Deleted Scene #4 From But I Said Forever

But I Said ForeverHere’s the final deleted scene from But I Said Forever. It’s a brief conversation between Brittany and Toby. In the end, I decided that Brittany didn’t really know him well enough to feel able to talk to him directly.  It’s a shame in a way, because it’s a nice little insight into Toby.

~~~~

‘I do understand what you’re saying,’ Toby says, after I’ve barged into the kitchen as soon as I got a chance on Wednesday morning. ‘But I really think this is the right thing to do. We have talked about things, you know. Just because a lot of marriages fail doesn’t mean ours will. And even if it did, I’d rather fail than not try. Do you regret getting married?’

‘I… I don’t know.’

Toby wipes up some loose icing sugar, blushing slightly. ‘I think I’ll be a good husband. And if she hadn’t got pregnant, I’d probably never have plucked up the courage to propose. I’m not freaked out, you know. Well, a little, but only in a good way. I’m really looking forward to being a dad. And a husband. You know, being a real man.’

‘And I’m sure you’ll be great at it,’ I say, trying to quell my fears. ‘I’m just… I just want you both to be happy.’

‘And we will be.’

If only I could be as sure.

Work in Progress (April 2015)

Missed last month, didn’t I?  I’m afraid there wasn’t much to report.  Here’s the state of play now:

Magical Weddings

Caution is a Virtue coverI ended up abandoning the story I talked about last time, because I just didn’t feel it was working.  Hopefully I’ll be able to return to it later on.

Instead, I decided to try something different.  I’ve been wanting to write a regency romance story for a while and, since most of the authors involved in the box set write romance rather than chick lit, this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  That story, titled Caution is a Virtue, is out with beta readers at the moment.

The Magical Weddings box set will be available for pre-order on 25 May (a Facebook launch party is in the planning stages) and for sale on 16 June at the ridiculously small starting price of 99c.

Parker Sisters Series

I haven’t tackled further edits on PS3 yet, but I have written a bit more on PS4.  I think that’s my favourite book so far.  The Parkers are turning into quite a Modern Family

Summer Anthology

CoverDraft1_SmallWe’ve set a deadline for stories of the end of May, so it should be out sometime in June.  Since I’ve been busy writing for Magical Weddings, my plan is to re-edit Flights of Nancy, take it off individual sale and make it part of the anthology instead.

Some of the authors involved in this and Cupid on the Loose! also contributed to Fool’s Rush In (also free), which was organised by Cupid author Celia Kennedy.  She also hopes to put together a Christmas anthology, to which I will hopefully submit a story (possibly the one I started writing for Magical Weddings, since it takes place at Christmas).

Audio Books

Good news and bad news here.  The bad news is that the audio book of But I Said Forever has been delayed indefinitely, because my narrator has suffered a bereavement and is unable to work.  The good news is that I have now signed a contract with someone else to produce Early Daze, so that will hopefully be available late this year.

Non-Amazon Sites

I’m in the process of pulling all my books out of Amazon’s Select programme and making them available on other sites.  The only one that isn’t out now is The Dr Pepper Prophecies, which has another ten days to go in its contract period.  Right now you can pre-order it on the other sites.

I’m afraid that means Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited customers can no longer get my work free, but it does mean that it’s available for loads of new readers to enjoy.

Pinterest

I just started a new group board on Pinterest for chick lit 2015 releases.  There are so many great books already out or coming soon, so come and follow to discover ones you may have missed:


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Deleted Scene #3 From But I Said Forever

But I Said Forever is now at 32/17 in reviews! Thanks everyone and here’s your next scene. This one was originally the second half of the conversation in deleted scene #2.  In this case I decided the scene was taking the book in too dark a direction.

Again, words in italics are typed in an online chat conversation.

I’ll post the final deleted scene when BISF has 35 reviews on Amazon US and 20 on Amazon UK.

~~~~

So, what’s happened at your end?

I talked to Phillip.

And?

