Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 Reflections

Hmm, I honestly didn't think I'd post again before New Year, but I sat down to update my Facebook status like millions of others - to wish everyone a Happy New Year, and I realised I might actually have a lot to say!

So, I'm going to start with a gigantic thank you to everyone who has supported me over the past year. I know I said this at Christmas, but it sort of needs repeating. No words can possibly convey how much it means to have so many people backing me, and to have made so many amazing friends.

This is supposed to be a blog about writing, but when I think about all that's happened this year, there are many other things that stand out which made 2012 great. Moments with family, moments with friends, moments when I've been on my own and had sudden flashes of inspiration that hit me out of nowhere and made me view things differently.

But far and away the biggest change in my life happened when I was with Annalisa Crawford. Just after it happened, I wrote a blog post about it, but it felt so personal, I emailed it to Annalisa and never posted it. Now, I think I'm ready to share - not the whole thing, but the parts that are important and explain why that day was such a big deal.

Those of you who have been following me for a while will know about my battle with anxiety. I have only been out of the house on my own twice in the last ... maybe seven years. One of those times was at the beginning of December, when I set off to Plymouth to experience one of the most insane things of my life!

I was given two VIP tickets to see Fozzy as a birthday present, and after sifting through the choices of people to take with me, Annalisa was both the most obvious, and the person I knew I'd have the most fun with. Lucky for me, she was more than happy to accept and accompany me on my adventure! The problem? I had to actually get to Annalisa's on the train, alone, and spend a night in a hotel alone. I went through every single feeling you can possibly have during the week leading up to the journey. I was excited, terrified, calm, didn't want to go, desperate to get on with it, and so, so tired from not sleeping. When the day arrived, everything was okay. I got nervous once or twice on the way but I had to keep focusing on the reason. FOZZY! My chance to not only see them live, but to have dinner with them! The idea of meeting them made me both hyper and slightly nauseous. What if I made a total idiot of myself? Meeting someone you've always wanted to meet is the scariest thing, because there was also the fear that they might not live up to my expectations. (They totally did, btw!)

See entertainment blog for what happened at the gig! 

This blog post doesn't do justice to the level of fear I felt when I first got on the train to begin my journey. And maybe it's a bit fan-girly to say that I did it because I really wanted to see Fozzy, but it is what it is. I HAD to get out of my rut to see the band who have, in one way or another, meant a lot to me since I first heard of them several years ago.

Not a single second of this trip would have been possible without Annalisa. It takes a lot of patience to hang out with someone with anxiety. It's not easy, and it can be kind of exhausting.But Annalisa did everything as if we've known each other for years. She knew when I really needed to get out, and when I was just a bit wibbly. So, thank you so much, Annalisa, for being part of my adventure, and for making it so easy and the most fun I've had in ages. *hugs*

The point of this epic ramble is that that day, I learned quite a lot about myself. Mostly that when something really, really matters to me, I can step up and get it done. Of course, getting it done is always so much better when you have a little help from your friends. :D

So, on that note, I'm going to wish you all a Happy New Year, and best wishes for 2013. May it be a year filled with love, happiness and success! Whatever you're doing tonight, have fun and stay safe!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Review of Blissful Lies by Jennifer Brown-Thomas

Blissful Lies Book Summary:
Things are often not what they seem in the decadent lifestyles of the rich and famous. Life can be messy and at times people do what feels wrong, because in the end it may turn out to be the best decision ever made. A close bond between 5 lifelong friends, now of college age, find the limits of their relationships are tested when multiple secrets and lies begin to surface, which ultimately leave them wondering if it is all too much to move forward as the family they once were. Forbidden love, drug dealing, date rape, betrayal, cheating, and more begin to unravel the strong ties between friends. Can they overcome secrets which warrant a very difficult life altering response?

My review

I absolutely loved the synopsis - it sounded gritty and exciting, and I am one of those people who loves teen/college age books so I thought Blissful Lies would be right up my street. Sadly, I thought it was only okay. My biggest problem with the book was that it read like a script.  Everything was presented very factually, so there is little room for the reader to fill in the gaps themselves. You don't get to decide or guess for yourself why the characters react in a certain way because it's all laid out for you. For me, one of the greatest things about reading is the ability to use my imagination and put the pieces together but that wasn't possible in this book. 

