Posts Tagged ‘Choc Lit’

Regency Bookshop in Surbiton

Last night Henriette Gyland and I had the pleasure of doing a book signing event at the Regency Bookshop in Surbiton and we had a wonderful time!

The store owner Pat and her helper Prue were extremely welcoming, and had invited all their customers for a special evening with wine and mince pies.  It was great fun to mingle and chat with them, all obviously book lovers – our favourite kind of people 🙂

The bookshop itself has an original Regency bow fronted window, which I loved, and inside is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of books, toys and stationery.  I couldn’t resist a bit of browsing myself and although I managed to resist the books, I found some fab Christmas wrapping paper with brussels sprouts on – I’m sure my OH is going to love that!

For anyone who lives anywhere near Surbiton – a visit to this shop is a must!  A huge thank you to Pat for having us!

Festival of Romance 2013

Last weekend I attended the Festival of Romance in Bedford and thoroughly enjoyed myself!  At the moment, it’s the only event of its kind here in the UK, and if you ask me, we need more of them because it was such fun!

The weekend started with an Art & Romance evening on the Friday night at the newly opened Higgins Museum, which was great.  We were given a quick tour and being a history buff, I really liked the China collection (especially the tea pots and caddies), fascinating pieces of furniture and other displays.  The house itself was lovely too!  After the tour, there were readings by authors of historical novels, including me.  Most of us had dressed up in period costume and mine was that of an ordinary woman of the 1640s (English Civil War) – this was in order to fit the clothing of the heroine from my novel The Gilded Fan.

Romance Fair

On the Saturday, there were lots of things going on at the same time – a Romance Fair, a Coffee & Cake morning with readings, an author panel (led by the brilliant Louise Graham), plus talks and workshops.  I enjoyed all the events I took part in and only wished I’d had time to go to everything.

Author panel led by Louise Graham

The day culminated with the FoR Ball and Awards, where Choc Lit triumphed as Publisher of the Year and a lot of my friends won other categories – Liz Fenwick for Best Romantic Read, Charlotte Betts for Best Historical Read, Fiona Harper for Best Short Romantic Novel, among many others.  I also accepted an award on behalf of the Romantic Novelists’ Association who were inducted into the FoR Hall of Fame for “being a defining, driving and positive force for the genre since 1960” – well deserved I think!

Accepting the RNA's award from FoR organiser Kate Allan

All in all, it was a great weekend which even the miserable weather couldn’t put a dampener on!

Choc Lit's awards!

Historical reading

Jenny Barden, Liz Harris and John Jackson

My 1640s costume

Liz Harris and I at the Fair

With Sue Moorcroft and Jane Lovering at the Fair

With Adrienne Vaughan and Liz Harris at the Ball

Saying thank you on behalf of the RNA

Shortlistees for Best Historical Read

Catching Up and Cover Reveal

I’m ashamed to see I haven’t posted on the blog for over a month!  But it’s been a manically busy summer for me and there just never seem to be enough hours in the day.  Perhaps I need better time management?  Or just less work 🙂

At the moment I’m working on the edits for my next novel, The Secret Kiss of Darkness, and this reminded me that I haven’t done a cover reveal for it yet.  So here it is – tah-dah!  Yet another triumph for Choc Lit’s cover designer, Berni Stevens – I love the deep, dark red!

The Secret Kiss of Darkness is a time slip novel and here is the blurb to give you an idea of the story:-

Must forbidden love end in heartbreak?

Kayla Sinclair knows she’s in big trouble when she almost bankrupts herself to buy a life-size portrait of a mysterious eighteenth century man at an auction.

Jago Kerswell, inn-keeper and smuggler, knows there is danger in those stolen moments with Lady Eliza Marcombe, but he’ll take any risk to be with her.

Over two centuries separate Kayla and Jago, but when Kayla’s jealous fiancé presents her with an ultimatum, and Jago and Eliza’s affair is tragically discovered, their lives become inextricably linked thanks to a gypsy’s spell. Kayla finds herself on a quest that could heal the past, but what she cannot foresee is the danger in her own future.

Will Kayla find heartache or happiness?

It’s due to be published by Choc Lit in February 2014, but should be available as an e-book before then.

In the meantime, New England Rocks has been well and truly launched and my talented daughter has helped me create some lovely character bookmarks to use as giveaways for reviewers, bloggers and competition winners.  If you’d like some, let me know!

Hope you’ve all had a great summer!

Must forbidden love end in heartbreak?

Kayla Sinclair knows she’s in big trouble when she almost bankrupts herself to buy a life-size portrait of a mysterious eighteenth century man at an auction.

