Ta dah! . . Gone Cover Reveal

Here is is, the beautiful cover for Gone

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Blurb

Rebecca Walters harbours a dark secret, and as the fifty-three bangles she wears on her wrists as a self-imposed sentence of guilt remind her, she can’t even begin to consider moving on. Not after what happened on that night six months ago… a night which she can’t remember and yet managed to change her life forever.

When Rebecca comes across Joshua Adams, man equally haunted by past tragedies, on a moonlit beach, both of their lives are destined to change forever, and when the girl made out of the sun meets the boy made out of the moon and sea, anything can happen… but will the knowledge of their murky pasts bring them together or drive them apart?

Will Rebecca finally be able to claim her freedom? Will she stay and fight to be the girl she found on the sandy beaches of Cornwall or is she destined to keep running and hiding from a past that won’t stay Gone? One thing’s for certain: either way, nothing will ever be the same again.

Release Date

I am very proud to announce that Gone will be releasing in paperback and on e-readers on the 28th July 2014.

And is available for pre-order right now on Apple iBooks and for Nook readers here. As soon as I have the pre-order link for the paperback version I will post is back on here.

Before I go and leave you with a song (of course) I just wanted to say a big thank you for all the people who have supported me with this book. The storyline means a huge amount to me, and as such it was an emotional experience writing it. I just want to say thank you to my Writing Partners – one of whom read this scene by scene as I wrote, and to all the lovely Beta readers who gave me such amazing, confidence inspiring feedback. And more importantly than anything else I have to say a HUGE thank you to Laura Beege for the beautiful cover. I don’t think we could have created a cover more perfectly for Gone if we tried.

And now for a song. This books is very much about young people making terrible mistakes and having things happen to them that are not necessarily their fault. It’s about accepting that, dealing with it and making something of your life despite it. It’s about the passage from youth to adulthood where you get that one unique opportunity to leave the person you were behind you and fight to be the person you want to be. And it’s about not letting the demons and secrets you have on the inside destroy you.

There was only one song for this.

Guest Post – Zoe Pope and The Deal

Hey Everyone (or Hey Y’all – I’ve been watching way too much Nashville!)

I’ve got a special guest post for you today from Zoe Pope, book blogger, turned aspiring writer.

When Zoe and I met about a year ago, it took some badgering and nagging form my part but I soon found out that not only was Zoe an avid reader but she also enjoyed writing as well. After weeks of persuasion I convinced Zoe to send me some of her work and that’s effectively when we became not just author/blogging mates but also Awesome Writing Buddies.

I very rarely write anything without winging it over to Zoe for her input  – sometimes it’s just scenes I’ve written that day but it’s so great to bounce ideas with someone and it has been invaluable to me.  

I’ve been reading The Deal since it’s conception (I was even lucky enough to read the original YA version) and it’s been great being on the inside of the story the whole way through. When this book is released I will be shouting it from the rooftops.

Now The Deal is a VERY VERY sexy read! But more importantly than that Zoe has managed to create characters that you can really care about and a unique storyline that can keep you riveted while you enjoy the steamy scenes;)  

Zoe is sharing an exclusive scene today and if you read it carefully you may just find some characters from my Uni File Series in there . . . 

Over to Zoe. . . 

 

Hi guys.

For those who don’t know me, I’m Zoe and I own the blog The Book Lovers. The past year has been a whirlwind and I am currently writing my own novel. The first draft is almost done and I am now beginning to daunting process of marketing and letting all you lovely people know about my book – THE DEAL.

 It’s an enemies to lovers book with a twist. It’s not all plain sailing but my characters, Nic and Craig, get there in the end. If you go to THIS POST you can read the unofficial synopsis and I have another Teaser posted too. But right now, I have given Anna a scene to share with you lot.

 I have a cover, but i’m thinking of changing it so I have nothing set in stone yet, but I hope when the time comes you will help me reveal it :)

 Of course, this is unedited and subject to change. I chose it because a little hot musician is included….you will know who I am talking about if you have read Anna’s books.

