Writing An Organic Novel Which Becomes a Living Organism

  • What Is An Organic Novel?

An organic novel is perhaps the hardest type of book you could ever write. The author might have a vague idea of what they’re writing and why, but largely they’ve allowed themselves to go with the flow – starting with a basic story arc and adding to the flow as and when.

I’ve sat here and written organic novels and planned novels, so I know from experience that the organic novel is much harder to master but produces the better result.

A lot of authors will tell you they need to hear their characters’ voices to be able to write the story but in my experience, the story comes as strongly to me as the characters and no matter where the characters want to go, you, the author are in charge of their destiny. When a reader gets angry because the author killed off their favourite character, they might assume the author felt nothing when they killed off that character. They’d be wrong. The author feels the loss more than anyone and the author cuts themselves open to put difficult issues and trials on a page. As an author, it’s the hardest thing to do to say to yourself, “This is going to hurt but it must be done and I must go through with it…” Tackling difficult issues HURTS. Always emotionally, sometimes even physically when you’ve been sat in the same position all day and your fingers just won’t pen that difficult scene in the right way.

I don’t use beta readers. I discuss my books with my editor husband and nobody else. My best novel yet might be called Tainted Lovers but I didn’t allow it to become ‘tainted’ by too many cooks spoiling the broth.

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  • Art Is Organic

For me, art can’t be pre-planned; art is giving half of yourself over to the unknown and hoping for the best. It’s letting go of control and allowing your spirit to whirl around a black hole for as long and as painfully as you can take. In the process of writing the organic novel, you might be at war with yourself, or your editor, or yourself and your editor simultaneously, yourself and what you think readers want, yourself and yourself (if like me you sort of method write and start talking with the character who says, “I’d never fucking do that.”

Art is feeling the emotions of a story and not only subscribing to them but living them and absorbing them so that you know other human beings will feel the journey too. It’s hoping beyond hope that something so innately creative and “out there” might actually make sense to a bunch of individuals you don’t even know from Adam.

Art is knowing that the first line doesn’t have to be the best because a book is several lines. Which make a whole. It’s knowing when to make the sentences count, at what junctures do you need to dredge your soul, and how sometimes using greyscale so that when people do transform, it happens in multiple rainbows finally feeding the starved souls of readers ‘hoping beyond hope’.

Art is writing what isn’t pretty, but is necessary to the story. It’s about history, about humanity, about not lying to your reader about what life is like beyond their own castle walls.

  • The Organism

Writing something from the gut means things you put down on paper might repulse some and delight others. It’s true and therefore everyone will have an opinion over something so solid, which you’ve written down in granite and therefore, cannot be changed. The reader might will the story to change but the author (bearing in mind I’ve always been told be careful how you use words – and I ignore that notion continually) cannot change that story because by pressing that publish button, they’ve already put it in stone.

What makes a book an organism is when the author leaves little crevices in a story for the reader to allow their own subplots to slide in. Many people become fond of side characters in books, because they’re people we can imagine for ourselves. The protagonists are often crafted in such a staunch way that they’re the pegs holding down the tent, the driving force of a book – so set in stone – they cannot always be changed. Heroes and heroines can lose their mystery the more story we give them and the more we peel away their shells to overcome each obstacle.

My most recent full-length novel Tainted Lovers was written organically and in some respects, I fought to keep it that way. I didn’t just fight with myself, or my editor, but I fought with every aspect of this novel and it was a fight to the finish line. I wrote about keeping it a standalone in this blog and looking back now, I am so glad I won that particular fight because making this a standalone book has created a living organism which readers now give life to with their reactions and their interpretations, plus lingering questions even as silly as, “Why did he never take his socks off?”

I took some awful issues to task in this novel, one of them being domestic abuse. More than three women who suffered domestic abuse themselves contacted me to say that the book reflected exactly how they felt when they themselves were in that situation. Some of these women had to take a few days and more afterwards to reflect on the story they’d read. I really never even considered whether I was doing justice to women in the same position as my female lead, Adrienne. I just wrote a story I felt in my heart and gut was real.

I love a story which keeps the pages turning. I love commercial fiction. Some books you forget quickly but they were good at the time. I write mainstream stuff as well as literary stuff. I like a balance. But sometimes, an idea comes along and you have to pursue it, no matter the cost. It’s a GIFT and a privilege that I get to do what I do.

Art has to reflect real life, or it won’t touch your readers. Art has to explode life… in a way you might not feel brave enough to do yourself. It’s why we read, why the romance and thriller genres remain the biggest selling genres in the world. Put the two together and you might just get a book to finally knock the socks off David Lewis, the man who once upon a time made love wearing socks…

I finish with one of the reviews I read of Tainted Lovers only yesterday:

on 18 May 2016
I really am not sure what to say about this book, the writing was exceptional and the storyline like nothing I’ve read before. This book consumed me day and night, when I wasn’t reading it, I was wondering what else could possibly happen to Ade and David. These characters are beautifully broken; with dark secrets they fear will end their relationship this story spans over a decade, and really makes you think about a love that is so deep and all consuming, and had me asking myself whether I have ever really felt such a strong connection.

There were so many twists that you just will not see coming. This book will not only touch your heart but will invade your soul and leave you reeling. The author went to great lengths to make this story and the characters complex yet completely relatable; and the poetry throughout, beautiful. I loved Ade’s strength and David’s passion, and together they made this story the beautiful masterpiece that it is.

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BDSM, Writing Sex and Daddy Doms… an interview

Firstly, thanks to Louise from Passionate Page Turner for posing these questions to me. I enjoyed answering them and it was great to look back at some of my earlier books. Without further ado…

The chambermaid series looks at one woman’s self-discovery and sexual awakening, she learns a great deal about her craft, how did you research for this?

12140580_619055291531558_4522190407370519980_nA lot of what I write is from off the top of my head and purely fictional and imaginative. However, I have a really good memory so what I write must be in some portion informed by what I have read, watched on TV, witnessed or talked about with friends. Lottie isn’t necessarily an expert practitioner of BDSM. She’s making it up as she goes along; she arouses men because she’s really just very beautiful and has a playful personality. She’s observed people for so long in her job in hotel work, she’s got a great deal of people experience. I also wanted to somehow persuade the reader that the reason Lottie is so imaginative is that she is well read, so I did read almost all the books she’s influenced by. One of my source materials was “Harris’s List of Georgian Ladies” which is full of euphemisms and flowery language and I used that type of language as an influence on Lottie. (Read the book, but Lottie’s use of language hides the sordid truth of a lot of her encounters, which aside from those with Noah are unfulfilling and not indicative of who she really is.)

One reviewer said that you wrote Lottie’s sexual encounters effortlessly, would you agree with this?

