Teri Riggs – Resolutions

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 First of all many thanks to Jonty for asking me to join this Promo-Blitz for Terri Riggs and for sending me a copy of the book and a media pack for the review.

DEA agent Eve Taylor is a woman working in a predominately male environment.  She’s good at her job but when a mission goes sadly wrong she is taken prisoner. Resolutions, a company which specialises in hostage retrieval send Operative Dillon McKenna to rescue her. ‘Mac’ as he is known, is Eve’s ex-lover who parted company with Eve two years ago when he made her choose between him and her job.  Now he not only has to rescue her from Columbian Drug Baron Mendoza who has taken her prisoner, he also has to make sure he retrieves the flash drive carrying crucial information about the Drug Baron’s activities which are a potential threat to national security.  To add to his difficulties someone within Resolution is working for Mendoza and passing information on the duo’s whereabouts, so when Mac successfully frees Eve they find themselves playing a cat and mouse game with his thugs.

I really enjoyed this book; okay it was violent but given the subject material it was bound to be and I didn’t have any issues with that.  Eve is a real kick-ass female and Mac a protective alpha male. While Eve and Mac are trying to escape Mendoza’s men and locate the flash drive, they also have to deal with other more personal issues.  He is very protective of her; he loves her and his objections to her job come from his still raw memories of losing his own mother on active service in Iraq.  Eve on the other hand sees his reluctance to accept her chosen occupation as a purely chauvinistic one.  The attraction is still there and they soon reignite their physical relationship. However, that only goes part way to solving their problems.  The situations they have to cope with as the story unfolds slowly bring them both to new conclusions about each other and an eventual resolution – the book is well titled.

It’s well written and I had no idea who was working for Mendoza – there were a few clever character twists to keep me guessing.  All in all if you like a strong female lead in a sexy action read which keeps you turning pages then I can thoroughly recommend this book.  Definitely an Amazon five star read!

 

My Writing Process

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Well this week it’s a complete departure from the norm as I’m taking part in the ‘My Writing Process’ blog tour.  My thanks to the lovely Gilli Allan for inviting me. I will be trying to answer the following 4 questions: What am I working on? How does my work differ from others of its genre? Why do I write what I do? How does my writing process work?

Sadly  as I was unable to find other writers to take up the torch as far as I am concerned my input to the blog tour ends here.  However, I am sure if you take a look at Gilli’s other two nominees, http://sandranachlinger.blogspot.com  and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jenny-Twist-Author/291166404240446 you will find the journey continues.  It appears I live in a fairly tight circle of colleagues who were either already ‘bagged’ by someone else or were unfortunately too busy to join in. However, I do hope you enjoy my offering and please do take a look at Sandra and Jenny’s blogs as I’m sure you will find them most entertaining.

What am I working on?

Currently I’m around 70,000 words into my sixth book.  This time I’m working with new characters as my Little Court series ended with The Other Side of Morning, due to be published shortly. It was a little daunting to begin all over again with a blank canvas but it’s surprising how once an idea strikes it can be developed into something quite exciting.

The title for the new book has been finalised – Summer Moved On – and I have commissioned the cover although it’s under wraps at the moment.  I find it provides me with a great incentive to get on with the writing – if I have the cover then the book has to be written, it’s as simple as that.  What’s it about?  Well it’s a love story in two parts.  In the first part which takes place in 2007 my two main characters meet and fall in love, even though everything about who they are and where they come from is loaded against their relationship. However, the events of one September evening bring about a very painful ending to that love affair, leaving both of them feeling hurt and betrayed.  They go their separate ways, one to university and the other on a journey to discover their true identity.  Six years later fate brings them back together again.  They are now very different people whose changes in fortune mean they might have a chance together. Unfortunately the individual who was instrumental in ending their relationship is also back and determined to stop that happening.

So far, apart from a becalmed moment over the Christmas period – probably due to too much alcohol – this whole book, I am pleased to say, is progressing quite nicely.

 

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Firstly what am I – a saga writer or a romantic novelist?  Well I tend to straddle both genres.  However the tag ‘saga’ always brings to mind authors like Catherine Cookson and Barbara Taylor Bradford and my books are nothing like theirs.  Again the word ‘romance’ gives us huge food for thought – Mills and Boon, Chick lit, Hen lit, Rom Com, Contemporary.  Well I guess if anything I’ve been gradually moving in the contemporary direction, certainly if reviews of Between Today and Yesterday are anything to go by.

