Author Interview: Cass Peterson

 

Tirgearr Publishing
Tirgearr Publishing

I’d like to welcome fellow Tirgearr author Cass Peterson to my blog. She has written the next book in the ‘City Nights’ adult romance series, called ‘One Night in San Francisco’. Click here to see more information about the City Nights Series and on the cover image to purchase Cass’ “sizzling” book.

Author Bio:

Cass Peterson is passionate about many things; her family, writing, chocolate, wine, cake, curry, gin, sunlit beaches, moonlit bedrooms and good novels to name but a few. At the moment she spends a good chunk of her time working on the day job, but she tries to fit the other passions in as often as possible.

She is a cat lover, an all-weather walker, a reader and reviewer of contemporary romance and an enthusiastic cook.

Cass likes to laugh, especially at Bill Bailey, Victoria Wood, Michael Palin and Eddie Izzard. She would happily live next door to any of these comedians.

http://casspeterson.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/cass.peterson.4/

http://www.twitter.com/casspeterson1

San FranWhat are the main ideas or themes in your book?

The main theme is seizing the moment. When Liam and Nicky meet, they instantly know that there could be something very special between them. The chemistry is sizzling, but shortly afterwards they lose sight of each other and have to race against time to reconnect.

What is the setting or context of the narrative? Why is it important?

The story is set against the background of bustling, romantic, electric San Francisco, and it’s crucial to the narrative because the mood of the city runs through the way that the two protagonists react to each other. They are both creatures of impulse, and San Fran completely matches their joy for life and their longing to find both physical and emotional satisfaction at last.

Tell us more about the main characters and their dilemmas.

Both Nicky and Liam have recently emerged from hugely unsuccessful relationships, where the sex was less than mind blowing and the laughs were in short supply. They think they are willing to risk trusting someone new, but there are mountains to climb first. Nicky is deeply conscious of her failure to keep her previous man (who left her for her best friend’s boyfriend.) Liam has also had his fingers burned badly by a manipulative colleague.

Why did you write this novel? Any other issues or ‘big ideas’ behind it?

I have to be honest here – I wrote One Night in San Francisco to see if I could overcome my embarrassment at writing much smuttier books than I was used to. I found I could! It was incredibly liberating. I am very impulsive, like my main characters, and can’t stand hanging around waiting for something to happen. The idea of a twenty four hour limit on the action was inspiring, and San Francisco is one of my all-time favourite places.

How do you go about writing a novel? Is it a simple or complex process?

For me, the day job takes a huge amount of time and energy so I don’t have the luxury of making things complicated. I just get up early and write! Editing the work is one of my favourite occupations, and I do it as I go along each time I write a chapter/section, rather than blast through the first draft and then go back. I’m not good at plotting.

What advice do you have for less experienced writers?

Join a writing group, either in the flesh or online, and learn to accept constructive criticism. Go on a course or two if you can afford the time/money. Keep trying, but only submit your work to agents and publishers when it’s the best it can be.

What are you working on next?

The next project in the erotic romance line is a full-length novel about a single woman searching for great sex. I hope it’ll be funny. It’s making me snigger writing it, anyway!

If you could leave a message to the world, what would it be?

Grab every opportunity that comes your way and run with it, but whatever you do, don’t forget to have fun in the process.

*****

Blurb:

Nicky and Liam have only twenty four short hours to find out if their instantaneous attraction can develop into something more than an electric mile-high fumble. San Francisco has everything they need to put their previous disastrous relationships behind them but when they lose touch with each other almost immediately, fate seems to have other ideas. As the precious hours tick away, Liam moves heaven and earth to find the woman of his (filthiest) dreams before she leaves the city. Will he get to her in time?

Buy links: http://casspeterson.co.uk/books/city-nights-one-night-in-san-francisco/

One Night in San Francisco

Extract:

San Francisco airport was a blur of activity even in the early morning. As we piled off the plane, already jet lagged and dishevelled, we were herded into lines reminiscent of the ones at Alton Towers – zig zags of queues separated by tapes and metal posts, shuffling tiredly towards the perspex booths of hard-faced officials, ready to check our passports.

