Posted in books, Fiction

Spotlight for “Shelly: A Promise is Forever” by Adite Banerjie

This short story by Adite Banerjie revolves around two brothers. When a reluctant Anand Khalap agrees to meet his estranged brother Raj, he has no idea that he will finally uncover the mystery of the death of his beloved Shelly. Will it bring them the closure they need?

Intense and emotional, it is a little dark, a little sinister. You can buy it from

Amazon.com, AmazonIN, Amazon UK and Amazon Australia. Or read it free on Kindle Unlimited.

About Adite Banerjie

Adite Banerjie discovered the wonderful world of books at an early age which sparked her interest in writing. After a fulfilling and exciting career as a business journalist she turned her attention to fiction.

Three of her romance novels have been published by Harlequin/Harper Collins India. In 2018 she embarked on her indie journey as an author-publisher.

She also writes screenplays. 7 Lives, a short film she wrote on organ donation is currently streaming on Amazon Prime (US, UK). In 2017, one of her scripts made it to the semi-finals of the prestigious Academy Nicholl Fellowships.

To know more about Adite and her books, check out her website or visit her page on Goodreads.com

Posted in books, Fiction, Kindle, Writing

Book Spotlight for “Dazzled by Mr Suave (Love @ Second Sight Book 4)” by Dee James

Blurb

A Slow Burn, Political Romance

After a chance meeting at a wedding, Rahul Rai – the country’s darling and the hot, economic genius – is intrigued by the feisty and adorably awkward Zoya Deol. Zoya is light to his dark, a scintillating presence in his somber life; but she is too young and too pure for him! Burned once in love, will Rahul be able to open his heart again and give them a chance?

Zoya Deol is a modern day princess, loved by the people for her stunning looks and her quirky captions. A social media sensation, this celebrity vlogger didn’t see love coming in the form of the yummy-looking politician. When the uber-charming, experienced Rahul breaks several rules and her self control with his kisses, she knows there is no looking back. Will Zoya be able to fight the obstacles on her path to love?

Fourth in the Love @ Second Sight series, this is the last part. Each of the books in this series can also be read as a standalone book.

About the Author

Dee James writes sweet, dreamy, romantic stories. A software professional by day, she wears her secret romance cape after work hours. Dee loves to write about quirky, independent women and sinful-looking alpha men who find their own happily ever after. Her books feature a heavy dose of humor, drama, and love, of course! Apart from devouring all things romance, Dee loves to read, blog, sing, and cook. Besides insta-love, pink lipsticks, and kohls, the one thing that she can’t do without is coffee!

Get your copy here:

Posted in blog, books, writers, Writing

Meet the Author: Michelle Betham

I have Michelle Betham with me today. She is both traditionally and self-published and writes all kinds of romance. Here’s more about her.

Sue: So tell us how you became an author?

Michelle: I’ve been making up stories ever since I could pick up a pencil. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing, or reading, and it was always my dream to become an author. I suppose you could say I just kept going, kept my dream alive, and kept writing, because I was determined to get there in the end.

Sue: You write romance with a ‘kick’. Tell us more about the kind of stories you write.

Michelle: I’ve written a lot of books – over thirty now – in a LOT of different (romance) genres. But when I say I write romance with a kick, it just means I like to write romance with a bit of an edge. In the past, I’ve written everything from a sweet Christmas love story to lighthearted comedy romances, but my favourite kind of romance is the darker kind, involving edgy, flawed, but ultimately strong characters who meet – and sometimes become involved in – quite dangerous situations. I love writing gritty MC (motorcycle club) romances, or super-hot rock star romances, I like to put my characters through a lot, no-one gets an easy ride in my books! But at the heart of everything I write there’s always a love story. My aim as an author is to take people to a different world, one they would never dream of living in in reality. I’m all about escapism, and maybe giving people something a little different to read.

Sue: Do you follow any writing rituals?

