Tuesday, 2 September 2014

September Freebie!

August was an amazing month - my Summer Flings Series really kicked off with a bang. Thank you so much to everyone who has bought and reviewed each of the stories!

Right now in the UK, the first book in the Summer Flings Series, Trouble in Tinseltown, is FREE for a limited time.

Grab your copy here: Google Play / Amazon UK / Kobo

"The perfect, girly summer read" Reviewed the Book

"Action packed and fun" Shaun the Book Addict

"I was ready to jump in their luggage after enjoying the pool and the party, eager to see what happens at the next destination of their adventure" Jane Hunt


"Recommended for those times you just want to read something quickly, for fun and smiles." Bestselling author, Carmel Harrington

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Is Erotic Romance nothing more than mummy porn?

Following on from a lovely post by Meg, which tackles the taboo subject of admitting you read *gasp* romance, I thought I’d address a similar issue.



I’m not a mummy. I read erotic romance. See, didn’t even blush admitting that.

Plus all of my friends and most of my colleagues have jumped on the ‘what to read after Fifty Shades of Grey’ bandwagon. Makes coffee time at the solicitor’s office quite interesting.

Most of us are in our late 20’s, we don’t just want explicit scenes on every page, but we want twisty emotional stories that break the mould. Don’t get me wrong, I have my favourite authors and still read across genres but I always pick up the latest erotic romance.

Why?

Because they shock me. They make me feel (and no, I’m not talking about the smexy stuff). Well done, they’re not just about the sex although that may be what sells them. I can relate to them. If an author writes contemporary and resonates with me while giving me an addictive story that makes my jaw drop, then I’ll auto-buy that authors book and recommend her/him to everyone I know.   

So what brought this post on? Two things.

One. I was at a party recently with a wide gap between the youngest and oldest partygoer. My friend, the host, is my age and reads anything and everything romance. We were chatting about my next book which stirred some teasing from the some people there, both older and younger. My friend is lovely. She is one of my biggest fans and is very open in all aspects of her life. Her answer to their jibes was to ask what their problem was with reading emotionally packed stories. She then went on to say that sex is used to sell most things, from toothpaste to cars so why not books? It’s brought in a helluva readership. Those teasers had no reply.

Two. My first ever erotic romance is going to be released very soon from Harper Impulse. It’s the beginning of a trilogy, following three best friends and the sexy men who show them how fun life can really be. I’ve been embarrassed about using my real name for these, as they are hotter than anything I’ve ever attempted, but then I thought why? They fit my voice, they’re fun, flirty and steamy – everything my other books are. Just have more details in the bedroom.

So though deemed ‘mummy porn’ I think erotic romance, when done well, brings more than sex. It’s the darkness, the shock factor, the deep connections formed between the characters, and not to forget the fact most are not forged on fantasy. Real life is gritty, people are more open minded especially the younger generations.


So no, I don’t think its mummy porn, not when I know so many not-yet-mummies who read the genre. Would love to hear what you all think. 

Friday, 12 July 2013

Romance is still a dirty word

I'm disorganised. Fact. Which means that despite dwelling in Scotland's capital city I have consistently failed to buy a ticket to an event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Not this year.  This year I have bought not one, but two.  Both comics-related.  Geeks are well served at the book festival it seems. But Romance readers?  Forget it.

The first hint was in the categories.  There are a wide array of categories and they're not all high-brow and genre-averse.  There is Crime Fiction. Comics. Science. Religion. Biography. Feminism. I could go on. Suffice to say there are a wide array of authors, genres and categories represented.

Except for Romance.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

New beginnings



Me again.

This week my eldest daughter went to meet her first school teacher. My little Ellie all grown up and starting school in September, a difficult fact to come to terms with since it doesn’t seem like yesterday when I was holding her in my arms, a little red and wrinkled bundle, and wondering how on earth one actually went about looking after a baby.
Too excited to wait till September.
 