By this time I was almost comatose – lack of sleep and too much four-o’clock lust had left me bleary and bewildered by the bustle around me. I tried to keep near to Liam but when we reached passport control we somehow lost each other. I saw him in the distance, trying to charm his way past an official who obviously ate razor blades for a hobby, but we didn’t meet again. I waved to him as I was whisked away to have my bag checked – I must have a dodgy face, this always seems to happen to me at customs – and he waved back, mouthing ‘See you later.’

My heart sank. I’d hoped to have chance to talk to him before we went our separate ways, or at least to give him a hug. Never mind, I had his card safely in my bag. I checked again. Yes, still there, tucked into my purse next to the photo of Simon. I shook myself. Why was I still carrying around a picture of a man who had clearly moved out of my life?

I slid the tiny picture out of my purse and looked at it closely. Simon grinned up at me from his photograph – handsome, cheerful … and a complete and utter tosser. There were no litter bins to be seen but I noticed a man sweeping rubbish nearby. After a moment’s hesitation I ripped up the photo and dropped the pieces into his bin liner. He looked at me as if I’d spat on the floor but I didn’t care. A wave of freedom washed over me – who needed men that treated you like dirt? I’d ring Liam as soon as I thought he’d be clear of his work ties.

I frowned as I shuffled forwards in the queue. For the first time I realised I hadn’t offered Liam my own number. It would have made a whole lot more sense for him to phone me when he was through. Oh well, it was too late now. I’d give him till half past ten – that should do it.

Tirgearr

The next book in the series will be One Night in Amsterdam by Jaz Hartfield who will be interviewed on this blog in October 2014.

One Night in Amsterdam by Jaz Hartfield - 500

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David J O’Brien: Author and Guest Blogger

Five Days on Ballyboy Beach by David J O'Brien - 500I’m delighted to welcome  David J O’Brien on my blog again. His wonderful new novel, Five Days On Ballyboy Beach, is just out and already receiving glowing reviews. I’ll pass over to David who is here to discuss the role of research in the process of writing. Please click on the cover or links below to purchase this or his previous and highly recommended novel, Leaving the Pack.

 

Thanks for hosting me today Jeff.

I had thought about one of the questions you asked me when hosting me on your blog after the release of Leaving the Pack – whether my novels required a lot of research. Well, Five Days on Ballyboy Beach required a bit. The characters go snorkeling, canoeing and surfing, which are hobbies that I have very little experience of.

I don’t like doing a lot of research for my novels. I don’t enjoy it all that much. I think it takes up too much time from the writing. Even today with all the information we have at our fingertips, it’s hard to do quickly, and efficiently – at least for me. If I do embark on a bit of internet investigation, I usually end up with the day gone and only random facts in my head. I mostly rely on things I already know, on information I’ve already picked up as I go along through life.

When writing, though, there will always be things that the character knows that the writer doesn’t. What I tend to do in this case is leave all the stuff I don’t already know, or am not certain about, until the end of the first draft – leaving little gaps where the absolutely necessary information has to go, and fill them in as I edit and write the second draft. Of course, I always end up with extra stuff that I can’t help trying to slot in during the second draft, too.

What I tend to do more if I don’t’ know much about a subject, is ask a friend who does. Most of my mates know more than I do!

For Five Days on Ballyboy Beach, I had to ask for help with the details of wetsuits used in different activities (much of which didn’t make it to the final edit, showing that often we’re just wasting time trying to add in those authentic details!) and types of surfboards.

At the same time, there is no way that I could have written (or would have tried to write) anything about surfing had I not had a least a little idea of what it feels like to ride a wave – or attempt to anyway! I did spend a weekend trying to stand up on the west coast once, and have sat in a few canoes, and even snorkeled in the frigid waters off Ireland. On these scant experiences, I wrote the novel. However, I also asked a friend to read the surfing description – there’s an excerpt below where you can see how well it turned out – when I had finished the first draft.

Nevertheless, I didn’t reveal all of what I had written, in order to maintain the surprise when he reads the whole novel, so any errors or inauthenticities that may remain are entirely my own. At the end of the day (as the footballers say) I can shrug my shoulders and say, I didn’t know – it’s fiction!

Five Days on Ballyboy Beach by David J O'Brien - 500

 

Blurb for Five Days on Ballyboy Beach:

A startling revelation – the long-time friend you never viewed romantically is actually the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life.
 
But what do you do about it?
 
For Derek, a laid-back graduate camping with college friends on Ireland’s west coast in the summer of 1996, the answer is … absolutely nothing.
 
Never the proactive one of the group – he’s more than happy to watch his friends surf, canoe and scuba-dive from the shore – Derek adopts a wait and see attitude. Acting on his emotional discovery is further hindered by the fact he’s currently seeing someone else – and she’s coming to join him for the weekend.
As their five days on the beach pass, and there are more revelations, Derek soon realises that to get what he desires, he’ll have to take it. Events conspire to push him to the forefront of the group, and, as unexpected sorrow begins to surround him and his friends, Derek grasps his chance at happiness. After all, isn’t life too short to just wait and see?

 

Five Days on Ballyboy Beach by David J O'Brien - 500

 

Excerpt from Five Days on Ballyboy Beach:

Back on the beach, the others were still ensconced in their sleeping bags. It was very quiet, so we didn’t disturb them. We got ready to get in the water instead.

We took the boards off the cars; Bill’s usual five-foot short board, and Pat’s old eight-foot long elephant gun Malibu board for me. Then we put on the wetsuits. Carrying the boards under our arms, we walked down to the water. The waves were now less the abstract entities out at sea they had been that morning and more like living beings, pouring fourth to crush the land and anything that happened to put itself in the way.

This was the reason we were here. Regardless of drinking, walking, girls, discos, canoeing, sunsets and stars, this was why we had chosen to come to this place, and everyone bar me had taken time off work; to surf. We watched the waves roll in—the bigger ones in sets of three or four, and sometimes five. The biggest of these were usually the second, and sometimes the third. These were the ones to catch. The sets appeared as anomalies on the horizon, obscure objects disturbing the straight line between the sea and sky, slowly growing darker and larger as they approached. They were about four or five feet high—just right for beginners like me—and broke in two places. A few metres out from the cliffs, where the reef pushed them up constantly, they rose steeply and broke away from the cliff. Some seventy five metres further along, where a sandbank rose, the white curtain of water fell in both directions. To our left it joined that of the reef break, and to the right it fizzled out somewhat near the rocks, at the point where the stream, as it flowed into the sea, and the rip current combined to gouge out a relatively deep channel.

We waded out into the surf near the rocks to take advantage of the rip, holding the boards above the waves as long as we could, then dropping them and jumping up to slide onto them before paddling out. Bill forced his board down and ducked under incoming waves, while I rode high over them on my much more buoyant board. I was out of breath by the time we got past the breakers, and I sat up on the board to catch it.

Bill had already recovered his breath when the next set loomed. He chose the second wave, turned his board toward land and started paddling furiously. After a few seconds he looked around to gauge its distance. The wave rolled under me, and as it reached him, raising him up, he put his hands on the board and pushed down on it, forcing it down the other side of the wave at the same time as lifting his body up enough to get his legs under him and plant his feet firmly on the waxed surface. Then he stood up on the board as it slid down the crest of the wave. He leaned to the left and brought it along the wave, away from its break-point, going up and down along it twice, before he lost his balance and fell into the water with the wave washing over him.

It took a while for the next set to appear. My heart raced as I watched it and waited. I let the first wave pass, holding on to the board as it bobbed me up and down, then turned as the second was about six feet away, slid forward a little on the board and paddled as fast as I could. I breathed hard and kept pushing as I felt the wave roll underneath me. I accelerated suddenly, and as I did, I found myself leaning forward down the wave. Grabbing the side of the board, I quickly lifted my body up off it and put my feet on the board. I tried to stand up, but the wave pushed me down its face and the white foam rained all around me as I fell forward. The board slid over my head, blocking the sunlight momentarily. Suddenly all was blue and noise.

I surfaced after a few seconds and swam after the board, holding on to it as the last wave of the set swept over me as well. When it had passed, I slid back onto the board and paddled out again, as fast as I could before another set could arrive and push me back towards the shore again.

