Monday, 2 May 2016

And the winners are...


Hey Everyone!

A few giveaways have ended and that means it's time to announce who won!

So congrats to

the lucky winner of an ebook copy of Passion Storm by Diane Escalara is

Kim Pinch


the lucky winner of an ebook copy of The Exorcist Who Loved Me by Jennifer Savalli is

Anne


the lucky winner of an ebook copy of Silent Sentry by Theresa Rizzo is

erinf


Congratulations! I have sent you a notification e-mail, please get back to me within 48 hours or I will have to draw new winners. Thank you!

Have a great week!
 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Excerpt: Passion Storm by Diane Escalera + Giveaway

If you are dreaming of sunshine and sandy beaches and can't wait for the warmer weather to finally be here (or just winter to be over), read Diane Escalera's new book Passion Storm, taking place in the hot Bahamas! Nothing like a sizzling romance to make you forget about the chilly weather outside. (And if you are lucky to be flying off for an impromptu spring break to some place sunny and warm, then take this book, perfect for some lazy beach reading in the sun ;-)


A looming hurricane has nothing on the storm raging inside...

Karina Valdez loves a good adventure, but jetting off to the Bahamas with a complete stranger is taking it to the extreme. She can’t believe her meddling best friend entered her in a radio dating contest. Even more shocking? Karina won! A tropical getaway she can do. Making a love connection with a hot local bachelor, not so much. Especially when she’s not looking for a man.

Meteorologist Andrew Romano is psyched over winning the radio contest. He’s ready to settle down and get married, prove once and for all that he’s not a player. The contest will surely help his chances—he’s been matched with his perfect woman. Too bad she doesn’t want him. To make matters worse, an erratic storm has shifted direction and is whirling toward them. Andy will do whatever it takes to win over the elusive beauty and keep her safe. He can handle a hurricane. But what about the other storm waiting to be unleashed?


Excerpt 

Andy had never felt happier. He couldn’t believe his good fortune. Karina in the Bahamas, and staying right next door. It hadn’t been easy getting her here, but he wouldn’t dwell on the past when the present offered way more excitement. Just him and her. No tricks. No games. A man and a woman with a weeklong vacation to get to know each other. He’d let things evolve naturally. If his suspicions were true, that’s all he would have to do. Karina would come around. She’d learn what he already knew. Overly optimistic? Maybe. But he’d always been a positive guy.

Early evening now, he figured she had to be hungry for dinner. He took the initiative and made all the arrangements. “Want some company?” he called out to Karina, who sat on her deck sipping a cocktail. She watched as he climbed the wooden stairs. “Food?” He stepped onto the patio and flashed his biggest smile. With a bottle of wine and a picnic basket in hand, he said, “You can’t say no this time.”

“Actually, I can.”

He looked at her pretty lips. “Yeah. But you won’t.”

Instead of tossing his ass down the stairs, she laughed. “I’ll let you stay this time.” She took the wine from him.

Without saying a word, he popped open his basket and began to extract all kinds of goodies. First he draped a white cloth over the table. Then he lit a lavender candle. He fished out two crystal goblets and set them down. Next he laid a foil-covered plate in the center. When he removed the aluminum, a tangy aroma engulfed the deck.

“What is that?” She set down the wine and hovered over the scent.

“That’s Bahamian maki rolls with conch, and this is mango and cucumber with pickled ginger.”

Karina studied the plate. “Smells good.”

“Last time we ate together we couldn’t see.” Chuckling, he slid out a colorful chair. “Have a seat.”

“No thanks. I’d rather stand.”

“Okay. I’ll stand with you.”

“Fine, I’ll sit,” she said, dropping into the chair.

He uncorked the wine and filled their glasses. “We couldn’t find our mouths,” he said, handing her a drink.

“We still managed.”

“We did, didn’t we?” He analyzed her more carefully. Her hair looked different tonight. Long bangs that were usually swept to one side were clipped back. It emphasized the shape of her oval face and made her striking eyes stand out even more.

“What is this again?”

He lifted a roll and brought it to her mouth. “Here. Taste it.”

She gave him a look. “We’re not wearing blindfolds. I think I can feed myself.”

“Right,” he said, and stuffed the piece into his own mouth. He let out a pleasurable moan. “Good stuff. You’re missing out.”

She picked up a roll and tore off a hearty bite. “Am not.”

