The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Tuesday, 19 May 2015


I'm feeling a bit out of sorts. This is normally what happens when you finish a book that has taken over your life for the better part of a year (looking at you Durante and Ella).

Normally if I finish a contemporary, I switch to paranormal, to effect a bigger change and to disconnect from the characters of the completed book. And it went a little left field. I did a little excerpt of this story, when I was furiously writing to meet the NaNoWriMo target of 50,000 words. Yeah, I didn't finish the story even though I met the target. It's turning into a never ending gumball. The hero and heroine, to explain, are disconnected because of a whole bunch of complicated stuff I can't really expand on because... it is complicated, and my brilliant idea to make them reconnect is a sex rite. You read that correctly. So paganism, symbolic vessels, nudity and the power of sex. And I wrote all of it.

I'm disturbed. Probably because I'm a good Christian girl (don't laugh, tis true) and it was drummed in early that paganism is wrong and sex is a bad word that you don't do unless you're married and you only do once for babies and that's the last you have of it, and you're not supposed to enjoy it or think of anyone else while you do it, apart from God, because it's for God and God's glory. Christian guilt is real.

While I conjured rain and fire and earth and air, my Sunday School teacher was in my ear, telling me it's all wrong. And yet, I say no, whatever guilt lingers. The power of sex with someone you love, trust, honour and cherish is that spiritual connection. And it's a connection that blooms and grows and deepens each time it's shared. It is powerful and truthful and soulful. I wonder if that's why sex is so feared because of what it can do to the mind, body and soul. My hero and heroine are using it for good. To realign themselves to each other. To defeat the bad guy(s) (thing. Whatever it is. I still don't quite know.) It's good magic. The best kind.

I absolutely refute the implied wrongness of a sex rite for my paranormal hero and heroine. They need it. Or they're gonna die. You know, it's probably a good thing I'm not a pagan. I'd totally fall for that line.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Old Days

This year is the 21st anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda and it made me, obviously, think about the Madelines in the world who were lucky to escape with their lives. I've met some of those women and the shadow in their eyes will never go away. The things they've seen, experienced, survived, will inevitably haunt them. But there are people who have stayed, returned and have made herculean efforts to revive the country; to rebuild lives; to make things better for those who suffered the devastation of their home being torn apart. I suppose it's part of what makes me feel proud of this story. That I gave my Rwandan a happy ending. Even though it's supposed to be about the soldier, it's really about Madeline and giving her centre stage.

I'm trying to get all my books soundtracks finished and public asap, and I almost didn't with this one because the soundtrack is pretty damn short. I honestly couldn't write a lot of this story to music. I wouldn't have finished it, because my river of tears would have killed my laptop dead. If you haven't read it, it's not that depressing, you may be a little in your feels, but you will be as happy by the end as Madeline and Cain. Army of You and Me on Amazon

Army of You and Me on Spotify

  1. The xx - Together
  2. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft Ray Dalton - Can't Hold Us
  3. Mariah Carey ft Miguel - Beautiful
  4. Daughter - Human
  5. John Legend - You & I (Nobody In The World) 
  6. Hans Zimmer - Chevaliers De Sangreal 
  7. Alicia Keys ft Maxwell - The Fire We Make
  8. Ellie Goulding - Explosions

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

And So It Goes...

If you haven't already seen, this is the glorious cover for IK6, Durante and Ella's story. As has now become traditional, the cover means, I'm also preparing for what I believe will be the last in the series (but never say never - one may do a little novel here and there, should the characters berate me sufficiently). Maybe that's why I'm so reluctant to finish it. I don't really want to say goodbye to the nutcases. Speaking of, get to know Beppe and Mimi a little better...

1.       Who are you closest to?


“I’m coming out! I want the world to know, got to let it show!” Billy, you lazy cow! What have you been up to? Not me, I can see. What was the question? Oh yeah, that beautifully pomade ridden donkey fucker, Mamione. He knows all my deepest. As do you, my busty love. Have you thought about a breast reduction? I mean your back... Aren’t you crippled?


“And so I face, the final curtain!” Aren’t you relieved this is the end of it all? No? Crazy. I’m closest to the cool, leggy, super sharp would break your heart in three words or less, Mrs. Anna Mamione-Taylor. That’s a mouthful! She’s done me a serious solid with so many things, and I’m honoured I could be there for her, too.

