Friday, July 21, 2017

Louise Allen: The Confessions of a Pantser

Are you a Pantser or Plotter? This discussion often pops up on the RNA Facebook group. Today Louise Allen explains how she writes her novels.

Thank you for the invitation to the RNA blog.

I’m a pantser by profession – in other words I fly into writing a novel by the seat of my pants, with no
route map, usually two lines of notes in my head and almost certainly with thick fog ahead. It is dangerous (is this book ever going to get finished, let alone by the deadline?), worrying (3am: what the heck is going on?) and full of technical difficulties (how do I maintain pace, for example, when I don’t know what is happening next?). You’d think after 55+ novels that I’d know better.
Why do I do it? Essentially because once I’ve told myself the story then I mentally file that under ‘solved’ and want to get on with spinning the next one, whereas flying into the fog keeps me as intrigued as I hope my readers are going to be.
I always start with a situation and two people in it. How did they get there? Who are they? What are they? Then I’ll start writing. Often I’m hazy about their names, but they usually tell me those by the end of the first 2,000 words. By about 20,000 I begin to know them, understand what makes them tick, recognise the parameters of the situation that they’re in.
By this point I’ve had the equivalent of three or four emergency landings, the undercarriage is getting a bit shaky, one wing is coming loose, the cockpit is in a terrible mess (empty tea mugs everywhere) and the pilot (me) is feeling somewhat queasy. Time to go back to the beginning and revise with my new knowledge of who these people are, my understanding of what their issues are and what the conflicts, internal and external, might be. A spreadsheet emerges with a timeline and character details and the names of everyone so far and the chunks of text in red where I did not stop to do research get turned black.
Phew. Off I go again, this time keeping the spreadsheet updated as I write. I still don’t know where we’re going, but I do know who is going there and why, which is a huge help.
50K in and a vague landscape is beginning to emerge from the fog, so time to land again for more revision. That can be quite drastic – I have just realised that at 57K (out of a projected finished length of 75K) a large chunk of my hero’s backstory was making him look decidedly unheroic. Problems and issues are one thing, but he was coming over as weak, which was absolutely not what I had intended. Back I go and sort him out.
By now I know my characters inside out. I know and understand the conflict, the story has structure – Brilliant, I tell myself, brewing more tea. Only problem is, I have no idea how it is going to resolve itself. This is the point where the 3am panic is liable to set in, the moment when I have to tell myself firmly that the previous 58 novels found their ending, so this one will too. (The memory of the one where I had no idea how it would end until halfway through the final chapter still haunts me. I was starting to feel like Nanny Ogg in Terry Pratchett’s wonderful Discworld novels – she was the witch who could start to spell any word, but had no idea how to stop.)
Finally I work it out, or rather, I assume that my subconscious does, but I try very hard not to poke about in that for fear of what I might disturb. By some miracle that resolution always occurs at about 75,000 words – and don’t ask me how I do that, because I have no idea. I can only assume my subconscious has some kind of internal pacemaker. Then it is time to revise, but, thanks to the number of times I have stopped and gone back, I am working from something closer to a third than a first draft.
There have been books where I had to plot to a certain extent – when I’ve been working with other authors on continuities and series, for example, or where a novel follows an actual historical timeline very closely – but I’m not comfortable with it and the spreadsheet comes into play to maintain continuity rather than for any character or conflict development.
My long-suffering editors have, over the years, learned that it is pointless asking me for a synopsis. Either they receive a very short work of fiction bearing no relationship to the final product or they get a lot of arm-waving and err-ing and umm-ing. On one occasion, pushed to provide at least an outline for a novella set in the early 19thc Middle East, I said, ‘There’ll be an oasis and palm trees and…and… Oh, insert camel here!’ The contract came back for a novella entitled ‘Insert Camel Here.’ (It eventually became Desert Rake.)

