New Series Covers!

Introducing ALL NEW covers for the Sub Rosa Series . . . ! Meet the series’ major characters and fall in love with them all over again! GORGEOUS!

You can read the entire series free with your Kindle Unlimited subscription.

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Blind Date with a Book

This is a concept I adopted at book signings and it seems to have taken off! At my most recent signing in Sheffield, there was so much interest from readers and authors alike and it’s proven to be sooo popular.

You don’t know what the cover looks like, basically all you get is a few key words telling you what the brown package you’re buying generally contains. You go in blind, with no expectations, and I think this is something that really works for people with a healthy interest in the unknown who are willing to take a risk!

As I’m not doing another signing in a while now, I’ve decided to sell my BDWAB’s on a more regular basis – so if there’s anything below you fancy, send me an email smlpublishinguk@gmail.com and I can invoice through PayPal.

Thanks to everyone who came to my table in Sheffield and chatted, bought books or generally enquired what it is that I actually write about. This is, in a way, why I started the Blind Dates – because I write so many different books, these little packages help people see without me going on and on about plots, while trying not to give away numerous spoilers, and/or generally tell you the whole thing before you’ve even dived in! It really is getting hard to define what genre I’m most known for – I guess proper stories with steamy scenes covers a lot of bases but not all.

So, here’s what you can choose from. As I said, mail me, message me on FB or Instagram and we can arrange payment, then I will mail out one or more of these beauties to you (prices not inclusive of P&P).

Happy browsing!

Review Opportunities and Our Poetry Project

There’s still time to join my latest charity project – a poetry anthology. Please join me over on Facebook to learn more, or you can email me for all the details. I am looking for poems, but there’s no minimum or maximum word count, you just have to write something inspired by our cover art! I’ve had some great contributions so far . . . and there’s more to come! Submissions are open until January 31st – please let me know if you have something but it’s going to be late.

I’m galvanising my social networks this year, after a very busy writing year in 2018. This includes opening up review opportunities. If you’d like to read one of my books for free in exchange for an honest review, just fill out this form. I also have a reader group on Facebook where you can gather to discuss what you’ve read in a closed environment!

Similarly, if you’ve read and enjoyed one of my books lately and just haven’t got around to reviewing yet, why not pop some stars and a line or two of review on Amazon or Goodreads? If possible, tag me so that I know you’ve reviewed!

I’m currently working on a few NEW things, but predominantly I plan to release at least one thriller and my first poetry book this year!

Watch this space x

Don’t Judge A Book by Its Cover! and other news . . .

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Lots of “blind date with a book” packages have gone out to readers this week and I’m so pleased they’re already getting stuck in, so to speak!

The above image shows the packages I have left: prices include P&P within the UK (as a special offer) because I need to clear out my office! Please contact me via FB message or through my contact form or via email sarahm.lynch@yahoo.co.uk if you’d like to purchase a book or two. Payment can be made via Paypal.

You’ll see on my website that I have an area for readers to buy signed books – you can order anything you like from there, but you won’t get as good a deal as you will ordering the Blind Date books! Readers familiar with my work will be able to work out which package contains what.

Other News

ptmys ebook

It’s your last chance to grab Poems To My Younger Self from Amazon. After March 31st, it won’t be on public sale anymore. I have limited copies in my personal stock which you can purchase from me, but once they’re gone, they’re gone! Please don’t miss out. Order your copy direct from me and you will get a squiggle and a free bookmark – and maybe some other swag. All proceeds go to Make A Wish.

Fill in the order form: CLICK HERE

Purchase from Amazon: mybook.to/youngerpoems

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SURPRISE NEW RELEASE

 

WOTWS

***99 pennies for the first 24 hours of release, or #FREE in #KindleUnlimited***

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BLURB . . .

Laura is a bestselling crime novelist, but she hasn’t written anything new in years and her frustrations are making her rethink everything—including her marriage.

She isn’t getting what she wants from her husband Tom, so she decides to create her very own fantasy man—a perfect sexual partner, but also someone she can confide in.

Perhaps switching genre may help her combat writer’s block, but during the writing process, it becomes difficult to separate fact from fiction and the secrets plaguing her marriage threaten to bring her whole life crashing down around her.

On the page her fantasies run wild, but how can she apply them to real life? Or in real life, do her fantasies make her a bad person for wanting MORE?

In this plot-driven, challenging romance, Laura finds herself questioning whether the problem lies with her.

Is she asking too much?

The truth is, nothing is what it seems in this story.

Nothing.

Add to Goodreads

 

Purchase links:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Universal Link

Happy reading!

