EXCERPT from GUILT, my latest novel featuring friends old and new . . .

Liza’s best friend, Hetty is back in this latest novel set in the world of Angel Avenue . . .

When I feel brave enough, I glance at her and she’s just staring at the ground, her lips pursed.

“Say something then.”

“Can’t. You told me not to react. I really thought it’d be the sock thing, but now you’ve told me, I understand why I’m not allowed to react. You may continue, by the way. Tell me everything.”

“You’re fucking impossible, you know that right?”

“That’s why I’m your mate, because you’re Mrs Possible. We balance one another out.”

I throw my head back, slapping my own face. “Woman.”

“I’m not reacting, remember? You’re talking.”

I take a deep breath. “I’ve known him a long time.”

“Okay.”

“He wants me to leave Gage.”

“And how long has this affair been going on?”

“Which part of it? The friendship part, or the actual fucking part?”

“The AF part.”

“I spent the night with him on Saturday. It was our first time.”

“Wow, you must be really cut up about it all to be telling me so soon.”

“I am.”

We find a bench and sit down. I check on Rupert who is still sound asleep. Hetty keeps rocking Elizabeth back and forth in her pram because she’s more likely to wake up wanting a feed.

“What was it like?” she asks. “The sex?”

I bite my lip and cover my mouth. Just the thought of it all is enough to make me blush.

“Wow, like that, eh?”

“He’s absolutely gorgeous, Het. Inside and out.”

“And he’s… you know?”

“What? Good in bed?”

“Yeah,” she says.

“He’s extremely good in bed. He makes me feel so good about myself.”

She inhales the cool, early spring air and exhales it even more dramatically. “Give it time, I say. A bit of time.”

“What do you mean?”

“If it’s meant to be, it’ll be Liz. However, if he’s one of those arty-farty types like most of your friends are, you could be just a passing whimsy to him and you know it.”

I look down at my lap. “It crossed my mind.”

“At the same time, perhaps you should seriously think about splitting from Gage if he’s not making you happy. You don’t have to leave one bloke for another, you know? You can leave Gage just because you want to, not because someone else has come a-knocking.”

“I agree. You’ve got a good point.”

“Has he got a big cock?” she asks, blurting it out. Thank god nobody is within earshot.

“HETTY!”

“I’ve been relatively well-behaved, but you can’t expect me to be good all the frickin’ time.”

I laugh and try to brush her off, but she’s waiting with bated breath.

“Yes, he has a big cock…”

She sits there wriggling her eyebrows up and down, then she folds her arms. When Elizabeth lets out a tiny grumble, Hetty has to start rocking her back and forth again. I’m glad Hetty’s at the mercy of someone else for once, it’s about bloody time. Mind you, motherhood suits her. She’s still Het, but she does seem a lot more content with herself.

“Well…” she says, sounding proud as punch that she’s not only embarrassed me today, but also made me say the word cock, too. “Joe tried it on recently, but I’m still not ready, down there. I’ve got to get my rocks off somehow, haven’t I? Can’t you tell me more about Lover Boy?”

“Hetty, you’re so bad. Shut up, will you? I’m telling you nothing. I’m protecting him.”

“Come on, just a little bit. Come on.”

“You’re disgusting.”

“As if you’ve only just discovered that.”

We snigger like piglets on our bench.

*END*

BLURB:

A highly thought-provoking tale of love, lust and deception . . .

Liza is married with two young children and seemingly has it all: a big house, a husband who provides, a great circle of friends, plus a job working for her best friend. The only problem is, it’s all built on lies.

A death in the family finally forces her to see the truth for herself, but the timing seems a little too convenient. It’s not escaped the notice of not only Liza, but also that of family friend Warrick, a former detective who has his own suspicions.

As the truth unravels, friendships are tested and Liza finds herself trapped beneath the weight of guilt. Life has thrown everything it’s got at her, and for such a young woman, it feels like a huge cross to bear.

Nothing will ever be the same again, but while the future promises the kind of happiness she only ever dreamt of before, it’s difficult to shake off the feeling that her escape from deceit came with a hidden cost . . .

* * *

AUTHOR NOTE: Liza was a minor character in the Angel Avenue series. No previous reading is required to be able to enjoy this standalone, although I highly recommend you read the other books too.

