Saturday, September 24, 2016

Coming soon: Max Seventeen

So what's happening, Kate? Well, thanks for asking. I've been working on the final files for ebook and paperback publication of Max Seventeen.

What's Max Seventeen? Well... it's action romance. In deep space.

 Fans of Firefly, Black Sails, Deadpool, Fury Road? You are going to love Max Seventeen

Max is running. From jail, from hunger, and from the hard labour that awaits on the Zeta Secunda Mining Corps' stinking land trains. 

Riley is running. From terrible shame in the past, from dark secrets in the present, and from the Service who have very definite ideas about officers who abscond to join pirate crews. 

The starship Eurydice could mean their salvation. But the enigmatic Captain Orpheus could betray them both at any minute. When a terrible plot is uncovered and loyalties are tested, Max and Riley face losing everything. 

Warning: this book contains bad behaviour, bad language, and a few bad people. Other than that, it's pretty good.

Read the first review of Max here: Rhoda Baxter for Goodreads.

Max Seventeen is available in ebook and paperback from 1st November 2016 exclusively from Amazon. Pre-order here.

First trailer for Max Seventeen: what's it all about?
Second trailer for Max Seventeen:

Monday, August 01, 2016

I, Spy? is back on sale!

  I, Spy? is back on sale!

 It's's's blonder!

A reboot of the series you know and love...or maybe it’s all brand new to you? It’s certainly all new to Sophie, who’s just been hired by a top-secret government agency.

All she has on her side is sarcasm, blonde hair and a small cat called Tammy, but that’s not going to keep her from saving the day...once she’s figured out who to save it from.

Sexy spies, plane crashes, firebombs and multicoloured cocktails: they’re all in a day’s work for Sophie. Roll over Bond, there’s a new bombshell in town!

This is a new edition of the beloved book, containing brand new material.

Unleashed 1st August 2016.

Buy paperback and ebook from Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU now!

I, Spy? is enrolled in Amazon's Matchbook program, so if you buy the paperback you can also get the ebook absolutely free.

Scroll down for an excerpt from I, Spy?

Excerpt from I, Spy?

