Sunlounger2Cover

Sunlounger short story competition

Do you fancy seeing your short story published alongside some of the hottest names in women’s fiction?

Do you write short stories but they stay hidden away on your computer where no one ever sees them?

Do you want to be a writer but never put pen to paper?

Now’s your chance to shine. 

This summer Sunlounger 2 is being released, a glitzy book emporium filled with sizzling, sexy, summery short stories set in the most beautiful locations of the world by some of the best names in women’s fiction, Belinda Jones, Tracy Bloom, Alexandra Potter, Milly Johnson, Hannah Beckerman, Lisa Dickenson and Rosie Blake,

And your story could be amongst its pages. 

Belinda Jones Travel Club is running a short story competition, if you win your story will be published in the anthology.  Can you imagine that?

Last year I won the competition with my short story One Hundred Proposals, this year my debut romance The Guestbook went to no.5 in the UK chart and no.27 in the US chart.

See what it felt like to win; http://theloveofagoodbook.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/my-book-moment-reality-from-within-the-pages/

So now it’s your turn.  Write a short summery story, set somewhere outside of the UK between 1000-3000 words and send it to sunloungerstories@gmail.com by May 7th.  That’s it.

It will be read by four brilliant,lovely judges and the winner will be announced on June 1st

Here are the rules/guidelines;

GUIDELINES for the SUNLOUNGER 2 short story submissions from the BELINDA JONES TRAVEL CLUB

Here is your chance to have your story published alongside 40 of the hottest names in Women’s Fiction!

1. SETTING

Your story needs to be set outside of the UK, somewhere summery. It doesn’t need to be exotic or glamorous, just abroad! We want to uphold the ‘Vacation for the Price of a Paperback’ tradition! Plus the setting should be a great source of inspiration for your story!

 

2. WORD COUNT

You have between 1-3,000 words to tell your story. That’s about 1-2 chapters of a typical women’s fiction book. Don’t worry if you’re a few words over. When I was a journalist, word counts were the bane of my life (which is probably why I moved into books!) so I won’t mind if your stories run a couple of hundred words long.

 

3. DEADLINE

May 7th 2014. But welcome sooner! Just email your story to us here at sunloungerstories@gmail.com

 

5. SUBMISSIONS

You can enter up to 3 stories in the SUNLOUNGER contest.

 

6. ORIGINALITY

It goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) that your stories need to be your own special creation! All your own work and not published elsewhere.

 

7. STYLE

From the names on the list of contributing authors (see www.va-va-vacation.com/ authors-by-name) you will have an idea of the genre we’re working with. Chick lit is one term. Romantic Comedy another. Also Contemporary Women’s Fiction! Either way, we want the story to be told with your own unique ‘voice’ or signature style. You can write first or third person, your choice. Just be true to you! (And if you are a man submitting a story, it’s fine for the main character to be male!)

 

8. FORM

If you can send us your story as a Word file attached to your email great! If not just paste onto the email itself and we’ll copy and paste it across.

Obviously writing short stories is very different to novels. You really don’t have any room for wasted words so keep editing and polishing until it gleams!

 

9. RIGHTS

We’ll spell out the Rights in more legal terms but the gist is this: if your story is chosen for the anthology we want to be able to publicise and promote it as part of the collection worldwide. So we will retain the rights for that purpose for the duration of the book and you will get more exposure and opportunities than you ever dreamed of – sound like a good deal?

 

10. WINNERS

Winners will be announced by June 1st 2014. And ideally we would like you to be available for publicity around the book’s launch on June 21st 2014. This is your chance to shine!

 

That’s all for now! Any further questions, just drop us a line!

 

May the muse be with you!

Belinda xx

SUNLOUNGER website - www.va-va-vacation.com

@belindatravels

FB: Belinda Jones Travel Club

Go on, what are you waiting for!!!