Unlike the blind date, this time they watched each other intently. For every bite he took, she took two. 

First she polished off her cocktail. Then she killed the glass of wine. Without taking his eyes off her, he refilled her glass. They played their little food game until every crumb had been eaten.

“What is it with us and food?” He liked their form of foreplay. At least, that’s how it felt to him.

She shrugged her shoulders. “This is an awesome place. The radio station got one thing right.”

“They got more than one thing right.” Angling his face, his eyes met hers and he winked. “No regrets here.”

“Well, I have one or two.”

He laughed at her bold spirit, her fight. A captivating mouth turned him serious again. She had the most amazing lips. How long would it take to kiss her again? Not long, if he had any say in the matter.



Born and raised in the Bronx, NY, Diane Escalera makes her home in coastal North Carolina. The sultry surroundings are a steady source of inspiration for her hot love stories. Diane is married, has two children and a super cute dachshund she can’t get enough of. She writes contemporary romance and is published with Kensington Publishing and Lyrical Press.

Connect with Diane at her website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Diane has generously offered one ebook copy of Passion Storm to a lucky reader!


To be entered simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 23 April 2016!

Good luck!

Monday, 11 April 2016

Guest post by Jennifer Savalli + Giveaway

I don't know about you, but I looove my romances to have some chuckle out loud humour in them. It can be a funny character, a hilarious situation or just a spark of a line that makes me smile/chuckle/laugh out loud. I've noticed that those stories, which make me laugh are more memorable and stand out from all the books I read. And talking of witty and humourous stories, just reading Jennifer Savalli's post about what inspired her novels I'd bet her Must Love Ghosts series is plenty entertaining! So read on to get a first taste and if you answer Jennifer's question you'll be entered to win yourself a copy of The Exorcist Who Loved Me :-)

People often ask me how I come up with story ideas. I love this question because one of my favorite things about writing is that magical moment of inspiration. And inspiration comes from everywhere around you.

The idea for MUST LOVE GHOSTS, the first in the series, came one day when my mother-in-law told me how, every day, she talks to the urn holding the ashes of her mother. Much to my surprise, my scientifically-minded father-in-law chimed in that he too talks to the urns containing the ashes of his relatives. I’d always been a bit weirded out that my in-laws kept the ashes of all their nearest relatives and their pet dogs, but in that moment a spark of creativity ignited in my brain and I wondered, “What if a woman inherited the urns of her family members … and the spirits in the urns talked back?”

As usually happens, the idea for that story morphed and grew and became something different by the time I’d finished. But the kernel of that moment with my in-laws remained.

When I sent the first chapter of MUST LOVE GHOSTS to my critique partners, one of them marked a line where I’d written about how the heroine believed the hero had conned one of her patients. My awesome CP wondered in the margin if I could give a quick hit of juicy details, like the patient was a widow with two young children. Bam, the idea for THE EXORCIST WHO LOVED ME exploded in my brain.

I’d write a story about a widowed single mom who’s possessed by a ghost and the sexy exorcist who falls in love with her. As usual, the story changed as I teased it out in my mind. Who’s possessing her? The husband seemed to be the obvious choice, but I didn’t want obvious and having her dead husband watch over her courtship would be too creepy, even though I knew by then she’d been very unhappily married. What if she were possessed by her husband’s mistress? That sounded like a fun story (yeah, I’ve got a warped sense of humor), but why would her husband and his mistress both be dead? Because her no-good husband was involved in high-stakes fraud, that’s why, and it had gotten him killed.

That is where my story ideas come from: chance comments combining with the wackiness in my brain.

I hope you have as much fun reading THE EXORCIST WHO LOVED ME as I had writing it. And I had a lot of fun writing Holly’s and Lawe’s story, possibly because Lawe became my favorite book boyfriend as I wrote.

Speaking of fun, I’m giving away an e-copy of THE EXORCIST WHO LOVED ME to one lucky winner. Just leave a comment below and tell me who’s your book boyfriend.

The Exorcist Who Loved Me by Jennifer Savalli

Book #2 in the Must Love Ghosts series

Digging up the truth could lead them to their graves.

Hiring an exorcist is not something widowed single mom Holly Archer ever thought she’d do. But the blackouts she’s been having mean someone—or something—is hijacking her body and she wants it stopped, like yesterday.