  Halfway through my shift, I was pulled off the desk to head to the gate and board the next Edinburgh flight, which was something of a relief after the chaos of check-in. Even if it meant leaving handsome, serious Sven behind.
  The domestic departures satellite was quiet. There was a Ryanair flight boarding as I went past, but my end of the lounge was empty. The Edinburgh flight wasn’t very full and I didn’t need anyone else to help.
  "Hey baby," called Dino from the coffee stand, and I tried not to roll my eyes. "You look sexy!"
  "You too, Dino," I replied, waving and walking a little faster.
  I mean, he's harmless, right, but it is annoying. Dude, I'm at work, and unless that work is being a stripper I don't really need to be told I look sexy.
  But what do you do? Call them out and make a fuss and get a reputation as a stroppy little madam, or just ignore it and hope he gets tired of it, like a toddler seeking attention?
  Look, I'm English, all right, what do you expect?
  I got to my gate, logged into the computer, and assumed the Don't Fuck With Me air I'd been perfecting since my first day on the job.
  I messed around for a while, checking flight status, pre-filling the gate report so I’d have less to do later. The paperwork chugged out of the printer, and I frowned as I checked the details. The plane callsign wasn’t quite right. All Ace Airlines planes have GB registrations and their callsigns all have AC in them. This one didn’t.
  I picked up the phone to check. “No, darling, it’s a charter we’re using for Edi,” Kelly from Ops told me. “Got three off tech today. Just do them a little announcement so they don’t wander all over the tarmac, will you?”
  Three off tech? Christ, had they got mice in the hangar or something? Seemed every other plane I boarded lately had been off tech.
  I made the announcement, automatically lapsing into the sing-song voice everyone uses for these things. I don’t know why. Force of habit, I suppose, or maybe it’s easier to remember. Whichever. I probably make these announcements in my sleep. And it’s not as if anyone listens, either.
  The passengers, only fifty of them, turned up eventually. Mostly businessmen, a few students and the odd couple connecting from a holiday abroad. I repeated the aircraft change announcement twice more, but by the time we came to boarding, I still had people looking out the window, seeing an aircraft lacking the Ace logo, and asking me in panic where their plane was.
  It never ceases to amaze me how sensible, rational people can turn into frightened idiots the second they step into an airport.
  The radio crackled with the dispatcher’s instruction to start boarding, and immediately passengers started pressing forward. Oh yeah, that they hear.
  “For the Edinburgh flight?” came a dark velvet voice from the other side of the crowd of passengers.   “Please form two queues, please…”
  I looked up in surprise. Sometimes the dispatcher might help to pull cards if the flight is really full and we’re understaffed, but I wasn’t sure why Luca had come over from check-in to help. Still, it got things done quicker.
  The last of them trickled through, and I started tapping the security numbers of the boarded passengers into the computer. We were two down, and the system had them as Lavery, Anne, and Brown, John.
  Luca counted up the cards, matched the tally, and I made a final call for the passengers by name. Anne Lavery turned up straight away, flying through, racing out to the plane. Truth be told, there were several minutes before pushback, but it always paid to get people boarded on time. The dispatchers could get pretty stroppy if there was any delay and they weren’t all above putting it down to gate staff on their reports.
  I checked the system again. John Brown had one piece of baggage checked in, and I radioed down to the dispatcher that she might want to start looking for it.
  It’s highly illegal for a piece of luggage to travel without its owner. After Lockerbie strict rules were put in place to make sure every piece is scanned and accounted for, and things have got even more stringent in the post 9/11 world. If a passenger doesn’t travel, then the bag has to be pulled off the plane. We don’t like having to do it, since the ramp boys have to search for the bag and it can cause delays, but there’s a reason these security rules are in place, right?
  I made another call for John Brown and got Ops to put out a call over the terminal PA. Luca was tapping a pile of cards on the desk.
  “He still not here?”
  I looked around as if surprised to find the gate area empty, and gave him a sarcastic look. “Not unless he’s invisible.”
  Luca gave a faint smile. He looked pretty damn tense.
  “You okay?”
  He shrugged. “I’m tired. This is my third early, and I been doing overtime too. Looking forward to my day off, you know?”
  I nodded. I was looking forward to it, too. Hours and hours of unadulterated sleep. Bliss.
  Luca grabbed the microphone and made another impatient call for Brown. “Failure to report to the gate within the next five minutes will result in your bags being offloaded and the plane will depart without you.”
  That usually gets them. You can tell a passenger until you’re blue in the face what time they need to be at the gate by, and how long it’ll take to get there—there are pretty large signs all over the airport to remind them—and they still saunter up late, surprised the plane has left without them. This ain’t the golden era of air travel, sunshine. Low-cost airlines can’t afford delays when every minute needs to be squeezed.
  The dispatcher radioed up. “Any sight of him?”
  “Not a squint,” I replied.
  “Right, that’s it. I’m getting his bag off. If he turns up send him back to check-in. He ain’t travelling.”
  Luca glanced up at me. “I’ll go get his bag,” he said. “If he comes, keep him here.”
  I nodded, watching him go. I get all the sucky jobs.
  Not long after Luca disappeared, a fat, balding man in a shiny suit came rushing up to the gate.
  “Mr. Brown?”
  He nodded breathlessly. “Am I too late?”
  “I’m afraid so,” I said. “The plane’s about to push back.”
  He looked distraught. “I can still make it,” he said, glancing out of the window where the plane was, indeed, angling out of its bay with the help of a tug.
  I’ve stopped being amazed at people who think they can still make a flight at this point. They see the plane going down the runway and still, somehow, believe they can catch a wing and get to their seat. Like this is Charlie’s Angels or something. You know that bit in the film where they open the plane door and freefall? At that height, everyone in the plane would have got sucked out with them and they’d have all died—
  Okay, Sophie. Stop ranting.
  “I’m sorry,” I said, not meaning it at all, because how bloody hard is it to get here on time? The airport really just isn’t that big, and he managed to check in his bag on time, didn’t he? “It’s really not possible. Your bag is on its way up. You can catch the next flight. I’ll have to take you back to check-in—”
  “No, you don’t understand—”
  At that moment the door from the jetbridge opened and Luca came out, a holdall slung over his shoulder. “Mr. Brown? A word with you, please?”
  I frowned, and I’d just opened my mouth to say something when Mr. Brown turned and followed Luca like a puppy. The door swung shut behind them and I stood, frowning some more.
  Then I shrugged and went back to the desk and finished closing up the flight. I tallied up the boarding cards and scribbled a bit more on the report. I watched the charter plane trundle towards the runway and out of sight around the corner of the departures satellite.
  I doodled a pretty design on the report. I shook out my hair and pinned it back up again. I sang the Ace theme tune through twice before I remembered how damn annoying it was.
Then I leaned against the desk some more and waited for Luca to come back. What the hell was he doing? Reading Brown a personal riot act for not turning up on time? I know it’s annoying, but it happens all the time. It’s not really a big deal, and it’s really no skin off either of our noses.
  Then I heard a thud from the jetbridge and suddenly felt hot.
  There was no one else in the satellite. No passengers or staff, because most of the domestic flights had already gone and we were entering the mid-morning lull.
I looked around in panic. Could just be Luca dropping the bag on the floor. Those jetbridge floors were noisy sometimes. Hollow-sounding.
  I edged over so I could see through the little window into the jetbridge. Luca had Brown by the collar, shoved against the wall.
  Horror flooded me, and I fumbled for my pass to swipe open the door. “Luca, what the hell are you doing?”
  There was a sticky second of silence as both men glared at me. “Go away,” Luca said, and his voice sounded different. I squinted at his face and thought I saw a bruise around his left eye. “Sophie, just go away.”
  “You can’t beat him up! I know you’re having a bad day, but Luca—”
  Luca glared at me, and I suddenly realised what was different about his voice. His accent was totally gone. He sounded as English as me or Brown.
  All sorts of awful thoughts ran through my brain. Since 9/11 they go through incredible security checks on anyone applying for an airside pass, but if Luca got in before that then they might not have been so thorough. That’s how sleeper agents get in. They get their jobs years in advance, when they’re still respectable citizens.
  He could be anyone. He could be a terrorist or a lunatic or a criminal.
  Oh, God, I’m in bad trouble.