Would I recommend my method (or lack of it) to anyone else? Definitely not, because it can be exceedingly stressful, although I know other pantsers, all of whom have their own successful technique. I certainly couldn’t teach it because I don’t understand how it works myself, although recently, writing An Earl Out of Time, I realised that what I was doing was building up layers, like creating an onion from the outside in. With that book I not only had to write an historical romance, which was familiar ground, but also puzzle out how to make a timeslip work and add a mystery. Discovering what I was doing with that book has not made the work-in-progress any easier, however, although I’m glad to report that the hero’s backstory is now sorted.

PS I do plot my non-fiction!

About Louise
Louise Allen is the author of over 55 historical novels published by Harlequin Mills & Boon and, independently, of romantic historical mysteries (Loving the Lost Duke) and timeslip mysteries (An Earl Out of Time). She also writes accessible historical non-fiction, including Walking Jane Austen’s London and The Georgian Seaside. Virtually all her books are set in her favourite ‘Long Regency’ period and she can’t bear to think of her heroes getting older and growing Victorian side whiskers.
Louise lives on the North Norfolk coast with her exceptionally long-suffering husband who has learned to keep a straight face when asked if he is the inspiration for all her heroes.
Her next novel, due out in August, is Marrying His Cinderella Countess.


Thank you so much, Louise.

How do you write your novels? We’d love to know. Please leave a comment in the box below.

Want to write for the RNA blog? Contact us on

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

RNA Conference - Harper Adams University, Telford

We are thrilled that RNA member Liz Fenwick was able to put pen to paper so quickly to write about her experiences of the RNA’s conference held this past weekend at Harper Adams University in Telford, Shropshire.

I’ve attended every conference except one since I joined the RNA as an unpublished writer in 2005.
Liz Fenwick
And each and every year I have come away with something wonderful…frequently unexpected but always needed. This year has been no different. The conference is my time to be with my tribe where the writer part of me is allowed to be fully present and no one thinks it is at all strange.

In the past the brilliant sessions have been my focus…things to bring my writing up to speed. But this year proved different. The sessions I attended were exactly what I needed to hear, but it was the time sitting quietly with other writers that was what I needed most. Whether it was the quick chat on the stairwell, the one in the queue at the bar, or the leisurely ones in the kitchen.

One of the popular panel discussions
These past twelve months since the last conference haven’t been the easiest. I have kept on writing but it’s been hard and at times truly lonely. What this conference gave me was love and belief from my fellow writers…they believed that I could still do this writing lark. They reminded me that I am a writer not by saying it so much, but by the joy in the discussions. The moments when I could provide the tip or the writing hack that might help them out of a tight corner while they gave me the same. Crucially the pep talk that they gave me that the book I was editing all weekend was good even if it needed more work.

Then there were those long conversations where we all bared our fears that we weren’t good enough
The beautiful wall hanging to commemorate
the life of much missed Carole Blake
or our stories weren’t. Then came the high points when we toasted our successes and that wonderful feeling of being a part of those achievements. I remember the divine Katie Fforde saying to me, when my debut novel came out, that every time a new writer she has known reached that magic moment she loved it…it was a little like living through it all over again. There were many of those joyful moments this weekend as writers I’ve watched on their journey shared their joy.

So I’ve come away from the conference much more whole. The many hugs I received have helped put me back together. On the industry panel Isabel Dixon said the thing she would tell writers… is to be generous…generous to other writers and to readers. I can say hand on heart that the RNA does that and this weekend’s dose of generosity has renewed this writer’s soul. I’m already counting the days until next year.

About Liz:

Writer, ex-pat expert, wife, mother of three, and dreamer turned doer....
Award winning author of The Cornish House, A Cornish Affair, A Cornish Stranger, Under A Cornish Sky, A Cornish Christmas Carol (a novella) and The Returning Tide. After nine international moves, I'm a bit of a global nomad. It's no wonder my heart remains in Cornwall.