Just as I got out to the break-point, another set approached fast. I took a few deep breaths to get my wind back while the first two went under, and started out again after the third. I felt it rise up and paddled harder, but I caught sight of the white foam bubbling on my right where the wave was breaking, and, despite trying for a few more seconds and pushing down on the board to force it over the top, it rolled onwards. I was left lying on the board, panting. I turned around and paddled back out, moving left a few metres where the wave had begun to break. The first wave had brought me along the beach a little, so when I had gone back out I had been in the wrong place.

Bill was sitting on his board, waiting for me. “You popped too late on that first one,” he told me.

“Yeah. I guessed that all right,” I replied, still out of breath.

Links:

Amazon.com

David JM O’Brien’s website

Five Days on Ballyboy Beach

Tirgearr Publishing

David JM O’Brien on Facebook

leavingpack

Author Interview: Sarah Louise Smith

sarah-louise-smithI’d like to welcome author Sarah Louise Smith to my blog.  Her new novel Independent Jenny is out today. It’s another fabulous read for anyone who enjoys romantic fiction.  Click on cover images or links below to purchase Sarah’s books.

Sarah Louise Smith lives in Milton Keynes, UK, with her husband, a cute cat and a loopy golden retriever. She has an extremely lovely step-daughter and spends most of her free time writing, reading, cooking, and taking long walks.

She’s the author of three chick-lit novels: Amy & Zach, Izzy’s Cold Feet, and her brand new novel,  Independent Jenny, all published by Crooked Cat.

Sarah’s website/blog: www.sarahlouisesmith.com

  What are the main themes explored in Independent Jenny?

Loyalty. Trust. Love.

Tell us more about Jenny and her dilemmas.

Jenny finds out in Chapter 1 that her husband Ross has cheated on her and goes on a journey whereby she’ll get a crush on her brother-in-law (the lovely Aiden, who happens to like her back – awkward!), is begged by Ross for forgiveness, goes on holiday with her friend Hayley to clear her head, but only gets more confused when she meets the lovely Will – an ex-boyfriend who is also now married. Essentially, it’s about a woman who gets betrayed and goes on a rollercoaster of emotions.

Independent Jenny

You have two main settings. Why are they important?

Jenny’s hometown of Bath and her holiday location of the Isle of Skye are almost like two additional characters in the novel. Very different – a busy city and a rural, quiet island. I love both of these places and really wanted to write about them, and I think my love of them comes through Jenny, too. She loves her hometown, but also adores Skye. They offer her different things; her business and friends are in the city, but the beauty of Skye is so romantic, too.

Do you see any connection between your novels?

Obviously with chick-lit (aka romantic comedy) you get a lot of similar themes; love being the main one. I’ve also had a few characters pop up with cameo’s in each of my books so they’re connected in a fictional sense too!

This is your third novel. Does the writing process get easier or harder?

Easier, for sure. It took me a long time to write Amy & Zach; I didn’t know how to structure a story or how to even reach full-novel length. Izzy’s Cold Feet was a little easier. Independent Jenny I felt much more confident about how I would tell the story, and my next novel is being written in record time!

Sarah Louise Smith

Tell us about your current work in progress.

It’s about Ellen, who tells a lie during a romantic fling. But when the fling turns into something much more serious, it’s too late to go back.

Sounds great – look forward to that one. You have some skill and experience in marketing. Any good tips for other authors?

Use social media, blogging and so on regularly. Be engaging, find relevant/fun content, and create a brand for yourself. Believe in yourself and your product, but don’t push it on anyone.

How do you manage to hold down two careers?

With great difficulty! My house is often dusty, and my friends often get neglected. But I love both my marketing executive role and my writing career – and right now I seem to be able to just about have both. I don’t complain about my lack of free time though – I consider myself incredibly lucky.

Independent Jenny

About Independent Jenny:

“I slept with someone else.” Those five words changed everything.