S x

 

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A Deleted Scene from the Sub Rosa Series

Recently, as I was cleaning my laptop, I discovered some deleted scenes! In fact, I discovered many – and many have now been deleted properly!

Scenes get deleted because they don’t move the action forward, or maybe it’s just that they sometimes seem over-indulgent.

Well, I found this one scene that I just want to share – just because. It’s in Cai’s voice and is a monologue of sorts. I’m not sure why I didn’t include this section, who knows? I only know that I like the way he speaks about Chloe in this excerpt, and I am sure you will, too.

I think I may have intended to include this in Unfurl, but obviously it never made the final cut. Anyway, without further ado, here we go . . . enjoy!

***

Jennifer didn’t realise how little she knew about me until I met Chloe Harmon almost four years later. 2011 was the year I was due to finally inherit my millions, the year Jennifer also scuppered all that. It didn’t really matter, though. Like my mother, I knew all about contingency plans.

Chloe saw me from day one and made it abundantly clear to Jennifer I was more. So much more. Being with Chloe was a danger, because she made me better.

Chloe Harmon, the supernova to dissect my blunt universe of sin, vice and disharmony—made me walk tall and be who I was meant to be. She walked through the doors of Media Solutions and I bolted for her, chasing her with a jar of Douwe Egberts in one hand and a coffee cup in my other.

The first time I looked into her amber eyes, I was arrested—fire from the pits of hell licked the ice latched around my shut heart. My head a ton weight, I was numb, trying to fix on anything but her.

In the kitchen of our office, I handed her a coffee she’d hypnotized me into making. Our fingers touched and I got jolted by a magnetic pulse I’d never encountered before. I stared at her lips and knew if I kissed her once, it wouldn’t end there. I wanted to kiss every inch of her body—taste and inhale every part of her, live in her skin and bones instead of my own. Inside my pants, a part of me that hadn’t ever worked without help ticked and jerked, for the very first time.

pablo

When Chloe smiled, it was like death, destruction and decay had never existed. Only her, a living, animate object filled my vision.

I loved the natural curl of her long hair and the subtle freckles hidden beneath make-up. When she laughed her cheeks became large, round pippins and her eyes narrowed like a cat’s. She pinched her bottom lip between her teeth whenever she got too embarrassed and had to look way. Her hands were elegant just like a woman’s hands should be and I fought to stop myself getting on my knees and begging, literally begging, for a chance to touch her face.

I got back to my desk after that first encounter with Chloe and the ache of a constant smile began to hurt. I took out a notepad and started drawing, just anything, whatever came to mind.

Her face. I couldn’t stop drawing her face, desperate not to forget it. I had to draw her eye over and over. The size and shape, I needed to get it right. Oval, with those long, feline lashes whipping at the edges. God, I imagined the silkiness of her brow and was hard just thinking about that. I couldn’t imagine making love with her, it’d be too good—too many places to lose myself and enjoy. I imagined her skin, softer than silk, and wanted nothing more than for her hands to be in my own.

From my vantage point upstairs I could see down to her desk below but somehow feared, she’d beat a hasty retreat if she knew about the things I’d seen and done. I couldn’t spend my whole life up in my fourth-floor office, just watching her through the glass divide from a distance.

If her unearthliness touched me any deeper, I feared I’d shatter and crack—tell her my darkest secrets. Then she’d leave and never come back. That’d be it once she discovered the deepness of my dark depths. I couldn’t bother her with this tragedy I carried in my soul.

Nevertheless we drank together in a pub that evening, discussing how her first day had gone. She was a giddy, nervous woman who clearly had a past of her own. As we sat there chatting I remembered how much I hated public places and other people in general. It was easy with the disguise; I could be someone else, but as myself—it was never easy. I left her and my pint of lager unceremoniously behind because people were watching us. More importantly they were watching her, and my fists were inching to flail into the face of any man who looked at Chloe in the wrong way. She was oblivious, that gorgeous woman, of just how much of an effect she had on men.

I went by a craft shop as soon as I was out of that pub and then I raced back to my apartment to get it all down. I felt frightened, fearing those images of her in my head would disappear.

I drew and painted until my eyes ached and my arms went into spasm in rebellion. I didn’t feel angry while I was occupied by my work, didn’t need the punch bag, a gym session or a bin full of ice to quench my need to tame all that was bad inside—demons that never really left.

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I barely slept trying to express the small fissure she’d made in the ice, which melted the more she bestowed her good grace on me. While I spent time drawing her, adrenalin and euphoria pounded its way through my veins like no other catalyst I’d ever encountered before. Ideas snaked through my bleak mind, bursting a technicolour display, ousting the red flames and black clouds of dissolution.

