Sunday, 25 November 2012
Hope you are all enjoying the weekend.
Just a quick post to announce the competition winners.
The winner of the dual ebook set of Sign of the Times and The Dating Game is Elizabeth K. I will be sending a Kindle copy of each book to you very shortly, Elizabeth. Congratulations and hope you enjoy them.
The winners of the 3 grand prizes, who have now been contacted directly by the blog hop organiser are:-
Kindle Fire winner - Angela Heart
Amazon $75 gift card winner - Emma D
Swag Pack - Kim Brooks
and I, myself, since I entered lots (but not all) of the 200 blog competitions, managed to win a $5 Starbucks voucher - tall, skinny, decaff latte coming up for me methinks!
So basically, it pays to enter competitions, but you know what they say, you've got to be in it to win it!
Enjoy your Sunday
Friday, 23 November 2012
I'll explain Black Friday in a minute, but first of all, just to let you know that there are over 200 authors and blogs participating (link at the end of this post).
We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!
For my part, I will be giving away, for the first time, a copy of The Dating Game and a copy of Sign of the Times to one lucky winner. So if you like competitions or just winning stuff, this is definitely the place for you today! BUT, you only have today, it's only on Nov 23rd, so get entering!
She realises she has to act, as work keeps piling up and at this rate she will have retired before she has time for a relationship.
Seeing an ad on a bus one day, she decides to visit Happy Ever After dating agency. She quickly discovers men are like buses. They all come along at once. Unsure what her type is, Gill decides to keep her options open. Soon she has problems juggling her social life as well as her work diary. Will she ever strike the right balance?
Before long she is experiencing laughs, lust and… could it be love? But like everything in Gill’s life, nothing is straightforward and she ends up wondering exactly who she can trust.
To hop across to the other blogs and have a chance to win some of their 200+ amazing prizes, simply click here (I know I will be entering as many as I can!) - http://carrieannbloghops.
Thursday, 22 November 2012
So without further ado, let's grill her!
I came across A Twist of Fate by chance(and I am so glad I did) but I hadn’t
realized initially that you were the same Josie Lloyd who wrote with your
husband Emlyn Rees. Why the departure from writing together and should we
expect you to write together again at any point?
Emlyn and I loved writing together, but after seven books, we were
ready for a change. He wanted to go back to writing thrillers and I
wanted to write a bigger kind of book, with lots of characters and
international locations, so we decided to go our separate ways. It
sounds dramatic, but we both work at home and still edit each other's
work, so lots of the skills we learnt writing together, we still use.
We still collaborate on some projects and we have plans to screen
In A Twist of Fate, you write in great detail about the countries involved.
Have you been to all of the countries/places in the books and could vividly
imagine them as you wrote, or did you have to also rely on internet
research, Google Earth, etc?
to get that right first. I do do a bit of research about the
locations, but I find if I do too much research, it hampers the story.
I have been to a lot of places, but mostly I use a healthy dose of
artistic license and add in lots of sensual description to create a
The scenes in the orphanage are quite harrowing, but seem very realistic and
I could completely imagine Eastern Europe being like that at that time. How much and what kind of background work did you have to do to ensure the time
periods and occurrences were plausible?
Again, the drama is character based, so that is all fiction made to
sound plausible. The old saying is true: life is stranger than
fiction. I think one of my writing rules is not to get too hung up on
whether it would actually happen like that in real life and to just go
for it. I tend to drop in period details - music, political events,
clothing etc in the final edit.
As I said in my review, there was one character I hated, Thea’s brother
(actually two - I couldn’t stand the stepmother either) . They were both
very easy to detest. Do you consciously apply any techniques to make your
readers feel strong emotions like this, do you subtly lay clues, or do you
prefer to let shocking actions make the reader experience emotion?
redeeming features, or to spend too long justifying their psychology.
If you create a truly evil villain who gets away with it, like Brett
does, then you build up a sense of indignation in the reader, by
denying justice for the character. It's fun dynamic to play with and
helps build tension and makes the dramatic denouement all the more
satisfying. A book like 'A Twist Of Fate' set over 40 years with a
large cast of characters relies on using very broad brush-strokes to
paint the story, so you have to be bold with your colours.
