Saturday, 30 April 2016

Excerpt - Goodbye Ruby Tuesday by A.L Michael

Four friends have become three. But that’s only the beginning.

Ruby, Evie, Mollie and Chelsea were the bad girls at school. But Ruby was the baddest. Evie fought her anger, Mollie fought her mother and Chelsea…well, Chelsea just fought. But Ruby set her sights on a bigger stage. And together, they dreamed of a future where Ruby could sing, Evie could make art, Mollie could bake, Chelsea could dance – and all of them could finally feel at home.
A decade later, the girls are reunited for the funeral of Ruby, who took the world – and the charts – by storm, before fading too soon. And Evie doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry when she learns that Ruby has left them a house on Camden Square – the perfect place for them to fulfil their dreams. But does she dare take the plunge, and risk it all for one last shot at the stars?
Goodbye Ruby Tuesday is Book 1 in A.L. Michael’s new series, ‘The House on Camden Square’

Chapter One
When Evie Rodriguez woke that morning and put on her smartest black dress and oversized dark sunglasses, she did not think she would end her day sitting in a damp deck chair with a four-pack of cheap lager hanging from her fingertips. That said, maybe she should have.
She had already wrestled another two chairs from the shed, the lock still broken after all this time. Droplets of sweat ran from her hairline down her neck and the bridge of her nose was burning in the sunshine, but she refused to move. It was a test, of sorts. And she had to believe that they’d come.


