Sara Jayne Townsend’s Death Scene is Released

DEATH SCENE by Novels Now guest Sara Jayne Townsend releases today, 22nd September. Click the image to buy.

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 Mariah’s Marriage amazon US

“Oh, Mariah, let us not quarrel. We will be married within the month. At least your papa’s house contains plenty of books. You may practise throwing them.” anne stenhouse Mariah’s Marriage UK Bella’s Betrothal US

 …a solitary figure ahead among some gorse and shrubs. Charles thought she made a beautiful picture in her riding habit with the exquisite hat Jenny Menzies wished to inherit. He thought the girl might get it sooner rather than later if he followed his instincts. At that precise moment, he wanted to shake Bella hard. Then he would lock her in the castle in Strath Menzies and hold her forever. anne stenhouse Bella’s Betrothal UK



Round Robin Secondary Character Mayhem









The one and only true Rhobin comes up with some awesome topics. Have you ever had a secondary character take-over the story? Well, yep! Being a fair-minded sort of gal, I’m maybe too inclined to let everyone have a say.

And then look what happens…

Mariah’s Marriage, e-pub, MuseItUp 2013

Tobias, Earl of Mellon is giving us an advance picture of his younger sister, Daisy:

“She’s a minx, I’m afraid, John. Not that that is very different from the behaviour of many young ladies at her stage in life.” He shuddered. “God help any man who got Daisy out of duty.”

Then we see the young lady herself in the Fox morning room:

London Girl

London Girl

“Miss Mellon…”

“Actually it’s Lady Daisy, being the daughter of an earl, but as I’m certain we’re going to be excellent friends, I insist you call me Daisy.” The girl rushed the words out and Mariah was not surprised when her mama intervened.

“Katerina Grizelda Anne Di Torres are the baptismal names available to my daughter, Miss Fox, but she chooses to be known by a name that she overheard in the pantry.” The countess uttered the words in sharp staccato…


Daisy gives us an opinion:

“I think this must be the man who was supposed to be escorting you yesterday, Miss Fox,” Lady Daisy said. “I recognise him from the earl’s description: too old, too fat, and too stupid.”

HOWEVER, this is Mariah’s Story, so she (well, me of course, but you get the point) fights back:

“I understand the nature of dependency only too well, Lady Daisy,” Mariah said. “I am also terrifyingly well-educated and sadly able to recognise the mendacious nature of your remarks,” she added without heat, before turning and walking away from them.

And yes, Daisy Mellon would not go away. You’ll be able to discover whether she gets her own way early next year when MuseItUp bring out her story. DAISY’S DILEMMA. 

More intriguing clashes with the wayward natures of made-up characters can be read by visiting the blogs below.

Marci Baun
Anne Stenhouse
Fiona McGier
A.J. Maguire
Beverley Bateman
Diane Bator
Margaret Fieland
Victoria Chatham
Connie Vines
Geeta Kakade
Rhobin Courtright

Rankings on special 77p/99c Bella’s Betrothal: Ends Midnight (Canada)

Here’s the snap from yesterday’s Passed in a blink, but it was good to know. Thank you, readers. Enjoy.

Bella's Betrothal
Kindle Edition


DAISY’S DILEMMA new novel tickled the editors’ fancies

100_4575DAISY’S DILEMMA continues the story of Daisy Longreach. Lady Daisy made a passing, but dramatic, impression in Mariah’s Marriage. She’s Toby’s much younger sister and, as with many much younger sisters, by turns delightful moppet and scheming minx.

MuseItUp have sent me a contract and we hope to have Daisy’s story on your e-reader early in 2015.

How exciting is that?

And if it’s not exciting enough, Bella’s Betrothal, my scintillating Edinburgh based novel of family intrigue and architecture is offered at 50% off until 30th May from Bookstrand Mariah’s Marriage amazon US Mariah’s Marriage UK Bella’s Betrothal US Bella’s Betrothal UK


Happy Birthday Miss Mariah Fox

It’s One Year Today since MARIAH’S MARRIAGE was published by MuseItUp of Canada.

Muse Banner Mariah's Marriage

Muse Banner Mariah’s Marriage

Happy Birthday. Miss Mariah Fox.

In the months since Mariah hit the e-publishing writing life has changed in so many ways. Here are a few:

Social Media I’ve been blogging for a very long time. I had a blog on Writelink’s site for months before Mariah was published and wrote short updates of my writing experiences and how the various anecdotes I quoted fitted into what I wrote next. I was never able to crack the posting of photos on there and that is the first change. I can do photos.Accolade for Mariah's Marriage at RNA summer party??????????????????????

The one above shows the 2013 line-up for the Joan Hessayon award in London. Mariah’s Marriage didn’t win but I had a wonderful evening. So much so, I’m going again this year to support several friends who are listed for 2014.

Change Number Two get along and say hullo. Whether it’s electronically such as on another writer’s blog, or in person, if you’re in a market, you need to be seen. I’ve almost got my pathological need to lurk under control.

