Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Summer Novella on Pre-order!

I'm delighted to reveal the cover for my new sweet novella, Venetian Interlude! It is now available to pre-order from Amazon at the special price of 99p (99c) until just after its release on 1st June.

Venice is one of my absolute favourite places and I've been wanting to set a story there for ages. I have so many photos that remind me of its fascination to so many people and I'm grateful that I've visited a few times, including actually staying there for five days.

Here's the blurb for anyone who might be interested in this book!

Olivia (Livy) arrives in Venice from Scotland for a short break before picking up a cruise. The last person she expects to meet is Sebastian, the handsome half Italian, half Scottish guy she first met and fell for at university before their worlds diverged. After a gap of several years, they had met for the second time three years ago at a friend's wedding before parting again.
Now, Livy is still single, Seb is even more appealing and apparently unattached, and both are happy to renew their long friendship. But their unexpected meeting in Venice convinces Livy he is the only man she cannot forget. Will it be third time lucky for any kind of future together? Or will their lives diverge again after their Venetian interlude?
Launch Party

Please join me for the launch party for Venetian Interlude on Friday 1st June which will officially be on Facebook, although I'll post some of the photos and so on here as well. I'm hoping everyone will get involved, posting photos or entering the fun competitions.

Meanwhile, grab the chance to pre-order the book from Amazon from today before the price goes up! You won't be charged until it drops onto your kindle on 1st June.

Amazon UK; Amazon US and also available from Amazon worldwide.

Look out for my newsletter in the next day or two.


Saturday, 19 May 2018

New Sunday Snippet

Regency Wedding Dresses

This week for my Sunday Snippet, I’ve chosen a short section from what was my first published novel, Dangerous Deceit. Set in the Regency of 1813, I was reminded of it by the Royal Wedding today as some of it takes place in the town of Windsor!

Here’s the blurb:

Lydia Hetherington is uninterested in society balls or marriage, until her brother's friend, Lord Marcus Sheldon, rides into her life to unseat her from her horse and unsettle her heart.

An undercover spy for the government, Sheldon is equally unsettled by Lydia.

Complicated by a French spy, her friend's unrequited love for Lydia's brother, James, and a traitorous villain, Lydia gradually finds her emotions stirred by Lord Sheldon. But what is his relationship with the beautiful Lady Smythe and his part in an old scandal?


Lydia swung round, expecting to see Agnes after all, only to find Lord Sheldon surveying her with what looked like admiration tinged with concern. She grabbed the discarded dress and held it in front of her, feeling the hot flush creep up her neck and face.

“Oh, I do apologise, Miss Hetherington.” The deep voice sounded less apologetic than Lydia would have liked. “I was certain this was the room I was directed towards. Pray forgive me.”

Lydia forgot her blushes as she saw the amusement in his eyes and was determined to remain unconcerned. “Think nothing of it, my lord. I am used to strange men bursting into my room uninvited. Did not James bring you up?”

You can read lots of snippets from other authors in a variety of genres on Weekend Writing Warriors.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Writers and Afternoon Tea

I missed the Sunday Snippet this week as I was too busy out enjoying myself! On Saturday, members of the Scottish Chapter of the RNA (Romantic Novelists' Association) had one of our occasional meetings in real life, rather than only interacting on our Facebook group.

This time, it was a lovely Afternoon Tea at the Scotsman Hotel in Edinburgh. As well as a delicious array of sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, a tiny trifle, and yummy cakes, it was great to catch up with old friends and to meet a few new members. We all appreciated the beautiful marble staircase in the hotel as well as the exclusive use of the drawing room.

It's such a valuable way to keep in touch with other romance writers and to share knowledge and information. I probably won't get to the main conference this summer so this is another reason why the regional chapters are a good idea. We're so spread out from the south to north of Scotland that it's more difficult to arrange our meetings but all the more worthwhile when we do get together!

Now trying to get my new novella finished, edited, and available for pre-order. Watch this space...


Sunday, 6 May 2018

Weekend Writing Warriors Sunday Snippet

It’s Weekend Writing Warriors Sunday snippet again – don’t forget to check out the other lovely authors on the website!

