Wednesday, 10 November 2010

My Absence

I know, I know. I’ve been absent not just from this blog, but from twitter and Facebook too, for quite a while now. There are number of reasons, not least of which is the imminent house move. Contracts were finally exchanged earlier this week and we’re all set to move on Friday and over the weekend. Of course, after that we have to put the new house in order, and who knows how long that will take?

But I have to confess that I’ve also been feeling a little… “Marc-Nobbs-ed-out” of late. It’s hard to really explain, but that’s pretty much it. I’ve been trying to re-connect with the ‘real’ me. You know, the married father with a day job.

I’d been toying with the idea of creating a ‘real’ Facebook profile for a few months after realising just how many of my old schoolmates and university friends are members. And a couple of weeks ago I did just that. Even fell right back into the old routine with a few of my old friends. So that’s been taking up some of my time. Time I could have been spending writing, but haven’t.

I’ll admit that I’ve toyed with the idea of placing Marc Nobbs on an extended hiatus. I even toyed with the idea of pulling my publications and website and disappearing altogether. But I decided against that.

The problem, for me, is that publishing ‘for profit’ (as in, getting paid royalties) isn’t as rewarding as when I was publishing for free. Obviously, it’s more rewarding financially, but I’ve always said I wasn’t in this for the money. Which is a good thing really given the money would never be enough to live on.

No, writing, for me, is about sharing my ideas and characters and getting feedback from readers. Back when I was publishing for free, feedback was the only payment, and the readers knew that, so they offered feedback. It was sometimes called the ‘Blowjob Principle” – which means ‘if you enjoyed it, giving praise is more likely to result in more of it.” Readers sent authors e-mails of thanks in the hope the author would write more.

But if you’ve paid a few dollars for a book, that need to praise the author to get him to write more is removed – because in effect, you’ve already rewarded him in the form of the money you’ve paid (of which he’ll get a cut).

In other words, ever since I started publishing for pay – first at Ruthie’s and then at Phaze – the feedback from readers has dried up. Oh, I still get to see what some readers think in the form of reviews, but I miss that personal interaction with readers.

So, I’m giving serious consideration to going back to my old model. Giving my stories away for ‘free’ – the only ‘payment’ requested being a note of thanks from the reader and word about what they thought of the story.

Honestly, I don’t know. What I do know is that I am taking some time off from being Marc Nobbs, so that I can be the other me – certainly until the New Year.

So, see you all in 2011.

Monday, 18 October 2010

I Know It’s Been a While

Sorry about that. Actually, I don’t know why I’m apologising, it’s not like I get paid to do this you know. Blog, I mean. I suppose you could argue that blogging is promotion and possibly leads to book sales so in a roundabout way, I do get paid for blogging, but not very much.

It’d be below the minimum wage, let’s put it that way.

So, what’s kept me away? Well, life. I’ve been (Yes, I know I say this all the time) busy at work, but more importantly, I’ve been busy at home. We are moving house, you see, and the preparation for it is unimaginable unless you’ve actually done it recently. And we don’t even have a date yet. We are hoping it’ll go ahead around the 11th November, but until the legal work is done there are no guarantees. Ask any Brit that’s moved and they’ll tell you what a monstrous process it is.

At least we don’t have to worry about the chain collapsing as there isn’t one. We’ve buying a new build and the builder is taking our house in part exchange. They can worry about selling it on afterwards. Hopefully it’ll go to some young couple who are just starting out, like we were when we bought it.

But it’s the prospect of the move that’s kept me busy. First, I cleared out as much of the rubbish that’s collected in the shed as I could. That was one weekend spoken for. Then I spent another two weekends getting all the crap down from the loft (or attic as Jr calls it), sorting through it, dumping what we don’t want and can’t sell and storing the rest in the garage, which is now even more full of stuff that before I cleared it out.

I tell you, I can’t believe how much stuff we’ve accumulated over ten years we’ve been in this house. It’s incredible. As is the amount of stuff I know have sitting in the kitchen waiting to go on e-bay.

God love e-bay and the people it turns up who are willing to buy utter garbage.

Actually, some of it is good stuff. I’ve got a collection of Marvel “Return of the Jedi” comics from 1983-1985 to go on. I’ve hoping they will prove popular with the collectors.

So, if I’m quiet in the coming weeks, you know why. I’ll be boxing up glasses, plates and the rest of the house.

Now, must remember to find a good broadband deal for the new house. No, Virgin Media on the site either, so guess I’ll have to contact Sky. :-(

Friday, 1 October 2010

Weekend Away

Last weekend I took the family away for the weekend. After what had happened in September, I figured we deserved it. We went to Lincolnshire and the highlight of the trip had to be Lincoln Cathedral. Put simply, it’s stunning. And given it’s age – it was built in the 11th Century – it’s even more remarkable.

Below is an album of the photos I took of it. Enjoy.

I still haven’t written very much in too long a time. I’m going to try and rectify that this coming weekend by ‘forcing’ myself to sit and write. I’ll do it by hand with a pen and note book if I have to. What I write might well be crap, but it’ll get me back into the habit and that’s the point. Perhaps I should try and knock out a short and see what happens.

I also plan to add some of the great comments from the two reviews that Eternally & Evermore has received so far to the books webpage. I’m actually chuffed by both reviews – although I am surprised no one’s yet mentioned my favourite character in the book. If you haven’t read it yet, then keep an eye out for young Sophie, Will’s daughter. Amy actually describes her perfectly - “infectious”.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Another Great Review for “Eternally & Evermore”

NobbMark_Eternally&Evermore_EB_final I got notification today (aren’t Google alerts great?) of a second review of Eternally & Evermore in the space of a week. And this one is just as good as the last.

The review site is Literary Nymphs and the reviewer is Goddess Minx. Here’s a couple of quotes from the review.

“When I read the blurb for the story Eternally and Evermore, I thought that this should be a good book. Now after having read the story, I know it is a keeper and I enjoyed learning about no matter how much we go through, love finds a way.”

“Now having read this book by Mr. Nobbs, I am pleasantly surprised to know how creative he is with telling this story of romantic proportions. I have added him to my list of authors to read!”

She awarded the book 4 Nymphs out of 5. Read the full review here. This comes on the back of the review at HEA Reviews, which was also great.

I’m feeling pretty good right now.

Eternally & Evermore is available now from the Phaze website and leading e-book retailers.

Love doesn’t make the flowers smell sweeter, Love wakes you up to the world around you. Love won’t make you flawless, but Love will take away the fear that holds you back. Love isn’t the destination, Love is journey you take with the one person who cares about you most.

Twenty years after promising to love each other “Eternally & Evermore”, teenage sweethearts, Amy and Will, are reunited to discover their love burns as strongly as it ever did. But while Will is a successful lawyer, Amy has walked a tougher path. What secrets does she harbour? What ghosts litter her past? And what horrors will they have to endure before they can finally be together “Eternally & Evermore.”

Eternally & Evermore is Marc’s latest novel. In it you’ll meet William Brown and Amy Robinson - two teenage sweethearts as they explore their first love. They and their relationship will charm you and make you wish you were eighteen again.

But then you’ll be catapulted forward twenty years to when Will is a divorced father of one and a brilliant lawyer - and he hasn’t seen Amy since she sent him a ‘Dear John’ letter during their time at different universities. An invitation to his class reunion brings his feelings for Amy flooding back - especially when they meet up again to find that she feels the same way.

But while Will is rich and successful, Life has not been kind to Amy. She’s been through hard times and made some bad choices. Now that Will is back in her life, can she find the strength to put things right. Can they finally be together Eternally & Evermore.

Passionate and emotional, yet thought provoking, Eternally & Evermore will charm you and leave you breathless. This is one book you cannot afford to miss.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Great Review for “Eternally & Evermore”

wp7b3eb1a9Monica from Happily Ever After Reviews, has written a wonderfully kind review of Eternally & Evermore. You can read it here.

She awarded the book “4 Tea Cups” out of five and recommends the book to “to people that can relate with the struggles that a relationship goes through when they find their true love, and feel compelled in helping them however they can in order to keep them safe.”

A couple of quotes from the review…

“From being teenagers to adults, this love story is wonderful.”

“Nobbs writes William Brown as an exceptional, shy sweet young man who becomes a brilliant lawyer. The way the character goes about protecting Amy during their final school year, to how he protects after the high school reunion is heroic.”

“In Chapter 29 Nobbs does a great job in writing how much Amy has gone through since they were last together nearly 20 years later. The feelings and expressions how much pain and heartache Amy went through since William went to Oxford.”

“My favorite quote in the book is "Like the song says, It's always been you. And it always be. You'll be in my heart, Eternally and evermore."”