Now how does my work differ?  Well someone once said my Little Court books were like soaps and was quick to explain she didn’t mean my work resembled that of Coronation Street or East Enders, no it was all about the structure of my stories which created the need for big casts – and yes there are rather a lot of people who have prominent parts in the five novels.   In fact in the Behind Blue Eyes trilogy which started the series I actually put a cast list in the front of each of the three books to help the reader.   However, the Little Court series which did need that huge cast of characters and identified me as someone who had wandered away from the traditional romance/saga format, has now come to an end.  So what to do next?  A similar series with a new family?  It would have been safe to do that wouldn’t it?  Okay different family and setting but a familiar template with no real surprises. But writing for me is all about developing and growing and taking chances.  I’m not saying more of the same isn’t good if that is what you are truly happy with, but I wanted to move on into something completely different.  Since Between Today and Yesterday  there had been a definite move towards more contemporary romance so it seemed natural to complete the  journey and produce a stand alone twenty first century story with the focus very much on the two central characters.  And after that?  Well who knows, that’s the exciting part of being a writer, the unexpected.   All I do know is that I will never stray from romantic fiction, it’s what I do best.  The stories may vary, but it will always be about love.

Why do I write what I do?

When I came to start writing commercially I guess I wanted to create something that was unique and not like other novels I had read.  I wanted to write romance, that was a definite but my kind of romance with my ‘must have’  – a strong female lead.   It’s the kind of genre I’m most comfortable with.  Recently I was chatting to a friend who happened to have her mother with her. ‘Why don’t you write a good thriller?  I like thrillers.’ Her mother said.  Yes, well it would be great to do that, but for me writing is not only a craft, it’s an emotive thing.  You have to gravitate towards what inspires you most and for me romance does just that.

I also have to thank those long gone American soaps Dallas and Dynasty for giving me one very important element to my writing.  Yes, okay, they were pretty superficial butimagesFSSU7JPF they had the brilliantly ‘bad’ characters – J R Ewing and Alexis Carrington.  Every week you could guarantee these two were involved in some devious plan imagesH5EQQWJ5to upset the tranquillity of others’ lives.  Step forward Melissa Carpenter, Marcie Maguire and in my soon to be published The Other Side of Morning Thérèse  D’Alesandro and Kayte O’Farrell  -yes a double dose in the new book!   For me these women – and they always have to be women as bad guys simply don’t work for me – are an essential member of the cast; the love-to-hate characters hell bent on disruption or destruction.  I reel them out, let them have their moment in the sun and then haul them back in because – ah I forgot to mention that in my books the good guys always win.

How does my writing process work?

DSCF2983I have an office with a desk, a PC (thank heavens for Sticky Notes the electronic version of Post Its), a card index where I have created details of both my current cast and their environment – and of course music.  I have extensive playlists which I use regularly as music is an absolute must have when I write.  It’s works on two levels, either creating a place in my mind or inspiring the interaction of characters in a particular scene.  On rare occasions I do have days when silence is preferable, but this very much depends on the scene I’m writing.

Yes I do write every day, sometimes the ‘force’ is with me and I can have an amazingly successful run, other days not so good so if the inspiration dries up I simply go back to revision work.   Although I do not have a writing plan as such, I do keep a card index of descriptions of locations and characters for each book I write which is a handy reference.

With every single book I’ve started with a beginning and an end and a vague idea of what happens on the journey from one to the other.  However, my initial thoughts and scribbled  notes before I start are very often merely the guiding beacons along the way.  None of my published novels have ended up the way they first came into my head.  I think for me it’s a good way to write.  Personally, tying myself in to a writing plan from start to finish is not for me.  There is always a danger that some scenes work well in my head but when typed up for whatever reason do not.   Of course we writers are all different and we use our own individual sat navs to get us from the beginning to the end of our novel. However for me personally it’s an open journey with the horizon ahead and a flexible approach to what comes next.

