Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Woman in the Corner

See that strange woman in the corner.  You know the one with a ponytail, glasses holding a mug of tea and some bookmarks.  Well that woman is me! I really do not like publicity and when it comes to promoting my work, well I tend to let word of mouth do the job for me.

Since July this year, I have had 6 short stories published and one full length novel published too.  I have designed a website here!, business cards and bookmarks.  I am on GoodreadsManda  have also met via Facebook Amanda some of my idols in the romance industry.  Without this social media, I would not have had the pleasure of meeting Times bestselling author, Trisha Ashley and the author of The Scandalous Ravenhursts, Louise Allen.  This was at an afternoon tea in Bedford run by The Festival of Romance. 

Here is the fabulous Louise with a beautiful Regency fan
and here is my mother in law with the wonderful Trisha Ashley.  I was a tad gushy there, ok I was exceptionally gushy!

It has been a very busy few months for me.  I am currently studying an Open University course in the Arts, with school runs and the Pann Haggerty stories to write, life has been rather hectic. Now that the Christmas season is snowballing ahead, it going to get even more hectic.  Pann 7 needs to be written as does Pann 8, together with assignments for my course and presents to get.  I think you understand.

So where does this leave that rather batty woman in the corner, still sipping her mug of tea hoping that readers will notice her work and perhaps give it a read. I really am not sure.  I could lift my top and flash my boobage, or perhaps sneak bookmarks into bags.   Word of mouth can help so much, as would supportive friends who will let other friends know etc. 

Social media at times is really exhausting.  I am a nosey person at heart and love finding out who is having what published and what the book is about.  There are days when I wonder if writing is the vocation for me, it seems that I'm plodding along slowly like a tortoise and not getting anywhere.  I love my Pann story collection, and I still think that Rhean from Without Saying A Word is like a hot buttered crumpet on a cold day. 

Word of mouth can work wonders.  If anyone has read my work and likes it, please be like butter and spread it!

Thanks and to all my US followers Have a very merry Turkey Thyme!

With love

Kooks aka Manda xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

Email me at

Monday, 25 June 2012

The Evolution of the Romance Novel

Well, I'm not sure where 'Flaming June' went.  All I know, is that here in England it's been 'Flaming 'orrible June'.  Anyhoo, July arrives on Sunday, and during the month, Kook's Nook will be entering REVIEW JULY.   In other words, I will be posting reviews on books I have read as,  at the end of July comes the two words every parent of school children dread.......School Holidays!!!!

Yes, it's that wonderful time of the year when our darling DNA are off school for 6 or 7 long, wonderful weeks.  The fridge gets emptied on a daily basis, and cries of "I'm bored or I'm hungry" reverberate around in your head.  Especially on the day after school actually finishes.

Anyhoo, before review July starts, I am sure (unless you have been hiding under a rock somewhere) that there is a big 'hoo har' going on with the explosion of erotica recently and where it  belongs.  Is it romance? Is it erotica or is it just porn?  Three questions easily answered.  However, just to clarify things.  What is written on Kook's Nook is MY point of view.  No one elses.  I thought I'd get in my four penneth so to speak.
I personally have not read or will name the work that has prompted this post, but how I see romance novels, is  on a line.  At either end are Amish/Christian Romance/Jane Austen and the 'Hard Core xxxx' books.

Falling midway between the two are a mainstream publisher with many different genres.  Several vere towards the Amish and Christian side and others midway towards the Hard Core side. 
So yes there is room for them.  Yes they can be classed as romance IF there is a HEA or HFN.
Erotica novels or lets call them 'Romantica',  are selling like hot cakes and yes they are a phenominal success.  I have read loads of them.  When I was in my late teens I read Black Lace books (no longer in print now) and for me they hit the spot so to speak.   Now with e-readers and e-books available.  You can have a whole library of them on one book, and hide the e-reader away from little eyes that may glance over your shoulder and ask the dreaded question "What does that mean mummy?"  Hence the books I currently display are Amish fiction and the others are hidden behind my chair.
Don't get me wrong, I have been trying to find out where my writing fits and having a few confidence crisis along the way.  I have some wonderful author friends who write towards either end of the 'scale' and they are exceptionally talented in what they write.

My writing tends to vere towards the Amish Fiction side.  The love scenes in the book I have sold to a publisher were cut down, but there is still a bit of  detail especially when Rhean and Laura kiss.  Let's face it, Rhean is a 34 year old male virgin.  He is going to kinda rocket it off into space if Laura touches him in a certain area.  As to whether the publisher will keep that scene in, is up to them.
I started out reading the (yes I am going to say it)  M&B/Harlequin books.  Heck I have a number eight silhouette romance book in my box upstairs, one of the very first I read.  I found out about the practicalities of love-making from Forever by Judy Blume, and I still avidly look on websites and charity shops for the Temptation line.