I’d like to thank Monica for her review. It feels great when people enjoy your work.

You can buy Eternally & Evermore direct from Phaze, or from your preferred e-book store (But not for your Kindle yet – that normally takes a a while to get to the Amazon store).

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Need to Get my Arse in Gear

It’s time I started writing again. What with the holiday in the middle of August, returning to a mountain of work that I still haven’t really caught up with, and then what happened last week, I’ve written very, very little of my WIP in the past month or so. Shame really, cause I left it at a pretty interesting point. It should be easy to pick up the thread of the story – if I can just find it within myself to actually start writing again.

2010-09-20 08.34.45 On a different note, I’ve uploaded a new profile pic to Twitter, Facebook et al. It’s on the right. What do you think? I like of think of myself as a bit of a trendsetter with that cap. So I was only mildly upset when one of the girls at work said “Eh Up, Granddad, where’s yer bike?”

Another of the girls said she could see me in the hat, standing in some field with my trousers tucked into my wellies, sporting a Harris Tweed jacket with my shotgun sitting in the crook of my arm. Yeah, like I can afford Harris Tweed.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Heartache Maketh the Writer

They say, or so I’m led to believe, that writers are at their best when pouring out all the heartache, tragedy and pain of their own lives onto the page. Is it true? I don’t know, but maybe I’m about to find out. Although, to be honest, I’ve never felt less like writing than I do at the moment.

September was supposed to be a month of celebration following the release of Eternally & Evermore at the end of August. Should have known better, shouldn’t I?

First of all, the book didn’t get its release when it was supposed to. It should have been available to buy on 30th August – that’s what I was told. On the publisher's “Coming Soon” page it was listed as available in August (but no day specified) as well. But on September 1st it still wasn’t released. I did my best to find out what was up, and if the delay was my fault, but it took another week before the book came out. 7th September to be exact. And I still don’t know the reason for the delay (not that it matters, but it would be nice to know).

More worrying, perhaps, is that, as I write this post, there hasn’t been another release from Phaze since then (as my book is showing first on the ‘recently released’ list), my book is still on the “Coming Soon” page (and is still shown as “Coming in August”) and there are no other books listed on that page.

I don’t know what’s going on, but I hope it gets sorted out soon.

Then something else, something more important, happened which really fucked September up good and proper. My wife suffered a miscarriage.

She was ‘only’ ten weeks gone, but it was enough for the both of us to start making plans and get excited. That’ll teach us.

So I’m sure you’ll forgive my absence from this blog for a while. I’ve had more important things to deal with. Of course, if “Heartache Maketh the Writer” is true, I should have been channelling everything I was feeling into possibly my best work ever, but like I said, I’ve never felt less like writing. It just doesn't seem important right now.

Still, life goes on. Eternally & Evermore  is out and available to buy from the Phaze website, Smashwords, and All Romance eBooks. My little boy has started school and my wife and I both still have our health. Even if we are trying to come to terms with what has happened. Life goes on.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Where you been?

Okay, so the whole point of advance posting the Eternally & Evermore excerpts was so that my blog didn’t go without a posting for two weeks. And what happens when I get back from holiday? Yep, I spend so much time catching up with everything, that my blog goes without a post for two weeks.

Bloody typical.

Oh, well, can’t have everything. I’m still struggling for time to be honest, so for today, here’s the trailer for E&E. It does say that the book is ‘available now’, but it isn’t. Yet. I was expecting to be released yesterday, but it’s still showing as ‘Coming soon’ on the Phaze website. (Actually, it says ‘Coming in August’ but don’t go there). I’m trying to find out what the delay is and will let you guys know when I know. Anyway, enjoy the trailer.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Morning Shower – an “Eternally & Evermore” excerpt

wp7b3eb1a9 Last of my pre-scheduled mid-week posts. I’m back home next week and back to the grind stone. But in the meantime, here’s a sexy excerpt from Eternally & Evermore.

I suppose I should remind you that I do write erotic romance and this excerpt is certainly erotic.


The gentle chatter of Radio Four woke Will early the next morning. He normally made sure he deactivated the alarm before going to sleep on Friday nights, reactivating it again before bed on Sunday, but for once he’d forgotten. He lay on his back, his arm around Amy as she lay sleeping on his left. Her breathing was rhythmic and peaceful. Her head rested on his chest and she had an arm and leg draped over him.

Will couldn’t remember ever sharing his bed and sleeping so soundly—even when he was married. Since moving to Westmouth he hadn’t shared his bed very often, but when he did he always woke feeling tired after tossing and turning and failing to get comfortable with a relative stranger next to him.

There was one exception—Sophie, but he didn’t think she counted. And besides, if his daughter shared his bed it was because something in the dark of the night had spooked her. Ever since she was very small, she would climb in bed and snuggle up to him whenever she got scared. And he would lie awake, holding her tight, and listen to her gently fall asleep. Sometimes he’d drift off himself. Others, he’d lie awake all night just to listen to her breathe.

But that was different. He was protecting his daughter. This night with Amy...

He’d slept so soundly partly because she’d worn him out. They’d made love in every position they could until the early hours. Then when he slept, he held her close not to protect her, but to know she was still there and to feel her next to him. He felt content. Happy.

He kissed the top of her head. She looked beautiful with her eyes closed and a peaceful look on her face.

“I love you,” he whispered, so as not to wake her. “I always have.”

He slipped his arm from around her and gently pushed himself into a sitting position. Her head fell from its resting place on his chest and she woke with a jolt.

“Wha..?” She looked around the room.

“It’s okay. It’s okay. I’m just going for a shower, that’s all.”

“What? Oh. Sorry. I forgot where I was.” She smiled. “Morning, handsome.”


“What time is it?”

“Too early. I forgot to switch the alarm off.”

“I wonder what made you forget.”

“I wonder.” He kissed her forehead. “Go back to sleep. I’ll have a shower then make you some breakfast and bring it up.”

She stretched and yawned as he got out of bed and then settled back into comfortable position on her side.

He padded into the en-suite, where he pulled the cord that switched on the electricity supply to the shower, climbed into the cubicle and pushed the button that turned on the jets of water. The room soon steamed up and condensation formed on the glass panel walls surrounding him.

He had his back to the shower door, his head under the water and his eyes closed, so he didn’t see the shadow that Amy cast as she approached. And he didn’t hear the door open or hear her step inside with him. He jumped and turned around when he felt her hands on his body.

“Mind if I join you?” She didn’t wait for an answer, but stood on tip toes to kiss him instead. She reached up to the small shelf in the corner of the cubicle and grabbed the bottle of shower gel.

“Hmm,” she said when she read the label, “with honey and milk extract, for sensitive skin. Sensitive skin, eh? In that case, I’ll be gentle.”

“You weren’t very gentle last night.”

“Neither were you.”

She poured some of the peach coloured cream into the palm of her hand and rubbed it on his chest. She took care to work up lather, rubbing her hands all over his chest, stomach and sides.

“Turn around. I want to do your back.”

He did as he was told as she poured some more shower cream into her hand. She gave his back and buttocks the same treatment that she had his chest then reached around and gripped his erection.

“Best make sure this is clean too.” She stroked it lovingly a few times then let go. “All done. My turn now.”

Will turned around to see her pouring the cream over her breasts.

“Hurry up and get me clean, before the water washes it away.”

Will raised his hands and massaged the soap into Amy’s bosom. She moaned and rocked her hips as his hands slipped over her skin, down her belly and brushed her pussy. Will took great care cleaning her breasts.

“These seem quite dirty,” he said, rubbing her nipples. “Better make sure I do this properly.”

He bent his head and sucked one of them. He could still taste the soap but sucked and licked regardless. When he was satisfied that it was clean, he turned his attention to the other.

“Oh, William.”

He put his hands on her hips and spun her around. She put her hands against the glass and leaned forward, spreading her legs enough to give him access. He bent his knees, guided his cock into her with one hand and held her hip with the other. When he was safely inside, he gripped her hips with both hands and moved inside her.

With his knees slightly bent, his motion was hindered, but each thrust still pushed her forward and upwards on to her tiptoes. She pushed back against him as he withdrew only to be forced onto her toes again when he returned. He pushed her higher and the higher she got, the less he had to bend and the harder he could thrust into her.

It wasn’t long before he fired his seed into her. And as he filled her she shuddered through her own orgasm. She dropped back onto the flats of her feet, forcing him out of her pussy with a plop. As soon as she was unplugged, a stream of his ejaculate flooded from her, mixed with the shower water and washed down the drain.

She turned around, put her arms around his neck and kissed him. “Wow. What a lovely way to start the day.”

“I whole-heartedly second that.”

