Friday, 25 October 2013

As Long as the Coffee is Strong and the Whiskey Stronger...

Yes, I'm still alive and writing. Obviously, I haven't been blogging much other than my interviews as you may have noticed. This post was written a while ago, I just hadn't posted it.
Anywho! I've had a crazy couple of months! Exciting ones at that! I've been busy editing, submitting and yes, as some of you may have heard, signing! I've signed my second contract with Secret Cravings publishing! Deceive Me in Ireland will be released in ebook in January 2014 and between March and June in paperback. As you can imagine! I'm super excited!

And speaking of signing, look at what the postie delivered! I swear I just sat there looking at them, not wanting to touch them for fear of marking them. There's nothing quite like seeing your book in print!!

I was terrified to sign them. My handwriting is dreadful. I know kindergartens with better flourish than me hehe. But at last, I signed them all. :) Good practice for a signing event I am planning in January in Newcastle. But I'll tell you more about that in the future.

What Happens in Ireland has been doing fabulously! And since it's paperback release, it's been popping up around the world.
Here it is in Scotland, so close to the Emerald Isle:

And in Perth with its good friend, The Hostage...

And it joined me and a friend for dinner!

If you yourself have a copy, I'd love to see where it has ended up. :)

So, you may be wondering why I've titled my post "As Long as the Coffee is Strong and the Whiskey Stronger"? Well, I have some busy months ahead of me. This month, I will get my first round of edits for Deceive Me in Ireland (a blessing or a curse, who's to know), I will start my new job, sit my final exams for my Uni year and of course, try squeeze in some writing time (not as easy of late).

To be honest, I'll be waiting for December, as crazy as that sounds!

Other things for you to look out in the coming months is the launch of my new blog and website. I've decided to start over. This blog will still be at your fingertips if you ever feel like backtracking and there will be some re-blogs. :)

Well, this here is my update. A little rushed as I must run off to work, but I think it's about time I broke my blogging hiatus.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

On The Window Seat With Christina Cole!

Well, it was a scorcher yesterday in Oz, but today, we are in cool, rainy Ireland. Christina and I are rugged up on the window seat and I’m just going to put my book away to have a chat with her! Welcome Christina!

As always, I like to start the interview off by asking you to tell us five things about yourself as a person and as a writer (genre, hobbies, personality, are you a little on the quirky side?)

I’ve always called myself a “behind the scenes” person. I’m not comfortable being center stage but prefer to remain in the background, putting things together and making sure things work. I’m quite the introvert, so needless to say, writing holds tremendous appeal for me. I love spending hours alone in my little writing room...just me and a cast of characters I’ve created for the story I’m working on. Although I love music, I also appreciate quiet, especially as I’m writing. Unfortunately, we have a very noisy Amazon parrot who doesn’t understand the meaning of “quiet”.

Haha, I have a whiny mini foxie. So I understand you frustration completely hehe.

So when did you first start writing, Christina? Was it just an unbridled urge to write or had it been a matter of ‘it’s now or never’?

I wrote my first story -- a ridiculous fantasy about space travel -- when I was about four years old. My first novel, scribbled on a note pad, came along a few years later while I was hospitalized for a week. It was about a girl and a horse. How original, huh? It wasn’t very long, either. I composed a terrible poem about the same time and hid behind the piano when it was published in the school newspaper and read aloud -- thanks to my best friend who stole a copy of it and gave it to the teacher to put in the paper. Hey, what are friends for, right? I’ve written throughout my life and have published essays, inspirational pieces, confession stories and other romantic short stories. A few years ago, I turned to writing full-length romance novels. I wasn’t finding stories on the bookshelves that appealed to me. Most were too violent or too unrealistic for my taste. I’m not into supernatural creatures or paranormal stories, and erotica doesn’t appeal to me. So I decided to write the sort of love stories I wanted to read.

And a writer is born! I’ve heard of this kind of urge to write. You’re looking for that one story and either you stop looking, or you realize that story is yours. Such a wonderful way to become a writer!

Is there a reason as to why you write? And what’s your favourite part about being a writer?  

I write because life is too good to keep to myself. My favorite part about being a writer is that I learn a lot about myself each time I sit down and write a new story.

I’m a firm believer that our characters are not only a figment of our imagination but often, apart of ourselves however small or big.