I am exceptionally lucky thanks to Facebook, to actually talk to  some of my favourite Authors and even get signed books by them which are dearly loved and cherished.  I have authors that I am loyal to and as soon as there is a new one out, I will either pre-order or ask them nicely for an ARC, of which I am really grateful.  Several M&B authors in recent months have blown the envelope wide open and have taken the medical, historical and modern romance novels to new levels.  It's very exciting as a reader to see this happening, but as a writer, well its rather nerve-wracking to see the bar raised higher and higher.
Now back to the post subject.  The evolution of the romance novel.  Writing is individual and fiction of course comes from the writer's imagination, no matter how pure or inventive it is.    Over the past hundred years or so, the romance novel has reinvented itself so many times.  In victorian times, Jane Austen books were read avidly. With the heroine pretty much fainting if she caught a glimpse of her hero's ankle or chest.   Speed forward to 2012, and the heroine is now looking at her naked hero standing in all his glory, and the first thought that pops into her mind is "Oh, is that it?  Hmm I wonder what he can do to me..."

Basically, the answer is in the mirror.  It's you.  The reader and the writer.  What happens next is totally in your hands.

So there it is.  The end of my blog posts for June.  I guess I had better scoot and get on with reading so that there are plenty of reviews to annoy you with.

Hugs and kisses, and above all........KEEP IT KOOKY!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Engtangled Presents.................

Coming soon from Entangled Publishing, a new line,  Check these brilliant new reads out!

For a thrilling read, delve into darkness, slide into pure sexiness, this is the line for you.

So, take a walk on the wild side, and dive into one of Entangled Publishing's new lines.

More about DEAD SEXY’s Launch Titles

Her Forgotten Betrayal, by Anna DeStefano

Remembering will save her life. But will the truth destroy their love forever?
When the CEO of a global technology empire retreats to her ancestral mountain home to heal from a brutal shooting, she discovers the danger has just begun. The FBI suspects her of selling top-secret government research, and has sent an undercover agent to find evidence of her treason. Still suffering from amnesia, she is at the mercy of nightmares that soon morph into something much more terrifying—a determined enemy, plotting to make sure she never regains her fragile memory. When a handsome stranger sweeps in from the cold, claiming to be her protector—and her former lover—she suspects he’s not telling her the whole truth about his sudden appearance on the mountain. As their unwilling attraction blossoms to sizzling passion, she begins to trust him…unaware that he is about to repeat the most painful betrayal of her past—a past she doesn’t remember…a past that just may kill her.

No Hero, by Mallory Kane

A darkly handsome New Orleans detective who insists he’s no hero is blindsided by his one-time lover, a sexy investigative TV reporter, who exposes his secret troubled past to the whole world…and nearly costs him his job. When the at-risk teens he mentors start turning up dead, his vow to protect the other kids hits a major snag…his only clue to finding the determined killer is held by the one woman he never wants to see again. Compelled to work together to solve the vicious murders before another child dies, their passion reluctantly reignites, and their mutual mistrust slowly turns to respect as she realizes there’s much more to being a hero than outward appearances, and his deeply wounded heart gradually opens to the possibility of love.

Sacrifice of Passion, by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez

A tall, dark, single-dad Texas rancher finds himself facing more than his stubbornly silent son when the chupacabra, a supposedly mythical blood-sucking beast, starts killing his livestock—and stalking the town’s newly returned veterinary assistant, the sensual woman who ran from the altar and broke his heart twelve years earlier. Determined to purge his sizzling memories of her from his all-too-vivid imagination, he seeks her help to get to the bottom of the disturbing animal mutilations, only to have her break through to his sullen son…and rekindle the love he’d thought was lost forever. But her refusal to share a terrible secret sends her running straight into the lair of the chupacabra, plunging her back into her worst nightmare, and forcing them both to confront the wrongs of the past—in order to stay alive for the future they desperately want.

Deadly Secrets, Loving Lies, by Cynthia Cooke

Family secrets must be kept, and painful wounds must be ignored.

After an all-out assault by a vicious terrorist bent on destroying her entire family, a former government agent must break the strict rules she has always lived by when she emerges from hiding to reluctantly accept the help of her all-too-sexy ex-lover. Running a deadly race against time, they rush to rescue her kidnapped sister, find her missing father, and bring the notorious villain to justice. But nothing ever goes as planned. Bullets fly, danger abounds, and their passion reignites even faster than the lies are flowing. But their stubbornly held secrets just might spell the end of their rekindled love and hopes for the future…as well as their very lives.

Enjoy and keep it kooky xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Friday, 1 June 2012


I was extremely lucky to get an advanced copy by Michelle, and I fell in love with those enigmatic eyes straight away.  Believe me what's inside is, well I would compare it to one of my cheats chocolate mousse.  Rich, velvety, and a surprise in the middle. I had to keep reading till the end.  Just could NOT put it down.  I was lucky in that my 3 year old slept throughout.

Set in 1305/1306, the setting is rich in history, and starts with Lady Marguerite living in her fiance's keep,  hearing a man screaming in pain.  She awakens and finds Callum, bleeding, with the man who
was screaming unfortunately passed away.  Callum is unable to speak to her, to tell her of his pain.  She tends to his wounds and their tumultuous relationship begins....