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Six Sentence Sunday 15/08/2010 – Eternally & Evermore



Sunday’s mean six sentences. This week they again come from Eternally & Evermore.


Maurice was waiting for him in the foyer.

“Will! It’s about damn time. A word please.” He gestured to an empty meeting room off the foyer. Once inside he snapped, “Care to tell me why I have three officers from SOCA waiting in my boardroom?”

“They’re already here?”

Eternally & Evermore will be released by Phaze in late August. For more Six Sentence Sunday posts, visit the blog.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Dance with me – an “Eternally & Evermore” excerpt

wp7b3eb1a9 Yes, I’m still on holiday, and yes, I’ve still scheduled an excerpt for your reading pleasure. This excerpt follows on from from Tuesday’s – just a few scenes further on.


Will stared up at the sky. With no moon, no clouds and very little light pollution from the villages in the surrounding countryside, the great mass of stars that made up the Milky Way was on display. It reminded him just how small and insignificant he and his problems were in the great scheme of things. But to him, right then, right there, they were everything.

The band’s next song was a slow one.

“I recognise this.”

She nodded. “Eternally and Evermore. It’s unmistakable.”

“Our song.”

She turned towards him. “Dance with me?”

“Is that a good idea?”


He took her in his arms and as they swayed gently under the starlight, she raised her hand to his cheek and gently pulled him towards her.

“Amy, we—”


Their lips met, lightly brushing against each other, barely touching, but the thrill that ran up Will’s back was electric. He could almost feel the lightning bolt leap from his lips to hers. It was more than anything he’d felt in the years since he’d last kissed her. It was as if it was their second first kiss and it was every bit as earth-shattering as the original. It was tender. Gentle. The kiss of a couple still in love after a lifetime together. Yet they were a couple fate had kept apart.

His lips lingered on hers and he savoured her sweet taste while she made quiet gurgling sounds in the back of her throat. He slipped his tongue into her mouth and tenderly explored while his hands caressed her back and her tongue welcomed his with light caresses. Then it went nuclear. Years of passion, like a volcanic eruption, spilled into that one, mind-blowing kiss.

Finally, reluctantly, he pulled away from her. She tipped her head back, kept her eyes closed and shuddered.

“We shouldn’t have done that,” Will said.

“I know,” she whispered, her eyes still closed. “I just...”


“I just needed to know.” She touched her lips with the tips of two fingers.

“Know what?”

She opened her eyes to look into his. “If it was still there.”

“What was?”

“Us. The spark. The connection.”

“And was it?”

“Was it ever? More’s the pity.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because....” She sighed. “Life would have been so much less complicated if it wasn’t.”

Eternally & Evermore will be released by Phaze in late August.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Unhappy Reunion – an “Eternally & Evermore” excerpt

wp7b3eb1a9 I might be on holiday, but I can still schedule posts. Here is an excerpt from the upcoming Eternally & Evermore.


Will left the bathroom but didn’t return to the party. Instead he wandered into the foyer and slumped into one of four red leather sofas clustered around a low rectangular coffee table scattered with newspapers and magazines. He shook his head and sighed. Why had no one told him? Warned him? Or was Nugent lying? He’d always been fast and loose with the truth. But something about the way he’d spoken told Will it wasn’t a lie.

He pulled his mobile phone out of his inside jacket pocket and slid his thumb across the screen to unlock it. The screen lit up, displaying a picture of a young girl with a wide grin as the background wallpaper. He smiled as he looked at her.

“Is that your daughter? Sophie, isn’t it?” Lizzie was standing behind the sofa. He looked up at her and when she saw the questioning look on his face she said, “I came out of the ladies just as you left the gents. Saw you coming this way and thought we could have a chat without having to shout over the music.” She paused. “She’s very pretty.”

“She is, isn’t she?” He tapped screen twice to display the photo fully and handed it to Lizzie.

She sat on the arm of the sofa and looked at the picture. “She has your eyes. And your smile.”

“And her mother’s sharp tongue, which, thankfully, she doesn’t use very often. She’s very difficult to get worked up.”

“Then it sounds like she’s got your temperament too. Are there any more?”

Will reached to swipe across the screen and the picture scrolled to one of father and daughter laughing.

“That’s nice,” Lizzie said. “Where is it?”

“Her thirteenth a couple of months ago. One of the few birthdays I’ve been able to get to. I usually have to make do with an early or late celebration. Some dad I turned out to be, huh?”

“I’m sure you’re a great dad.”

He sighed. “How great can I be when I’m only part-time?”

“How often do you see her?”

“Officially I have joint custody, but since she schools in London, I normally see her every other weekend and most of the holidays.”


“We alternate Christmas and New Year, one year she spends Christmas with her mother and New Year with me, next year we switch. Easter and half terms are mine, and we split the summer.”

“And she knows she can call you whenever she wants, right?”

“Yeah. And she does. Although, lately it’s been to complain about some punishment or other that her mother has imposed. She’s a hell of a texter too. But that’s the youth of today.”

Lizzie laughed.


“You keep saying her mother. As if she doesn’t have a name.”

“Lynn. Her name’s Lynn. Sad to say, that all she is to me now. My daughter’s mother.”

“You must have loved her once.”

“I did.” The finality in his voice said that topic was out of bounds.

Lizzie nudged him to scoot up the sofa, sat beside him and handed his phone back. “Is tonight as bad as you expected?”

“Who said I expected it to be bad?”

“You did.” He didn’t answer. “What are you doing out here on your own anyway?”

“Deciding if I should call a cab or not.”

“You’re leaving? Why?”

He looked at her for a few moments before answering. “I had a conversation with John Nugent while I was in the bathroom.”


“Yes. Oh.” He took in the look of horror on her face, masked by forced indifference. “Why didn’t you tell me, Lizzie?”

“Tell you what?”


She shrugged. “Amy asked me not to. Don’t look at me like that. She’s my best friend, what did you expect me to do?”

“I’m your oldest friend.”

“And you haven’t spoken to me for nearly ten years.”

“So that makes it okay to lie to me, does it?”

“I didn’t lie to you. I just... left out some details.”

“Pretty big detail,” he mumbled.

“Besides, would have come tonight if I’d have told you beforehand?”

He looked away. “Probably not.”

“That’s what I figured.”

Eternally & Evermore is released by Phaze at the end of August.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Six Sentence Sunday 08/08/2010 – Eternally & Evermore



At some point today, I’ll arrive at the holiday cottage we’ve rented that will be our home away from home for two weeks.

But through the beauty of advanced scheduling, I’m able to bring you a Six Sentence Sunday post this week. So, here are six of the best from Eternally & Evermore which is released at the end of this month.

She half smiled. “You might decide you don’t want me.”

“That’s not going to happen.”

“It might. William, there’s a lot you don’t know about me, I have... baggage. When you know everything, you might change your mind.”

Eternally & Evermore will be released by Phaze at the end of August. For more Six Sentence Sunday posts, visit the blog.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Off on my Jollies

Tomorrow morning I’m off on my hols for two whole weeks. A much needed break, if I do say so myself. Through the course of today I’m going to try and put together and schedule some blog posts to automatically go up while I’m away, but I expect today will be quite busy at work (being my last day and all) and tonight I’ve got some packing to do – so don’t be disappointed if I miss out.

I’ve turned in my final edits for Eternally & Evermore. I think it’s pretty clean but as the author you get so close to your text that it’s often difficult to see even your most obvious mistakes. Hopefully I’ve given the final proof-reader a tough job to find anything that needs changing, but we all know how fresh eyes spot things others don’t.

It’s been long enough since I turned the document over to my editor that when I got it back and went through it myself I was able to read it almost as if I was reading it for the first time, and I was surprised at how well the story created the emotions in me that I set out to stir when I wrote it. For example, there are two points in the story where I almost started crying as I read it – for two very different reasons, one happy, the other sad.

It’s quite strange, don’t you think, that we humans can react to two such wildly conflicting emotions in essentially the same way. For example, I cried when my son was born. Why? It was a happy event. The happiest. So why cry? Crying is what you do when you’re upset isn’t it?


I hope you’ll enjoy any excerpts I am able to schedule for the next two weeks. In fact, I hope you’ll enjoy them so much you’ll go out (or rather, stay in and log on) and buy the book. My editor said something the other day. She said it’s a story about choices. About how the choices we make set our lives on different paths, and how even though we may have made the wrong choice at some point, it’s possible to make up for it later by making the right choice. Or just as possible to compound it by making more bad choices.

The protagonist and antagonist of the book are examples of this. They were childhood friends, but their choices led them in different directions in life. And when they come together again later in life, it’s the choices they then make, correcting or compounding previous bad choices, that determine their fates.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Wednesday Words - “Secret Love Match” by Nancy Lenna

secret-love-match-200x300In a follow-up from Friday’s guest post, here’s an excerpt from Nancy Lenna’s Secret Love Match which is available from Red Rose publishing now.


