What Doesn’t Kill You – Paperback Giveaway #whatdoesn’tkillyou

Last week was special for my good friend, Laura E James, her fantastic novel WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU was released in paperback. Regardless of the fact that Laura and I are friends, I have to say what a great book this is – I’ve long been an admirer of Laura’s skill with words and how she fearlessly tackles difficult and thought provoking issues. Laura is also running a giveaway with the chance to win a signed paperback copy of this fab book. See the end of the post for details how to enter.

There’s also another reason why this is special, it’s a first for me. I’m very honoured to be quoted on the cover of WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU. There was so much to say about this book, it was actually quite hard to condense it into a couple of sentences to fit on the cover. The description and my full review is below.

As I say, it’s a great read and I am looking forward to getting my copy signed by Laura when I next see her.

wdky-cover-with-sf-quoteThe Blurb

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – but how strong can one person be?

Griff Hendry knows what it is to be strong. After a turbulent past, he’s dedicated himself to saving lives, working as a coastguard along the breath- taking shores of Dorset. It’s Griff’s belief that everyone is worth saving – which is why he can’t forgive his father, Logan, for what he did.

Griff’s future is plunged into uncertainty when his wife, Evie, tells him she wants a separation. The revelation is a shock and leads Griff to question what Evie could possibly be hiding – and she isn’t the only one holding back. Griff’s troubled stepdaughter, Tess, also harbours a dark secret.

As the truth is uncovered, Griff is forced to accept that perhaps he’s never understood what real strength is.

My Review

What Doesn’t Kill You has been written in such a way that it is uplifting whilst dealing with difficult and dark issues. It certainly isn’t an easy read at times but as a mother, a wife and a daughter, it made me wonder how I would react in Evie’s shoes. Laura deals with the issues in an empathetic and realistic manner, reinforcing the importance of communication and understanding within the family unit.

Tess, the teenage daughter, was a story within a story and her troubled past which impacted on her present was handled with sensitivity. I felt a lot of compassion for this troubled, yet caring teen.

Although there are tough issues in this novel, Laura keeps a tight rein on it all. It is a very powerful story which brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion. Darker than her previous novels but nevertheless positive and life affirming. What doesn’t kill you, in this case, certainly does make you stronger.


Laura : Thank you so much, Sue, for wrapping up the blog tour for the paperback launch of What Doesn’t Kill You and for the wonderful review, support and friendship. I am delighted, privileged and extremely honoured to have your quote on the cover.

As this is the final stop, I’d like to offer readers a chance to win a signed copy of What Doesn’t Kill You.

To be in the draw, please leave a comment here or tweet @Laura_E_James with the words ‘What Doesn’t Kill You paperback giveaway’ and the hashtag #whatwouldyoudo. Giveaway ends midnight, UK time Monday 23rd January 2017. The winning name will be picked by random from a teen’s snapback cap.

Good luck!

I’m off to jet wash the tour bus. See you soon.

Laura x


New Book Out Today! #SisterSister

I’m delighted that my latest book, SISTER, SISTER, is published today. This one is more suspense and mystery than my previous books and I really enjoyed writing it. To celebrate it’s release I’m running a competition over on my author Facebook page to win Afternoon Tea for Two, a DVD and a book mark. If you fancy entering, pop over to my page by clicking this link.

In the meantime, here’s the cover and the blurb.

ss-book-coverTwo sisters, one truth …

Clare – Intelligent and loyal or paranoid and jealous?

Alice – Loving and kind or manipulative and devious?

Reunited after many years following the breakdown of the family unit, Clare and Alice reacquaint themselves in adulthood but as events take a sinister turn and nothing is at it seems, everyone must decide who to trust.

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Winter 2016 Update

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and my apologies but I’ve hardly had time to pause for breath recently.

tgwl-new-pbIt’s been an amazing few months as THE GIRL WHO LIED hit the #1 spot on Amazon UK Kindle, got to #5 in the American Kindle charts and became a USA Today best seller.

Thursday 17th November sees the release of the paperback, which I’m delighted is going to be available through not only all the usual on-line platforms but also at W H Smith and Asda! I can’t believe after all the years of dreaming about my book being on the shelf of a bookshop, it’s actually going to happen. Needless to say, I shall be stalking said shops to do some serious book spotting.

I spent the summer writing my new novel which is due out in January. Since submitting it in September, I’ve been dealing with feedback and edits.

The visual for the January release has undergone a transformation, not only has the cover been changed but the title too. In publishing speak, it’s now more commercial. For me, I did like my previous cover and title but this cover, I feel, reflects the story more both in terms of the image and title. Here it is …


The blurb hasn’t been finalised but this will give you a good idea of the set-up.

Sister, Sister

Clare : Intelligent and loyal or paranoid and jealous?
Alice : Loving and kind or manipulative and devious?

Reunited after many years following the breakdown of the family unit, Clare and Alice reacquaint themselves in adulthood, but as events take a sinister turn and nothing is at it seems, everyone must decide who to believe.

Two sisters. One truth.

It’s available for pre-order through Amazon via this link http://amzn.to/2eU3y2b

I’ve embarked on NaNoWriMo this year but have been juggling it with edits so I’m not sure I will hit the 50k word target by the end of the month, but it has certainly kick-started my next WIP.

And finally, Wednesday 15th November is the RNA‘s Winter Party & Industry Awards. Myself and fellow Romaniacs were delighted to win the Media Star Award last year and are looking forward to presenting this year’s winner with their award.



