A Touch of Poldark for your pleasure.

village romance

I’m really excited to release the second in my Little Perran country romances. ‘A Village Romance’ This one is slighter racier than ‘A Christmas Romance’ and somewhat funnier. I thought I would give you a free sample of the first chapter. It was such fun and a little departure from my normal comedies and I do love writing romance, especially with a touch of erotica. And this one certainly had me fanning myself. It wasn’t quite Lady Chatterley but more Poldark, so I’m told. I rather think it is a bit Lady Chatterley-ish. Get the book and meet the sexy Rafe Wylde and decide for yourself. It’s only 99p. Get away from the referendum for a while.

You can buy your copy here

And hitting Amazon, Kobo and all other good bookshop on Saturday is ‘A Summer Romance’ the sequel to ‘A Village Romance’ and it goes tits up in that one.  Lot’s of racy stuff in this one. If you love the country and you love romance then you’ll enjoy this.

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I’m now back to writing my next comedy.  Talking of which ‘Perfect Weddings’ is still 99p but not for much longer.  So pop over quickly. Meanwhile below is Chapter One of ‘A Village Romance’ ENJOY!

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Chapter One of a Village Romance

 

‘Move to the country?’ protested Billy Baxter. ‘Why the hell would I want to move to the country? It’s all tractors and cow dung out there. Anyway, I don’t speak the lingo. I’ve got a nice little pad here thank you very much.’

Ian sighed.

‘I thought, a little break, you know, might get the old creative juices going again,’ he said, and gave a false laugh. Old was the operative word, he thought, but didn’t say it. The fact was he had no idea what to do with Billy Baxter these days.

Billy stopped strumming his guitar, shook his shoulder-length hair back and grinned.

‘What are you talking about? The creative juices have never stopped flowing. I tell you, this new one is my best yet.’

Ian took a swig of his lager and said,

‘The trouble is Billy, no one else has heard your new one yet to decide if it’s your best. I can’t get anyone to play it. Radio 1 just doesn’t air your kind of stuff any more, and Radio 2 …’

‘Radio 2,’ scoffed Billy. ‘That’s for old has-beens. I’m not Val bloody Doonican. You won’t get me in a bleeding rocking chair.’

Ian was silent. Billy whipped off his guitar and grabbed a lager.

‘So you want to farm me out to the country?’ he said sulkily. ‘And what does that achieve? Everyone rediscovers me when I’m not around is that it?’

‘The last time the press discovered you, you were on a boat with some bird half your age sitting on your …’

‘Yeah, I remember it well,’ Billy smiled.

‘Not the image you need Billy. Anyway, you could do with a rest. You’re burnt out,’ said Ian with faked sympathy.

‘Everyone else goes to The Priory and I go to the bloody country,’ said Billy sourly.

‘I don’t think you can afford The Priory. You’ve got to be doing really well to enjoy the privilege of having a meltdown there.’

‘But the bloody country, come on Ian. It’s all barn dances and Women’s Institutes. It’s not me,’ Billy said as he picked up his guitar again.

‘I think it will be good for your image. It suits Elton John and that lot,’ said Ian, resting his hands on his beer belly.

‘It suits Elton John to be a poof. I suppose you want me to become one of them too. Anyway, they play Elton John on Radio 1 …’

‘You’re not exactly in Elton John’s league and …’

‘What about Graham whatsisface? I thought you were getting me on his show.’

‘They’ve got a lot of celebs lined up …’

‘I’m a celeb for Christ’s sake.’

‘New celebs Billy, like Finn Morrison and …’

‘Huh,’ scoffed Billy. ‘Have you heard his record, it’s …’

‘No one calls them records any more Billy,’ sighed Ian. ‘Anyway they turned you down for the Graham Norton show.’

Billy shook his head in despair.

‘What about Desert Island Discs?’

‘That’s Radio 4,’ Ian reminded him. ‘You hate Radio 4.’

‘That’s true. I do,’ agreed Billy thoughtfully.

They sat in silence for a few moments and sipped their lagers.

‘How about one of those reality programmes?’ Billy said finally. ‘I can do that. I can cope in the jungle. That will give the record a boost.’

‘Forget about the jungle, Billy. You just said you wouldn’t cope in the country.’

Billy sighed.