Callum is no ordinary Highlander, he is skilled in archery and is a virgin, which makes him unique as heroes go.  He is also strong in heart and mind, and determined to make Marguerite his own.

Marguerite is torn between duty towards her father to make an advantageous marriage, but torn between that and her love and desire for her silent Highlander.  She is deeply in love and wishes to be with him, however knows her duty to her father.Through battles, wounds and secrets and family reunions, Callum and Marguerite come together in a blaze of passion.  Both deeply in love with each other, it makes their relationship all the more poignant.

Rich in historical fact and fiction, I really could NOT put this book down.  I don't like giving away spoilers but even a historical buff like me was surprised at one revelation.  I could just see Christopher Lambert in the part of Callum, with his hair flying as he shoots arrows to protect his brothers and the woman he loves.

An amazing book, corker of a cover and I absolutely loved the rollercoaster of Callum and Marguerite's romance.  I cannot thank Michelle Willingham enough for giving me the priviledge of reading this advanced copy.

Available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Mills and Boon and Harlequin US in July

For more information on Michelle and her amazing Highlanders please visit

or on Facebook!/michellewillinghamfans

and of course twitter!/michellewilling

Thursday, 17 May 2012


I've not posted for a while because I have been immersed in the past and driving my family nuts.  When I say past, I am referring to how I fell in love with romance and a good love story.  Before you all start to yawn and disappear, I shall try not to bore you.  At the moment erotica is selling like hot cakes and that's great.  Me personally?....Give me a good love story anyday.

I have been revisiting my youth and watching, thanks to "You Tube" episodes of Little House on the Prairie (LHOP), Anne of Green Gables (AOGG) and The Waltons.  Two years ago I bought the entire DVD series of Watching, a romantic comedy set in Liverpool and shown in the late 80s early 90s.  I will admit that for a romantic like me, these are pure escapism. 

Let me start with LHOP.  I absolutely adored Mary and Adam's romance.  It was sweet and innocent.  Adam was intense, yet funny.  Looking back at their episodes,  I can see where my Rhean originated from.   Adam wasn't afraid to cry, to show his feelings and the best thing of all, to snog her senseless.  Mary, bless her little cotton socks was swept off her feet by him.  I loved the way they portrayed a young married couple.  However towards the end of their time on LHOP, especially when Adam regained his sight.  Well, I could have happily swung for him, but in those prairie days, women stood by their men.  The actors chemistry on screen was believeable to me as the viewer, and I really loved the romance they acted out.

Fast forward 50 or so years (history wise) to The Waltons.  Mary Ellen and Curt's romance was short and firey.  Bizarrely, the writers decided to make her a widow from Pearl Harbour.  Just as she finds romance with Arlington Westcott Jones III (Jonesy), she finds out that Curt is alive and then has to get divorced.
In the decent three movie specials that followed, I was immersed in Erin and Paul's relationship, and when Mary Ellen and Jonesy FINALLY married, those wonderful writers decided to really screw things up for them.  After an accident, Mary Ellen couldn't have the children she and Jonesy desperately wanted.  Still it all worked out for them.  Jonesy, with his wacky sense of humour, huge smile and devotion to his wife had his happy ending with Mary Ellen, with the help of Ma Walton.  Their reunion scene at the end of Mothers Day on Waltons Mountain was just perfect!

Coming into the 80s and my teenage years, I confess to having a crush on Maxwell Caulfield from Grease 2 (therapy has been arranged).  Vince and Penny from Just Good Friends, and then in 1985 or thereabouts, I was transported over to Prince Edward Island and Anne of Green Gables came into my life.  Her relationship with Gilbert was pre-ordained.  I knew of course, because I had read the books (:D).  She was firey, Anne had an imagination and I wanted to be her, red hair and all.  Her relationship with Gilbert was fantastic to watch.  I loved the continuity of the actors.  The whole portrayal of their tempestuous relationship from Gil whispering "Carrotts" and being whacked on the head with a slate, to Anne falling into a mud splattered field chasing the wrong cow.  Finally, at the end of the Continuing Story Gil whispering to Anne on his sickbed "There will never be anyone else for me but you".  Tears fell down my face.  She had turned him down so many times.  On the bridge as the sun was setting, Gilbert told her he couldnt offer her any marble halls.  She didnt want marble halls, she just wanted him.  Then their first kiss......their first kiss.  Oh heck.  Pure romance and escapism.  I was and still am entranced by the whole series.  However, the final chapter is a bit pantsy.  Anne and Gil finally get married, but the writers took a few liberties with the story, and I am glad the writers managed to give Anne and Gil their wedding and HEA.