Jago Kerswell, inn-keeper and smuggler, knows there is danger in those stolen moments with Lady Eliza Marcombe, but he’ll take any risk to be with her.

Over two centuries separate Kayla and Jago, but when Kayla’s jealous fiancé presents her with an ultimatum, and Jago and Eliza’s affair is tragically discovered, their lives become inextricably linked thanks to a gypsy’s spell. Kayla finds herself on a quest that could heal the past, but what she cannot foresee is the danger in her own future.

Will Kayla find heartache or happiness?

RNA Conference 2013

I have just come back from the 2013 RNA Conference, which was held at the conference centre called The Edge at Sheffield University’s Endcliffe Village site.  Apart from the fact that the air conditioning wasn’t working in the meeting rooms, I had a wonderful time!

Our stay began by helping to stuff the goody bags, which this year were brilliant silver and pink – they looked amazing when all 180 of them were done!

The sun shone throughout our stay and it felt more like being in a Mediterranean country than Sheffield.  Sitting outside under parasols at breaktimes and in the evenings was lovely and I really enjoyed catching up with old friends and making new ones.

(Photo by Lizzie Lamb)

The “ChocLiteers” were out in force – I think there were fourteen of us – and we scrubbed up nicely for the gala dinner.  The previous evening we had a little kitchen get-together too and it was great to meet the latest recruits.  One of the ChocLiteers – Kate Johnson – won this year’s Elizabeth Goudge award, which was a lovely surprise!

As always, I came home exhausted, but inspired by all the wonderful talks and fired up with the urge to write.  Can’t wait for next year’s conference!

Elizabeth Goudge finalists - Jayne Hall, Kate Johnson (winner) and Jacqui Cooper

More about RT

I think I have finally got over most of the jet lag so now I can report a bit more from the RT Booklovers Convention.  I think my overall impression was – FUN!  There was so much going on each day that it was almost impossible to take it all in, but I’ve got lots of photos to remind me and I thought I’d share some of them with you.  Here goes:-

Me with a pile of my books

First of all, we were there to spread the word about our books and I very much enjoyed the various signings where I got to talk to the wonderful American readers.  They are so enthusiastic about romance, it was a joy to meet them!

Club RT - a chance to chat to readers

The first thing people say when you mention the RT convention is usually – cover models!  And yes, there were some but I was mostly impressed by their hair.  (The tights, not so much!)

CJ Hollenbach

Tights??!?

The parties were great fun, starting with The Red Slipper Lounge – of course I had to wear red shoes!  And the chocolate fountain was to die for!

Red "slippers"

Chocolate fountain - bliss!

Then there was the Ball – we all got to wear our (fake) tiaras and felt like princesses!

The ChocLiteers

Cinderella

And best of all – the Freaky Friday Party!  The table decorations were fantastic and we were glad we’d dressed to suit the occasion.

Freaky Table 1

Freaky Table 2

Freaky Partygoers

On the Saturday we all took part in the Giant Book Fair – and giant it certainly was!  Something like 350 authors all signing books in one place, awesome.

Giant Book Fair

Signing at the Giant Book Fair

And then it was almost time to go home, but not before I’d met some more lovely authors and attended the Harlequin Disco Party with the other ChocLiteers.

All in all, a fantastic week!

Heather Graham and Bobbi Smith

At the Harlequin Party

London Book Fair 2013

Had a great time at the London Book Fair this week!  Loved the “buzz”, loved meeting lots of fellow authors and loved chatting to people visiting the Choc Lit stand!  And of course, trying out the amazing chocolates supplied by House of Dorchester … (I only had a few, honest!)

I also really enjoyed wandering around looking at all the beautiful book covers on display – plus the weird and wonderful ones 🙂  Fellow ChocLiteers Sue Moorcroft, Henriette Gyland and I checked out all the stands and Sue and I had our photo taken with a lady pirate.  Haven’t seen the result yet though – watch this space!

Cover Reveal

If you have visited the Choc Lit Author’s Corner recently, some of you may have noticed that the banner at the top has changed to show some of the lovely new covers for Choc Lit books coming out this year.  One of them is mine so I thought I’d do a proper ‘cover reveal’ today to show it in all its glory.  Here it is, the cover for New England Rocks!

New England Rocks is a completely new departure for me – the first in a series of Young Adult contemporary stories set in, yes, you guessed it, New England, USA.  I wanted a change from writing historicals with all the research that entails, so I decided to have a go at the YA genre instead and this is the result.  I have to admit I had a lot of fun writing this as it took me down memory lane to my own teenage years.  I hope readers will enjoy it as well!

Here is the blurb:-

First impressions, how wrong can you get?

