Author Limelight and Giveaway: Jennie Jones…

Welcome to Author’s Limelight, Jennie Jones and a huge congratulations to you – your current e-book release, The House on Burra Burra Lane will be released in paperback in January 2014 with Harlequin Mira. Yay!

Thanks Sarah, I do love a spotlight so thank you for inviting me.

What was the first story you ever wrote?

A Mills & Boon western when I was twenty-five or thereabouts. They didn’t want it (it was pretty bad) but I kept the manuscript (thankfully) and decided to give writing fiction another go (which thankfully worked).  Writing romance was a no-brainer.  I actually penned my first words of romance at the age of thirteen when I was heady-in-love with my Girl Guide leader’s son. That story had a lot of long dreamy looks and a fair amount of kissing in it. No saucy nonsense though – my first year as a teenager and I was really only ‘looking’ at boys. My attention was focussed on getting a pair of high-heeled shoes and my first bra.

Of all the individuals you have created, do you have a particular favourite? What appeals to you the most about this character?

Funnily enough I don’t have a favourite, although I’m partial to one or two of my secondary characters like Mrs J and Grandy in The House on Burra Burra Lane. I’m also falling for each of the men I write, for their particular masculine appeal and for the story they’re involved in.

House On Burra_Cover

Has being published changed you at all? If so, how?

Yes it has changed me because it’s moved me into a different groove. For one thing, I’ve achieved something I desired, for another, the ride has taken me beyond my initial expectations so I’m excited, surprised and happy, but the bubble wouldn’t last for me if I hadn’t made the decision to dedicate myself to this job. I love this job. I’m so happy to be part of a writing community and I plan to stay (she said nervously, but with gusto – since she’s in the Sarah Belle limelight).

Lol Jennie! With all the gorgeousness you brought to the MC role at RWA13, you are a much loved member of the writing community. What a velvety voice you have!

What would we find on your bookshelf / e-reader?

Lots of unread romantic fiction books. Lots. Oh, and women’s fiction, contemporary and historical.

What’s the most unappealing thing you’ve ever eaten?

Anything that tastes of aniseed. Yuk!

If you could be any of the following characters for one day, who would you be and why? How would you re-write the ending?


a) Scarlett O’Hara
from Gone with the Wind.

b) Thelma or Louise from Thelma and Louise.

c) Princess Leia from Starwars.

d) Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffanys.

Holly Golightly. I’d love to be that breezy and beautiful. A country girl at heart with such an eclectic lifestyle and following – and an unnerving desire to be someone else. I wouldn’t change the ending. Holly found her home.

Of all the books in history, which do you wish you wrote and why?

Em… Pass. Why? Because there are too many and they’re diverse. For example, as a teenager I read (or think I read – I might have skimmed through it a bit) War and Peace. Yes, I know. Years later I found my copy of War and Peace, along with the library sticker stating it should be returned by April the year I turned fifteen. Oops. But it was probably the film that held my attention – therefore I also wanted the book (and happened to get that book… Not sure why I wasn’t hunted down by the library mistress).

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

Oh, you do ask challenging questions, Sarah.  Emm… I don’t think I’d want one. Too complicated to haul around all that emotional angst of right and wrong.

If you could go back in time, where would you go and when? What is one thing you would want to take with you?

WWII. I’d be an ambulance driver (and I’d take nylons. Lots of nylons for those off-duty moments.) I will never forget a lady I sat next to on a London bus when I was in my twenties. Can’t remember where either of us were going, or why the conversation struck up, but she told me the best time of her life was during WWII in London. She was thrilling to talk to. She spoke of the unanimity of comradeship during the bombings and the bread queues, of the courting by the uniformed men, the dances where they could all let their hair down for a moment – and – of the repercussions for women. She said WWII made her ‘whole’ and she wasn’t being flibbertigibbety about the war. She had lived the hardships, the losses, the worries and she got through it, evolving (as she put it) a better person.

I’d have to say I am with you on that one, Jennie. WWII is an amazing time in our history, particularly for women.

Can you tell us about your works in progress?