The hottie who shows up at her door is the first man who’s sparked her interest since her awful marriage. It’s no hardship to give herself over to his skills, and in short order the spirit is ejected—and Holly comes face to face with Celia, the ghost of her dead husband’s mistress.

Lawe Callahan figured this would be an easy case, and by morning he’d be headed for another town, leaving Holly and her witchy amber eyes behind. Until she agrees to help the ghost, who refuses to budge until her killer is brought to justice.

As the investigation heats up, so does Lawe and Holly’s attraction. But their differences not only threaten any chance of something real, their quest for the truth could drive a killer to tie up all loose ends—permanently.

Warning: Contains a footloose exorcist who doesn’t let grave dirt stick to his feet for long, and a woman who isn’t in a hurry to commune with the dead. A little sleuthing, a little more gettin’ nekkid, and a lotta angst.

Buy at Amazon - B&N - Samhain

Excerpt

The man on her doorstep didn’t look like any priest Holly Archer had ever seen.

He was about her age, late twenties, and wore a black cowboy hat over curly brown hair. The fading red and orange sunlight glinted off his silver glasses. They were like some kind of steampunk accessory, round with dark lenses. Under an open jacket, his gray T-shirt stretched across a muscular chest unfairly wasted on a man of the cloth. She kept her eyes on the two necklaces he wore—one a silver cross and the other some kind of small leather pouch—to stop her gaze from roaming lower. She was already headed to the special corner of hell reserved for women who ogled holy men. Given the reason she’d called him, she’d get the upgrade to a direct flight, no stops, no waiting.

“You look more like a guitarist than a priest,” she said.

An awkward silence stretched out, broken only by the rustling of dead leaves falling from the trees.

“Yeah, I get that all the time,” he said at last. “I’m not a priest.”

“Oh, thank God. I mean, that’s a relief. I mean, that’s not what I mean.” Her fingers clenched on the doorframe, and she imagined banging her head into it. Stupid, stupid. She sounded like a teenager tongue-tied over a cute boy instead of an exhausted widow with toddler twins and absolutely no interest in men. One awful marriage had been enough.

His words caught up with her short-circuiting brain. “Wait, what do you mean you’re not a priest? I have a situation here that needs to be resolved, like, yesterday.”

Now he smiled, if you could call that slight shift of his lips a smile. “This isn’t the movies. We don’t need an old priest, a young priest, a goat, or the blood of a virgin. Or the blood of a non-virgin, for that matter.” He hitched the strap of his black duffel bag higher on his shoulder and held out a hand. “I’m Lawe Callahan. Exorcist.”

His skin wasn’t soft and manicured like her husband’s had been. What roughened an exorcist’s hands? Best not to think about it. Besides, he felt warm and comforting, and she was in desperate need of warmth and comfort.

“You really aren’t a priest? And you’ll still be able to get rid of...” Her voice trailed off and she swallowed. “You can get rid of my problem?”

He hadn’t let go of her hand, and now he gave it a squeeze. “Trust me. I’m good at what I do.”

He’d been recommended by someone she trusted. Okay, the paranormal investigator who’d done the preliminary work on her case had been recommended by someone she trusted. That guy had said she needed an exorcist and put her in touch with Lawe. It wasn’t like she had a lot of options. Googling “exorcist for hire” had produced a freakshow of possibilities. This guy seemed sane. Strange, but definitely sane.

She stepped back from the door. “Come on in.”

Buy at Amazon - B&N - Samhain



Jennifer Savalli loves all things paranormal, chocolate and Whedon. Her writing career began in the third grade when her teacher asked for one sentence on each of six pictures in a series, and she turned in a multi-page detective story. Now she spends her days writing about the magic and mayhem of falling in love.

Connect with Jennifer at her website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Jennifer has generously offered one ebook copy of The Exorcist Who Loved Me to a lucky reader!


To be entered just leave a comment answering Jennifer's question: who’s your book boyfriend?

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 23 April 2016!

Good luck!

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Guest post by Theresa Rizzo + Giveaway

Please give a warm welcome to Theresa Rizzo, who is here to tell you about how she went about to write her latest release Silent Sentry and how deep she went to research it! There is also a giveaway waiting for you at the end. ;-)

Thanks for featuring me on you blog, Stella.