BUY LINKS:

ANGEL AVENUE

BEYOND ANGEL AVENUE

HETTY

GUILT

How I Wrote a Book in 20 Days: A Diary – Part Four (Final Part)

Please make sure you read parts one to three before reading this concluding part! You can find them by visiting sarahmichellelynch.com/blog and scrolling through.

Note: I only wrote diary entries on days where I actually completed some writing. There are only 20 entries in this diary but the twenty writing days were spread over the space of a month and a bit. This diary does not include my notes on editing (I don’t want to give away all my secrets!)

***

Day #14

Another chapter down. Would have liked to have written more today but I’ve had admin to do. Social media to catch up on. An event to prepare for. Fridays are always difficult days because you’re preparing for the weekend. Still, I’m gonna try get some bits and pieces of writing done tomorrow and Sunday. We’ll see anyway!!

Two major emotional breakthroughs were made in this chapter. Now I’m halfway, I can take this story down a deeper, much more direct route. I’m excited to get to the WOW moment in this book, where everything I set out to achieve becomes much more achievable.

Exciting times ahead…

Word count so far: 49,686 (I’m classing this as half done).

Day #15

I snatched moments of time today to write. I had this one idea I just had to get out in case I forgot it later. So I ignored the Saturday TV for an hour or so, and just did it. Half a chapter down. Not bad, considering it’s been a manic day.

Word count so far: 52,043

Day #16

It’s been Monday. Monday, bloody, Monday. Gah. The clocks have changed and it’s a bloody nightmare!

However, I am starting to taste the end of this book. I want to know what happens next as much as you, the reader will want to. I fear a race is on now. A race to the finish line, to explore all this book has to offer again, with the next stage of development – editing.

Some days you truly have used up your word count, that you have very little else to say at the end of it.

Word count so far: 56,856

Day #17

A really good writing day. I’ve turned some corners and extracted some secrets.

When I look back to the beginning of the story, it feels like a hundred years ago now. I’ve just got to make sure it continues to appear that way, reflecting the manner in which the heroine changes dramatically within this story.

I feel like I’m ever-drawing closer to the denouement.

Word count so far: 64,512

Day #18

It’s 11am and I’m not done for the day by a long shot, but I need to write this entry right now. This morning, this book made me cry for the first time, and that’s huge. Because I don’t always cry when I’m writing a book. But the pain and the poignancy of a particular scene had me flowing today. And I’m not the sort of person to cry easily. Only like really, really bad shit makes me cry, or people with sob stories singing on Britain’s Got Talent, but I think that’s because I love music as much as I love any art form that provokes an emotional response.

Up to now I’ve been writing with a sense of tension and it feels as though that’s broken finally, now I’ve written this difficult scene today. It’s finally broken and the heroine is free to move onto the next chapter. (I’m hoping so anyway, I’ve still got a few thousand words left to write.)

***

I wrote 5,000 words today and it wasn’t an effort; it was one of those rare instances of forgetting time exists and just going with the flow. Words just came and I’m stepping ever-closer to the end. This might even turn into one of those rare novels where less is so much more because I’ve said most of what I wanted to already, so whatever else comes next will be a big adieu.

Word count so far: 69,500

Day #19

I haven’t written yet today. It’s the morning. I’m just trying to muster up some energy right now to write some more. I’m feeling a bit puffed out.

