An Interview with Chloe Matthews from The Sub Rosa Series…

I recently took part in a Fall Blog Tour with Traci Sanders, an author friend of mine. You can read the FULL blog post here

It includes a character interview with the radiant Chloe Matthews. I’m pasting the “interview” here so nobody misses out…

So, Chloe, thanks for speaking with us today. We’ve all watched your rise in the fashion world with intrigue but what we really want to know is, how did you meet Cai Matthews? Or more importantly, how did he romance you?

Well, we met when we were both working at Media Solutions, a print and digital media company in London. He was a freelance photographer and I was a showbiz journalist. We went on one date and really liked each other but Cai’s work took him back home to New York. Eventually, fate intervened and here we are now.

Do you have Frame editor Jennifer Matthews to thank for your job as a Chanel model?

Not really. Her name opened doors for me, yes, but I think more than ten years in journalism helped me get where I am now. I was a model in my youth but illness forced my retirement, until now of course.

Does your husband talk about his tragic mother, Claudia Matthews, Jennifer’s sister?

He told me she was very sad and depressed, yes, but extremely beautiful and a wonderful, talented artist, just like him. He loved her.

What about the death of Klaus Häuser? Wasn’t he a friend of yours?

He was once a friend of mine and recommended me for the job at Media Solutions. As for his death, you’ll have to ask the police for the particulars. Goodness knows Klaus was a very naughty boy. I always thought he had a dark side, but I never knew how dark, obviously.

What is your opinion of your husband’s work?

Objective or subjective?

Both. I guess?

He didn’t reveal his work to me at first. He was entirely reticent to. It’s very personal to him and obviously, much of what he does is inspired by his mother. When he first showed me his photographs, I was staggered. I knew he had to showcase and I pushed him to, even though he didn’t want to. When I knew he could paint, too, I was terrified. He’s got so much talent for someone so young, it made me realise he’s carried a lot of pain over the years to be able to funnel it into his work so clearly.

You must have been worried after you heard Cai’s father was a Mexican drug lord?

He’s dead. What’s there to be worried about?

How is married life?

Not much different to how it’s always been… perfect.

How do you balance work life with family life?

Cai’s a very domestic man, you wouldn’t believe. He also doesn’t know how to sleep or sit still. I’m fine with it.

What about your ex-colleague Carl Sorensen? He was meant to be in love with you?

It’s total nonsense. We’re more like brother and sister.

And what about your best friend, Kayla Tate? Doesn’t she work for Frame magazine’s biggest rival?

I think this interview is over…

***

If you haven’t started the trilogy yet, what are you waiting for? The full series is out now, with the first book just 99 CENTS.

Click images to be taken to Amazon:-

THE ROMANTIC THRILLER

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unfurl

UNLEASH

SUB ROSA TRILOGY

Read Any of My Books For Free

For the next 90 days or so, all my books will be #FREE for Kindle Unlimited readers to pick up. Seeing as though Unbind has been doing so well in #KU, I have decided to give this program a go to see if it helps me reach more readers! Click LINKS BELOW to download and read for #free if you’re an unlimited member! Happy reading x

book covers

Visit Amazon http://author.to/sarahmichellelynch

UNBIND

UNFURL

UNLEASH

A FINE PROFESSION

A FINE PURSUIT

BEDTIME CONFESSIONS

ONE TRUE LOVER

ANGEL AVENUE

FABIEN BOOK ONE

FABIEN BOOK TWO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

☆☆Sub Rosa Trilogy Blog Tour☆☆

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Trilogy Overview

The story begins in 2011. Journo Chloe Harmon starts a new job in London and meets photographer Cai Matthews, a younger man with talents beyond Chloe’s comprehension. Not only is he talented, he’s trapped by a mystery from the past he’s been bound by. He has NO WAY OUT. He cannot turn a corner without his every move being recorded by his ever-watchful aunt, Jennifer Matthews, a world-famous fashion editor with vast amounts of power at her fingertips.