The relationships within the story were a little bit odd, most especially that of Addison and Jackson. Addison's feelings seem to move way too fast, and as she makes a big deal about not crossing boundaries at the beginning of the book, it was weird that she crossed a massive one by getting involved with one of her son's best friends.

That said, if you look past the "telling" throughout, the story as a whole isn't so bad. Blissful Lies is being brought to television next year and I think it will translate a whole lot better on screen than as a book.If you like Gossip Girl, and anything that involves young rich kids - I'd recommend reading Blissful Lies because it will keep you entertained.

Jennifer Brown Thomas's Bio:
At just 25 years old, Jennifer Brown-Thomas is a celebrated book author and movie director. Her first novel, Blissful Lies, combines both of her passions.

At the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, she presented Blissful Lies (the movie) starring Emmy award winning actress, Leann Hunley. YTINIFNI Pictures is working to bring the film to DVD and on-demand television this spring.

Jennifer is a married, Texas Christian University graduate and mother of one. Her newest venture, LBT Enterprises, is set to launch a fragrance, a children's clothing line and more.

Watch for more novels from Jennifer - the next on its way is Vindictive Grounds, the sequel to Blissful Lies. In February, Jennifer will begin directing the film version of this novel. She says, "It definitely has more of the explicit sexual contact comparable to Fifty Shades of Grey."

Prices/Formats: $15.00 paperback, $8.99-$9.99 ebook
Publisher: Helm Publishing
ISBN: 9780985048839
Pages: 234
Release: January 3, 2012

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Amazon buy link ($15.00):

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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Christmas Break + Game On Christmas Finale

 Okay guys - seeing as everyone is signing off for the holidays, I'm going to join in with the festive greetings and let you know that I am going to also be taking a Christmas break! 

I get abnormally soppy at this time of year, so bear with me! :p 

I haven't yet been blogging for a full year, and yet somehow, I have managed to make friends with some of the coolest, most talented people in the world. Whether it's the unwavering support from Ninja Captain Alex, or Cassie Mae and Annalisa Crawford making me laugh, or Morgan Shamy's sweet, encouraging comments, or Clare Dugmore's constant belief that I can do anything I set my mind to - every single person who has stopped by here and left a kind word has made 2012 amazing.. 

I wasn't sure where my writing journey would go when I started - and I certainly didn't expect to publish 3 books this year! If you are one of the awesome people who has bought any of them, or even just been there to help spread the word - you rock! 

I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas and an awesome New Year!


And now I present you with the last part of Game On Christmas. This will be the last spoiler warning too! :D 

Game On Christmas Part 1
Game On Christmas Part 2
Game On Christmas Part 3
Game On Christmas Part 4