By Nancy Lennea

“This has been one heck of a day, Taylor. I watched you open that van door and sweep Jamie into your arms. Until the van took off, I forgot to breathe.”

“Everything turned out okay.”

“I know. He means so much to me. I love him as if he were my own. I hope I’m blessed with a little boy like him someday.”

He squirmed slightly at her words until he pictured her with a newborn at her breast. As she ground her lithe body into his buttocks, he used all his composure to keep from coming where he stood.

“I wonder how the bad guys knew where we are staying.”

“I have no idea, sweetheart. Only Gloria and Vinnie knew.”

“That’s not exactly true.”

Taylor swung around and grabbed her by the shoulders. “What do you mean?”

“Well, I got a phone call just after you put me in your bed.”

“And?” Taylor asked, while forcing away that seductive image.

“Stuart called. He was concern for my safety and—”

“And you told him you are safe with me, in my hotel.”

“Yes. But, he couldn’t possibly have anything to do with all this.”

“Let’s go for a swim,” he said, changing the subject. He kissed her, satisfying his need to taste her lips. His hands slid around her with his yearning to pull her close.

Savoring her scent, he released her then tiptoed into his bedroom while Becka went to change in the downstairs bathroom. Vinnie lay sprawled across the bed, fully clothed. Earlier, they listened to him call Gloria to assure her of everyone’s safety. Now pain and weariness etched his face. Taylor offered him his bed. Happy to see his friend out cold, he stripped off his clothes and tugged on his swimsuit and beach robe. Grabbing condoms from the nightstand and two towels from the master bathroom, he joined Becka in the kitchen.

A small, pink bikini hugged her curves. Hoping his now-limp cock would stay that way, for the time being, he picked up a room key, slipped on sandals, and led her toward the rooftop pool.

“What about Stuart Craddock? Do you think he had anything to do with all this?”

“I don’t know, sweetheart. The man obviously wants you unless it’s part of a plot to get closer to your sister. Seems too far-fetched.”

“But, he knew what airport and what flight I would be taking home the day the cabbie attacked me at the estate. Could he have instigated the first kidnapping attempt as well?”

He couldn’t answer her question though he’d always suspected Craddock hid dirty secrets. It wouldn’t surprise him if he ran with a crook like Spratt. He wheeled the dining cart into the hall then shut the door. The two burly guards stood at attention outside Princess Sophia’s door. As they passed, Taylor stopped a moment to let them know what happened. He stressed the need to take extra precautions. The men nodded at his hushed words.

Becka sensed Bart Spratt wouldn’t give up until he had Jamie, or until they stopped him. Could he be in business with Stuart? In her naivety, she’d assumed he had earned his millions legally. She might have been dangerously misinformed.

Becka waited for Taylor to do what he did best—keep her safe. Tonight, the safety of her entire family lay in his hands. He’d told Gloria to spend the night with a friend in case Spratt and his thugs thought they’d all head back to the estate.

“Please don’t worry. They can’t reach our floor,” Taylor assured her, “the elevator requires a key card. I’ve had the entire staff put on alert. The princess’s guards will keep an eye out as well.”

The afternoon’s terror-filled kidnap attempt wiped everyone out. Laney had stepped in and taken charge of her son, but why hadn’t she kept her mouth shut about her and Taylor?

She let him pull her down the hall by the wrist. He used his key card to open a door near the elevators. A staircase led up to a tiled patio, surrounding the pool. She tossed her towel on a lounge chair. A steamy breeze wafted over the privacy wall. The scents and sounds of the city enveloped her as she removed her cover-up. Exhaust fumes mingled with fragrant tea roses blooming on a trellis. Car horns and revving engines seemed out of place amid their beauty.

“It’s getting late.” Stars twinkled above their heads making her feel as if she and Taylor were the only people on earth. She dipped a toe in the water. The deep end lay shrouded by shadow. The danger had ceased for today, but the tension in her shoulders lingered. The pain in her head had dissipated, but the horror of Jamie’s kidnapping seeped in. She needed to occupy her mind and body in order to dull terror-sparked senses.

The man of her dreams tossed his own towel into a chair, and then dove into the midnight blue water. Lit by one low-wattage underwater bulb, the water in the shallow end sparkled.

He cut through the dark water then popped up across from where she stood. She hesitated, unsure why Taylor scared her. He would never do anything she didn’t want him to do. She yearned to feel his arms wrapped around her.

She padded barefoot to the stairs in the shallow end. She sensed his gaze following her every move. When sensual warmth filled her belly, she chewed on her lower lip. The cool water soothed the heat blooming between her thighs. When the water reached her chest, she shivered, unsure if her body reacted to the night air or the hungry look on his face.

Her hands cut through the silky liquid. She swam until she slipped into his arms. Taylor held onto the side of the pool with one hand, treading water, and clasped his other hand around her waist.

Pulled into his wet embrace, lips found lips.

The near-silence, disturbed only by those faraway sounds of city life, soothed her fears. He deepened the kiss. His tongue traced her lower lip. She gasped, surprised at the sensuous softness. Her arms instinctively circled his neck while water dripped from his wet hair to slick over her trembling fingers.

“Are you cold, my love?” he asked when he released her mouth.

Did he feel her body shudder? With their faces in shadow, he must be waiting for her to answer. The cool water could not hide his body’s growing interest. When he pressed his groin into hers, she moaned before answering.

“No, Taylor, I’m a little nervous, though.”

“Nervous? You? You are the most courageous woman I’ve ever met.”


Nancy lives the dream. After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, Nancy and her husband moved to North Carolina. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Celtic Heart Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and Sisters in Crime. She also writes paranormal romance such as DRAGON’S CURSE from Whispers Publishing as Nancy Lee Badger:

Nancy’s website:

Visit her blog for the latest news:

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Our Song – an “Eternally & Evermore” Excerpt

wp7b3eb1a9 In yesterday’s excerpt, we saw that the title of the book comes from the title of a song in the book. But why is the song significant? Read on and find out.

During the last period of the day, Will, Julie, Lizzie and Amy sat in the library and worked on an essay for their English class. As usual, Will and Amy had written far more than either of the other two by the time the bell rang to signal the end of the school day. Julie quickly packed her things away and hurried off to meet Bobby, who’d had a maths class.

“Are you two coming?” Lizzie asked as she packed her books into her bag. Amy and Will were both still writing.

“I’m staying,” said Will. “I’m nearly done with the first draft. I’d like to finish it.”

“Okay. Are you doing anything tonight?”

“I don’t know yet. Give me a shout if you’ve got any plans.”

“Yeah, okay. What about you, Amy? Coming?”

She shook her head. “No. I’m nearly finished too. It’s probably not as good as William’s, but...”

“Fine. I’ll walk home by myself then.” She faked indignation then giggled. “I’ll call you later and see what’s what.”

She left Amy and Will alone as they kept writing. Will put his pen down and stretched. Their favourite table was by a window which most pupils had to pass on their way home, so there was a lot of bustle and noise at the end of the day. Whenever he stayed late, Will always found it hard to concentrate for these first few minutes after the bell rang.

“Fancy a drink?” he said. “I’m going to the vending machine for a Coke.”

“Thanks. Coke would be nice. Here—” She pulled her purse out of her bag but Will held his hand up.

“It’s okay. I’ll get it.”

She smiled her radiant smile at him. “Thanks. That’s kind.”

When he returned with two cold cans, the hubbub had died down and he was able to concentrate again. Within half an hour, he’d finished. He put his pen down and picked up the manuscript to read through it.

“How much have you written?” Amy asked.

Will flipped through his work. “About ten sides.”

“That much? That’s way more than you need.”

“I know. It’s how I work. Cram loads in on a first draft, then refine and cut out what I don’t need afterwards.”

“Maybe that explains it.”

“Explains what?”

“Why you get better marks than me.” She grinned. “I work the other way round. Do a bare bones first draft and add in detail later.”

Will shrugged. “Don’t see why it would matter. You work the way that’s best for you.”

“I suppose.” She put her pen down. “If you’re done, I think I’ll stop too. I don’t want to stay here on my own. It’s getting dark.”

“Okay. I’ll walk you home if you like.”


They packed and left the library. Amy’s house was on a relatively new, privately built estate next to the council estate that Will lived on. It was on his way home—if he went the long way. But he didn’t mind going the long way for Amy. They chatted about nothing in particular until they got to her house. Instead of going straight in, she waited. Her bag was flung over her shoulder and she fiddled with the strap and shuffled her feet as she looked at the floor.



