When Chris De Burgh’s eyebrows were totally on fleek

It’s funny isn’t it, how hearing a certain song can take you back to a time and place in a way almost nothing else can? Every time I hear Chris De Burgh’s ‘Lady in Red’ (deeply uncool I know), I’m reminded of my first ever slow dance. Yes, that magical night when Justin finally asked me to dance! I can’t remember his surname now but, whatever it was, I’d spent at least a term writing Mrs Justin …… all over my text books at school – extra uncool points, but that’s just the type of girl I was.  I was a bit of a late starter and, if you want the real story, even this turned out to be a false start. Justin almost immediately danced with one of my friends who also liked him. Turned out he wasn’t interested in either of us, but just wanted to be nice and dance with anyone who fancied a shuffle around the dancefloor. Oh the heart break; excitement to humiliation in less time than it took the DJ to play the next song.

So why am I telling you all this? It’s not, as it might seem, a cheaper alternative than therapy for discussing my fairly tragic teenage years. It’s to remind my fellow children of the 80s what an amazing decade it was. Even though I do give thanks every morning for the invention of GHDs, it was a time when you could embrace your big hair and someone who looked and sounded like Chris De Burgh could be on the same episode of Top of the Pops as Boy George.

It never ceases to amaze me how I can remember all the lyrics to every song Wham ever released, but I go upstairs these days and forget what I went up there for.  That said my recollection of the 80s is infinitesimal compared with that of one of my oldest friends, and prolific writer on the 80s, Sarah Lewis.

As well as knowing everything there is to know about 80s music – go on, challenge her, she’ll prove me right – Sarah was always much braver than me when we were growing up in that very decade. Whether it was throwing the satchel of the local bully out of the train window, or blagging her way into summer parties at Bob Geldof’s house, Sarah would do it. No doubt there were huge stars back then she never dreamed she’d interview for her collection of books on the 80s, much less become friends with, but Sarah has gone on to achieve all that.

So what can I say? If you’re in the mood to be taken back to the 80s for even a little while, if you were mad about the music of bands from back then or would love to read an interview with one of the popstars whose posters used to be pinned to your bedroom wall and hear what life was really like as a celebrity in the 80s, then Sarah’s books are definitely for you. Her latest release ‘More Eighties’ features interviews with Soft Cell, Heaven 17 and Dave Wakeling to name just a few.

As for me? I’m just going to pop upstairs now to download ‘Lady in Red’ on my phone, but I’ll probably forget what I went up there for. Wish me luck!

Jo Bartlett

 

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Crime… or romance? Cross genre writing with Linda Huber

Today, the Write Romantics, are handing over to one of our favourite authors – Linda Huber – to tell us what it’s like writing across more than one genre. It’s something we’ve been interested in for a while, and a great way to increase your readership and the scope to earn from your writing, so we hope you enjoy hearing Linda’s take on it as much as we did.

The nice thing about writing in different genres is, you can write to suit your mood of the moment – as I discovered last year. Up until then, my books had all been crime fiction. Not police procedurals, more character-driven psychological suspense novels. It’s very satisfying, creating bad guys and then making sure they come to a sticky end. Of course, sometimes the bad guys aren’t bad, they’re just ordinary people, in the wrong place at the wrong time – and that’s when the plotting really gets interesting. In my new book Baby Dear, we have a woman who desperately wants a baby. Another who isn’t sure if she wants the child she’s expecting. A third with a small boy and a baby, struggling to make ends meet and give her children the best possible start. And then there’s Jeff. His world collides with all three women, and the result is – in the book! The big advantage of writing crime fiction is, when people annoy you in real life, all you have to do is imagine them in the role of the victim in your next book. Also, there’s a certain macabre satisfaction in choosing creepy cover images. Or maybe that’s just me. I was quite happy with my psych. suspense writing, but then last year I discovered that the rights to some old feel-good women’s mag stories, published in the nineties and noughties, had reverted to me. I had the idea of putting a little collection together, self-publishing it, and donating profits to charity.

And so The Saturday Secret was ‘born’. As I chose my stories, and licked them into shape to republish, it dawned on me that working with feel-good texts can be balsam to the soul in a way that psych. suspense writing just isn’t. For one thing, your feel-good characters don’t go through quite the same horror-scenarios as your psychopath and his victims. It’s less exhausting. Doing your research is a lot less harrowing, too. (There’s little I don’t know about the decomposition of dead bodies in air-tight containers.) And your elderly relatives are more likely to approve of your new book.