Thoughts on a Wet Sunday Evening…

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Heavens was the last post on this blog written on the end of December?  This is really weird as January – my most disliked month of the year – is one which absolutely drags and I seem to have plenty of time for everything.  Not so in 2014 it appears!  I seem to have got caught up in e-mails, book reviews and, of course, writing.  My new work in progress is now 51,000 words in and counting and I  also decided, as I did for my soon-to–be-published The Other Side of Morning,  to organise the cover.  There are times when I find it difficult to actually decide on the concept for my book covers.  For the last two, however, I have had definite ideas which my wonderful designer Jane Dixon Smith has turned into absolutely amazing covers.  The cover for Summer Moved On which I now have ready and waiting on electronic file is not only exactly what I want but also a great incentive to write.  If I have the cover I have to complete the book, it’s that simple!

On the run up to Christmas of course the radio gradually introduced then played to death all the usual loved and not-so-loved festive songs.  I don’t expect when Slade imagesPUQISUGGreleased Merry X’Mas Everybody in 1973 they had any idea it would still be at the forefront of December radio plays forty years later.  And from what was reported on our local radio station it gives the band a nice present every year in royalties.  When I think back to when I was in my late teens/early twenties, music that old would never have got airplay on modern radio. It’s interesting how modern music somehow doesn’t date – of course there are bound to be some tracks that do – but most of the songs sound as fresh as they did all those years ago and quite relevant. In fact very often you’ll see something from the past appear in the charts after a TV ad or programme has used it and resurrected public interest in it.

My favourite festive song?  There are two actually: Greg Lake’s I Believe in Father Christmas and Chris De Burgh’s A Spaceman Came Travelling.  And most disliked?  Tom Jones and Cerys  Matthews singing Baby It’s Cold Outside and Andy Williams The Most Wonderful Time of the Year which got played so often on one of our local radio stations it almost had me ringing for the men in white coats!

ironing-board-01It occurred to me this morning that ironing must be one of the worst jobs ever.  Okay, I get through the whole experience with my iPod on full blast but for me it remains a boring but necessary chore.  There are people who say they find it calming – sorry but I can’t get my head around that at all.  And the worst thing to iron? Shirt sleeves because they are so awkward and duvet covers because they are so cumbersome.  When I lived at home my stepfather ironed his own trousers, he didn’t trust my mother and used to talk about ‘tram lines’.  This was when she used to create a completely new crease down the leg, so he ended up with two!  On reflection I don’t think my mother liked ironing either so maybe there was a method in her madness! My OH used to share an office with someone who never had his shirts ironed – his wife didn’t simply do ironing he told him.  Personally I could not think of anything more embarrassing than having my husband turn up for work looking like an unmade bed; as far as I’m concerned that would reflect on me, although I don’t suppose this guy cared one way or the other otherwise he would have got the iron out and done it himself wouldn’t he?   Thankfully if you choose the right materials very often you can avoid the iron altogether, although I have a real beef about non-iron bedding.  One of my duvet sets is, but isn’t if you understand what I mean.  There’s no way it can ever go back on the bed after washing without having being threatened with the iron, so for me the term ‘non-iron’ does not exist.  So for now I don’t have a choice, I will continue this weekly chore in the hope that if I ever became very rich I could hire my own Chippendale complete with bow tie, six pack and oiled body (let’s hope he doesn’t get any on the ironing)  to do the job for me.

I suppose the big talking point in the UK is the weather.  So much water, we must have had half the Atlantic Ocean dumped on us by now.  I really feel for people whose 5654340-largehouses have been invaded by water.  There is absolutely nothing you can do and it’s a double whammy – once the water has receded you’ve got one unpleasant mess to clear up.  So awful!  Makes me glad our house is built on the side of a hill, although having said that if we get snow in any quantity no one (unless they have a four by four or off road vehicle) can get out for days.  The council used to pay a local farmer with tractor and snowplough to clear the roads around us but financial cuts have put an end to this.  Now it’s spades, muscle and grit (they do provide the latter).  The picture I’ve included with this blog piece is of a local pub/restaurant set right of the river which has had an awful time of it since December. Here’s hoping they can get back to normal soon!

So there we have it, me and my musings over for another week, or maybe fortnight – whatever!  The only certain thing is that there will be another post in the future, slipped in between the writing and other social networking – oh yes and of course the ironing!