I finished yesterday’s writing session with absolutely no idea or inclination as to how I would continue this story. Overnight some ideas have come to me and I’m fairly certain how I’m going to end the tale now. Sometimes you can feel as though nothing’s coming and when you go about your other business and take a few moments out, suddenly an idea will strike and you realise there is still more, even if the day before, ideas felt all used up. In the past I may have mistakenly forced ideas but this isn’t how I like to write anymore. Each day, I strive for new ideas and those make a story. The devil is in the detail. Having written so many books now, I’ve played with various forms of writing but sometimes simple is best. It just depends upon the character you’re conveying. I find it so difficult sometimes to not repeat myself, using a saying I’ve maybe used in a previous novel. The two main characters in this book, actually – resemble very closely two minor characters of a previous series I wrote a long time ago. But they were minor then, they’re major now, and function in a much different way in this book. I know some authors have strange family trees where all the characters they’ve ever written are somehow connected, even if that’s not evident to the reader. To the writer, they see those characters as part of a wider family, maybe because they are. They’re the author’s family in some respects. So even though it’s very difficult for me to keep my material fresh and new, it all is, and the more difficult it is for me to explore new avenues, I think the better my work is overall. I write for my own pleasure first and foremost which is how it should be. Don’t get me wrong it’s lovely when someone else likes what you’ve done, too. But the only person I’m ever competing against is myself and the past me has an awfully big back catalogue now. And that spurs me on greatly. I feel like these days, the engines are fully operational and ready to burn. It’s all those previous books that got me where I am now. It’s the books I’m writing now that will get me where I want to be. And I’ll have enjoyed every moment of getting to wherever it is I end up. Because I love writing and that’s what I was born to do. Write. It’s easy for me now, where it used to be hard. Because each book has broken me in and taught me something. And writing’s as easy as breathing now. It’s just the thought of it which is sometimes hard.

So now I’ve given myself this little pep talk (I am slightly deranged, comes with the territory), I will bloody well put the kettle on and settle down to some fictional writing once more. Until later…

(peaks and troughs, peaks and troughs…)

***

Wow, just look at that word count below. I can taste the end now.

Word count so far: 76120

Day #20

Wow, I wrote THE END today. I didn’t think I’d be writing that so soon. But I’m reminded that I decided to make this a new adult romance (or it shaped itself into a NA romance), which means readers in this genre generally prefer shorter reads anyway.

But, wait…

Editing has yet to take place. And editing will involve me going over the book six, seven, maybe even eight times. The way I edit is where the magic really happens.

Writing a book (as I’ve proven), is relatively easy when you know how. It’s what comes next that’s hard.

I know that throughout the editing process, I may add another 5 to 10,000 words or so. With one book (A Fine Pursuit), editing added 10 to 20,000 words in fact, because the story shot out of me so fast, I had to go over it plenty after the first draft, so it wasn’t a bony carcass anymore!

Still, I might comb it back again after the second draft.

Or add more?

But, dear reader, I won’t be telling you the secrets of my editing process. I don’t want to put myself out of business.

It’s been real.

Word count of my first (skeleton draft): 77,659

Afterword

The novel this WRITING DIARY relates to is called Hetty: An Angel Avenue Spin-Off. I am writing this afterword on the day of its release.

Hetty is a character I knew inside and out before I even put fingers to keys which is why this book was so easy in terms of development.

Sometimes, as a reader, I read books and I can tell when an author has taken a large timeout in the middle of writing their book because the style or the feel of the prose changes dramatically between one chapter and the next. Maybe that’s sometimes intentional. Maybe it’s because during time off from writing, the author has developed a different viewpoint of the story and it shows.

Writing a book in the space of a month is not something I recommend for everyone. It’s exhausting, it takes incredible discipline and an iron will. I do not manage to complete every story I write within 20 days, trust me! I know my limits. I stop when I need to. I take self care very seriously. I’m lucky that I can pick and choose my projects and my family are very supportive of what I do, both in giving me time and knowing what I need when I come away from writing a book.

What I hoped to show with this writing diary was the highs and lows a writer goes through, and the behind-the-scenes effort that no reader ever usually hears about. (The gory details so to speak.)

Hetty is my 17th novel and when someone recently asked me, “Doesn’t your heart just squeeze when you look at all you’ve achieved?” – I had to tell them, no! I am the long-distance writer with a 1,000 stories to tell and I cannot allow myself to wallow too long in saying goodbye to characters I have so lovingly created. I cannot allow myself to wrap myself up in the myriad emotions I go through while writing a story. To a certain extent, I do look back at my library of work and feel proud – feel blessed I’m doing this – but the books I put out into the world are but a physical representation of the stories I tell. I cannot always explain how a story I’ve written has made me feel (personally) because the feeling is like no other on earth and it’s obviously why I find storytelling so addictive. I know that each reader will bring their own set of life experiences with them when they’re reading a book, and I accept that’s why books engage (often) such different reactions from different readers. For instance, whenever I think back to writing my first novel, I think of changing nappies and my daughter’s big firsts. My first novel is wrapped up in everything that was going on in my own life at the time I was writing it – and the book on the shelf will never explain to readers about the night I was up late typing and the unfortunate effect of my footsteps squeaking on the stairs as I crept up, thus waking my daughter and setting up a chain of events that gave me a terrible, sleepless night. Real life goes on all around us and books are just… books. And yet… they have such potential to change people’s lives. I love, love, love what I do with every fibre of my being and anyone else who loves my books is an absolute and complete bonus.