He said no. Then he got his mother to come round for a chat.

What, to scare you into submission?

In a nutshell.

You realise that this is bordering on domestic abuse?

Don’t be silly.

I’m not being silly, I’ve been reading about it. Making someone feel unable to leave the relationship is part of it. That’s how they get started, by convincing you that you can’t manage on your own. Then they can do what they like.

I feel the chill again. Surely I can’t be in an abusive relationship without knowing it? A dressing down by my mother-in-law and limited control of our finances hardly rank alongside being beaten and thrown down the stairs.

I really think you’re exaggerating.

Brittany, for God’s sake, I’m trying to help!

Mel, you’re always trying to “help”. I type crossly. And you only ever make things worse.

Thanks a lot!

Just leave me alone. I can take care of myself.

Fine! But don’t blame me when he’s locked you in a cellar somewhere.

I turn off chat and shake my head in irritation. For goodness sake, Phillip is not an abuser. Just because someone shares a couple of characteristics with a group doesn’t mean they belong to it. Abusers do lots of other things too, like putting you down and trying to separate you from your family.

I hear the front door slam and a few minutes later Phillip wanders in. ‘What have you been doing on the iPad?’ he asks.

‘I’ve been chatting with my sister,’ I say. ‘We had a bit of a falling out.’

Phillip picks the iPad off the table and tucks it under his arm. ‘She’s always been a loose cannon, that one,’ he says. ‘You were better off when you weren’t speaking.’ He heads back over to the lounge door. ‘By the way, your hair is really starting to need attention.’

Guest Posts From the But I Said Forever Blog Tour

But I Said Forever has been on tour this week with CandleLit Author Services, leading to some fantastic reviews.  I also wrote two guest posts for the tour, partly about the book and partly about me, so here are the links (scroll down for the posts):

 

Cupid on the Loose! + Work in Progress (Jan 15)

BalloonCoverCupid on the Loose!: A Valentine’s Day Anthology of Short Stories is now available!

It’s FREE everywhere except Amazon (where we’re still waiting for the price match), but kindle users can get their copy from Smashwords in the meantime.

Edit (19 Jan).  Now free on Amazon.com.
Edit (20 Jan).  Now free on Amazon.co.uk

Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo

A collection of ten contemporary chick lit short stories set around Valentine’s Day.

Cupid is on the loose and anything could happen, as ten of his targets are about to find out. Will they find love or wave it goodbye? If their man goes down on one knee, will they say yes or no? If an old flame suddenly appears, will it start a fire or fizzle out? Read on and find out…

Stories included:
* All the World’s a Page by Jennifer Gilby Roberts
* Miss Understanding in the Ballroom with the Wrench by Geralyn Corcillo
* The Wonder of India by Julie Farrell
* Vodka and Chocolate Hearts by Jean Oram
* Cupid, with a Eucalyptus Tree, in the Teachers’ Workroom by Amy Gettinger
* Sugar, It’s Cold Outside by Celia Kennedy
* Fly, Robin, Fly by Kathryn R. Biel
* Not Just for Valentine’s Day by Karen E. Martin
* Cupid’s Second Chance by Lisa Bambrick
* And The Winner Is… by CeCe Osgood

These short reads are perfect for a bit of me-time. So, pour a glass of wine, open a box of chocolates, put your feet up and indulge.

New Audiobook

But I Said ForeverI’m pleased to be able to announce that But I Said Forever is going to become an audiobook!  My narrator’s name is Helen Taylor and I think she’s terrific as Brittany.  Not to mention really good at accents.

It’s contracted to be finished by the end of June 2015, so look out for that in July.

I hope there will be at least another couple of audiobooks done this year, but it depends on whether I can find the right narrators.

Parker Sisters Series

I have to confess that I didn’t finish the first draft of PS3 over Christmas.  Instead I had some time off, which I’m now regretting because it’s hard getting back into the habit again.  Everyone tell me off now.