‘Did you know her? Did you know Ruby?’
The little town of Badgeley had never seen such a commotion. At least, not since the X Factor tour bus broke down on the way to Milton Keynes in 2007. The little stone church, which had stood in the middle of the town for centuries, was guarded by police for the first time in history. The paparazzi didn’t seem to care, snapping away, taking pictures of the mourners, and Evie twitched her lips as she noticed some of her old classmates playing it up for the cameras. The gossip queens daubing dramatically at their dry eyes, talking about what an inspiration Ruby was. The rugby boys playing it up, grinning at the cameras. They wanted the world to think that they knew the legend that was Ruby Tuesday. And it was all a lie.
Evie adjusted her sunglasses and ran a hand through her curly dark hair. She could not get angry today. She had lots to be angry about; these stupid people pretending they knew her friend, the journalists showing no respect… and the fact that Ruby was gone. She was pretty angry about that all by itself. But she had promised her mother that she wouldn’t be bad today. Evie would show up, mourn her old friend and go back to her life. That was it.
She walked quickly into the church, which was already heaving with strangers. Ruby had only had a handful of friends in Badgeley. She was a troublemaker. A firecracker. Whatever else they wanted to call a young girl with red hair who didn’t do what people expected. The rest were just there for the drama of it all, to say they were there on the day that the superstar Ruby Tuesday was buried. Evie closed her eyes briefly, feeling the cool air in the church soften her nerves just a little. She saw her mother up in a pew near the front, beckoning her, her dark hair shaking with the movement.
‘How are you, my darling?’ Maria Rodriguez stroked her daughter’s cheek, scanning her face for a trace of something. Instead all she found was a blank mask.
‘I’m fine.’
‘She was your friend, you’re not fine,’ her mother insisted.
Evie shrugged, ‘She was my friend ten years ago, and only for a little while.’ Her voice didn’t shake but she refused to take off her sunglasses.
‘I’m surprised your father didn’t make it,’ her mother said softly, a look of disappointment gracing her features briefly.
‘Why?’ Evie tried to keep the malice from her voice, hissing a little in the church.
‘Because he always liked Ruby. He thought she was talented. He always said she’d be famous.’
And he’d want to be here to cash in on the chump reporters offering a few hundred quid for a story about her when she was younger. Evie bit her lip and said nothing, shrugging. Thank goodness he hadn’t turned up. There were enough people making money out of Ruby’s memory today. She couldn’t handle Bill being one of them.
She heard people quieten, almost felt them as they turned around in their pews to look at whoever had walked in. Was it one of Ruby’s famous boyfriends? Someone off EastEnders or from a boyband? A few of them were dotted about the front rows, heads down, dark glasses on. Evie turned, hating herself for caring. Instead she saw Chelsea, and a wry smile appeared on her face against her will.
Chelsea Donolly had shocked them all. Growing up like Evie and Ruby on the estate, everyone was convinced she’d amount to nothing. Maybe because her mother was a nasty piece of work and her stepdad had some dodgy business dealings. Maybe because she used to pull back her striped blonde hair into a tight ponytail and wear huge hoop earrings. Chelsea had a way of raising an eyebrow and jutting her hip that made you want to shit yourself with fear. That much hadn’t changed at least.
She waltzed in. Her hair was beautiful, a razor sharp platinum bob, her expensive black shift dress fitted tightly, and the red soles of her Louboutins screamed ‘local girl done good’. Evie wasn’t sure if Chelsea was trying to compete with their dead friend in that way. Chelsea scanned the rows for a space; and zeroed in on Evie, a half smile gracing her lips as she nodded. The last time she’d seen Chelsea was just before they’d gone their separate ways – Evie had gone to art college, and Chelsea was off to Oxford, desperate to show the people in this town that she was better than they knew.
A little part of Evie wasn’t sure if she hated her for that. If it was jealousy or failure speaking, she didn’t know. All she knew was that the woman in the Louboutins was not the Chelsea Donolly she had grown up with.
Evie watched as Chelsea tilted her head, waiting for people to let her in to one of the pews. At least that action was recognisable. She slipped into a row with some of the older townspeople, most of whom had thought Ruby was a little shit. Chelsea’s eyes seemed to scan the crowd and Evie watched as her eyes settled on Mollie, who sat primly in her black smock, her long, golden hair tied neatly back in a ponytail. Her daughter Esme sat beside her, like a mini doll version of her mother. Chelsea widened her eyes and looked back at Evie, raising an eyebrow.
Evie nodded, yes, that’s her kid.
Shit, Chelsea’s eyes seemed to say, and Evie watched for signs of judgement. Chelsea simply put her dark glasses back on again and looked straight ahead.
So it began. The songs were slow and solemn. It was a perfect June day, and the light filtered in through the stained glass windows. The priest spoke about Ruby’s fire and her passion, which was funny because he’d called her the devil incarnate more than once. Especially that time Ruby had convinced them to sneak into the graveyard to look for ghosts, and he’d found them gathered around an old grave singing Led Zeppelin. Evie had thought the old man was going to have a coronary. They’d scattered, giggling and squealing, jumping the fence. Evie had faced the disappointed eyes of her very Catholic mother for that one.
Old Father Hypocrite droned on, even citing Ruby as a ‘lyrical genius’.
‘She made music that really said something, that reached out and touched people. I think we all sensed that when Ruby was a young girl here, she was reaching out. She always wanted to touch people.’
Evie tried not to snigger, biting her lip as she looked at Mollie, whose own mouth was twitching. Ruby had started her career as a burlesque dancer in London. The priest was making her sound like Mother Teresa. And as for the lyrics, well he’d obviously never heard her first number one hit: Atheist Sucker Punch.
The service went on, the heat of the day filtering in among the bodies, and Evie realised this really had nothing to do with her friend at all. Ruby’s foster parents, who she’d lived with for the two years she’d been in Badgeley, were obligated to do something. But they never really knew their charge. Then again, Evie thought, did she even know Ruby Tuesday? She knew Ruby Montgomery – the person who stole art supplies for her because she knew she couldn’t afford to go to the classes. The girl who flirted with every taken boy, just to see who was enough of an arsehole to forget about his girlfriend. The girl who brought together Evie, Mollie and Chelsea, three ‘bad girls from the estate’ who had never really been given a chance in their tiny town.
Evie remembered that they’d been sitting on the hill in the park, drinking cans of coke and chewing on pick’n’mix, doing their homework when Ruby pointed out ‘they’re always going to think you’re bad girls, no matter how good you are’. She’d gestured at the homework, ‘You may as well earn the title.’
They were never really that bad, Evie smirked, just a little... mischievous. Ruby was a terrible influence though. Those two years were the most fun they’d ever had. And then she was gone.