‘You’re my manager and the best you can come up with is that I retire to the country. I’m only fifty-six. Surely you can set me up with some gigs.’

‘I’ve tried Billy, I’ve tried. There’s a lot of competition …’

‘Huh, you call this new crap ‘music’? If that’s competition then I’ll eat my arse,’ he scoffed.

‘I’m thinking we could build a new image for you. You know, like Paul O’Grady and Julian Clary. They went to the country and then …’

‘One ended up on Strictly Come Dancing and the other’s doing a bloody animal show. Christ, I hate animals and I can’t dance for toffees. Why do you keep lumping me in with bum bandits?’

‘Gays, Billy. People call them gays these days. It’s image building mate. If you look like a country gent we may have a chance of getting you on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!

Billy’s eyes sparkled.

‘Wicked.’

‘I do wish you would stop talking like you’re stuck in the eighties,’ Ian sighed.

‘And you think moving to the country will be good for my image?’ Billy asked doubtfully.

Ian nodded.

‘I’ll put it out to the media. We may even get a story.’

Billy punched the air.

‘We can say I’m going there to meditate and stuff. That I’m into tantric sex like Sting. They like all that. We can do some photo shoots of me in those yoga positions. Isn’t there some charity in Nepal I can support? How about if we give Richard Gere a bell, he’s into all that stuff isn’t he?’

Ian closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

‘Let’s keep it a bit more low key shall we?’ he said patiently. ‘Keep the press guessing for a bit and then we’ll give them a story. I know the break up with Clara was tough but you’ve got to stop knocking off twenty-five-year-olds. It looks a bit, you know …’

‘It looks a bit what?’

‘Immature. You look like you’re going through a midlife crisis. Give yourself a nice break. A good bit of image building is what we need. The press will be crying out to know what’s happened to you.’

Not that they could really give a shit, he thought, but didn’t say that to Billy. There was a lot Ian thought but never said.

‘You know Clara’s asking for dog bloody maintenance?’ scoffed Billy. ‘That bleeding dog is better groomed than I am.’

‘That’s not hard, Billy.’

‘She feeds it caviar. I bloody ask you. It nearly bit my whatsit off once. All I was trying to do was get into my own bed. It was my bed of course. Comes to something when the only threesome you have with your tart is with her bloody poodle.’

‘And you really should stop calling her a tart in interviews, Billy. It doesn’t look good. That’s partly why she’s taking you to the cleaners.’

Billy sighed.

‘So where in the country do you think I should go?’ he asked. He pulled open two more cans and gave one to Ian.

‘Here,’ said Ian, and handed him an estate agent’s leaflet. ‘There’s a nice little place for rent. Higgledy Piggledy Cottage in a Cotswold village, you can’t get more country than that.’

Billy looked at the leaflet and shook his head.

‘Who’d have thought it, me, Billy Baxter in the country. I’ll be herding chickens next.’

‘It looks peaceful. It will do you the world of good,’ smiled Ian.

Billy studied the leaflet and then picked up his guitar.

‘Sounds a real drag but if you think it will improve my image …’

Ian lifted his can in celebration.

‘Here’s to your new life in Little Perran,’ he said, barely able to hide the relief from his voice.

 

 

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My lovely mum. I miss you. Happy 90th

MumLynnSueBeach

I’ve felt sad the past few days for many reasons. One of them is because I’ve been thinking about my Mum. She will be 90 in a few days and I’m saddened that she won’t even know that she made 90. She was always so proud of how young she looked for her age and I so much wish her brain had travelled along with her but alas it didn’t.

I wish I could take a huge cake and put on a grand party for her as I feel she so very much deserves it. My Mum played a big part in helping me decide my future at a time I was in crisis. She stopped me from making a rash decision that would have ultimately ruined my life. I owe her wisdom and common sense to the happiness I have today. Her non-judgemental views and brave insight gave me the confidence to step into the unknown and take a huge gamble. I was unable to see the importance of her role in this until much later and by then I had lost her to something more powerful. It’s called dementia. It tears your family apart and rips loved ones from you leaving you with a shell of who they once were. Mum will hold my hand and smile at me. We’ll laugh together and hug and I know she knows I am someone she loves but exactly why she loves me, she cannot remember.