“Thanks. For last night. You know, for sticking up for me. Again.” She stared into his eyes as she spoke. He could see she meant every word. “You always stick up for me.”

“Well... I mean, I couldn’t stand by and let him say those things. Could I?”

“I know. They were pretty hurtful.”

“I didn’t manage to stop him though. He’s been spreading his lies all day.”

“Yeah. It’s a good job no one believes him.”

“Ray seems to think he might have a point.”

“That’s because Ray’s an idiot. Plus, I’ve turned him down more than a few times too, remember.”

Will nodded.

“William, you do know there’s only one reason why I didn’t dance with John this weekend, don’t you?”

“Because he’s an ignorant tosser?”

She giggled. “Okay, two reasons.”

“So what’s the other one?”

She reached out her hand to touch his.

“Oh,” he said.

She smiled. “Like the song says, It’s always been you. And it always will be. You’ll be in my heart, Eternally and evermore.”

Eternally and evermore. Her hand moved up to his face and she said, “So when are you going to ask me out? Or do I need to wait for a leap year?”

Will shook his head. “No. I mean, not no, just... I don’t know. I always thought...”

“I think this is the part where you kiss me.” She stepped forward, moved her hand to the back of his head and brought her lips to his. It was a child’s kiss. Lips pressed together with the slightest pressure. Mouths and eyes closed. It lasted but seconds, but they were the most exciting seconds Will could remember.

She pulled away but slid her hand down his arm to hold his and she squeezed and said, “I have to go. My tea will be ready. But I’ll call you later. Okay?”

He nodded. He was still in shock. “Okay.”

“We can talk. Or something.”

Monday, 2 August 2010

Getting Closer – an Excerpt from “Eternally & Evermore”

wp7b3eb1a9 I’m currently working through the Eternally & Evermore edits which I received this weekend in preparation for the release later this month. I’m pretty sure I can be done with them today or tomorrow and the file can go off to Phaze for them to do what they do to turn my text into a proper e-book.

People have asked me before now about the book’s title. “It’s a bit soppy,” they say. “Where did you get it?”

The answer is… long winded. But the best way to show you is with a couple of excerpts from the book. One today and one tomorrow.

I’m away on holiday in France – and almost certainly out of e-mail contact unless I pay a fortune in roaming charges on my phone – so I’m going to schedule some more excerpts from the book to post on this blog while I’m away. So, aside from this Wednesday’s post from Nancy Lenna, this blog is will be going Eternally & Evermore” crazy for a couple of weeks.

A new song began, a ballad, and on the dance floor couples came together and singles left in search of a partner, refreshment or both. The song was Eternally and Evermore by some American country singer that Will had never heard of until the song hit the top of the charts.

“I love this song,” said Lizzie.

“Me too,” said Amy.

Will shrugged. “It’s alright, I suppose.”

Amy cocked her eyebrow at him. “Dance with me?”

He pointed to his chest. “Me?”

“Well, I wasn’t asking Lizzie.”

“I... Well... Okay.”

As she took his hand and led him to the dance floor, Will’s heart thumped as loud as the song’s bass line, threatening to break free from his chest. They’d danced together before, of course they had. He’d danced with lots of girls at his birthday party earlier in the autumn. But this was Amy’s favourite song. That had to mean something, didn’t it? No. He was reading too much into it. She just wanted to dance and he was the nearest available guy. If she’d been next to some other guy when the song started, she would have asked him. Wouldn’t she?

Still, he had trouble controlling his breathing. And that wasn’t to mention the rise in his trousers that he knew would be inevitable when her body pressed up against his. So he took up formal stance instead, his right hand on her hip, his left holding her hand and a ocean of space between them.

"You're not dancing with your mother, William," Amy said with a smile brighter than all the lights of the disco combined. She let go of his hand, grabbed his waist and pulled him close. "That's better."

His hands settled on her flared hips and her arms went around his neck. She rested her head on his shoulder and they lost themselves to the gentle beat, the sweet melody and the powerful voice of the southern songstress. The other couples dancing around them faded to nothing more than ghosts. The disco lights dimmed and Will’s whole world consisted of only the song in his ears and the feel of Amy pressed up against him. Only the material of their clothes separated their bodies. If this song, this dance, could go on forever, Will could not conceive a better way to spend the rest of time. It felt so right holding Amy in his arms. He felt whole. Complete.

Her breath burned his neck and sent shivers down his spine. Her heart beat powerfully against his chest in time with his—as if they were somehow joined. As if they were one.

She sighed and sang along.

“It’s always been you,
And always will be, because,
You’re the only man I want,
And the only man I need.
You’ll be in my heart,
Eternally and evermore.”

She was singing to him. She was telling him what he wanted to hear. That he was hers and she was his and it would be like that forever. Eternally and evermore. But she wasn’t. Not really. He knew that. Just like he knew that she wasn’t really grinding herself against his erection. Even though it sure felt like she was.

She sighed again as the song finally ended. They parted and the world around them came back into focus and the people became whole again. She held his hand and looked at him with those huge expressive eyes, shining brightly and reflecting the disco lights, yet more violet now than he’d ever seen them and said, “Thanks. I enjoyed that.”

“Yeah, me too.”

They stood awkwardly in front of each other as she swung his arm gently between them. Something had changed. That song, that dance had changed things. Will knew it had. He could feel it. He could sense it in his soul. He knew that if he stepped forward and kissed her, she’d let him. But he didn’t. He couldn’t. He always said that she was his friend and he didn’t want to jeopardise that.

So instead he asked. “Want a drink?”

She looked downcast for the briefest of moments. But she brightened again so quickly that it could easily have been missed. The usual fire in her eyes—now back to their more normal shade of deep blue—burned brightly. “Yeah,” she said. “Let’s go get a drink. Then let’s see if the pool table is still free. This time, I swear I’m going to beat you.”

Friday, 30 July 2010

Friday House Guest - Does Age Matter by Nancy Lennea

Please welcome Nancy Lennea to talk about that age old question – does an age difference in romance really matter?


I want to thank Marc for having me today ‘from across the pond’. I am writing to you from the hot and muggy southeastern United States. I am thrilled to tell everyone around the world about my debut novel, SECRET LOVE MATCH. When Marc asked me to write an article pertaining to my book, age and romance instantly came to mind. I am a mature married woman, but that is not why I want to share my thoughts.

Let me tell you about what happened the first time I pitched my manuscript to an agent. My local chapter of Romance Writers of America regularly invites agents and editors to talk with us and this agent (who shall remain unnamed) gave me ten minutes to tell me about ‘The Hook, The Cook, and The Book’. I had not gotten two minutes into my talk when she said the age difference between my hero and heroine (and I quote) ‘was creepy”.

Again, I am a mature woman married 30+ years while she was 29 at the time. This New York agent did not feel my story line was realistic. She wondered how could readers expect anything romantic or a happily ever after ending between a 21-year-old tennis ace bent on a berth on the U.S. Olympic team and a 40-year-old former TV star?

I went home very discouraged and actually considered rewriting my story. Would it still work if I made Rebecca Delacourt older and Taylor Adams younger? Nope, doing so would change all the dynamics. The conflict would disappear and I saw no obstacles that would hinder them from forming a loving relationship except their careers. I LOVE obstacles!

Luckily for me, I had sent the manuscript into Red Rose Publishing the month before. I started and finished my next manuscript before Red Rose came calling. Seems they have a section of their mainstream romance catalog called Autumn Rose: this is where at least one of the characters MUST be over 40!

If anyone reads regency historical romances set in merry old London (I do!) the heroine is usually between the ages of 17 and 22 and the hero usually isn’t younger than 34. No one feels that is strange, so why did this particular agent burst my bubble? TV and movies show older men all the time and I hate to admit this, but 40 is NOT OLD! I make Becka and Taylor react to each other with volcanic heat while each knows they should not get together.

Life, irksome relatives, a kidnapping, a furious father, and the demands of both their dream occupations work against them until love wins. What do you, out there, think of all this? Does age matter in the real world? Does it matter to you?

Secret Love Match Blurb

secret-love-match-200x300 Rebecca Delacourt has played and taught tennis for the last three years. At twenty-one, she knows what she wants. Without help from her wealthy parents, she buys a condo in Glen Cove, NY and plans to be on the Olympic Tennis team. She has no time for men, marriage, or children. Her mother gave up her acting career when she became pregnant with older sister, Laney, whose illegitimate son is mute due to recent emotional trauma. Rebecca still manages to squeak out some time for her charity work for breast cancer research in Baltimore every year.

Taylor, a former TV actor, notices Becka. She knows him—she’s dreamed of his TV persona for years. They meet at her parent’s country club. He thinks he’s found gold in the athletic blonde. After beating him at tennis, he meets her parents. Too bad he knows them—a former co-star, and the man helping get him auditions.