2.       What’s your earliest memory?


I think I got into the medicine cabinet at my foster mother’s and I may have put a lot into my foster father’s drink. I dunno. Maybe. Can’t admit to anything, don’t want any legacy cases brought against me. But I do know that triggered my love of the chemical. I’ll take a hug. Why?


Going shopping with my mum and her telling me I should make sure I have my own money to buy things in future, because I won’t always have a daddy to do it for me. She wasn’t lying.

3.       What’s your biggest fear?


I don’t have kids, so it hasn’t happened yet. Still time. Aww, cheer up Billy the Kid, I’m not sure the world can truly handle more than one of me.


Leaving a similar trail of destruction in my own family as mine did to me. No one wants to really be their parents, but it kinda is inevitable.

4.       What are you best at?


Chemicals. They get me. I mean I’m a people person, but the delight of the combinations of different elements, brings me such peace and joy. Do you want a hug? Come on, let’s have a hug about your lack of chemical understanding. It’s fine. It doesn’t detract from you as a person. Much.


Give me a scalpel a bone saw and rib separators and I am ready. This bitch can sew you up like an Italian leather shoe. Speaking of, sweets, have you thought about a breast reduction? Really? Doesn’t your back hurt? Really? Wow. I’m here for you.

5.       Tell us something that will shock us.


I keep weapons grade tear gas in my car boot. I don’t know when I’ll need it. Why are you looking at me like that?


I may have kept the scalpel from my first operation on a patient. Oh, don’t give me that look! I cleaned it before I stashed it my bag.

6.       What do you value in a partner?


Amelia Johnson’s arse. Now that’s weapons grade.


Sense. I do, I really need someone to help me keep my feet on the ground. I worry I’m unbalanced. Yes, I have met Nardiello, and he reassures me that the trait of sense is a necessity in my future partner.

7.       Describe the last time you felt happy.


When Mimi called me to thank me for getting her a job. Beginning of something beautiful. Don’t cock block, London, I see you.


The first day I stepped into my own home. Bought, lock, stock and barrel. What else? Okay, maybe when Nardiello said something complimentary about my work. I will cut you if you tell him. I’m not even joking. I would. You know I would.

8.       What’s your biggest regret?


Not knowing my parents. Well, my mum’s dead, so it can’t be her regret that she didn’t know me, can it? Can’t really speak for dear Papa.


Ooh, I’ve done a lot of things I’m not proud of. Putting them in order of worst to even worse would not help anyone.

9.       What’s the one thing you’d change about yourself?


I think I think too much. I have depths and talents, held back by aforethought. I may also have a slight inclination towards madness. When people say they have rage black outs, they have no idea. I get mad, and I remember everything I do, to the letter. And it doesn’t bother me. Yeah, I’ll take a hug, what for?


I’d be a bit more forgiving. I’ve seen enough disease to know my body is fine as it is. Shut up Nardiello! I’m healthy. Forgiveness is like a superpower.
10.   What item can’t you live without?


Does Amelia count?


Don’t make me shallow. It’s nothing to do with Lost Boy. It isn’t! God, maybe I should learn how to lie about that man. 

Monday, 23 March 2015

Take Me Away

Morocco was amazing! I wish I could go back now, but - so much other stuff to do this year. Cry face. But look! That's a swimming pool, in front of what looks like a replica of the Arc de Triumph in Paris. My brain could not comprehend! My brain after a half bottle of smooth Moroccan red wine couldn't, however, sober Billy would not have either.

I soaked it all in. Mainly food. And sunshine. Learned a lot about the Berber traditions and the origins of kohl (I have been ringing my eyes in the stuff every night since and regretting the effort it takes to get it off) and I saw the possibilities of romance everywhere. In the rose petals scattered over the pillows after housekeeping. The enormous meals made for sharing. The horses who drew carriages, trotting calmly beside some of the most reckless driving I have ever witnessed. The hammams and massages, and the argan oil I have smuggled in bulk back to the UK. Working out the Dirham to Pound conversion rate whilst trying on a ridiculous amount of kaftans and dining in some of the most incredible settings I've been privileged to see. To stand at the end of the road of my hotel to photograph the glorious Atlas mountains and feel in awe of the beauty of just a small part of the world, made me wish I hadn't left my laptop at home. But then again, I really needed to sleep especially after I had all the knots rolled out of my back and shoulders.