Yes please! Book #2 in my Swallow’s Fall series is written and I’m at the exciting arty stage of going through each scene and really getting the crafting to the best I can. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing this story. We meet all the locals from Burra Burra Lane and a few new ones. My hero and heroine are newcomers to Swallow’s Fall township and they’re taking it by storm. Its working title is, The House at the Bottom of the Hill.

Finally, can you give us a sneaky excerpt from The House on Burra Burra Lane, please?

Love to!

Sammy raised her face and saw sunlight and peace on Ethan’s. He suited the place he stood: outdoors. Had he been born with patience, or had he learned it? She had the impression still waters ran deep. There was a waterfall cascading inside him somewhere, but someone or something had turned off the tap and all that gushing water was trapped. He was too solitary most of the time. Too unperturbed, but she didn’t know if it was a trait, or a rule.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Sarah. It’s always fun and rather contemplative when asked questions that make us remember episodes in our lives that make us smile. J

Jennie is also giving away an e-copy of her novel, The House on Burra Burra Lane. All you have to do to be in the draw is leave a comment below. The e-copy will be either Amazon Kindle or ITunes only. This competition is open world wide and will be drawn one week after the publishing of this post.

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Author Limelight: Romance author – Iris Blobel…

Hello Iris and welcome to Author’s Limelight! Congratulations on the recent release of New Beginnings.

Thank you for having me.

What was the first story you ever wrote?

My first story was also my first book “Sweet Dreams, Miss England”. I’d never been a story writer, but a person with an immense love for numbers (hence my day job in finance!). I could say I wish I’d listened to the “voices in my head” earlier, but I never really saw myself as a writer.

Of all the individuals you have created, do you have a particular favourite? What appeals to you the most about this character?

Tricky! I love Daniel, my Irish charmer in “Sweet Dreams, Miss England” and I hope one day I can write a continuation of the story. But I suppose currently I love Sophie and Mia Levesque, the sisters in “New Beginnings” who inherited a house. Especially Mia who, at eight years old, is so full of life and wit.

New Beginnings

Has being published changed you at all? If so, how?

I’d lie if I’d say no. It’s a great feeling to know that other people are reading your story, and most of the time liking it as well. Very humbling experience.

What would we find on your bookshelf / e-reader?

A lot of books by Jill Shalvis & Lee Child!!

I love romance, mystery and crime. At the moment I’m trying to read more Australian romance stories. I feel I missed out on quite a few really good books the last few years 😉

What’s the most unappealing thing you’ve ever eaten?

When I lived in Montreal, I had a few international friends and we met once a week to eat a dish from that person’s country. The Mexican dish knocked me out … There was no way I was able to eat more than that mouthful. Honestly, I can’t tell you what it was, but it was horrible! Don’t get me wrong, nothing against Mexican food. I love Fajitas!

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If you could be any of the following characters for one day, who would you be and why? How would you re-write the ending?


a) Scarlett O’Hara
from Gone with the Wind.

b) Thelma or Louise from Thelma and Louise.

c) Princess Leia from Starwars.

d) Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffanys.

Was it Thelma or Louise who got to go to bed with Brad?

Of all the books in history, which do you wish you wrote and why?

I wouldn’t have a clue, to be honest. I have to admit I wish I could write mystery novels and would’ve created a character like Jack Reacher. I think that’s what I go with. Lee Child is doing a great job with those stories!

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

Be the Supermum !

If you could go back in time, where would you go and when? What is one thing you would want to take with you?

If I could go back in time I’d go back to visit my teenage Self. Wouldn’t it be neat to sit down with yourself and reassure yourself that the future is going to turn out not that bad as it might seem at that time. Tell yourself to not make certain mistakes (the really bad ones, otherwise you don’t learn anything) and to turn left sometimes instead of right.

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Can you tell us about your works in progress?

I’ve just finished edits for “More Beginnings”, the sequel to my recently released book “New Beginnings”. Currently I’m writing on “Fresh Beginnings”, the third book in the Beginnings series.

I’m also writing a trilogy about Australian Sports Stars. It’s about an AFL football, a baseball and soccer player. I love this series, the sexy hunks, the naughtiness and the pretty girls. A bit of a challenge, but I’m getting there.

Finally, can you give us a sneaky excerpt from New Beginnings, please?

She stared down at her shopping bags, the contents of one of them now all over the ground. Then she stopped for a moment. There were a set of feet right in front of her. Sophie closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Would there be more humiliation coming her way? She opened her eyes and was determined to… but she lost her thoughts. She stared at the eyes of a man, kneeling in front of her. He was holding her lettuce.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

Not quite sure whether she could trust herself to speak, she just nodded. As unnoticeable as possible, she wiped away the tear that had made its way across her cheek. Then she felt his thumb on her face, wiping the other tear away. She looked up and met his gaze. Beautiful green eyes that just about caused havoc in her inside and a shiver down her spine. Green eyes that belonged to one delicious voice. He wore jeans that fit tight around his muscular legs and an old worn-out grey T-shirt. The blond hair was unkempt with little locks falling over his forehead.

“Just ignore her.”

“I do. It’s her who needs to please ignore me,” she replied quietly.

 

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Author Limelight: Shani Struthers…

Hello Shani Struthers and welcome to the Author Limelight!

What was the first story you ever wrote?

The Runaway Year is actually the first story I ever wrote, although first draft is nothing like the published draft and the title was different too. In fact, it had a range of titles before deciding on the above, a range of styles and a totally different ending! As a copywriter though, I’m forever writing, it’s the day job and night job too!

RunawayYear_Cover shani Struthers

Of all the individuals you have created, do you have a particular favourite? What appeals to you the most about this character?

The Runaway Year features three main female characters. Layla Lewis is the main character but her best friends Penny and Hannah play a big part too – each of them dealing with their own particular romantic dilemma. Penny is the most feisty of the three and an outrageous flirt to boot. As well as being great fun, she’s kind and caring too, a great friend – as one reviewer said ‘everybody needs a Penny in their lives.’

Has being publishing changed you at all? If so, how?

Being published has given me confidence in my work, if a publisher is prepared to take a chance on my book, it has to be okay, right? It’s also made me very driven. This year it’s one book out there, next year, there’ll be another, maybe even two!

What would we find on your bookshelf/e-reader?

I’ve got a whole mix of books on my bookshelf, authors ranging from James Herbert, Dean Koontz and Stephen King (yep, I love horror!) to Lisa Jewell and Penny Vincenzi. On my e-reader I take a lot more chances with unknown authors. There’s Gunshot Glitter by Yasmin Selena Butt, Tall, Dark and Kilted by Lizzie Lamb and all of Emily Harvale’s fantastic romance books. My TBR is outrageous at the mo!

What’s the most unappealing thing you’ve ever eaten?

I love seafood – prawns, squid, mussels – but oysters, I just can’t bring myself to try them. Although the shell they come in is so pretty, the oyster itself does not entice!

If you could be any of the following characters for one day, who would you be and why? How would you re-write the ending?

 a) Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind.

b) Thelma or Louise from Thelma and Louise.

c) Princess Leia from Starwars.

d) Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffanys.

Easy one, I’d be the most wonderful heroine of them all (in my opinion!) Scarlett O’Hara! She’s naughty, she’s feisty, she’s strong in a crisis and she’s downright deluded. Ashley over Rhett? Oh come on! Still, she sees the light in the end but it’s too late, Rhett doesn’t give a damn anymore. I wouldn’t rewrite a thing though, it’s up the reader to imagine what happens next and I’ve imagined loads of times!

Of all the books in history, which do you wish you wrote and why?

I wish I’d written The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. It’s the first book I ever read regarding King Arthur and the dark ages and it kick-started an almost obsessive interest in that period of time for me that I still have to this day (although not quite so obsessive at the mo). An incredibly powerful thing for a book to do.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

That I could create more hours in the day! With three kids, copywriting to do and a house to see to, sometimes evening comes and I haven’t worked on my book at all. I’d like to create an extra three hours just to sit and write on the latest WIP and preferably I’d like that timeframe to occur around mid-morning when I’m at my best!

Shani Struthers photo

If you could go back in time, where would you go and when? What is the one thing you would want to take with you?

I’d go back to the dark ages to see if King Arthur and his cohorts truly existed. Where I would go would be Tintagel in North Cornwall, his supposed birthplace. And the one thing I would take with me would be a camera so I can take some shots of him!

Can you tell us about your works in progress?

I am currently putting the finishing touches to a paranormal mystery that’s heavy on romance too. When that’s done and sent off, I’m going to work on a sequel to The Runaway Year, I’ve already sketched out the story for it, now I just need to flesh it out.

Finally, can you give us a sneaky excerpt from The Runaway Year, please?

Finding herself on the way to the village centre again, she pulled over, intending to negotiate a three-point turn. The cottage was slightly out of the village, so she needed to get back onto the opposite side of the road and go back up the hill. Glancing over Hannah’s instructions again, she swung the car to the right—straight into the path of a motorcyclist.

What happened next seemed to happen in slow motion. The rider tried to stop but couldn’t do so in time, although he did manage to avoid hitting her car. As he turned his handlebars hard to the right, his tires lost grip on the wet road and he flew off, sliding some way before coming to a halt.

Layla sat motionless in her car, paralyzed temporarily by the shock. At last she managed to galvanize herself into action and fumbled for the door handle, her shaking hands making it hard to get a grip. When the door finally opened, another dilemma hit. What if she couldn’t stand? Her legs felt like jelly, surely they wouldn’t support her. Forcing herself upward, she was relieved to discover they held firm. Once she was sure they would continue to do so, she bolted over to where the biker lay, placed one hand on his soaking leather-clad shoulder and said, “Are you okay?”

“No, I’m not bloody okay!” he replied, a pair of bright blue eyes meeting hers as he lifted his visor. “I’m a bit bruised and battered as it goes.”

Despite his belligerent words, relief flooded through her: he wasn’t dead!

“Oh, I’m so glad,” she said, letting out a huge sigh.

“Glad?” he said, sitting up now and brushing the mud and leaves off his left arm. “Charming.”

“Oh, no, no,” she stuttered, realizing what she’d just said. “I’m not glad that I knocked you over. I’m glad you’re alive.”

“Only just, I think,” he replied, needing a helping hand to stand up.

“Can I give you a lift somewhere, take you to the nearest hospital?”

“The nearest hospital? That would be in Bodmin, I think, about fifteen miles from here. I don’t fancy driving fifteen miles with you behind the wheel.”

Feeling a little indignant now, Layla replied, “I’m actually a very good driver, thank you. You’re the first accident I’ve ever had.”

“Lucky me,” he replied sarcastically.

The Runaway Year-

Dumped by her hotshot boyfriend and boss, Layla Lewis quits her job and heads to Trecastle in North Cornwall to house-sit for a friend-of-a-friend. Trecastle isn’t new to her; it’s a place where she holidayed regularly with her now-estranged mother. It’s also the home of Hannah McKenzie, her childhood friend. Hannah has tempted her with a place to live and a job in the local pub. Needing time to nurse her battered heart and escape her “real life” for a year, Layla accepts.

Hannah is a talented artist as well as a barmaid. She lives in the village center with her boyfriend Jim, a singer in a local band. They are happy together, or as happy as they can be, considering. Hannah loves Jim, but there is someone she loves more and it’s pushing them to breaking point.

Meanwhile, back in Brighton, Layla’s fiery yet loyal friend Penny seeks revenge on her behalf, sending a forged email that could damage her ex’s business prospects. Penny wonders if she has gone too far but is soon preoccupied with her own problems: the sizzle has fizzled in her marriage, and she feels neglected. After getting frisky with Dylan one night, she confesses all to her husband—and he’s been like ice ever since.

Over the course of a year, there is laughter and heartache as all three endeavor to rein in their tumultuous love lives—discovering you can run all you like, but if it’s love you’re up against, true love, good things can only happen when you stand your ground.

 

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