Cai may be trapped. However, Chloe chases Cai even when he leaves the country because she has a few life experiences under her belt which have made her tougher than she seems. UNBIND is where the story begins and UNFURL is where it continues…

Chloe knows there was a death. It has been painted so many different ways already and there are still other ways of painting it yet. There are questions to be answered and the story gets darker as Cai and Chloe try to make a life together…

KAY (4)In the concluding part of the trilogy, UNLEASH, the story drags Chloe’s best friend Kayla Tate into the fray. Chloe and Kay have known each other for decades, since they started school. They’ve come in and out of each other’s lives but have always been there for one another when it’s counted. UNLEASH sees Kay face up to a lot of truths about herself, her friends and the man she loves. It’s a conclusion to the trilogy which gives answers to all the questions and brings two people Chloe loves together, at last.

About Sarah:

Sarah Lynch has written for as long as she can remember. Writing was always going to be the job she did and after working in journalism, the birth of her first child encouraged her to finally take up her pen and try her hand at creative writing instead.

As S. M. Lynch, she pens science-fiction, and her UNITY series is currently in the process of being re-edited. As Sarah Michelle Lynch, she pens erotic romance, sometimes with thrilling, psychological elements added in. Her characters are real, add depth to beefy, mind-bending stories and ask questions of her readers she is too afraid to answer herself.

Sarah holds a degree in English from The University of Hull and now works as a proofreader and editor.

Watch the trailer:

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Release Day Blitz – Sales and Freebie

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Note From the Author

The Sub Rosa Trilogy has been a part of my life for almost eighteen months but last summer when I finished Book One, Unbind, I wasn’t sure I had the energy or the inclination to write more in the series. This almost did not happen. It was always in the back of my mind that the series could be a trilogy but for some reason, I was hesitant to make it so. However I’m happy to confirm I’m really glad people asked for more and I’m really pleased with what I’ve ended up with!

Now, I finally bring you the third and final book in the series. Would I like to write more of these characters? The answer is yes. Will I? No. Absolutely not. I have to leave it where it is now. The story is wrapped up and that’s that. I might write extra scenes, release deleted scenes, but the story ends in Unleash. These characters can only live on in readers now. So it’s with sadness I say goodbye, it’s with happiness and anticipation I let the books fly free.

KAY (4)Get your hands on my latest release, OUT TODAY!

BLURB:

Have you ever fallen for the wrong person – knowing they’re not the one for you?

For Kayla Tate, pain and disappointment are all she has ever known when it comes to love. Is it that she never learned from her mistakes? Or is there a ghost from her past she’s yet to lay to rest?

Kayla embarks on a journey during which harsh lessons will be learned and relationships will be tested. It seems to centre around the Sub Rosa mystery, but where will she begin to unpick the threads? All she knows is that something doesn’t add up . . .

Kayla’s heartbreaking story is about lifelong friendships, taking chances and finding that one person who’s willing to risk it all with you – at exactly the right time.

FOR A LIMITED TIME, you can download the series for just £1.98/$1.98…

release blitz

DOWNLOAD BOOK ONE FREE: http://mybook.to/unbind

DOWNLOAD BOOK TWO FOR 99c/99p: http://mybook.to/unfurl

DOWNLOAD BOOK THREE FOR 99c/99p: http://mybook.to/unleash

TEASER

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Unleash is a story about love though it does answer a lot of questions left unanswered regarding the Sub Rosa secrets. I wanted to write a perfect love which has the most imperfect beginning and not only is it a perfect love, it’s a perfect love between two hugely flawed characters. It’s about how people in real life come to the BDSM lifestyle and how the lifestyle can be abused but also, how BDSM can change the lives of people and bring them closer than they ever imagined possible.

And, that’s that.