Interview with Elaine Everest

Hi Elaine

Welcome to Comet Babes Books.

Thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest on your blog.

Can you tell us about The Woolworth Girls?
The Woolworths Girls starts at the end of 1938 as three girls meet on their first day at Woolworths. We follow Sarah as she falls in love with assistant manager, Alan, before he disappears to do his bit in the war. Newly married  Maisie with a secret past and young Freda who has run away to seek her young brother - which is another mystery. We follow them through the first couple of years of WW2 and share their dreams and also cry with them as life becomes difficult.

What was your inspiration for the book?
I know Erith in NW Kent so well. I was born and brought up there. I knew my second saga would be set there alongside the River Thames in what was called Bomb Alley at the height of World War Two. I knew the people and I wanted my girls to work somewhere recognisable  to my readers. Woolworths came to mind almost immediately. Add to that my first Saturday job was as a Woolworths girl and what happened next was a gift. I was fortunate that my publisher loved the setting as much as I did.

What are your future book plans?
The Butlins Girls (Pan Macmillan) set in 1946 will be published in early 2017 and I’m already planning and pulling together my book for 2018.

If you had to write a bio for yourself, what would it say? (5 words or less)
Elaine’s paid to daydream. Perfect!

Can you tell us about your writing process?
I’m a planner. I have to be writing historical novels as I need to make sure that my research is as correct as it can be before I thread my plots and characters through some part of history. My novels are often set in North West Kent and I like to add as much of a local flavour as possible into my stories which means even more research. I’m at that stage with my latest book and my fingers are itching to start writing.

How old were you when you started writing?
I recall writing a very long story about Pip the Pixie on my brand new Petit Typewriter. I’d have been around eight years of age at that time. I’ve often wondered what happened to that masterpiece!

Who are your favourite writers?
I admire any author who can not only complete a book but also make a living as a writer. I’m a closet romcom reader and adore Milly Johnson’s books. As for sagas I will always have one on the go and particularly enjoy reading any book by Lilian Harry and Dee Williams.

What books did you read as a child?
Little Women was by far the book of my childhood. I dreamt of being Jo and also being a writer… However, I was also fond of any story set in a boarding school. I would search second hand bookshops with my mum to find pre WW2 girls adventure books where they had jolly japes and midnight feasts.

Your favourite book and why?
Only one book? It would have to be Gone With the Wind for the dramatic storyline and superb romance. The film is high up on my list of favourite movies as well.

Do you have a favourite place you like to write and why?
More often than not you will find me writing at the kitchen table. The reason is that I’ve always had dogs and the kitchen being the focal room in our little house means I can see what they are up to! I’d never settle up in my study although I have dreams of creating the perfect writerly workroom one day.

What inspired you to take up writing?
I’ve always enjoyed writing whether it be fiction or non-fiction. However, it took my father’s death in 1997 for me to decide that I really ought to stop faffing about and concentrate on following my dream. Over sixty shorts stories later, becoming a self-employed writer, qualifying as a teacher for adult education, running my own writing school, writing three non-fiction books and just starting on fourth novel I feel confident that I’ve stayed focused – with just a little fffing along the way!

Do you have a routine for your writing? ie time of day.
I love to have my day planned so I can get stuck into my daily word count after breakfast. However, in real life I can take all day clearing writing admin duties and my blog duties for the Romantic Novelist Association and end up writing until two in the morning. I’m really trying to be stricter with myself – if only I’d listen to my own advice!

Any tips for writers who are just starting out?
Don’t think you have to be published straight away. Enjoy the art of writing and find your own voice. It’s an exciting time when you first decide to become a writer - savour every moment.