How did you go about interweaving the different time periods, linking past
and present and how much of a challenge was this? (for the record, I loved
interweaving their stories. I moved the story on a couple of years at
a time, so they were both at the same stage. The hard bit was making
sure that by the end, they were both at the end of their character
curves at the same point.
There were a lot of sub-plots in A Twist of Fate and plenty of twists and
turns. Do you have a favourite you can allude to, without providing a
fun to bring to life. I was particularly fond of the photographer,
Nico who gives Romy her first break.
Do you prefer to write male or female characters and why? Or does it depend
on who the character is? Who has been your favourite character to date that
you have written?
all the characters in my books. I'll always have a soft spot for Amy
Crosbie in 'Come Together' the first book I wrote with Emlyn, as she
was partly autobiographical and the actual period of writing that book
together was so special as it was how we got together in real life. I
really liked writing Peaches Gold, my L.A madam in 'Platinum'. I
based her loosely on Heidi Fleiss. She was so sassy. Generally,
though, I'm always into the characters I'm writing at the moment as
they feel so exciting and new.
I absolutely loved A Twist of Fate, so much so I stopped writing my own
novel for two days. This, if I am not mistaken is the first novel as Joanna
Rees, although you had 2 others as Jo Rees. Why did you change your name
here, was it to separate subject matters? Will we possibly see future books
by Jo Rees, too?
bonkbuster image my Jo Rees books had into a broader appeal, so
Macmillan, my brilliant new publisher decided to rebrand me using
Joanna Rees (which is actually my real name).
You have written lots of books (and I have read almost, but not quite, all
of them!) Which book means the most to you and why?
first, and I will never forget the feeling of holding my first proof.
'Come Together' because it was how I got together with Emlyn. Each
book we wrote together is special because of what was going on whilst
we were writing them - like moving house and having babies. I am
very proud of 'A Twist of Fate', I have to say, because it is such a
big story and I absolutely loved writing it.
us about it and what should we expect?
through. I'm not going to give too much away, but it's another great
big international story with a big intrigue at its heart. It'll be
out in Feb 2014.
Almost everyone knows I am absolutely mad about Rupert-Penry Jones. Who,
apart from Emlyn, gets your heart all aflutter?
lots of comedy on here and I particularly like seeing comedy in small
venues. I think these enormous stadium gigs lose something of the
edge and I like reactive comedy, when the comedian responds to the
audience, rather than doing their slick, practised stuff. I have
several friends who’ve done the stand-up comedy course down here and
I’m full of admiration. It’s a lot more difficult than it looks.
Music-wise, I’m a sucker for the eighties. I don’t think I ever got
past Duran Duran and I know every word of Queen’s greatest hits. When
we had a street party for the Jubilee, I had all the neighbours
singing Bohemian Rhapsody in my living room! Emlyn is a huge music
fan and we have thousands of CD’s. Recently Spotify has
revolutionized my music listening and I’ve discovered a lot more bands
If you hadn’t become a writer, what career do you think you would have been
I’d have loved to have been a radio presenter and to be able to have
my own chat show. Over the course of my career, I’ve done loads of
radio interviews here and abroad and I’ve always met nice people at
radio stations and love the whole world of it.
Favourite country in whole world and why (except for UK!)
another trip planned in January to Kerala. I love the people, the
colours and sounds, the sheer difference of it. It’s so beautiful in
such an earthy way and very romantic, too. I’ve been writing about
Rio recently in my new book an I’d love to go to Brazil. I find it
fascinating. Before I had kids in my twenties, I travelled quite a
bit and I’m looking forward to doing some more.
Favourite genre to read and childhood book which meant the most to you
One of my favourite books in the last few years was Justin Cronin’s
‘The Passage’. SO scary and brilliantly written. I can’t wait to
read the sequel, ‘The Twelve’. I don’t tend to read commercial
women’s fiction so much, as it feels too close to my working day. I
like anything with an unusual setting.
Favourite childhood books? I’ve recently tried to give the books I
remember from my childhood, like ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’ to my own
kids to read and they’re not interested, as kids books have moved on
so much. Enid Blyton just seems very dated. That said, I still read
them ‘My Naughty Little Sister’ stories and they love them just as
much as I did.
TV series or films?