After her husband Ross drops a bombshell, Jenny’s emotions go hay-wire. Things are made even more complex when his brother Aiden makes a confession of his own…

A holiday escape with her friend Hayley seems the perfect way to figure out what – and who – she wants. But Hayley has a hidden motive that results in Jenny spending time with her ex-boyfriend Will, who is now married.

Should Jenny forgive Ross? Can she ignore her feelings for romantic Aiden? And why can’t she get Will out of her head?

One thing is for sure: Jenny doesn’t want to be alone. Surely any man is better than no man, right?

Izzy cover

You can purchase paperbacks or e-versions from all the usual online book sellers.

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sarah-Louise-Smith/e/B00AX55ZOI/

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/author/sarahlouisesmith

Follow Sarah on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahSmith16

Find Sarah on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarahlouisesmithauthor

Thanks, Sarah. Best of luck with Independent Jenny.

Top 10 Tips on Writing.

ML Jeff2On my blog, I frequently interview authors and one question I like to ask is ‘What advice do you have for less experienced writers?‘ Ithought it would be interesting to pick out what I thought were the most useful comments from over the last few years.

So here are my Top Ten Tips on Being a Writer from a selection of indie authors that have appeared on my blog.

 

Write, write and write. Read, read and read. You must write every day but set a realistic goal – maybe ten minutes a day. And don’t beat yourself up if you don’t manage it sometimes. It’s a long hard road but worth it.                                                                                           Gill James

Just write. Don’t get distracted by social media and television and everything else. Sit down and work hard.                   Sarah Louise Smith

Keep at it. The more you write, the more you will learn. And find some writing buddies (either online or in a writing group). It’s very easy to lose all sense of objectivity with your own stuff – a fresh pair of eyes can work wonders.                                                                  Sue Barnard

All the hard work we put in to our writing pays off when every time we complete a project. Turning up to greet the blank page every day is important too, so discipline is a key factor.                 Mary T Bradford

Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite until you cannot bear to look at the manuscript – and then rewrite again. Diamonds in the rough look like lumps of worthless rock, but underneath lies a sparkling and valuable gem. That is what a first draft is – your raw material, ready to be polished until it shines like a diamond.                       Lorraine Mace

mr platt

You must believe in yourself and your ability because if you don’t, no one else will. Take time to learn your craft, and never be too proud to take a bit of advice from others.                                         David Robinson

Don’t give up, especially if you get some bad feedback. Writing and reading are so subjective; what one person doesn’t like, another person loves.                                                                                    Zanna Mackenzie

Keep sending finished things out while you write more stuff. If your first novel is getting bounced back at you, go ahead and start your second.                                                                                                        David O’Brien

Generally I’d say develop a tough skin, because you will need it. Don’t worry about rejection. Everyone gets rejected and if they don’t I’d love to meet them! Even the Harry Potter books were rejected at first.                                                                                      Catriona King

Never give up. Getting published is a matter of getting the right manuscript on the right desk at the right moment. But be prepared, because getting published is only the beginning.       Charlene Raddon

 

Please click on an author’s name to link to their website for further information.

JGCovers

Treading On Dreams: Review

Treading on Dreams by Jeff Gardiner - 1800-300dpi

4.5 stars

To me this was a coming of age story with a bit of a YA feel to it. Donny and Hazel, fraternal twins, head off to college. Hazel is a bit of a wild child ready to spread her wings while Donny has been the one to be a parent pleaser and quieter. The landlord of the house they live in is a bit older and filled with a zest for life while their other housemate is a dedicated female that Donny becomes obsessed with. While at college they meet a number of interesting people, party, fall in and out of love and one of them even gets so desperate that suicide seems the best option. There is a happily ever after for some but not for all in this book. There are friends that help both Donny and Hazel to grow and finally move down the life path that opens for them. This story is well written, told from Donny’s perspective and includes drama, happiness, sadness and more. It is a very “British” book and for me that made it even more fun since I am American. 
(Cathy Geha, Library Thing)
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Other reviews:
This was a wonderful book and I was sad to see it end. (Belinda Wilson, WilsonTH Blog – 5 out of 5 stars)
The journey is intriguing and Jeff Gardiner depicts it with adept skill! (Viviane Crystal, Crystal Book Reviews)