Thank you for writing such a special piece for the RNA blog, Liz. x

A few of our members have also been blogging about their experiences at this year’s conference:

Monday, July 17, 2017

Festivals and Workshops: Edinburgh Festival of Writing

Elaine Roberts brings us another in her interesting series about literary festivals and workshops. This month she interviews Frances Sutton from the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Welcome to the RNA blog, Frances. Can you tell us something about your festival, how it came about and how long its been running?
The Edinburgh International Book Festival started in 1983 with around thirty speakers, this year we will welcome over 1,000 writers and participants from fifty countries to events in Charlotte Square Gardens and George Street.  In 2017 Edinburgh celebrates the 70th anniversary of the first Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and over the last seventy years has become an internationally renowned Festival city – the Book Festival is an integral part of that Festival City.

Who are your main speakers this year?
With over 1000 authors, there are almost too many to mention, but a small selection of highlights would be:
Making his first appearance in Charlotte Square Gardens, bestselling US author Paul Auster discusses the parallel lives of the principal character in his latest novel 4 3 2 1, while fellow American Richard Ford explores the reality of the American Dream in 2017 in conversation with Kirsty Wark. Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie debates the role of women in the world with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon; Andrew O’Hagan delivers a keynote lecture on the future of Scotland; Zadie Smith offers an insightful look at the growing pains of young women; comedian Reginald D Hunter joins novelist Tanya Landman to discuss the long shadow slavery casts over the USA and Meik Wiking, Danish author of the bestselling Little Book of Hygge and CEO of Copenhagen’s Happiness Research Institute, launches his new book over a cosy afternoon tea.

As our blog is for writers can you tell me how your festival would benefit our members?
Audiences at the Book Festival get to not only listen to authors, but also to participate in debates and discussions across the programme.  Almost every event offers an opportunity for members of the audience to ask questions of the speaker, and every author will sign books and engage in further conversation after their event.  We also run both reading workshops where authors discuss their favourite books with small groups of twenty to twenty five people, and this year our writing workshops return, again for small groups of 20 – 25 participants.

How about staying over for the whole event. Where can people stay?
Edinburgh is a bustling city with a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, B & B’s and hostels, however August is extremely busy with hundreds of thousands of performers, authors, media and audience members coming to the city from all over the world so the recommendation is book early, and don’t leave it till you arrive!

What does it cost to attend?
Entry to the Gardens, cafes and bookshops is free, and tickets for events range from £8.00 (£6.00
concession) to £10.00 (£12.00).  Tickets for writing workshops, which last for 2 hours, are £35.00 (£30.00).

Do workshops and talks fill up quickly?
Spaces for workshops are limited to 20 – 25 participants so yes they do sell out quickly.

How much time does it take to organise the festival?
We will start planning the 2018 Book Festival while the 2017 Festival is taking place, and authors are in town from all over the world.  The hard work starts in September and October and continues through the winter until June when we announce the programme to the press and public.

Dates for this year and 2018:
12 – 28 August 2017
11 – 27 August 2018

Email for queries:

Thank you for taking the time to talk to the RNA blog, Frances. We wish the festival every success.

About Elaine:
Elaine is a member of the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme and is currently working on a family saga. She has sold short stories worldwide and enjoys attending RNA events such as the London chapter and our annual conference. Elaine is a great fan of writing retreats either week long by the sea with friends or one-day retreats with fellow writers in her hometown of Dartford. Elaine runs a writing blog along with writer, Francesca Capaldi Burgess called WriteMindWritePlace.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

July Publications

Welcome to Sheila Riley with another bumper crop of members'  publications.