I agree I have a flair for writing good sex scenes but nothing comes effortlessly. You can’t just write, He put it in me and it was so hard and so good and he made me come instantly. How, and with what pressure, did he make you come? What did it specifically feel like? Get descriptive. Take yourself out of the situation and look at the scene from a bird’s eye view, then take yourself back into the circle again! There’s so much more to writing sex than most people know and you have to build a scene around a number of factors. Smell. Taste. Feel. Feelings. Women are always turned on by feelings, whether they admit it or not. What he does differently. What you do in response. I always try to vary the scenes I write. I think if Lottie’s sexual encounters seem effortlessly written it’s because all the work I put in behind the scenes isn’t apparent. The hero can be the hottest looking guy on the planet but if he just stands there and expects you to do all the work, that isn’t sexy. A man has to connect with your brain, first of all, to make you want him so much you’ll do ludicrous things with him in the bedroom. Literally, sometimes the things I write are even OBSCENE. LOL.

In my review I stated that it reminded me of older erotica, the likes of the story of O, do you/have you read much erotica? What would you recommend to read?

4a7fd17d24a3d19f79c556e91ed1ee09Yes, Story of O was one of the books which inspired Lottie’s story. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know there are huge passages without paragraph breaks, spread across page after page sometimes. I once read that the story needed rewriting with a modern update and better prose so in effect, I tried to do that in some portion with A Fine Profession. For Lottie, O’s story was an inspiration because having had so much pain in her own life, O has mastered the art of coping with pain and Charlotte wants to do the same. A Fine Profession is about Lottie writing out her fantasies, but with a sinister message beneath her experiences. She has a persona, someone she can be to escape herself, but burying herself in that character has cost her in ways she won’t admit. With that persona comes this voice of someone out of another time. She immerses herself in classical literature to take herself off into another world inside her mind. Her language is a lot more flowery than anything I write otherwise but it reflects her perpetual state of having her head in the clouds. I would definitely recommend Anais Nin for some classical erotica. Tiffany Reisz is an excellent erotic writer and her books are loved by those with a more open mind.

Lottie has a love for corsets and vintage lingerie and Noah supports and encourages this; can you tell me more about why she loves them?

a4a910e7efe751bacff26c5d458d0eb2Like a lot of women, she yearns for days gone by when women dressed as women with petticoats and corsets and huge skirts. When clothes flattered and were made to measure. When clothes lasted. How many women these days complain they can’t find a top to flatter their chest? A bra that fits? As modern women, we’re put under pressure to conform and costumes of old celebrated the larger bosom and hid a lot of our sins. In many respects, the corset is Lottie’s uniform and wearing it reminds her she has to perform. Vintage makes her feel special, makes her feel out of her time, takes her out of herself. Lottie is forever on the hunt for props, experiences and men willing to help her be the character she so desperately wants to be like.

In A Fine Pursuit you write from Noah’s  pov, was this difficult? Especially during sex scenes?

a fine pursuitYeah, it was difficult. I wrote this story a long while ago now but I remember at the time just feeling that same anguish and confusion he did. He was an infuriating character to be in the mindset of but I researched him thoroughly. I always knew he wouldn’t necessarily be a likeable character, but he’s a real character. He’s not a classic dom. I didn’t write his story thinking he was a book boyfriend, either. Like I mentioned above, Lottie is forever trying to displace herself from real life, which she can’t cope with. Noah’s just the same. He wants the fantasy he shares with her, because the billionaire he is by day is nothing like the man beneath. The books are literary, maybe even hard to stomach. I don’t think some readers like the honesty of these two books.

In the finale of the Sub Rosa Trilogy you delve more into BDSM, was this eye opener for you?

Nope. I have believed in BDSM for a long time. It is true that there are some people out there who abuse their roles in the lifestyle, but pain’s not at the heart of the culture. Trust is. I have a book in the pipeline called “Dom Diaries” and it does draw out a lot of the truths about what makes a dom, truths that aren’t necessarily apparent through Kayla’s dialogue alone in the series finale.

I’m not sure I like the term “Daddy” when talking about a dom, is this a common term used?

It’s extremely common except it’s not always used in open spaces – or in mainstream books. You’ve probably read about loads of Daddy/sub relationships but the name Daddy hasn’t been used. In AFP, Noah is Lottie’s Master. She denotes that with the use of capital M for Master. She never calls him sir. He’s much more than that. He’s her disciplinarian because she can be so out of control. The Master/sub relationship is more about punishment whereas the Daddy/sub scenario is more about nurturing the sub. Being a Daddy has nothing to do with being a replacement father figure although many elements of BDSM subvert real-life roles and explore unspoken areas of the sub’s emotional back catalogue. I personally think “daddy” is a softer term for dom/master/sir. Daddies and their subs tend to be more playful, more tactile and play on each other’s young outlook on life.

I notice that you use pinterest, do you find that a useful research and inspiration tool?

Not really. I just waste a lot of time over there, finding pretty pictures! Although sometimes I’ll notice a couple and go, “that reminds me of such and such…” The stuff I use for research is banned off Pinterest.

Fabien takes us into the world of Paranormal, did your writing style have to change when writing sexy supernatural sex scenes?

Yes, my writing really had to change but it was such a refreshing change, too. Putting myself in the mind of someone who has lived for centuries was an interesting task. Also, you can pretty much go WAAAAAYYYY outside the box with paranormal, which is a great thing.

Your new book (Tainted Lovers) features a married couple,  we had chatted about there not being many books out there featuring married couples, why do think that is?

I once read that erotica “saved my marriage”. A lady wrote her libido dipped after a certain length of time spent married and it had nothing to do with her feelings for her husband or their attraction. She just needed a boost. I think we avoid writing about marriage in romance novels because we’d rather remember how it was in the beginning. It’s a common opinion among women that the sex dwindles after marriage and you just have to accept it – but I disagree. I think if you can be open and honest with your partner, it can only keep getting better. No “fantasy” lover is ever going to know you as well as the man who, over several years, has spent time getting to know where and how you like to be touched. But we women do sometimes need a little added shot of erotica to boost our appetites. Horny women are never a bad thing; I’m sure husbands and boyfriends and randoms agree!tainted lovers (2)

What makes a story “Erotica”?

A really good story which features some sex, which doesn’t have to be on every page. A cracking sex scene can carry an entire book if it’s memorable and unique, and well written. Erotica, for me, is a genre which delves into the very basics of our psyche and isn’t easy to write. It’s not just about moving a story from plot point A to point B. You have to weave the sex in so it doesn’t seem unneccessary. It’s a skill I’m still learning all the time.

 

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Latest news + 10,000 followers?

So, I was idly scrolling round my website the other day and happened to see my blog now has 10,000 followers. WOW. How’d that happen?

Anyway, thank you!

So, a few things…

BOOK SIGNINGS

My next book signing is in Dublin on October 8th. You can find out all you need to know about the event by clicking this link: CLADDAGH EVENT PAGE If you want to guarantee your books before the day, you can pre-order by filling out this form: CLICK HERE

TAINTED LOVERS

tainted lovers (2)My latest book Tainted Lovers has been receiving some strong reactions, particularly from women who’ve been in the same position as Adrienne. I’ve deliberately not mentioned her prior history in the blurb so the book isn’t spoiled but for info, she was previously in an abusive relationship – and this impacts on her future marriage. Check out the reviews so far: Visit Amazon UK or Amazon US. I gave everything to one book that I would normally give to a series, so find out for yourself what you think.