What inspires you? The novels you read? Other authors? Life itself?

Inspiration comes from all around me...things I read, things I see, things I hear, things I feel. Whenever something strikes an emotional chord with me, I want to share it with others. Writing is the way I do that.

When did your writing dream become a published reality?

As mentioned above, my first published piece was a poem I wrote in grade school. After that, I had other poems and essays published in various school papers. Later, as an adult, I had poetry, essays, confession stories, and other short pieces published in a variety of magazines, from True Confessions to Science of Mind.

That’s quite a history! Well done!

So with all your experience, what is the hardest part of the publishing process for you?

Things are much easier now than in years past, but I’ve always struggled with proper formatting.

Do you have any inspirational words for aspiring writers?

Write what’s in your heart, not what others tell you is popular. There will always be readers who appreciate heart-felt stories, and yes, readers can tell if your heart is in it when you write.

Words that hold too much truth. I know so many people who are afraid to write what they want.

Do you mind pitching your current release to us in ten words or less?

SUMMERTIME: A summer of hope and dreams, a summer of passion.

Who is your favourite character in SUMMERTIME?

Ed Ferguson, the hero of the story, is my favorite character. He’s told he’s too nice, and he worries that his honesty might also be a fault, but isn’t that really the sort of man we want to fall in love with?

 I do like them honest. Even if I am asking them is my butt looks too big. :P

And what’s next for Christina Cole!?

In mid-October, Sweet Cravings Publishing will be releasing “The Wrong Woman”, another historical romance, and in January, Secret Cravings will release “Not the Marrying Kind”, so I’ll have both “sweet” and “steamy” coming up in the next few months.

Lovely! Can’t wait!

Now, for all writers, there’s something magical about creating a novel. What is your favourite part of creating a novel? Are you a Happily-Ever-After kind of writer, a cheeky black moment maker, or a first-sight-and-first-kiss kind of writer?

I love conjuring up characters, digging around in ther pasts, and uncovering their secrets.

Now last but not least, let’s talk about your muse… I think of my muse as some being. An alter ego of sorts. Tell us about yours. Are they male or female? Can you describe three of their personality traits?

My muse is male. His name is Dickins -- not to be confused with Charles. He’s just a “li’l dickins”, you see. Think of a cross between Groucho Marx and Big Bird, and you’ll have a fairly good picture of him. He’s a packrat, insists on having his own way, likes to joke around a lot, but always taps me on the shoulder and lets me know when it’s time to stop playing and finish up a project.

Haha, love it!

So that’s all the time we have today! I hope you’ve enjoyed your stay Christina and now I think it’s time for me and my readers to curl up with a book! Perhaps… a copy of SUMMERTIME?

GIVEAWAY: Christian will be giving away one e-copy of Summertime to one lucky comment in their desired format! So let’s chat! Do you have a special Summertime memory? A romance? A guilty indulgence? Share it to win!


SUMMERTIME is the story of Linn Sparks, a young woman who wanted more than rural Kansas could offer. A talented singer, she craved fame, fortune, glamour and excitement. She found it all as a star of the stage at the Crown Theater in San Francisco.

It’s also the story of Ed Ferguson. For him, life was far less complicated. All he wanted was Linnie Mae, but she left him standing alone at the altar seven years before when she ran off to pursue her dreams.

Now, it’s 1914. War is breaking out in Europe, and Linn Sparks has come home to Brookfield, Kansas. She plans to stay only a few days – just long enough to help negotiate the sale of her parents’ farm.

At first, it seems that nothing has changed in the quiet little country town, but Linn soon learns otherwise.  She’s surprised to find that Ed is now spending a lot of time with Polly Washburn. An even greater surprise comes when she meets six-year-old Thaddeus, Ed’s son. But perhaps the greatest surprise is that the town of Brookfield is now building a theater to honor Miss Tabitha Ann Collier, the spinster music teacher who helped Linn make her dreams come true.

Now that she’s come back, surely she’ll be offered the lead in the theater’s first production — a musical penned by Tabitha Ann herself. But staying in Brookfield means facing a lot of unpleasant realities.  Between her strained relationship with a father who never wanted her, a mother whose grasp on sanity is slipping away, and the feelings she still has for Ed, Linn is overwhelmed by emotions.