She’s full of what she’s going to be when she’s grown up. Sometimes her aims don’t seem terribly ambitious and include when she’s grown up she’s going to go to the park, but I wish her success in all of them. And this is the time that will define her, initially at least. I always enjoyed mathematics and science at school, and for me, it seemed natural to focus that way any time the opportunity arose. Now it seems a little odd that I did.

With a more than full time job looking after my tribe of small children and babies, I seldom have cause to bring out my scientific knowledge or impress the girls with my skills in calculus. So do I regret choosing science, especially when I now enjoy English and History so much?

Lovely lovely calculus, I miss you.

The answer is I don’t know. I know I enjoyed the journey and I certainly don’t regret the life I’ve led. It’s all been fun and I wouldn’t have the life I have now if I hadn’t. But would another path been better?

Well, it just seemed at the time that maths and sciences were proper job-like subjects, subjects that challenged your mind with clear problems to solve and the other subjects were for just fun. And that’s the bit I had wrong.

In Meg McNulty’s other life, she blogs about superwomen, and in particular about how television and advertising encourage young girls to be Barbie wives, doting mothers and little else, and how we need better role models.
If only my eyelashes could look this good.
I don’t ever remember paying attention to those Barbie figure role models. Instead I marched along to the ‘girls for science’ bandwagon. In a way, I think the feminists promoting those careers were every bit as bad as the Barbies. They disparaged non-professional careers to the point that if you were good at science/mathematics you were terrible for throwing away your opportunities if you didn’t pursue it.
Alright, maybe the girls for science bandwagon wasn't quite this cool looking.
 
So what kind of role model do I want to be to my young family? What do I want them to grow up to be? 

Obviously, whatever they want. But I want them to view all the subjects equally, so see the challenges and complexities in each, to think of career as the interaction with others and not just as an academic pursuit. But for now, I want my eldest to play in the sandpit, learn to read her first book and to paint and come back home with her school uniform splattered with gay abandonment. Just like I did. Sorry mum.
You just know this is going to end up right in the middle of her school uniform...

 Jess' Posts

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Squeezing in a bit of Romance


Looks like it must be my time of the month to get on here and have a rant, sorry, I mean a discussion, about life in general and especially romance.

Currently my life is somewhat centred around babies, toddlers and small children.  Let me tell you know that new-born twins don’t leave a lot of time left in your day for romance.  Even when you only have one baby at a time, (which my four year daughter says would have been more sensible) there isn’t a lot of breathing room to get all misty eyed with the hubby.

Candle lit dinners at expensive restaurants do not work, I can tell you that now, not with four children in tow.  Even an evening in front of the box tends to end up with me falling asleep before the end, and my husband eating all the popcorn while I am upstairs putting in someone’s dummy for the umpteenth time.

So what’s a girl to do?

It’s the little things that keep the romance in a marriage going. 

Like my husband running a bath for me at the end of the day and taking the time to find the matches and light enough candles to read a book by (or burn the house down, whatever your pleasure). 

This massively beats my current bath running capability which would be:

Is there water? Check? 
Is it hot and soapy? Check. 

In I dive only to discover lack of dry towels within reach etc.

Alright, he's not quite up to this level, but he does try his best.
 
It’s a box of chocolates to scoff during the middle of the night feed.
Don't tell my dentist.
 
It’s hiding the one line love note under my husband’s coffee cup in the morning.
Putting a love note on the washing line however would guarantee he would never see it...
 
It’s a text message at lunch time.

It’s making my husband’s favourite meal (hot dogs!) for tea.

Or putting a drop of my perfume on my husband’s pillow.

All little things, none of them costing the earth in time or money, but all of them make the difference. 

What small things make your heart go pitter-pat?

Jess

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Why I love tortured heroes

The best kind of heroes (to me anyway) are the ones who’ve suffered. Those with pasts so horrible and sad that it shapes them into the flawed men we meet on the first page. I especially love the ones who started out with nothing, literally, and had to fight to survive against all odds.