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Deleted Scene #2 From But I Said Forever

But I Said Forever is at 25 and 15 reviews!  Thanks everyone.  As promised, here’s another deleted scene.  The next one will be posted once BISF reaches 30 reviews on Amazon.com and 17 on .co.uk.

I cut this scene because it was really more about Mel than Brittany.  It’s an idea I intend to pick up on in the next book in the series, when I’m back in Mel’s head.

The italics are typed words, because this is a chat conversation.

~~~~

I open Facebook and Mel starts a chat with me before I’ve even read one post.

I’ve been thinking about what you said.

What?

About me deliberately getting into trouble to get attention.

Oh, forget it. It was silly.

I think you may be right.

I stare at the screen. Really?

Not totally. Because it still happens when you’re not there. Which reminds me, I have this vague memory of me knocking over something in a shop and smashing a load of mirrors – did I dream that?

I think. I don’t remember it. But it could have happened when I was really small.

I could just be rationalizing. Sort of. Anyway, when I was thinking back to our childhood and came up with that memory, I also fell over a few that might agree with your theory.

Oh.

Then I discussed it with Will and he agreed. And came up with quite a lot more. Which was seriously annoying, because I was really looking for him to back up my version of events.

He’s not going to start lying to you just because he’s your boyfriend now. Other women would think that’s a good thing.

Other women are nuts. There is such a thing as too much honesty. Anyway, the point is that you had a point.

Why did you do it?

There’s a long pause.

Because you were always the favourite. Dad was disappointed in me because I wasn’t a boy and then because I wasn’t even his idea of a girl. And then you came along and you were exactly that. So, you got all his attention. And Mum didn’t really give attention, she was just sort of there. The only time I was noticed was when I got stuff wrong. So, I did that. Of course, then he decided I was a screw up and I got endless criticism, so it backfired just the tiniest bit.

I swallow a lump in my throat. It felt like every event that should have been about me ended up being about you.

I felt the exact same way. I think we were in an endless tug of war.

No wonder we grew up resenting each other. But I still think you were better off.

Seriously?

You started breaking out early. Dad accepted it to some degree – that you were the black sheep. Whereas I’ve always been his perfect little girl. I felt like I couldn’t put a foot out of line. I have so much more to lose.

Never thought of it like that, but you may be right. By the time it came to major rebellion, I’d given up on getting into his good books.

Another pause.

BTW, thanks for letting me type this instead of actually having to say it.

I smile. You’re welcome.

Deleted Scene #1 from But I Said Forever

But I Said ForeverI said I would post the first deleted scene when But I Said Forever reached 20 reviews on Amazon.com and 10 on Amazon.co.uk and it has! Thank you to everyone who’s posted a review so far.  If you haven’t, get to it because I’ll post the next missing scene when the book has 25 reviews on .com and 12 on .co.uk.

In the early versions, I had Carly tackling Brittany about her feelings for Zack.  Eventually I left that out, but here’s their original discussion.

~~~~

Zack appears the next Tuesday as well, apparently on the way back from somewhere else, to see if we need any more help. After that, Carly tackles me.

‘I’m positive he likes you,’ she says. ‘As in likes. I’ve seen the amount he’s been helping here and how much effort he puts into playing with James. There’s not a lot of men who’d do that for a woman they’re indifferent to.’

I turn away from her, unsure what to do with myself in the small space. ‘I’m still married and goodness only knows how long it will take to get divorced if Phillip fights it all the way. By the time I’m available, he’ll be off and dating someone else. He’s not likely to wait for me.’

‘Well, he might not. But the chances are a whole lot greater if he knows he’s got something to wait for.’

‘What are you saying?’

‘I’m saying, maybe you should let him know that you’d be interested in getting together once you’re free.’

I look out the window, wrapping my arms around myself. ‘I don’t think so. It’s too dangerous. I don’t want to start anything up until I’m free and you know how one thing can lead to another. I’d rather have him think I’m not interested.’

‘Lots of people start dating while they’re getting divorced, you know. Some don’t even wait that long.’