With each book I write, I like to give myself a challenge, whether it be the subject matter or the genre. For Silent Sentry, my challenge was to write a totally fresh story that wasn’t cliché—that didn’t feature a navy seal, a damaged war vet, or a cynical, burned out cop/detective. I wanted an unlikely hero like Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. So my hero was going to be a surgeon.

At the time, the advice was to write what you know. Well, I knew Grosse Pointe, I had a bachelor’s degree in nursing and grew up in a medical family, I’m married to an engineer, and I know big Italian families. So I thought of a plot to tie it all together.

Silent Sentry, is a complicated romantic suspense. I researched the complex problem of Detroit’s decline. I was fascinated to learn the history of the mafia in both Detroit and Grosse Pointe and how it exerts control still—even though the Grosse Pointe Officer I interviewed initially denied their existence. I studied gangs in Detroit. I researched local settings used in the story, ie hotels, restaurants like the historic Whitney where the climax takes place and local stores like Ahee Jewelers.


My dad was a general surgeon before he retired and Dad’s partner was a very early adopter of laparoscopic surgery, so I consulted with him about that part of the story. For the computer aspects, my husband is an electrical engineer who architects integrated circuit computer chips. So he was my main resource for Prometheus and Gianna’s computer work.

I used the internet to research, I email experts and interview them, I interview them in person, I went on “field trips” into bad neighborhoods of Detroit to plan Gianna’s neighborhood, take pictures and get a solid “feel” for the environment. I interviewed Grosse Pointe police about the current mafia; I consulted with Macomb county Sherriff to fact check the entire book. I read many books on the mafia and various subjects, watched documentaries, kept computer files and binders of pictures, articles, and book plot and character sketches.


I also like to include contemporary issues in my stories to give them a bit more texture and depth. In Silent Sentry I explored Detroit’s deterioration before it’s bankruptcy. So I put a lot of work outside of writing into my books.

I like to dig in deep and give my readers a little more than just an entertaining read. What about you? Is an entertaining story good enough or do you like a little more depth to your books?


Theresa Rizzo is an award-winning author who writes emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and families through real-life trials. 

Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her husband of thirty years. She’s raised four wonderful children who are now scattered across the country.

Find Theresa on the web at her website - Twitter - Facebook - Goodreads


Award-winning author Theresa Rizzo delivers a thrilling crime novel packed with suspense, romance, and redemption.

The Scarfilis and Donnatellis love deeply and protect fiercely. “Family takes care of family” is the code they live by.

So when a hacker threatens Gianna Donnatelli’s life, Dr. Joe Scarfili is determined to keep her safe, only he has no police or tech experience, and Gianna’s penchant for aiding Detroit’s underprivileged is the same kind of altruism that got his wife killed. Gianna protects Joe with the same unyielding resolve.

Gianna pushes all his insecurity buttons. Joe tries her patience like no other. But together they’ll fight to save each other and their love… Or die trying.



GIVEAWAY RULES:

Theresa has generously offered an ebook copy of Silent Sentry to a lucky commenter!


To be entered just leave a comment and answer Theresa's question: What about you? Is an entertaining story good enough or do you like a little more depth to your books?

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 20 April 2016!

Good luck!

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Guest post by Kara Leigh Miller & Jody Holford + Giveaway

Creating Strong Characters

by Jody Holford & Kara Leigh Miller

There are loads of awesome articles about how to develop strong characters. You can create long outlines or lists that help you get to truly know your character inside and out. When we create our characters, particularly the women, we want to create someone that audiences can identify with, connect to, and see themselves in.

There’s a careful balance when putting together a character because they must be flawed but not annoying. No one wants to read an entire book about the girl in the horror movie who knew better than to go outside. She’s annoying. This is why she doesn’t last in the movie. If she’d just listened to you screaming at her not to, she wouldn’t have opened the door and she’d have survived.

However, they can’t be perfect, because that is also annoying. None of us are perfect and it’s human nature to compare ourselves to others. That’s hard enough in real life, but in fiction, we want an escape. We want to fall into a world where we could be friends with the character. Someone who never messes up, falls flat on their face, or makes a mistake is not realistic. Likewise, how they recover from those moments impacts how we feel about them.

Our character Kristy has several flaws. For one, she’s ignoring the fact that she has anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder. She doesn’t heed the warnings from her friends, she blows off their concerns, and she ignores the symptoms and signs that she’s escalating. To balance this and hopefully make sure that readers don’t become frustrated with her, we have to have other qualities that redeem her. She’s funny, even when she doesn’t mean to be, which is sometimes funnier than if she’d tried. She’s got a charming innocence and faith and looks at the bright side of situations. She’s a loyal friend, she’s brave, and she’s willing, finally, to ask for help when she learns she’s in too deep.