Michelle: No, I don’t. I’m very much one of those writers who thinks up a story and then just writes it. I don’t really plan anything, to be honest. I have a white board in the office, where I scribble down notes and brief plot outlines, and I also have a notebook on my desk that’s constantly open, ready for me to write down flashes of inspiration or plot changes that come to me when I least expect it, but apart from that I just write as I go. I always find things change as I progress through the story anyway, as characters develop and situations change. So, yeah, I don’t really have any rituals. Having said that, every book I write has its own special playlist, and that’s really important to me, because music is one of my biggest inspirations. I have to listen to music when I write, I can’t write in silence. So I suppose you could call that a ritual.

Sue: Why did you choose to be a hybrid author (both self published and trad published)?

Michelle: In the beginning, I just wanted to get my books out there, so that’s why I turned to self-publishing first. I just wanted to write, wanted to publish my books, and having a husband who is incredibly good at doing all the technical stuff involved in self-publishing meant I could do that quite easily. But there was always a part of me that still wanted to be published “traditionally”. Which happened, eventually, when I won a competition organised by Harper Collins back in November 2013 with my Christmas novella The First Christmas Without You. I’ve subsequently had six books published through One More Chapter, a division of Harper Collins, including a psychological thriller/romantic suspense – The Wife – under the pen name ML Roberts. But, in all honesty, I wasn’t entirely happy being a traditionally published author, for a number of reasons. A lot of writers think you can’t call yourself a series author unless you’ve had a book published that way, but I don’t agree with that. There are some incredible independent authors out there, and for me I’m so much happier as an indie author. When all is said and done, I write because I love it. I just want to tell stories, but I want to tell MY stories, and I like the freedom being an indie author gives you. It’s incredibly hard work, pays very little, and of course you have to be able to do all the technical stuff yourself, or have the means to pay someone to do it for you, but I wouldn’t go back to “trad” publishing now. Self-publishing is where I started, and it’s where I’m happiest. Being a “trad” published author isn’t the be all and end all, believe me. Take it from someone who’s been there, and done that.

Sue: Time for a quick fire round.

Your favourite fictional hero/heroine…

Michelle: Lucky Santangelo. I’m a HUGE Jackie Collins fan, and Lucky is one hell of a character! Strong, feisty, speaks her mind, I just love her!

Sue: Your favourite genre to read…

Michelle: Romance. But I do like a bit of horror now and again, especially James Herbert’s books.

Sue: Your current read…

Michelle: No Way Back by Kelly Florentia

Sue: Tea or coffee?

Michelle: Tea. Always tea!

Sue: E-book or paperback or audio book?

Michelle: As much as I’ve always loved paperbacks in the past, I mainly read e-books now. I’d be lost without my Kindle!

Sue: What do you do when you’re not writing?

Michelle: I read, a lot. I also like to cook, I’m a big music fan, and I love to sit down in front of Netflix or Amazon Prime and binge a decent box-set. It’s actually where I get a lot of my inspiration from.

Sue: What can your readers expect from you next?

Michelle: I’m working on a sequel to my latest release, Beautiful Dangerous, called Devil You Know, and it’ll be book #2 in the Cartel Queens Series. It’s a very dark, romantic suspense, following on from events in the first book, and it revolves around a female-led Mexican/American cartel and a motorcycle club, and it’ll be revisiting characters from book #1, and introducing a few new ones. It’s the kind of book I just adore writing, because I get to create some incredibly strong but exceptionally damaged characters – both male and female – and send them on a journey they’ll never forget.

Sue: Good luck and thank you for joining us!

Get your copy of Michelle’s latest book here:

Posted in Fiction, writers, Writing

Meet the Author: Audrey Davis

Hi everyone. I have Audrey Davis with me today. She writes romantic comedy with a dark edge, and she loves people and Edinburgh. Here’s my chat with her.

Sue: So how did you become an author?