Change Number Three Write another one. Surely you’re always doing that? you ask in surprise. Surely I am, but this ‘another’ one is the picking up of a character’s story from Mariah’s Marriage. It’s one of the most difficult writing tasks I’ve ever undertaken, but I completed, edited, agonised and pressed send a few weeks ago. Waiting to hear.

Change Number Four Participate. Before Mariah’s Marriage was published, I didn’t enter things like the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy competition at the annual conference of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, but this year I will. I didn’t join in blog hops (didn’t know there were blog hops). I knew nothing of Twitter and my Facebook a/c was languishing. Goodreads ?? Well, Mariah’s Marriage necessitated changes in attitude all right. It’s the shop front and the shelves need dressing.

A copy of Mariah’s Marriage is on offer to one person, randomly selected, who leaves a comment before Midnight UK time, 10th May 2014. I’d love to hear from you. Did full length publication make changes in your writing life? Anne Mariah’s Marriage amazon US Mariah’s Marriage UK Bella’s Betrothal US Bella’s Betrothal UK

A Picture Tells a Thousand Words

Devil Baby, Melbourne Festival 2011

Devil Baby, Melbourne Festival 2011

The cover art for a book is very important. It catches the eye of the potential buyer. It offers clues about what’s inside. It invites the reader in – or – it keeps the reader out.

Mariah's Marriage

My truly lovely cover art for Mariah’s Marriage is by CK Volnek. We had a few exchanges back and forth and agreed on this. I like it because it encapsulates, in the girl’s expression, so much of her character as it unfolds through the text. It was only after I became a published novelist that I realised something I’d known subliminally for a long time. The cover art is an important part of the writer’s relationship with the book.

As a wannabee writer, I’d sat through countless talks where writers, particularly children’s writers, complained bitterly about the covers of their books. Children’s writers go into schools and are asked by children readers things like:
“Why does Timmy have red hair in the book and black hair on the cover? It spoiled it for me.”
As well it might.

My publishers, MuseItUp, have a very good cover art form and a principle question is what colour is the protagonist’s hair.

My first published story was called Stereotypes and it was illustrated. Magazines don’t, in my experience, consult about the illustration. This is unlikely to matter. They have their house style for illustration just as for the content, but in the case of Stereotypes, the artist used the stereotype and to my mind sent the wrong signals. The story was about a role reversal where the Prof turned out to be female and the cleaner male. Sadly, the story was illustrated by a man in a suit! It niggled at the time, although being my first sale, I was too starry eyed to make any kind of fuss.

Once the magazine is published of course, it doesn’t come again. With books, the writer may have an opportunity to change if rights revert. You might want to change in order to modernise if time has passed. Illustration, like anything else, alters over time. What is new and exciting today may be old and tired by the next time.

The photograph at the head of this post was taken in Melbourne of an exhibit in the Angels and Demons street sculpture exhibition. The figure is challenging, stark, mischievous. The angels, with wings not tails, were no less so and certainly not reassuring. What kind of story would they best illustrate? I’d go for a story about that teenage into young adult stage when one’s relatives encapsulate both the dark and the light almost in the same breath, the same sentence, the same heartbeat. What do you think?

My cover for Bella’s Betrothal, again by CK Volnek.

The girl has just that head of red corkscrew curls one sees in Scotland from time to time, the man is an outline – someone yet to be known, and the skyline sets it in Edinburgh with the forbidding lines of the castle behind. I love it. It truly enhances my relationship with the book. Mariah’s Marriage US Mariah’s Marriage UK Bella’s Betrothal US Bella’s Betrothal UK



When I sent off my 2011 entry for the Mills and Boon New Voices competition, I knew I loved the two central characters. I adored the opening line “I trust you will not scream, ma’am.” And, because I came to Edinburgh as a starry eyed teenager and have never really left, I loved the city which is the backdrop to Bella’s Betrothal, too.

Finishing the book took a lot more effort than its promising beginnings would have led me to expect, but it hasn’t disappointed. I needed the ongoing support of NaNoWriMo, my husband, who took up regular cooking again, and the comments made on that original chapter.

Members of my writers’ group made hugely encouraging noises after a manuscript night when they thought it was a promising nineteenth century crime novel. My editors at MuseItUp were supportive and enthusiastic.

To all of those people “Thank You”
Leave a comment throughout the day and you might win a free copy of Bella’s Betrothal.

Buy Bella’s Betrothal now from MuseItUp, here:
Or from many online stores including

Visiting Sara Bain’s Ivy Moon Press

I’m visiting fellow author and publisher, Sara Bain, today at her Ivy Moon Press blog. Here:

Come by and leave a comment.

Bella’s Betrothal is available now for pre-order and goes live on MuseItUp’s bookstore on 20th September.


Roman Girls

Roman Girls

My publishers, MuseItUp, have two blogs. I’ve posted from time to time on the regular one when a theme prompted me to share a few thoughts. Now Mariah has been invited onto MuseItHot to show how even in 1822 a girl can become Hot & Bothered. Check out her first encounter with Tobias here:

MEGAN JOHNS – Author Interview – A Shore of Secrets

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My guest today on Novels Now is UK writer MEGAN JOHNS. Megan and I are with the same lovely Canadian publisher, MuseItUp. Although with children now grown, Megan and her husband live with an adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and enjoy the antics of next door’s alpacas.