 

***

The Deal

 

I saunter into the kitchen, happy that my girls are all together and just a little bit tipsy. I can see that they have already started on the wine that I left out for them and I spot a glass just for me too. I cough as I enter the room, breaking up their conversation and they all squeal when they see me. I start to pose and laugh when they begin to clap and catcall at me, mainly focusing on the boob area. Yes, this dress is rather revealing and I love it. Free shots anyone? I smile warmly and make my way over to Sophie and Tammy, embracing them in a tight hug, rocking them side to side. The guys in the living room mimic us, and I can see them jumping around, hugging each other and putting on girly voices. I just flick them the finger.

 “Oh I have missed you guys.” I say, knowing full well I saw them last night but in university we used to all get ready together, and it seems kind of sad that we did it alone this time. Kelsie passes me my glass of wine across the kitchen counter and I take a sip before rounding it to give her a hug too.  Before we can begin to gossip, a new band called Sound Box starts playing on the radio station. They haven’t been around too long but I do know that the four of us love this band. We shout our excitement and begin to sing along to the sweet, sweet voice that belongs to a fucking gorgeous guy called Benjamin Chambers. Seriously, we are completely obsessed with him and it really makes Rob and Craig jealous as hell that we pawn over this guy.

 “Fucking pussy ass Benjamin Chambers.” I can hear Rob say through the music and Kelsie tells him to shut the fuck up or his calender of Mila Kunis will be torn up. That shuts him up instantly before he knows Kels would actually do that and the guys begin to ridicule him over being whipped. We giggle and dance around the kitchen, wine in hand, hips shaking and singing at the top of our lungs until the song has ended and an Avicii song rings through the television.

 “I love that song so much.” Tammy swoons but we all know its not just the song she loves.

 “I just want to fuck Mr. Chambers if I’m being completely honest! Did you see that photo of him on the beach? With those abs? Jesus Christ, I would lick every single part of him…” Sophie comments and gets her phone out to show us the photo of Ben as her screen saver. I cant help but swoon along with them.  He is definitely my type of guy….he plays guitar, his eyes, oh his blue eyes and the way he loves his girlfriend Lilah, so much, its great to see a guy love that hard and not let fame get to their relationship. I wouldn’t know how to cope, I’d be insanely jealous, but they seem to love one another enough to not get green eyed.

 “Got to say, I agree with you. I’d fuck him seven ways sidewards.” I sigh, a dreamy grin upon my lips as I keep staring at Sophie’s phone, hoping that somehow Ben will magically appear in his board shorts in my kitchen and I can jump upon him and get him to love me. I hear a cough behind us and spin around to see Craig and Rob stood in the kitchen doorway. Craig hasnt seen me dressed up yet but his eyes look ready to fall out of the sockets. The blue of his eyes are becoming darker and I know just what that means. His eyes scroll down my body and back up, focusing on my breasts and Rob has to slap him on the back and tell him to calm down on the bedroom eyes.

 Craig smirks and comes in closer to us, boxing me in the corner of the room with no means to escape. Kelsie moves away knowing full well that Craig wants to show his primal side to me and everyone else in the flat. I curse her internally, thanking her for her help. My back hits the fridge and Craig places his hands either side of my head.

 “So who is this guy you want to fuck seven ways sidewards?” He grunts, electing laughs from the girls. They know just how jealous Craig can get, and he is in full swing right now. I bite my lip, a smile urging to appear and I shrug my shoulders.

 “Just Benjamin Chambers.” I reply. We are in a major eye-holding battle, mine showing my playful side, his showing his mischievous and jealous side. “He’s a right sexy one he is.”

 I love pushing him, letting him know that if we could fuck anyone else, it would be Benjamin Chambers…or Kellan Kyle…or Drake from Demons Wings….okay getting into a tizzy now with all the hot musicians flashing before my eyes. I know our scene has attracted the rest of the group, but I cant see anyone apart from the guy in front of me.