Audrey: I trained as a journalist in Edinburgh many years ago, and worked primarily for provincial newspapers and a London-based video magazine. So, I’ve been writing all my adult life, but it wasn’t till 2016 that I dipped my toe into writing fiction. I signed up for a free online course, and from there the bare bones of my first romantic comedy novel took shape. I published A Clean Sweep in June 2017 with very little idea of what I was doing!

Sue: Tell us about your latest book and what inspired it.

Audrey: As a family, we moved to Switzerland in 2002. I didn’t find the transition easy and struggled with the language (French), driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, and many small cultural differences that made me either laugh or cry. My own experiences and observations formed the basis of Lost In Translation, which was published on January 11 2021 – TODAY! I hasten to add it is a work of fiction!

Sue: I understand that your books combine elements from various genre like humour, supernatural and so on. Tell us more about your writing style.

Audrey: My debut novel was firmly rooted in reality, but I quickly found that writing comedy suited me better than straightforward romance. My second — The Haunting of Hattie Hastings — took a very different direction and I still can’t pinpoint where the idea came from. I wrote the first chapter imagining a woman coming to terms with the unexpected loss of her husband, and her disbelief when he refuses to take death lying down. My third — A Wish For Jinnie — focuses on the unorthodox relationship between a young woman and a genie with a difference, which gave me free rein to run wild with wacky wishes and bizarre situations. My latest returns to everyday life (no ghosts or genies) but examines the impact of relocating to a foreign country and the main character’s struggles both with adapting to a new environment and dealing with doubts about her marriage.

Sue: Do you follow any writing rituals?

Audrey: None whatsoever. I write when inspiration strikes, and might churn out anything from a couple of hundred words to 1K+. I have no set schedule and would describe myself as hopeless at plotting (although I’m working on it). My favourite writing spot is at the kitchen table, chiefly because my office resembles an explosion in a stationery factory. Another job to add to my ever-growing ‘to do’ list is to create order out of chaos.

Sue: What do you do when you’re not writing?

Audrey: I used to read tons of books, but my reading mojo took a break during the ongoing pandemic. I’ve been unable to finish several books, not because they’re bad, I just find it hard to concentrate. I enjoy cooking (and eating), and Netflix provides a welcome distraction from the relentlessly depressing world news. I normally frequent the gym, albeit reluctantly at times, but that too is on hold during lockdown.

Sue: Time for a quick fire round.

Your current read…

Audrey: Did My Love Life Shrink in the Wash? by Kristen Bailey.

Sue: Your favourite fictional hero/heroine…

Audrey: A tough one, but I adored Bridget Jones for her mix of vulnerability and feistiness.

Sue: Your favourite movies…

Audrey: Ooh, The Shawshank Redemption, When Harry Met Sally and Train to Busan (a Korean zombie movie) spring to mind. You can’t say I don’t have diverse tastes!

Sue: Tea or coffee?

Audrey: Coffee all the way. Usually instant out of a jar, although I do have a nice Nespresso machine when I’m feeling posh.

Sue: eBook or audio book or paperback?

Audrey: Generally eBooks read on my iPad, although I still love a nice paperback and will often revisit old favourites.

Sue: What can your readers expect from you next?

Audrey: I was stunned but delighted when several people commented in reviews that they’d love to read a follow-up to A Wish For Jinnie. I’d always considered it a standalone book but — on reflection — I realised there was a lot of potential to explore some of the characters further and introduce new ones. I’m now working on a sequel with the intention of making it a romcom trilogy set in the fictional Scottish village of Cranley. Ideally I’d like to publish the next two this year but I’ll need to stop faffing around on social media to make that happen!

Sue: Good luck!

Get your copy of Audrey’s new release here:

Posted in books, Fiction, writers, Writing

Meet the Author: Judy Leigh

Happy New Year! I’m starting off 2021 with an interview with one of my favourite authors – Judy Leigh. Her books are fun and full of warmth, laughter and entertainment. Here’s more about her.

Sue: From teaching and writing plays to writing novels. How did that journey happen?

Judy: I taught acting and I always wrote for my students in a variety of genres – scripts, dialogues, songs, monologues, poems. I’d always wanted to be a writer. So, when my kids left home for University, it was my chance to jump. I enrolled in a masters in professional writing and that led me to start my first novel, A Grand Old Time. After that, the way forward was very clear.

Sue: Tell us about your latest book and what inspired it.

Judy: My latest novel, Heading over the Hill, is about Billy and Dawnie, a couple in their seventies who are looking for a new home, a new life for just the two of them. They are unconventional, Billy with his Harley Davidson and Dawnie with her wigs and wild fashions and, at first, it seems like they won’t fit in. The neighbours are an interesting bunch too, with their own issues to resolve, and the novel is about friendship, community and love. It was inspired by being in lockdown in two ways: family and friends and our community are so important, now more than ever, and we’ve been missing being with those closest to us; also, location and travel are important: I wanted to take the reader to visit beautiful places such as the seaside and the coast.

Sue: What are the challenges of writing older central characters? And what’s the best part about it?

Judy: I try very hard not to make older characters stereotypes: the wise old grandparent who gives advice and stays in the background, the wicked witch who delights in others’ troubles. I want to make my characters real people who have the potential to love, to change, to fulfil their heart’s desires and also they are warm, funny, comapssionate, and they reach out to others. They can be glamorous, roamntic, strong and they have a present and a future to live and to look forward to. I know so many inspirational older people who, at seventy and eighty, still dig allotments, plan long holidays, go jogging and take off on wild adventures. I think of what my own parents would love to have done.
The best part is when so many people message me and say how pleased they are that older people have been represented in a novel and how they have the chance to have fun. Some people have even been inspired to embark on new adventures of their own, which is realy exciting. I’m so happy that my books make people smile and that the characters are enjoyable: as one reader kindly put it, ‘they are like friends.’

Sue: Do you follow any writing rituals?

Judy: Yep. I go to the gym every morning then start to write at eleven o’clock. I work until around six o’clock. I can usually write around three thousand words in a day and I like to go back and edit what I’ve written as I go, so I have a sense of direction and continuity. I go for long walks in the woods and on the beach to think, to find ideas and solutions. I’m so incredibly lucky to live in a place where I can do that.

Sue: What do you do when you’re not writing?

Judy: I like to walk, to travel in my camper van, to be with friends and family. I like to travel to new places and explore new cultures and languages, and meet people. I enjoy live music and theatre (I’m so looking forward to a time when we can do that again.) I love a party! I adore my three cats, TC, Murphy and Colin: they are strong characters and they bring peace to the end of my busy day.

Sue: Time for a quick fire round.

Your current read…

Judy: I’m reading Love by Roddy Doyle. He’s an inspiration – his dialogue is brilliant.

Sue: Your favourite fictional hero/heroine…

Judy: Probably Cathy and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. I like the wild, moody, passionate characters. I also love Alex in Everything is Illuminated. He is so funny.

Sue: Your favourite movies…

Judy: Everything is Illuminated. In Bruges. Inglorious Bastards.The Birdcage. Jean de Florette. Stuart: a Life Backwards. Parasite. All Marx Brothers movies. There are so many more.

Sue: Tea or coffee?

Judy: Green tea every day. Coffee with Sunday breakfast.

Sue: Ebook or audio book or paperback?

Judy: All of them. Ebook for light fun novels that I can read anywhere. Paperback for books I want to hold and treasure. Audio for when I’m travelling – I ‘m always very thrilled when I hear a voice bring characters to life.

Sue: What can your readers expect from you next?

Judy: My next book, Chasing the Sun, is out in April. It’s about Molly who, on her 70th birthday, feels that she is treading water in her life and longs for change. When her sister’s marriage collapses, they both jet off to Spain for some fun. Molly is happy for a while but yearns for change again and rushes off to Mexico, searching for something she can’t identify that will bring her happiness. Written in lockdown, I wanted to take my readers on a journey that included romance and the opportunity to visit wonderful countries and culture, and to accompany a character who is spontaneous, funny and has the spirit of adventure. I have written another two already, one is a journey, a spontaneous holiday to Europe, the other is set in Scotland by Loch Ness.

Thanks for these wonderful questions. I thoroughly enjoyed answering them. Wishing you and all readers peace, happiness and health in the New Year.

Sue: Thank you for your time!

Get your copy of Judy’s latest book here

Posted in books

Book Spotlight for “A Curmudgeonly Christmas” by Samantha Henthorn

Blurb

THE ONE WHERE IT’S THE CURMUDGEONLY FINAL

Curmudgeon Avenue has been going on for quite some time, some would say for longer than reasonably necessary. In this Curmudgeonly edition, the nincompoops of Curmudgeon Avenue would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Gordon Bennett is obsessed with the pothole growth on the street as we get proper emosh at Wantha and Ricky’s wedding. Christmas is coming, and Francesca is getting fat meanwhile Zandra may have overdone it with the scented candles. And the ghosts are immune to any lockdown restrictions.

Put down the sausage rolls and the leftover wine, A Curmudgeonly Christmas is a perfect end to the Curmudgeon Avenue series and the year!  

Written with British English Grammar and turn-of-phrase.

Excerpt

‘Toonan! This is going to be a disaster!’ Francesca rushed to the counter at Genevieve’s in her dressing gown, having noticed Toonan walking down Curmudgeon Avenue.

     ‘What’s going to be a disaster?’ said Toonan. She had little sympathy left in her with all her sister’s dramas (not Wantha’s fault, for a change). And Mrs Freemantle on the phone every two minutes with concerns about her mother. (Unbeknownst to anyone other than Patchouli, she had managed to escape Doris Freemantle’s watch by leaving and arriving at the back window of Gil Von Black’s house). At least the sisters were now aware that Patchouli was alone in that big house. Weird that she would try to keep that a secret…

     ‘What’s going to be a DISASTER?! Getting married, of course, SUZANNE!’ Francesca had become rather self-absorbed in her temporary hormonal state.

     ‘Charming,’ said Matteo behind his Perspex visor.

     ‘I mean about the WEDDING DRESSES. Have you picked out what kind of dress you want?’ Francesca asked Toonan in almost an accusatory tone. Perhaps a double wedding wasn’t such a good idea after all.

     ‘No, no, lissen, Francesca. I just popped in for a coffee.’

     ‘Coming right up,’ said Matteo.

     ‘I’ve had a lot on my mind,’ Toonan took the cardboard coffee cup and added the stress of choosing a wedding dress onto her own shoulders. No big deal, once she had picked one, she could stop thinking about it.

     ‘Oh, sorry,’ Francesca reverted to her usual friendly self. ‘Is everything alright?’

     ‘Yeah, don’t worry about me. Lissen, I’ve got to get off I don’t want to be late for work. Tell you what, I’ll come round later and we can get everything sorted out… Actually, we’ll have to video chat won’t we?’ Toonan trundled off in the general direction of Bury. Hopefully, that coffee with its top-quality caffeine can counterbalance the things on Toonan’s mind. Do not stop at Wantha’s house on your way out of Curmudgeon Avenue, though.

     Later that same day, when the hospital had been cleaned within an inch of its life, and all of Whitefield were on a caffeine high (not much is open at the moment for daytime takeaway treats). Toonan sat down, put her feet up and cracked open a can of cider.

     ‘Matteo, what are you doing in the same room as Francesca?’ Toonan said as she connected to Francesca’s Skype.

     ‘I live here!’ said Matteo.

     ‘I know you do, but do one mate, Francesca and me are choosing wedding dresses, you’re not allowed to see.’ Toonan knocked her head back with her can.

     ‘Alright, Toonan. I see Paul is doing as he is told,’ Matteo nodded at the empty space next to Toonan.

     ‘Yes and no. He’s upstairs cleaning the bathroom. Small Paul is doing all the cleaning at the moment to give me a break from… cleaning.’ 

Get your copy here:

Posted in blog, books

Book Spotlight for “Let Nothing Go to Waste” by Dann Alexander

Blurb

Let Nothing Go To Waste is a collection of positive non-fiction reflecting on many topics. From attempting to grow up in small town Nova Scotia to a brief month working for a car-rental company, and a few other funny bits in between it all, Dann’s new book is an artistic work intent on reminding everyone that we all have stories that should not be wasted.

Excerpt

From Pizza Delivery

If you are reading this and were employed as a Pizza Delivery Driver in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia between the years of sometime in the past and sometime later within the same past, I might owe you an apology.

Whoever thought it was a good idea to prank people by ordering pizzas and sending them to the doors of random people must have been a genius or a complete idiot.

The very first home phone number I knew of was slightly off to that of a beloved now-gone pizza place (Alice’s).The phone calls we used to receive from people wanting to order Alice’s pizzas ranged from three of four to more than a dozen every single week.  It was tiring for my parents, but they never did anything about it.  As I grew older, it became a great source of amusement to me.  When my folks split, my Mom took this particular phone number with her to the apartment she moved into.  By this point I was in junior high school.  The calls kept coming for Alice’s….    

“Can you get a pizza ready please?”

“Sure, if I knew how to make one.”

From Peace and Potatoes

My grandmother’s sister Susie was one of my favourite people to visit.  She was a kind woman who valued family and faith to the fullest.  I was young when her husband Luther passed away.  The first time I saw her after his passing, she was outside working away in her colourful vegetable garden.  She literally never stopped going.  Her old house was an amazing time stamp with a wood stove and several antique pieces of furniture.

In the final time I remember visiting her at her house, I remember going through her record collection.  She was into old country and gospel mostly.  Right smack in the middle of the stack, I found a mint-condition record of Black Sabbath’s third album Master of Reality.  While it was obviously there by accident, my thought of her owning it sent me into tear-filled hysterics.  Mid-conversation I turned to my Dad and Aunt Susie holding up the record.  Dad was a bit stunned but could see where I was going with my next comment.“Really?” I blurted out loud through chortles of laughter.  

About the Author

Dann Alexander is a freelance writer  based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia Canada.  He is the author of two other works, the most well-known being Planned UnParenthood: Creating A Life Without Procreating, which is about making the choice to not have children.

Get your copy of Let Nothing Go To Waste here:

Posted in blog, books, writers

Book Recommendations – A Fun Series

Thanks to Twitter, I met Sheila Patel. She is fun and her books are HILARIOUS! The Magic Vodka Wardrobe series is a must read for anyone looking for a laugh.

The series starts in the Autumn of 2016 and follows the Singh family as they slave away in the family run corner shop in Bradford, Yorkshire. The two sisters Shaz and Trace, Accountants by day who drink and dance in the magical wardrobe each night with their crazy Aunt Sheila.

Sheila tells me, “The inspiration behind the series is my whole family but especially my nieces. Having lived and worked in family businesses, I thought it would be amusing to tell the story about the tough life of running such businesses, the long hours, hard work and the rather unusual customers that regularly call in for bread, milk or maybe a newspaper and most definitely some beer.”

The Magic Vodka Wardrobe is a funny, irreverent and engaging story about an Indian family who live in the diverse Thornbury area of Bradford. Centred around two sisters, Shaz and Trace, who escape their traditional Indian family and boring accountancy day jobs by drinking and dancing in the fantastical Magic Vodka Wardrobe, the book takes a wry look at the struggle of many second and third generation Asian women to balance a more Westernised lifestyle with traditional values.

And recently, Sheila published a short diary in the series. It’s fun and relevant!

Check out the series on Amazon or other platforms.