Megan's writing features contemporary romance novels ‘with teeth’. That's why she sums up A shore of Secrets with
‘In all secrets there is a kind of guilt.’ Can Abi learn to trust, and Giovanni to forgive?

I asked Megan the Novels Now questions. Thanks for dropping by Megan.
Qu) Like many other great inventions, the e-reader has taken off. Do you read in both electronic and paper mediums? Which do you prefer?

Ans) E-readers offer many advantages. There is no doubt there are huge benefits in their storage capacities, also their size and portability. For holidays, they are by far the best option in that one can transport a range of otherwise bulky books inside a handbag. At home, however, I still find I gravitate towards paperbacks. Why? Habit, perhaps, although I suspect it runs deeper than that. There is something sensual about physically holding a book in one’s hands, as though you own the words, can touch them, can smell the paper. Hard copies also afford the ability to browse a bookcase at leisure, to admire their covers and dip into them at random.

So which do I prefer? I am quite split on this, but recently I have found e-readers cause less eye strain and I suspect my Kindle may well become my preferred medium in the future.

Qu) Do you travel to find locations or do you use the ability to go anywhere in the imagination, to do just that?

Ans)I tend to write about places I know and with which I feel an attachment. Holiday locations have been a great inspiration to me, although this is a by-product rather than a deliberate plan. I admit to organising family holidays to obscure destinations in the past, possibly with a subconscious intention of researching future writing scenarios. Fortunately, the holidays have all turned out fine, so the fact they have inspired me to write is a bonus. I find that actually being in a place and experiencing the lifestyle means one can get beneath the surface and learn more about what makes the place tick. I admire people who can write purely from their imagination, but for me first hand experience is key.

Qu) What is the most important physical sense of your current heroine? (Taste, touch, sight,hearing or smell)

Ans) Interesting question. I would say sight is probably Abi’s most important physical sense. She loves to admire the beauty of the environment and the hero’s attributes do not escape her attention either! However, taste and smell are close contenders with all the delicious flavours and aromas of Italian food.

Qu) Who is your favourite fictional hero?
Ans) It’s got to be Mr Darcy from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. He starts off so arrogant and aloof, but love eventually brings out a more generous side of his nature. We have to go through a lot of pain to get there, however!

Megan has kindly agreed to share an extract from her fresh release A Shore of Secrets with us:

A Shore of Secrets 200x300

She knew she must have touched a nerve. Ordinarily, his feelings were

concealed behind a wall of seamless armour that exposed no tangible signs of emotion. She observed him straighten his back with an air of possessiveness. Only the brows, drawn together over the blade of his nose, hinted at unease now. It was obvious their brief encounter had reached an abrupt end. Without meaning to pry, it was also clear she had taken a step too far. She dragged a deep breath into her lungs. Dealing with Giovanni was like treading on eggshells.

“Well, I mustn’t keep you from your clients any longer.” Clicking his heels, he tossed an impartial smile, adding in a tone of freezing courtesy, “If you have any queries or require any help, I’ll be in the office.”

What was it about Giovanni that troubled her so, she wondered as he left her alone with her tumbling thoughts? Maybe it was her conscience over Francesca at play. Regardless of the guilt trip, it was so maddening how his condescension could reduce her to a helpless child. She was a strong and independent career woman, for goodness sake.

Shaking herself into action, she swirled round on her heels and beamed a practised smile at the jocular holidaymakers. The secondary purpose of her visit was blanked from her mind.

Buy links: MuseItUp Publishing Amazon Kindle U.S. Amazon Kindle U.K.

Venice is exquisite. Nor is the beauty confined to the place. Hotelier Giovanni Renaldi is tall, dark and devilishly handsome. Yet holiday representative Abi seems immune. Crossed in love, she is in no hurry to fall again. Plus his arrogance is so infuriating.

Surely the discomforting feelings he evokes can only be guilt at covering for his naive sister’s secret lover?

When passion finally wins through, the thrill of their lovemaking is soon wrecked. And Giovanni, proud and fierce defender of his family since inheriting the role of patriarch, is enraged to learn Abi has colluded with his sister.

But Abi quickly discovers her secrecy is nothing compared to Giovanni’s. As the family’s closely guarded secrets begin to unfold, she is sucked into their internal wrangling.

Is nothing what it seems in this clandestine community?

And can love triumph over the turmoil of scarred lives?

MEGAN’S LINKS: Megan’s Web Site

Megan’s Blog

Megan’s Amazon Author Page

Megan on Facebook

Megan on Twitter

Megan on Goodreads


Author’s Other Works: ‘The Path of Innocence’, published by Devine Destinies BUY LINK CLICK HERE
Megan’s LINKS: Facebook: Twitter: Megan Johns @meganjohns12 Goodreads: