Thursday, 29 March 2012

FREE Flings and Arrows - but not for much longer!

Absolutely delighted to raise my author profile and outreach with the sort of results I would never have dreamed of.  In the UK my second novel Flings and Arrows has hit the Number 1 spot in Contemporary Romance Bestsellers, Number 1 in Humour and as I type it sits at Number 3 in the entire Kindle Store.  Thank you to everybody who downloaded...and I think there is still a little time left to all those who yet haven't!  xx

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Read Flings and Arrows FOR FREE!

For today and tomorrow only I am giving fans of contemporary romance a little present.  You can download my second novel, Flings and Arrows, FREE.  If you enjoy the story, all I ask is you leave a few positive words on and

Steph Garvey has been married to husband Si for 24 years. Steph thought they were soulmates. Until recently. Surely one’s soulmate shouldn’t put Chelsea Football Club before her? Or boycott caressing her to fondle the remote control? Fed up, Steph uses her Tesco staff discount to buy a laptop. Her friends all talk about Facebook. It’s time to get networking.

Si is worried about middle-age spread and money. Being a self-employed plumber isn’t easy in recession. He’s also aware things aren’t right with Steph. But Si has forgotten the art of romance. Although these days Steph prefers cuddling her laptop to him. Then Si’s luck changes work wise. A mate invites Si to partner up on a pub refurbishment contract.

Son Tom has finished Sixth Form. Tom knows where he’s going regarding a career. He’s not quite so sure where he’s going regarding women and lurches from one frantic love affair to the next.

Widowed neighbour June adores the Garveys as if her own kin. And although 70, she’s still up for romance. June thinks she’s struck gold when she meets salsa squeeze Harry. He has a big house and bigger pension – key factors when you’ve survived a winter using your dog as a hot water bottle. June is vaguely aware that she’s attracted the attention of fellow dog walker Arnold, but her eyes are firmly on Harry as ‘the catch’.

But then Cupid’s arrow misfires causing madness and mayhem. Steph rekindles a childhood crush with Barry Hastings; Si unwittingly finds himself being seduced by barmaid Dawn; June discovers Harry is more than hot to trot; and Tom's latest strumpet impacts on all of them. Will Cupid's arrow strike again and, more importantly, strike correctly? There's only one way to find out....

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Lucky Seven : Extract from Silicone and Stretchmarks

Lucky Seven : Silicone and Stretchmarks

I was tagged by Rebecca Emin for a Lucky Seven Excerpt.

The rules are simple:
1. Go to page 77 in your current manuscript
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next seven lines as they are – no cheating
4. Tag 7 other authors (Done on Facebook)

This is my extract from Silicone and Stretchmarks which is still a work in progress but hopefully ready for release later this year:

Jonas was giving me teenage torment.  Only last week, when vacuuming his room, I’d found a magazine under his desk.  It had been full of naked women.  Taking a marker pen, I’d drawn dresses and swimsuits on all the busty ladies.  Sensible ones too.  No plunging necklines or high-cut legs.  Accessories followed – Harry Potter spectacles, one or two blacked out teeth and some handlebar moustaches.  And then I’d carefully returned the magazine under the desk.  Jonas hadn’t said anything.  And neither had I.  But I knew that he knew that I knew that he knew and I knew that he knew it too.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

You can’t have a decent conversation if there is a goat in the vicinity. They always butt in...

It’s that time of year when the sun wakes up and beams a few warm rays our way.  Everybody is deliriously happy about ‘the good weather’.  Suddenly joggers abound, their chalk white limbs poking optimistically out of shorts.  I like the warmer weather.  It means the pooch and I don’t get rained on when going for a walk.  It also signals the start of various charity runs.

Yesterday, as I was picking up my emails, Eleanor stuck her head round the study door.
            ‘It’s Sport Relief tomorrow,’ she said, ‘and I’m doing a sponsored run.’
            ‘Jolly good,’ I murmured spotting an email from Neighbourhood Watch.  HAVE YOU SEEN THIS GOAT? demanded the subject line.
            ‘Will you sponsor me?’ asked Eleanor.
            ‘Of course,’ I said clicking on the email.  There was a mug shot of a goat which had apparently broken out of some neighbouring allotments and buggered off.
            ‘I’m running three miles,’ Eleanor continued, ‘so will you give me a pound a mile?’
            I read the email’s blurb.  The heartbroken owner of the goat begged for anybody with information to get in touch via a mobile number.  ‘Anything you want,’ I said absent-mindedly.
            Eleanor’s eyes lit up.  ‘Well twenty quid would be great, thanks Mum!’
            I decided to take the pooch for a walk and keep my eyes peeled for a runaway goat.