She must also find a way to deal with Polly, the woman who was once her closest friend but who now has her eyes on Ed.  And how can she handle Quentin Loonsfoot, the obnoxious son of the man her father crippled in a hunting accident years before? Quentin is determined to make her feel guilty — and to make her pay for her father’s mistake.  Most painful of all, she must accept the truth about Ed and his relationship with Rachel Johnson, the woman who gave him a son.

Ed has a lot to deal with as well. He still loves Linnie Mae, but he knows she won’t stay. How can he spend the summer being near her and not get his heart broken again?

It’s a hot summer in Brookfield…a summer of hopes and dreams, a summer of passion. Could it also be a summer of forgiveness?

You can find Summertime at the following online booksellers:


Connect with Christina:

Christina’s Blog: Seasons of Love

Follow Christina on Twitter @KCChristinaCole

Cover art for Summertime attached in separate file.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

On the Window Seat with Mark Love!

Today, Mark Love joins me on the window seat to chat about his wonderful Mysteries! Welcome to Ireland Mark!
First things first, tell us five things about yourself as a person and as a writer (genre, hobbies, personality, are you a little on the quirky side?)

I’ve always been a big fan of mysteries so that’s always a big part of what I write. I’m a music junkie, with tastes that range from jazz, blues, classical, soul and rock. So whether I'm writing or cooking, it’s not uncommon for music to be accompanying me. It seems that I’m always writing or thinking about writing, whether at a party, working out or taking a hike through the woods. Sometimes I will work on dialogue out loud, which can be unnerving to some people when the see me talking to myself. I’ve been married to my sweetheart for almost thirty years and we have two adult sons who are our pride and joy.
Haha, ah, yes. The obsession with writing, hehe. I share your embarrassment Mark. And congrats to you and your wife!

So when did you first start writing? Was it just an unbridled urge to write or had it been a matter of ‘it’s now or never’?

While I would write the occasional short stories in elementary school, I didn’t seriously begin writing until I took a creative writing course in college. The instructor kept encouraging me to submit some of my work to a literary magazine. They accepted a short story and that was like tasting your first piece of chocolate. You always crave more. What is difficult for me is finding the time to write, with a full time job and family commitments. There’s just never enough time.

I hear you! Time is always the hardest thing to find. :)

Is there a reason as to why you write? And what’s your favourite part about being a writer? 

I write because I’ve got stories to tell and want to share them with others. It’s the reaction I get from readers that proves to me I can entertain you, even for a little while, as the characters I’ve created stop by for a visit.  My favorite part is when my characters take the idea I have for a story and run with it in a different direction, something I may not have realized would work so well. I don’t work from an outline. I start with some basic ideas and my main characters and just let the ideas flow from there. Of course, it’s always a blast to hear from someone who has read my books and enjoyed them.

I love it when characters do that!

What inspires you? The novels you read? Other authors? Life itself?

News articles about the amazing things ordinary people often do can inspire me. Many of the novels I read growing up, such as the Travis McGee series by John D. MacDonald, inspired me to write. I devoured all of his work as a kid and still read them. There are also great authors like Elmore Leonard, James Rollins, Robert Crais, Harlan Coben, Greg Iles and James W. Hall. Their works can captivate you. Recently I’ve also discovered M S Spencer, John Sanford and Morgan Wyatt. They are great storytellers. I want to get the readers so engrossed in the story they don’t want it to end because they are enjoying it so much. When the readers can identify with the characters, you know you’ve done well.

When did your writing dream become a published reality?

I published a number of short stories in small press magazines years ago, but getting a novel published was always an elusive dream.  In 2009, my son Travis told me about a new eBook publisher looking for novels. I submitted one and they jumped at it. Unfortunately they have since gone out of business but that encouraged me to keep writing. I found a new publisher (Secret Cravings Publishing) for two romance/mysteries and self published two mysteries on Amazon. In July this year, “Devious” became available in print. Seeing one of my books in that format was definitely a dream come true. So that’s motivating me to keep writing.

Mark, funny you should mention the reality of paperback. I just received 50 copies of my novel and just to finally hold my book in my hands... it's amazing. My sister was even more excited than I was! And I must congratulate you on your achievements. :) Seems like you've been able to find some time after all hehe. Well done!

So what was the hardest part of the publishing process for you?