EDITING

I’ve had a few queries about this lately so I’m just gonna post this here. I’m not taking on any new editorial projects now until September. I’ll honour those already slated but for the next few months, I’m booked. As always, happy to respond to queries, but my responses may not be so prompt.

DOM DIARIES

I’m working on a companion novel to the Sub Rosa Series at the moment called Dom Diaries. It’s a book from Carl’s POV and has been an interesting challenge, given it’s a collection of diaries, which require a lot of different techniques! I’m hoping to make this available for pre-order in the next two to three weeks.

NEWSLETTER

I’m starting a newsletter very soon which will contain exclusives, previews and news. All you have to do is fill in your details after following this link: http://eepurl.com/bWYDuf.

And that’s all for now. Thanks for reading,

Sarah xx

 

 

 

Tainted Lovers is Live…

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(Click cover to be directed to Amazon)

Title:

Tainted Lovers

Genre:

Romantic erotica/suspense

Page count:

424

Series?

Complete standalone

Listen to me reading Chapter One without any rehearsal, I just picked it up and read it (sorry if I sound shite! you can read along below):

Chapter One

Easter, 2003

 

I worked as a cataloguist of special documents at Leeds University’s Brotherton Library, which had some seriously interesting old scrolls and manuscripts among its collections. I landed the job because I had tenacity. I wanted the job because it meant not dealing with the public. I was waiting until my son Billy was a little older so that I could give more time to my studies and finally do my accounting degree.

Occasionally I left my office but only to make the dis-tance from my workspace to the café nearby. While Billy spent time at the crèche every afternoon, I worked. I didn’t need the money, just some sort of sanity.

One day I was leaving my office to pick Billy up on my way home when I spotted a man stood nearby at the self-service units, looking perplexed.

“Excuse me, excuse me,” he called in a panicked voice. He held one foot on the floor while reaching high in the air to signal me over the tops of the high booths. Looking around, I saw no other members of staff available to help him. It was getting toward the end of the day for most people and also, it was nearly the Easter holidays and the past few weeks had been the busiest of the year. Most of my colleagues were surviving on cigarettes and bitching sessions to keep them going.

Walking toward him, I asked, “What’s the problem?”

It wasn’t my job to help him, but I was familiar with the self-service machines.

“It won’t let me take out this book.”

Part of me had already clocked the fact he was beautiful but I tried to ignore that.

Attempting to take his book out for him, I muttered under my breath, “Where is everyone?”

“I’ve been stuck standing here for god knows how long waiting for help.”

I nodded along, hearing angry beeps from the machine, which refused to let him take out this book. Looking closer at the screen, I realised the computer bore a message:

 

This title is reserved.

 

Pointing at the screen, I drew his attention to the message and he answered, “Yeah, I reserved it. About four months ago. So did everyone else. Some shit keeps hiding this and none of us can ever get hold of the bloody thing.”

I picked up the book under scrutiny and held it in my hands. It was an old book on medieval chivalry with a brown, warped cover and thin pages nearly falling apart. The book had illustrations in colour but it was at least a hundred years old and should have been a reference title – if that.

“This shouldn’t even be on a shelf,” I mumbled, “it should be under my care. Look at it.”

I felt him staring at me for a while as I examined his long-overdue/reserved book. “A soft spot for battered old books, eh?”

“I’m actually in charge of battered old books,” I told him. “Just wait here a second.”

“Okay. I’ll wait,” he said.

I caught a softness to his voice, perhaps affection, and the tone caught me off guard. Looking directly up into his eyes for the first time, I was throttled by what was staring back.

Our eyes locked. I think I burned from every pore. My belly filled with heat and my heart rinsed off its icy cage in an instant. Staring at him, my feet rooted, I realised he wasn’t affected at all, not whatsoever. Cool as ice. I hated him a little for it.

“In… a… wait,” I mumbled, not making sense.

I rushed off back to my office and sank against the door, panting, trying to slow my heart. Never had I been so affected. Light-headed, I tried to catch my breath.

Clutching the book in my hand, I remembered I had a job to do. My PC on standby, I started it up again and searched the catalogue number.

It was a borrow, he wasn’t lying. Not a reference title. Flicking through it again, I realised it was one of the core subjects our medieval scholars studied – on chivalric court-ship. So I knew he was either an MA student or higher. Going by his eyes, he was a few years older than me.

Anyway, I needed to get rid of him.

Quickly.

I overrode the system and did something naughty, cancelling all the reserve statuses so the book could start a new cycle of temporary ownership. No doubt some div hated his fellow classmates and wanted nobody else to have access to the book, a rare title which could make or break a dissertation.

Gathering myself, I took some deep breaths, my bag clutched under my arm and the book clutched at my chest.

Leaving the office again, I walked fast because I really needed to pick up Billy.

“Hi,” he said as I rejoined him.

Stepping in front of the self-serve machine with authority, I asked, “Library card, please.”

He handed me it and I took the book out for him, avoiding eye contact altogether.

Job done.

“There you go.”

“Thanks… how did you…? Thanks!” He stuffed the book into his rammed-full bag as I began walking away.

I chased down the stairs, not wanting to give him chance to follow me. I had two flights to get down, though. My exit was through the Parkinson building, and the stairs outside were steep and dangerous. I had to slow down to take them.

“Wait, wait!” He caught up with me, a hand on my forearm slowing me down as we got out into the open air. “I know you.”

“I have somewhere to be,” I huffed, impatient.

“Adrienne, right?”

I dared look into those chocolate-brown eyes again and another electric current shot through me, even stronger though this time. In the light of day, I saw how deeply brown his eyes really were – and smouldering – with umber striations.

I folded my arms. “So what? I saw your library card, David.” I sounded pithy. “You saw my name tag. Big deal.”

“No,” he shook his head, “Adrienne Kyd. I know you. Well,” he chuckled, “I know of you.”

I examined him carefully and the familiarity became clear.

“You’re a Harrogate boy,” I said through gritted teeth.

So, my past was inescapable. A boy from my hometown had found me.

But just how much did he know?

“Everybody knows you… or knew you,” he said, but while his tone was affectionate, his eyes remained devoid of any feeling. He looked at me like he was looking right past me. It was something about his steady gaze. I couldn’t read him. He seemed, guarded.

Anyway, he wasn’t lying. Everyone knew me. I was Miss Harrogate 2000, the same year I got together with Marcus, my ex – the donator of sperm that created my child (he was never a father).

“I’m not trying to be rude… I really do have somewhere to be,” I insisted, avoiding his eyes at all costs. I couldn’t help notice he was mentally undressing me, sizing me up for the kill.

“Can I give you my number?” he asked.

“No.”

“No?”