When Rain Mackenzie is expelled from her British boarding school, she can’t believe her bad luck. Not only is she forced to move to New England, USA, she’s also sent to the local high school as a punishment.

Rain makes it her mission to dislike everything about Northbrooke High, but what she doesn’t bank on is meeting Jesse Devlin …

Not only is Jesse the hottest guy Rain’s ever seen, he also plays guitar in an awesome rock band.

There’s just one small problem …  Jesse already has a girlfriend, little miss perfect Amber Lawrence, who looks set to cause trouble as Rain and Jesse get closer.

But, what does any of it matter? New England sucks anyway, and Rain doesn’t plan on sticking around …

Does she?

The Gilded Fan – today is the day!

Today is the official publication day for The Gilded Fan, the sequel to The Scarlet Kimono (although it can be read as a stand-alone) and I’ve just received this gorgeous bouquet!  Huge thanks to the lovely Choc Lit team for that and for all their hard work on The Gilded Fan!

Although there is nothing more wonderful – and terrifying! – than seeing your ‘baby’ go out into the world, I’m so pleased that this story has now been published.  It’s one of those that has gone through numerous rewrites, but I hope it has emerged stronger for it and that readers will like it.

Here is the blurb:-

How do you start a new life, leaving behind all you love?

It’s 1641, and when Midori Kumashiro, the orphaned daughter of a warlord, is told she has to leave Japan or die, she has no choice but to flee to England. Midori is trained in the arts of war, but is that enough to help her survive a journey, with a lecherous crew and an attractive captain she doesn’t trust?

Having come to Nagasaki to trade, the last thing Captain Nico Noordholt wants is a female passenger, especially a beautiful one. How can he protect her from his crew when he can’t keep his own eyes off her?

During their journey, Nico and Midori form a tentative bond, but they both have secrets that can change everything. When they arrive in England, a civil war is brewing, and only by standing together can they hope to survive …

If you’d like to help me celebrate, have a piece of chocolate (or several) – I am!

The Next Big Thing

A couple of days ago, the lovely Jean Fullerton – author of brilliant novels set in the East End of London – very kindly ‘tagged’ me in her post about ‘The Next Big Thing’.  That means it’s now my turn to answer ten questions about my next book, which will be released in February 2013, and to tag some other authors who will tell you about their new novels on their own blogs.  So here are the Q & A’s:-

What is the title of your next book? The Gilded Fan

Where did the idea come from for the book? It’s the sequel to my second novel The Scarlet Kimono – as the hero and heroine of that story were from very different cultures, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen to their children, so I decided to find out.

What genre does your book fall under? Historical romance and adventure.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a film version? The heroine would be someone like Tia Carrere and the hero would have to be Chris Hemsworth.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? How do you start a new life, leaving behind all you love?’

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? It will be published by independent publisher Choc Lit.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? Six months maybe?  I can’t remember exactly.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I can’t really think of any books like it, apart from the prequel.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? The story was partly inspired by a song, The Temple of the King by Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow.  It’s very evocative and conjured up images in my mind.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? The heroine is half Japanese and half English and has to flee persecution by the Shogun (ruler) of Japan.  So how will a heathen girl like her cope with her English relatives in Plymouth, a world away from where she’d grown up?  And as Puritans, how will the relatives cope with her?  Then there’s the additional strain of the English Civil War which begins just as she arrives in Europe …

Now I’m going to tag the following authors:-

Chris Stovell, whose wonderful contemporary novels I love (her blog is at http://homethoughtsweekly.blogspot.co.uk/ )

and

Henriette Gyland, who writes brilliant romantic suspense novels, which I also love!  (See http://henriettegyland.wordpress.com/ )

TSTOS Competition – Final Week!

Official publication day of The Silent Touch of Shadows is getting closer, only a few days to go! Pre-launch celebrations continue here, on Twitter, FB and on the Choc Lit website, and as promised you’ll have a chance to win a Kindle loaded with some of Choc Lit’s fab novels.  So here’s what you have to do in order to enter the competition.

Simply answer the following questions (some research required):-

How many books has Christina Courtenay published with Choc Lit?

Highland Storms won which award?

Which century is The Silent Touch of Shadows partly set in?

Trade Winds is the prequel to which novel?

Who was abducted by a samurai warlord in 17th century Japan?

Save your answers, as there’s a catch – you need to email the answers to info@choc-lit.com on Publication Day – Saturday 7th July.  Emails must be received on the 7th July (GMT) to be eligible.  A winner with all correct answers will be selected randomly using random.org.  Emails received before or after the 7th July (GMT) will not be eligible.

GOOD LUCK!