 “Oh he is, is he? I suppose he cant do this can he?” He leans forward and takes my lips in a bruising kiss. I bite back a moan and grip his arms, squeezing the hard and tense muscles, while his hands wind into my hair and he pushes his body flat against mine. Craig dominates the kiss, changing direction when I think I’ve got him down. He goes soft and hard, fast and slow, no in between and right now I feel like we are putting on a show for the others. I have tunnel vision and all I can see and hear is us. Our breathing, our lips locking and moving and just how much I need Craig. When he pulls back, I feel a little light-headed and all he can do is smirk. Yeah, cocky Craig is definitely back tonight. But my answer shoots him down a peg.

 “I think he maybe could.”

Happily Ever After

It’s been so long since I’ve written a post. Life has been ever so slightly on the crazy side, and by that what I really mean is that life has been mental. We all know that the release of The Art of Keeping Faith put a few extra grey hairs on my head and since then I have been knee deep in a massive re-write of Gone.

On Sunday I had a bit of downtime with my daughter and did what mums and little girls do best when they have some time together, we snuggled down and watched a fairy tale. Well I watched it, Lana hid under a pillow so she didn’t have to see any kissing on screen.

Happily Ever Afters, you’ve just got to love them!

As we sat there on Sunday I had this thought that maybe I was doing my nearly seven year old daughter a disservice by letting her believe that princes and princesses meet, fall in love, save each other from falling off of tall buildings, sing to each other, dance and then finally live happily forever after.

NAH!

I grew up on that, and there is still a large part of my heart that believes everyone can have a happily forever. Or if not a forever then at least a happy right now. When I was little my favourite film was Slipper and the Rose. Richard Chamberlain and Gemma Craven playing Cinderella and her Prince Charming. I think it may have been made the year I was born (but don’t quote me on that) and I used to watch it on repeat. Especially the bit at the end when Cinderella rocks up at the wedding of the Prince and the Wrong Girl. . . yes that’s right, he nearly marries the wrong girl! Imagine that!

As I got older I started to see it for what it was, just a dream, a fairy tale. I remember when I was doing my A-Levels and I had a day off sick so I popped the old classic on to keep me amused for a couple of hours. By the time it got to the end and Cinderella was sitting there on her swing completely oblivious to the fact he is going to marry someone else I was a bawling hysterical mess. Life was teaching me something that the fairy tales didn’t cover.

That sucks.

Think about all those movies we grew up watching. Dirty Dancing  – “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” Pretty Woman – Richard Gere climbing the fire escape a bunch of roses in his mouth. Never Been Kissed – standing in a stadium waiting for the hot teacher guy to jog onto the pitch and give you a big smooch. . .

Yeah. None of those things ever happen!

 

It makes me think of the new project I am working on. It was an idea that I first had a year or so ago. Again I’d had a movie afternoon with my daughter – I promise we don’t only watch telly together! We’d just got to the end  of Phantom of the Opera, which we both love.  I was already a crying mess, because that bit where Christine goes back to give Phantom his ring nearly kills me every time I watch it. Lana turned to me with the clarity of thought that only a six year old can have and said “Well really Christine should have stayed with Phantom because he loved her first.”

How sweet is that? For a long time the new project was entitled “Loved You First” just from Lana’s words.

I’ve been working away on the manuscript after making my writing buddy Heather a promise that I would write the story for her, but right now I just don’t know how I am going to give them a happily every after.

There’s got to be one though. Everyone deserves a happy ending. I guess the reality of life and the love story I am writing about now, is that it takes some people slighter longer to find it. My eternal optimism tells me that everyone gets one eventually, even if you have to wait a lifetime for it.

 

Here is the song from the movie Lana and I watched at the weekend. Ahhhhhh

 

The Art of Keeping Faith – Update

Well, today something is missing on Amazon that should be on there! That’s right The Art of Keeping Faith.

I’m a bit gutted, as I am sure everyone will understand. I’ve been so desperate to release this book, I am very proud of it and want everyone to read and enjoy the next stage in Lilah and Ben’s life.