For every characteristic we have, in real life and in fiction, there is a positive and negative. We capitalize on that when we write. So, for example, stubborn could be a highly irritating trait in a character if they never listen to reason, if they won’t do what they should, or if they push back against those trying to help them every time. Yet, flip the coin and that same stubbornness can be what saves a character’s life, helps them find the answers because they didn’t give up, and in Kristy’s case, refuse to let Jackson block her out because he’s scared of feeling too much.

The key, in our opinion, is to try to make a character that is relatable. Even your closest friends have ‘quirks’ or things you might wish to change. Your fictional friends need these as well. They need the good and the bad, the up and the down to round them out, to balance them and make them authentic. When you do that, you allow the reader to fall deeper into the story so it feels more like they’re along for the ride.

Jaded Love by Kara Leigh Miller & Jody Holford

They can pretend they’re fine…

Moving to NYC is supposed to be the fresh start Kristy Andrews so desperately needs, but she can't seem to shake the after-effects of having been kidnapped last year.

Detective Jackson Reed never meant to kill an innocent man, but knowing that doesn’t change the guilt he lives with every single day.

But they can’t hide forever…

When Kirsty and Jackson meet, the connection is instantaneous, but neither is ready to open up about their pasts. Can love and trust conquer their demons?

In order to have a future, they’ll have to face their past…

When Kristy starts receiving threatening messages, her anxiety kicks into overdrive, but the last thing she wants is Jackson worrying about her.

Jackson may doubt his ability to return to active duty, but he has no doubts about his instincts concerning Kristy. Someone is trying to hurt her, and he refuses to let that happen, even if it means going back to work; something he wasn’t sure he’d do.

As the threats increase, Jackson shows Kristy that strength doesn’t mean facing her fears alone, and Kristy shows Jackson that forgiveness starts from within. Can they save each other before it’s too late? Or will the past come back to haunt them?



About the authors:

Kara Leigh Miller

Kara lives in Upstate New York with her husband, three kids, three dogs, and three cats. When she's not busy writing romance novels, she's spending time with her family or attending one of her many writer’s groups. An active member of The Romance Writers of America and the CNY Writers Haven, Kara is also Managing Editor for Anaiah Press' Surge and Romance Imprints. She absolutely loves to hear from her fans and fellow authors, so feel free to drop her a line anytime!

Connect with her at her 

Jody Holford

Jody is a wife, mom, reader, and a writer. She is also a blogger and follower, a word twister, and a Gemini.

Connect with her at her website - Twitter


GIVEAWAY RULES:

To be entered just fill out the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, 12 February 2016

Excerpt: How to Wed a Warrior by Christy English + Giveaway

With Valentine's Day being just around the corner, are you in the mood for some romance? Look no further, here's a sweet, heart-warming historical romance series to keep you entertained this weekend: 
 

Book #2 in the Broadswords and Ballrooms

He’s the scourge of the Season...

Reasons to quit London:

1. It’s not the Highlands.

2. It will never be the Highlands.

3. It’s full of the bloody English.

When his wild spitfire of a sister makes a scene by drawing a claymore in Hyde Park, Highlander Robert Waters knows something must be done. To forestall the inevitable scandal, he hires widowed Prudence Whittaker to teach his sister how to be a lady—never expecting to find unbridled passion beneath the clever Englishwoman’s prim exterior.

Mrs. Whittaker is a fraud. Born Lady Prudence Farthington, daughter of the ruined earl of Lynwood, she’s never even been married. In order to make her way in the world, she has to rely on her wits and a web of lies...lies a sexy Highlander is all too close to unraveling.

He swears he will possess her; she vows he will do nothing of the sort. Yet as passions heat, Prudence comes to realize the illicit pleasure that can be had in going toe-to-toe with a Scot.

Buy at Amazon - Kindle - B&N - Apple - BAM - Indie Bound


Excerpt

Robert’s eyes gleamed with mischief—and with something else, something darker, and a bit alarming. Pru’s stomach jumped at the sight of that heat, and a delicious shiver coursed through her.