Hardback, Orion
Commercial Fiction
13th July 2017
Is this a great love story? Or a story about great love? You decide.
On a morning that seems just like any other, Robbie wakes in his bed, his wife Emily asleep beside him, as always. He rises and dresses, makes his coffee, feeds his dogs, just as he usually would. But then he leaves Emily a letter and does something that will break her heart. As the years go back all the way to 1962, Robbie's actions become clearer as we discover the story of a couple with a terrible secret - one they will do absolutely anything to protect.
Beautifully written and evocative
(The Independent Top Ten Book Club Reads 2017)

Linford Romance Paperback
F A Thorpe
Large Print Romance
1st July 2017
It’s 1966 and Liz Lane, longing for change, takes a job as secretary to the Entertainments Manager of Rainbows Holiday Camp. She’s thrown into a world of sun and fun, despite long hours. Before long, Liz is wearing a Rainbows uniform, enjoying the challenge and making friends, but how come she ends up at loggerheads with Chief Host Rob when their attraction towards each other is obvious? She considers handing in her notice but her boss has other ideas.

Paperback (and e-book)
Accent Press
Contemporary Romance
13th July 2017
The Cornish Hotel by the Sea: Escape to Cornwall with this perfect summer read!
"A feel-good summer escape." Mandy Baggott
Ellie Truman’s widowed mum is struggling to keep Gwel Teg, the family hotel in Cornwall, afloat.  Ellie is determined to do everything in her power to help her, even if that means moving back to the sleepy Cornish village she fled from broken-hearted a few years ago. Things go wrong from the start and she’s grateful for the help from hunky guest, Reece Mitchell. But does Reece have ulterior motives? Will Ellie’s efforts be for nothing?

Paperback and ebook
Mills & Boon
historical romance
1st July 2017
Never welcomed into society circles, Rosalind Allen gave up her marriage prospects long ago - life has taught her she'll only get hurt. So she's shocked when an encounter with a mysterious stranger makes her long to reconsider. Little does Rosalind know that her mystery man is Leo Beauchamp, Duke of Cheriton, travelling in disguise to evade the ladies of the ton! Impoverished Rosalind is the first woman to captivate Leo - but can he persuade this wary Cinderella to trust him with her heart?

Corvus books
Historical Saga
July 6th 2017
Cornwall 1793 - As the French Revolution threatens the stability of England, so too is discontent brewing in the heart of Celia Cavendish. Promised to the brutal Viscount Vallenforth, she must find a way to break free from the bounds of a life stifled by convention and cruelty. Inspired by her cousin Arbella, who just a few months earlier followed her heart and eloped with the man she loved, she vows to escape her impending marriage and take her destiny back into her own hands. She enlists her neighbours, Sir James and Lady Polcarrow, who have themselves made a dangerous enemy of Celia's father, in the hope of making a new life for herself. But can the Polcarrows' mysterious friend Arnaud, captain of the cutter L'Aigrette, protect Celia from a man who will let nothing stand in the way of his greed? And will Arnaud himself prove to be friend... or foe?
This is the second book in my Cornish Saga published by Corvus Books - the next book, The Cornish Dressmaker will be published next Year.

Choc Lit
4th July 2017                          
A woman on the run, a broken man and a house with a shocking secret …
Madeleine Frost has to get away. Her partner Liam has become increasingly controlling to the point that Maddie fears for her safety, and that of her young daughter Poppy.
Desperation leads Maddie to the hotel owned by her estranged father – the extraordinarily beautiful Wrea Head Hall in Yorkshire. There, she meets Christopher ‘Bandit’ Lawless, an ex-marine and the gamekeeper of the hall, whose brusque manner conceals a painful past. After discovering a diary belonging to a previous owner, Maddie and Bandit find themselves immersed in the history of the old house, uncovering its secrets, scandals, tragedies – and, all the while, becoming closer. But Liam still won’t let go, he wants Maddie back, and when Liam wants something he gets it, no matter who he hurts … 

13th July 2017
Catherine Rook takes her peaceful life for granted. Her days are spent at the village school and lending a hand on her family’s farm. Life is run by the seasons, and there’s little time for worry. But rural unrest begins sweeping through Kent, and when Pa Rook buys a threshing machine it brings turbulence and tragedy to Wanstall Farm. With the Rooks’ fortunes forever changed, Catherine must struggle to hold her family together.
She turns to her childhood companion, Matty Carter, for comfort, and finds more than friendship in his loving arms. But Matty has his own family to protect, and almost as quickly as their love blossomed their future begins to unravel. With the threat of destitution nipping at her heels, Catherine must forge a way out of ruin . . .