That evening my husband took me out to dinner.  I look forward to Saturday nights as we tend to be like passing ships during the week and it gives us a chance to actually see something of each other.  As Spring heralds the time of year for me being a golf widow, Mr V likes to update me with a blow by blow account of how he fared around the green.  As there are eighteen holes on a golf course and it takes about four hours to go from start to finish, you appreciate Mr V’s recital isn’t a five minute tale.  I did lots of oohing and aahing and promptly zoned out.  My thoughts travelled to Eleanor and something about doing a run for Sport Relief on Sunday morning.  Was that this Sunday or next Sunday?  And I really must remember to go to the cash dispenser and get some money out so I could pay the maths tutor and then give Eleanor her three quid sponsor money and perhaps a little bit extra for effort.

            I zoned back into Mr V’s conversation.  ‘And the ball was stuck in the bunker but I chipped it out,’ he waggled his wrists by way of demonstration, ‘and I said to myself, “Oh yes!  Eat your heart out Tiger!”’ I privately thought that Tiger Woods might not have been in the bunker in the first place.  ‘And then...,’ my husband continued, so I promptly zoned out again.  I decided to bring up the subject of our summer holiday when the next instalment of The Rider Cup was over.  I took a sip of Bacardi and, for a moment, allowed myself to drift off to a place that strongly resembled Paradise where turquoise waves lapped white sand.  ‘So what do you make of that?’ asked Mr V.
            ‘Amazing,’ I replied.
            ‘That’s what I thought,’ said my husband.  ‘I mean, it’s not every day you see a goat trundling along the Top Dartford Road.’
            Like a rubber band, my concentration sprang back to reality.  ‘What goat?’ I asked straightening up.
            ‘I just told you,’ said Mr V, ‘there was a goat.  Trotting along.’
            ‘Didn’t you stop the car,’ I asked, ‘and grab hold of it?’
            ‘What for?’ Mr V looked at me blankly.
            ‘To catch it!’ I exclaimed.
            ‘Well, no.  I presumed it belonged to somebody,’ Mr V looked perplexed.
            ‘Didn’t it strike you as odd to see a goat happily heading towards Dartford?’ I asked incredulously.
            ‘Well yes and no,’ said Mr V, ‘I thought it was being taken for a walk.  You know,’ he shrugged, ‘like a dog.  But off the lead.’
            I stared at my husband.  ‘What, as in the owner wasn’t far away and any second now would put his fingers to his lips, let out a piercing whistle and yell, “Oi Billy!  Heel!”’
            Mr V nodded in agreement.  ‘Something like that, yes.’

            I’ve since told Neighbourhood Watch that the goat was last seen heading towards Dartford, possibly toward the A2 where it might thumb a lift to London.  Meanwhile my daughter has presented me with her invoice to be settled at the end of today:

            One train ticket to London £5
            One Sport Relief t-shirt £8
            Restaurant bill after race £15
            Sponsorship £20

            Total £48.

Where’s that goat?  I’m joining it.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Happy Mothers Day

When we are young many of us automatically assume we will follow in the paths of our parents, find a partner and go on to have children.  And for most of us this does indeed happen.  I can remember excitedly reaching the point in my marriage where a baby was on the agenda.  And then waiting in vain as month after month, nothing happened.  The first year turned into a second year which then rolled into a third. 

It is difficult watching friends around you start their families without so much as a blip.  ‘Oh,’ one friend happily told me, ‘my hubby only has to look at me and I’m big with child.’  Jolly good.  Jolly, jolly good.  Except it isn’t jolly at all.  Although you are delighted for your friend and wish her and her growing bump all the love and luck in the world, I would be a liar to say that a part of me was envious beyond belief.  I never turned into one of those women who couldn’t look at a pram without bursting into tears, although again I would be a liar to say a tiny bundle tucked into a sea of fluffy blue or pink blankets didn’t make me feel sad.  I eventually made an appointment with a gynaecologist to find out what was wrong.  And then, just as I was about to have investigative surgery, I was suddenly pregnant. 

My son was born nine months later and it was a joy.  Hurrah.  A mother at last.  I took great delight in wheeling my own pram around and showing off my own tiny bundle tucked into said blue sea of fluffy blue blankets.  But hormones are a funny thing.  After promising God that if I were granted just one child I’d never ask for another, I found myself longing for Baby Number Two.  I wasn’t surprised when, once again, the months turned into years.  This time around I did have investigative surgery.  And discovered that thanks to a burst appendix and peritonitis at the age of 19, I had almost totally blocked fallopian tubes and scar tissue stuck all over my intestines.  The gynaecologist was amazed I’d ever achieved a pregnancy with my son.  So everything was put right and, thankfully, my daughter followed very soon thereafter. 