I, Spy? is unleashed 1st August 2016.
Buy from Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU now!

Monday, June 13, 2016

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Works in progress

Just a little update about the things I've been working on:

The Invisible Girl

A romantic comedy...with ghosts.

Jen Hargrave is a woman haunted by the past. Literally. After a bomb blast five years ago, she sees ghosts wherever she goes, but there’s one in particular she dreads turning up—which means it’s really bad luck that she’s now working for his twin brother.

That bomb destroyed Quinn’s life too. He lost his leg and he lost his brother, and the last thing he needs is a daily reminder of it all. Especially when it comes in the shape of Jen, the woman who saved his life.

Jen can't escape her ghosts, and Quinn doesn't believe in them; but he's about to find out there's more than one way to be haunted...

The Invisible Girl is currently uncontracted.

Max Seventeen

Action romance. In deep space.

Press ganged into the Service, all Riley wants is to escape. Sentenced to slavery, all Max needs is to survive. When their destinies collide on board the starship Eurydice, a terrible plot is uncovered and the future is set on fire...

Max Seventeen is currently uncontracted.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

A Hollow in the Hills launch

Tomorrow, I'm to my favourite city of them all: Dublin! Or should I say, Dubh Linn...where you'll find the young and ancient inhabitants of Ruth Frances Long's A Hollow In The Hills. 

I'm absolutely delighted to be launching the book tomorrow with Ruth. I've just finished reading it and believe me, it's amazing. 

If you're around Dublin on Wednesday 9th September, come along to the Gutter Bookshop on Cow Lane at 6.30. There may even be cake...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Ghost Book...

...has left the building!

Jen Hargrave is a woman haunted by the past. Literally. After a bomb blast five years ago, she sees ghosts wherever she goes, but there’s one in particular she dreads turning up—which means it’s really bad luck that she’s now working for his twin brother.

That bomb destroyed Quinn’s life too. He lost his leg and he lost his brother, and the last thing he needs is a daily reminder of it all. Especially when it comes in the shape of Jen, the woman who saved his life.

Quinn doesn’t believe in ghosts, but Jen can’t escape them. Can she ever find an explanation for the events that tore them both apart and thew them back together?
I sent it off skipping, like this:

Wish it luck!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Happy Birthday Choc Lit!

It's my publisher Choc Lit's sixth birthday today, and so I'm blogging on the number six.

Funny old number, six. It doesn't immediately spring to mind when you think of magic numbers. According to Wikipedia it's a kissing number, which is rather nice when you write romance. In my favourite musical, West Side Story, the song America is composed in 6/8 time (it actually switches between 6/8 and 3/4, which is what gives it such a distinctive rhythm and also makes it impossible to dance to). Six is the number of witches you'd have if two covens were forced to share the village hall on the same night ("and after I lugged the cauldron all this way, and with my sciatica, too..."). It's the number of Deadly Sins you'd have if Sloth didn't bother to turn up. Which he wouldn't. Being Sloth.

But anyway. Here's my blog based on the number what I'm going to do is give you little snippets of my book from 6 key points in my WiP, The Absolutely Untitleable Ghost Book. It's a fun book about ghosts. With jokes.

(approximately) Six lines from...