♡♡Enjoy!♡♡

Check out all the books today: http://author.to/sarahmichellelynch

Unleash – Prologue

KAY (4)

April 2014

I HEARD IT from a friend of mine sitting in the ‘congregation’ at Jennifer Matthews’ memorial: Cai Matthews broke down in the middle of Carl Sorensen’s eulogy and couldn’t be comforted—in fact his whole body seemed to be shaking and not only did his wife look worried, but Carl did too. I was in South London shopping for necklaces at the time but after hearing the news, I couldn’t concentrate and abandoned my work-based trip to head back to the Elle offices in Soho. There I got short shrift from colleagues when asked if I knew what was going on and I said, “How the hell would I know? I haven’t seen them yet.”

I got back to my desk and after sitting twiddling my thumbs for long enough to know I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on anything else all day, I told my boss Kendra ‘Kensey’ Lindsey I was leaving for the day.

“To get the exclusive?” she asked in her husky Scouse accent as she sat at her wide, white desk, littered with proofs, layouts and post-its. I knew she would sign off most of it without even really checking things through.

“Don’t joke, Kendra,” I fired back, disgusted.

Her poker-straight blonde hair perfection, her pale features made up in nude tones—if only she wasn’t wearing some awful, lime-green monstrosity. The woman couldn’t dress for shit though people excused her as ‘subversive’ or ‘trend-setting’.

Bull—shit.

“You work for us, not them.”

I took a seat in the chair opposite hers. It was absurd of her thinking I would squeal so easily. Time to pull her down a peg or two. Faced with someone trying to cut down my friends, I could turn nastier than any animal caught in a trap.

“There’s no exclusive here,” I assured her, “just a man who lost a relative. Plus the last time I checked, there was no us and them. Chloe left Frame two years ago to work for Chanel and Cai’s got more influence outside the fashion world than you could ever hope to earn. Clearly you’re barking up the wrong tree if you think you can persuade me to not only betray my friends but cross such powerful people, too.”

She tapped the end of her pilot pen against her teeth. “I have it on authority there’s something about that family, something like a mystery, and they don’t want anyone to find out.”

“What authority?”

This confrontation had been coming a while, I supposed. Most of the time she and I didn’t talk. In fact I despised her, but a job was a job.

“That would be telling.”

“Well, I’ll be visiting Chloe directly after here but I won’t be coming back with any kind of exclusive for you.” Yes, I have a way in and you don’t. Stick that in your cauldron and smoke it.

She turned her chair sideways so all I could see was her profile. Tipping her head back, she folded her arms. “Ever since you came here from the higher echelons of Empire, you’ve never not judged yourself better than us. You obviously have no loyalty.”

“Yet you promoted me, funny that, isn’t it? But… you’re right, I have no loyalty,” I told her straight, my hands resting on the arms of my spinning chair, “but actually, I don’t think I’m above you, I know I am. For a start, I don’t bitch about every member of staff in this place behind their back and when I arrive in the morning and head for the coffee machine, I ask others around me if they want one too. I don’t make my assistant remake my drinks until I get the kind of high only an egotistical maniac does from exerting their power over others.” I watched her face turn scornful. “Also, you spreading it across the desk every night has been more than noted by the security guys and they’re not exactly silent about what they’ve seen on CCTV.”

She cackled, so proud of herself.

“I only ended up here after receiving a random email from Klaus Häuser, who suggested I drop his name. He used to be friends with my friend Chloe—though I’ve always wondered what the crack is with that man, picking up girls like Chloe, no morals or scruples—yet the world rewards him anyway.”

She sneered; she knew what she was. This ‘authority’ she talked of was no doubt him. “Why make apologies when nobody else does, either?”

“That’s the kind of antediluvian attitude I’d expect from someone worse off than you, not a woman given the world. So what is the downside of having this job, hun? What does he make you do in exchange… maybe, taking it up the butt? Does he do your paperwork and bully people into doing what you say? I just don’t get how you survive when you’re full of nothing but hot air.”

I was on a roll but I’d had it with this woman.

“You can clear your desk, Kayla,” she spat, trying not to show I was getting to her.