I’d never wanted to draw. I’d photographed so many images, but never drawn a single thing, unwilling to follow in my mother, Claudia’s footsteps.

I thought I met beauty the day I met Chloe Harmon, but I hadn’t. True beauty only demonstrated itself the more human she became, the more fragile, the more broken and yet…

…with that weakness, she conquered not only me…

unbind freebie

You can start the journey for FREE and continue with Volumes 2 through 4, which are available at sale price right now, or FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Discover the Sub Rosa Series in the UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B077VSPMD6

Discover the Sub Rosa Series in the US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077VSPMD6

Or use this universal link if you are elsewhere: http://mybook.to/SubRosaSeries 

sub rosa cover

WORTH IT – Now Live!

worth it

“You’re my thunder and lightning, girl. I chase you even when I know I’m going to get struck down.”

Mark Lutz was doing so well. He was in therapy to tackle his sex addiction and everything looked brighter. He was pulling himself together. Then, he had a relapse.

Now he’s at a standstill. He’s lost everything. His job. The love of his life. His self respect. He feels like there’s no point in trying anymore because he’ll only end up failing.

He needs a friend more than anything, someone who genuinely cares. That friend comes in the form of Cai Matthews, who has an offer Lutz cannot refuse.

One of the Sub Rosa Series’ many strong characters, Lutz has a unique story to tell, one of self-discovery, healing and dramatic truths.

**It is highly recommended you read Unbind, Unfurl and Unleash before this novel.**

Universal download link: http://mybook.to/WorthIt

deadly-rose-3dAfter WORTH IT, you need to read His Deadly Rose (Sub Rosa #6), details of which can be found here: http://mybook.to/HisDeadlyRose

And right now, all the books in the series are on SALE!

Sub Rosa Series on AMAZON UK

Sub Rosa Series on AMAZON US

Unbind is FREE!

Unfurl, Unleash and Dom Diaries are all 99 pennies! Visit me on Amazon

Lutz teaser 1

An Excerpt from WORTH IT, Sub Rosa #5 . . .

Unveiling . . .

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Excerpt

1997

I was leaving double maths and feeling fucking knackered one Friday afternoon, when a group of people dashed past me down the corridor, squealing with excitement.

I was not in the mood, not after double maths with the teacher from Hell.

Walking across the quadrangle, ready to go straight out of the school gates and head home, I got accosted by Dario who grabbed me by the scruff of my neck.

“Get your clown hands off me!”

“Come, on, come on! You’ve got to see this! Come on!”

He started running, to I knew not where, and eventually I realised what was going on.

Kayla and her group were rehearsing in the hall and everyone had decided it was a party. It was nearly Christmas but soon enough, the teachers would find out we were all down here, gawping up at Kayla and swaying together like it was New Year’s Eve. She was performing at the Christmas disco the following week and that’s why they’d let her have this stage to practice. They always let groups studying A level music perform each Christmas, but only the best—and it was the first time ever they’d let a rock group perform. That was just a sign of how good Kayla was.

“Right you fuckers, tell me what to sing next!”

I arrived during a break, so I had to wait to hear her sing.

“‘Rape Me’ by Nirvana,” shouted Dario, and I nearly kneed him in the cock.

Since we’d met three months ago, I’d got the distinct impression from Kay that seeing each other in that way was off the table and I figured there was a big reason why.

I didn’t like to ask. I didn’t even want to envisage it.

I had my suspicions, and that was all.

I mean… she needed protecting, right?

And she only wanted to protect herself.

Anyway, she quirked an eyebrow at Dario and talked to her band.

“All right,” she said, flicking the microphone wire behind her, “none of the band know that one cos they’re all boring twats so we’re gonna do ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’. I know you all love it and so does a friend of mine.”

She avoided looking at me when she said it, but I knew it was aimed at me.

The growing crowd cheered, and she grinned.

Kayla threw a guitar over her shoulder and put her microphone in its holder.

The drummer counted them in and she strummed her first chords.

I watched as she played and sang, her voice gravelly when it needed to be, mimicking Bon Jovi. Her shoulders jigged to the music and she curled her lip, getting into the emotion of the song, her fingers masters over the guitar she was holding. Her facial expressions were evocative of the song, her soul a real rocker’s soul, even though her voice could be adapted, you could tell that from the way she could sing the higher notes.

I caught gooseflesh from my scalp to my toes. I’d never felt anything like this before—a wave of shock and awe sweeping through me, filling me with joy.

I knew I was watching someone very, very special.