Waiting For Prince Harry by Aven Ellis

waitingforprinceharry400x600[1]I have to be honest here and say, I have been putting off writing this review.  Because If I was to write this review from the heart I was only going to come out looking bad.  I have heard people say how they have fallen in love with book characters before and I’ve nodded and thought ‘yes, he’s lovely,’ or ‘Yes, I’d love to meet my own William, Aidan, Oliver, Jacques, Max one day.’ But I have never before fallen completely head over heels in love with a character as I fell in love with Harrison Flynn.  Days after finishing this book, I was still thinking about him, I actually missed him, I wanted to be with him, I would lie in bed at night thinking about him.  Meeting Harrison hit me hard and its a crush that I’m only just starting to get over now.

I can see some of you reading this thinking, ‘Calm down Holly, it’s only a silly book character.’ But Harrison was so much more than that. What Aven did with Harrison was create a man so real, so tangible, I felt like I had actually met him and fallen in love with him in real life.  I don’t even know what it was about him that struck this chord in me.  Was it the respectful way he touched his cap when he spoke to women? Was it his fierce protectiveness over Kylie? Was it his height – I do love big men, the colour of his eyes or his hair? Was it that he was 100% a good guy? Was it his playfulness, the way he kissed Kylie so passionately the first time they kissed. I honestly can’t say.  Maybe it was all those things.

The story itself sees Kylie – very organised, very tidy who has rules and a life plan - land quite literally in the lap of Harrison Flynn, who has no plan, is messy, and lives permanently in the now.  Their worlds collide and the chemistry between them is smoking hot.  But Harrison Flynn is not just a guy she met in a bar, he is captain of the Dallas Demons, the state Ice Hockey Team.  He is a celebrity with a huge adoring fan club and a constant media following. How does Kylie cope when the spotlight is turned on her, when their every movement, every detail of their relationship is recorded for prosperity and scrutinised in papers, on TV and on social media.  Is their relationship strong enough to endure this kind of intrusion.

I loved Kylie, she was great, I loved that she has these dreams of the future and I love how Harrison helps her to make these dreams come true now.  They are both so good for each other and I love the people they become when they grow with each other.  The humour in this is great too, the banter between them is just flawless.

The other characters in this were brilliant too, Kylie’s family, her protective brother, her work colleagues, the characters are so real, so well drawn, I can see them clearly in my head.

I was completely riveted by this book, utterly hooked from the second I picked it up until it was over.  I literally did not move until I had finished it.  Aven has a beautiful skill of creating characters we fall in love with and a story we truly care about.  I cannot recommend this book any higher.  It quite literally is one of the best books I’ve read.

Waiting for Prince Harry is published on April 2nd and I cannot wait for you to read this book and fall in love with Harrison like I have. At least then I won’t be alone in my infatuation for him.

A well deserved 5 stars.

You can purchase Waiting For Prince Harry here on Amazon UK

You can purchase Waiting For Prince Harry here on Amazon.com

Win £50!!!

I wanted to do something to thank everyone who helped promote The Guestbook with all their Tweets and Retweets, it really means so much.  And whilst I can’t thank you all, I can give one big thank you to one lucky winner. For your chance to win £50 amazon vouchers it couldn’t be simpler.

Choose one of the tweets below, copy it, paste it, tweet it and you will be automatically entered into a draw to win £50 Amazon Vouchers. (Open internationally)

If you tweet all 14 tweets then you will be entered 14 times.  Enter as many times as you like.

The draw will be open for 72 hours closing on midnight on Sunday 23rd March (UK time) so feel free to enter as many times as you want until then.

Here are the Tweets taken from the wonderful reviews some of you have been kind enough to give.  Good Luck.

“Captivating,romantic,laugh-out-loud funny,effortless & unputdownable! EVERYONE SHOULD BUY THIS BOOK” @HollyMartin00 http://amzn.to/1etluti

*

“The Guestbook is splendid, beautiful & magical and it will leave you with such a smile on your face!” @HollyMartin00 http://amzn.to/1etluti

*

“Holly Martin writes about life and love with such big-hearted warmth and flair” #TheGuestbook @HollyMartin00 http://amzn.to/1etluti

*

“Superb,awesome,fantastic,amazing,loved it.Holly Martin writes with such affection for her characters” @HollyMartin00 http://amzn.to/1etluti

*

“Wow! I loved this book so much! Impossible not to fall in love with all the guests of Willow Cottage” @HollyMartin00 http://amzn.to/1etluti