What Agents, Editors and Publishers Ask Writers…

It can be quite nerve wracking speaking to agents, editors and publishers no matter what stage of the writing ladder you’re at, but especially so, I remember, when I was unagented and unpublished.

Looking back, there seemed to be several questions which cropped up regularly. I thought I’d share them as, even though I am now agented and have a publisher, they still came up at a recent meeting.

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What genre do you write in?

I found just saying ‘romance’, didn’t really pin down my style of writing very well. Romance is a very broad genre and includes, historical, suspense, contemporary, paranormal, Christian and so on. By defining it as mystery, suspense and romance worked far better and helped to expand the conversation.

Which author would you compare your work to?

I hate this type of question. If I answer no-one, will it make me sound ignorant of other writers? If I come out with an international best-selling author, will I sound too full of myself? I find a good way to deflect it, is by saying which authors I like to read and to say whether they have influenced my writing at all.

Can you sum up your novel in a couple of sentences?

This is actually a really useful exercise and can help no matter who asks you about your book, whether it be an agent, a publisher or a friend. If you can include the theme of your book, how you address this and the genre in just three sentences, then this shows that you really know your book and your market. It also helps to avoid those awkward silences or the false starts that start off, ‘Well, it’s about a woman. Well, two women. No. Actually, it’s about this man …’ Nailing it right down to three concise sentences will not only help to inspire confidence and professionalism in you from their point of view, but it will do exactly the same for you.

Where do you see yourself in 3/4/5 years’ time?

If you can outline your next book in a couple of sentences, this goes a long way to showing that you are serious about being an author. It shows that you have more than one book in you and you are worth investing in. If you can also have a general idea of where you are heading with your writing career, again, this all helps to show your professionalism and ambition.

Why did you want to speak to me?

This can be a tricky one, saying you’re working your way through the Writers Yearbook, probably isn’t going to go down too well. Explain, why you wanted to see them, maybe they have other authors similar to your style, yet you still have something fresh and new to offer. Perhaps, the publisher has a wide reaching audience or it might be because they are a small independent publisher and the family feel appeals to you. If you can come up with two or three reasons, then this will show the agent/publisher that you have done your research and, again, promote your professionalism to being a writer.

Of course, these aren’t hard and fast questions, they may vary and there will, no doubt, be plenty of other questions but I found these formed a good solid foundation to go into a meeting with.

Research, Google Earth and Guinness Cakes

TGWL final coverTHE GIRL WHO LIED is published today and I couldn’t write a book set in Ireland without  acknowledging the country or a nod to my mother-in-law, Monica, who hailed from County Cork, but sadly passed away 18 months ago.

When I was writing The Girl Who Lied, I regularly referred back to how Monica would say things so that the dialogue sounded as authentic as possible. My husband has a large family in and around the Cork area, so conjuring up their accents and dialect was also an important part of the writing process. I also picked the brains of a few Irish authors I know to check details, such as, the education system and colloquial terms for the Irish Gardai as I would hate any little slips to take the reader out of the story. Of course, it’s here where I say any mistakes are entirely mine.

My other vital piece of research came in the form of Google Earth, where I could happily roam the Irish coast and surrounding areas to give my fictional village of Rossway a realistic feel. My mother-in-law’s father was from Kinsale and I’ve seen a photograph of the cottage where they lived. It was this that gave me the inspiration for the old croft which appears in The Girl Who Lied.

Keeping on the Irish theme, coincidently it was my youngest daughter’s First Holy Communion last weekend. I know Monica would have loved to have been there and in her honour, I made chocolate Guinness cakes for the adults, together with some little non-alcoholic cupcakes for the children.  I used Nigella Lawson’s recipe for the Guinness cakes which you can find here. I don’t profess to being a contender for the Great British Bake Off, but I was pleased with the results and everyone said how nice they were. I’m pretty sure no-one had their fingers crossed!

guinness cakes

Newsletter and Revamped Website/Blog

For the past few years I’ve been running a blog and website separately to one another, which has worked fine, although did give me some continuity in design issues and took up more time having to switch from one format to the other to make sure all the information was up to date. Bringing them both to one place was the logical solution – not only does it save me time, keeps everything looking the same, but it saves me money too. Not sure why I didn’t do this before.

I’m also setting up a newsletter as part of the make-over. The newsletters are intended to keep readers up to date with everything that is happening in my writing world, advance news, early previews and giveaways. If you’d like to sign up, please click the Sign Me Up! button below.

To kick start the newsletter, I’m going to be giving away a signed paperback of THE HALF TRUTH and a lovely ribbon bookmark to anyone who signs up between now and the end of March. One winner will be picked at random and notified via email.

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The Half truth

THT bookmark

Thank you and good luck!

Writing news!

I’m delighted to announce that last week I officially signed with Kate Nash of Kate Nash Literary Agency!

I have known Kate in a professional capacity for several years now and, in the past, she has given me some great feedback and sound advice. They say to find an agent who loves your manuscript as much as you do and one that you can foresee a good working relationship with and for those reasons, amongst others, I am very much looking forward to working with Kate in the future.

Although Kate and I had agreed everything before Christmas, it wasn’t until last week that we were able to meet up. We had a great afternoon in London, chatting over afternoon tea on a Thames River cruise – the time went so quickly we had to head to a pub afterwards to complete the formalities.

shard by the Thames 3

I am pleased to say that my next book is to be published by HarperCollins’ imprint HarperImpulse on 21 April 2016. We are working on the cover and a new title which I hope to share with you soon.

So, now the glamourous bit is over, it’s time for me to head back into the editing cave …