She just happened to be my friend.

After the song, the band started right on with another Bon Jovi track, this time, ‘Bed of Roses’.

She took the stool behind the mic and put her guitar on the ground.

“This is for all you dirty fucks,” she said, her laugh rough and dirty, too.

I smiled wider than I’d ever smiled before.

She sang ‘Bed of Roses’ in what you could tell was her more natural voice and the powerful Jazz sound she produced caught the whole room up in a contemplative atmosphere.

Then at the choruses, she took to the floor and belted out her full range, shocking the room with her astounding standard.

I wanted to cry.

I wanted to go grab her off stage and kiss her face off.

Instead, I just smiled.

And I smiled.

To say she’d told me time and time again that she didn’t like Bon Jovi (even though she knew I did), she sure did know the lyrics, probably better than I did.

After that she sang Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Stereophonics, stuff I knew Kayla wasn’t really into. Pantera, Megadeth and Metallica were more her kind of music, but Kayla knew that people wouldn’t be wanting that at a school disco.

The party got broken up and everything went quiet, everyone went their own ways.

Kayla and her people had to tidy up and I was in no state to be sociable.

I went home and hid in my bedroom, probably for the next three days.

***

Worth It (Sub Rosa #5) is available for pre-order, with a release date of DECEMBER 12th, 2017! Here are your links:

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

AMAZON CA

AMAZON AUS

Lutz teaser 1

If you want to start at the beginning, you can do, and for #FREE!! Unbind (Sub Rosa #1) currently costs 0.00p/c to download. Check for your links below:

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Amazon UK

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ITunes

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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.”

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How I Wrote a Book in 20 Days: A Diary – Part Three

Read parts one and two before reading part three…

PART ONE: CLICK HERE

PART TWO: CLICK HERE

Please 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 #10

Today’s Monday. So that means my last writing day was Wednesday, last week. Thursday last week was a day of finishing editing on someone’s book, Friday was a shopping and seeing my daughter collect a certificate in school day. That didn’t allow much time for writing and/or editing, and we were away all weekend so I didn’t write then either. So now I feel like I have a bit of catch-up to play. I also feel like I’ve got all these ideas in my head that I’ve generated over the past few days and now I’m scrambling to get them down before I forget them! Being creatively energised is a good thing but it’s so easy to burn out, too. At the end of each writing day, I always try to make sure there’s a thread to follow the next day.

While walking to and from my daughter’s school today, I had a thought. I remembered something I read a long time ago. It was a quote from somewhere or other that said (more or less) that it’s much harder to write a tender book than a book of drama, angst, erotica or mystery. I do love writing various genres but I have felt that of late, I’m writing to please others and not to please myself and so I’m aware that with this book, I’m deviating and also pleasing myself. I am also aware that it’s much easier while writing to throw a spanner in the works and make my characters deal with it instead of following a train of thought where the characters slowly and lovingly develop. So, at the moment I’m shutting down a lot of my “plot twist” moments, steering clear of them in favour of writing a tender book which is not designed to shock or thrill, but more make the reader become at one with the main character and view her journey as if it’s real – as if it’s happening out there in the world, right now. I want this book to make people cry, don’t get me wrong, but I also want it to do that without the shock factor. I want this book to gently take the reader on a journey they may not have anticipated, but still a journey that’s very believable, relatable and all at the same time, touching beyond what they anticipated.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about writers and their notebooks. (I mentioned at the start of this journey that it was the thought of starting writing that was worse than actually starting writing. I am well aware that, at the moment, I’m loving the creation of this book but soon enough the process will all be over and I’ll be in mourning for yet more characters I’ve lived alongside and now have to let go of…) Anyway, yes, I have a lot of notebooks filled with notes and some Word documents filled with notes, too. Notebooks are like that mental hurdle you have to get over in order to start writing a book. Notebooks are where you stuff your thoughts when you’re not quite ready (or equipped yet) to start writing the actual book. Notebooks receive the splurge and don’t contain all the detail surrounding each bit of dialogue that enhances feeling, tension of a scene, location setting, resolution or problem. As I progress with this project (much like I’ve progressed in the same way on projects before), I realise notebooks can be helpful for pointers, reminders, bullet points, section ideas etc… but the only real way to actually achieve anything when you’re writing a book, is to do as Hemingway said, and “sit and bleed at the typewriter…” or something to that effect anyway. Because this book has directed itself, and continues to do so, it is seemingly much better off for organic development – and I am very much inclined to agree with Hemingway, one of my all-time favourite authors and an inspiration. Anyway, I am loving the direction this story is going in, but I maintain constant awareness of not pushing myself too hard, while also preparing myself for the range of emotions to come. As a writer, and no less as a person, self care is utmost. Utmost.

Word count so far: 33913

Day #11

I’m getting deeper into the story now, the meatier stuff evolving. We’re in the second third of the book where I always try to start bringing all the characters’ innards out on display, as we reach an understanding of what the matter at hand is here, i.e. what is the dealio.

So, we’re getting to the crux of the matter and I’m delivering more details slowly, in pipette-fuls. I’m gradually building more context, giving my heroine more of a dynamic with herself, but also with all the other characters. She’s now discovered a potentially calamitous truth about her boss which could end very badly.

I’m beginning to see the overall potential of this story and my faith is going to pay off, I know it is. I just have to keep going! And it’s so exciting to think about where this might go. My vision of how I’ll feel at the finish line is still unclear so for now, I’ve just got to keep riding this wave and see where it takes me.

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I added one chapter today which was just enough. I wrote this morning but then spent the afternoon setting up social media posts as I have a sale on at the moment. Let’s see how I’m feeling tomorrow, eh?

Word count so far: 37223

Day #12

After today’s efforts, I can officially count this as another novel added to the pile, as I passed the rudimentary 40K word count mark which takes the book to novel-length.

It feels good. But with all my books, I never write small. I have written some novellas in my time actually, even some short stories, but most of my novels are 90,000 words plus, some have even reached almost 160K. At the moment I’m aiming for around 90-100,000 with this book. In the back of my mind I know I’ve got enough room to stretch my legs out and let this take its course, on the other hand I also have a vague idea what I need to pack into each section so the reader doesn’t get bored. I also want to achieve everything I need to without dulling down the narrative too much – all while leaving a few bits up to the imagination while detailing the most important moments of character development in considerable depth. As someone who’s written over fifteen full-length novels, I am well aware that all this crafting and sewing together of the plot mostly goes on in the back of my mind now, leaving the conscious me to really just enjoy the story.

Today as with most days, I never put my fingers to the keys before ten a.m. After the rush of getting my daughter to school, I need to allow time for my brain to settle and calm. I need the lake in front of my mind’s eye to be absolutely still. So, when I get back from dropping off my daughter, I make a cup of tea. Set the washing machine running. Make all the beds, open the curtains, the windows, wash the dishes. Pick stuff up off the floor. Basically, I’ve got to mentally and physically clear the decks before I can fully relax and sit down to write. I also use this time to check all my social media accounts, answer emails, set up automated media posts… hopefully before the strike of ten when I start tapping on the keys or at least start reading through some bits. The same goes on days when I’m editing – I never edit when my brain’s scatty because it’s easy to miss things that way.

Lunch is usually around one, though earlier if I’m particularly hungry, sometimes later if the writing’s got me so fixated that I feel like I can merely survive on fresh air.

Sometimes I’ll work all day, with only that short break for lunch. A lot of days I use my evenings to key in notes or do research, maybe some more social media… In fact, there was a time I used to be up until one a.m. finishing stuff off. That does not happen anymore (leftover bad habit of when I had no time during the day to write). My health comes first these days. And my writing during the day is so much better off for me getting a good night sleep every night. Speaking of which I’m writing this diary entry at half eleven at night because this was the only moment today I could write it! Sweet dreams…

Word count so far: 42910 ← so achievable when you know how

Day #13

Whoa, I am so close to the halfway stage now, I can almost taste it. Half a novel. Is it true? Can it be? At some points during my days, I’m envisioning scenes and getting chills. I’m trying to fragment pieces of information my mind grabs at and make tendrils of thought into full, detailed scenes. My mind’s still chasing ahead, trying to enjoy the good bits before I’ve tackled the difficult stuff. I have to slow myself down. I know this from experience. I have to let this story tell itself. I have to succumb to creativity.

There are always moments of doubts, too. Such as, who will read this? Will they get it? Will they like the heroine? Is she going to lure readers to live her journey alongside her? Those moments pass eventually. For me they do anyway. I think they pass because I just love writing so bloody much!! I always remind myself, I am doing this because I love it. I love this. I love the way I can live somewhere else in my mind while I’m writing. I love imagining the finished product. I write for the finished product, and I love to see how surprised readers are sometimes, when they read my stories and get a totally different angle they weren’t expecting.

For now, sleep. Tomorrow’s Friday so I’ll be trying to knuckle down to writing another nice chunk before the weekend swallows me whole again. Time really does fly when you’re living the dream.

Word count so far: 46,467

TUNE IN FOR PART FOUR THIS TIME NEXT WEEK!

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