Her sister moves in—thwarting any privacy. She’s hiding out and is attacked. Taylor finds himself falling for Becka. Will he change his arrogant ways, save her nephew from kidnappers, and realize she’s the one? Becka wonders if dreams can still be reached with someone beside her. Will they reach their dreams together?

Nancy lives the dream. After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, Nancy and her husband moved to North Carolina. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Celtic Heart Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and Sisters in Crime. She also writes paranormal romance such as DRAGON’S CURSE from Whispers Publishing as Nancy Lee Badger:

Nancy’s website: Visit her blog for the latest news:

rrp-bestsellerSECRET LOVE MATCH is available now from Red Rose Publishing

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Wednesday Words - “Heat Wave” By Patricia Pellicane

Here’s today’s Wednesday Words excerpt. Enjoy.


Jebediah Knight, Arizona territory’s Marshal, is a big man. He’s come to Arizona City to take care of business. Once the job is finished, Jeb realizes he’s not ready to move on just yet. It seems a sweet, if cantankerous, little lady has caught his eye.

Lilly Willingham is annoyed to find herself partial to the giant of a man, but partial is as far as she’s willing to go. Without a doubt she does not love him and swears she never will.

The problem here is Marshal Knight isn’t the kind of man who takes no in stride. The little lady might act the shrew, but he knows the best use for that sharp tongue.

HeatWavev2 EXCERPT:

I’ll give you all the privacy you want. Most of the time, you won’t even know I’m here.”

Lilly laughed. “Right. And how do you imagine I won’t notice a man like you?”

“Meaning what? Am I too good lookin’ to escape your notice?”

“You’re too big. If I slept with you, I haven’t a doubt you’d leave me barely an inch of space. And stop fishing for compliments. I never give a man a compliment.”

He looked down at her with some surprise. “You reckon a man don’t need them? Is that it?”

“I reckon all men are a confident lot of ego hogs, and anything I’ve got to say could only swell heads that are already far too big.” She smiled sweetly, which didn’t fit her attitude at all and only caused him a huge grin. “After all, were that the case, you’d have to buy another hat.” She shrugged. “So don’t think of it as I don’t give compliments. Instead, you might thank me for saving you a passel of money.”

He chuckled at her outrageous reasoning. “I’m thinkin’ maybe I like a prickly little lady like you.”

“How nice for you.”

He chuckled. “You know givin’ compliments could swell other things besides heads,” he reminded, while pressing his hips to hers so she might know what particular thing he had in mind.

Lilly surprised herself with a girlish giggle. She hadn’t made a sound like that in twenty years and wondered at her sudden lighthearted mood. “That’s always possible, I suppose, but those things can usually swell without a word spoken.”

“You’re a sassy little lady, Miss Lilly. Lucky for you, I’m a bit partial to sassy ladies.”

She snapped a sarcastic, “Oh I’m very lucky, I’m sure.” And to his chuckle, she said, “Most around here think I’m nasty, hard-headed and a stubborn sort.”

“Are you?”

She shrugged. “I suppose I am, some.”

“Good. Nothing is more boring than a sweet-tempered, submissive, weak little miss.”

“Well, you came to the right place, if you’re not looking for sweet.”

“Still there’s sweet and then there’s sweet. Nothing could be sweeter than what you gave me in the kitchen.”

“Oh, I think we can do better than that,” she said as she shoved him to his back and, with their bodies still joined, sat upon his hips.

She was pulling at her clothes when he asked, “You lookin’ to show a man what you’re hintin’ at?”

“Was I hinting? Actually, I thought I was being exceptionally clear.”

Jeb grinned, a flash of white against black, whiskers, his dark eyes twinkling with pleasure as he watched her throw her dress and chemise over her head to drape over the bed frame. Next, the pins that held her hair in a knot behind her head were dropped to her nightstand and a dark cloud of silk floated to her waist.

“I have to move.”

“Damn,” he grunted as he watched her come to her knees and roll her stockings down each leg.

She was reaching for a shoe behind her, half turned from him, when she came to a sudden stop and asked very softly, “Where are my drawers?” When he didn’t immediately respond, she snapped, “Oh my God! Did you leave them on the kitchen floor?”

Heat Wave was released June 14, 2010 By Resplendence Publishing.

Buy it at

Friday, 23 July 2010

It’s Who I Am

If you follow my tweets, you’ll know that earlier this week I bought my son his first club football shirt. Not his first football shirt – I bought him an England shirt during the world cup – but his first replica shirt of a club team. That team being my team, Wolves.

Okay, okay, I know. Child cruelty, right? I’m setting him on the path of a lifetime of anguish and suffering following this team and he’ll probably never forgive me, after all, I still haven’t forgiven my dad for doing it to me (not true, there’s nothing to forgive. Some of my greatest memories are from games I’ve been to with my dad) – but this post isn’t about the importance of a son following the same team as his father. It isn’t about the unique feeling that comes with loyally following one team your whole life that you can’t truly understand unless you’ve sat in the stadium in the good times and the bad experiencing the same emotions as thirty-thousand other people.

It isn’t even about the joy and pride with which he worn his shirt to nursery and showed off his name on the back of the shirt. No, it’s about the name I’ve had put on the back of MY shirt.

As you can see, my shirt reads “Papa”. I’ve shown this photo to the girls at work, and those with kids smiled and went “Ahh, sweet.” But the twenty-two year old without kids called it “Cheesy”. Which I can understand. You see, you don’t know what kids do to you, and can’t understand, until you have them.

They say if you’re going to put you own name on the back of your shirt (as opposed to one of the team’s star’s names) then it must be your true identity. It must be who you are. So guys might put their nickname on the back – the one all their football loving mates use. Ten years ago, mine might have read “Knobbie”.

So is it any surprise my shirt today reads “Papa”? Because that’s who I am now. I’m not Marc anymore. I’m not Knobbie, or any of the other nicknames I’ve gone by in the past. I’m Jr’s Papa. That’s my role in life right now. And far from wanting to change it – I want everyone to know it.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Silly Woman or Dirty Thieving Bastard?

I want to tell you a little story. It’s a true story, happened just this past week. I’m not going to use the real names of the people involved because that’s not my place, but the story is true. And I think it’s says an awful lot about the times we live in…

***Sarcasm mode on***

At a local secondary school, let’s call it Anonymous High, they have a policy in place for dealing with disruptive pupils – sorry, I mean, Challenging Young Learners – whereby those individuals causing the disruption can be removed from lessons and isolated. They are sent by the teacher, sorry, I mean Educational Professional, to, let’s call it Room X, where a Senior Educational Professional overseas the rebellious horde.

Good idea in principle, but the system relies on those pup… Young Learners being removed to make their own way to Room X. Given they are already in a rebellious mood, having caused the classroom disruption in the first place, this level of trust is perhaps somewhat misplaced. But anyway…

A few days ago, a member of the Educational Professional staff was having problems with a particular pu… Young Learner. Let’s call her Miss Naive and him Little Jonny. Miss Naive decided the best way to continue with her lesson was to send Little Jonny to Room X. But Little Jonny had other ideas. On his way to Room X – which was in a different part of the building – he stopped off at the staff room, which was unoccupied, found Miss Naive’s handbag, went through it and stole… sorry, borrowed, her mobile phone.

I’m sure he just wanted to scare her to get her back and had no evil intentions whatsoever. He probably just wanted to hide it and was going to give it back to her at the end of the day.


On browsing the contents of Miss Naive’s snazzy smartphone – as you do – Little Jonny found several photographs of her in compromising positions and in most of them she was less than fully clothed. Well, what do you expect a Precocious Young Learner to do? He MMSed the photos to all the people in her address book – which included family members including her children, most of the other Educational Professional staff members including several Senior Educational Professional staff and some of the parents of pup… Young Learners in her form group. He then made sure to send the photos to most of his friends and upped them to a photo sharing website for good measure.

All of which was perfectly reasonable since Little Jonny thought it best that everyone possible knew the sort of things Miss Naive got up to in her private life – he thought the school could do without that sort of pervert teaching there.

And he got his wish. Miss Naive didn’t return to school the next week – handing in her notice in a telephone conversation with the headtea…, er, Managing Educational Professional.

And what do you think happened to innocent Little Jonny? He was handed a four day exclusion. FOUR WHOLE DAYS! For exposing the nasty slut to the whole school and her family. The Managing Educational Professional said he couldn’t allow the other pupi… Young Learners to think it was okay not to go straight to Room X when sent or to go in the staff room without permission.