I’m just not done yet. “The nature of all this… it makes me wonder now. It does make me wonder about a few things, especially you and Klaus and your need to know about what’s going on with Chloe and Cai. Seems to me I’m stuck in the middle of a shit storm of lies, backstabbing and revenge, if the rumours about yours and Jennifer’s feud is anything to go by.”

Kendra swaggered, “She just never liked me. I don’t know why. She just wanted to be queen of everything, that woman.”

I stood and looked down on her. “You’ll give me a good redundancy package otherwise I’ll sell what I know about you to some tabloid and we all know how much they’re willing to pay.”

She stood with her hands on the desk and lowered her eyes to mine like she might pounce across and rip my hair out. Six foot, she towered over me but I could take her. She snarled, “You wouldn’t dare.”

“I’ve had other offers and I’ve built relationships with other magazines and companies. I don’t have anything to lose if I leave and everything to gain. I don’t care if you threaten me, I can do as I please. So, you’ll do me a favour and let me go with a nice exit package and I will keep your disgusting manners and your filthy fucking habits to myself.”

She gritted her teeth, “We’ll see about all this, we’ll see.”

“I guess we will,” I smiled, and left her office.

***

THE pretty nanny, Teri opened the door of Chloe’s Notting Hill mansion to let me inside and I had to shake off my hatred of Kendra and prepare myself for whatever drama Cai Matthews had created this time. The man was a menace. If only Chloe didn’t love him so much, I would have told her to escape to some colony and never come back. Trouble brewed around the Matthews’ clan like flies round shit.

I shook off my bag and coat in the hallway and quickly asked her, “What’s going on, then?”

“He seems calm now, actually,” she said with surprise in her eyes, “they have a guest, some tall man. Very dishy.”

“Oh?”

“Carl somebody.”

Shit.

I’d only ever seen him in pictures but I knew he was absolutely devastating.

“Tea, Kayla?”

“Err, yeah, I suppose,” I replied.

While she went into the kitchen to boil the kettle, I stood in the hall thinking about how to approach this. I knew myself and I knew, if he was even more beautiful in real life, I was about to make a total fool of myself. It was how I coped in these sorts of situations.

I took the door handle and thought, nothing for it.

I crashed into the room, all action, no thought. If I let myself think, I’d say something totally fucking stupid.

I looked between everyone in the room and let my eyes glance at Carl, who sat with his legs crossed, briefly looking up under his brow at me.

Shit, my heart is pounding like a motherfucker now. Can he see it kicking into gear?

The man exuded sex, grace and eligibility and I’d only had a glance so far!

When my eyes landed on Cai, Christ, I knew the man was broken. He was totally broken. He looked worn out, his eyes sunken, his olive skin pallid and wan.

What’s going on here? I asked myself.

I perched myself next to Chloe, holding out my arms. She rushed into my embrace and grabbed me tight, letting me know this was bad. She was suffering and she didn’t know how to comfort him. Cai, in a corner of the sectional seating by himself, looked like he was in a world of his own.

“Well now, I didn’t expect this, tea and biscuits, eh?” I said throwing my head back on a loud tut, reaching for humour, because humour always worked. “Cai, when she’s breastfeeding, you know she only eats packs of donuts!”

Not a speck of reaction from Cai.

I dared not look at Carl again, I might have come on the spot, but I could see him staring at me and it made me feel so uneasy.

“You’re such a bitch!” Chloe scolded me.

“Me? A bitch? I’m just looking out for you. So what’s been going on?” I was breathless because a huge, beautiful man sat opposite me and I wanted to stare back at him, too. However, I was there to help my friends, not jump the dishy American.

“You can’t just march in here like you own the show! We’ve been doing fine thanks,” she exclaimed, gesturing subtly to Carl.

You’re here to help Cai, you’re here to help Cai! I had to remind myself. I’d witnessed his meltdowns before and they were ugly, but this one seemed serious.

“Hmm, whatever, now let me see those big blues, Cai Matthews. Let me see them,” I asked clearly. He lifted his chin slowly and looked up. I could tell he was in pain, the kind you can’t express through words. “You finally snapped then, boy? Can’t say it surprises me, I’m just surprised you held out so long. Must be a tough one, you.”

He smiled a little so I pushed on, ignoring the elephant in the room, “Listen to me. Okay? I’ve got her so while I’m holding her, she’s okay, she’s safe with me. Now listen. I have some training in this area…” I’ve had several years’ worth of counselling, “…and what I want you to do is tell us the problem, how ever big or small, and we’ll all deal with it right here and now, we can all deal with it. I’ve got her, nothing bad will happen, because believe me this bitch ain’t as strong as me. Now, c’mon. Let it go, Cai. Just tell us the problem.”

Cai shook his head and removed his suit jacket, running his hands up and down his cheeks. “I feel like I need a drink.”

“Never solved a thing,” Carl said, and oh god, his voice made my nipples hard. In my bondage top and jeans, I felt contained and trapped. I wished I’d worn heels, not my big, clopping steam punk boots.

Keep your hat—or more importantly—your knickers on.

I agreed with Carl, trying not to look at his eyes for too long, turning my focus back on Cai. “Too true. How about you just try some deep breaths, from your diaphragm. Few deeps breaths. I could be doing with some fucking tea though people, the K.T. here be thirsty after three tubes and Kensey fucking me up.”

While Cai took some deep breaths, Chloe frowned and asked, “What? How?”

“The woman is a fucking bitch. She was all like, ‘You go get the exclusive from Chloe,’ and I was all like, ‘No sodding chance, luv,’ so then she was like, ‘Oh like that is it? Well I know where your loyalty lies Kayla,’ so then I told her to swivel on her stick and eat it. The shagged out old bag.” Not those words exactly, though that’s how it was in my head!

Chloe giggled but it was Carl’s reaction that astonished me. He covered his face with his hands and his laugh, so deep and throaty, turned me on even more.

It made me ecstatically happy to have made him laugh. My heart picked up even more pace and my eyes and his finally met for a stretch longer than a glance.

Hazel. He had hazel eyes.

I think that was the moment I fell…

***UNLEASH RELEASES JULY 9TH***

Some more new reviews…

The Sub Rosa Trilogy is one you’ll start and not be able to turn your back on, if the reviews and messages I’ve had from readers so far are anything to go by! It’s only a couple of days now until I reveal the cover for the third book, UNLEASH, and so it’s a good time to start getting stuck into the series with the first book UNBIND. ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

ONLY today I received this review of UNFURL and this bit of the review pretty much sums up what the series has in store:-

Finding not truths, but in fact more layers of lies, Chloe and Cai weave through a complex story of shame, guilt, abuse and love that seems to visit all hidden facets of human behaviour. With gangsters and art, deaths and secrets, revelations and love, Unfurl truly is a masterpiece from Sarah Michelle Lynch. One to be damned proud of!

An alternative name for this book though that came to mind was UNLOCK, for when the petals of this story do unfurl, complete with UNBIND, the doors of this thrilling piece unlock. You can almost hear the key scrape as it turns, and the characters follow its course to the inevitable yet captivating conclusion.

In short. Yes! I loved it!

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Read the FULL REVIEW here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/RIDZCYIY2ND3Q

If you’re looking for a series to get your teeth stuck into this summer, this might be it. This has sex, secrets, lies, deceit, death, destruction, mystery . . . and so much more to come!

Keep up to date with the latest news by following this blog sarahmichellelynch.wordpress.com or by giving the SML fanpage a like or following me on Twitter @SarahMichelleLy

Readers of romantic mysteries in particular do not want to miss out! Download today!

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6 WEEKS TO GO . . .

UNLEASH, the last book in the Sub Rosa Trilogy . . .

Have you ever fallen for the wrong person—even knowing they’re not the one for you—yet you just can’t help yourself?

Pain and disappointment, it seems, is all Kayla Tate has ever known when it comes to love. She’s yet to realise why. Is it that she never learned from her mistakes? Or is there something about her past she’s yet to lay to rest?

Kayla is about to embark on a frantic period of activity, during which many lessons will be learned and relationships will be tested. It all centres around the Sub Rosa mystery, but where will she begin to unpick the threads? All she knows is that something doesn’t add up…

Kayla’s heartbreaking story is about lifelong friendships, taking risks and finding that one person who’s willing to fall with you—at exactly the right time.

GENRE: Women’s literature/romantic suspense

* * * *

So, there’s the blurb for the final book in the series! The cover reveal will take place on JUNE 9TH, a month before release, and if you want to help out and spread the word, record your interest here:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1h5oHPdmK14wvVAniRoOawPCmVRogHNtV8NHc5uLo_pg/viewform

UNLEASH, OUT JULY 9TH, 2015!!

* * * *

You really, really NEED to read the first two books before you read the third. Chloe and Cai’s story features in books one and two, UNBIND and UNFURL, but UNLEASH is the story of Chloe’s best friend, Kayla. All are interconnected stories.

Get started today, while book one and two are on SALE!

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#KindleCountdown #99cents #99pence #SubRosaSeries

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UNFURL, book two in the thrilling, romantic series is available to download at a marked-down price for a limited time only!

SYNOPSIS:

I’ll stab you in the heart.
I’m coming for you.
No secret dies.
But you will.

In the concluding part of Chloe and Cai’s tale of frantic, tempestuous, meaningful love…

When news breaks that enigmatic magazine editor Jennifer Matthews is dead, it irks Chloe that Cai refuses to shed even one tear. What she doesn’t know is that he was expecting it, perhaps even, hoping for it.

In this dark, romantic tale of revenge, Cai explodes the deepest, most destructive aspects of his past as he comes to terms with the tragedy at the heart of Jennifer’s downfall. With Chloe’s love and support, he must brave his demons and dodge death to finally end a bitter feud between two damaged families.

**This book is not intended to stand alone and is the second in a three-part series, concluding in UNLEASH – Kayla Tate’s story.**

Read the reviews:

5.0 out of 5 stars Gifted by author in exchange for an honest review. 13 April 2015
By Books and Beyond Fifty ShadesPublished on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Cai and Chloe are trying to live as normal life as possible. All that changes when Cai’s past comes back to haunt him…again. When Jennifer dies, Chloe is shocked that Cai doesn’t care that she’s dead. What Chloe doesn’t know is Cai has been waiting for when it would happen. Can Chloe help Cai deal with his past and all the damage between the two families? Cai must find a way to deal with his past without losing Chloe. Is Chloe strong enough to help Cai deal with his past?

This dark romance shows how as much as you want to protect the ones you love; you can’t. Cai must trust Chloe to help him fight the demons that won’t go away. But are the lies and deceit going to be too much for Chloe to handle? I thought I couldn’t love this series anymore after I read Unbind, but once I was finished with Unfurl I changed my mind. This series is a MUST READ!

We finally have the ending to Chloe and Cai’s story and I promise you it’s not one to be missed. If you thought that Unbind had crazy secrets, Unfurl takes it one step farther. All the mystery of Cai’s past comes together and I literally screamed when 2 big reveals happened. Sarah Michelle does a beautiful job tying up all loose ends from Unbind. Again, she is so descriptive with her writing that you can literally see this all happening in your head. The characters are more relatable than ever.

I truly hope you give them a chance; I promise you that you will not be disappointed!!

5.0 out of 5 starsWow so many twists it made me dizzy! 2 April 2015
Format:Kindle Edition
Finished this on Thursday night and still thinking about it now!! A real page turner but at slow speed as you really need to take in everything that is going on! A fabulous sequel to Unbind and one I had to read to get the answers to all the questions from the first. Cai and Chloe are still together (fab) and on a learning curve to trust and the truth. There are so many little and big twists and turns that I sometimes had to re-read sections to make sure I hadn’t missed anything.
All I can say is if you have read the 1st book then this is a MUST READ. If you haven’t read the first book then you NEED TOO!! I hate revealing plots but I wish I could see in reality the paintings that Cai is responsible for (sigh) and wish he would paint me as that guy is seriously HOT!!!
I am now looking forward to Kayla’s story…….who knows what other secrets will be revealed.

Download Book One:

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Being Held Hostage By a Book!

The bane of my life at the moment seems to be trying to find a happy medium between writing and interacting with readers – not to mention all the other stuff!

Sometimes, as an author, you end up getting so wrapped up in writing or even reading a book, you neglect everything else! It is a common complaint. Sometimes after a drought, when the flood comes, you’ve just got to go with it. You just don’t know when the impulse is going to return. You have to listen to the voices.

There might be one year where you barely write anything and another year where you cannot bloody stop writing! It seems 2015 is the latter for me and I have got stuff coming out of my ears! Only problem is I haven’t got time to be all things to all people – unsurprisingly certain areas of life have to go on the backburner. For me, it always seems to be social networking and chasing reviewers that gets neglected.

HOWEVER….! The current work in progress, which has been an up and downhill journey for me, is now in official first draft status. I honestly didn’t know which way this book was gonna go – it was such a toss-up all the way through. It’s about a journey of discovery that rips the heroine apart and leaves her a different person to the one she started out with.

For once, I’m not dreading the editing of this one. I’m really, really looking forward to it! Kayla Tate has been such a joy to write! I adore her. I don’t know if it is that the last book in a trilogy is always the easiest because you’ve got the big points already covered, but this book has just been one of those where I’ve just had to ride the highs and lows and it’s somehow worked out good in the end – thank all that is good for that!

The story from Unbind and Unfurl continues into Unleash and my, have we some revelations to come…

I’m aiming to give Unleash a tentative June release, but we shall wait and see…

Two Modes Make a Book

In the beginning when I first started writing novels I was writing because I had an idea that just wouldn’t be contained and I had to write it. There were no two ways.

Several novels on, however, there ARE two ways.

These days I write with handwritten notes by my side, perhaps even a chapter-by-chapter breakdown. Sometimes I’ll have mapped a character and fleshed them out in note form from their birthday to their height, their sexual preferences to their dress sense, before they’ve even uttered their first bit of prose or dialogue on the blank, old, fictional page.

We’re told time and time again, there are so many different ways to write a book but the most important thing is to actually just get it written. If only that were so simple.

As an experienced writer now, I do have the pre-planning stage mastered. However I still have to listen to my other mode of by the seat of my pants sometimes because that approach is just as invaluable as the other. Sometimes if you’re too calculated, the reader knows it, and there’s less intrigue then. It becomes predictable.

Constrained by all these notes and preformed ideas, sometimes you can find yourself bogged down or contained, curtailed. It doesn’t feel nice, sometimes, writing to a method you’ve already written out. Like cooking, really, without tasting the food—even the perfect method might go wrong because you didn’t converge with the meat and the potatoes of your recipe and you thought the balance of ingredients would work out well just because the words on the page said so. Sometimes creative freedom is everything. The beauty and exhilaration of writing for me, in the beginning, was writing not knowing where the story was going. To experience the story as everyone else will is amazing—because if you’re pantsing, you’re seeing the action happen like a reader will.

There’s sometimes a point you’ll come to when you’re writing a book and I call it Writer’s Aggression. It’s where you feel you want to jack it all in or scrap it and start again. The anger of The Block (where nothing is flowing and you feel you’re climbing an ever-building brick wall) can sometimes be all-consuming and writing is no longer enjoyable. You know instinctively something is wrong or doesn’t feel good, and the end feels like it will never get here, and you feel like that novel you wrote in half the time last year must have been so much better because it was so much easier.

WRONG.

So when I encounter The Block, what I do is step away from writing altogether or write something else. I’ve been doing that recently and I’m currently working on two things at once because I need distance from the big thing I’m writing.