Paperback and ebook
Simon and Schuster
Women's commercial fiction
July 13th 2017
When Lottie Foster’s grandmother’s best friend Gwen dies, she leaves Lottie her lovely home, Cuckoo Cottage. Lottie loves the cottage but Matt, a charming local builder, points out that beneath its charm it is falling apart. Luckily he is always on hand to help with the problems that somehow seem to keep cropping up. But is he just a bit too good to be true? Certainly Will, Lottie’s closest neighbour, seems to think so. Lottie plans to set up her own business renovating vintage caravans. She hasn’t told anyone about the project she has cooked up with Jemma from The Cherry Tree Café to repurpose Gwen’s old caravan and turn it into a gorgeous tearoom. But before she can finally enjoy living with her legacy she must uncover who she can trust, and who to avoid. And with two men vying for her attention, will she also find love?

Ebury Publishing
27th July 2017
Tess Parks has made up her mind: love isn’t for her. When it comes to dating she has one rule: after six weeks with a guy, she ends it. So when her heartbroken best friend invites her for a girly getaway in Corfu, Tess is sure she can stick to their pact to stay single for the summer. But then she meets the gorgeous restaurateur Andras…

Hardback and ebook
Little Brown, Sphere
13th July 2017
Strong-willed Winnie loves being part of the crew at Station Seventy-Five but her parents are less than happy. She has managed to avoid their pleas to join the WRENS so far but when a tragedy hits too close to home she finds herself wondering if she's cut out for this life after all. Former housemaid Bella was forced to leave the place she loved when she lost it all and it's taken her a while to find somewhere else to call home. She's finally starting to build a new life but when the air raids begin, it seems she may have to start over once again. East-Ender Frankie's sense of loyalty keeps her tied to home so it's not easy for her to stay focused at work. With her head and heart pulling in different directions, will she find the strength to come through for her friends when they need her the most? Brought together at LAAS Station Seventy-Five in London's East End during 1940, these three very different women soon realise that they'll need each other if they're to get through the days ahead. But can the ties of friendship, love and family all remain unbroken?

Mass Market paperback, Ebook, Audiobook
Hachette Book Group USA, Grand Central, Forever
Contemporary Romance
25th July 2017
Sometimes love is better the second time around . . .
Mia Gibbs spent her marriage putting her husband’s needs before her own. And now, after a painful divorce, she’s building a new life for herself and her two daughters back home at Firefly Lake. The last thing she needs is a man to complicate things. But former bad boy turned friend Nick McGuire- and the one kiss they’ve shared- has turned everything upside down . . . Attorney Nick McGuire wasn’t meant to be a family man. His career has always been his focus and after taking time out to help his mother, he’s ready to get back to the city . . . until Mia and her daughters arrive at Firefly Lake. Mia is beautiful and intriguing, and it doesn’t take long to realize being “just friends” will never be enough. As the summer nights turn colder, Nick will have to choose between the life he’s always wanted . . . and the woman he can’t live without.

Harper Impulse
Women's Contemporary/Mystery/Romance
21st July 2017
Some places stay with you forever…
When Ellie Maddison is sent on a business trip to Southern Italy, she's reminded why she loves her job – set amongst rolling vineyards and rich olive groves, the beautiful Villa Rosso is the perfect escape from her life back home. But what Ellie isn't prepared for is the instant connection she feels to the estate's director Max Johnson, or the secrets they share that are as intertwined as the rambling vines that cover Villa Rosso. It's not long before Ellie finds herself entangled in the history of the place, trying to understand the undeniable effect Max is having on her. As their relationship grows, what will Ellie discover about this idyllic villa and those who have walked through its doors?
What started as a simple work trip will change Ellie's life forever.