I write, because, simply – I am a writer. I’m pretty happy with that label, even if I never achieve any other label.

The editing process brought Hetty up to a more rounded 90,000 words, one of the shortest novels I have ever written. After a bit of time away from the book (a bit of distance), I saw what needed embellishing. I didn’t want to over-write this tale, I only wanted to make sure that readers walked away from this book in no doubt of the person Hetty is and what she is capable of achieving. Getting her character right in this work was all that mattered to me. I didn’t water her down, edit out her quirks or her flaws, I kept them all in there. I wanted this woman to be real and from the sounds of it, that’s how my readers see her.

She’s real.

And that’s the most you can hope to achieve from writing – making tiny black letters on a page seem real. And the more real the story, the more satisfied you feel – and another job well done can be ticked off.

***PLEASE READ ON FOR AN EXCERPT OF HETTY AND HOW YOU CAN DOWNLOAD HER STORY***

I LEAVE THE car and him to get a good look at the place from a distance. He’s slept more or less the whole way here. I haven’t minded. Driving helps me switch off and vacate. This is just a stop in the road before reaching Robin Hood’s Bay but I always stop first, breathe in the air, taking in the place from a distance. One of the first places Liza and my foster parents brought me was here after they took me on. John and Carol have been really good to me, too good, considering I was once their daughter’s bully. But that’s Liza – always helping wounded birds, even ones that have tried to peck her in defence. John and Carol are in their sixties now and tried to conceive for years before finally having Liza in their early forties. She was an only child and had always wanted a sister. She persuaded them. And I was added to her broken-winged club.

The car door shuts and I watch him stretch, his midriff revealed as his shirt rides up. He’s got a solid rack of muscles under there – just gorgeous.

He swings his arms around me, clutching me tight, so tight I’m enveloped in his warmth against the cold of this high-topped cliff upon which we’re standing. I love the heather-topped moors around here, I love the views, the cleanness, the clarity – the mangled city jungle seeming far away.

He nuzzles my throat and kisses me, purring, seeking. A rush of love washes over me and I turn in his arms, throw my arms around his neck and kiss him. I find no resistance, his mouth opening, his tongue tangling with mine.

“I missed you,” he says, his eyes glistening against the strong wind.

“I was right next to you.”

“But I was in my dreams.”

“Do you like it?” I ask him, pointing to the sleepy fishing village below. There are not many visitors this time of year.

“What’s not to like?” he says.

I lead him back to the car and we head for The Grange, a place I usually stay, just a little way up from the village.

After parking up, we scope it out.

“Will they have any rooms?” he asks, and from the look of his face I can tell he’s never done this before. I expect any hotels he usually stays in have been booked by Warrick!

“Let’s hope so.”

We enter the reception and I spot Derek, the owner, who recognises me. “Henrietta, long time no see!”

Smiling, I return, “Been so busy, you know how it is. We’ve been gallivanting and wondered… maybe you might have a room for the night…?”

He holds his finger up. “Let me check.”

While Derek checks his computer, I grip Joe’s hand and smile. He smiles back, still a little sleepy.

“Ah, Marge had a cancellation last night. You’re in luck. The Grange Suite is available.”

“We’ll take it,” I snap, almost snapping his hand off too!

“Okay, it’s not ready…” He’s sucking his thumb, thinking as he peruses the screen. “But I’ve put you in, come back at four and it’s yours.”

“Do you need a deposit?”

He winks. “Not from a good customer.”

“Thank you, Derek. Thanks so much.”

He guffaws, a little shy. “No problem.”

I catch him giving Joe a little side glance but he doesn’t say anything, or question us. Leaving the property, Joe says, “He seems a little fond of you.”

“I stay here often, in the summer months.”

“What do you do when you’re here?”