What's the best/worst advice you have ever received about writing?
Worst: You need a degree in creative writing in order to write books – wrong!
Best: Go with your instincts and enjoy what you write.

Twitter: @ElaineEverest

Thank you, Jo,


Can romance blossom in times of trouble?
It's 1938 and as the threat of war hangs over the country, Sarah Caselton is preparing for her new job at Woolworths. Before long, she forms a tight bond with two of her colleagues: the glamorous Maisie and shy Freda. The trio couldn't be more different, but they immediately form a close-knit friendship, sharing their hopes and dreams for the future.
Sarah soon falls into the rhythm of her new position, enjoying the social events hosted by Woolies and her blossoming romance with young assistant manager, Alan. But with the threat of war clouding the horizon, the young men and women of Woolworths realize that there are bigger battles ahead. It's a dangerous time for the nation, and an even more perilous time to fall in love . . .

Hello, welcome to my author page. I was born and brought up in the North West of Kent and love to write stories set around Erith and Slade Green - places I know so well. It is heartwarming to know that many people look back with fondness to the town, the people and a life long gone. 

Twenty years ago I moved a few miles away from Erith and now live in Swanley with my husband, Michael, and Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, where I write nostalgic stories set in and around the county.

Follow me:

Facebook: Elaine Everest Author page

Twitter: @elaineeverest

My writing school:

Friday, 29 April 2016

Blog Tour & Review - The Dreamcatcher by Marie Laval


Genre: Historical Romance (mid nineteenth century)
Release Date: 28th Dec 2015
Publisher:  Áccent Press
Can her love heal his haunted heart? - Cape Wrath, Scotland, November 1847. 
Bruce McGunn is a man as brutal and unforgiving as his land. Discharged from the army, he is haunted by the spectres of his fallen comrades and convinced he is going mad. And he is running out of time to save his estate from the machinations of Cameron McRae, heir to the McGunn's ancestral enemies. When the clipper carrying McRae’s new bride is caught in a violent storm and docks at Wrath harbour, Bruce decides to revert to the old ways and hold the clipper and the woman to ransom. However, far from the spoilt heiress he expected, Rose is genuine, funny and vulnerable – a ray of sunshine in the long, harsh winter that has become his life.
Rose is determined to escape Wrath and its proud master – the man she calls McGlum. 
Will she be reunited with Cameron McRae, the dazzlingly handsome aristocrat she married after a whirlwind romance in Algiers, or will she risk her heart and her honour to help Bruce discover the truth about his past and solve the brutal murders committed on his land?

 I would like to thank Brook Cottage Books for sending me a copy of this in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I have got to say it was the cover the captured my imagination and from page one Marie didn't disappoint with her descriptions.  The story was easy to follow with rugged heroes and plenty to keep me reading.  
This is set in the 1800's in Scotland and the wording used and the descriptions really make the whole thing come to life. The story is wonderfully romantic and I loved Rose from page one.  Personally, I would have preferred the story to be all in one book but I look forward to reading the second part of this captivating story.