Absolutely gorgeous.  As a teenager in the 80s, there was lots of romance going on.  Mike and Plain Jane, Drew and Libby from Neighbours.  The Aussie soaps did romance well, Snowy River The McGregor Saga was a particular favourite of mine.  Then Watching burst onto ITV and I was hooked.  Brenda Wilson and Malcolm Stoneway's romance was rockier than Brighton beach.  Had more ups and downs than a rollercoaster at Thorpe park, and it was brilliant!.  There was never a more mismatched couple than those two.  She a kooky, strangely made up Liver Bird and Malcolm, a geeky birdwatcher who loved his motorbike and sidecar.  I laughed when they got together, cried when the writers married him off to someone else and of course, when the series ended and they finally got together, as they were supposed to all along, clapped and whoooped.  (Strange person that I am).

I have managed to write my first ever romance novel manuscript which is staring at me begging me to revise it lol.  Looking back to my past obsessions with books and tv shows, I can see different elements of my hero in the characters above.  I still love that warm feeling that floods my brain when seeing them kiss either for the first time, or perhaps after an disagreement. The LHOP Wedding of Mary and Adam is an excellent example of getting back to basics.  That first spark of interest. The first move.  Their first kiss.  These are the elements that have had me hooked on romance.  Speaking of kissing.  Don't underestimate the power of a kiss, especially a long tender kiss with the man you love.  At the end of a book or a film there is the premise of the HEA.  I am living with a manic but loving family, insane cats and of course my frog that turned into my own romantic hero.  He is geeky, loving, affectionate, considerate.  Drives me totally bonkers at times, but boy, his kisses reduce me to absolute mush and I love him to bits (Little bits at times)

Until I get round to blogging again! KEEP IT KOOKY!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012


You're stupid. You're retarded. You shouldn't have this job. These words lit a fire of determination in one deaf woman who set out to prove to the aviation world…and the world in general that deaf isn't dumb.

Deaf Isn't Dumb is a motivational story of a young woman, Tara, who faces the challenges of growing up "hearing impaired" in a hearing world. Follow her as she recounts everything from childhood bullies to work related restrictions, and funny misunderstandings from mispronounced words to fear of Federal Air Marshals. In this tale, straight from the heart, learn that simply because one is deaf—contrary to popular misconception—it doesn't mean they are dumb.

Pretty shocking stuff isnt it.  This is an extract from the memoirs of Tara Chevrestt entitled DEAF ISNT DUMB, available now on Amazon.  I am extremely lucky that she has joined me here in the Nook to discuss her honest and inspiring book, as well as giving tips for new writers.
Hi and welcome to Kook’s Nook. Today I am joined by, all the way from Utah (USA) Tara Chevrestt. She is a talented author and editor, with several books under her rather slim waist and has just published her memoirs. Which is a compelling read, honest and beautifully written.
Hi Tara and welcome to the hot seat (I put a hot water bottle under it first as its blasted cold and wet in the UK).
Nice!!! Thank you.
I’d like to start by asking you if you have one book that you read either as a kid or an adult, that you go back to time after time?
Well, I was really crazy about Nancy Drew, but one book that I have on my shelf to this day that I loved as a kid is The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi.
You have a very clear ‘voice’ in your writing, who are your influences?
As an adult, I really admire and as a result, have friended Christina Courtenay and Bev Petersen. I don't think I'll ever quite compare to their talents, but I strive to, and when I think of what kind of writer I would like to be, I think of them. I'm also a fan of Catherine of yours!
How do you like to write, in amongst abject chaos, loud music or total silence?
Silence, obviously, though sometimes my husband ruins everything by playing music. We share a desk and I feel the vibrations and I hate it. It's a distraction.
If you had one person (apart from hubby) to bring you your first drink of the day, who would it be?
Paul Walker! Or Terrance Howard. Errr. Can I have both?
How did you start writing?
Book wise? Well, I penned my first novel after a trip to a motorcycle museum. I found out about the Van Buren sisters and vowed to find a historical novel about them...I couldn't find one so I wrote it. That's Ride for Rights.
Lets face it everyone has a way of relaxing, what’s your one indulgence?
Wine. Have to have a glass every night.
How did you get involved in the editing side?
I've been a reader my whole life and a book reviewer for at least six years so editing came naturally to me. I discovered I enjoyed it, applied for a job, and there you have it.
Do you have any tips and hints for the virginal/aspiring author reading this, who has no idea where to start?
Listen to critiques. Don't think, "OMG, this person is bashing my work! Boo hoo!" Instead, listen closely, and note how you can improve. Don't give up.
What is the one piece of advice you were given when you started writing?
Double space all your manuscripts, Times New Roman, 12 pt.
Is there any genre you wouldn’t touch with a bargepole? And one that you have always wanted to write?
I'd love to write a historical novel about Puerto Rico. I've had some basic ideas, but it's not quite forming one big book yet. I figure it will happen when it happens.
I think I'll stay away from paranormal. I don't like it, really. I don't care for vampires or shifters and have no intention of adding to that ruckus.
Is there one big NO NO or peeve that you have when it comes to reading other peoples work?
TONS. LOL. I hate weak heroines. Blah. And I hate being sent books I don't ask for and then nagged to write a review on said book. Rude.
Your memoir Deaf Isn't Dumb, is exceptionally honest and blunt. Was it difficult and painful for you to write, as there are some bad memories there?
Yes. At times, I had to just walk away from it. I know my mother gets real upset when she reads it. In the end, I'd say it was therapeutic for me also though.
Is there a favourite recipe you can share with the foodies who read Kook’s Nook Please?
Yes, I would like to share a cake recipe I have been enjoying since my teen years. It's Bacardi Rum Cake. :)
1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 pkg instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup veg oil
1/2 cup Bacardi gold
Combine all the above in mixing bowl. Pour into greased bundt pan. Bake @ 325 for one hour. Allow to cool a bit before inverting onto serving platter. Prick with fork. Prepare glaze:
Melt one stick butter in saucepan and add 1/4 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Boil 5 min, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup rum. Pour over cake.
Allow cake to soak for a day. You can also do variations such as white cake, coconut pudding, and Bacardi CoCo or chocolate cake, chocolate pudding, CoCo or gold. Whatever. :)
and finally, of course. Could you leave us with a teaser from one of your books or something due to be published soon.

