Sunday, July 31, 2011

Big Backpack - Little World. Travel writing from an inside point of view

Personally I love to travel, but there is so little (holiday) time and it's such a big world.  However, for a bit of armchair travelling, here's a book from someone who has really seen the world from a local point of view: BIG BACKPACK - LITTLE WORLD by Donna Morang.

The is what the Amazon product review says:
In 2000 Donna Morang sold all her earthly possessions and left the United States to teach ESL (English as a second language). Join her as she travels to three continents, and twelve countries. Step into her classroom and teach English in Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Vietnam, or vacation with her in Spain, Thailand, and Cambodia. Fall in love with her students learning English, the special street kids, some crazy bartenders, and fellow backpackers. Meet new friends and hear their stories, or laugh with a romantic man or two from around the world. Venture into the countryside to dance with local people, drink moonshine, explore caves, fish for marlin, catch buckets of squid, or squirm as she eats strange bugs and worms. Hold her hand as she explores new city streets and countries-- often lost, once robbed, or tremble when guns are pointed at her, as she crosses one more border. Donna Morang, teacher and traveler has done this and more with a smile and a gusto for life. She definitely knows how to experience life as a true adventurer. This book is NOT about a woman going in search of herself, or looking for a better life. She already knows that life is beautiful, and she lives it to the fullest

This is what the reviewers say:
We have just thoroughly enjoyed this book.Cottentop has a real fun, interesting life story that only a tough Montana gal can tell. Donna we just loved your book. Thanks

What I say:
Sounds like 'Eat, Pray, Love' without the sickly bits.  An interesting bit of travel writing!

Handcuffs and a Pyramid of Satin - Christian romance with a twist

The product review on Amazon says:
Kelly had a wonderful marriage. So why was she so restless? Determined to get that elusive spark back in her life, Kelly takes off to her birthplace of Frankfurt, Germany, for the adventure of a lifetime. There she is befriended by the ever so charming David, who immediately appoints himself as her translator and tour guide. Kelly is so totally in love with her husband, but finds herself wishing he were more like her new friend David. But it isn't long before Kelly realizes that life is not always greener on the other side of the fence. In fact, it can be downright deadly!

The reviewers say:
I can recommend this novella to anyone who is looking for a light Christian themed romance story.

I say:
This book sounds like a must read for people who like a good classic romance.  I am certainly adding it to my list of books to read this summer.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Share the success

After less than a month of blogging, I'm thrilled to see that I've had over 1,000 page views! It would be great to share this audience with other authors.  If you're a writer and would like to tell people about your book, let me know, I'd love to hear from you.  Write a comment to this post, or if you'd like to say a bit more, email me with details e.g. a book extract, or a good review, plus details of where people can buy your book and I'll try to do a posting about it.  Let's work together to help each other to achieve success! 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Eton Mess - a classic dessert

This afternoon I’m making that classic dessert Eton Mess (and ‘yes’ it is named after that school).  It’s a great summer dessert which is really easy.  It’s just pieces of meringue, cream and fresh strawberries, mixed together in individual dishes (plus a dash of port or kirsh if you want). 

At this minute I’m cooking the meringues – again very simple, but easy to get wrong (at least, easy for me to get wrong).  I whipped up 4 egg whites with a pinch of sea salt, added 200g of castor (fine) sugar, a tablespoon at time and whipped until glossy.  I then added a teaspoon of corn flour (I’m not too sure why this helps, but it was in a couple of the recipes that I looked at).  I whisked it in and then spooned the mixture out onto a tray covered in greaseproof paper. 

They’re now cooking for an hour in a cool oven.  However, it may not be cool enough as the meringues are starting to go brown.  Looks like it might be burnt meringue Eton Mess!  I think, next time I’ll buy the meringues and then it’ll be even easier to make.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A bit of love poetry

I came across this poem the other day and thought I'd share it with everyone.  It's from a new book on Amazon called 'Interludes of the Heart' by G. Clairmont (pictured).  I'm not sure what the title of the poem is (maybe it doesn't need one).

Could I be your silk glove?
So that I may kiss upon your face
May I be a snow-white dove?
That I inspire you with awe-struck grace
May I be your one true love?
As I seduce your soul
Mystify your mind
With meaningful mythical rhymes
Alas let me pervade your spirit
Like an effervescent mist
Be it me, who quenches your desire
Like a forbidden oasis
As I resurrect your heart
To an eternity of bliss.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Will and Kate - Classic romance

Prince William and Kate Middleton - their story really is a contemporary romance with a classic, traditional feel.  Kate is a modern woman, but we don't see her splashed across the tabloids falling out of nightclubs drunk, showing too much leg and cleavage (heaven forbid!).  Their wedding was stunning and very traditional, but with some great modern twists e.g. the trees in Westminster Abbey and turning the Throne Room in Buckingham Palace into a nightclub for the evening wedding party.

Their recent tour of Canada and the USA has been a huge success and some people have even started asking if perhaps Kate should be given Canada.  Not a bad idea, as it would be a good first step towards her future role as Queen.  What do you think?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Classic romance

Many thanks to Romance Novel Junkies for reviewing 'The Royal Sheikh' .  In short, they thought the book was 4/5 stars and likened it to 'a classical romantic read'.  The also said that 'If you feel in the mood for something romantic, nothing hardcore, then this could be your read' which I think is a good summary of the book.  It's the type of romance that you could share with your mum.  In fact, I did share it with my mum! Click here if you want to read the full review on Amazon.

We love a good classic romance!  In fact there are a lot of classics that we like, such as a Kelly handbag, a Chanel suit, a Rolls Royce, a Tiffany's diamond braclet, a Hermes scarf, the list goes on (only wish I had some of them!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New book idea

Forget the earlier idea for 'The Runaway Boyfriend' (at least for now)! While searching through my old files of book ideas, I found a story that I plotted out several years ago called 'Her Latin Lover' which takes place in South America. We're thinking Antonio Banderas and Zoro, but in a modern setting. What do you think?

With reference to my previous post about reading Kate Walker's guide - I went and looked at her blog only to discover that she's recently published her 60th romance! I have a lot of catching up to do . . .

Writing refresher

I'm currently rereading Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance.  I first read it about 5 years ago and thought it was about time for a refresher course as I start on my next romance.  I've read loads of books about writing, but this is one of the few that I think is worth a reread.  If you don't have a copy, I would recommend it if you write romance fiction, especially the Harlequin/Mills and Boon type of romance.  Kate Walker is a successful writer for Mills and Boon 'Modern Romance' (Harlequin 'Presents'), so her book is especially helpful if you write that type of book.

I personally don't write for Harlequin/Mills and Boon, but that's another story for another day.  If there are other good writing guides that you would recommend, please let me know.

Now I'm going to go back to reading Kate's book.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

No time to pack

Having published, 'The Royal Sheikh' all my time is now taken up with marketing it, which seems to involve learning countless new forms of technology!  This has meant that I've spent no time getting ready for my holidays and will probably have to pack at the last minute.

A friend of mine once packed for a business trip to the States in a hurry and it was only when she arrived at Heathrow that she realised that she'd forgotten to pack her clothes!  She spent the whole of the 1st week in LA wearing the same thing to the office each day (she said that there was no time to shop until the weekend).

PS The woman in the picture is not me.  It is is how I wish I looked at airports: calm, relaxed and smartly dressed.  Sadly, the reality is always the opposite.

Great Summer Sale!

You can now get over 25% off The Royal Sheikh at Smashwords as part of their July sale, but you'll need to hurry as the offer runs out on 31 July.

Personally I love a good sale and I'm looking forward to picking up some bargains in this year's summer sales. I'll mainly be looking for clothes (my husband says I desperately need some new ones - he's probably right). Also, while I'm on holiday, I'll check out any local second-hand and charity shops for books, jewellery, silver etc. I'll let you know if I find anything interesting.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A good read

The Royal Sheikh is now available on Smashwords, which means you can download it in lots of different formats, e.g. as a pdf file, and also in some formats which I've never even heard of, like Palm Doc - what's that?!?  There's also an option to read 20% of it for free to see if you like it (I hope you do). 

I like the idea of a 'free sample', as who hasn't read part of a book in a store before buying it?  Have you ever read the whole book in a bookshop?  My brother once tried to do it in WHSmiths in the UK.  I think he was on the last chapter when they kicked him out.  Undeterred, he returned the next day and finished off the book.  That was many years ago (he was about ten at the time).  Nowadays, bookstores seem to positively encourage it by having comfy chairs and coffee shops in-store.  I presume this is to encourage customers as they face ever-increasing competition form online retailers like Amazon.  I for one, love a good bookstore and will continue to visit them as well as buying online - that way I get the best of both worlds!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

New book cover

The Royal Sheikh now has a new book cover, thanks to a great designer and my editor's advice. It should be 'live' on Amazon in the next day or so. What do you think?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Choices, choices!

I now have samples from two book cover designers for my romance novel, 'The Royal Sheikh' and to be honest they are both great!  They are a million times better than the one that I'm currently using and definitely worth the money.  I've sent them off to my editor in Dallas for her opinion.  Let's see what she thinks . . .

A new novel?

I've been thinking of ideas for another book over the last couple of weeks and one possible idea that I've had is a book about a woman who goes to work overseas only to find herself working in the same office as her ex-boyfriend who walked out on her several years before.  A possible title might be 'The Runaway Boyfriend'.  What do you think?

I'll keep everyone posted on my progress . . .

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Book cover for 'The Royal Sheikh'

My first novel, 'The Royal Sheikh', a contemporary romance, has been available for about a month now as an ebook on Amazon and sales have been great.  However, I can't but wonder if sales would be even better if the book had a good cover.  After many, many hours of trying to redesign one myself, I've finally decided to hire a professional.  Have I given up too early?  Maybe, maybe not.  Maybe I should just realize that there are some things I can do, like writing (I hope!) and some things that I can't do, like picture editing!  I expect I will forever be impressed by those authors who manage to produce excellent covers on their own.  In the meantime, I'll stick to the writing side of publishing.