Paperback & E-book
Piatkus (Little Brown)
Contemporary romance
13th July 2017
Meet the Shakespeare family: four sisters, four stories . . . four ways to find true love
Cesca Shakespeare has hit rock bottom. Six years after the play she wrote bombed at the box office, she's unable to hold down a job, keep an apartment, and worst of all her family have no idea how far she's fallen. So when her fairy Godfather offers her the use of his friend's Italian villa for the summer, she grudgingly agrees to try writing a new play. That's before she finds out the house belongs to her arch-nemesis, Sam Carlton.
When Hollywood heart-throb Sam Carlton sees his name splashed across a gossip rag, all he wants to do is hide. That's how he finds himself traveling to Italy, deciding to spend the summer in his family's empty villa on Lake Como. Except when he arrives it isn't as empty as he'd hoped. Over the course of the hot Italian summer, Cesca and Sam have to come to terms with their pasts. What begins as a tentative friendship quickly grows into an intense attraction - and then a scorching fling. But they can't hide from reality forever. as their different worlds collide, Sam and Cesca face a choice: is this just a summer romance, or could their love weather even the coldest winds?


Endeavour Press
Cornish Murder Mystery
July 2017
A group of people take a tour round Cornwall to look at the sites where Poldark was filmed. They spend the night at an hotel and someone is murdered.
Who did it? Why? Why did two of the guests disappear in the night?

E-book and paperback
Endeavour Press
Historical (medieval) time-slip romance
28th July 2017
E-book on pre-order on Amazon
Paperback mid-August
Two women 1500 years apart. One need: to save the world they know. Can they help each other to achieve their greatest desire? And what if that world they want is not the one that's best for them?  University lecturer in medieval studies, Dr Viv Dulac, is devastated when her partner walks out (and with her best friend too!) and threatens her home.  Drunk and desperate, her world quite literally turns upside down and she finds herself in the body of the fifth century Lady Vivianne, who is struggling with the shifting values of the Dark Ages and her forced betrothal to  the brutish Sir Pelleas who is implicated in the death of her parents. Haunted by both Lady Vivianne and by Viv's own parents' death and legacy, can Viv unravel the web of mystery that surrounds and connects their two lives, and bring peace to them both?
A haunting story of lives intertwining across the ages, of the triumph of the human spirit and of dreams lost and found.

E-book and paperback
12th July 2017
Summer sun, chilled, white wine, and a gorgeous fiancé. Nothing could upset pure bliss ... Right?
Emmy Jamieson loves her new life in the gentle hills and sunflowers of the lush French countryside, managing La Cour des Roses, a beautiful, white stone guesthouse. With marriage to caramel-eyed Alain just round the corner, things couldn’t be more perfect.
The odd glass (gallon) of wine dulls the sound of Emmy’s mum in full motherzilla-of-the-bride mode, and the faint tinkling of alarm bells coming from Alain’s ex are definitely nothing to worry about. Guesthouse owner Rupert and a whole host of old and new friends are there to make sure nothing gets in the way of Emmy’s happiness. But as Emmy gets close to the big day, a secret from the past throws everything decidedly off track. Will her idyllic French wedding go ahead as planned, or will Emmy run back home to England with a broken heart? This summer, escape to the rolling vineyards of France for an utterly uplifting read. Fans of Jenny Colgan, Debbie Johnson and Nick Alexander
will want to join Emmy for a pain au chocolat in the sun-drenched garden at La Cour des Roses.