***Sarcasm mode off***

Okay, so I hammed it up a bit, but the bones of the story are indeed true. A pupil at this local school did indeed steal a mobile phone from the staff member who’d sent him to the isolation room from her lesson and did indeed find compromising photos of her on the phone which he distributed to everyone he could in all digital methods available to him.

And then the only punishment he got was a four day - yes, I did say four day - exclusion. In effect, his summer holidays have started a week early. While the staff member is now seeking employment opportunities elsewhere having come to the conclusion in a conversation with the headteacher that her position in the school was irrecoverably undermined.

Does anyone else see anything wrong with this picture, or is it just me?

Okay, so said teacher was foolish to keep those photos on her phone and equally foolish not to ensure that her phone was secure from prying eyes, but still… I just can’t help but think that the person who has ultimately been ‘punished’ here isn’t the pupil that stole the phone, but the victim of said theft. And that, I’m afraid, just ain’t right.

Monday, 19 July 2010

The Curse of the 'Real' World

Rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated. I know it's been a while since the blog has been updated, but truth is that I've been super, super busy both at work and at home. Something had to take a back seat and it was the blog. Normal service may be resumed soon, but I'm going away on holiday in August, so unless I can work like buggery to schedule some posts in advance, there'll be another two week hiatus then.

I've got two more guest posts scheduled for the end of July/start of August, and after that my calender is clear. That's deliberate in my part. The guests have been a great success, but they have also been a lot of work. So I'm taking a break from hosting with a view to putting a new call out for guests later this year.

I'm also working on a book trailer for "Eternally & Evermore" which will go up on YouTube when it's done. But, a lot like the blog, time has been limited and putting the thing together is a slow job.

I'm going to go and do some writing now. I hope.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Wednesday Words - “A Touch of Lily” by Nina Pierce

Atouchoflily_msr Today’s excerpt comes from Nina Pierce’s A Touch of Lily, which is published by Ellora’s Cave and is available now.

Here’s the blurb…

Ex-Chicago detective Lilly D’Angelo is part of a secret alien race living on earth. With a gentle caress she can elevate the sexual energy of any male. Apprehending criminals lost in an erotic fugue is almost too easy—until she uses her gift on the wrong alien. Kidnapped and shipped into deep space, Lilly barely escapes with her life. Now she travels the galaxy alone working as a bounty hunter and hoping to find a soul mate unaffected by her touch.

Agent Dallas Sawyer works for QAL—deep space’s version of the FBI. After a disastrous mission that left a president murdered, his team member executed, and Dallas near death, he’s determined to take down the assassin targeting government officials. When a sexy human female gets between him and his goal, Dallas and his alien partner find themselves on the receiving end of some wild sex and a proposition that may very well blow up in their faces.

Because in deep space … true love can happen with just a touch.

And here’s the excerpt…

Lilly D’Angelo could have been walking into any of the seedier establishments lining Forty-fifth and Wester on Chicago’s south side. Except for the clientele, the tavern’s owner had managed to replicate nearly every detail right down to the blue haze and the soft crooning of a jazz band on the corner stage. The acrid stench and gruff hum of a Friday night crowd tripped Lilly down memory lane—a place she had no desire to travel at the moment.

Lilly pushed the sour thoughts of home out of her mind and focused her energy on the patrons at the bar. Morphing her features into her sexiest vixen pout, she moved gracefully toward the long bar on the other side of the room. Her voluptuous breasts, spilling temptingly from her silk blouse, led the way. The eyes watching her ass sashay around the battered tables were clustered on various life forms—none of them human.

Yeah, definitely not Chicago. Shit, this wasn’t even Earth for chrissake.

“Regent’s ale, straight up, hold the brenic.” She spoke English, hoping the two-headed Xerick behind the bar had a cochlear translator in one of those eight holes that passed for ears. Satisfied when one head nodded, she settled on a stool, making sure her fur jacket and blouse parted enough to offer a seductive view of her cleavage. Lilly shifted just enough to let the black leather skirt ride up her thigh and expose a little more silky real estate. Surreptitiously checking her image in the mirrored glass behind the liquor bottles, she was pleased she looked every bit the part. She wasn’t trying to attract anyone in particular, perhaps something on the less offensive side that could offer her a bit of entertainment to help fritter away the next couple of hours.

Lilly wasn’t a xenophobic bigot by any stretch of the imagination. But six months in deep space, working these kinds of joints, wasn’t really long enough to become accustomed to the scenery. The Nebulae Galaxy’s spaceports overflowed with aliens of all sizes and genders. Only that wasn’t really a fair term here in deep space.

Alien inferred the life forms didn’t belong. On the contrary, it was humans who were invading their territory. The treaties of 2253, signed well over forty years ago, had guaranteed the safe travel of humans in deep space. After the snafu of ’34, which saw the first major space disaster since light travel had been discovered, humans had insisted on protection for their species. They’d formed some bullshit board of security, guaranteeing humans could run roughshod over the universe like everywhere else. Though most people referred to them as the QAL, Lilly nicknamed them the alphabet mafia. At one point she’d actually considered working for them until they’d discovered who she was—or more specifically what she was. It didn’t matter. They could all go fuck themselves if they didn’t appreciate her gifts. Lilly had found a way to use her talents and still bring down the bad guys.

Of course in deep space, bad was a relative term.

There was the kind of bad that got a person lost on the ice caps of Dallas Eight without a backup plan. Or the bad that forced someone to stow away in the engine room of a Drikspa alien tanker bound for unknown destinations, praying not to get caught. Or the bad that got a human female imprisoned as a sex slave on the mining colonies of Krystallos Three, hidden from even the long arm of the QAL. Lilly shivered at that one. Even her talents wouldn’t free her from that kind of torture.

She was just happy to be here on Garalon Five where bad meant nothing more than crossing paths with every brand of space pirate, ex-con or fugitive looking for a new start. As one of the more recent colonizations in the Nebulae Galaxy, the G-5 government turned their collective back on past offenses on other planets and allowed anyone to start a legitimate business. It’s what had brought her here.

Nina grew up in a house of readers. So falling in love with books was only natural. In her early teens she discovered love stories. And we’re not talking about the Judy Blume young adult stories. Nope, she cut her teeth on the queens, Danielle Steel and Nora Roberts.

Of course since then, she’s branched out to reading all kinds of genres from science fiction to mystery, medical thrillers to historicals and Nina has too many favorite authors to list. But through it all romance has remained her favorite genre. Now, reading about lovers isn't enough for her (though she still devours books). The characters of her imagination beg to have their stories told. Nina finally put fingers to keyboard... and a new career was launched.

A native of Maine, Nina resides in what she affectionately calls "the great white North" in potato country with my high school sweetheart and true love of thirty-four years, her three grown children and a menagerie of pets.

You can find all her books at And you if you want to follow her musings join her on facebook ( or twitter (

Monday, 5 July 2010

Ego-Search Turns up Unexpected Review

LOST & FOUND cover250 Come on, admit it, we all do it. Every now and then we do a Google ‘ego-search’. That is, we put our own name into Google (real or pen names) and see what turns up. For the most part, we authors should find our own websites/blogs/facebooks/twitters at the top if the list, but you never know what might be on the second, third or fourth pages.

And the recent changes to Google, where you can narrow the search down to categories like ‘blogs’, ‘shopping’ and ‘discussions’ make for even more interesting reading.

Earlier today I came across this post by Roni Gehlke on Romance Book Scene from May 2009. Yes, last year. It’s a review of Lost & Found and not one I’d seen before. Roni gave the book three stars out of five and made some complimentary comments. But she also made some comments that I’d take issue with. Let me explain why.

Now, don’t get me wrong, a reader’s opinion is a reader’s opinion and they are entitled to it. Hell, if we all had the same opinion it’d be a very, very dull world. But in this case, Roni has done something that it seems a number of readers do – project the opinions of one of the characters onto the author and assumed they are his opinions. Which is very rarely the case.

A good author should be able to ‘get inside the head’ of his characters and write them in such a way that that character’s views sound convincingly like a real person’s views – even if those views are the opposite of the author’s views. In the same way that I can imagine, and hopefully convincingly write, what it’s like to have sex in the back of a limousine or be held at gun point even though neither of these things have happened to me, I should be able to write views that are racist, homophobic, or something equally unpleasant, even though they are not my views.

To quote from the review…

The book itself is well written. There are some wonderful erotic scenes throughout the story and the two characters are developed very well. The main problem I had with the book is more a matter of personal taste.

I’m pleased that Roni thinks the book is well written, Beth and Chris well developed and that the erotic scenes are good. And I’m pleased that she has admitted that what follows is a matter of personal taste – not all reviewers would have the good grace to do that.


I like all genres of romance, but I don't believe that political agendas belong in romance. There was a scene in the book where I felt the author was just a little to preachy about the Iraq war.