“No. Goodbye.”

I charged off. Petrified wasn’t a word I thought I understood, but right then, I did. I purposely wore dowdy clothes, no make-up – and worked in the backroom of a library. I hardly ever let my hair down (literally) and I didn’t try to make myself look attractive to the opposite sex whatsoever. In fact I was glad to be invisible but that day, my magic cloak seemed to have worn off.

I’d never been so scared before in my life: I’d fallen in love at first sight.

 

***

 

Even though I worked at the library, people may not have even known that. I passed through quickly on my way to and from places; always with my eyes focused on leaving, always with an air of inapproachability so that people never stopped me in my tracks. I lived in my office, end of. I wore a name badge I always tried to hide by folding over my cardigan. I wasn’t on the help desk. I didn’t deal with returns. I didn’t want to talk to people. I didn’t want people to ask me questions and know things about me. I was quiet. I talked to one girl I worked with, Bebe, and the rest of the staff thought I was some sort of mentally ill person with antisocial tendencies. It worked for me.

However. After that first encounter with David, I was no longer a ghost fluttering in and out of that place. I was a target. David hung around in the afternoons, waiting, watching. He asked if he could carry my bag on my way out. He tried to slip his number into the palm of my hand. He even stalked me at my favourite coffee shop in Parkinson, finding out from the owner what my usual tipple was. The coffee shop owner said David had paid for me to have free coffee for the rest of the academic year. I was molten with fury and longing – torn between giving into my urges and tearing strips off him for refusing to let it go.

 

Not many days later, I had to run an errand over to the geography department which was expecting a new delivery of old maps. Because of my infrequent escape from the office, I don’t think David expected me to catch him with another girl that day. I watched from a distance, hiding myself behind one of the many trees lining the pathways of our campus. I spotted him and a redhead on a bench having a heated discussion, and then a second girl walked up to them. A brunette. The two girls faced off, seemingly fighting for him. David was able to slope off because they were too busy arguing. He chased away once he’d put a safe distance between himself and the two ladies, heading off campus it seemed. Once I knew he was gone, I left my hiding place and walked along to my destination, passing the two girls as I did. All I heard from the redhead was, “He was mine first, keep your hands off.”

The brunette replied, “Don’t you see? He’s playing us both…”

I didn’t hear anything more, but I was sure as hell certain David wasn’t a man to be trusted. I certainly couldn’t afford another man like that in my life.

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Writing A Standalone

**Warning, this blog contains swearing, humour… and some strong opinions. Proceed with caution.**

“I actually forgot how to write a standalone…”

…I said to my husband the other day.

One of the reasons I decided to write a standalone this time round is that my own tastes are changing and I find myself more and more frustrated with long-running series. I find that sequels sometimes take forever to come out, or when they do, the characters don’t sound the same… or maybe it was so long ago since that other book in the series, you find yourself having to reread again and again so you can keep the flow going and stay connected to the characters. I also find that with series comes pressure for the author and often, the first book in a trilogy will be really strong and then books that follow don’t measure up. Maybe that’s just a sign that once a series is established, an author becomes too comfortable in their writing and after that, writes exactly what they want instead of perpetuating what they set out in the beginning? Or maybe, time constraints are involved… and the first book was evolved more organically, before everyone developed an opinion of their own.

A lot of writers I work with don’t write series because they want to, but because they think they have to. Many writers in the Indie world, especially, are writing series with the thought, “I can give this one away for free, then people might read the next ones…” Hey, we’ve all been there. I’ve got the t-shirt. Someone even recently said to me, “People will only take a chance on an Indie author if it’s free.”

When I said that to my husband (I forgot how to write a singular book), I really meant it. I forgot how to write a standalone. As of today, right now i.e. this moment in time, my forthcoming novel Tainted Lovers is the only standalone novel of mine to date. When I wrote Unbind, it was sooooo meant to be a standalone. However, during the writing of it, I’d written loads of material from Cai’s POV for my own benefit, so me – the author – was inside his head and better able to represent him. However, low and behold readers read Unbind and wanted more from him. There were questions left over. While my editor’s opinion was that sometimes it’s better to leave some things unsaid, the readers voted with their feet. WE WANT MORE!

So then, I wrote Unfurl which is probably the second best book I’ve ever written because I really felt like me and Cai were on the same wavelength and I went hell for leather on the editing. By midway through Unfurl, I knew in my heart that Kayla also had a story to tell – so a trilogy was forming – and I didn’t want Unfurl to be the shitty middle book full of sex and filler and crappy cliché to get to the last and final chapter, which gives you all the flash/bang/wallop.

Beyond Angel Avenue was something I wrote out of love. I’d missed Jules and Warrick and felt like enough time had lapsed to tell what happened next. I.e. they’ve changed (like I’d changed) and it wouldn’t be the same book, it’d be a book to stand alone but a sequel still.

I think a lot of authors these days feel under pressure to write series, from a marketing point of view, because a series is an investment for readers to get stuck into. However, through series, are we short selling ourselves? Stretching ourselves thin? When in actual fact, a standalone has the ability to pack a whole lot of punch in one, swift round? A former agent of mine said series attract publishers/agents because it basically means more pounds and pence.

If you think about Game of Thrones, which everyone is in uproar about because they take so bloody long to write, Mr Martin’s books are only soooo absorbing because he takes time to make them that good. Whereas, many other authors are given three months between instalments to write their books. Is that short changing their talent, or are we able to write more than we think we are? I am starting to believe that the world in which we live expects… and probably the reason why 50 Shades did so well was that all of the instalments were out at the same time and nobody had to wait in between for them. (Or did Amazon spot a marketing opportunity and set their algorithms to explode those books…. hmmm… *scratches chin*… I think Amazon saw a way to earn some money.) I say love what you love, enjoy it, and if you do, great. However, the hype told everyone they had to have those books and so everyone went to Asda and got 3 for 2 and most of the Vol. twos and threes languish somewhere (I did a poll, so I’m not lying about this) and most people I spoke to read the first and then forgot about the other two. I hasten to add Mr Martin only intended GoT to be three books long, but that damn wheel of fortune bloody well said no, you will write seven damn books (and now the TV show is ahead of the books… what does that tell you about supply and demand??? Are we just a load of needy gits…? Oh yeah.)

I mean… look at Great Gatsby at only 50K and yet it’s been done numerous times on film etc. Jane Eyre, voted the greatest novel of all time over and over, rides well above 200K. Today, a marketing firm would no doubt slice Charlotte’s book in two and… you know, spoil the fucking thing.

Word count is so stupid. A story will be told, in how ever many words it needs to be told.

WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!!!!!!

I am but a liar. Now… I put on my editor’s hat for the latter portion of this blog… with a list of editing mishaps I wanna scream at myself and others sometimes:

  • Less is more.
  • Not everyone wants to know your shoe size, or what colour underwear you’re wearing. Cut that shit out.
  • Hey, you totally used that plot twist to dramatise what was otherwise a simply boring, boring novel…!
  • Set targets; they bloody work! A deadline gets shit done.
  • Set a word count and make sure you get that whole story told within that bastard.