From A Maiden Behind the Mask (UNEDITED), releasing July 13th from Ruby Lioness Press:

She tore her gaze away from the mare and said firmly. "Cinco pesos. And only because this yegua has fire, not because of your terms. Selena, pay him."
Selena's hand shook, but the pesos were transferred to the dirty palm. The man laughed with glee, the crowd dispersed, and Catalina was left with a dirty, starving horse.
"We shall get you fed and cleaned up," she promised the mare, patting its neck. A cloud of dirt rose in the air, and Catalina struggled not to cough. "I shall call you La Reina, because once in my establo, I shall treat you like a queen. Your body may be beaten, but your spirit is not broken."
"Catalina?" Her maid's voice was tentative as it interrupted her quiet chattering. "Whatever possessed you—"
"Fetch me a mozo," Catalina interrupted her. "Take the remaining pesos and fetch me a groom. La Reina is going to her castle." She wasn't offering more explanations than that. She didn't owe anyone an explanation. She'd done what was right.
As her maid turned to comply, heading toward the livery, a loud pffffht rendered the air. Catalina stared at her new acquisition, aghast.
Selena froze and swung around to admonish her charge. "Señorita! Your behavior has been questionable enough this day. Mind yourself." She shook her head and her finger both before turning back to the task at hand.
Catalina heard her muttering as she sashayed away. She was too surprised and too tired to defend herself, but the breeze picked up, and a waft of foul air assaulted her. Catalina immediately tugged a delicate, lace handkerchief from her sleeve and placed it over her nose as she glared at the horse.
La Reina snorted and pawed the ground. Catalina could swear the mare was laughing at her. She merely shook her head. "Dios mío, and you let me take the blame for that?"
Pffffhht. Pfffht.
La Reina whinnied and bared her teeth as though she was smiling.

It has been an absolute pleasure to have you in the Nook. (Gives Tara a huge Kooky hug). I hope you had a lovely time.
You can contact Tara at the websites below.
Until next week. KEEP IT KOOKY!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012



                   TAYLOR SKYE!!!




Tuesday, 24 April 2012


Hi everyone. Have you missed me?  Wow, has April been busy for me personally and professionally.  Personally, I became a Grandmother (Meemaw) to a beautiful little boy called Tyler.  My youngest child started nursery, so for 3 hours a day I have absolute peace and quiet.  Just me and my two mad moggies Merlin and Arthur. 
Professionally, I submitted my first finished manuscript and received a revise and resubmit.  After being told I had talent as a writer...(How fab is that), I will be revising and resubbing also 2 rejections, which has not put me off loving my book and hoping it will be published one day.

Even better news guys............. I have managed to have on the Nook today a wonderful woman and fantastic writer Carrie Ann Ryan.

Carrie, an absolute delight to have you in the Nook.  First off, can you tell us a bit about yourself.

Thank you so much for having me!! Well, I’m a 26 year old chemist by day and a romance writer, wife, and kitten-momma by night.

 How did you start writing? I mean what prompted you to start your first novel. 

Well, I think it was because I went on a romance novel reading kick (2500 books in 2 years). And then the voices in my head wouldn’t stop talking. And no, I’m not crazy. Well, at least not really, crazy. Just writer crazy. Those voices were my characters and wanted their stories told.

I’m a virgin so to speak to the publishing world, and so far I’ve had 1 rejection and 1 revise and resubmit.  How do you deal with them?

I think the best way to deal with that is to make sure what you have is clean and to believe in what you have. Yes, rejections hurt, but you can find something that fits you.

Do you prefer to write in dead silence, with music or with absolute chaos around you?

I need music to drown out the house noises. I have a writing playlist that I’m constantly adding to.

If you could have “anyone” bring you your first mug of something to start the day off, who would it be?

Anyone? So like if I could get Henry Cavil to bring me coffee wearing only an apron? Sure. That’s exactly what I want. LOL

Lol Carrie.  I'm the same with Colin Firth!