When he spoke again, his voice was thick with the music of his homeland, and with something else. “Well, now, and don’t I love a woman with a backbone.”

“I’m sure you do. Now leave this room and go find one.”

“Aye,” he said, moving closer to her. She straightened her shoulders, and sniffed. His smile was infectious, and she had to work very hard not to give in and smile back.

“I do love a sniffing woman. A woman who knows her own mind, and isn’t shy about telling the world.”

“That is very edifying. I am sure there are many such women outside these four walls. Again, Mr. Waters, I bid you good day.”

Robert laughed and shook his head, stepping even closer until he was standing a mere two feet from her.

She took in the warm scent of cedar, and a hint of something else, some spice that was all Robert Waters and little else. She was sure that if he stood so close for much longer, she would lose the ability to speak at all.

“But you see, Mrs. Prudence, that’s the trouble. There are very few women beyond these four walls that speak their minds to a man and damn the consequences.”

“Honesty is its own reward.” Her heart thudded so hard that the pulse in her throat leaped. His eyes seemed to follow it, and then move up the line of her jaw, to her cheekbones, to her eyes.

“I wonder if it might reward me,” he said.

He closed the distance between them, and kissed her.

She had been kissed before, of course. She had been a debutante during the Peninsular War, when everyone thought that the young men around them were surely going to die. She had almost been engaged, and her swain had kissed her on the garden steps of her father’s house in the moonlight, so many years ago now that it seemed to have happened to another woman altogether. But this kiss was different, because Robert Waters offered it.

Pru shocked herself by accepting it for what it was—a warm touch in a world that was often very cold indeed.

She found herself pressed against him in the next instant. His hands did not come down on her. He did not touch her waist or her shoulders, but held his hands aloft, as if she kept him at gunpoint. She did not think of what that meant, but simply moved against him, taking in the heat of his body with her own. If only she might close the door and ignore her life and future and simply have him there in that lovely, overly luxurious room.

She felt his tongue on her lips, and she opened her mouth to his coaxing. He tasted of warm honey from breakfast. He tasted of man, and in some strange, indefinable way, of home.

He still had not touched her but to place his lips on hers. He withdrew his tongue, and then his mouth, and then stepped back, so that she was left alone, grasping at nothing.

Buy at Amazon - Kindle - B&N - Apple - BAM - Indie Bound

About the Author

Ever since Christy English picked up a fake sword in stage combat class at the age of fourteen, she has lived vicariously through the sword-wielding women of her imagination. A banker by day and a writer by night, she loves to eat chocolate, drink too many soft drinks, and walk the mountain trails of her home in North Carolina.

Connect with Christy at her website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads


GIVEAWAY RULES:

For a chance to win a copy of How to Seduce a Scot, the 1st book in the series sinply fill out the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Guest post by Lize Jacobs + Giveaway

Today not only would I like to introduce you to newly published author Lize Jacobs, but I am very happy to share with you her amazing and inspiring story on how she realized her dream and became an author! Read on, and don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end, we are looking forward to your creative answers to Lize's question! ;-)

Inspiration / Writing the Book
by Lize Jacobs

I’ve been writing most of my life. When I write I am truly happy.

But I’ve never published a novel before.

In 2013, I decided to challenge myself and take part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), where you have to write 50 000 words in 30 days. It starts November 1st and ends November 30th. 

However, I did not just want to write for the sake of writing, I was going to try and finish an entire story (Beginning, Middle, and End) by writing at least 50 000 words in that month.

A friend of mine told me to put a girl in the middle of the biggest music concert in London. Then I thought, ‘what if she got lost there?’ That was my starting point but I changed London to Paris because I just loved the setting when I was there in 2012. Now, all I had to do was figure out why she was there, where did she come from, and what she wanted out of life…easy right?

It was probably my toughest writing challenge to date. It pushed me but also gave me the freedom to stop thinking and stop analysing every thought, word, and idea.

I buckled down and tried to average 2000 words a day. Every additional word over 1667 words a day meant that I was ahead of schedule, but some days were tough and life does get in the way. And being the type of person that I am, I tried to edit each day what I had written the day before. Since I am from South Africa and the story took place in Paris, I also worked in a lot of research as I tried to keep up with the word count for each day.

The story just flowed, and the characters were very kind to me. By 30 November, I had finished the story and I ended on just over 50 000 words. I had successfully completed the challenges, which meant, I won! It was the first draft of Lost in Chance and I loved the story.