When I said I forgot how to write a standalone, I am really not kidding. The writer in me wanted to venture down all sorts of avenues and here’s where things went wrong along the way (as my thought processes swam beyond the buoy):

  • “I could make this two, 90,000-word books and put a massive cliffhanger slap bang in the middle to make people want more… (my editor says, okay, maybe that could work) …everyone would be talking about it, OMG, what’s gonna happen next.” Then… Reasonable Me says it will take me 4-6 months to write the sequel and I will get to the end wondering why I did this. People will have forgotten they care. They are loathe to re-read the first and… it’ll not be as strong as book one.
  • I could make this a trilogy!!! Yes! Another trilogy. I will throw in loads of really, really well-written sex cos I am da balls at that. Oh yes. (editor says noh, in a David Walliams-type Little Britain voice.)
  • Editor in me goes: Write that hard shit, write it, damn you woman. Writer in me goes: No, don’t wanna.
  • How do I arc a story? Fuck. I forgot… better learn that again (I arc’ed once before, in Beneath the Veil/The Radical and that shit was good).
  • B–b–b–b–but if I write a series, I can use tail ends to write loadsa great twisty-turning shit… in the sequels, YAY!! (editor rolls his eyes, stamps on my stupid notions, and shouts WRITE A SINGLE FUCKING BOOK!). p.s. love my editor.

One of my favourite chicklit/romance reads ever is Me Before You (film out this year) and I loved it because it had a moral, it had incredibly beautiful, poignant, life-changing moments, and it was real. I damn well refuse to read the sequel because I know it will spoil my love of the first book.

Notwithstanding all my opinions above, which are just my opinions, not fact… here’s what I found from finally writing a true, standalone novel.

  • I changed the title at least twelve times.
  • I changed the character names at least the same amount of times.
  • I rewrote certain sections dozens and dozens of times.
  • I gave care to each chapter, each section, each line, each paragraph, each fucking full stop. I gave so much care to this book because it is THE BOOK and the only book, right now, that I feel shows the breadth and entirety of my writing skill.
  • With a standalone, you know you only have one chance to get that shit write/right.
  • It’s going to blow your wigs off, knock your socks flying, kill your heart, then rebuild it.
  • I focussed on words. On manipulating. On crafting. I cut out the twisty shit and crafted words. Crafted and crafted and crafted.
  • I wrote stuff I didn’t want to write, but had to.
  • I pulled up my big girl pants and rocked that shit. Left out explicit sex (still hot though) in favour of meaningful encounters.

p.s. I wrote Tainted Lovers on a diet of gin and lots more cussing than what’s in this little here blog post.

Oh yeah… and do you love my cover??

full paperback cover

Out soon…

With love, Sarah xxx

 

Tainted Lovers, a New Standalone novel from Sarah Michelle Lynch

Dear Reader,

Owing to my punishing schedule, I have a new novel for you, a novel I have written in secret, with no pre-promotion whatsoever. In short, I haven’t had the time to pimp this before getting it out there. Alongside all my other commitments, my writing is my therapy, my outlet, my escape, my thing  – mine.

But I want it out there.

Tainted Lovers will hit Amazon a week today in paperback and eBook. For those joining me in Leeds, yes I will have copies. It is a novel of romantic/erotic suspense, over 400+ pages long. I’ve been to hell and back writing this thing! I am not doing advance copies – because I simply don’t have time – but what I will do is put the book on sale for 99 pennies for the first week.

Now, to the important stuff. So here we go…

Blurb

The most beautiful anti-romance you might read all year . . .

Adrienne and David meet in a library and the rest is history. Leaving their past lives behind, they race off to get married and make a promise of undying love. Waiting in the wings, however, are dark and deadly secrets threatening to tear them apart.

Their passion has never been up for question – but is there a limit to what love can overcome? Moreover, what does the future hold for Adrienne after she has her heart crushed, her spirit broken and her resolve disintegrated?

Are all great love stories destined to end badly . . . ?

**Suitable for readers 18+ only. Tainted Lovers is a complete standalone novel.**

Trailer

 

Teaser

TL teaser

Full cover

full paperback cover

I am currently holding this in my hand and the cover looks as gorgeous in real life as it does here. I loved writing this novel. Love, love, loved writing it. And also… hated it a little bit. My mind is shredded, and so will your hearts be.

Love, Sarah x

tainted

“They Say I’m Doing Well” Blog Tour – Stop #9 – Victoria L. James

cropped-they-say-im-well-banner.jpg

Harold was fascinated with the veins in his hands. Each morning, he would wake up, listening to the sound of his bones creaking as he dragged his weary body out of bed, and then he would go and sit in his chair by the window. No words were spoken. No thoughts were in his mind. He was blank, quiet and empty until the moment he let his bony bottom fall against the old pink cushioned chair. Harold would place his hands out on his lap and simply look down to study them.

It had become a fascination of his.

An odd fascination, of that he was well aware. At ninety-four years old, Harold knew that his days were limited. Family would come and go from the nursing home. They would help him brush the hair on his head where his stiff muscles would no longer allow him to reach. They would chat to him about the news, their voices taking on a similar tone to that people adopt when they speak to babies. They’d talk about the weather or the small garden that surrounded his current residence. They’d walk in with smiles stretched high into their cheeks, just never quite high enough for those smiles to reach their eyes. They’d pretend they wanted to be there, like Harold couldn’t see right through them or every false compliment they gave him.

Not that it mattered to him. He was grateful for any effort at all, given the fact that the majority of the poor beggars in that home didn’t have a soul they could rely on to visit. He was lucky to have a family who cared, a family who pretended they wanted to be there, just to make him feel a little better.

Yet, no matter what the days had in store for him, he always made a point to sit in his chair and study the thick, squishy veins that now sat prominently under his speckled skin.

When did they appear? he thought to himself. One minute he had been youthful, walking around town with a girl on each arm. Then he met Thea and in the blink of an eye, he was a father to four boys, a grandfather to nine grandchildren and he spent the majority of his time digging out weeds from his beloved garden.

Never once, though, in all his life prior to his entry to the nursing home, had he registered the moment that those big blue veins had started to rise under his skin.

It was a sign of age that taunted him daily, even in his sleep. It took him back to his youth where Harold could remember sitting on his grandpa’s knee, tracing his fingers over the thick veins of his grandpa’s hand, and every night he would ask the same question:

“Why do they stick out so much? Tell me again, gramps.”

His grandfather would place a sad smile on his face and answer, “It’s because my veins are so full of life, Harold. I’ve lived so long, they’re full to bursting now.”

“Bursting?” Harold would gasp in surprise, as though he hadn’t already heard the story a hundred times before.

“What happens when they do burst?”

His grandfather would sigh and try to hide the sadness in his voice, but Harold always saw it there in his eyes. “I go to another world to live another life with new veins that are empty, waiting to be filled.”