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I take comfort in the few photos I have. I remember everything she told me about her and my Dad but it’s never enough. I want more. I now feel an overwhelming desire to know everything about them. Finally and far too late I’ve seen them as people and not just Mum and Dad. The last time I saw her she held my hand and I chatted about books while she spoke incoherently about the past, stopping occasionally to smile at me. I was telling her about my books and reminding her of the books she had read, of which there were hundreds when she said,

‘Pages’

My heart leapt. How much more had she heard and understood? My mother was an avid reader, a great knitter, a calm and wise woman whose gentle temperament calmed my own. I miss her terribly.

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My mother never wanted this for herself. I know she would hate it. I hate that there is nothing I can do to change it. It’s how it is. But I do feel death would be better, not for me but for her. I hate you dementia. You’re cruel and worst of all you’re merciless because you’ll choose anyone, the educated, the uneducated, the rich, the poor, the creative and the uncreative.  Death is kinder than you. Mum never saw herself as anything special. She wouldn’t know what to make of a blog post about her. But she was special. She was my Mum and you can’t get more special than that.

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Happy 90th birthday Mum. I can’t say ‘I hope there will be many more’ because I know you wouldn’t have wanted them like this.

I love you. xxx

I’m a Racist (apparently)

FiftyShadesOfRoxieBrown

Yesterday I found myself wondering why I write novels and put them out there for anyone and everyone to scrutinise. I then realised I did it because I can’t not do it and I write to entertain and make people happy. I don’t expect perfect reviews. That would be idealistic. I’m used to getting good reviews and although I’ll never get used to them, I get bad reviews too. I accept my books aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and that if someone spends money on my book- although I still think £1.99 and 99p isn’t exactly spending a fortune – then they are entitled to leave a review. I think it’s a bit off when reviewers leave a bad review for a free book, however, but that is something else.

Just what constitutes a review and what constitutes  spiteful? And should companies such as Amazon argue the rights and wrongs about a review that is clearly suspicious?

The definition of a review is ‘A form of literary criticism in which a book is analysed based on content, style, and merit. A book review can be a primary source opinion piece, summary review or scholarly review. Books can be reviewed for printed periodicals, magazines and newspapers, as school work, or for book web sites on the Internet. A book review’s length may vary from a single paragraph to substantial essays. Such a review may evaluate the book on the basis of personal taste. Reviewers may use the occasion of a book review for a display of learning or to promulgate their own ideas on the topic of a fiction or non-fiction work.’

Okay, so I don’t think It didn’t arrive on time constitutes as a review does it? And yet many authors on Amazon have to contend with these stupid, idiotic reviews which pull their rankings down. When you look at a book’s ranking and it has five stars this indicates the book has more 4 and 5 star reviews than any other. If the stars drop to 4 and a half or lower then there are clearly some low marked reviews. Sometimes these can simply be someone saying ‘I didn’t like it’ I mean, seriously, is that a review? Is that justification for dragging that author’s work down?

But worse is what happened to me yesterday. This is where a review is not only slanderous but clearly looks suspicious and the only review that the reviewer has penned. The profile is hidden and the purchase is not Amazon verified which means it wasn’t even bought from the site.

Here it is

2 of 300 people found the following review helpful

Very racist., 30 May 2016

By

Sandra

This review is from: Fifty Shades of Roxie Brown (Comedy Romance) (Kindle Edition)

Amazon are refusing to remove the review which is for ‘Fifty Shades of Roxie Brown’

I write romantic comedy. I write with realism in my stories, yes, but not with racism. There is a Mrs Patel in my book who runs the corner shop but the main character has only good things to say about her. Is that racist? It’s just realistic. The book has 300 unhelpful clicks and ten comments from readers who have read the book and claim it isn’t racist.

This is not the first time I have heard that Amazon have refused to remove a review. But if someone called someone racist on Facebook or Twitter, would it be tolerated? Why is it so easy to call names and bully in a book review? For an author to have to worry that they may get a one star review because of someone’s jealousy or someone with a gripe seems wrong.

So, Sandra, or whatever your real name is, thanks for the review and the publicity. After all, you know what they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity. You certainly highlighted me for the day. Of course, this may not have been your aim but you know there is something called karma. Look it up! You can buy my racist book here