Writing romance does have downsides, though. I need a third cup of coffee some mornings to get into a suitably feel-good mood, for one thing. And my characters seemed to end up with everything I’ve ever wanted. Hm.

At the moment, I’m enjoying the best of both worlds. I’m working on another crime novel, and also a trio of vaguely romantic novellas, and I really couldn’t tell you which I’m enjoying most. As I said, it depends on the mood of the moment…
Bio

Linda Huber grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, but has lived for over 20 years in Switzerland, where she teaches English and writes psychological suspense novels. Baby Dear is Linda’s sixth psychological suspense novel. She has also published The Saturday Secret, a charity collection of feel-good short stories. (2017 profits go to Doctors Without Borders.) After spending large chunks of the current decade moving house, she has now settled in a beautiful flat on the banks of Lake Constance in north-east Switzerland, where she’s working on another suspense novel.

More About Baby Dear

Caro and Jeff Horne seem to have it all, until they learn that Jeff is infertile. Jeff, who is besotted with Caro, is terrified he will lose her now they can’t have a baby.

Across town, Sharon is eight months pregnant and unsure if she really wants to be a mother. Soon her world will collide with Jeff’s. He wants to keep Caro happy and decides that getting a baby is the only way.

Then Caro is accidently drawn into an underworld of drugs… Meanwhile, Jeff is increasingly desperate to find a baby – but what lengths is he prepared to go to?

Baby Dear is released on 16th May 2017 and available for pre-order now.

Find out more about Linda and her books at the links below:

Amazon Author Page: viewAuthor.at/LindaHuber

Baby Dear univ. link: getBook.at/BabyDear

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorlindahuber

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindaHuber19

website: http://lindahuber.net/

New release: Bear With Me by Jessica Redland

Searching for Steven (New Cover Design 3)I’m really excited to be releasing my 5th book, Bear With Me. I particularly wanted to launch it today on 1st May because it’s my birthday; perfect birthday gift to myself!

Working on Bear was a little bit scary because I’d lived with my Whitsborough Bay Trilogy and the cast of characters I’d created for about fifteen years! Bear With Me is still set in Whitsborough Bay but with a new cast of characters, although a few of the characters from the Trilogy do put in cameo appearances which I really enjoyed being able to do.

As well as new characters, I’ve written from two points of view for the first time. And one of them is male. So it’s all change for me.

The title, Bear With Me, works on a couple of levels. Firstly, it’s the name of the teddy bear shop that the protagonist’s mum, Julie, owns which is the setting for part of the book. Secondly, it’s about needing to ask someone to “bear with me” because you’re not ready for a relationship.

I used to have a teddy bear shop so it was perhaps inevitable that I’d set one of my stories in one. My teddy bear shop was called Bear’s Pad and I’ve given a nod to that in Bear With Me by calling Julie’s cottage Bear’s Pad. Jessica is my pen name. My real name is Julie so there’s a little nod to me in there too.

P1050693Whilst I had the shop, I attended a workshop where I learned how to make proper jointed mohair teddy bears. These are known as artist bears. I kept my very first one, sold my next two and then the next two I made were presented to my mum and my mother-in-law on my wedding day. My brand for these was Ju-Sea Bears because of my name and my home by the sea. So, of course, I decided that the bears that Julie makes would be called Ju-Sea Bears. I like to put little touches like that into my writing.

Bear With Me is available for Kindle download now. I absolutely love the cover which is courtesy of my very talented husband, Mark.

Here’s the blurb:

Sometimes love finds us when we least expect it. But sometimes love leaves us, just as unexpectedly.

Everything changes for Jemma on the weekend of her 28th birthday. An unexpected proposal from boyfriend, Scott, is overshadowed by her mum’s diagnosis with a life-changing condition. After the weekend, she needs Scott’s support more than ever. So why isn’t he returning her calls?

Everything was meant to be changing for Sam that same weekend. He should have been walking down the aisle with Nikki. But she’s not around anymore and Sam’s struggling to face the future. Did he do the right thing by moving to London to escape the memories of their life together?

When they’ve loved and lost, can they bear to let love in again?

Bear With Me, and all will be revealed …