I told Bree and Leah there was no chance in hell I’d be singing karaoke with them. I preferred to watch and laugh at everyone else, rather than being laughed at. But they wouldn’t listen to my protests. The dragged me to the edge of the dance floor and thrust a microphone in my hand for our joint rendition of I Touch Myself.
Not my choice of song.
I barely managed to sing a note anyway, because my girls were gyrating against each other, and I couldn’t stop laughing for long enough to actually join in with the lyrics. Bree was totally blitzed. She’d quickly developed a taste for Margaritas, and because it was her birthday, she’d had free drinks all night. Leah hadn’t quite reached Bree’s stage of drunkness, but she never really needed much alcohol to get crazy anyway. For her, it was all about the atmosphere.
We received rapturous applause when the song ended, and the three of us stumbled back to the centre of the dance floor, still giggling, as the men nearby wolf whistled and cheered.
“Leah, honey, I never knew you felt that way about me,” Bree said, tears of laughter rolling down her cheeks. They still had their arms slung around each other’s shoulders.
“Hey, you were the one doing all the grinding!” Leah said. “I think maybe I should feel violated!”
“You loved it!”
It felt so good to have our little group back together again. We hadn’t engaged in so much silliness since we were in London, and even then, we weren’t this hyped. Even though Bree and I always had fun when we went out, it was never the same without Leah. She was the one who really brought us together. I’d always liked Bree, but it was Leah’s friendship with her that made us closer.
I hugged them both, and Bree giggled. “Leah,” she whispered, “I think Freya wants a threesome!”
Leah and I exchanged a look of amusement as Bree’s legs began to disappear beneath her while she continued to chuckle. If we hadn’t been holding her up, she would have disintegrated into a drunken puddle on the floor.
“Did you get this smashed on your twenty-first?” Leah asked me, her knees buckling slightly as Bree stumbled.
“Erm, yes,” I admitted. “Actually, I was so drunk, I passed out and missed the end of my own party.”
“No way!”
“Yup. My mom was pissed she spent so much money on my birthday celebrations, only for me to have no memory of it at all, but … you live, you learn!”
“So she won’t be throwing you a thirtieth birthday party, then?”
Before I could say anything else, Will, Jude and Radleigh approached us.
“You look like you need a hand,” Jude said, smiling.
Although Bree weighed next to nothing, she was completely relying on us to keep her standing, and it was difficult to hold her up because she was still in the middle of a giggle fit. Jude carefully unwound her from around our shoulders, then lifted her off her feet.
“I’ll take it from here,” he told us, laughing at the mess his wife had turned into.



“Just when I think you can’t get any hotter, you prove me wrong,” Radleigh said, snaking his arms around my waist and pulling me into him as the music changed from karaoke tunes to end of the night love songs.
“I don’t know what you mean,” I told him, fluttering my eyelids.
“Oh, you know exactly what I mean,” he said, his eyes filling with a look I recognised only too well. Heat surged through my veins as his fingers slid down to my hips.
How long before I stop wanting to jump his bones every time he looks at me?
I never tired of seeing his ice blue eyes glimmer with lust, or feeling his hands on me. Sometimes, it was downright frustrating to be out in public with him when all we really wanted to do was go home and find new ways to make each other moan.
“It was just a song,” I told him, smiling.
“Right. Just a song. With a bit of girl on girl action to keep things interesting.”
I tilted my head coyly and wrapped my arms around him, causing him to let out a groan.
“Is it time to leave yet?”
“No!” I laughed. “First, I want to dance with you. You know, our first official dance as a couple.”
Radleigh grinned. “You mean, one where you’re not pretending you hate me?”
My mind flicked back several months, to Alison and Michael’s wedding. It seemed like forever ago. That night he’d shown up in Boston and invited himself out with me and my friends I genuinely thought I might kill him.
“I did hate you,” I said. “At first.”
“But then I won you over with my charm.”
“Ha! No, then I got pissed on vodka and you took advantage of me!”
He raised an eyebrow, making me laugh again. “I might have let you take advantage of me,” I admitted.
Radleigh’s face turned serious. “I was honest with you that night,” he said, tightening his arms around me. “More honest than I’d been with anyone for a long time.”
I nodded. “I know. I still don’t know why, but I like to think it was about more than trying to get me into bed.”
“It was. Mostly.”
I rolled my eyes, and he said, “I need to ask you something, since we’re being honest and all.”
I didn’t even need to look at him to know what he was going to say. It had been unspoken since he came to England, but it lurked in the background, waiting for me to make some kind of decision.
“Leah, when we got together, you said you needed some time to think about us … and where you want to be. But, it won’t be long until I have to come back here permanently for training before the new season starts and I want you with me. I don’t want to leave you behind and deal with all that long distance crap. So … I guess I’m asking you to move in with me.”
Everything about Radleigh screamed alpha male, but when he quit trying to tell me what to do and actually asked me, it was hard to say no.
Plus, being without him was no longer an option. When he’d spent a few days in London with Jesse, I felt like a part of myself was missing. Undeniably lame, but true. Even with my niece and nephew to keep me busy, I still missed him.
“You think you can make room in McCoy Manor for me?” I teased.
“Stop calling my house that,” he laughed. “Or I’ll make you sleep on the sofa.”
Rising onto my tiptoes, I brushed my lips against his. “Yes,” I told him. “I would love to move in with you.”
The smile he gave me made my head spin, and when he kissed me, everything else in the room began to disappear.
It was one of those moments. When his lips hungrily crushed against mine, his tongue dipped into my mouth, and I thought, I can’t believe he’s mine.
There was something so surreal about being with Radleigh sometimes. The small town girl from England in a relationship with a soccer superstar. How did I get so lucky? Of course, it wasn’t all luck. And it wasn’t always perfect.
But he was everything I wanted.
“I love you,” I told him, pressing myself as close to him as it was physically possible to be.
Smiling again, he said, “I love you too.”