Here’s the link to the latest one:

Posted in books, writers, Writing

Meet the Author: Sue-Ellen Welfonder

I am so happy to have USA Today bestselling author Sue-Ellen Welfonder on my blog today. She’s a wonderful writer, animal lover and so much more. Her compassion and discipline inspire me. Let’s talk to Sue-Ellen.

Sue: From an airline career to full time writing. How did that happen? And how long did the transition take?

Sue-Ellen: Like most writers, I’ve always loved books. But I never wanted to be a writer. My dream was to be an airline stewardess and see the world, which I did for many years. During that time, I lived in Germany and would send a friend long letters about my adventures in far-flung corners of the world. (this was before email) My friend was an author and one day she said my letters ‘made her feel as if she lived my travels with me.’  She then started urging me to write. I wasn’t interested. I was living my dream and, besides, I loved reading too much to write. I didn’t want to surrender reading hours to writing deadlines. But she kept after me.

Eventually, I wrote a book so she’d stop bugging me. Instead, she loved the story (Devil in a Kilt) and introduced me to an agent who sold the book. The editor was a so-called ‘star-maker’ and had launched the careers of many of the greatest names in romance. Unlucky for me, she left the publisher (Warner Books) shortly after buying my book. I was handed over to another editor, one I loved tremendously and who remained my editor for many years. I’d probably still be writing for NY had she not left Warner, now known as Hachette. So I just fell into writing. That the book sold was a total surprise and also terrified me as the contract meant I’d have to write more books.  

My career has been a rollercoaster of giddy heights and deep, dark pits. The one constant has been and remains my joy in the friendships I’ve made with readers and writers. While I regret leaving the airlines because I value security and a writing career is anything but for most of us, I am so grateful for my friends. You, Sue, are one of my favorites.

Sue: And you are one of mine!

Tell us about your latest book. What inspired it?

Sue-Ellen: My most recent release is the 20th anniversary edition of Devil in a Kilt (see above). I was thrilled to re-release it this summer. The inspiration came on a visit to Scotland’s Eilean Donan Castle. It was evening and I was walking around outside, mist swirling everywhere. Out of nowhere, I ‘saw’ the hero as clearly as if he stood before me. In a beat, I knew his story, start to finish. He was a powerful medieval chieftain, but troubled, and wanting his tale told. In the book, tragedy leads him to marry a woman with second sight. He wants her to answer questions about his young son. She does more than that as his heart is long missing, his castle a dark place, and a truly wicked villain wants to stir even more treachery. The book won a Romantic Times Award for Best First Historical Romance and went on to become my most beloved story, the one many readers love best.

Sue:  Do you follow any writing rituals?

Sue-Ellen: Not really. I write in 500 word sprints. My goal is 4 such sprints a day, reaching 2,000 words. Some days I make that, other days I bleed words to get 500. Sometimes I hit a wall. Now and then, I’ll go way past 2,000. (that’s rare) One thing I always do is re-read the previous day’s work. That’s helpful because I also edit and proofread German translations. The previous day’s work draws the curtain on my editing/foreign language projects.    

I prefer stillness to write and music to edit. Music is classical, New Age-y, or soppy love songs from the 80s.

Sue: What’s the best part of being a multi-genre author? And what are the challenges?

Sue-Ellen: Variety is the best. It’s fun to write in different worlds. Even so, every writer has a unique voice that thrums through everything they write, regardless of genre. So whether I’m writing Scottish medieval romance, time travel/paranormal romance (my favorite), Highlander Regency romance, contemporary, or whatever, there are elements of my voice that always slip in: my great love of animals, for example, heroes who, though Alpha, are always good and honorable men, heroines who are most often down-on-their-luck, underdogs winning (hurrah!), lots of magic, humor, and a strong sense of place.   

Challenges are on a business level. Ideally, readers will love an author’s voice (see above) and follow you across all genres. I’m sure that happens for some authors, but it hasn’t for me. Throughout my career, which included writing for a second publishing house (Penguin) under the pen name Allie Mackay (Scottish-set paranormal/time travel romance), I seem to have genre-centric readers. Those who enjoy my Scottish medievals often do not read my Scottish-set time travel/paranormal romances. And vice-versa. Some do, and I’m grateful. But largely, I haven’t managed to build a cross-over readership.