*

“A beautiful heartwarming story,perfect mix of romance,heartbreak & happiness.I loved loved loved it” @HollyMartin00 http://amzn.to/1etluti

*

“The Guestbook is BRILLIANT,I’ve never read anything like it before” “An amazing novel,so refreshing” @HollyMartin00 http://amzn.to/1etluti

*

“Wow what a brilliant book.I seriously loved it. It made me laugh and cry.I can’t recommend it enough” @HollyMartin00 http://amzn.to/1etluti

*

“The Guestbook was honestly,100% one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read,I devoured it” @HollyMartin00 http://amzn.to/1etluti

*

“It was such a clever, enchanting way to progress the character’s lives. I really was absorbed” @HollyMartin00 http://amzn.to/1etluti

*

“With romance&love throughout,TheGuestbook leaves it mark on your heart.Wonderfully Unique.Buy it now” @HollyMartin00 http://amzn.to/1etluti

*

“A beautifully clever book exploring the complexities of human relationships” The Guestbook @HollyMartin00 http://amzn.to/1etluti

*

“The Guestbook is an original,extremely funny & wonderfully romantic read. I was utterly riveted” @HollyMartin00 http://amzn.to/1etluti

*

“Finally something new and exciting in romantic fiction. Funny, original and riveting.” The Guestbook @HollyMartin00 http://amzn.to/1etluti

 

Guest post with Rebecca Raisin

I recently read Christmas at The Gingerbread Café by Rebecca Raisin (Read my review at the bottom of this piece) and I just loved it so much, so I was delighted to hear there would be a sequel

9781472094711_Cover-300x480Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Café will be out tomorrow.

Today, I have Rebecca on my blog and we’re talking food, chocolate and love, what could be better?

I loved Christmas at The Gingerbread Cafe, was it always going to be part of a series?

Thank you for reading it! No, it was never planned as a series! However as soon as it was released I had people emailing, or facebooking me asking if there would be a sequel. Kate Beeden, a writer and book blogger, asked me first, and immediately I knew I wanted to write a follow-up. I missed the characters, and if people were interested in a second book, I was eager to write one. I asked my editor what she thought of the idea, and she said she’d hoped I would write one too, so the decision was made! There will be a third and final book at Christmas time too.

I love that in book 2 we get to follow Lily and Damon after the Happy Ever After. What can we expect from the second book in the series for our gorgeous couple?

There’s a few ups and downs for Lil and Damon in the Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Café. Like any relationship, especially when the couple have both been previously married, there’s going to be some baggage – is their love tough enough to handle it?

Why did you want to write a story set around a cafe?

I love writing about food, and the joy of cooking and entertaining. Our family are all ‘foodies’ and love nothing more than spending time together in the kitchen, and trying new cuisines. So food always seems to creep into my stories. I do have one small confession though, I am a terrible baker, I cannot seem to make sweets! Instead I pretend I’m an expert at them though Lil and CeeCee at the Gingerbread Café!

How do you celebrate Easter?

We have the usual egg hunt on Sunday morning, and my kids get a few eggs, but mainly books! This year I am going to attempt making my own Easter eggs, which look fairly simple. I mean, how hard can they be? (I see disaster written all over it) And we are going to dye eggs, to make garlands. We celebrate with our family over lots of delicious food!

Quick fire questions

Favourite cake?

We’ve made this delicious cake before, it’s a hazelnut meringue torte with chocolate and cinnamon mousse – it’s like heaven itself! Here is a recipe, I tell you, it’s impossible to stop at one slice!

Favourite pudding? – crème caramel

Favourite hot drink? – boring, but I have to say coffee! I need it to function!

Do you have any chocolate recipes you can share with us?

At the chocolate festival Lil and CeeCee make dark chocolate soufflés to order. I’m sharing a Donna Hay recipe today, she’s an Australian chef and food stylist, and I find her recipes always work! Always! This sounds tricky but it is really worth it. Well, I say that, I actually bought the ingredients and let hubby make it. He’s much better at baking than me!

http://www.donnahay.com.au/recipes/chocolate-souffles-with-chocolate-sauce

Let me know if you make it! And I’ll be sure to come back and let you know how the Easter egg attempts go!

Thank you for having me on your blog, Holly!

 You can pre-order Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Café here                       

Amazon US http://amzn.to/OFCjw3

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1fKsW7z

iTunes https://itun.es/au/RXigX.l

KOBO http://bit.ly/1dZoayZ

Google play http://bit.ly/1gPMtlb

Find Rebecca here:

https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaRaisinAuthor

http://rebeccaraisin.wordpress.com

www.twitter.com/jaxandwillsmum

http://www.pinterest.com/rebeccaraisin/chocolate-dreams-at-the-gingerbread-cafe/

Christmas at the Gingerbread Cafe coverHere is my review of Christmas at The Gingerbread Café

The story follows Lily, owner of The Gingerbread Café and a turf war with the gorgeous, charming Damon in the cute little town of Ashford.  As they try to outdo each other with promotions, costumes, discounts or a winning smile, the chemistry between them grows too.

I loved this story so much, I was hooked from the very first page. Despite that the daffodils have started to grow and the sun was shining brightly when I read this, it was still a delightful story to cosy up to.

Lily was just a lovely character, feisty too but someone you could have a chat with over a glass of mulled wine or a mug of gingerbread coffee, she was an absolute pleasure to get to know. But I absolutely loved CeeCee, her protectiveness of Lily and her straightforward no nonsense attitude. Their friendship is gorgeous; real, warm and their banter is just flawless.

The café shines out as this heart of the community place; warm, welcoming, cosy and I loved the Christmassy feel that just seemed to sparkle off the pages.

The descriptions of the food were vivid and delicious and I couldn’t help wanting to try my hand at my own Ginger Snap Pear Cheesecake.  I could almost smell the delicious foods being created in this café.

Christmas at the Gingerbread café is a cosy, gorgeous, gooey, soft centred romantic read that will warm your heart at any time of year.

If this has whet your appetite, you can buy it here http://amzn.to/PN0Wr0

How to Get a (Love) Life by Rosie Blake

I first came across Rosie’s work in her Icelandic themed short story in Sunlounger last year.  The characters were sweet and the story was really funny. I had the pleasure of meeting her a few weeks later at the Sunlounger launch party and she was as warm, funny and friendly as I hoped she would be.  We’ve sort of stayed in touch ever since through Twitter and I was so delighted for her when she got the publishing deal with Novelicious last year.  I’ve been looking forward to her first novel for months and it didn’t disappoint.

rosieHow to Get a (Love) Life is the story of Nicola Brown – very organised, tidy, plays life by her own very strict rules, doesn’t take risks.  That is until her colleague Caroline gets involved.  Exasperated by the limits Nicola sets on her own life, Caroline dares her to ‘get a life, a love life’ going on as many dates as possible in order to find true love by Valentine’s Day.

The story follows Nicola as she goes on bad date after bad date.  This girl really has some bad luck when it comes to men but although I felt sorry for her that nothing seemed to be going right I laughed out loud on many occasions, snorting and crying with laughter at some of the weird men she met and her disastrous dates.  Rosie’s infectious writing and hilarious anecdotes made me want to keep reading, rooting for Nicola right through to the end.

I warmed to Nicola straight away, although she was a rule follower and ran away from risks, I still really liked her.  She was warm, sweet and kind.  I also loved the other supporting characters, the floopy Caroline, her brilliant brother Mark and her boss James.  Even the men Nicola dated were painted so vividly that you could easily picture them, I loved them all so much.

I loved watching Nicola grow as she realised how much she had been holding herself back, I love the spontaneous person that she became and the ending just made me smile and sigh with happiness.

How to Get a (Love) Life is a fresh, funny, riveting read and I can’t wait for Rosie’s next book

You can buy the book here, http://amzn.to/1g1l8jF

You can follow Rosie on Twitter @RosieBBooks

My Writing Process

I’ve been invited to take place in the ‘My Writing Process’ blog tour by Elle Field. Elle is the lovely author of the brilliant chick-lit books Geli Voyante’s Hot or Not and Kept.  You can find out more about Elle and her books on her blog here;  http://ellefield.blogspot.co.uk/

I’ve been following this Writing Process blog tour for the past few weeks and it’s been really interesting seeing other people’s answers.

