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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Cathy Bramley "Conditional Love" Blog Tour Continues

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About The Book
Meet Sophie Stone, a thirty-something serial procrastinator. Tesco knickers, Take That and tea with two sugars is about as exciting as it gets. Sophie’s life is safe and predictable, which is just the way she likes it, thank you very much.

But when her boyfriend dumps her on Valentine’s Day and a mysterious benefactor leaves her an inheritance, Sophie has to accept that change is afoot. There is a catch: in order to inherit, Sophie must agree to meet the father she has never seen.

With interference from an evil boss, bickering flat mates, warring parents and a sexy ex-boyfriend, Sophie has plenty to contend with without an architect who puts his foot in it every time he opens his mouth.

She will have to face the past and learn some uncomfortable home truths before she can finally build a future on her own terms.

Meet The Author
Visit Her Website

Cathy Bramley is a British author of women’s feel-good fiction. Conditional Love, a romantic comedy is her debut novel. Her new title, Ivy Lane is being serialized as four ebooks this year and will be released as a paperback in 2015.

Cathy has spent most of her working career in the crazy world of marketing. After graduating from University in Nottingham, she plunged herself into corporate world, working on high-powered projects such as testing the firing range of SuperSoaker water guns and perfecting the weeing action of Tiny Tears. In 1995  she set up her own marketing agency, Apples & Pears Marketing, but now most of her marketing activities involve promoting her books.

She lives in an idyllic Nottinghamshire village with her husband, two daughters and a dog called Pearl.

Guest Post
Grand Designs on Writing My First Book! 
Thank you so much, Barbara for taking part in the Conditional Love CLP Blog Tour and allowing me to write a guest post for your blog!
Conditional Love is my debut novel and as such I decided to keep things simple for myself and write about something I know – property development.
In Conditional Love, the main character, Sophie, inherits a run down bungalow in a small village on the outskirts of Nottinghamshire. Well, that happened to me – or should I say, my husband, when his father suddenly passed away.
In our case there was no mystery inheritance and no condition in the will, however, we did decide to develop the property and in fact we demolished the little bungalow and built a house ourselves on the site.
Does Sophie go on to build the house of her dreams? You’ll have to read the book to find out, but I can tell you that the book isn’t the least bit auto-biographical!
Sophie and I do share one passion though and that is the British TV show Grand Designs.

The show is mentioned throughout the book. I know that there is an Australian version, but I don’t think it has ever made it to the USA. Grand Designs is fabulous programme which has been running for years.  It follows self-builders from the start of their project right through until they move into their dream home. In fact, the show has become so popular that there is a monthly magazine accompanying the series as well as two large national exhibitions every year. My husband and I attended a couple of these shows when we were planning our own house build and they were amazing.

Each TV episode is usually packed with drama: things go wrong with the build or the home owners run out of money or fall out with the workmen! But what I love about it is the creativity that these people have and the determination to pursue their dreams. Of course, it nearly always turns out right in the end.

And for an author who loves happy endings, what more could I want from a TV show!
Extract from Chapter four 

In the centre of the desk, lay an open file. I shuffled forward to the edge of my seat and managed to read my own name at the top of the page. I inched closer still, squinting to read more.

‘And you are?’

The deep voice made me jump so much that I panicked, slid off the chair and down onto one knee, thus greeting the tall, thin man with dark hair, glasses and a bushy beard in some sort of weird marriage proposal stance.

I scrambled up off the floor, mortified, and sat back down. ‘Nothing! Just waiting for Mr Whelan.’

His lips twitched and he gave his beard a scratch.

‘I’m Thomas Whelan.’ He extended a hand towards me. ‘And you are?’

‘Oh! Sophie Stone.’ I shook his hand and pulled up the collar of my coat to hide my glowing cheeks.

‘Ah yes,’ he said settling himself at his desk. He glanced at the file that I’d had been trying to read. ‘You’ve come about your aunt’s will.’

I processed this new information, hitherto unaware I had an aunt. Alive or dead.

‘My aunt?’

Mr Whelan blinked furiously, referred back to the manila file and adjusted his glasses.

‘My apologies, Miss Stone, your great aunt.’

Well that was that then. She had to be one of my father’s relations. There were definitely no great aunts in Mum’s family. There was no one at all in her family. I sighed. I had been hoping… well, I wasn’t sure exactly what I’d been hoping. Maybe that she was an old lady I’d done a good deed for once when I was in the Brownies or something. Although, I couldn’t think what I’d done to warrant a mention in anybody’s will.

But any tenuous link would be better than being a relative of Terry Stone’s. Still, I’d better be absolutely sure.

‘Would you mind just running me through the family tree?’