Welcome to my blog. I’ve been posting snippets from my Scottish dual timeline novel, The Highland Lass. The first was from a historical chapter where Highland Mary becomes aware of Robert Burns. The second snippet was from the first chapter of the contemporary section when Eilidh meets Lewis Grant.

This week, I’m offering another little snippet from both periods of the novel. In the first, Mary Campbell (Highland Mary) has now received the attention of the poet. In the contemporary snippet, Eilidh Campbell has thawed towards her handsome travelling companion.



His speech is not as rough as the other lads and I remember he is a man of some education as well as being a farmer. He is determined to have me answer him. I look up, into eyes that are mischievous with laughter, and possibly admiration. What maid could resist attention from such a man?


She noticed his deep blue eyes and slightly greying black hair that betrayed his Celtic heritage, as well as his vaguely unshaven look, relaxed manner and seeming good humour. She smiled despite herself.

“Thanks, it’s kind of you to care.” This time she was rewarded by a devastating lopsided smile.

“Lewis Grant. Pleased to meet you.”

I’m featured on Nancy Jardine’s blog this week if you want to find out more about the historical background to The Highland Lass!


Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Writing Away from the Desk

As many of you know, I love writing with pen and paper whether in cafes or on trains. Fortunately, I travel by train into either Glasgow or Edinburgh quite regularly and I was struck again at how many words get written this way.

It surely must be something to do with being away from the desk and computer. On one forty minute journey I was amazed to find I'd written nearly a thousand words when I came to type them up. Perhaps it's the only way I ever get anything finished!

The current work in process, a novella set in Venice, has mainly been written while out and about, although I need to finish it and then add all the finer details. This time, I'm aiming to write it all the way through before worrying about filling in the blank spaces, which ensures I complete it without any more procrastination.

Meanwhile, I've had one poem published in a lovely little print journal (and been paid for it), an article will be published on a university website later this month, a short story will be broadcast on a talking newspaper for the blind, and another Scottish historical article has been accepted for The Highlander magazine in the USA. All encouragement to keep writing.

The photo of the steam train is because I love those most of all!


Sunday, 29 April 2018

Snippet Sunday

I enjoyed taking part in my first Snippet Sunday last week so I’m offering another this week! I forgot to give the blurb for my dual-timeline novel, The Highland Lass, so have put it below.

Eilidh Campbell returns to her Scottish roots from America with one main aim: to discover the identity of her father. But her mother’s past in Inverclyde is a mystery with family secrets, a book of Robert Burns’ poems with a hidden letter, and a photograph link to the Holy Loch at Dunoon when the American Navy were in residence.

Staying with her childhood friend, Kirsty, while searching for answers, Eilidh begins to fall in love with handsome Scot Lewis Grant, but just how free is he? Together they trace the story of Highland Mary and Robert Burns, with its echoes to her mother’s story.

In short alternate chapters, Highland Mary tells her own story from 1785-6. From Dunoon to Ayrshire and culminating in Greenock, Eilidh finds the past is closer than she realises.

Snippet #2 is from the first contemporary chapter when Eilidh is on the transatlantic plane to Scotland where she meets handsome Scot Lewis Grant:

 “You do know we’re in the air now, don’t you?”
Hearing the amused, rich Scottish tone, Eilidh frowned and opened her eyes. She hadn’t paid much attention to her travelling companions, apart from a cursory glance to acknowledge they existed as she’d been too busy worrying about take-off. She glared at the owner of the voice, indignant at her thoughts being interrupted. For all he knew she might have been in a deep sleep.
“Yeah, thanks, I was quite aware of that.”
He had the cheek to grin. “That’s fine then. I could see you obviously didn’t like the take-off and I wanted to reassure you.”

Check out the other authors on the Weekend Writing Warriors website or the FB group.


Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Computer Problems

For the past few months I've been having computer problems - not what a writer with loads of work and hundreds of photographs wants to deal with! The worst of it is, the desktop computer itself is under a year old though fortunately still under guarantee.

After the ongoing saga of a new motherboard and several hours on the phone while Microsoft tried and eventually managed to fix the subsequent Windows problem (phone call at their expense), it broke down again.