Both. As we both work at home, Emlyn and I have to get out a couple of evenings a week, otherwise we go stir crazy, so we go to the cinema alot. (Although I didn't think much of the new James Bond last week.) We are total box-set junkies, and often watch episodes back-to-back until our eyes hurt. We're half way through season 4 of 'Breaking Bad' which is just masterful. Next up is season 3 of 'Friday Night Lights'. I have a bit of a soft spot for Coach Eric Taylor, so I'm looking forward to that.
Have you ever had a wardrobe disaster and if so, what? (hopefully not as bad as Janet Jackson)
the wrong thing to the wrong occasion, rather than exposing myself.
Favourite time period in history?
I'd love to time travel. It's a recurring fantasy. I'd love a day in a Tudor court, or to be at a posh party at the height of the Raj. The Victorians were pretty snazzy.
Do you have any gifts, apart from writing?
I can play any tune on a recorder. Does that count?
Reality TV shows or quiz shows?
Neither. I'm too busy watching box sets to bother. I can't bear reality TV. It's like going to a zoo. Quiz shows are generally quite banal, apart from University Challenge, which makes me feel a bit dim.
Well, that's it for today. Thanks very much Joanna for joining us.
You can catch up with Joanna here:-
You can also buy A Twist of Fate on Amazon -
Tune in tomorrow for The Black Friday Blog Hop (yes, I had to google Black Friday, too...)
Wednesday, 21 November 2012
I've been nominated for the Liebster Award by Isabella-Louise Anderson. Thankyou!
- When one receives the award, one posts 11 random facts about oneself and answers the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
- Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (while making sure one notifies the blogger that one nominated them!)
- One writes up 11 NEW questions directed towards YOUR nominees.
- One is not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated one’s own blog!
- One pastes the award picture into ones blog. (You can Google the image, there are plenty of them!)
I am very competitive
I have 3 amazing young nephews, all mad
I used to run for Scotland (800m/1500m/cross-country - it was a long time ago!)
I am seriously clumsy
I speak 5 languages and have dabbled with 4 others
I have loads of food allergies (annoying when you really like your grub, like me!) but kiwi fruit and walnuts make me particularly ill.
I love quiz shows - although I always feel really thick when I watch University Challenge. Prefer Pointless.
I don't really listen to contemporary music, apart from Snow Patrol. I love to listen to classical music, particularly when I am writing
I love travelling and have visited 45 or 46 countries, including almost all of the Southern US
I (try to) grow my own vegetables (but the Scottish weather has other ideas)
I can't sleep if I don't have a book in my hand. Even 2 lines is enough to make me drop off, but no book, no sleep!
I would do pretty much anything (legal) for my friends and family.
Probably about 30-35 - those were great years, when I started living the life I should have had in my 20s!
Not really. I was too into athletics back then, although I did date a couple of guys, but no-one earth-shattering!
cut grass or freshly brewed coffee
Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
The Queen, as she gets to have her head on lots of banknotes and all the swans here belong to her!
Vegetarian Hot Oone is the pizza I usually go for. So veggies, but with lots of jalapenos (can't figure out how to do the tilde over the 'n' here!)
Well, that's kind of tricky, as I am no longer doing what I used to be. I knew from about the age of 13 that I wanted to use my languages in whatever job I did. I did that up until this year, when I decided to write full-time. Although you could argue it's still languages, just my own native tongue!
If you could turn back time, what, if anything would you change?
What 3 things did/do you definitely want to do before you turned 30/turn 30?
Favourite takeway food
If you could date a famous actor/actress for one night only (don't read anything into this!) who would it be?
Wildlife programmes or home makeover shows?
Favourite city in the whole world
City, countryside or by the sea?
Do you have any particular talents (keep it at a PG level pls!)
Which sport do you wish (if any) that you were really good at (or are you already really good at?)
If today was the last day of Mankind (cheery thought...) what would you like to be doing?
That's it - tune in tomorrow when I'll be interviewing the wonderful, Joanna Rees, author of last week's reviewed book, A Twist of Fate.
Friday, 16 November 2012
But, what a treat I have in store for you today. This is my joint-favourite book of the year (the other being Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Prisoner of Heaven)
So, let's find out a little more about the book, then feast your eyes on my review. Oh, did I say I gave it 5 stars?!