Some of us become parents so easily, and for others it is a real difficulty.  But of one thing I am sure.  It is a blessing to be a mother and one for which I am very grateful.  Happy Mother’s Day everybody.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Gardeners learn by trowel and error..

Spring has sprung and suddenly I want to spend all my time in the garden.  However, following a recent op I’m not yet able to lift our steamroller of a lawnmower.  So I asked Mr V to do the lawn.  I was a bit twitchy about this request.  The garden is my domain after all.  I don’t have OCD for nothing and prefer my blades of grass to point upwards, and the finished lawn to have that manicured criss-cross chessboard finish.  Mr V assured me it wasn’t a problem, so I left him to it and set about digging over a flowerbed and planting 180 mixed bulbs.

One hour later I’d finished planting.  Mr V had long since disappeared.  He’d put the lawnmower away but left an extension lead out.  It resembled a ball of tangled wool.

            ‘What happened to the extension lead?’ I asked incredulously.
            ‘I haven’t the faintest idea,’ Mr V scratched his head.  ‘It somehow got all knotted up.’

Such is the way with Mr V.  He does one job and makes another.  Fifteen minutes later I’d sorted out the extension lead and put it away in the garage.  And that was when I discovered all the bags of grass cuttings dumped on my little ornamental wheelbarrow.  I lifted the heavy bags off to find the wheelbarrow – awaiting a tray of seedlings to bloom – quite broken.

My husband runs a company, is logical about money, wise about teenage tantrums and rarely loses his temper.  It never fails to amaze me how some people can be so good at certain things, and...well...not so good at other things.  I’m not the cleverest of people, but like to think I’m practical – that what I lack in brain power I make up for in common sense.  I tried not to let irritation get the better of me, took a deep breath, told myself the extension lead was now useable again and possibly the wheelbarrow could be repaired.  At least it wasn’t like the time when Mr V had taken a video tape from my bedside drawer and used it to record a football match.  And erased every single filmed memory of the children growing up.  Feeling a bit more soothed, I walked past the lawn and stared in amazement.  Yes, quite moth eaten.

I decided to go in and make a cup of tea.  The door to the kitchen had been left open as it was such a beautiful day.  I stepped into the kitchen and encountered my dog, an awful lot of mud and several flower bulbs.  Turning on my heel I went back to the flowerbed I’d not long since finished working on.  Yes, completely dug over by my pooch with bulbs all over the place.

Gardens are lovely places but not necessarily Paradise.  I sighed and went back to the kitchen to make my cuppa...

Sunday, 4 March 2012

What do dentists and the current WIP have in common? The answer is pain...

Stayed up until nearly 3 in the morning drafting the third novel.  Have now well and truly passed the half-way mark on the sequel to Stockings and Cellulite.  Thanks to the lovely emails received begging to know what happens next, Cass, Morag and Nell are reunited and this time they have a brood of babies.  Yes, Cass was most definitely pregnant at the end of Stockings.  What happens next?  Well Morag might now be a yummy mummy but she’s still a sexual predator; Nell has also popped a sprog and is struggling to get back into both her jeans and a routine, while Cass is juggling weaning and getting her head around the reappearance of Selina, the glamorous Nemesis who did her best to split Cass and hubby Jamie up last time around.  And if Selina has her way, this time she’ll do it permanently.  Yes, we’re talking murder.

It is a nuisance that when in the midst of thinking up murderous plots, real life gets in the way.  The telephone interrupted one particularly drug-induced chapter (the character being under the influence, not me) with my son calling from university.  ‘Hello darling,’ I trilled, ‘how lovely to hear from you.  How are the dental studies going?’  ‘Stressfully,’ barked Robbie.  ‘My uniform is too big.  I look like a shepherd in a nativity play.  Clinic is in ten minutes.  What can I do?’  Mothers are meant to solve these problems instantly.  Even from the other end of a telephone.  My son didn’t appreciate being told to put a tea towel on his head and laugh it off.  Ten minutes later he’d bashed my credit card and bought a smaller uniform.

And talking of dental matters, I had to visit the dentist this week.  Fifty quid to spend five minutes in a reclining chair that goes up and down and have a little mirror whizz around the mouth.  ‘All looking super Mrs Viggiano,’ twinkled the dentist.  Naturally his own pearlies were whiter than white and one could almost see the accompanying little star bounce off an incisor.  Actually I don’t begrudge my dentist a penny.  He’s had a terrible time with me over the years thanks to an in-built fear of the dreaded drill and a low pain-threshold where root canal work is concerned.  That and overdosing on Marathon Man.  Utter torture.

Which brings me full-circle back to the writing.  Because the insufferable Selina is about to dish out a bit of torture herself...