My hero in Sinfully Summer, Enrique Castillo (or Ric for short), is the most tortured of all my heroes so far. His mother left him on the streets at an early age. He’s had to live through things most people couldn’t imagine in their worst nightmares, and he’s even had to bend the law at times in order to survive, but what didn’t kill him made him stronger. And also very closed off. Ric definitely has a special place in my heart and not just because of what he endured, but how that shaped the person he became.


Why do I do this to my characters? Because they have so much more to overcome to open their hearts to the heroine. Ric is exactly the kind of hero I love, because he needs saved from himself, but remains strong and in charge with solid morals and bucket loads of integrity.

Here are my all-time top three favourite tortured heroes.

Zsadist from Lover Awakened.
His past is brutal, and so is he when he’s first introduced in this series. With physical scars to make him look like a monster, and a history of terrible emotional abuse, I so wanted to be the one to save him. Bella, the heroine, sees through the mean exterior to the broken man beneath. When he allows her to get close, she brings out such a sweet, gentle side of him that made me swoon.


Sheikh Zahir from Hajar’s Hidden Legacy (actually I’d put most of Maisey Yates’ heroes here if I could!).
The scars he suffered externally as well as internally have left him broken. I so wanted to save the angry beast, luckily Princess Katherine is just what he needs to heal.



Ian from Because You Are Mine.
Oh his past broke my heart. I don’t want to say what happened for fear of spoiling the story for you as you don’t find out until late on in the book, but there were enough hints for me to know it was going to be awful (and it was!).


What kind of hero do you prefer? Also please feel free to leave recommendations. I love finding hidden gems. 

Monday, 13 May 2013

Bonding

Once you've found your happy-ever-after, there are a few major milestones most people will go through as a couple which really define you, moments that really burn into your memory and bond the pair of you forever.

Some are minor things, the clearing out of a spare drawer to leave space for overnight things or buying of a spare toothbrush, or even another pillow.  I can remember walking home having bought a new pillow (which incidentally was for me only) and getting catcalls from some merry drunks who thought I was planning on being lucky that night... I digress.

But some of those shared moments are really big'uns. Like moving into your first shared home, being proposed to (or proposing), and welcoming a new baby into the world.

And these big moments don't tend to be included in Regency romance novels, or at least not the ones that I read, except perhaps as a brief epilogue. Historical novels are concerned about getting to the happy ever after and the hero and heroine tend to be left to their own devices after that. Even when children are involved with the story, or the characters are being reunited, the actual births or marriages are skipped over, or tainted with the bitterness of the ensuing breakup. In times where a woman would be ruined by carrying a bastard child, the unexpected baby hook doesn't tend to be used that much.

Which is a shame.

Because these moments are so important.

I've recently gone through the welcoming the new baby into the world moment. In fact, I went through it twice in the space of two minutes. This time was very different than for my other two children as I had a planned c-section rather than going through a labour with my husband (to be followed by emergency c-sections both times). But the feeling of bonding was just the same, waiting around together, holding hands, knowing that in a few short minutes our lives were going to change forever.

All the hustle and bustle of hospital staff, the bright lights, sterile rooms and multitude of cables and drips everywhere, all of that stuff kind of fades into the background and you are just left with two people waiting with bated breath, desperately hoping everything will be alright, ready to hold their newborn or newborns in their arms.

And I don't mind admitting I cried. I don't remember crying with my elder daughters, but I definitely cried when Lily and James' cries pierced the room. All the months and months of stress and heartache with this pregnancy, finally over. And my husband was there holding my hand and in that instant I knew that all along, whatever happened, good or bad, we would have faced it together.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this post, but I wanted to share. Romance isn't all about kisses and steamy moments, long stemmed roses or being helped past a muddy puddle. It can be about the nitty gritty bits of life, about being together when you're scared to death, when you haven't slept in forever and you'd give anything to be able to fast forward and know that everything turns out alright. Moments you'll remember for the rest of your life.

Me and my brood.

Jess' Posts