A Twist of Fate by Joanna Rees
Romy and Thea, two beautiful baby girls, their future’s sealed with the flip of a coin. One will enter a life of privilege, surrounded by only the best money can buy. The other will fight for survival in an orphanage, against an evil regime who seek only to exploit her. Throughout the years their paths will cross, neither knowing who the other one is, their lives overflowing with secrets, blackmail and murder. From the snow covered forests of Eastern Europe to the glistening white beaches of the Caribbean. From the gutters of London’s Soho to the towering skyscrapers of New York, A twist of fate tore them apart, only their strength and determination can reunite them…
I received an Advance Review Copy from the author, as I have read and enjoyed all of her other books in a different genre and was intrigued by this new departure. It's not the usual kind of book I would read, but reading the back cover, it reminded me of Kane & Abel by Jeffrey Archer, which I read about 15 years ago, but it was much better, more emotional. The separation of siblings at birth and what would happen to them, I knew would be a story that I would like. I just wasn't prepared for how much. I was gripped by the story right from the start. I stopped writing my own novel for 2 days, so I could read it, I was so hooked. I honestly didn't want it to end. The bravery of both sisters in the face of adversity was the key aspect I enjoyed. The way Joanna Rees painted such amazing characters, particularly one which I hated (I will leave it to you to read to find out who and I am sure you will agree with me) was fascinating. The story is set in several countries and I loved this. I am a great fan of Italy and the part set in Italy, I could vividly imagine and the family dynamic was very well depicted. Likewise, having visited New York, I could envisage Maddox Towers and I had no problem in seeing the places in my head. The contrast between the rich, luxurious lifestyle which one child was brought up in and the extreme poverty and horrors through which the other child lived was crafted exceedingly well. There are also power struggles, twists and turns and some rather disturbing scenes. All in all an amazing book, which I can't applaud enough.
You can buy A Twist of Fate via the following links:-
http://amzn.to/WdmmOx (UK) & http://amzn.to/PY6sop (US & other .com)
If you wish a paperback copy, this can also be ordered via Amazon or any good bookshop.
More next week - have a great weekend everyone
Thursday, 15 November 2012
But, before I get onto that, the wonderful Talli Roland has kindly agreed to be put through the mill by me about her writing...
Although there is a definite gap in age, social status and culture between Serenity and Peter, even if they had been on equal footing, they wouldn’t have lasted long. Their personalities are fundamentally different and by the end of the novel they’ve grown so far apart, it’s obvious they wouldn’t work together.
Monday, 12 November 2012
Today, I have a great chick lit book review for you, a book I read 2-3 months ago.
Here's the blurb, then my review.
'Slave to the rich and the rude, cosmetic surgery receptionist Serenity Holland longs for the day she's a high-flying tabloid reporter. When she meets Jeremy Ritchie -- the hang-dog man determined to be Britain's Most Eligible Bachelor by making himself over from head to toe and everything in between -- Serenity knows she's got a story no editor could resist.
With London's biggest tabloid on board and her very own column tracking Jeremy's progress from dud to dude, Serenity is determined to be a success. But when Jeremy's surgery goes drastically wrong and she's ordered to cover all the car-crash goriness, Serenity must decide how far she really will go for her dream job.'
I was drawn to this book by the cover initially and the title. When I read the product description, I thought I have to read this, sounds fun. Well, I was right. I have to confess, initially I didn't like the main character, Serenity. I thought her irresponsible and selfish. However, you can't not like her moving forward. She learns her lessons the hard way. I really didn't like her boyfriend, who was the most patronising git ever. I liked the fact that eventually Serenity re-evaluated what was important to her. I also wanted to slap both reporters, who were obviously complete bitches. Jeremy was lovely and it was so obvious he didn't need plastic surgery. There was some sadness and also a couple of moral messages sewn into the novel and it was all the better for it. Serenity's determination to get what she really wanted, once she understood what that actually was, was heartening to see. The portrayal of the botox bitches made me laugh, as well as the mother with her daughter towards the end. Although this is a humourous novel, I think inadvertently or cleverly or both, it highlights the darker side of cosmetic surgery. All in all a very fun read. I already have 2 more of Talli Roland's books on my reading list.