Writing is faith. It’s keeping going even when it’s really hard and it doesn’t feel good and you’re not sure it’s going well. I read too many books these days full of hyperbole and flowery language. Readers are clever, they don’t need that. It is a bugbear of mine, but that’s just my opinion. I think all that yucky, gooey muck is what we write when we don’t have a clue what else to write. Hands up who’s guilty!

ME!

Readers are sensitive creatures who give meaning to the story themselves as soon as they turn the first page. I think the writer’s job is to provide readers with the foundation to make the story their own. Write the story, not the metaphor of the century. (Maybe I am still suffering a tad of Writer’s Aggression!)

I’m around the 75% stage of my current Work In Progress (well the big one, Unleash…not the other book, a novella I’m also working on) and it’s only now at 75% that I’ve reached that moment where the lights have reached full power and the party is ready to start, the drink’s flowing and everybody’s talking now and some have even been brave enough to get up on the dance floor and… it’s going to be one hell of a night, you know it.

I realised just this morning why I’ve felt so horrified for so long that this book doesn’t feel good; it’s because I’ve always known, deep down in the back of my mind, that what I have to do with Unleash will not be easy. I’ve been subconsciously avoiding something. I’ve been living the story through my main character, Kayla, and I’ve been with her every step of the way and she’s now gotten to that light-bulb moment where the fundamental pieces of what makes her, her, have become clear. Now she doesn’t know what to do about it. There are tons of people this must happen to in life; you’ve spent years thinking you know who you are, what you are, where you’re going—and out of the blue an exemplary force suddenly steps into your domain and you’re then stood in a huge corn field the size of Texas, with nowhere else to go because whichever direction you run in, it won’t get you anywhere fast—unless you have the bravery to reach for that vehicle right beside you which is damn scary but will take you exactly where you want to go.

Writing a happy ending is the easiest thing in the world. It makes everyone feel good about themselves. It’s great. It’s what a lot of readers and writers need to distract them from the difficulties and rigours of their everyday lives. I love a happy ending. However, there’s the literary argument that a happy ending won’t stay with you. The warm, gooey feeling you experience from a HEA will leave you quickly and you’ll move onto your next fix. The book hangover, however, will stop you in your tracks and you won’t forget that one in a hurry. You might not even move on from it, ever.

What if, you’re writing a whole book knowing all the while the story might not give your protagonist their happy ending? But… but… what I’m writing might resonate so strongly with so many, it’ll all be worth it! The pain will be worth it. But… but… it fucking hurts to be writing this shit!

The more I write, I realise art has to represent life and life sometimes does not turn out the way you expect. I never rate a story five stars unless it provokes tears in me and right now, the story I’m writing isn’t even provoking tears—it’s provoking a welling need to write, to get this down now, to eke out this burning feeling in my chest. To gulp the ether of this horrific story of circumstance and spew it out before I choke. I have a horrible feeling of dread and yearning, longing and discovery. I’m stood at World’s End, ready to throw myself in. I don’t have time for the tears right now. They’ll come later, creating wells no doubt as I gulp fresh air on the other side. Kayla is about to learn, you don’t want people standing by your side in life who cushion you, you want those willing to jump with you, willing to race the race, fight fire with fire, give as good as you get… and all that bling.

The Click just happened for me. It’s what we all long for as writers. It all clicked into place and the planning was worth it, so was deviating a little from the plan, and now I’m looking from a bird’s eye view at the whole of Texas and I’m in charge of the story again and I know what to do. The snail-pace, 200-words days are done with and it’s time to jump into the fiery pits of hell. It’s going to cost me to write the rest but what is the point otherwise? If you don’t feel it, nobody else will.

So maybe if you’re enduring The Block, what you’re actually enduring is just a subconscious unwillingness to embrace the story. The story won’t manifest unless you take time to listen; the most important weapon in a writer’s arsenal.

Some stories aren’t always expected, or pretty, or happy, but they’re real.

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