Not that I don't already know this, I really do need to travel more. I live in Europe. I have no excuse. Yo Denmark! When's your weather going to cheer up? You know I only do sun, right??

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Treat Me Like Fire

I'll admit, I'm finding it hard to concentrate. I'm cold, I'm eating far too much and you know, unapologetic racist behaviours interfering with my flow. In any case, I'm off to Morocco for a little sojourn and you know travel is good for my soul and Hank's blood pressure.

It's not Italian and it's not even Season of Love, but this is what I've been writing about and I'm more likely to finish this than anything else in the meantime.

Like Fire  © Billy London 

Blue and white lights blinkered from behind her lids. She wondered for a moment if she’d fallen asleep at a rave. The noises filtered into focus slowly. It hurt to open her eyes. It really hurt. Everywhere. Everything. As if each nerve ending, bruised, bled into one another until she existed only as a single cell of agony. Who is talking so much? Why are they shouting at me?
“Don’t worry lovey. Fire brigade is on the way.”
“But I didn’t cook anything,” she murmured. Ooh. It hurt to take a breath. She closed her eyes again and drifted off somewhere much more inviting than the pain festival going on in her body. Darkness. Bliss. Oh no. Noise again.
“Miss?” Someone touched a soft, padded finger to her face. “Miss?” No, because if she woke up, the pain would start again. “Hello, that’s good. Stay awake.” She blinked several times. The yellow of the speaker’s helmet stung her vision. “What’s your name?” He asked.
“I know a Taemar.”
“Hmm,” she muttered, clearing her throat and trying to focus her sight. “Biblical. My dad… He... Only ever picked up a bible… At his wedding. Added a letter when he found out what happened to Bible Tamar. Not good...”
The effort was too great. She made to close her eyes again but the soft material returned to her face. “Hey, hey, Taemar. Stay awake. Keep your eyes on me.”
And her energy drink substitute had very pretty eyes. Lashes like a girl with falsies on. “What?”
“You’ve had an accident. We can’t get you out right now. The doors are crushed in on both sides.”
“Does that mean I can sleep?”
“No, we’ve got to get you out and get you to hospital. We’re going to cut through them in a minute. My friends are doing the other side so they can get you out. This side is too close to your body and we’re worried we’ll cut you. Can you get your seatbelt?”
She frowned, lifting an arm that seemed boneless to jab weakly at the release. “Did I put a belt on?”
“You did, you clever girl. Can you undo it for me?”
Taemar had the most unfortunate flashback to an ex and his struggle with some bondage ropes. The release refused to spring the belt free. Obviously it was man made and as stubborn as buggery. A metal cutter roared into life and the man shouted above the noise, repeating his question. Sparks flew over the passenger seat of her car and she turned away from it. He lifted his helmet back a bit to edge his head inside the car. She could hear him better. “Who are you?” she asked.
“Superman. Marauding as your local friendly fireman. Jack. I’m Jack.” Oh god, she was going to die in her stupid car. Tears prickled at her eyes. “Look at me,” Jack’s voice demanded nothing less than total obedience. His eyes, a strange mix of amber and olive green, blazed confidence. “Do I look worried?” His face set, serious, but completely assured. Not a single doubt evidenced from the arch of his brows, or the turn of his lips. She shook her head slowly and carefully. “Then you’ve got nothing to worry about, all right?”
“Okay. Oh my god, I’m naked.”
Jack didn’t say anything and she looked to his face. His lips were tucked in and his eyes were wide with guile. “Hadn’t noticed.”
“There’s a green nipple tassel on my wheel. The other one is hanging off my tit. They looked nice.”
His eyes darted around the car. “Erm… Yes?”
“You asking or agreeing?”
“Stop that.” He blushed. Amongst the shadow on his angular face, a sunset rose blush bloomed on his hard looking cheeks. 
“You told me to stay awake. And talking is keeping me… up.”
“Not about breasts!”
“Why? I can’t look. Are they scarred?” She felt panic rising in her. Am I breast-disfigured? Please don’t say I am. I love my boobs. They’re the best thing about me.
Jack gave a heavy sigh. “They’re a little scratched from the glass but that’s all.”
“What? No lift, size, shape comment? Are you a eunuch?”
“For all that is sacred, I wish I was right now.”
She chuckled. Huge mistake. Laughter was not her friend or healer right now.
“Did that hurt?” Jack asked. Instead of the pressure on her ribs and back, she stared at Jack’s jaw line. It was edible. Something nice and firm to nibble on in the throes of passion. Good distraction, but not much she could do about it. Actually, sex got her into this mess. Or rather, the potential for it. De-tassled in a crushed car, all because she wanted to surprise Peter. How sad.
“Talk to me,” she begged. “Tell me something funny.”
“I have a terrible sense of humour.”
She sent him a look. “Everyone has a sense of humour. Everyone. Now, tell me something amusing. Chop chop.”
“When I went out on my first call, I… I knocked myself - in a faint.”
Taemar frowned. “That’s… that’s just sad.”
“Er… This neighbourhood cat…”
“Nope. Next.”
“Okay when I was younger, I had too much of a sweet tooth. My mum told me if I didn’t stop, my penis wouldn’t work properly. Haven’t touched sweets since.”
The laughter that burst from her lips swiftly followed such intense pain, bile rose in her throat. “Taemar, I’m so sorry, but we’re almost done. We’ll have you out in a jiffy.”
“Jiffy?” she repeated. “You’re an old soul, aren’t you?” She couldn’t stop herself. Tears ran unhindered down her face, dripping onto her skin.
“Don’t cry. Please don’t cry, you’re almost out.”
“I’m not crying. My eyes just leak a bit. With pity. For your sweet-affected peepee.”
The passenger seat door, the remains of her passenger seat door was lifted away. Jack disappeared from her side, but instantaneously loomed in on her left, snipping huge pliers through her seatbelt. Huge arms slid behind her back and underneath her thighs before he lifted her from the wreckage with ease. “There we are. You’re all right, Taemar.”
“Thank you.” She whimpered. “Best entertainment I’ve had all week.”