Marketing and promoting. It’s not enough to write a good story and get a publisher to accept it. You also have to constantly promote your work, with blogs and websites and social media. It takes away from the time you have to write, but it is an important part of the process. The more people you reach, the more chances you have of someone buying your works.

Many people struggle with the new marketing age. No one is alone in that boat. :)

Do you have any inspirational words for aspiring writers?

Learn to accept constructive criticism. Find a group of other writers that you can workshop with, or take a creative writing class. Feedback from others can be very helpful, particularly if they are serious about writing. Submit your work and don’t let rejections get you down.  It’s like dating. You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince (or princess) as the case may be. Don’t give up and don’t stop writing.

Now that, is some quality advice. You've got to have a thick skin in this industry and an open mind.

Can you pitch you current/upcoming release to us in ten words or less?

Jamie’s best friend is kidnapped by a stalker. Game on.

And who is your favourite character in “Vanishing Act”?

Malone is the man in Jamie’s life. They are still getting to know each other and he takes a stronger role in their romance. There is still some mystery about him, which adds to Jamie’s confusion about their relationship. And he’s still trying to come to grips with her stubbornness. But the man has soul and can be just as stubborn if the situation warrants it.
Ooo, Mr. Mysterious!

So what’s next for Mark Love?

I have finished the first draft of a mystery about a serial killer, whose victims are all found in room 319 of different hotels around a metropolitan area. I’m hoping to find a new publisher for that one. I’m also working on the third book in the Jamie Richmond series, which will involve priceless art work, rekindle old love interests and have a bit of intrigue and suspense.

How exciting! Can't wait to hear more. And now, we get to the fun side of our interview...

Now, I think of my muse as some being. An alter ego of sorts. Tell us about your muse. Are they male or female? Can you describe three of their personality traits?

My muse is female. She is a blend of two young women who I dated many, many years ago. She has a musical laugh, which is similar to glass wind chimes on a gentle breeze. She has an inquisitive nature and when I’m working on a story, she will poke me with a comment like “a real woman wouldn’t do that” or “the carpet and drapes are supposed to match”. And she’s a bit of a smartass, poking fun at me when I’m trying to be serious.

Haha, bet she's always right too hehe. I love what you've said about her. She sounds like a girl I'd like to meet. :)

If you had to write a warning to your readers about your novel, what would you say? e.g. Warning: This novel contains a bounty of Irish Charm and side effects include drooling, terminal daydreaming of naked Irishmen and runaway heartbeats.

Warning: This novel “Vanishing Act” contains numerous romantic scenes, including a May-December couple, intrigue, danger, touches of violence, a stubborn redheaded heroine and a flash of the risqué.
Oh, you've got to love the redheads!
Now, for all writers, there’s something magical about creating a novel. What is your favourite part of creating a novel? Are you a Happily-Ever-After kind of writer, a cheeky black moment maker, or a first-sight-and-first-kiss kind of writer?

Since most of my writing is in the mystery genre, my favorite part is when the protagonist figures out ‘who done it’. While they may not have all the answers to the puzzle, there is something magical when it comes together. Since I don’t write from an outline, I’ve actually changed the villain a number of times in my stories, based on what’s going on with the characters. Sometimes, even I’m surprised at who the villain is.
How exciting for you! I'm a plotter myself but I can definitely see what attracts you to pantsing.
Now, that's all for today, lovely readers between Mark and I but not necessarily the end for you! If you like the sound of Mark's novel, leave a comment and you could win a copy of The Vanishing Act on ebook! Tell a friend and share the love!
You can also connect with Mark at the following places:
      And here's more on the prize!
Jamie Richmond is still discovering her way in the romantic relationship with the mysterious Malone when her best friend Linda Davis comes home.  The beautiful Linda suddenly finds herself swept up in a whirlwind romance of her own with an older man, Dr. Vincent Schulte. But not everything is all champagne and flowers for Linda. She suddenly realizes she’s become the target of a stalker. The problem escalates. Jamie is determined to protect her friend, but even she is at a loss when Linda suddenly disappears one cold, snowy day.  The police are searching for clues. Despite Malone’s attempts to keep Jamie on the sidelines, she is driven to find out what happened to Linda and where she could be. Despite her best intentions, Jamie has once again put herself in danger while trying to unravel the mystery.