Falling backwards onto my bed, I couldn’t stop giggling. I was right. It was the best night ever. New shoes, awesome friends, including my new best friend, Margarita, and lots of dancing and laughing.
“Are you okay,” Jude asked, a slight smile on his lips as he stood over me. At least, I think he was smiling. It was hard to tell, he had three heads.
“I am great!” I said, emphatically. “I had the best time tonight, and it’s all because of you!”
Jude sat down beside me, taking my hand in his. “You are going to have the worst hangover in the morning.” He laughed.
“Urgh, I know. You took photos, right? Because I don’t know if I’ll remember any of this tomorrow.”
“There are lots of photos, don’t worry.”
Blinking a few times to get rid of Jude’s extra heads, I grinned at him. Even without the new shoes, the big party, and all the effort he went to to make it just how I would have chosen, I was pretty sure my 21st would have been amazing, just because of him.
Jude took care of me. Always. Right from the start. Even on the day I met him, he took care of me. I never really needed someone to do everything for me, I grew up having to do things for myself, but I was always afraid. Made stupid choices, mainly because I trusted the wrong people. I didn’t know if I should trust Jude, but he waited for me. He proved he wasn’t some rich douchebag trying to take advantage of me. It was all very Cinderella.
And I became the Princess.
I wasn’t sure I deserved it, and I definitely wasn’t sure I needed everything I had. When you grow up with very little, you realise how little you really need.
Jude was everything.
My eyelids fluttered, tiredness taking over every part of me. The last thing I saw was my husband’s smile, and I drifted into sleep with a smile on my face.
I’d worry about the hangover in the morning.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christine Rains - 1301 The Marquis

Today I'm here with the awesome Christine Rains as part of her blog tour for 1301 The Marquis! Anyone who has read Christine's previous works will know what a talented lady she is, so be excited, because this series is going to be amazing!

Christine's guest post:


Life after Hell isn't exactly what Marc thought it would be. He's fixing busted pipes in an apartment building and making a nice groove in his recliner with the amount of television he watches. There's a few gray hairs on his head and his pants are a little snug around the waist. That could be from how much time he spends in a certain little coffee shop. Great coffee, delicious pie, and the most beautiful dame on the planet.

Mae Hopkins has a few gray hairs herself, but Marc can still make her blush when he compliments her. She's a woman who has been around and seen a lot, and she wants to make a cozy safe haven for other women in a city that's crumbling at its moral roots.

Marc and Mae aren't young folks just starting out in life. The feelings they have for one another have been building over several months. Their slow burning romance is forced to a boil when Mae's life is put on the line. Marc can no longer silently admire her over the rim of his cup. He must fight for her and likely lose his life in the process.

I thoroughly enjoyed writing about Marc and Mae. Their love isn't the fast and furious passion seen in a lot of paranormal romances. Theirs is deep and soulful. The base of their relationship is strong having been built on friendship and mutual respect. When Marc's world turns to chaos, Mae is the beacon in the storm. It's her strength and ability to see good even in the roughest of people that gives him the courage to stand against evil.

Marc kept coming back to the cafe for the coffee, but he stayed for Mae.