‘I know, but…’ I clutch the folds of my cardigan. ‘I just can’t do it. Mentally… well, I won’t say I’m still married, because I haven’t felt that for a long time. But I’m still unavailable. And even if I didn’t feel like that, I’m not sure I’d want to rush straight into another relationship. I married so young… maybe I should spend some time on my own – really understand what I want and who I am – before I consider being part of a couple again.’

‘There’s a lot to be said for that, certainly. But it might mean you miss out on a great relationship.’

‘If it’s meant to be, it’ll work out eventually,’ I say firmly. ‘I really believe that. You know my sister and her boyfriend were friends their whole lives before getting together. I’m sure loads of people thought they’d missed their chance, but really they were just waiting for the right time. Mel’s having enough issues with the pressure to marry him as it is; it would have been terrible for her if they’d started dating when Phillip and I did. It might even have split them up.’

‘Well, it’s your call,’ Carly says. ‘But you’re going to keep in touch when you start your new job, right?’

‘Of course.’

But I Said Forever is Out! + Work in Progress Nov 14

Sidebar-BISFBut I Said Forever is out!

A little early, since I had to make sure it would be ready on time.  It’s 99c/99p at the moment, but it won’t be staying at that price for long.

Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and other Amazon sites

It’s had some lovely reviews from my advance readers and I hope it will soon have many more. I have some deleted scenes to share with you and I’ll post the first as soon as the book gets to 20 reviews on Amazon.com and 10 on Amazon.co.uk.

Parker Sisters series

Wedding Hells, The Dr Pepper Prophecies and But I Said Forever now form the Parker Sisters series and I’m carrying on with the story for at least my next couple of books.

PS3 will be focusing on Mel.  You’ll be pleased to know that the first draft is two-thirds done already!  Expect that Spring 2015.

PS4 will be back to Brittany.  I have a few scenes drafted for that, because I came up with a really evil brilliant idea that I think you’ll like.  That will hopefully be ready Summer/Autumn 2015.

Each of the books in the series will be a complete story, but later books will refer to events in previous ones (including those narrated by the other sister) and there will be some character crossover between books.

Make sure you don’t miss a book by joining my mailing list.

Second Extract from But I Said Forever

But I Said ForeverOut 15 November – only a few days to go!

This extract is from a bit later on in But I Said Forever (read the first extract).  Brittany’s nanny, Carly, has shared her concerns that Phillip (Brittany’s husband) may be having an affair.  Brittany is certain this is nonsense, so goes to Phillip for reassurance.

~~~~

“Are you having an affair?” I ask.

Why did I ask that? That isn’t at all what I meant to say. It sounds like I actually believe it. Have I completely lost the ability to hold a meaningful conversation with my husband?

He looks taken aback. “What makes you think that?”

That isn’t quite the firm negative I was expecting.

“One of my friends saw you going into a house with a woman and reported it to me,” I say, trying to lighten my tone. “I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation; I’d just like to know what it is.”

He hesitates a fraction too long. “The fact is that I’ve been seeing another practitioner. An alternative therapist, if you will. Many of my colleagues don’t approve of them, so I’ve kept it quiet. I should have told you, but it slipped my mind. I apologize.”

“That’s okay, but… you’re not ill, are you?”

“No. It’s for the maintenance of general health rather than for the treatment of a specific condition. Nothing at all for you to worry about. Is that all?”

It isn’t, but I’m not sure how to continue and he doesn’t seem inclined to talk. Maybe I should have left this until his days off rather than straight after work. “Yes, that’s fine.”

He turns back to his computer. I slide off the chair and make my way towards the door.

“By the way, Brittany, there’s a charity gala this Saturday that my father’s asked us to represent the family at. I expect you’ll want to visit the beauty parlour and so forth this week.”

Phillip’s mother spent much of my engagement drumming it into me that grooming is vital at events like that and a crucial part of supporting him. I am overdue for a manicure and I’m sure my skin isn’t at its best – having a small child is certainly hard on the looks.

“And why not treat yourself to a new dress? Truro has some nice shops and it’s not far.”

Inwardly, I stiffen. This is what Carly was talking about: a buy-off phrased as a kindness. Does it just sound that way because of what she said?

And how he thinks I have time to spend a whole day shopping is a mystery.

“What a lovely idea,” I say, forcing myself to smile. “Sorry to disturb you.”

“That’s quite all right.”

I creep back across the landing and into James’s room, where I watch him sleep for a while, wishing there was room in his cot for me as well. I thought that speaking to Phillip would reassure me, but it’s actually had the opposite effect. I now have a nagging doubt in my head that Carly may actually have been right. Maybe he really is having an affair.

What worries me most is that I don’t feel hurt by that. I’m shocked from a moral standpoint, but not a relationship one. My marriage – the foundation of my life – is clearly in far worse a state than I realized.