Don’t get me wrong, the story still needed a lot of work and over the next year I took on the challenge of editing it, and still maintain a day-job. Realizing that it was a story that I actually wanted to share with the world, I had some of my friends read it. They loved the manuscript but had a lot of notes and queries. So I edited again, and again, and again…

When I was finally sort-of happy with it, I sent it to a professional editor, who loved it by the way, but that meant another edit and revision, reading it out loud to myself and meticulously scrutinizing every fact, piece of dialogue and description.

I was finally 90% happy with the book. (Note: In my experience, no writer is ever 100% happy with his/her own work – it just doesn’t work that way. We always feel that something can be better.)

So, I decided to self-publish, which is a scary undertaking. Putting your work out there for people to judge is probably one of the most courageous things a writer can do.

That’s why I take my hat off to any writer, especially Indie Authors!

I was lucky, my novel got some great reviews and readers still contact me about how much they love the story and the characters. How they struggle to get the story out of their heads, how much they love the characters, how it made them dream and think about their own lives.

I love to get feedback from readers, and I love to interact with them. Ultimately, without readers, writers would just be insane people that live in crazy worlds, documenting their weird thoughts… Big Shout-Out to all Readers!

I quit my day-job just before the release of Lost in Chance and went back to freelancing, following my dream of being a full-time writer.

I am currently working on my second book…


Recently divorced teacher, Chrisna, is stuck in her small-town life in South Africa.

One day, she angrily tells her best friend that she would like to throw her wedding ring off the top of the Eiffel Tower. So her friend gifts her a five-day trip to Paris, for her thirtieth birthday, to do just that.

Unsure of whether she would actually be able to do it, she sets off, unprepared for the life-changing adventure, quirky new friend, and romance that await her, as she gets lost in chance.

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Excerpt

With her arms folded, Zenelda frowned at Chrisna. “Your itinerary is a bad idea. That’s no way to experience the wonders of Paris.” She sat up straight. “Do you have a pen and paper in that magic bag of yours?”

She hesitantly said, “Ja.”

“Please hand them to me and I’ll write down the only five things you have to do while you’re in Paris.”

Intrigued, Chrisna took a pen and a small notepad from her purse and handed it to her.

After a few seconds of scribbling, Zenelda handed the pad back to her, and Chrisna struggled to read the almost illegible writing.

“Go ahead. Read it out loud.”

Clearing her throat and shifting in her seat, she started reading. “One. Hug the Venus de Milo.” She frowned at Zenelda.

“That’s a fun one, but you have to be very quick, and able to disappear in a crowd.”

“Two. Get a mime to speak. Seriously?” She glanced up at Zenelda.

“It’s not impossible.”

“Three. Sing in front of a crowd of at least fifty people.” She looked up again. “Never going to happen.”

“That’s the easiest one!” Zenelda exclaimed.

“Four. Dance the Tango in the rain in front of the Notre Dame.”

Zenelda smiled. “I love that one but the weather does play a big part.”

“Five. Make passionate love to a Parisian.” Chrisna gaped at her, eyes opening and closing as though she were looking at a crazy person. Perhaps she was...

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Lize Jacobs was born and raised in Pretoria, South Africa, where she still resides. Although this is her first publication, she has been writing since she could remember, not knowing that being a writer was who she truly was.

She has worked in the video industry for many years; Producing, Directing, Filming, Editing, and Scriptwriting. But her love for film has allowed her to Produce, Direct and Write several acclaimed short films over the years.

Privileged enough to have been able to travel overseas, to places like Alaska, Mexico, Tuscany, Munich, London, Paris and several African Countries, she has discovered a love for other cultures and the stories hidden in foreign locations.

She is passionate about the diversity and influence of dialogue and celebrates the art of story-telling across all genres.

Her aim is to keep publishing and write film scripts, telling stories which can linger in a person’s soul for a little while, hopefully bringing some joy.

Connect with Lize at her website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Lize is generously giving away 3 e-books of Lost in Chance to 3 lucky readers. (Either in .mobi or .epub formats)


To be entered in the giveaway simply leave a comment and answer Lize's question:

Without having read the book, why do you think Chrisna would want to throw her wedding ring off the top of the Eiffel Tower? Be creative. (It does not have to be the correct answer, just an interesting one) 

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 28 February 2016!

Good luck!

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