First off, I don’t believe that Lost & Found does have a political agenda – at least that’s not how I wrote it. I used the Iraq War as a back drop to the story because it was contemporary and because it was dividing public opinion at the time. In retrospect, I should, perhaps, have invented a fictional war, but the war itself is not the point of conflict in the book. The point of conflict is the different views held by father and daughter about the son/brother and his reasons for joining the army in the first place.

The scene to which she is referring is one in which Chris and The Colonel (Beth’s father) have a confrontation while Beth is at work. It’s very tense. They are both very passionate. But that passion is because, in their own ways, they both care about Beth deeply. It comes out as an argument about the war, but read between the lines and you’ll see what it’s really about.

That said…

Chris’ views as he expresses them in the book are typical of the anti-war lobby here in the UK. They do argue that the war was more about oil than terrorism and they are pretty scathing in their opinions of George W. Bush. And Tony Blair, for that matter. But here’s the thing – Chris’ views and words do not reflect my views any more than The Colonel’s do.

For the record, I think that Bush and Blair both genuinely believed the reasons they gave for entering Iraq and removing Saddam Hussein from power at the time that they gave them and I wasn’t one of the millions that marched on Downing Street in protest. I think they both were led to believe by people they trusted that he was a genuine threat. I think it was a poorly executed war rather than an unnecessary one. The Iraq Enquiry currently taking place in the UK will shed light on its legality – so we’ll have to wait and see on that one.

But anyway…

Aside from Roni projecting a character’s views onto the author, there is something else that bothers me…

He was very insulting to our country and making a poorly chosen reference to our president.

Someone is a bit touchy, aren’t they? Okay, so I’ve admitted that perhaps I should have invented a fictional war – but if I’d have done that one has to ask if it would have had the same impact or indeed if it would have lessened the perceived political agenda (which wasn’t there anyway). But let’s face facts, no country is immune from criticism in fiction, and nor should they be. That’s the nature of free speech. And besides, I don’t think I did insult America. My treatment of The Colonel was pretty harsh, but he was the antagonist and it had to be that way. But look at my treatment of the funeral. Chris “had never seen anything like it” and was taken aback. That scene still stirs great emotion in me. I think it’s one of the best scenes I’ve ever written and I defy anyone to not put them self there, to hear Taps being played and to not feel the tears welling up.

My good friend and beta-reader is American - in fact, this book started out from an idea we kicked about together – and she didn’t feel insulted or that the country was insulted. I wonder, would Roni have felt I was insulting the country had I been American? Would she have reacted the same way? I can’t answer that.

There is a place for these kinds of storylines, I just don't happen to believe it is in a romance novel.

Okay. I have to say this. Who says there’s no place in romance for ‘controversial’ plot lines? Romance as a genre is not taken seriously by many critics and if that is to change then it can’t shy away from things like this. In my opinion, Romance is the ideal genre to tackle issues that make the reader think and examine and question their own views.  Otherwise what we end up with is a host of copycat books where only the names and settings change but the basics of everything else stay pretty much the same. Formulaic books. Books that fail to challenge.

Now, if that’s what some people want to write and some people want to read, that’s fine. All power to them. Me? I prefer the challenge. To challenge and to be challenged. But that’s just me.

Once again, I’d like to thank Roni for taking the time to publish her thoughts on my book. Let me clear, Roni’s review didn’t ‘upset me’. I respect her opinion. She acknowledged that the book was well written, the characters well developed and the love scenes erotic. And, at the end of the day, those three things are what I strive for. The rest, well, that’s personal taste and cause for debate. I if I can get people talking too, so much the better.

Monday Morning Flash - “Say it with Flowers”

It’s that time again. Is there a better way to start the week that with a little flash?


Say it with Flowers

Kevin had been in the pub with his mates since finishing work. “Another one, lads? My shout.”

He staggered up to the bar, winked at the busty barmaid and ordered more beers. She flashed him her stunning smile in return. His mobile phone rang. He looked at the screen before answering. “Hey, Sally.”

“Where the fuck are you, arsehole? It’s Valentine’s Day.”


“We were going for dinner. At Chico’s. The posh Italian place.”

“Fuck, yeah. Sorry. I forgot. I’ll be right round.”

“No point. We’ve missed the booking. No blow-jobs for you for at least a month.”

“I’ll come round anyway. Pick up a pizza and a DVD.”

“All right. But get a good film, nothing violent. And no bloody pineapple on the pizza.”


“And I’ll be expecting you to go down on me for at least an hour by way of apology.”

Kevin left the pub to calls of ‘pussy-whipped’. He stopped at the video store and rented a chick flick. At the pizza take-away, he ordered a chicken and mushroom special. His route to Sally’s took him past St. Gregory’s. There must have been a wedding earlier in the day, because a discarded flower arrangement lay in the church-yard. He checked no one was watching and then scooped up the bouquet. His beer-soaked brain told him Sally would be chuffed.

He was wrong.

After he’d given her the flowers, she went all cold-shouldered on him. “What’s wrong?”

“Don’t you know?”

Kevin shook his head. “Aren’t they nice flowers?”

“Oh, lovely. But you stole them?”

“How do you know?”

“Read the card.”

Kevin did. It read—Bye Mum. We’ll miss you.

Sally frowned. “How low can you get? Better make it two hours, don’t you think?”

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Wednesday Words - “Agent of Mercy” by Betty Ann Harris

Today’s excerpt is from Agent of Mercy by Betty Ann Harris. First, here’s the book trailer, followed by the excerpt.

AgentOfMercy Sam left the cottage again and walked in the direction of the hotel. The walkway skirted the beach and as Sam walked along he scanned the few scantily clad beach dwellers. His eyes were drawn to a woman’s figure as she stood at the water’s edge, her back to him. Her form was familiar, as was her hair as it flowed over her shoulders and billowed in the ocean breeze. It’s her.

Sam sat on a bench near the walkway with his newspaper in hand. With sunglasses on and wearing a hat, he could hide behind his newspaper if she walked in his direction and she’d think nothing of him, just another tourist. He watched her as she stood there. Suddenly, she turned to walk back to her beach chair. God, she’s gorgeous.

Sam was almost envious of Hunter, who would get close to her and make love to her. He couldn’t think about that. This is just a job.

Catherine sat down on her beach chair and removed her bikini top, taking in the sun. God help me. She glanced in his direction and he looked down into the newspaper. Sam was feeling a bit uncomfortable, the other beach dwellers had left and he and Catherine were the only two people in the area.

Sam got up to leave when his cell phone rang. The number of the incoming call was unfamiliar to him. He answered with caution. "Hello."

"Hello Sam, it’s me, Catherine."

Sam was dumbfounded, but quick thinking and calmly maneuvering out of dicey situations, were his trademarks.

"Well, well, you certainly played me for a fool, didn’t you?"

"It wasn’t my intention to play you at all. But I wasn’t sure I could trust you."

Sam, eager to find out if she intended now to be honest with him asked, "Where are you?"

"I’m not sure I can tell you that, yet."

"Then why are you calling me?"

"Because I… I miss you, Sam."

She ran her hand over her breast, as if she was imagining Sam touching her. As he watched her on the beach, topless, as she stroked her own breast, he asked her, "What are you doing?"

"You mean right now?"


"I’m thinking of you, touching me, your hands on me, gently stroking me."

Sam thought he’d go out of his mind, but restrained himself. "Well, perhaps if you tell me where you are, I could come to you and make your dreams come true. There’s no reason for you not to trust me. I want to be with you, Catherine. I don’t really care about the money, as long as we can be together. I don’t want your money, I want you."

"Sam, I care for you. You’re the only man I’ve ever really felt comfortable with. To be honest, I was afraid you were just trying to control me and if I had brought you with me, you might just use me. I was afraid of my feelings for you. In the past I’ve been hurt and used by men, including my own father. I’m sorry I thought the worst of you. Can you forgive me?"

Sam stood up from the bench he’d been sitting on. He felt as if he was being pulled apart, two men: one the FBI agent who would be responsible for bringing this woman down. A woman who had been abused by men and was only trying to start a new life for herself, albeit at the financial expense of Derek Simpson. The other man he was had sympathy for her, maybe a twinge of guilt. What actual proof was there that she was guilty of anything other than stealing money from extremely rich men? His whole body was screaming at him, his heart pounding, as his brain fought itself.

"Sam, are you still there?"

"Yes, I’m here."

"I’m in St. Croix at the Regency Escape Hotel.”

"I’ll be there tomorrow. What room are you in?"

"I’m staying in room 717. Please hurry. I need you, Sam."


Agent of Mercy is published by Red Rose and available now.


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