The next book in the series, Construct A Couple, is now available.
Have a great week
Sunday, 11 November 2012
Sorry for the late post. Life has been catching up with me in the aftermath of the launch week. If you click the link below and scroll to the bottom of the list of books, you will see the winners' names for the ebook raffle. All winners have now been notified.
The winner of the £10 Amazon voucher is Jackie M - congrats Jackie
Thanks to everyone who participated in The Dating Game launch. I hope you had as much fun as I did.
I will be back tomorrow with a review of a fabulous chick lit book I read a few months ago, so don't miss it! Tune in to find out which book!
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday
Friday, 9 November 2012
Short post, as just wanted to say KizzyLee is the winner of yesterday's Name Your Favourite Place in Scotland competition. There were some very good entries, but in the end, given that it's for The Dating Game launch, I couldn't resist KizzyLee's tale of how she married her husband at Gretna Green and all these years later, they are still together, with their little brood. Congrats, Kizzy Lee, you have been entered into the draw for £10 ($15) Amazon vouchers.
The winner will be announced, together with the raffle winners by Sunday latest on the blog.
I hope everyone enjoyed The Dating Game launch party activities and blog posts and of course the fabulous raffle where 46 authors kindly donated 54 ebooks for your reading pleasure!
Remember, if you have purchased The Dating Game since its release, you automatically qualify for entry to the Amazon voucher prize draw. BUT, I need you to email me the details. Not everyone who has bought a copy has done so. If you have bought a copy, please email me by midnight tonight (GMT - British time) firstname.lastname@example.org to be included. And, of course, if you haven't got your copy yet, you can get it here and still have time to enter the draw.
http://amzn.to/RuSl7Y (UK) http://amzn.to/WZQtZK (US & other .com)
Thursday, 8 November 2012
Firstly, the winner of Tuesday's competition -Your Most Interesting Date - Katie Peal - congrats on still being with your other half and for getting to have a drink with Jimmy Carr (rather you than me quite frankly - the man's laugh gets on my nerves!) You have earned an entry into the Amazon vouchers draw.
Wednesday's competition - Barcelona quiz - basically everyone who entered is now in the draw. I hope you didn't all copy Natasha Allie's answers! Natasha earns 2 entries into the draw, as she gave the answers first - well done!
Today's competition - very simple. I am Scottish and very proud of my heritage. My novels are always partly set in Scotland.
So, to enter today's comp simply tell me your favourite place in Scotland and why. Or, if you're not lucky enough to have visited Scotland before, tell me what appeals to you about Scotland the most, the place you would most like to visit here and why.
The entry I like best will go in the draw for £10 Amazon vouchers. Winners to be posted on the blog by Sunday latest.
And remember, anyone who buys The Dating Game by Fri 9th Nov, automatically earns an entry into the draw. Simply email me the details to email@example.com
If you haven't got your copy yet, you don't know what you're missing!!
Pick up your copy here:- http://amzn.to/RuSl7Y (UK) http://amzn.to/WZQtZK (US & other .com)
And don't forget, you still have a chance to enter the raffle for the 54 ebooks, if you haven't already or if you already have, but have left a blog post comment for today's competition, you qualify for another entry!
Simply click the link below and scroll down to the Rafflecopter form.
Good luck everyone and enjoy The Dating Game!
Wednesday, 7 November 2012
Monday's competition to name a character was won jointly by Specsandginger (again) and Kathleen Hooper, who both said Fergus. Congrats to them - they are now in the draw for £10 ($15 Amazon vouchers).
Now, turning to today's comp, if you've been following the last few week's posts you will know that Gill and her friends from The Dating Game go to Barcelona for a long weekend.
To be in with a chance of winning the Amazon vouchers, all you have to do is answer the following 3 questions correctly
1) What's the name of the famous church in Barcelona designed by architect Antoni Gaudi?
2) What is the main language spoken in Barcelona (clue: it's not Spanish!)
3) When did Barcelona host the Olympic Games?
That's it! All you have to do is leave your answers with your email address (don't forget, as otherwise I don't know how to contact you!) as a comment on the blog.