‘Of course not,’ said Mr Whelan, pushing his chair back and standing up abruptly. ‘But first, have you brought your passport?’

I jumped to my feet too.  ‘Why? Where are we going?’ I had been told on the phone to bring my passport when I arranged the appointment and the request had been troubling me ever since.

‘Only to the photocopier,’ he chuckled. ‘Need to verify you are who you say you are before we continue with the reading of the will.’

Thank heavens for small mercies! I had had visions of having to jump on a plane at a moment’s notice to take ownership of some mystery item.

Identity checks complete, we resumed our positions either side of the desk. The solicitor took off his wristwatch, set it to one side and then, elbows on the desk, clasped his hands together and made a steeple with his forefingers, resting his long nose on the tip.

‘This office holds the last will and testament of Mrs Jane Kennedy. She was Terence Stone’s maternal aunt. Your great aunt.’

I stared at him, mesmerised by the end of his nose which was protruding over his fingers.

I should stop him from going any further. There was no point in hearing what he had to say. My father had been absent for all of my thirty- two years. Mum and I had managed perfectly well without his or his family’s help, thank you very much and I knew instinctively that she would resent any intervention at this stage in the game. Besides, why would the old dear leave anything to me? It didn’t make sense, we’d never even met.

‘Long and tedious documents, wills.’

My eyes must have glazed over for a moment. I shook myself and Mr Whelan’s eyes twinkled at me.

‘There’s been a misunderstanding,’ I said, scooping up my bag as I stood. ‘My mother is estranged from her ex-husband. I’ve never met Jane Kennedy; in fact, I’ve never met my father.’

‘I’m aware of all that,’ he said, not unkindly. ‘However, it falls to me to ensure that you are fully informed as to your inheritance. Please sit.’ He flapped a hand at the empty chair. ‘Would you like me to read the whole thing or cut to the chase?’

I blinked my green eyes at him. Was he allowed to say things like that? I sat back down obediently.

‘The main bits, please.’

‘Righto.’ Mr Whelan extracted a document and a small sealed envelope from the file. He pushed his glasses up his nose and cleared his throat. I held my breath.

‘Your great aunt Jane has bequeathed the bulk of her estate to you. You, Miss Stone are the main beneficiary of her will.’

An estate! Visions of strolling through manicured gardens like someone out of Pride and Predjudice, against a backdrop of a Chatsworth-style mansion, on Marc’s arm, were somewhat dimmed with Mr Whelan’s next sentence.

‘There’s a bungalow in Woodby and several thousand pounds. We haven’t finalised the amount yet.’

Woodby? That was a village in the sticks somewhere north of Nottingham. A bungalow and some money. I repeated the words in my head. That was a house and some actual money-in-the-bank type dosh.

My chest had been getting tighter and tighter with lack of oxygen and now I was all panicky. Breathe, Sophie, in out, in out. I probably looked like I was in labour: face all red, and puffing like Ivor the engine.

A house. My great aunt had given me a house. Of my own. And that meant a home. How long had I been dreaming of my own home? Only all my life, that was how long.

Mr Whelan’s lips were moving. He was still speaking and I hadn’t been listening. He was holding an envelope out to me and I took it automatically.

‘As I say, there is a condition to the inheritance, but I think it would be better if you read Mrs Kennedy’s letter yourself. I’ll leave you in private for a moment. Can I get you some coffee?’

‘Tea please, two sugars.’

Condition? I wasn’t sure I could take any more surprises. Life was so much gentler without them. My heart rate was already registering at least a seven on the Richter scale.

‘Actually, make it three!’
Twitter  @cathybramley
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Free On Kindle Today "Danger In Her Words"

