Friday, March 22, 2019

New Book Alert

I have a new book out! ESCAPE TO THE LITTLE FRENCH CAFE is the first in a series of three that can be read as standalones, but with recurring characters popping up in each one.

It's the first time I've set a story abroad. I thoroughly enjoyed researching and writing it, and hope it has a different feel to my English-based novels. The best compliment I could have is that readers would love to visit the area once they've finished reading.

I'm currently editing book two in the series and preparing to start book 3, which will be wintery - more of a challenge as the  Ile de Re, on the west coast of France, rarely has rain, never mind snow, so I'll be creating an unusual weather pattern; which isn't such a stretch at the moment!

In April I'm off to a marketing workshop in London to learn how to be better at social media, but first, Lovely Husband and I are taking a short trip to Barcelona, which I'm looking foward to as I've never been - and it should be warmer there than it is here at the moment.

Maybe if I write another series, it'll have a Spanish theme 😊

Monday, February 18, 2019

February New Year's Resolution (better late than never)


Well, Christmas flew by in a flash - and lovely it was too - and January got off to a busy start as I had a deadline for the second book in my French Cafe series, as well as copyediting and proofreading book one, which will be out in March.

After leaving the bulk of the writing (again) for the final month - writing 10,000 words in 16 hours at the end, to leave myself a day to read through the draft and make sure it made sense before submitting to my editor - I'm determined to manage my time more effectively with book three. Even though deadlines are tight, writing three books a year, I know I can do it better, but need to start by banning myself from the internet. Never does social media appeal more seductive than when my deadline starts approaching like a speeding train. I used to  turn into a domestic goddess, doing loads of housework and baking, crubbing floors and dusting skirting boards, which was at least productive. I'm not sure 'liking' other peoples' dinner - however tasty it looks - or retweeting memes about procrastination is half as useful, however much I like to call it 'networking'.

So, a resolution of sorts for 2019 - to faff less, write more - and stay away from the internet (unless it's for research - and to look at puppies, and find out what everyone else in the world is doing). 

I may have said this last year, but this time I mean it.

(I may have said that too...)

Friday, December 21, 2018

It's beginning to look a lot like...

...Christmas!!

It was bright sunshine and 32 degrees about five minutes ago, but now the fairy lights are untangled and on the tree, the gifts are bought and (not quite) wrapped and we've been stockpiling mince pies for weeks.

It's also the time of year I start writing a summer-themed book, which means thinking about sun, sand and ice-creams, which isn't easy when Christmas carols are playing on a loop on the TV and radio, it's frosty outside, and I'm dipping into a tin of Quality Street to keep my strength up.

I'm not complaining though. Three years ago, I couldn't have imagined that I would be writing my eighth novel for Bookouture and making a living, doing something I love so much.

I'd like to thank you for continuing to read my blog, and hopefully my books, and to wish you a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

See you on the other side!


Friday, November 2, 2018

French Fancies


Well, summer flew by in the blink of an eye, and now the leaves are falling.......................

(It sounded like the start of a poem, but I ran out of steam.)

After completing the the last book in my Seashell Cove series, I was lucky enough to be offered a new contract with Bookouture to write 3 more novels, this time set in France - ooh la la! Do the French ever say that? (I've just looked it up and they do, but it has 'very strong sexual connotations' so I won't be using it again.)

I've not been to France since my honeymoon in Paris, seventeen years ago, so some research was obviously needed. I wanted an area with sun, sea, sand...and preferably somewhere it would snow, for the Christmas book. Not so easy to get all the elements and I spent many hours online, to the point where I felt like a native - though sadly, I didn't learn to speak French by osmosis.

In the end, I turned to the good folk of Facebook for inspiration and received some wonderful suggestions (and holiday ideas), but in the end settled for the Ile de Re (image above) an island off the west coast of France, not far from La Rochelle, as it was the closest to the setting I'd had in mind.

The great thing about Google Maps is, you don't have to leave the house to wander down streets and take in the views, and there's a wealth of information at your fingertips, but there's no substitute for the real thing, and it looks so lovely, I'm planning to visit in the not too distant future.

Meanwhile the first draft of Escape to The Little French Cafe is now written and with my editor, and I'm planning the next book, which will be set during summer - perfect now the weather's turned colder and the mornings are white and frosty.

In the meantime, if you've got a good second line for my almost poem at the top, I'd love to hear it!


Monday, July 2, 2018

Summer Loving...