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Thinking Out Loud

So it seems my attempt at a poll on Facebook has failed - because I don't seem to understand how to obtain my results, and like a cat in a sun spot, I feel unmoved to start over or to change it. I can see from the number of views on this blog as to the more popular stories from the Season of Love of 2015, and I will take those hints (broadly made and definitively made) and write until I can writes no mores!

With that in mind, I've compiled a soundtrack to keep you all distracted until I can get some wordage down. Each story has it's own track and I think it all fits together perfectly...

Playlist for Season of Love Vol. 2

  1. Camera's Gaze You're the One that I Want by Lo-Fang
  2. The Non Rebound Hours by FKA Twigs
  3. Good Girl Trying Out Bad First Love by The Maccabees
  4. Dance To Date Start Over by Kimberly Anne
  5. Warming Up Make You Feel My Love by Adele
  6. Skye's Sabotage I Can't Give You Anything But Love by Smokey Robinson
  7. Something Old, Something New Pray For Love by Kwabs
  8. La Vita Loca Love by Dan Hyde
  9. Blessing In Plain Sight On Into The Night by Paul Thomas Saunders
  10. Treasured Treasure by Bruno Mars
  11. Chocolate Offers Grow by Rae Morris
  12. The Tease Every Little Word by MNEK
  13. Come Back To Me Come Back by Us The Duo
  14. Stars and Moon (I Can't Help) Falling In Love With You by UB40

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Apply Some Pressure

So there I was, sitting alone, half heartedly picking at a packet of mango pieces, feeling completely tapped out. Like my literary goodness had gone into those fourteen days of madness, and tidying up @Last for my forgiving readers (new and not so new) and I was a husk, the bad guy from The Last Crusade, that dust was my future. And then, I read through one of my WIPs. I perked up, quite egotistically enjoying the banter between the hero and heroine and their merry band of friends. I did indeed say out loud, "I wonder how it's going to end?"
Hot Muse Hank is inconsolable by my ridiculousness. In between "You're insane!" and "You should have finished this in your sleep!" and "He's a fireman, you utter doughnut! You love those like you love apple crumble!" I did come to realise that I do know how it ends and I wonder why I'm avoiding it like the plague. It's all round lovely. When things get difficult, I'm always tempted to throw a bit of paranormal at it. And yet, my day job reminds me that truth is so, so much stranger than anything I could conjure in my depraved little mind. My sudden reticence needs sorting out. I do believe my time in Morocco (two weeks to gooooooooo!) will indelibly release the bonds that chain me to mediocrity and just to get the hell on with it.
So Jack and Taemar? Let's get physical.