A giant stepped in front of her. Dressed in black riding boots, black breeches and riding coat, he was so tall and his shoulders so broad the already dark horizon darkened further.
      His voice was deep and calm, the voice of a man used to be obeyed. The crowd hushed at once.
      He bent down in front of her.
      ‘Well, well, who do we have here?’
      Even though she could hardly see his face, she felt his eyes bore into hers, and it was enough to make her mind go blank.
      ‘Rose…Rose Saintclair.’
      ‘Where are the others, your servants, your maids?’
      ‘I… I don’t have any.’
      ‘Really? That’s a surprise. All right then, come up.’ He held both his hands out.
      She hesitated a moment before placing her hands in his. He pulled her up and she flew straight into his arms, landing with a bump against his broad, hard chest. He was so tall she had to tilt her face all the way back to look at him. Her heart skipped a beat, then started bumping fast and loud.
      His eyes were grey and framed by dark eyelashes, his nose straight and strong, his cheekbones high and sharp. Thick black stubble covered his cheeks and chin, and his hair flew around his face, the colour of a raven’s wing. There was something dangerous about him, something reminiscent of a brutal warrior from days long gone by.
      She wriggled to free herself but he didn't let go and his mouth curved into a mocking smile.
      ‘Well, Fàilte, my sweetheart. ‘I’ll say this for McRae. If there’s one thing the rascal can do, it’s pick his fancy women.’
      His hand slid from her waist and he patted her bottom.
      Her reaction was instinctive. She swung her arm and lifted her hand to slap him. She didn’t have the chance. Without batting an eyelid he caught her wrist.
      ‘Steady on, sweetheart. You have a nasty little temper.’
      ‘And you have no right to insult me in this way, you vile brute,’ she hissed. ‘I am not Lord McRae’s fancy woman, as you so elegantly put it, I’m his wife!’
      She had expected at least a shocked response or a groveling apology but he merely smiled.
      ‘It’s all right, gràidheag, you don’t have to pretend.’
      ‘Pretend what?’
      ‘Pretend you’re married to the man. I don’t care if you’re McRae’s mistress or his laundry maid, if you scrub his back or his dirty shirts.’
      ‘I am telling the truth, you stubborn macaque,’ she shouted in frustration. ‘I married Lord McRae in Algiers four weeks ago.’
      ‘Please don't scream quite so loud. I heard you the first time. I just don’t believe you.’
      ‘First you introduce yourself as Rose Saintclair, now you’re spinning me a tale about being married McRae. Make up your mind, sweetie.’
      He glanced at her hand. ‘I don’t see any wedding band on your finger.’
      ‘That’s because Cameron wanted to keep the wedding a secret. Never mind, I don’t have to explain anything to you. Now let go of me.’
      She wriggled to break free, but he was still holding her wrist, leaving her no choice but to kick him hard in the shin with the tip of her boot – the very pointy tip of the fashionable new boots she had made in Algiers.
      ‘Ouch. Steady on, sweetheart.’
      ‘Let go of me, you deranged baboon! And stop calling me sweetheart.’
      She kicked him again, harder. He muttered something in a strange, guttural language she didn’t understand and let go of her so suddenly she staggered backward and fell on her bottom on the hard, wet cobbles.
      Her breath caught in her throat, her heart beat hard, erratic. Tears blurred her vision as people sneered and clapped around her. She knew McRaes and McGunns were enemies, but she had nothing to do with their feud, so why did everybody here seem to hate her so much? And why was the big hairy brute intent on humiliating her and not believing a word she said?
      He stepped closer and offered his hand.
      ‘Come on, now, sweetheart. Let’s start again. I think we got off on the wrong foot.’
      He sounded contrite but she wasn’t ready to forgive to forgive him. Ignoring his hand, she scrambled to her feet, and straightened her back. Attack was the best defence, her brother often said, and Lucas knew what he was talking about. He was the best scout in the whole of the Barbary States – or Algeria as the French now called her country.
      ‘Take me to your master immediately,’ she started in a voice as cold and steady she could manage, ‘so I can ask him to have you whipped for your insolence.’
      There was a collective gasp from the people around them. Not looking in the least impressed, the man crossed his arms on his broad chest and arched his eyebrows.
      She took another deep breath.
      ‘That’s what I do to disrespectful servants on my estate, and I can assure you they stop smirking after five lashes.’ That was an outrageous lie, of course, but no one here was to know.
      'If what you said earlier is true, then I see McRae chose his bride well.’ The man’s eyes were now hard as steel. ‘You and he are indeed a match made in heaven, or in hell. I’m sure you’ll be very happy together.’ He paused. ‘I’m sorry to disappoint you, sweetheart, but I don’t approve of whipping people, or beasts, for that matter.’
      ‘And I don’t care a fig if you approve or not. It is for your master to decide your punishment, and from what I’ve heard of Lord McGunn, he is neither a patient nor compassionate man.’
      He arched his eyebrows. ‘I didn’t know I had such a bad reputation.’
      Rose’s heart stopped. He wasn’t… he couldn’t be…
      ‘I realise I failed to introduce myself. I am Bruce McGunn.’ He bowed his head in a military salute.
      ‘You are?’ The words came out as a squeak.
      His lips stretched into a tight smile that didn’t warm his eyes.
      ‘At your service, my lady. Now the introductions are over, shall we make our way to the Lodge?’


Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley, Lancashire, England, for the past few years and likes nothing more than dreaming up romance stories and handsome, brooding heroes. She writes historical and contemporary romance. Her contemporary romance A SPELL IN PROVENCE, as well as her historical romances, ANGEL HEART, together with the award-winning THE LION'S EMBRACE, and the DANCING FOR THE DEVIL Trilogy (which includes THE DREAM CATCHER, BLUE BONNETS and SWORD DANCE) are all published by Áccent Press.


Book 1 in the series

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Thursday, 28 April 2016

Blog Tour & Review - Trivial Pursuits by Aven Ellis

Trivial Pursuits Release Day Promotion
Trivial Pursuits by Aven Ellis 
Also by this author: Connectivity
Series: Chicago on Ice #2 
Also in this series: The Aubrey Rules on 20th April 2016 
Pages: 295 Goodreads Amazon UKAmazon US

Landon Holder is exactly the kind of man Livy Adams should stay far away from. The flashy, flirty star defenseman for the Chicago Buffaloes is known for hooking up with women all over Chicago. Livy finds herself attracted to Landy, but his sexy good looks and charm are irrelevant. She had her heart shattered by a cheating athlete in college, and Livy vows she will never let her judgment lapse like that ever again. 

Yet Livy knows she can’t spend the rest of her life focusing on building her jewelry line during the day and her evenings playing TriviaPlayOrPass! on her phone, either. Even though she does have fabulous conversations with a player named Scott, it’s time to get back in the game—in real life. 

While Livy tries to figure out her career path in jewelry design, she knows it’s time to take a chance on romance again, too. But in a strange twist of fate, Livy finds herself getting to know Landy on a much deeper level. Sometimes people aren’t always as they appear to be. 

Just like a diamond, you have to look closely to see true clarity. 

As Livy unwraps the layers around Landy to see the man behind the image, will she have a change of heart? 

Can she leave her past behind for a future with Landy? Or is it all a game of trivial pursuits?

I would like to thank Aven Ellis for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I've been reading Aven's books for awhile now and I look forward to reading them, especially her hockey stories.  

To be honest I run the risk of repeating myself with every single book but I'm convinced her hero's get hotter with every single book.  Landon, at least to his adoring hockey public is the typical playboy, out on the town with a different girl on his arm.  When Livy meets him at a school she is thrown by his different persona and is intrigued to know more about him as I was. 

Livy is one of my favourite leading ladies after Aubrey (The Aubrey Rules, another must read).  She is really easy to love/like and my heart really went out to her when Aven revealed her back story and I could understand her a lot more.

I have to say I absolutely hated Kayla Payne she is a real bitch and held my breath at her antics.  I also hope she turns up again, maybe as a reformed character or an even bigger bitch would be fun to read.

The real star of this book is Livy's Nana she is absolutely hilarious and so embarrassing at time but she is a great character and I know others have called for her book and I totally agree.  I would love to read about her when she was young and fiesty or even if she was to find love now.  Aven has a real knack to creating secondary characters that cry out for their own books.

I know I always say this about Aven's books but if you haven't read any then you're missing a real treat.  The sports element is secondary to fabulously told romance stories.