Sadly the release of The Art of Keeping Faith is out of my hands and I have just got to keep the faith (see what I did there) in the fact that it will be out in the next few days after this small hiccup.

I’m looking at this situation as some form of karmic payback; I always make life complicated and hard for my characters and now it is happening to me. It’s a challenge but it’s not the end of the world.

This situation which I am going to label “The battle of getting TAoKF on Kindles” is starting to take epic proportions and it reminds me very much of the battle that Lilah and Ben face in the book itself.

So here is a picture and a quote to cheer me up, along with a song that seems particularly app this morning. The story will come home. . . eventually! The Kids and I are completely rocking the new Kaiser Cheifs album in our house and I can guarantee that Lana and I will be singing this very loudly today.

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Cover Reveal

Drum roll please. . . 

After weeks of sitting on the new cover of The Art of Keeping Faith I can finally reveal it to you all. Shirer Burkett-Towler completely smacked the ball out of the park on this one and I am so proud. 

Now before I show the cover I have one minor announcement to make, and that’s the fact that the release date for The Art of Keeping Faith has been pushed back to the 9th April. Sadly this is out of my hands and the decision has been made by the publisher, but at the end of the day, it’s only one more week until Year Two is released on the world and I can live with that!

So here it is; Ben and Lilah, Year Two and The Art of Keeping Faith.

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Lilah and Ben. They are meant to be a thing.

Well, they were. The best thing ever. That was until Lilah decided to teach herself a lesson and let go of Ben since she’s learned The Art of Letting Go.

Now it’s a new academic year, and Lilah has it all to play for and it all to lose as she battles scary lecturers, evil PR girls, and her own inability to make the right decision at the right time.

Life has moved on for Lilah and her friends, and life off campus is more complicated than any of them would have guessed. As the reality of being second-year students sets in and the study starts to build up, cracks begin to appear in the very fabric of their friendships. There is a chance that none of them are going to complete Year Two in one piece.

Facing down her worst enemy, herself, Lilah has to try and change her own past mistakes when she realizes that the only way she is going to get the future she wants is if she manages to learn The Art of Keeping Faith in herself.

The Art of Keeping Faith is the second year in The Uni File Series and continues Lilah McCannon’s diary as she searches for love, tries to find and earn trust, and ultimately discovers who she is really meant to be.

 

Sometimes the only way to meet your future is to face your past.

 

Fix You

Have I ever told you all how much I LOVE this song??

I’m working on the final proof read of The Art of Keeping Faith. It’s got to be back at the publisher tomorrow (Think crazy power reading by yours truly) so I am listening to some of the tunes I used to write the novel to. The truth is, I know this is the the last time I will ever read this book. I have a bit of a thing that once a novel is released I don’t read it again. Even when I go to write the next one, I will just pick up from where it ended in my head, not necessarily on the written page.

So I am trawling through my old playlists and I have come across this. Ahhhhh this is so Lilah and I remember when I was initially drafting The Art of Keeping Faith in Cyprus a year and a half ago, this is one of the songs I was listening to by the pool. Now I am doing my final reread it’s still perfect.

Right time to stop procrastinating. . . Just a few days to go! Hopefully, if I ever get this read through done!

 

Cursed be the Wicked Review

Hi All.

Today is my stop on J.R Richardson’s Blog Tour. I don’t normally do blog tours, but this one I just couldn’t resist, I am sure it will soon become apparent why!

Read on for my Five Star review and a sneaky excerpt.

Cursed be the Wicked final

Cooper Shaw lives his life under a pen name and enjoys the anonymity it provides during his journeys across the globe as a seasoned writer for a travel magazine. When his job lands him in his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts to cover the famous Festival of the Dead, he soon realizes that he can’t stay invisible forever as he faces ghosts from a past he’s been trying to forget ever since he left.

The city holds nothing but bad memories for Coop until he meets a quirky young woman with an old soul and curious insights by the name of Finnley Pierce. While she acts as his tour guide through a town he thought he knew, Finn helps him unearth the truth of his childhood and might even begin to open up his heart.