“Can I go with you?”

“No, child. I’m afraid you can’t. You have to stay here and fill your own body up with a lifetime full of memories first.”

“But that will take forever,” Harold cried.

“Hopefully.” His grandfather smiled.

It was just another day, and as Harold stared down at his hands on that cold, frosty morning, he felt his heart beat harder against his frail chest once again. He felt his fingers ache from the temperatures. He felt the rush of blood to his head when the panic started to take over, but as always, he remained still. Frozen. A little bit numb to the life that he was fortunate to have still beating through him.

Eventually, the door creaked open and the nurse walked in, her voice booming, cutting through the silence.

“Good morning, Harold,” she called out to him.

He didn’t look up. He knew that the nurse wasn’t looking his way or expecting an answer. It was the same thing they did every morning. They would waltz through the door, their eyes aimed high at the ceiling so they didn’t have to stare misery in the face. As long as they could pretend that Harold was fine, he was fine and their job was done.

Turning his hands over, he began to study his palms, and he allowed himself to think of all the wonderful, magical things he’d held in them.

The first time he touched his wife beneath her blouse and the shiver that ran through her body.

The first time he traced the length of her spine right before they made love.

The first time he held her hand as her new husband.

The first time he held his firstborn child, Zach, worrying suddenly how weak he seemed with the weight of his world now in his grip.

The first time he cleaned his child’s play wounds.

The last time he brushed his mother’s hair back from her face before he kissed her forehead and said goodbye when she died.

The last time the pad of his thumb brushed over his darling Thea’s lips.

The last time his hands had been able to get a solid grip on the trowel he loved to spend so much time with in the garden.

So many firsts. Too many, they were uncountable.

So many lasts. Too many, they were unforgettable.

But my God, what a life he had had. What a life he had held on to with a white-knuckle grip, and how blessed he had been. How blessed he was that, even though they failed to show him their love the way they used to, his family still cared. They still showed up. They still tried.

A small smile tried to tug on one corner of Harold’s mouth, but he quickly twitched his lips and remained straight faced. He had no desire for the nurse to see any kind of relief on his face and hang around. Small talk and polite conversation were no longer his forte.

Still, she appeared before him soon enough and she went about her usual checks, fussing, brushing his hair away from his face, trying to move all the ornaments that sat proudly like memory trophies on his window ledge.

“It’s a nice day, isn’t it, Harold? The air is very crisp.”

He thought about how horrible the day was and how the low temperatures made him feel as though he was the Tin Man from that film Thea used to watch all the time.

Daring to peek up from under his bushy, overgrown eyebrows, he glanced the nurse’s way. It was the one he neither cared for or despised, so he quickly looked back down at his hands again.

“Always so full of conversation,” she said through an obvious smile as she walked over to his bed and began to straighten out his pillows and sheets. “That’s alright by me. I know you’re not a morning person. You remind me of my husband. He doesn’t speak to anyone until it’s after lunch and he’s had at least four cups of coffee.” She laughed, more to herself than with him, and carried on with her business.

Harold’s lips parted to protest and a small scowl formed on his forehead. He wanted to tell her that the mornings were his favourite time of day. He wanted to tell her that when he first woke up, he was reflective. He was as optimistic as he was going to be for at least another twenty-four hours. He wanted to share memories of him and Thea drinking cups of tea in their conservatory, the two of them watching the sun slowly rise before their children woke up and demanded their attention. But before he let himself slip, he pressed his lips back together and continued to stare down at those ridiculously prominent veins on his hands.

The nurse moved closer, and without looking up, Harold knew it was time for his daily medication. The bottle of pills rattled in her hand as she unscrewed the cap and placed his dose on the small table in front of him. Then she quickly made her way to the bathroom to get him a half-filled glass of water before she returned and held the drink out in front of him.

His hand shook as he reached up, but she was patient as she waited for him to gain the strength he needed to lift the pills and the water to his mouth. They stuck in his throat like sandy rocks, but he didn’t flinch or show her his discomfort. Once he had finished, Harold looked up at her through wide, helpless eyes and waited for her to say what they always said.

Her soft smile turned into a bright grin as she took the glass from him and tilted her head to the side. “You’re doing well, Harold. You’re doing really well.”

With that, she took off out of the room, reminding him before she left that he only needed to call for them if he required help.

Once the silence surrounded him again, he turned his head to look at the other fascination in his life.

His wife.

Thea was there. She was always there. Sitting opposite him with a smile on her ghostly face, her eyes alive with that twinkle she had always reserved for him and him alone. He saw her every day. He felt her every second. But he never let anyone know. It terrified him that they might make him take more pills to stop the hallucinations, and Harold knew that if they took his Thea away from him ever again, he wouldn’t have the strength to live for another moment longer.

She was beautiful as she sat quietly in front of him. The Thea that visited him these days was younger than he was – young enough to be his daughter. Her rich, red hair was in thick, bouncy curls, and she was wearing that lovely light blue dress that fell just below her knees and hugged her waist. It was the outfit she’d worn on one of their very first dates and had always been a favourite of his.

She never spoke. He wasn’t even sure that she could, but he loved the fact that she listened so intently, her unspoken words somehow guiding him through the last days of his life.

Allowing himself to smile for the first time that morning, relieved that he could keep his promise for another day – the promise of always giving his best smiles to her until the day he died – Harold blew out a shaky breath and spoke quietly.

“They say I’m doing well, Thea,” he began, his fingers curling into his palms as he felt the rush of blood surge through his cold veins. “But they don’t know how ready I am to be with you now.”

Thea blinked slowly, her smile never fading as she gave him a small, sympathetic nod of her head.

“They say I’m doing well,” he repeated in a whisper. “But I think deep down, they must know that I’m not.”

His wife’s head fell to the side as she stared into his eyes, unleashing her magic on him just like she had done all those years ago.

Harold wished he could rush over there, sweep her up into his arms and press his lips against hers. He wished he could drop her down on the bed, curl around her small, familiar body and fall asleep with her in his arms. He wished he could hear her laugh, or even her cry, just one more time.

He wished and he wished and he wished and he wished until wishing became breathing and breathing became painful once again.

“Get your dancing shoes ready, my darling,” he croaked in another whisper. “When I meet you in heaven, we’re never sitting down again. We’re going to dance for eternity.”

Then he smiled brightly as Thea’s eyes lit up with excitement, and before he knew it, he was laughing that charming laugh he used to own forty years ago, and his wife’s cheeks were blushing, despite their lack of warmth.

Harold’s grandpa had been right all those years ago. His veins were full to the brim now, and that was why they were sat proudly under his skin. He had so many memories… so much love, so much light, so much happiness, it was only a matter of time now before they burst on him.

And he found that, despite his fears, he couldn’t wait for that to happen after all.