We get back into my Citroen and I turn towards him. “I drive up to Whitby, fill my boots and then sleep it off here. A Sunday morning stroll on the beach is heaven, too.”

“I never would’ve pictured it,” he says, pulling me towards him, reaching across the handbrake to put his arms around me. “You seem so badass, and here you are, a lovely Yorkshire rose spending her weekends by a beach nobody’s even really heard of.”

I tug his hair gently in my hands, murmuring, “All the best people have heard of it, Joseph.”

It takes a few moments for me to realise my breaths are laboured and heavy. This is what he does to me.

“But it’s so quiet and quaint…” He looks bemused.

“In therapy I was taught to like my own company. I’ve got used to it.”

“Not too used to it, I hope?” He’s grinning devilishly.

“Scenery’s not too shabby from where I’m sitting,” I remark, trying to seize my own grin before it breaks my face, I feel so happy.

He cups my bottom lip with his and kisses me torturously slowly. The perpetual molten vat of lava in my lower stomach churns and I could curse that hotel for not having any rooms available right now. Joe moves his kisses to my cheeks and my neck.

“Save it for later…” I mumble.

“You smell divine, like honeysuckle or something.” He pulls back, searching my eyes, endlessly trying to figure me out.

“Come on, I’m hungry, you sexy beast.”

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

 

 

HETTY – out now!!

hettyebookv2

I am so excited to bring you this new release!

Here are the details . . .

HETTY, an Angel Avenue spin-off
Standalone contemporary/new adult romance

Blurb

“We were just meant to be and fate in all her conniving, wicked glory, wouldn’t have had this union any other way.”

Hetty is determined not to be a victim but she doesn’t see that in some ways, she still is. When something doesn’t go how she wants it to, she finds it incredibly difficult to overcome, and continually avoids situations outside of her control.

It isn’t just love that will change her, though. Oh, no. Cue a series of events which will shape the woman she will be ever after.

Enter three men, each with a lesson to deliver. One, an unassuming father figure. The next, a lover. The last, a friend from a different world to hers.

Hetty’s journey is a surprising, exciting and humbling one which may draw tears of laughter and of sadness from the reader.

**This novel does contain some details which would spoil the Angel Avenue duet if you haven’t read it yet, but Hetty is a brand new and fully resolved standalone in itself, which can be read and understood without reading the other books.**

Buy Links

Universal link: http://mybook.to/Hetty

Early reviews

From A Book Lover’s Emporium Book Blog:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I absolutely loved this book from beginning to end and everything about it. Hetty is a great character, one you’d just love to be friends with. I connected with her straight away, she made me laugh out loud with the things she came out with sometimes.

Hetty hasn’t had a great past, but it’s made her into the person she is today and I love her for it! What will she do when someone she least expects shows an interest in her? Will she ruin that like she thinks she has ruined everything else in her life? That is for you to find out!

This is a standalone but within a series. The author has done a fantastic job with this as you really do not need to read the others to get into it. I know this, as I haven’t read the others YET…but I will definitely be one clicking them. I recommend that you do the same, you won’t regret it!

From Passionate Page Turner:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is a truly beautiful story that made me connect with Hetty immensely. For those of you that have read the Angel Avenue series, you will already be familiar with Hetty and her background. Whilst it is a feature within the book I would recommend reading the series first to get the whole picture and be in the “moment” as Hetty’s background unfolds.

In this book we met Hetty at a crucial point in her life, having set her mind on a career she is waiting to find out if it is plausible. A series of events turn Hetty’s life and plan into chaos, and due to her previous experiences she is not equipped to cope with the changes. Hetty is at a low point in her life, not willing to believe in her self and her skills. She is floating around until an unlikely anchor comes along and grounds her. In Hetty’s mind she feels that she is not good enough and risks letting her past ruin her future, what she does not realise is just how strong she really is. Hetty grows and develops as a character, she is strong enough to keep going and to help others.

When I finished the story I felt numb, there is no shockers, no cliffhangers, no twists. Its just a story that ends exactly where it should. Hetty will hold a place in my heart, capturing the essence of self belief and what a person can overcome.

Please do not miss out on my introductory price of 99 pennies.

Grab Hetty at this price now while you can!

hetty teaser 2