Click here to get your free Kindle copy on Amazon Today and Tomorrow
April 23 and 24, 2014
FREE ON KINDLE TODAY. Danger In Her Words. 'Sex Sells' was the theme at the writing conference. Author Susan Meyers decides to write something steamy and gets more than she bargained for. A book within a book with two widows looking for love in all the wrong places. NOTE: adult themed situations.
I've written a novel, a first for me. Writing a memoir seemed easy compared to writing fiction, but now I think I could just be hooked on writing both! I've learned there are voices in my head to join my signs from the universe. That's a heap of trouble waiting to happen!
Am I a widow themed writer? I am beginning to think so. My character Susan in Danger is a widow, and her character Jamie, in this book within a book, is also a widow. Two widows who haven't dated in several years who miss human touch. Jamie knows that about herself, Susan still has to learn she is hiding from a full life.
How much of this widow is in the book? Who me? Friends might tell you it is my fictional memoir! But it is really a work of fiction, tossed with things I love.
Take Susan's farmhouse for instance. I've wanted to move into a farmhouse but haven't. My fantasy life with small country towns, farmhouses, antiques, and . . . . . go figure, hen houses . . . round out the backdrop for Danger.
There is sex in my book, fun sex, steamy sex, but not the sex you find in erotica. I like to mention that, and most everyone I know is sick of me saying this. It was a difficult thing for me - trying to figure out how much sex was too much for my characters  . . . and for me. I still blush reading some scenes, but my more conservative friends tell me the mix is good.
Writing is so personal. I was surprised to discover I was more concerned about what I wrote for my characters than what I shared in my memoir The Unfaithful Widow. The fear in writing is that someone will take what I say the wrong way and I am not there to explain myself.
I've gotten my head around that, I think! I heard a writer speak the other night at a dinner and his words still echo in my mind. You have to write to be true to your story, not edit it to what you think people will like. If you do anything different, you cheat the reader.
Danger In Her Words is written the way it needed to be, the way I saw it in my mind. It is a fun story with romance, a dash of suspense, and a sprinkle of murder. Oh yes, and then the sex . . . well, it is hard to have a book about a writer penning out erotica without some sex involved. Or so I think!
Starting May 5th, through the first week of June, Danger In Her Words will be on a virtual blog tour with Women On Writing (WOW).  Check back here for specific dates and links. It is going to be fun!
Book Trailer!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Blog Tour: A Questionable Friendship by Samantha March (excerpt, giveaway) Day Two

Blog Tour And Giveaway
Follow the blog tour and click here for links to the daily sites. Enter giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card to be announced by Samantha March on April 22. Form below.
About The Book:
Brynne Ropert and Portland Dolish have been best friends since being paired as roommates in college. Seven years later they are now twenty-five, married, and living in Maine–– but the two women couldn’t be more different. Brynne finds fulfillment in her life as a wife, mother and owner of a small cafĂ© and bookshop, but is struggling to expand her family. Portland is still coping with her mother’s death during her childhood, and her marriage is unraveling before her eyes. Portland envies her friend’s seemingly stable and easy life while Brynne doesn’t understand the growing distance between them and cannot begin to guess what secret Portland is hiding about her husband and crumbling marriage. While one woman feels shut out, the other enters into a web of lies to protect herself.  

A Questionable Friendship explores what really makes someone a true friend, a support system, a sister. How much trust goes into a friendship and when is being a friend not enough? Brynne and Portland’s story will attempt to answer those questions, and show that happily ever after isn’t in the cards for everyone.

I lay in bed by myself that night, as Trent said he still had some reports to look at. I flipped onto my stomach, my favorite sleeping position, and tried to will myself to sleep. But my mind wouldn’t shut off. I flashed to the papers I found in Trent’s desk last night, purely on accident. I had never thought to snoop on my husband of two years. I was trying to find our tax returns from last year to give to the accountant, as we were severely behind and the April deadline was just around the corner. I had tried calling Trent to see where they were, but his phone was going to straight to voicemail. I knew he was driving home and sometimes his service cut in and out, so I didn’t think anything of it. I decided to find the papers myself, mostly out of boredom and the need to do something. 

Trent’s office in our 2200 square foot ranch home was on the first floor, all the way to the east. I rarely ventured in there as I had no reason too, only popping in when Trent was working. It felt a little foreign being there, but I sat at his desk chair and looked around me. His desk wasn’t just some shoddy little thing tucked into the corner, no, the desk ran almost the full length of the wall, big enough for three people to easily fit at. He had one desktop computer set up and a laptop as well, and he carried yet another laptop with him on business trips. A printer that doubled as a scanner sat on one corner, and a fax machine on another. He had multiple calendars hung up with agendas scribbled on the majority of the dates, and another smaller calendar that sat to the right of the desktop. It was opened to that date, March 14, and scribbled on there was “Petosi.” He had been in that town for the past two nights, and was due home late in the night. 

After some searching, I finally found the drawer that seemed to hold important records. Our passports were in there, our wedding license, birth certificates, and deed to the house. I found the titles to both our vehicles, but no tax information. I frowned, trying to think of another spot he would have them. I slipped all the papers back in the appropriate files and shut the drawer, and when I did, a single piece of paper had floated down to me, from somewhere at the top of the desk. I grabbed the sheet and read over the words, my eyes growing wide, then squinting as I read and re-read. My body turned cold as I sat in shock, trying to process what I had read. When I realized I’d been sitting there for probably thirty minutes doing absolutely nothing I jumped, understanding that Trent could walk through the door at any minute and find me. Then what would I say? 

Carefully, I pushed myself up and climbed onto the office chair, putting the piece of paper back where I thought it had come from. From my new vantage point, I saw the top of his desk was riddled with other papers and…a calendar. I swallowed hard as I peered closer and saw what was written in under March 13. My stomach heaving, I quickly left the office after righting the chair to its original spot, and fled to the bathroom. 

I blinked back tears in bed as I forced myself to calm my mind. Trent had some explaining to do sure, but how did I tell him what I had found? Did that really even matter in the grand scheme of things? But knowing the Trent as of lately, he would try to turn this around on me and make me look like the bad person. I squeezed my eyes shut and prayed for sleep. I just wanted to sleep, to forget about what I had found. The day had been torturous enough, trying to make everything seem like it was hunky dory and nothing out of place. And what would tomorrow bring? More questions. And next week – Trent would be gone for two weeks. Would he be going where he said he was? What was he actually doing on his trips away? 

The bedroom door opened and I saw Trent enter the room, already in just his boxers. I let my breathing become even so he would think I was asleep. 

He plugged his cell phone in and set it on the nightstand, then pulled the covers back and crawled in. I felt his cold feet touch mine and jerked involuntarily. “Are you awake?” he whispered. I could feel his erection pressing into my back, and knew what he wanted. He probably touched me on purpose. 

“Mmmph,” I mumbled, not opening my eyes. 

“Port. You awake?” he asked again, clearly not getting the hint as his hand wandered to my breast. 

I rolled away and made more sleeping noises, begging in my mind for him to leave me alone. He stayed quiet for another moment, then finally rolled the other way. 

I was off the hook – at least for one night.
About The Author

Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things health, fitness, fashion, and celebrity related. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and has three published novels – Destined to Fail, The Green Ticket, and A Questionable Friendship. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers. Samantha lives in Iowa with her husband and Vizsla puppy.

Why I started Marching Ink. 

When I first decided I was going to self-publish my debut novel Destined to Fail, I quickly realized that I wanted to go about it in a big way. I looked into the requirements of buying a LLC (Limited Liability Company) and within that week had a framed copy of my license in my office. My idea was to start an independent publishing company. My love of books has no limit. When I was going through the publishing process, I saw how overwhelming it can be. Not only all the finances involved, but the decisions on hiring editors and proofreaders, cover designers and book formatters. Then the marketing that is involved and how to elbow your way in the crowd online to talk about you and your book. I thought I already had some resources covered – I was going through the publishing process myself and learning about all the decisions and costs involved, plus I was already a freelance editor with several contacts to other editors that I could contract out, knew two cover designers on a friendly basis, and ran CLP Blog Tours and had a great relationship with many book bloggers. So I ....why not?
In August 2012, Marching Ink published the first novel not written by yours truly. The process of publishing Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie was such an experience. Sure, questions arose and there were some tough nights of number crunching, list-making, and second thoughts on what I was doing, but overall it was a fabulous experience and made me feel confident in my ability to find a great book that was a good fit for Marching Ink and get it out there in the world for readers. I don’t think I can ever thank Cat Lavoie enough for being my first author – she was amazing to work with (still is) and having her as a partner to bounce ideas off of made the entire process work so smoothly for the both of us.
Since then, Marching Ink has gone on to publish six novels, three from me, two from Cat Lavoie, and the debut from author Laura Chapman. We’re currently in talks to publish four more this year, and I’m always on the lookout for other terrific stories that we can sign. If you are an author and looking to query an independent publishing company, head on over to the Submissions page on Marching Ink!

Additional Links:Author's Web Facebook, Goodreads,
 Twitter @SamanthaMarch23 





Monday, April 7, 2014

And you ask why I call her "Miss April In Paris" . . .

Miss April In Paris
It is raining cats and dogs again today. Well, at my house, it is raining dogs and pee. Yes, I can't believe I said that, but the dogs won't do outside in the storms and they are dancing around my kitchen, waiting for me to turn my back and . . . yes, pee. It is a well known fact my dogs are sissies about the weather. I am too.
I've been going through some much older posts on this blog and came upon this photo of Miss April In Paris. She was the sixth rescue dog to enter my home in a nine month period. Shy, she kept to herself, until I put a lovely vintage hat on her head. Then she became Miss April In Paris to herself and the world. I wrote about it at the time. This is the link to that post.
There have been some dog changes here. A new dog, Miss Bertha Barth, came in a few months after Miss Foxy left me in her old age. I like the number six it seems . . . I love my Margaritas but live with a six-pack at home.
In The Unfaithful Widow you meet Foxy and Jake and a few of the rescue dogs to enter my front door! I am working on my dog memoir, stories on all the dogs that have enriched my life, most since I've been on my own, single again. It got put on the back burner for my first novel, Danger In Her Words. Today I am at work on my new memoir on my life with dogs. I am getting sentimental about all my dogs as I go through the old photos and blog posts about them. There is nothing like a rainy day to hold memories close and cherish those around you.