Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dark Cloud - Silver Lining

Hi guys,
I've been under a dark cloud lately, because the imprint that publishes me has been in trouble. First we lost our editor Jane Holland, for reasons I won't go into, but I can tell you that she went above and beyond the call of duty for Embrace Books under very difficult circumstances. Then, about ten days later we got the bad news that the imprint will close - which I found hard to understand since just a couple of weeks earlier, the parent company published an article saying that Maggi Andersen's beautiful historical -  'The Reluctant Marquess' was one of their fastest selling books ever, and that all the other titles were selling steadily. I've just had another fantastic review too - sure to encourage more sales:

"I love Cody Young's writing style! This historical romance is one you will not forget! I like that it is a forbidden relationship with some complications. I liked how Clara would speak her mind, I found it to be very refreshing for that time period when it was not done. The story is straight forward no need for a dictionary with this story! This does contain a detailed description of the consummating the marriage. If you don't care for that you can just skim over it. I was so happy with this story! I would really love to read Olivia's story. I love it when I discover a new author and I will be looking for more from Cody Young!"   (Tiffany, GoodReads, July 27) 

So you can imagine how dismayed I was to find that the books will no longer be available through Embrace Books. But this is not all bad news! All the authors get their 'rights' back - which is GREAT NEWS. It means that our books can be re-released ASAP - and we can have more control over the cover, the price, and the marketing. Scandal at the Farmhouse will come out very soon with a brand new cover - at the irresistable price of 99 cents. It will also be available for the first time in print - good news for people who still love the feel of a 'real' book! I will keep you posted.

Meanwhile, check out Ranae Rose's new cover for 'Taken Hostage' and Judy Jarvie's new cover for 'Nanny Behaving Badly'.   In my next blog post - I'll reveal my new cover for my upcoming YA trilogy - starting with a wild time travel adventure. More to come! My other book, American Smile is still on sale - and selling more copies every week. The latest review is a four-star one, up on GoodReads here.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A charming page-turner!

Oh - an author loves to get compliments like these. This is what one of my wonderful reviewers wrote about American Smile - for more information go to Love Thy Author or Goodreads. Just goes to show you  CAN win fans with a virgin hero.

'A charming page-turner! This is a beautifully written novel about two romances, one in modern times in England, and one during the Second World War. Right from the start, I was charmed by the characters. It's a romantic story with real depth and leaves you feeling happy and sad all at once, like a good book should!'
 
Here's another lovely one from Book Club Forum!
' ...two stories weaves together to create a beautifully tangled web of mystery and searching.
The characters are absolutely wonderful and I especially loved Tyler, the American aircraft mechanic – to be truthful, I found myself falling rather in love with him myself. It’s rare that a romantic hero is so sweet, gentlemanly and, well, inexperienced, but it works to the advantage of the story and sets a contrast to the WWII relationship that is both fun and endearing ...' Book Club Forum Book Reviews.
You can check out the full text of that review here. 

American Smile is now available in print, on kindle and on Smashwords. All e-formats are priced at 99 cents.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Courage Under Fire

A year ago today, our house caught fire during the night while we were all asleep. We are an extended family, so it was Grandma who sounded the alarm at around 5am. She thought she heard an intruder and called us on her cell phone from the other end of the house. What she actually heard was pictures crashing off the walls and cans exploding in a room that had reached eight hundred degrees.
My husband soon realized that we couldn't reach her because of the heat and the thick black smoke that filled the main part of our house. We phoned for help and ran to get the children out, which was hard because we knew that Grandma was trapped, and couldn't walk. Within minutes, four firetrucks arrived, and began fighting the blaze. A red ball of fire - a flash over - belched out of our kitchen just after the firefighters went in.
They say suffering is good for writers - but this experience I could have done without! After the blaze was out, we came back to scenes like these:


There was structural damage to the roof and the whole of the back of the house had to be rebuilt, but overall we were incredibly lucky. All five of us escaped - including Grandma. The firemen ripped off her bedroom window and got her out with only minutes to spare. She had put a pillow down in front of her bedroom door to stop some of the smoke from getting in underneath - and this undoubtedly helped to save her life. As did the firefighters who lifted her to safety. She's a tough old lady who was a little girl in the London Blitz, and I'm so glad she made that call about the 'intruder' at five am!
The whole experience was a bit of a close call, as you can see. It has left us with a lot less furniture, a blackened wedding album, and a fanatical interest in smoke alarms (the batteries were out in ours). But it's true when they say that any experience that doesn't kill you can make you stronger. I can honestly say that while I was watching my house burn, my work-in-progress was the last thing on my mind, but I'm sure that one day this event while find its way into my books in various shapes and disguises. Looking back all that matters is that we got everyone out, and lived to tell the tale.
Now go check your smoke alarms!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Excerpt from American Smile


 April 1944
Joe thought she looked just like a porcelain doll.
A long time ago in a second-hand shop in town, he’d seen one in the window. She was so pretty, he had to go in and ask if he could have a closer look. Maybe he could get her for his little sister. They said the doll was French, and had once been very expensive. Her face was made of porcelain, pale and delicate, with a hint of pink on her cheeks and an irresistible little pink mouth. She had blue eyes that closed when you tipped the doll up and laid her on her back, and curled dark lashes. He wished he could have got her for his sister, but she was still too expensive, even second or third hand.
This girl behind the counter had that look about her. She had fluffy blond hair, which she had set into pin curls around her face. It had gotten a little disheveled now, in the heat of the steaming cookhouse. China blue eyes; lashes darkened with mascara and curled, just like the antique doll.
She lowered those lashes when she saw him looking at her. He was going to look away, pretend he hadn’t been staring, but he didn’t. Why should he? He smiled, and she smiled right back. He knew her name too, he heard another guy say ‘Hiya, Vera’.
There was a group of soldiers on the next table, and they had seen her too. Joe heard them plotting and planning. One of them nodded his head at the girls behind the counter.
‘Did you try asking her, the little cockney sparrow?’ one of the soldiers said. He pointed at Vera with his thumb. She was standing by an enormous tea urn talking to her co-worker—a tall pale young woman with her brown hair tied back with a ribbon.
‘You mean the blonde? She told me to get lost,’ the second one said.
‘What about the other one, with the nice…’ The soldier’s hands delineated the nice part.
‘No luck there, she’s a lady,’ said the third.
 The first soldier leaned forward in a conspiratorial fashion and spoke low to his three friends.
‘Those two—they finish here about nine o’clock. They always walk home along Lighthouse Lane. They lodge in one of those cottages beyond, right on the headland.’
‘What are you saying, Orville?’
 ‘There are trees along that lane, and it’s quite secluded. We could be there to meet ’em.’
‘You mean to jump them?’
On the next table, Joe didn’t like the sound of that. He stirred his cocoa and looked in the opposite direction, hoping the men wouldn’t see that he was listening. It was hard to hear the words—he dare not look at their faces—but his concentration was intense.
‘Why not? There are four of us, and two of them. It’d be easy.’
‘I don’t think so, Orville, you can get into big trouble doing something like that.’
‘That one over there, the snooty one, she won’t give me the time of day. She said she only talks to officers.’ In an action that did not match his words, the soldier gave the girl a wave and touched a finger to his cap. She gave a tiny have-to-be-civil smile. ‘The way I look at it they owe us, don’t they? We’re fighting their war for ’em.’
‘It’s our war now.’
‘Look, guys, you do what you like, but I’m not having anything to do with it. I can get me a girl the usual way. I just talk ’em round, you know. No need to do anything stupid.’
‘Oh, yeah? And when did you last get a girl, Tony? In Chicago?’
‘Orville’s right. They’ll send us over soon, I know they will. We could all be dead.’
‘That’s no way to talk.’
‘Who’s in front, that’s what I’m asking. My Dad always said you gotta look around and see who’s in front, who’s gonna take the flack. Here we are, right on the coast, looking out across the sea. There’s nothing and no one between us and the enemy, is there? There isn’t anyone in front to take the bullets. We are the front. We go over, we’ll take the bullets. I’m not facing that without a little something to make me feel better.’ He drained his cocoa as if it was a double whiskey and they got up to leave. ‘I say we jump those girls. Tonight.’
Joe looked at the girl with the china doll face. She was refilling the urn with water. He wondered what her pretty face would look like in the morning.