Is there any genre you would NEVER consider attempting to write, and what genre have you always wanted to try?

Historical. LOL. I don’t think I could do it. I mean, I could do the research, but I would feel so constricted in some things. However, I LOVE reading it. I’m writing paranormal and contemporary now. But I do have a western in mind.

Do you prefer print or electronic versions of your books?

I’m an eBook girl. Mostly because I own 5000 books and only have room for 500 print ones!

There is a LOT of competition out there between publishers.  What do you feel is a must when starting a new novel?

For me, I think it’s more of a character project. I need to know who my characters are and make them three dimensional. The rest will come.

 A friend of mine says that a writer ‘hears voices’ in her head. Is that true?  If not how do you get your ideas?

LOL. Totally. I hear my characters in my head constantly. They have conversations with each other and me. My writing partner, Lia Davis, calls it my Muse.

Your website is amazing, and wow to your ‘heroes'.  Stops drooling Errr, WOW! 

Why thank you! I love it! It took me a while to make it, but I’m happy. My heroes are sexy. Yum.

Do you have a favorite recipe you could share with us?

Yes! Here is my recipe for Sour Cream Enchiladas:
I love this recipe! But it’s not for the diet conscious author and reader – beware. LOL

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 pt. sour cream (normal or light)

1 6oz can chopped green chilies

2 cans (10.5 oz. each) cream of chicken soup
16 oz. shredded cheese (1 med bag)

1 bag med-sized tortillas
Salt & Pepper to taste

½ tsp. Garlic Powder
¼ tsp. Ground Cumin

Preheat oven to 350. Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper, garlic and cumin. Bake on a foil-lined sheet for 30 minutes.
While chicken is baking, mix sour cream, green chilies, chicken soup and a handful of cheese in a large bowl. Season the mixture with salt, pepper, garlic and cumin. Refrigerate until ready to use.

When chicken is done, cube into bite sized pieces and add to the sour cream mixture. Fill tortillas with two large tablespoons of the sour cream/chicken filling and top with a small amount of cheese. Center the filling, and roll the tortilla, while keeping the ends open. Put the filled tortilla in a greased baking pan. Continue to do this until you run out of room in the pan – or until you run out of ingredients. J With any leftover mixture, spread over the top of the tortillas in the pan.
Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. It’s up to you how much you want to use. I like cheese, so I make it really cheesy.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes – or until tortillas are crispy and any sauce is boiling on the bottom.
Take out of the oven and cool for 5 min.

Serve with salsa or more sour cream and enjoy with a margarita!
Is there a favorite book that you read as either as a child or an adult that you read over and over again?
I read Patricia Briggs Alpha and Omega over and over again. I’m in love with Charles!

Do you have any tips for new authors at all?

Sit down and write. Don’t talk about it. Do it. And find a friend.

Finally, can you leave us with a teaser and lovely picture of your new book or one your favorite books please?

Here is an excerpt from Trinity Bound!

Hannah put her hand on Josh’s arm, a jolt of electricity flashing between the two. She gasped and he held back the urge to do the same. She gave him a smile and he desperately wanted to brush the curls from her face, soothing the bruises that couldn’t hide her radiant beauty. Reed crouched behind her, still protective. He too was beautiful, his chiseled cheekbones pronounced against the shadowed, healing bruises.

Crap. He could understand thinking sexy thoughts about Hannah, but since when did he think males were attractive in any way? Either that weird connection confused him, or he really was falling for Reed. He didn’t know which one, if either, he wanted to be true.

Reed bent over Hannah to whisper to them both. “Camera.”

“Don’t worry about them now. We have about ten more minutes and then we’d have to worry.”

They both looked curious with a similar tilt of their heads, but didn’t say anything, merely nodding.

“Who are you?” Reed whispered, leaning closer.

“Josh.” Why the hell did he say his name? He was never a name, just a presence, on any other mission. Why did he want them to know his name? Know him? “I’m no one. Just a friend.”

“You’re human.” Hannah’s surprised gasp was still whispered.

Carrie Ann.  It has been an absolute pleasure to have you here in the Nook, and I wish you every success for your latest and future releases. 

Thank you soooo much for having me!

Carrie Ann Ryan is a bestselling paranormal and contemporary romance author. After spending too much time behind a lab bench, she decided to dive into the romance world and find her werewolf mate - even if it’s just in her books. Happy endings are always near - even if you have to get over the challenges of falling in love first.

Her first book, An Alpha's Path, is the first in her Redwood Pack series. She's also an avid reader and lover of romance and fiction novels. She loves meeting new authors and new worlds. Any recommendations you have are appreciated. Carrie Ann lives in New England with her husband and two kittens.