Victoria L. James © 2016

author bio

Victoria L. James is a teenage girl stuck in a thirty-something year-old’s body. Living somewhere ‘oop north’ in England, she has had a strong passion for words and stories going as far back as she can remember, which she credits to her grandmother and her love of reading anything that was on sale and cheap from the local market stall. Never once did she think she would release a novel, though. At best, she thought her love of language and her ability to create stories in her mind would provide her with a ‘get out of jail free’ card whenever she messed up and her parents were mad at her during her teenage years… and when even that didn’t work out, she thought she was pretty much done for.

When an opportunity presented itself for her to take a back seat from paid working life for a few years, she knew straight away that she had to try and write about a few of these worlds she’d come up with along the way, and quieten all the voices in her head without racking up a heavy psychiatry bill for the pleasure.

Wearing her heart on her sleeve and trying to lighten her friends’ and family’s lives with naff, and more often than not, badly-timed, nineties jokes, she has yet to learn the art of knowing when to shut up. Which is another reason writing became a passion of hers. With pen and paper, there are no limits.

A firm believer in never quitting, with a ridiculous obsession for all things Rocky, she hopes that one day she writes a story that will inspire at least one person out there to keep on going if they’re struggling. Other than that, she’s just a regular old converse wearing, corona sipping, English version of Chandler Bing, who loves and adores her family more than life itself. Oh, and she also has two cats. Every writer has to mention their cats, right?

http://www.victorialjames.blogspot.co.uk

http://www.facebook.com/VictoriaLJamesAuthor

DONATE BUTTON

Thank you so much for taking part Victoria!

To see the full list of authors taking part in this month-long blog tour, [click here]

To find out what “They Say I’m Doing Well” is all about, [click here]

 

 

The Journey Here

As another writing year draws to a close, I better put some words down while I still have chance, so here’s what I’ve learned this year . . .

Having been writing religiously for four years now, I can confidently acknowledge that the writer’s journey is never smooth and the true writer doesn’t always write what’s right, either. They write what’s in their heart at the moment, what’s true and good to them at a certain point in time. So when I look back on my work up until now, it’s clear some of my words have become alien to me, because I’ve moved on. Some of my stuff still feels very raw, and other things I’ve become so much less precious about.

They say first-time writers should write the book they want to read if they want to get a book deal. I say, PAH! Sometimes starting out writing at all is a feat so whatever idea you’ve got, go with it. Also, not all of us are out for a so-called book deal. (Incidentally, many deals that publishers offer you are not pro-writer.) I’ve spoken to many a fellow writer, so I know there are good deals and bad ones out there, and it’s when you get a good one that you cling on. Seriously – I’ve heard about lost royalties, not being able to publish future books until being out of your current contract – and worse – having no say when it comes to your cover and content. Some publishers have ripped the heart from books and left them soulless.

This year I’ve gone from virtually being a full-time mum to now being a full-time writer and editor. When I say full-time, I don’t mean 9-5. I work hours most people could not imagine suffering through, but the truth is, I never suffer, because I love it. Full days of writing (in between editing jobs) has transformed my routine, my work ethic, my writing. Being able to write a book straight has improved the whole experience tenfold. I have always had a game plan and I’m getting closer to the fruition of this plan all the time. I’ve been biding my time and it’s my firm belief that time is not your enemy, but your one, true friend if you utilise it properly. I know how much I love writing therefore I know I’m good, because it’s not painful for me – this writing thing – it’s getting easy now. I liken it to physical training and the more practise you put in, the more you naturally get right first time, without all those hundreds of redrafts. The more positive feedback you get, the more your confidence grows too. Nonetheless, the most devastating thing for me would be if I were to become a one-hit wonder, forever leaning on that for future successes. Thankfully a lot of creative people around me have recognised and congratulated me on building a foundation rather than writing a one-trick pony to appeal to the masses. I am a writer. I want to be a writer forever.

A lot of people have come and gone from my life since I started out writing. The main reason for this is that a lot of people say they want to work with me but don’t show the same dedication and commitment I’ve got. Which doesn’t really work for me. Some people seem to think that the publishing world is a game to play whereas I very much feel like it’s a starting stone to self-fulfilment.

I realised this self-fulfilment thing means Sarah Michelle doesn’t write books to pretty something up. I write to provoke and challenge.

So, to clear up this year and what I’ve learned, here’s the spaghetti in a more orderly manner:-

1) Some people think good writing is plot twists, crash, bangs and wallops. Literally, sticking as many big OMGs in one book and letting the audience digest it all at the rate of 50 miles a second. There’s some really great commercial fiction out there and I hold my hands up to the authors who master it. But walloping fiction isn’t the be all and end all. Some of us start out feeling like good books MUST have shocks galore in order for them to be good. NOT TRUE. Sure, a page turner must hook the reader at the end of every chapter, but other readers are just as happy to sit back and relax, too.

2) I’ve had to come to terms with stuff I don’t like in books. Personally I cannot write what I don’t believe is possible/and or true, so I will never write characters that are weak but somehow end up getting everything they want. I don’t believe beautiful language can excuse a murderer their sins. I despise cliche. I don’t think even the most beautiful poetry or prose can hide flawed structure in a book. Likewise heroines with no gumption have no chance getting airtime in one of my books, whether under my pseudonym or my real name! (YES I HAVE A PSEUDONYM AND YOU WILL NEVER KNOW SHE/HE IS ME.) Sarah Michelle doesn’t exactly write what you would call Book Boyfriend books, either. My stories mainly centre around mysteries and psychological issues so the Boyfriend is just one element of the bigger picture. Personally, when I used to read as a kid, I read for enlightenment, and to gain knowledge. That’s not changed. I like to be challenged by a book but also require some basis in reality. I can’t read nice little heart-warming reads myself, but for someone else, I can write them if I am really in the mood.

3) A good enough writer can write about real life and make it a fantastic story, too. A lot of friends over the years have often accused me of pulling their leg with some of the things I’ve seen and done but I don’t tell lies and I have seen and done some crazy shit, which is probably why I can write the stories I do! I got told years and years ago that words aren’t enough. You have to live before you can be a writer. I took that onboard, trust me. For instance, I know a real-life chambermaid. I know a girl who lost her mother young. Myself and Chloe Matthews could be twins.

4) Less is more. But this is the hardest writerly lesson you will ever learn. Less means you have to put faith in your audience that they will read between the lines. Less means you have to give over control to someone else!! EEEPPP! NO!!! I hear so many writers scream. This is so subjective because readers vary as widely as writers do. Some readers love details, others just cannot be bothered and like a bit of wham, bam, thank you ma’am.