~~~~

But I Said ForeverGo to Goodreads to mark But I Said Forever to-read and enter the giveaway for a paperback copy (ends 14 Nov).

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1st Extract From But I Said Forever

Today’s my birthday (How old am I?  Too old for it to be polite to ask that question), so I decided to let you have the first look at But I Said Forever.  I may just post another couple of scenes between now and 15 November, which is release date.

This scene is the last in the first chapter.

~~~~

But I Said ForeverPhillip gets home around midnight. I’ve lost track of his shifts at the hospital. He shows up when he shows up. It doesn’t seem to make much difference whether he’s here or not.

Is it possible to be a married single parent? Because that’s what I feel like. I spent some time ranting about it when James was first born, but I’ve now accepted that my husband’s career is important and demanding and he has limited time and energy left over for family life. What really concerns me is that, ever since James was born, I’ve been conscious of a fundamental lack of interest in spending time with him – with us – on Phillip’s part. Sometimes I think our only purpose is to fill a photo frame on his desk. Surely it would have been cheaper just to hire actors to pose?

I open my eyes and roll over to face him as he enters the master suite. “Good shift?”

“Fine.”

“It’s been very hot today.”

“I hadn’t noticed.”

“Was the journey home smooth?”

“Yes, there’s not much traffic this time of night.”

I watch him start to pull off his clothes, dumping them in a pile on the floor. I bite back a complaint and study him instead. He’s a handsome man, my husband: tall, blonde hair, nice body. But his blue eyes, which used to shine, now seem rather cold, and the weight he’s lost has left the lines of his face looking rather hard. Since I got over being dazzled by his interest in me, I’ve been a bit disappointed by my physical response to him. Or lack thereof. I know passion fades, but it would have been nice to have had it to start with.

“I got a job.”

Phillip instantly stiffens. “Where?”

“A bakery in town.”

“You’re going to work in a shop.”

“Yes.”

“Brittany, that isn’t suitable employment for my wife,” he says, balling up a sock. “You already have plenty to do at home, but, if you’re really set on doing something else, I’m sure I could find some charity work for you to get involved in.”

I shudder inwardly. I tried that, pre-James. A load of women sitting around, playing one-upmanship and achieving absolutely nothing that I could see. Maybe the local groups are better, but I’m not inclined to take the risk.

“It’s only a month’s trial, anyway,” I say. “It might not come to anything.”

“By the end of the month, you’ll be glad to quit. You’re not likely to find anything of interest in a place like that.” He goes over to the en suite. “I’m going to have a quick shower. Don’t wait up.”

I roll over. “Goodnight.”

“Sleep tight,” he says, like I’m a five-year-old.

I try to sleep, but I have to get up and put his dirty clothes in the basket before I can.

Even after order is restored, I lie awake for a long time, thinking about the gap between what I expected from my marriage and what I actually have, and wondering if it’s normal for it to be quite so large.

~~~~

But I Said ForeverGo to Goodreads to mark But I Said Forever to-read and enter the giveaway for a paperback copy (ends 14 Nov).

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