Carrie Ann loves hearing from readers. You can find her at:

Twitter: @CarrieAnnRyan | Tumblr

An Alpha’s Path Amazon  Barnes & Noble ARe A Taste for a Mate Amazon Barnes & Noble ARe Trinity Bound Amazon Barnes&Noble ARe

Trinity Bound Blurb

Hannah Lewis, a rare earth witch, is taken from the only life she’s ever known. Held at her will by a sadistic wolf, she almost gives up hope that she’d ever see her real life again. But as her fellow captive, a werewolf named Reed, tries to calm her fears, she begins to feel a spark of something she never thought she’d feel – love. But is Reed, alone, enough to get her out of this dark basement so she can move on with her life?

Reed Jamenson, the artist of a werewolf Pack of Alpha males, knows instinctually that Hannah is his mate. Thus, despite their imprisonment, he will do all to protect her and then worry about their hearts. But is he strong enough to find a way for both of them to escape? And why does he feel as though something else is missing?

Josh Kolb, an ex-military human, stumbles upon Reed and Hannah and finds he must trust this new world of supernatural beings to survive. But that desire will lead the three to a triangle of attraction that will test the boundaries they all possess and its consequences in defeating the enemy. Can they all trust one another to save themselves and life as they know it? Even at the cost of their own hearts?

I hope you enjoyed my chat with Carrie today, and there is an added extra.  Leave a comment below and you could win a swag bag thanks to Carrie.

Guys, until next week.  KEEP IT KOOKY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 29 March 2012


What a FABULOUS cover. How beautiful is this book?

I have been really privileged to get an advanced copy of this to review.  I try not to give away any of the plotlines and feel that each reader gets to experience the book in their own way, and with their own imagination.

Set in 1824 Regency England, I was immersed immediately in the era.  Henrietta definately has "sparkage" and "moxie" which is really great.  As for the hero Rafe.  What can I say apart from wow!
Marguerite has really tapped into the emotions and feelings of both her main characters, and from the first page, I was following their romance and turning over pages faster and faster. 

The story is fast paced, and keeps the reader on their toes throughout.  Marguerite's descriptions of life in London and the country is spot on, and her words flow like a melody.

Missing emeralds, a thump on the head and an Earl who actually has feelings, a heart and is not afraid to show them.  A woman who is strong and not afraid to be true to herself.  This book really is a wonderful read.  I loved it from the very first page and sad when it ended.

Pride and Prejudice this is NOT!

It's available on Amazon to pre-order at this link

This is a really wonderful book and not one to miss.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012


Hi all and thanks for joining me in the Nook today.  I have the almighty great pleasure, and yes I am gushing here to introduce the very gorgeous and talented author of the Kauffman Bakery Series set in Amish county............AMY CLIPSTON.  Seriously how wonderful is this? 

Amy welcome to the Nook and thank you so much for taking time out of your busy life to agree to do this interview.  I am honoured that you accepted my invitation.