 Page 6: Quinn put the phone down, making a note to ask Tessa how many of their floral displays were actually tributes from Ethan’s fans.
  He sorted through the phone messages she’d left on his desk, the most prominent of which was written entirely in capitals and said, “APPLICANT FOR OFFICE MANAGER 11AM!!!” Quinn wasn’t entirely sure they had enough work for an office manager, or receptionist or secretary or whatever the feck he was supposed to call her, but Tessa was adamant that she wasn’t answering calls, typing up files, and ‘updating that bastard website’ any more.  

Page 60: She’s not sure how she got to the hospital. She’s not even sure which one it is. She’s been herded around from one room to another, been poked and prodded by more people in a few hours than in the rest of her life combined, and now she’s sitting on a chair in a corridor looking at watercolours and posters about depression. Things sound kind of muffled, but she’s not sure if that’s the same as her ears ringing. People keep asking her things and she’s having trouble concentrating.  

Chapter 6: Quinn made it into the office late that day, barely awake, and fairly sure he was sweating whiskey. He’d woken on the sofa, fully dressed, as the sun came in through the open curtains of his living room. Beside him was a half-empty bottle of Jamesons. On the TV, breakfast news burbled. His new secretary had gone home after the second drink, but Quinn had stayed on, sitting out in the increasingly chilly beer garden until he’d run out of cash.  

Chapter 16: I told him about my hair.
  The half-asleep thought brought Jen to sudden, appalled wakefulness. She’d told him she used to dye her hair silly colours. Oh God, what if he remembered that and put two and two together and She sat up, feeling slightly sick in a way that had nothing to do with the wine she’d drunk last night.
  It’ll be all right, she told herself. He’ll never consider it. Too much of a coincidence.  

Chapter 36: It was going dark by the time Quinn’s phone rang, and he somewhat guiltily recalled that he’d just gone for a walk several hours ago and not told Uncle Keiran when he’d be back. Disentangling himself from Jen, who’d fallen asleep while they were watching a rerun of Red Dwarf, he grabbed at his jacket and fumbled for his phone.
  “Uncle Keiran?”
  “Quinn, lad. Now I was thinking, I’ve that lamb in the fridge and it’ll probably stretch to three if I put some potatoes on.”  

And 6 lines from the end...: “It’s a hell of a way to spend your birthday,” Jen said to him.
  “Hey, I said I wanted to spend it with you, so.”
  “I’m going to call Dr Wu,” Charlotte said as she stomped down the stairs, dragging her daughter with her.
  “No, you’re not,” Jen said calmly. “Now, who’s hungry?”
  “The pub does good burgers,” Quinn added.
  “No burgers,” Charlotte said. “I’ve got rice crackers in the car.”

See? Practically an entire book there. Don't know why I needed the other 100,000 words of it. Oh yes, I do. The ghosts! You'll have to wait and see...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Some Assembly Required: pt4

5: Villains Are People, Too

“Funny thing about black and white. You mix it together and you get grey. And it doesn't matter how much white you try and put back in, you're never gonna get anything but grey.” Angel (the series)

Writing a compelling villain is actually pretty simple: you give his goal, motivation and conflict the same respect as you would the hero's.

Don't believe me? Let's look at The Operative from Serenity (yeah, I'm looking at a lot of stuff from this film. But its such an awesome film). His goal is much clearer than Mal's. He is single minded in its pursuit. And let's face it: it's not really a terrible goal. He doesn't want world domination or even fame and glory. He wants to find a dangerous criminal and dispose of her.

At least, that's what he believes (remember what I said about belief being a big theme in Serenity?). And my god does he believe it. “I believe in something that is greater than myself. A better world. A world without sin.” (he doesn’t know about Miranda; he doesn’t care about the specifics: “It’s not my place to ask.”) That's his motivation.

And as for conflict? He’s so focused on this belief that he can’t see the wider picture. He's so focused that he doesn't even have a name, just a job description. When faced with the reality of Miranda, and the culpability of the Alliance, his belief fails. When Mal says he’ll kill him if he sees him again, The Operative replies: “There is nothing left to see.”

(of course, what helps is having an actor like Chiwetel Ejiofor in this role: he has more dignity in his little finger than Nathan Fillion, much as I love him, has in his whole body).

Whereas what does Mal have to believe in? What motivates him? Nothing, and more nothing. It's only after he learns the truth of Miranda that he knows what he has to do. Having an enemy in The Operative is really the only thing that makes Mal into a hero.

6. In It For The Long Haul
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

97 episodes can change a man.