Totally Bound
18th July 2017
Paranormal writer Kala Westenra, staying with her best friend Vika in Norway, is hunting for a new subject for an article, and finds it when she hears footsteps in the hall twenty minutes before Vika's hot brother Tor Viitanen arrives home. This, Vika tells her, is the vardoger - a Norwegian ghost, a future echo which always precedes a person's arrival. Kala plans to stake out the hallway to catch the vardoger in the act - and is shocked when, on its arrival, it kisses her. Her feelings for Tor have been hidden ever since she first met him two years ago; could it be that the vardoger is acting on Tor's secret desire for her? As Kala and Tor work together to understand what is happening with the spirit, their longing for each other begins to overtake them - but the vardoger has more to show them than they expected...

HQ Digital
26th July 2017
Welcome back to Westfield!
Lily Baxter is looking forward to running her business, now she has bought her parents out. With a long engagement to Stuart, and a good friend in Roger, she should be loving life, but things just don't seem quite right. Bert and Lizzie Baxter should be enjoying their retirement, but their house is feeling less like a home and more like a prison. What is going wrong in their twilight years? Will Singer is a newcomer to the village, and keeps himself to himself. Working with his hands in the gardens of Westfield should bring him peace, but under the surface, everything isn't coming up roses for Will.

MAGGIE'S GARDEN, Book 3 Tingara Series
E-book and paperback
Rural romance
7th May 2017
Three women arrive in Tingara for different reasons and become friends.
Dumped redhead, Maggie Ellis, buys a neglected cottage, Lakeside, in Tingara on acreage to start her life over and fulfil her dream of owning a garden nursery. Divorced truck driver and single dad, Nick Logan, has his hands full enough raising three sons alone without getting distracted by his new neighbour. Can Maggie and Nick lose their caution to overcome personal issues and allow their love to grow?

Chick Lit
15th July 2017
Book one in a series of four stand-alone books.

Wipe off your flip flops, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
When Sacha Collins, café owner and sundae-maker extraordinaire, meets Italian archaeologist, Alessandro Salvatore in Rome, she's grateful to him for being her tour guide. Now he’s turned up in the seaside village where she lives, known locally as
The Boardwalk by the Sea and is setting up a gelateria in direct competition to her retro Summer Sundaes Café. She's only been running her café for two years since taking over from her father and until now the only other shops on the boardwalk, a wool shop, an antique shop and a second-hand book shop have helped rather than hindered her custom.
How will her creative sundaes made from fresh Jersey ice cream compete with his delicious Italian gelatos? Sacha is worried. Is there enough custom for both businesses to thrive? Who is behind the strange changes being made at night on the boardwalk? And when the oldest resident on the boardwalk is threatened with eviction can Sacha and Alessandro come together and find a way of helping her? For a peaceful little boardwalk overlooking one of the quieter beaches on the island, there's an awful lot going on and some of it is going to lead to big changes

E-book, paperback and audio
HQ, HarperCollins
Historical romantic suspense
27th July, 2017
A war-torn summer - A house fallen into ruin - A family decimated…
Summer 1944: Bombed out of London by the Blitz, Bethany Merston takes up a post as companion to elderly Alice Summer, last remaining inhabitant of the dilapidated and crumbling Summerhayes estate. Now a shadow of its former glory, the house and gardens have been requisitioned by the military and show the scars of army occupation. Alice has struggled with the realities of war but is now plagued by anonymous letters and haunting visions of her old household. At first, Beth tries to convince her it’s all in her mind, but soon it becomes clear that a sinister force is once more at work in the Summer family. 
The Secret of Summerhayes tells of dark secrets, almost-forgotten scandals and a household teetering on the edge of ruin.

E-book, paperback, audio
Lake Union (Amazon Publishing)
Women’s fiction
25th July 2017
One fine autumn evening, Anna returns from work and starts making dinner, eager to welcome home her husband, Mark. It’s just like any other day in their ten-year, Pinterest-perfect marriage—until he says he’s leaving her. Discovering that the man she thought she knew better than anyone else is capable of abandoning it all sends Anna reeling.
She believed the life they’d built together – and the bright future they’d imagined—counted for everything. How can he walk away? The truth is Mark is battling secrets of his own — secrets Anna knows nothing about. A painful past and an uncertain future threaten to bring his life down around him—and he’ll do anything not to expose her to that. But unravelling the past is lonelier than Mark could ever have imagined and, as the days turn to months, Anna worries the separation will break them forever. Can she bring him back from the brink of self-destruction before it’s too late, or will she discover that she never really knew him at all?