Sue: What do you do when you’re not writing?

Sue-Ellen: My greatest loves are animals and nature, so I enjoy the company of my gray tabby cat Snuggles aka Ruler of my World. He determines my day because everything stops when he wants/needs my attention. A nature fix is a must, so I walk the beach at sunrise every morning. I also cycle a lot. Yoga is an addiction and I practice daily. I love reading and wish I had more time for pleasure reading. I read all fiction genres and also love research. Bliss is a huge nonfiction tome on medieval Britain, archaeology, the natural world, etc. I never tire of learning. Otherwise, I’m pretty boring. After so many years of constant travel, I love being a homebody. Living quietly is my life-goal.    

Sue: Oh, I’m a homebody too. And your kitty is adorable. I love seeing him on Twitter.

Time for a quick fire round.

Your current read…

Sue-Ellen:  In the Shadow of the Storm by Anna Belfrage. It’s fabulous.

Sue: Your favourite fictional characters…

Sue-Ellen: Probably cheating, but my fave is Devorgilla, a recurring character in my books. She’s a magic-weaving Highland crone famous for her red plaid shoelaces and her always-well-meant meddling.

Sue: Tea or coffee?

Sue-Ellen: Strong, black coffee.

Sue: E-book or paperback or audio book?

Sue-Ellen: E-book (prefer hardback for research books).

Sue: What can your readers expect from you next?

Sue-Ellen: A new book in my Ravenscraig Legacy series. It actually launches a spin-off series, but takes place in that world and with the characters from those titles. Like all Ravenscraig Legacy books, it’s a Scottish-set contemporary paranormal. The Ravenscraig Legacy books are Allie Mackay stories, the pen name I used at Penguin, but I’ll probably release this book under my real name.

Sue: Thank you for your time. And good luck!

Sue-Ellen: Thank you for having me. I adore your blog and am so happy to be your guest today.

Get your copy of Devil in a Kilt here:

Posted in books, writers, Writing

Book Recommendations

I read a lot of books. From now on, I will recommend books here on my blog. Recently, I read two books by one of my favourite authors – Sarah Morgan. After finishing each one, I reached out to Sarah on social media to tell her how her stories had touched my heart. Here are the two books and a little bit about them. I think anybody who is keen on understanding human relationships and emotions should read these books. The themes covered include mother-daughter relationships, the psychology of parenting, death and moving on, and so much more. The author takes you deep into every character’s mind and heart. Writing is an art and Sarah excels at it.

Cover image from Amazon

Gayle is a highly successful and motivated business woman, but her success has come at a price – she hasn’t spoken to her daughters, Ella and Samantha, for years. But when Gayle has an accident at work, she realises she needs to make amends with her family.

And so she invites herself to join Ella and Samantha for their Christmas in the beautiful Scottish Highlands. The sisters are none too pleased that their mother has inserted herself into their Christmas plans. They have each other – and don’t need their mother back in their lives. Or so they think…

As they embark on their first family Christmas together in years, will the three women learn that sometimes facing up to a few home truths is all you need to heal your heart?

Cover Image from Amazon

When Flora falls in love with Jack, suddenly she’s not only handling a very cranky teenager, but she’s also living in the shadow of Jack’s perfect, immortalised wife, Becca. Every summer, Becca and Jack would holiday with Becca’s oldest friends and Jack wants to continue the tradition, so now Flora must face a summer trying to live up to Becca’s memory, with not only Jack’s daughter looking on, but with Becca’s best friends judging her every move…

The more Flora tries to impress everyone, the more things go horribly wrong…but as the summer unfolds, Flora begins pushing her own boundaries, and finding herself in a way that she never thought she needed to.

And she soon learns that families come in all shapes and sizes.

Note: I was not paid to write this post.