By unraveling the mystery of his father’s murder, Coop may finally accept who he is, where he came from, and perhaps even realize what he wants for his future.

My Review

It’s taken me a week to write this review. It’s been hanging around in the back of my mind as I attempted to put my feelings for Cursed be the Wicked into some sort of logical order.

I’ve failed.

This review is basically going to take the form of me rambling and trying to tell you all why you most definitely have to read this book.

I have three reason why you should read this book.

1)      Coop

2)      Finn

3)      J.R Richardson is one seriously clever woman

Cursed be the wicked starts with Coop, or Cole Stone as he is known giving us an insight into his childhood, his mother Crazy Maggie Shaw and a brief glimpse into family life. He has divided his life into two manageable sections. The before and the after the moment he was accused of killing his father.

Um excuse me??? I am hooked already.

On the following pages Coop, back in the present, gets a new assignment for his travel journalist job. Thing is it’s an assignment he doesn’t want. Go to Salem Massachusetts and write a piece about why everyone should visit. The irony of this being that Coop is the very last person in the world who wants to visit because he has spent the last ten years running away his old home town and the memories of what happened there. The situation is made worse by the fact the whole of Salem is in uproar after the death of Crazy Maggie Shaw, the crazy woman who thought she was a witch and who’s been in jail for ten years convicted of killing her husband – Coop’s father.

It took me a few pages to get into the mindset of being inside Coop’s head, he was quite sullen and surly in the opening pages, and it was clear he had a trunk load of baggage he was hauling around with him.

But when he gets too Salem and meets Finn at a small B&B we start to see a different side of him. The chemistry between these two is so well written and I found myself highlighting line after line of text as J.R built this amazingly unique relationship. I LOVED being inside the guy’s head for all their scene’s and again J.R completely had her style and Coop’s ‘tone’ down in perfection.

Finn, or Finnlay as she hates to be called is quirky and oddball. She’s independent, and completely free-spirited, basically she is the perfect catalyst to make Coop face up to his past and during the pages of the book this is what she does. Together they unravel all the secrets that Coop doesn’t understand. I loved that Finn was so free spirited and not a needy heroine. She was mature and always tried to do the right thing even if it meant she didn’t get what she wanted.

Now I don’t believe in giving plot’s away in reviews, basically because it drives me crazy when I read a review and then no longer have to read the book myself.  But what I can say is that the plot of this story has so many unique plot turns and twist, it keeps you on your toes. There was one moment where I actually shouted at my iPad. I loved the layering effect that J.R strengthened her story with. Nothing is as it seems, a bit like being in one of those mirror rooms at a circus where any turn could lead you in a different direction or make you see things, even characters differently.

So while I am not going to tell you anything of what happens I can tell you that it is mind-blowingly clever.

Another standout element of this book that I just have to mention, even though I have rambled on too long is the amazing writing style J.R has. Some of the prose is just beautiful, and again I found myself underlining every bit that I had to read twice, just because it was so perfect I wanted to make sure I remembered it.  My chest aches. It’s going to explode any minute now, until Finn places her palm against where my heart lives and looks into my soul.

There is also a lot of humour especially in Coop’s internal thoughts. The dead don’t call their sons and freak them the fuck out for no reason.

It’s the balance between the poetic heart stopping imagery and the quick fire one liners that makes this book just an around perfect read for me. Add to this, magic, Salem, witches and well you’ve pretty much got me over a barrel.

J.R I hate you for being so damn clever and making me jealous but I love you for writing the single best book I have read in a long time.

Five glowing stars from me.

You can add Cursed be the Wicked to your Goodreads TBR here

Or buy on Amazon here

So now for that little excerpt. This is Coop and Finn’s first meeting, and I love it.

* * * 

“Raymond, I’m tired. I don’t have time for this to-”

The woman standing behind the front desk spins to see, not Raymond, whoever the hell that is, but me. As she comes to the realization that I’m not who she thinks I am, I get the feeling she still thinks I’m someone as she finishes her sentence.

“Night.”