E-book and POD
Romantic Suspense
6th July 2017
An attack at her sister’s society wedding leaves Elizabeth Worthington on the run. Desperate to find a way to save both her family and their airline she isn’t about to let anything get in her way. Whether it’s a little thing like her own safety or something bigger, like her growing attraction to the compelling stranger she has woken up with. Chase Maddox is having a really bad day. He has better things to do than hang around babysitting a spoiled heiress who is determined to put herself in harm’s way. The fact that she turns out to be anything but the pampered princess he expected is irrelevant.
He has his own personal mission to complete. The price if he succeeds? The destruction of everything Elizabeth holds dear.


E-book and paperback
KDP and Createspace
4th July 2017
Sequel to Rona award winning Max Seventeen: Firebrand continues Max and Riley's story...
Max has always eaten life in very small bites. Now it's coming at her in great big mouthfuls. Riley used to have very short horizons. Now the future stretches out further than he can see. They've made the starship Eurydice their home and forged a family out of the strange and dangerous crew, but when the past comes calling it threatens to drive a wedge between them all and shatter the bonds they've made. With the crew of the Eurydice scattered and an unknown menace stalking them across the universe, Max and Riley are faced with the ultimate question of trust and an enemy neither of them quite knows how to fight.

Kindle and print
Contemporary romance
7th July 2017
A quaint hotel in a romantic landscape. The Lake District is the perfect getaway. Or is it?
Felicity Everdene needs a break from the family business. Driving through the Lake District to the Cross Hotel, past the shining lake and the mountains, everything seems perfect. But Felicity soon discovers all is not well at the Cross Hotel … Patrick Cross left the village of Emmside years ago never intending to return, but his father has left him the family’s hotel in his will, and now he's forced to come back. With a missing barmaid, a grumpy chef, and the hotel losing money, the arrival of Felicity Everdene from the notorious Everdene family only adds to Patrick’s troubles. With so much to overcome, can Felicity and Patrick bring happiness to the Cross Hotel … and find happiness for themselves?

MARIE LAVAL (together with a five other authors)
E-book and print
World Romance Writers (self-publish)
Anthology of Romantic Short Stories by six romantic novelists
ebook 14th July 2017, print book 15th July 2017
Let your wild side free and Escape to Africa! Come along on an adventure through these 6 stories brought to you by 6 best-selling/award-winning authors. You’ll uncover tales of an undercover operative in Casablanca, a safari guide in the Serengeti, students on holiday in Morocco, time-traveling agents in Tripoli, vengeance in Algeria, and deadly secrets in Carthage. Each of these stories will captivate you with love, danger, intrigue, and excitement. What better way to Escape? My contribution to the anthology is a short story called The Ravine of the Wild Woman. Algeria, North Africa, 1865: Lenora Sharp is Azerwal's perfect woman. Brave, determined and unconventional, she is also related to the man who stole his name, his childhood and his identity - the very man he has vowed to destroy, even if it takes him all the way to hell. Will love get in the way of revenge, or will Azerwal lose his soul before he loses his heart?

Amazon KDP
21st June 2017
Can you ever rewrite the past?
Lydia and Theo face the unthinkable when a knock at the door changes everything.
As Theo lies unconscious, Lydia begins to pick up the pieces, but not every part of the puzzle fits together as neatly as it did before. And when Lydia begins to move on, what happens when Theo wakes up and realises she didn’t wait for him?
Theo and Lydia have a history together, but do they still have a future?
Or has too much happened to be able to forgive and forget?