It's shaping up to be the hottest summer in a long time... the washing's drying fast, the grass has gone yellow, and there's a threatened water shortage, but I'm not complaining (much) because it's rare to see blue skies and sunshine for days on end, and it'll be Christmas before we know it, and then I'll be moaning about the cold again.

Talking of which, I'm currently editing my Christmas book, the third and final novel in my Seashell Cove series. It's not easy to picture tinsel, Santa, fairy lights and carol-singers when the mercury's hit 31 degrees, I'm mainlining Magnum ice-creams and fake-tanning my shins after every shower. I was in a similar situation last year, and once again have resorted to listening to Christmas songs, which messes with your head a bit when the sun is beating down.

Once this book is done, I'll be out of contract, so am looking forward to a chat with my editor to see what's next - if anything. So far, my books have sold over 80,000 copies, which is a figure I could only have dreamed about a couple of years ago, so I'm hopeful. But, if a new contract isn't forthcoming, I've plenty more ideas up my sleeve - if I were wearing sleeves at the moment - and it certainly won't be the end of my writing career.

In the meantime, I'd better go and bring in the washing I hung out ten minutes ago.


Friday, January 26, 2018

Q&A with Amanda Brittany






I'm thrilled to welcome Amanda Brittany to my blog today, to talk about her debut thriller Her Last Lie. 

It's been described as 'gripping with a shocking twist' and I can confirm that it is!

(It also has an amazing cover)




Which character in Her Last Lie would you like to meet?

Hi Karen, thank you for inviting me to your blog.

I suppose feisty Roxanne is the character I’d most like to meet. She’s so determined to get to the bottom of things, and appears to be a good friend to Isla.

There are definitely a couple of characters in the book I would hope never to meet.


I know the book has several settings, which did you enjoy writing the most?

I loved writing the second part of the book set in Abisko in Sweden. I visited Abisko a couple of years back, and it was great fun bringing the cold, bleak landscape to life, and describing the way The Northern Lights swoop across the night skies.

Are any of your characters based on people you know?

No, not at all, they all sprang from my imagination.

A couple of reviewers have mentioned there are humorous bits in the novel...

Yes, there are a couple of lighter bits, which I felt fitted with certain characters. My thoughts were that there are amusing people everywhere, so why not in a psychological thriller? And I liked the thought of the contrast of humour with the awful things that are happening to Isla has in the book.


How long did it take to write ‘Her Last Lie’?

I worked flat out on the first draft for six weeks, writing 2,000 words a day, but it took a lot, lot longer than that in total with the re-drafts and edits.

Have you got any ideas for your next book?

I have got an idea for my next psychological thriller, which I’m about to send over to my editor, and I’ve got everything crossed she’ll like it.

All of Amanda’s ebook royalties are going to Cancer Research UK, in memory of her sister. Her Last Lie can be downloaded here http://amzn.to/2AIvFw7

I can't wait to read the next one...


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Distracted

With the New Year comes the start of a new book.

I'd love to have a better writing routine, and a shedload more discipline, but seem to write the bulk of my books in the three weeks before deadline. It's good to have that motivation, but not the healthiest way to write, so I'm going to try really hard to develop a better system.

It's not as if I NEED to be on Facebook and Twitter, or to look for cake recipes (except in the name of writing research) or hoover the curtains, or chop down the overgrown hedge in the back garden, or start a new exercise routine - well, maybe the latter (trying out all those cake recipes) - but they're irresistible activities when faced with having to write 90,000 words that will make sense and entertain.

It's a funny old job. When I worked at the library, I didn't say, 'Ooh, I'll just check social media for puppies in baskets', or 'Hang on, I need to research paint colours, the walls are looking a bit jaded', or 'Let me just style my hair a different way, and I'll be right with you' (honestly, I didn't, I'd have been sacked on the spot). But, then again, my jobs were clearly defined. I didn't have to make them up, and dealing with the public is a leveller. They'd never have let me get away with faffing about.

Maybe I need them to come round to my house and look at me disapprovingly until I've written at least 1000 words before I get out of bed. Better still, cut the WiFi so I can't get online, as that's where the biggest distractions lie.

Now, if I can just find a nice image to accompany this post, I can get on with writing that chapter I was supposed to have started this morning, before I alphabetised the books in the living room, and looked up something nice to cook for dinner...

New Book Alert

I have a new book out!  ESCAPE TO THE LITTLE FRENCH CAFE is the first in a series of three that can be read as standalones, but with recu...