Title: 1301 The Marquis
Author: Christine Rains
Genre: paranormal romance
Release date: December 13th, 2012

Life after Hell isn't more exciting than watching football and fixing a busted pipe. Once a powerful demon, Marc enjoys his quiet existence and a good cup of coffee. With big ambitions to gain his master's favor, a trickster demon named Vetis shatters Marc's peace and vows to deliver Marc's head to the fires of Hell. Not before he destroys everything Marc cares about, of course.

Marc's power has diminished over the years. Heaven will never grant him absolution, and he refuses to return to Hell. Running isn't an option. The city of Carmine is his territory. It's also home to his favorite cafe owner, Mae Hopkins. The dame has a lovely smile, but it's her heart and soul that shine bright.

While his city burns and his love is captured, Marc must decide to surrender or let hate and anger fuel him to become the fearsome beast he so loathes: The Marquis. If the Marquis rises, Vetis can be defeated and Mae saved, but Marc would be lost to his demon forever.

1301 – The Marquis on Goodreads:

Author Bio:
Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she's not writing or reading, she having adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She's a member of S.C.I.F.I. The 13th Floor series is her first self-published series. She also has two novellas and sixteen short stories published.


 Buy Links

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Game On Christmas Part 4

 Good morning! This is the second to last post in the Game On Christmas Story! As always, it comes with a spoiler warning!



“Mind if I sit here?”
My voice was actually shaking, as were my hands. Anyone would think I was approaching royalty, not my former boss.
Richard Bailey pulled out the chair beside him. “Not at all.”
My biggest regret when I left Los Angeles was not saying a proper goodbye to Richard. Okay, he couldn’t stand the sight of me at the time, not after I let him down so badly, but he used to be the only person I could truly rely on. My first contact in Westberg, my first friend. I hadn’t spoken to him since I moved back to England. Even when the team visited London, I somehow managed to sidestep a conversation with him, mostly because I was still too ashamed.
As I sat down, I let out a deep breath. I was supposed to start talking, but had absolutely no clue where to start. An apology? Sweep everything aside and chat like nothing ever happened?
The familiar fond twinkle in his eyes caused a lump to form in my throat, and I swallowed hard to shift it. Without a word, Richard shuffled his chair closer to mine and put his arm around me. I rested my head on his shoulder, my nerves quickly turning to relief, and enjoyed that special feeling of security I always used to get from him.
You know, before I slept with Radleigh and brought chaos to the team.
“I’m sorry,” I said, blinking away the tears that had formed in my eyes. “I’m really sorry.”
Richard gently squeezed my shoulder. “You don’t need to be sorry, Leah. It’s okay.”
“I messed everything up, and I didn’t know … I … I handled everything so badly.”
“I don’t think I was blameless. I should have tried harder to make you stay. I never wanted you to leave but I was so-”
“Disappointed,” I finished. “You hired me because you thought I was Radleigh-proof, but I wasn’t. I crossed the line.”
“I was disappointed. But there is no excuse for me letting you go without saying goodbye.”
Everything tumbled out of our mouths as if we’d been storing it up, waiting for the time when we could let it all out. Through all the scenarios I’d imagined in my head, I never really knew which way the conversation would go. Richard was not someone to mess with, but he was also compassionate, understanding and loyal. Thankfully, I’d managed to reach his softer side.
“If it helps, I understand why you reacted the way you did,” I told him, lifting my head. “I don’t think it was just because I broke the rules of the job.”
He shook his head. “It wasn’t. I’ve seen McCoy messing around with women over and over again. I didn’t want to see that happen to you. I didn’t want you to get hurt.”
“I didn’t want to get hurt either. I just … I couldn’t help how I felt.”
I glanced across the room, where Radleigh sat with Cody and Jude. They were laughing, probably about something completely chauvinistic, but the sight of his smile made my heart flip, not to mention causing a much more intense stirring in other parts of me.
Really? You had sex less than two hours ago, can’t you control yourself for a bit longer?
I bit my lip to hold in a laugh. We were still very much in the phase of going at it like porn stars at every opportunity.
“You look really happy together,” Richard said. “I’ve watched how he is with you, and I’ve never seen him act that way with anyone.”
“How do you mean?” I asked, turning to him. “Was he really such an inconsiderate prick that he didn’t hold hands with women before me?”
Richard laughed out loud. “He held hands with women, but he was never close with them. And he’s brought you home for Christmas. This is a big deal.”
“Yeah,” I said, letting out a deep sigh. “I’m kind of terrified about that.”
“So, you haven’t met Radleigh’s parents yet?”
“Not yet. Tomorrow. What if they hate me, Richard?”
“That won’t happen.”
“What are they like?”
“Well,” Richard began, “Mitch is pretty much an older version of Radleigh. They don’t look alike, but you’ll see the similarities in their personalities when you meet him. You’ll like him. And Deanna is  just about the sweetest woman you’ll ever meet. But she doesn’t take any crap, either,” he paused, laughing again. “I think you’ll get on just fine.”



