews

Blog

Twitter @julieryan18 

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Many thanks Julie. Do drop around for coffee and cake again!

Happy reading,

Jenny xx


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