5) Sometimes a story just comes to you which is a gift. Angel Avenue and its sequel, Beyond Angel Avenue, are tales gifted to me from some place in the stratosphere – either that – or my subconscious instructed me because my consciousness refuses to admit I am soppy at heart!! HA-HA! (Yes, all writers are crazy.) So, these are tales I would call fantastical, sometimes even whimsical, but still rooted deep in reality. They are the stories I wrote without even breaking a sweat and they are the stories I feel most engaged with. My husband read these and continually laughed and got frustrated with Jules and Warrick, murmuring helplessly, “They’re just such strong characters.” Suspension of disbelief with these books IS A MUST but they are so plausible, too. The ANGEL AVENUE series – overall – is a testament to the power of the human mind and how it protects and preserves itself. Sometimes, among the canon of your work, you produce something universal and engaging not because you made the choice to write a book that is marketable or profitable or fits a current trend – but because it’s real and relatable and the idea for the book wouldn’t cease until you had it out there on a page. Writing has its ups and downs but the downs can sometimes lead to the mega highs of something like these two books – which I wrote not for myself – but the heroes and heroines out there doing things in their daily lives which they don’t decree as fabulous but which I do. When a reviewer said recently that these characters aren’t charming – they were right – Jules and Warrick are real people. Jaded people. But the love they share is what counts.

6) There are deeds you do for others which mean more than deeds you do for yourself.

7) 2016 is going to be interesting. Since my husband started working in marketing, we’ve learned a lot together about what works and what doesn’t. My husband speaks to a social media expert on a daily basis who’s in charge of building the social media platforms of several billion-euro companies. So maybe SML’s pseudonym will be the one-trick pony that allows me – Sarah, the person – to write what makes her heart happy. Because the tricks I’m learning about marketing are enough to make the common consumer cringe. So you might be hearing a lot less from SML and I’ll leave you to ponder what my nom de plume might be.

I love everyone who reads my words. I think you’re all insane, but I love you. I love the people who’ve got to the end of this blog but most of all I love writing and I know I’m unlikely to give it up very soon.

Please do check out Angel Avenue and Beyond Angel Avenue, my most recent AND BEST novel yet. I can sing my way through these last few days of the year because I’m so fulfilled and so pleasantly surprised with how the journey has so far turned out.

Beyond Angel Avenue is out tomorrow.

Have a magical Christmas and a wonderful new year.

Sarah x

2015’s books:

#TeaserTuesday and Some New Reviews…

A series about real issues, with a little bit of mystery, intrigue, shock and delight all thrown into the mix…

Some recent reviews of Angel Avenue:

 

Compelling read:

I found this book compelling, I wanted to read more about the intricacies of the main characters lives. The detail to attention is amazing and I really could picture the area and characters.

Jules and Warrick are both complex people with troubled pasts, a chance meeting could be the saviour of them both or it could spell disaster.

This story is about heartbreak and loss, the need for human connection and physical closeness. It’s a beautiful story.

Jules has not had an easy life but she is surviving and getting on with her life, the love and loss of a man leaves her broken and she finds herself spending her Saturdays searching and craving for some physical contact, just a hug will do. Warrick spots Jules and watches her every Saturday and finally decides to see if she is ok? A friendship develops that has the potential to go further but both of their pasts and secrets hold these two back. The story takes twists that you wouldn’t expect but it flows so well.

I’m looking forward to reading Beyond Angel Avenue and where the author will take the story of Jules and Warrick.

I Loved This Book:

I loved this book. A love story that took a slow meandering path with a few unexpected twists and turns that left me wanting to shout at the author. I enjoyed the way the characters got to know each other’s flaws…..Warts and all.

I Was Personally Touched:

Lets see where exactly to begin. It would be easier to tell you what I will not say…like tell you about the characters and what happens. Hey! That takes all the fun out of you reading the book right? Right!

I will suggest you have a box of tissues near by, you may find you need them. Just sayin’.

I really want to thank Book Bub for letting me know about bargains available from Amazon. The choices certainly have allowed me to learn about authors I would not have known. Kinda reminds me of the days of going through the bargain books at different stores. Just to see and always walking away with at least four books. Sorry got a little side tracked here but it was because of this that I learned of this book.

Yes it is a romance novel but no where near what you would think one would be like. This was more like the slice of two people’s lives that come together that are really great for each other but they have so many wounds and ghosts some of them causes a lot of pain and time to work through.

We all have some of these skeletons in our closets some we have buried so deep we think that we have dealt with them but in actuality we have not. For me the story struck close to home, sometimes too close. But there is also a cleansing that can happen as well.

I feel the Sarah has taken some very tough issues and worked them through her characters that not only brought them to life but made them a part of me In my humble opinion, it would be difficult for one to walk away from this book and not be changed from it.

Released one week from today, Beyond Angel Avenue:

View the early reviews…

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27477733-beyond-angel-avenue

I was lucky enough to read this book straight after Angel Avenue, I’m so glad the author decided to conclude the story. There was so much more depth to these characters than I first thought. I loved the first book but this just blew me away.
The story follows on directly from Angel Avenue and we see how Jules and Warrick deal with the next chapter of their life. However the ghosts from their pasts are still haunting them and in order to find closure they have to take some risks that might make or break them. They are dragged into situations that puts their life in danger and have no idea who they can trust.
The continuing story of Warrick and Jules is beautifully told. I was gripped and compelled by the story and the characters. A truly amazing series that will stay with me forever.

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Romance with a touch of grit – Free to download until Friday

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Synopsis:

A heart-warming contemporary romance…

Jules waits on a street corner every Saturday hoping something or someone will take the pain away. Nothing ever does.

She once loved the area she inhabits but a heartbreaking event marred its former meaning. She fell out of love and decided to focus on her career as an English teacher.

What she does not realise is that Warrick has been watching her and wants to know why she is always there, stood on that corner. She convinces herself it is the social worker in him that thinks he can save her from the loneliness and despair so evident about her person. Little does she know just what kind of life he has led.

When true love blossoms, neither of them appreciate just how their union is not only going to change their lives, but also shake up a problem at the very heart of their community.

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REVIEW OF ANGEL AVENUE:

This was a wonderful read & my first time reading a novel written by Sarah Michelle Lynch. I was very impressed. When I started reading I didn’t really know much about the book but it certainly isn’t your average love story. It had me on the verge of tears, holding my breath & cursing! I adored the characters & the twists & turns of the plot. At times it seemed like there were 3 or 4 stories, not just one. Extremely well written, easy to read & lose yourself in. I love how it addresses important issues such as bullying, abuse & addiction. I loved the light versus dark elements. If you like romance with a touch of grit, fast-paced with an erotic twist then you should definitely read Angel Avenue. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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Synopsis:

Sarah Michelle Lynch’s follow-up novel to the heart-warming Angel Avenue asks: are there ghosts that chase us or are we chasing ghosts? How does the human mind overcome trauma? Even if you think you’re cured, is there any backlash?

At first, the next chapter in Warrick and Jules’ story seems picture-perfect. Marriage. Children. New home. Fresh start. If only there wasn’t a ghost still lurking from the past, a ghost so tangible they can almost touch it.

The ghost haunting Jules and Warrick throws up so many questions, including what made Warrick the man he is? Why did Jules’ father not tell her he was dying? Why did Jules ignore her compulsion to dance for so many years and why do some people end up all alone, without anyone to care for them?

This seasonal morality tale will do more than make you think and feel – it will leave you breathless.

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