Today, after the company where we bought it intervened, we've been told it will be taken back and our money refunded. Hurrah! Although I'm currently using husband's old reconditioned laptop, I need to decide on a new one for myself to keep this laptop as a back-up.

So... do you have any suggestions as to what make of computer you're happy with, whether desktop or laptop? I realise we might have been unlucky with this new one but I'll be more careful what we buy this time.

Any advice will be gratefully received, even if we end up with something completely different!


P.S I'm purposely not naming supplier or computer make on here, except to say it's not a Mac.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Snippet Sunday Post

I recently joined the Facebook group, #snippetsunday, but this is the first time I've actually posted a snippet from one of my books to take part! A good idea as we might find some new authors (to us) amongst those posting.

I'm going to post a snippet from The Highland Lass over the next few weeks as the rights have now reverted to me and it has always been the 'book of my heart'. As it's a dual-time story, I'll post a snippet from one of the historical chapters from 1785 today.

>Risking another glance, I see he has turned away to look at the preacher. His dark hair is smooth and curls in below his neck, his profile is strong. He is smart in jacket and neckerchief and he has not the air of a farmer. Just as I remember I’m still staring, he looks up and our eyes meet again. This time I smile shyly and briefly before returning to my open Bible. He must not think I admire him too well. I’ll not become one of the silly lasses who cast longing glances at him in the hope he will dally with them. I have too much pride for such behaviour. However, I cannot help one final glance as we stand to end the service. He smiles and my heart tells me it is too late. But I still do not realise that this man, Robert Burns, will have anything to do with my destiny.<

You can find other authors snippets on the Snippet Facebook group.


P.S. Happy Earth Day!

Friday, 13 April 2018

Finding a 'Lost' Mary Stewart Book

Like many other modern romance writers, I adored the romantic suspense novels of Mary Stewart. I no sooner finished one than I was desperate to read the next. As well as being mysteries set in interesting locations, the titles always grabbed my attention: Airs Above the Ground, Nine Coaches Waiting, Wildfire at Midnight, The Gabriel Hounds, to name a few.

I was therefore delighted to discover by accident what is seemingly one of Stewart's 'lost' books while browsing in my favourite independent bookshop. The Wind off the Small Isles is a small, very short book and the story is set on the island of Lanzarote. Apart from being written by one of my all-time favourite authors, the hard cover is so pretty I would have bought it anyway!

I'm sure I'm not alone in wondering if an author has stood the test of time and I was a little apprehensive about reading this, especially since it's little more than a fairly short novella. However, I didn't put it off for long and as soon as I started reading it, I was strangely transported back to my late teenage years when this type of book was my most relaxing escape from everyday life.

Yes, it's a bit too short which gives it less depth and makes the hint of romance less believable, but the author still had the power to take me to another place and involve me in the characters' lives for a couple of days. Moreover, she also managed to add in a little mystery and danger that is such a feature of her novels. I think this is a little book I'll treasure as a special, unexpected treat.

Did you read Mary Stewart?


Wednesday, 28 March 2018

SAW Weekend Writers Conference

Once again, I had a fabulous time at the annual Scottish Association of Writers weekend conference. It helps that it is held in a lovely hotel where the food is plentiful, including the cute little glasses of juice along with the tea, coffee, cakes and pastries at the mid morning and afternoon breaks!

In addition to meeting up with old friends and new from all over Scotland, the speakers and workshops provided much inspiration for all aspects and genres of writing. The highlight of the weekend had to the after-dinner talk from the amazing Simon Brett who had us all in absolute stitches. He's also the acclaimed author of around 100 books and delivered an interesting workshop in the afternoon!

I only entered one of the various competitions this year and was delighted to take home a Highly Commended certificate for my article, Frankenstein and the Modern Prometheus, in the General Article Competition. I had been keen to write this piece and hoped for written feedback (which is given to all entrants) so this was a bonus.

As well as meeting up with some old friends from my previous writing group, I was especially pleased that my dear friend Catriona came along for the first time now that she's writing fiction. It's such a friendly conference that everyone is soon part of the SAW family. Roll on next year!