Amy, it is an absolute honour and pleasure to have you here in the Nook. Your Kauffman bakery series is such a unique and beautifully written series, how did you decide to write about the Amish?
The Amish are such a unique community, and even more the fascinating because in the UK we don’t have them here. Is there anything about the UK that particularly intrigues you Amy?
You’re going to laugh, but I’ve loved the Beatles since I was in middle school. I also enjoy hearing about William and Kate.
When did you start writing and what/who are your biggest influences?
As a child and young adult, I wrote for fun. I remember penning my first story in elementary school. Writing was something I did to cope with stress and also escape to my own little world. However, I didn’t consider becoming an author or pursuing a writing career until I accidentally found a local chapter of Romance Writers of America chapter in 2001. After going to a meeting, I realized that writing was a passion I wanted to pursue as a possible career. Through the writers’ group, I learned how to polish my work and find an agent.
My biggest influences as a child were S.E. Hinton and Judy Blume. When I began writing Christian fiction, I was inspired by Beverly Lewis and Wanda Brunstetter.
I know from experience that writing and raising a family, especially when there are little ones around is not easy. How do you manage and do you have any hints or tips you would be able to share?
My situation is unusual because I work a full-time job along with writing and raising a family. I’ve learned to be flexible. I work four 10-hour days in order to have Fridays off for writing, running errands, and volunteering at my boys’ school. I’m also blessed to have my mother living with my family. She handles most of the housework, including food shopping, cleaning, and doing laundry. Thanks to her help, I’m able to spend any free time at home writing. If the boys are busy playing outside on the weekend, I’ll work on my current book project. I also burn the midnight oil and write until late at night. I live on caffeine and very little sleep when I’m on deadline. When I complete a book deadline, I do something special with my boys, such as going to the movies, going ice skating, or just spending time together at home. My schedule is not ideal schedule, but I make it work. My family is very supportive.
Do you have a particular writing style? I mean does it have to be in absolute peace and quiet or can you write in amongst chaos and noise....if you can I would have to say you are amazing!
I sometimes write with music on a very low volume. I also have this strange habit of putting the television on without the sound. If I get stuck with the book, I look up at the screen for a break. I know I’m strange!
I read you are from Charlotte, North Carolina. I probably sound really uneducated, but the only thing I know about Carolina is that it featured a great deal in the TV series North and South with Patrick Swayze. Can you tell us more about where you live and what it’s like living in the US especially at the moment with the upcoming Presidential election please? I can only think that is probably a manic time there as it is for us Brits with the Diamond Jubilee being celebrated in a matter of months.
I have to admit I’m not a Southerner by birth, but I always felt my heart belonged to the South. I grew up in northern New Jersey and moved to Virginia Beach after high school. We came to the Charlotte area in 2006.
Charlotte is a wonderful place. We have the city feel with tall buildings and sports arenas in Uptown, but we also have farmland. I work in Uptown but live in a more rural part of the area where I pass by farmland on the way to my sons’ school. Although we aren’t on the coast, we have the beach and also the mountains within a day’s drive.
The Presidential election is all over the news, both on the Internet and on television. There are debates, speeches, and advertisements. Some folks get into it and follow every news story, but it’s only background noise to me. Although my father was very politically astute, I stopped paying much attention after he became ill. There are issues that are important to me, but I keep my opinions to myself. Politics separates people, and I avoid heated arguments and debates. I don’t want to risk losing a friendship by getting into an emotional political debate.
What are you planning on writing after the Kauffman Bakery have finished? Will you be basing more novels in Amish country?
I have another series coming next year, and it will also be based in Lancaster County. I’m really excited about it. I can’t tell you much now, but I promise I will soon!
I have to say that I personally am such a HUGE fan of yours, and enter the competitions as having an autographed copy of your book/s would be the icing on the cake for me. Is there a particular author who you would love to have a signed book by?
Thank you for your kind words! I would pass out if I received an autographed book from S.E. Hinton, Judy Blume, Kristin Hannah or Janet Evanovich.
Do you have any plans to come to the UK at all?
Unfortunately, no. I hope to someday be in a position to travel, but we’re not there yet.
I am more than a bit of a foodie. Do you munch on anything when you are writing?
Popcorn! I crave popcorn and Diet Coke when I’m stressed. My wonderful husband made me my favorite air-popped delight last week when I was very stressed about a book edit. I was so happy to smell that delicious treat when he brought it upstairs for me. J
In your books, of which I find the covers are stonkingly beautiful, there are many recipes in there. Are you planning to release an Amish Cookbook or can you share with us your all time favourite recipe please?
My publisher hasn’t mentioned a cookbook, but it would be fun to do one. Thank you for complimenting the recipes. Here’s a delicious recipe for soft pretzels. Yum!
Soft Pretzels
1 ½ c warm water
1 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 c bread flour
3 c regular flour
2 c warm water
2 Tbs baking soda
coarse salt
2-4 Tbs melted butter
Sprinkle yeast on warm water in mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve. Add brown sugar and salt. Stir to dissolve. Add flours and knead dough until smooth. Let it rise for 30 minutes.
While dough is rising, mix 2 c warm water with 2 Tbs baking soda. Stir often.
After dough has risen, roll pieces of dough into a long rope (no more than a ½ inch thick). Shape into a pretzel or keep in strips. Dip in baking soda solution and place on greased baking sheet. Let dough rise again. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse salt. You can also sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Finally Amy, could you leave us with a teaser of a book please?
I’m really excited about my upcoming book, Reckless Heart, which is a Kauffman Amish Bakery young adult book. Although it’s not part of the series, it’s a story about Lydia Bontrager, one of the Kauffman granddaughters. The novel will be available in April.
Here’s a teaser for you:
Book Description
Lydia Bontrager's youngest sister is frighteningly ill, and as a good Amish daughter, it falls to Lydia to care for her siblings and keep the household running, in addition to working as a teacher's assistant and helping part time at her grandmother's bakery. Succumbing to stress, Lydia gives in to one wild night and returns home drunk.

The secret of that mistake leaves Lydia feeling even more restless and confused, especially when Joshua, the only boy she's ever loved, becomes increasingly distant. When a non-Amish boy moves in nearby, Lydia finds someone who understands her, but the community is convinced Lydia is becoming too reckless. With the pressures at home and her sister's worsening condition, a splintering relationship with Joshua, and her own growing questions over what is right, Lydia could lose everything that she's ever held close.
The Making of Reckless Heart
Reckless Heart gave me the opportunity to create a story about Lydia Bontrager, who is one of the granddaughters in my Kauffman Amish Bakery series. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to write a young adult book based on my Kauffman novels.

This story is close to my heart because it's dedicated to Jimmy O'Brien, a dear family friend who lost his life to leukemia at the age of ten.

Amy Clipston
Bestselling Author of Inspirational Fiction
2011 Selah Award Winner for Fiction
Kauffman Amish Bakery Series
Donate life!

I can not tell you how much of a pleasure it was to have Amy here today.  Her books are beautifully written and the 6 of them are on my bookshelf. 
Seriously everyone, check out the Kauffman Bakery Series on Amazon.  They immerse the reader into the plain and simple life of the Amish, yet they have the same issues with love and romance that we do. 
Until next week everyone, KEEP IT KOOKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!