So here are mine;

What am I working on?

So many things at the moment; book 2 of The Sentinel series, The Prophecies which I’m hoping will be finished and published sometime in April.  My next romance story One Hundred Proposals which I’m hoping should be out in the summer and my Sunlounger 2 short story.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write about love and all its quirks but I set them around slightly different situations, thing that are a bit unexpected.  There are a lot of books out there about people that inherit cake/sweet shops and set about making them a success and these books always do very well and I enjoy them too.  But I try to give my characters slightly unusual occupations.  One of my characters is an erotic fiction writer, one dresses up as a penis to try to promote awareness of testicular cancer, one of my characters arranges proposals, another is a chainsaw carver.  And I think its these lightly different journeys through life that people will enjoy.

Why do I write what I do?

I love writing chick-lit, the lighter side of romance, I love writing about all the things that can and invariably do go wrong whilst searching for true love.  I love writing things that make people laugh but most importantly for me is a rose tinted happy ending.

How does my writing process work?

I write in what some would call a quilted fashion, I think that’s the term.  I write scenes, random scenes or random conversations and slowly start to stitch these scenes together.  I rarely struggle with something like writer’s block because if I’m having trouble with one scene, I’ll leave it and write a completely different scene then when I eventually come back to the scene I was having trouble with I have a better idea of how to finish it because I know how things will play out later on in the book.  Once the book is stitched together I will then read all the way through once checking my stitching makes sense and rejigging here and there.  My mum will probably read it at this stage too.  I will then leave the book to rest for a week or two and do other projects.  When I come back to it I then have fresh eyes and can not only see mistakes but holes where the plot falls down too.  I’ll fix these and probably read through 2 or 3 more times before I then send it to my editor.  She will invariably have her own queries and suggestions.

As part of this blog tour I’m supposed to nominate three other authors who will talk about their writing process next week.  As this tour has been running for several weeks I have found it really difficult to find authors who haven’t already been nominated or have the time to do it.  I will not let this blog stop with me, however.  I will find these elusive authors and I will nominate them here in the next few days.

 

Cover Reveal of ‘Waiting For Prince Harry’

I’m so excited to be part of this cover reveal for Aven Ellis’s new book ‘Waiting for Prince Harry.’  Aven has a gift for writing beautiful love stories, filled with great characters and fantastic humour.  I love her writing so much.  Connectivity, her debut novel, was just gorgeous and I read the whole thing in one sitting.  It was, without doubt, one of the best chick lit books I read last year.  I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of her Beta team for one of her forthcoming novels and again that same brilliant quality just shines through, so I cannot wait to read ‘Waiting for Prince Harry’ as I know I’ll love it just as much.  So without further ado, here is the gorgeous cover.

waitingforprinceharry400x600[1]

And here is the blurb:

Twenty-four-year-old Kylie Reed has always been a rule follower. Organized and cautious to a fault, her dreams for life are often filed away for future use—when she has a house, when she meets her future husband, when she has been at her visual display job at a chic Dallas boutique longer…Kylie always has a reason for living her life in the future, not in the present, and not living her life to the fullest and reaching her dream of becoming a fashion designer. 

The only exception to rules, of course, would be running away with Prince Harry—Kylie’s ideal man. A hot, fun ginger boy would be worth breaking all the rules for, of course.  And Kylie is sure Harry just needs the right, centering woman to settle him down.  But living in Dallas and not knowing Prince Harry make this a non-option.

Or does it?

Because when Kylie accidentally falls into the lap of a gorgeous ginger boy—yes, even more gorgeous than the real Prince Harry—all bets are off. Could this stranger be the one to show Kylie how to take a chance, to face her fears, and live in the present?  And could this stranger be the Prince Harry she has been waiting for? Kylie’s life takes some unexpected twists and turns thanks to this chance encounter, and she knows her life will never be the same because of it…

 Hurry up Aven and release this please, I can’t wait to be absorbed into your beautiful stories once more.