I ducked out of the party, and stepped onto the busy street. I had to get a break from the thumping music for a while. Jude sure knew how to throw a party, but my heart wasn’t really in it. It had been a hell of a long time since I’d really enjoyed going to clubs. Mostly, I went along just to have a few beers with the guys.
With only three days until Christmas, my wife, Sarah, had a convenient excuse not to come to the party with me. Too much to do, too hard to find a babysitter at this time of year, gifts to wrap … blah, blah, blah. The truth was, she really wasn’t into anything that involved being out with other people, and more specifically, people I worked with. She’d always been the same. In the beginning she made an effort, but she hated the ‘celebrity’ side of being married to a soccer player. I understood, and was happy to let her stay at home while I went out. Everything else was good with our relationship, so why make a big deal out of a few nights on the town?
But that was then.
“Hey, Bryce.”
The volume of the music got louder as Jude opened the door to the club.
“Hey,” I said. “Just getting some fresh air.”
He stepped outside, silencing the music as the door shut behind him. “You okay?”
“Yeah, I just needed to clear my head for a minute.”
“What’s going on, man?  Are you not digging all the pink in there?”
Laughing, I said, “It’s not really my colour, but Bree looks happy.”
“Yeah, she does. I mean, I’ve barely seen her all night because she’s been working the room, but she seems to be having a good time, and that’s all I wanted.”
“You did a great job.”
“So why are you hiding out here?”
I considered lying. I’d faked being okay for so long, it was second nature to tell people I was fine. But Jude knew me too well.
Time to take a deep breath and talk to someone.
“I was in there,” I began, nodding my head towards the club, “watching everyone having fun. You and Bree, Radleigh and Leah, Will and Freya. Even Cody who came without a date is getting it on with one of the barmaids. And while I watched you all, I realised something. I think my marriage might be over.”
Getting the words out was a step I hadn’t been willing to take before. Once I said it, I knew I’d have to do something about it. Bree’s party wasn’t the best time or place to put it out there, but all the happy couples forced me to see what was wrong with my own relationship. After twelve years and three kids, it wasn’t supposed to be as exciting as it used to be, I knew that. But it should have been more than muttered exchanges over dinner and spending more time doing things apart than together.
“I don’t understand,” Jude said. “How … I mean, you and Sarah always seem so … settled.”
“I know. But for the last year, maybe even more than that, it’s like we’re just two people who live together. The whole husband and wife thing has gone to hell.”
“Have you talked to her about it?”
I shrugged. “I’ve tried, but she never wants to talk about it. I haven’t pushed her because I thought we’d just get through it, you know? That’s what married people are supposed to do. But tonight,” I paused to let out a sigh. “Tonight I realised it’s more than a rough patch.”
Jude stared at me as if waiting for me to explode into laughter and tell him I was only kidding. I really wished I could.
“Do you still love her?” he asked. “Because if you do, you need to find a way to fix whatever’s wrong.”
Jude was a believer. For a guy, his faith in happy ever afters was astonishing, and often the subject of ridicule in the locker room, but he was right. Love is supposed to be enough to get you through anything.
“I’ll always love her,” I told him. “She was my first love, and she’s the mother of my children. But I don’t think we can fix this.”