Aven Ellis has been writing fiction since she was sixteen. She studied communications at a large Midwestern university, and after graduation, Aven worked as a reporter for a community newspaper, followed by a stint at a public relations agency. But writing about city council meetings and restaurant franchises was not as much fun as writing for young women trying to figure out their careers and potential boyfriends. So Aven got herself a job in television that allowed her to write at night. Connectivity is Aven’s debut novel; Waiting For Prince Harry and Chronicles of a Lincoln Park Fashionista (New Adult romantic comedy) will be published next year. Aven lives in Dallas with her family. When she is not writing, Aven enjoys shopping, cooking, connecting with friends on social media, and watching any show that features Gordon Ramsay


Thursday, 21 April 2016

Blog Tour and Guest Post - The Daughters of Red Hill Hall by KathleenMcGurl

When Gemma discovers a pair of ancient duelling pistols encrusted with rubies in the basement of the local museum, she is immediately intrigued…

On a fateful night in 1838 two sisters were found shot in the cellars of Red Hill Hall. And when Gemma begins to delve deeper into their history she begins to realise that the secrets of that night are darker than anyone had ever imagined.

As the shocking events of the past begin to unravel, Gemma’s own life starts to fall apart. Loyalties are tested and suddenly it seems as if history is repeating itself, as Gemma learns that female friendships can be deadly…

Amazon UK:

On juggling life and writing
When I was listing ideas for blog posts for this tour, someone asked me to write about how I juggle having a full time day-job with writing.  A writer’s life is never an easy one – sitting down and forcing yourself to add a thousand words or so to your work in progress requires a degree of self-discipline that not everyone has. And that is true whether or not  the author works at a day job as well as being  a writer. As my day-job is what pays the mortgage it has to take priority, and writing must fit around it. But how?
Well, I should first admit that while my job is full time, I am lucky enough to be able to work from home most days, which means there’s no commuting time. I work from 8am till 5pm, Monday to Friday, so actually that leaves a lot more spare time than many other writers I know, especially those with small children! (My own sons are grown up, and one has left home.)
I do most of my writing in the evenings and at weekends. If I’ve a free evening, I’ll write between 7-9pm and aim to do at least 500 words, ideally 1000. I am very easily distracted by Facebook and tend to write a paragraph then nip into Facebook, then write another paragraph etc... if only I had the self-discipline to switch off wifi on my laptop I’d probably write a lot faster! At the weekend, I’ll aim to write approximately 3000 words. So overall I’ll try to write about 5000 words in a week, which in theory means a draft of a novel should be complete in 18-20 weeks. However, I’ve not managed that yet!
I never try to write first thing in the morning before work. I am just not a morning person at all – my brain is like sludge and I can’t even focus on the keyboard let alone type anything.
I do have some techniques to help me make the most of the writing time I have – for instance I write a high level plan of the entire novel before I start, so that I know what is to happen in each chapter. Because I write dual-timeline novels this is particularly important to make sure the two timelines slot together well. I also try to ensure I end a writing session in the middle of a scene, or even the middle of a sentence. This makes it so much easier to pick up the threads next time.
I write better if I am able to get some fresh air and exercise – so that means allowing time in the day to go for a short walk or run, or do a Pilates class. Yes it is a problem fitting it all in, but as my husband is fond of saying it’s wrong to say you have no time: you have the same amount of time as everyone else (24 hours a day, 7 days a week etc) but the question is how you choose to use your time.  (Actually, I wrote a little book on this, entitled Give Up Ironing – a Writer’s Guide to Time Management!) So yes, it is a juggling act and can be hard work, but I love writing and have no intention of stopping yet!

Kathleen McGurl lives near the sea in Bournemouth, with her husband, sons and cats. She began her writing career creating short stories, and sold dozens to women’s magazines in the UK and Australia. Then she got side-tracked onto family history research – which led eventually to writing novels with genealogy themes. She has always been fascinated by the past, and the ways in which the past can influence the present., and enjoys exploring these links in her novels.

When not writing or working at her full-time job in IT, she likes to go out running or swimming, both of which she does rather slowly. She is definitely quicker at writing.

You can find out more at her website,, or follow her on Twitter @KathMcGurl .