Here are the links! http://amzn.to/RuSl7Y (UK) http://amzn.to/WZQtZK (US)
And remember if you leave a blog comment on the competition, you qualify for another entry into the raffle for 54 ebooks - woo hoo! 54 lucky winners will be announced at the weekend.
To enter the raffle simply click the link and scroll down to the Rafflecopter form.
Good luck. The draws will be made at some point on Sat and either published on the blog Sat or Sun.
Tuesday, 6 November 2012
In the meantime, let's talk about today's competition.
Very simple, all I want to know is What's the most interesting date you've ever been on? It can be somewhere great, or something great. Was it bungee jumping off the Bloukrans Bridge in South Africa, or scuba diving in Cayman, a slap up meal at a restaurant where it's difficult to get a reservation, or something more intimate, a rooftop meal prepared by your other half. (again, nothing explicit please!)
Simply leave a comment on the blog, with your email address, so I can contact you if you win, to be entered into the draw for £10 ($15) Amazon vouchers. (draw takes place Sat)
If you don't already have your copy of The Dating Game, why not?! Kidding! But if you'd like to find out more about unlucky in love, Scottish recruitment consultant, Gill, you can buy your copy here.
http://amzn.to/RuSl7Y (UK) http://amzn.to/WZQtZK (US)
Monday, 5 November 2012
Hope you all had a good weekend. Some very good entries into Sunday's competition for where your perfect date would be, if you could choose anywhere in the world. But I couldn't decide between these two:-
' Iceland and spend time together under the pretty Northern Lights' entry from SpecsandGinger AND
'My ideal date would be in Felix Baumgartner's hot air balloon at 100,000 feet. Stunning view' from Paul (evanescence7041)
I've always wanted to see the Northern Lights, after reading Bill Bryon's book. And I've always fancied going for a hot air balloon ride.
So both of those will go into the draw for Amazon vouchers (this will be drawn on Saturday)
But now let's turn to Monday's The Dating Game Launch Party Competition.
If you have been paying attention the last few weeks, you will have heard me say that I will be starting to write my next book in a few weeks. It features a male protagonist, which will be interesting for me to write. Again the novel will partially be set in Scotland, and this time partly in Hong Kong. What I would like from you today is to help me find a name for my protagonist's brother, who will be the person he turns to for advice.
I haven't decided yet how old the brother will be, but somewhere between 40-50. I am looking for a name which is plausible in Scotland in the 1960s/early 70s. But I don't want something typically Scottish like Callum, Hamish etc.
So, will you pick up the challenge and help me name him? Simply leave a blog comment with the name for my character and your email address so I can contact you if you win.
The entry I like best will be entered into the draw for £10 ($15) of Amazon vouchers.
If you haven't picked up your copy of The Dating Game yet, you can do so here:-
http://amzn.to/RuSl7Y (UK) http://amzn.to/WZQtZK (US)
Everyone who buys a copy of The Dating Game by Fri 9th automatically qualifies for an entry into the Amazon draw, too.
Remember to register your entry on the Rafflecopter form if you also wish to enter the amazing 54 ebook giveaway. Simply click the link and scroll down.
The more entries you have, the more chances you have of winning. Good luck! Sooz
Sunday, 4 November 2012
Saturday's competition has been answered correctly this morning by xcardiffgirlx. The answer was I will set part of my next book in Hong Kong. Congratulations on being entered into the draw!
Now, turning to today's competition. It's very simple. Last week on the blog, we talked about the worst blind dates. All I want to know (keeping it clean!) is where would your ideal date be, if you could choose anywhere the world and why? Just leave a comment on the blog to that effect with your email address The date I like the sound of best, will be entered into the Amazon £10 ($15) draw. See, that was easy!
Don't forget to use Rafflecopter to say you have entered the competition, as you will earn more entries into the Great Kindle Ebook Giveaway Raffle - 54 ebooks!
Click here to go to the launch post, featuring more info on The Dating Game and the Rafflecopter draw.
And, of course, if you don''t have your copy of my new novel, The Dating Game yet, you can get it here:- http://amzn.to/RuSl7Y (UK) http://amzn.to/WZQtZK (US & other .com) Everyone purchasing a copy before Fri 9th November, automatically earns an entry into the Amazon voucher draw.
Good luck and I will be back tomorrow with another exciting competition, in Day 4 of the Dating Game launch party!