Her long, brown hair looks as though it’s trying to escape the ponytail she’s pulled it into. Her eyes are dark, fierce even. It feels like she’s peering straight into my soul, or piercing it, as they stare across the front entry way toward me.

Her mouth falls open slightly as her eyes narrow, and now I’m getting the impression she’s trying to place me or, maybe she already has placed me.
Not good.

She looks away when her eyes catch up with mine and I approach with caution. As she begins to type away at the keyboard in front of her, I try to side step the awkwardness beginning to form by clearing my throat.

“I’m um-”

“I know who you are,” she cuts me off, sharply.

“You do?” I ask.  Blood begins to rush through me. I clench my jaw, waiting for the judgmental comments to arrive.

Her eyes soften then, and she simply nods with a thin line forming across her lips.

She studies me, then twists her mouth up as though she’s disappointed of all things.

I get it. Just about half the town thought I was the one that killed my father, even after my mother confessed,

“Seems like every other Tom, Dick, and Harry in the media’s shown up already. You may as well join ‘em,” she says, and I’m surprised yet relieved at her words. In a way.

“You think I’m…?”

“You’ve got paparazzi written all over you.”

She arches an eyebrow.

I don’t mean to but I laugh out loud from the sheer relief that she has no idea who I am. I also feel the need to defend myself because I’m not a fan of being lumped in with the paps.

“I’m not-”

“The funeral’s not for another week, ya know,” she informs me, going back to her computer.

“You’re mistaken,” I insist, even though she’s right. I am media. Technically.

“Really,” she replies, like she’s not quite buying it. So I push harder. I’m very convincing when I want to be.

“Yes. Really,” I tell her and now she’s back to eying me and we’re staring each other down for a minute or two.  I’m convinced she’s going to fight me on this but in the end, she bites her tongue and goes back to banging away on the keyboard.

“In town for the festival then?” she asks, changing the subject. Like whatever just happened didn’t happen at all, which both intrigues and irritates me at the same time.

I watch her a bit while she busies herself with the computer. The way she tucks some stray hairs behind her ear and then lets her fingers graze her neck before she goes back to typing. The easy way her fingers fly across the keyboard. And how she is most definitely avoiding eye contact with me for some reason.

I spot her name tag. She doesn’t look familiar to me but you never know.

Betsy.

Betsy, Betsy, Betsy.

I can’t think of a single Betsy I knew growing up.

She looks up and her eyes narrow again. It’s only now that I’m aware of the fact that I’ve been glaring at her for the past couple of minutes without saying a word. I clear my throat and forget to speak when she licks her lips and then takes the bottom one in between her teeth.

I am officially an ape.

She lets it go.

I stare some more.

“So . . . ?”

“What?” I snap, a tad more abrasive than I intend.

“Do you have a reservation?” she asks, trying to be polite without letting on that she most likely thinks I’m the slowest dolt on the planet.

Jesus.

Maybe I am crazy.

Maybe it runs in the family.

I gather my senses and shake off the odd feeling of vertigo I’m having.

“No,” is all I give her. Then I drop my bags and rest my elbows against the counter. My eyes close as I rub my temples, anxiously waiting to hear her tell me they’re all booked up, forcing me to drive those extra miles after all.

I mean, what would it take? Ten, twenty minutes tops to get there?

“Helloooo.”

My lids open to see her staring at me with curled eyebrows and a worried look in her eyes. They look so familiar to me again.

I just can’t…

“Are you drunk?” She asks. It takes me aback.

“What?”

“Because I’m not in the mood for-”

“I’m not drunk,” I assure her, wishing I was.  As she eyes me carefully once again, I feel her staring straight through me.

* * *

A little bit about J.R Richardson

Bio:

BIO PIC for SMP

A writer of stories and lover of life.

Jo grew up in Maryland with four siblings, three parents and an endless number of cousins within the vicinity. Today she lives in Florida with her two girls and a husband that shares her same sense of humor and basic take on life as we know it.

Giveaway

There is also a give away to celebrate the release of this amazing book. Click on the link to take part and for your chance to win.

RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY