Monday, 30 September 2013

Toni Lynn Cloutier: The Patriot Girl

Today, Heart of Fiction welcomes, Toni Lynn Cloutier, author of The Patriot Girl, book one of the No Bulls Series by The Wild Rose Press.

Toni is a native Rhode Islander who's a stay at home mom whose hobbies includes, as she says, rearranging the furniture and cleaning house. She's mother to a teenage son and wife of a very tolerant husband who has accepted Toni's love of moving things around when he's not home. Don't let this fool you into thinking Toni is eccentric. She also enjoys counted cross-stitch, reading, home decoration, playing with the family cat, listening to country music, and of course, her passion is writing.

Welcome, Toni!

Toni's debut book is called The Patriot Girl. Don't let the title mislead you. This isn't a war story or a story based around the military. MaKayla Adams earns the nickname from the hero's sister.

MaKayla's husband has died in a car crash and now she's left putting her life back together. As the days and weeks pass, she realizes that while she loved her husband--there's no disputing that--she just wants . . . more.

Something plagues No Bulls nightclub owner, Dustin James. He'd been in an accident which put him in a coma. Three years later he still doesn't remember the accident or much of what happened before it. What he does know is that he was given a second chance at life and has pushed everything aside to focus on his young daughter and creating the best life he can for her.

Part of creating that life includes hiring MaKayla Adams as the club's public relations consultant. He can't provide for his daughter with a failing business. It's not long though before Dustin's attraction to MaKayla becomes apparent and he kisses her and their relationship rockets into a fiery affair.

There's something connecting MaKayla and Dustin. Something that could either tear them apart or bring them closer together.

The Patriot Girl is an emotional read which touches on the hearts of many who have experienced loss of a loved one. This is a gripping read which will keep you in your seat until the last page. Toni creates a believable story line and characters you will consider friends by the end. It's an emotional read, so get your hanky ready.

--> Toni loves chatting with her readers, AND she's giving away a free digital copy of The Patriot Girl to one lucky winner today. Just leave her a comment or question with your contact email address for your entry to be put in the hat.

Follow Toni's book tour here.

• • •

MaKayla Adams has always been curious about the wild side of life. Making love with her late husband wasn’t exciting, and she never could understand the big deal…until hunky nightclub owner Dustin James hires her as a public relations consultant. His touch arouses feelings she’s never known, and his kiss tempts her to cross the line between business and pleasure.

Dustin doesn’t remember the car accident that put him in a coma three years ago, but since his recovery, he’s pushed his own needs aside to be a single father to his young daughter. When MaKayla offers to help publicize his country nightclub, however, she ignites deeper feelings he can’t ignore.

But there is more than mutual attraction between MaKayla and Dustin—there is a shared past connected to her husband’s death. Will the truth bring them together or tear them apart?

She tilted her head toward his touch. “We do have an unusual chemistry, but anything more between us would complicate things.”

“In what ways?”

“Alex wouldn’t understand. Not to mention Paul’s parents.”

“What about what MaKayla wants?”

A loaded question she didn’t know how to answer. She wanted what she couldn’t have—not to be alone, the noises in her backyard to go away, a husband to spoil, and another child to mother.

“It doesn’t matter what I want. What matters is doing the right thing.”

“For who?”

“For everyone.”

“Even if it means being unhappy? When was the last time you did something for MaKayla without worrying about consequences?” He rolled his tongue and smiled.

“There was liquor involved. Otherwise, I never would have growled at you.”

“Why not?”

She shrugged. “Because it’s inappropriate.”

“A tease?”


He cupped her cheeks between his palms. “I find you sexy as hell and I’m going to kiss you. The time to stop me would be right now.”

• • •

 Find Toni online --

The Wild Rose Press:

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Stella Whitelaw: Sweet Seduction

It's always a pleasure to have Stella Whitelaw back at Heart of Fiction. She's a wonderfully prolific writer and a well-respected woman in her field. That and she's a lovely woman with a great sense of humor and a great story to tell.

Today's story is about Kira Reed, in the newly released, Sweet Seduction. Kira has been let down too many times, and by some of the most important male figures in her life. Amongst them, her grandfather, Benjamin Reed; her now ex-fiance, Bruce; and her former employer, MP Percival Connor.

Feeling emotionally destroyed, Kira sets about reinventing herself, and to do that, she needs a change of environment. What better place than sunny Barbados? And it just so happens, she has a family history there she hopes to connect with.

Kira meets Giles Earl on her flight. She's instantly drawn into his charm and handsomeness, but she tries keeping their relationship professional when she learns his grandfather had been her grandfather's business partner so long ago. Their company, Reed and Earl, had become the most powerful sugar refining company in Barbados, and with it came social importance and political intrigue, which eventually turned into a dramatic downfall. But the professional exterior Kira exudes is soon shed when Giles kisses her, and she falls hopelessly in love with him.

The story of the Reed women play alongside that of Kira's, revealing secrets and uncovering truths. Including the mysterious death of her mother, Tamara. And just when Kira receives the most heartbreaking news of her life, Hurricane Hannah rips through Barbados, destroying all in her path. Will she destroy Kira as well? You'll have to read the story!

Sweet Seduction is romantic, suspenseful, intriguing, tender, and dramatic. Stella weaves a tale that will make you want to read this book in one sitting. You'll feel the warm breeze on your face, smell the sweet scent of the sea in the air, and taste the richness of the exotic island of Barbados.

How about a sampling of Sweet Seduction to seduce you?

• • •

Three important men in Kira Reed's life have let her down -- her grandfather, her fiancé and her MP employer. Feeling she can have a better life and start over, Kira relocates to the beautiful island of Barbados, forgetting about past disappointment and about her failed London career. Determined to succeed, she reinvents herself as a successful, glamorous executive. She has a secret, too, and is determined to find the man she believes caused the death of her mother, Tamara.

Giles Earl owns a sugar factory and plantation called Sugar Hill.  He is the type of man Kira should be seducing with her business expertise, but instead, she finds herself falling in love with him. Can she trust him with her secret, or will he use it to destroy her?

The mystery of Dolly’s unfolding story is told alongside Kira’s: Kira discovers an insurmountable barrier with her love of Giles. Her grandmother, Dolly, a wild young girl, had two lovers at the same time -- one of them had been Giles’ father. Could Tamara be Giles' sister? This would makes Giles, the man Kira deeply loves, her own uncle.

Just as Kira is about to discover the truth of Dolly's marriage secret and who killed her mother, Hurricane Hannah hits Barbados, destroying almost everything on Sugar Hill. Will Kira ever discover the truth?

"I believe this seat is free?" he asked, stopping in the aisle. "May I join you for the flight?"

"Please do," said Kira, but she did not look at him.

He eased himself into the seat, stretching out his long legs. She could not help liking everything she saw about him . . . the capable brown hands fastening the clasp, the old gold of the watch chain, the sharp crease in the trousers, the faintly aromatic smell of a spicy cologne, the darkly glistening hair crisply cut into the nape of his neck. He was all man, and a magnificent man. But she wanted nothing to do with him.

"Do you always travel first class for a twenty minute flight?" Kira asked.

"You may have noticed that I need the leg room."

His arm brushed against her as he moved sideways to stow a wallet in an inside pocket. It was like an electric shock. It took a physical effort to stay still in her seat and let the feeling wash away.

"Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Giles Earl. I own Sugar Hill Plantation in the Parish of St John," he said.

Kira took a steadying breath and smiled briefly. "My name is Kira."

"That’s a very pretty name."

Kira was hardly listening as Giles Earl continued talking. Sugar Hill Plantation. In the briefcase at her feet was a letter of introduction written by Percival Connor MP to the owner of the Sugar Hill Plantation.

And Benjamin Reed’s business colleague had been Reuben Earl. Reed and Earl. The name had been famous in the sugar industry before the two men quarrelled. They had set up a partnership, harnessing the power of both their plantations and refineries. Her mother had often told her how Benjamin and Reuben had planned a brilliant future for Barbados with a new political climate.

It would have been the easiest thing in the world to open her briefcase and bring out the letter to start things going. But somehow she could not. Her hands lay frozen in her lap, despite the comfortable cabin temperature. This was not the time to say that she was Benjamin Reed’s granddaughter.

• • •
Stella Whitelaw began writing seriously at the age of nine. She was ill with measles when her father gave her an Imperial Portable typewriter. Covered in spots, she sat up in bed and taught herself to type.

At sixteen, she became a cub reporter and worked her way up to Chief Reporter. She was the first woman Chief Reporter, the youngest, and the only one who was pregnant.

After producing a family, she became Secretary of the Parliamentary Press Gallery at the House of Commons. Secretary then meant the original meaning, Secretariat, the keeper of secrets. She was awarded an MBE in 2001 but is not sure why.

Like Trollope, she wrote books on the train and in the recesses. The Jordan Lacey PI series is her favourite and the cruise crime books. Her big romances, No Darker Heaven and Sweet Seduction, were a marathon adventure.

Stella has won a woman’s magazine national short story competition and the London Magazine’s Art of Writing competition judged by Sheridan Morley. The Elizabeth Goudge Cup was presented to her at Guildford University.

Homeless cats find their way to Stella’s lifelong hospitality and she has written eight books of cat stories for the 7 – 70 plus.

Find Stella online --

Tirgearr Publishing

 • • •

--> Tirgearr Publishing is giving away a copy of Sweet Seduction today to one lucky commenter. Leave Stella a message with your email address, or ask her a question, and be automatically entered into the random drawing.

Or grab a copy of Sweet Seduction here.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Lucy Felthouse: A Bit of Rough and A Menu with a Difference

Please help me welcome the incomparable Lucy Felthouse to Heart of Fiction, author of more than 100 erotica stories. Yeah, you read that right -- one HUNDRED. An impressive backlist, to say the least. And there seems to be no let up in Lucy's creativity.

After writing her first erotica in university, a dare she fond well-received by her peers, Lucy took up writing as an outlet from the doldrums of school. It wasn't long though before her stories were selling. And selling well! Today, she has a stellar career as one of the industry's most prolific and most beloved erotica writers. And she's loving every minute of it.

Not only does Lucy write incredibly sexy stories, she's also a prolific blogger, a successful marketing expert, and in her spare time she enjoys reviewing books . . . and not just erotic. Lucy is one busy lady, and is one of the lucky few actually making a good living from her work.

Today, Tirgearr Publishing has republished two of Lucy's favorite erotica tales, A Bit of Rough and A Menu with a Difference.

A Bit of Rough is Allison's story. When she meets Andrew, she thinks he's a jerk, wanting nothing to do with him. He's a braggart and talks of almost nothing but the women he's slept with in the past. But he's sexy as hell and something about him pulls her in

A Menu with a Difference is Annette's story. She's a woman with a lingering fantasy and never thought her boyfriend, Jed, would ever be interested in experimenting a little . . . to keep things spicy. While away on a romantic weekend, Annette sees her opportunity to fulfill her fantasy. To her delighted surprise, Jed isn't saying 'no.'

This is a pair of sexy little stories. The reader will easily slip into Allison's and Annette's shoes as they fulfill their fantasies. Perhaps in the end, the reader will have a new fantasy or two of their own worth investigating!

Check out the extracts from A Bit of Rough and A Menu with a Difference and introduce yourself to the erotic writings of Lucy Felthouse --

• • •


When Alison meets Andrew ("call me Drew"), she instantly pegs him as a moron. He's a total bad boy and does nothing but chain smoke and brag about his stream of past conquests. Yet, much to her confusion, Alison still finds herself attracted to him. She's not had sex in a while, so Alison figures there's no harm in going home with him to get herself a bit of rough.

When I met Andrew ("call me Drew"), I instantly pegged him as a bit of a moron. He had a captive audience of people laughing at the many mishaps in his love life. Despite the fact he was mocking himself, it sounded like he was desperate for people to know just how many women had been in his life, for however brief an interlude. He was one of those guys you love to hate. And yet, I still fancied him rotten. It was totally bizarre. He was not my type at all.

He was just a little taller than me, slim and had several tattoos on his arms. His facial hair was somewhere between stubble and a beard, his hair had no discernible style, and he smoked. I like my men tall, muscular and clean shaven. And I hate smoking. Therefore, it took me a while to put my fingers on the reason or reasons for my odd attraction to the guy. When I finally worked it out, it was like a light bulb had clicked on in my head.

He was, or at least he thought he was, a bad boy. What many would call a bit of rough. He was the guy you never introduced to your friends, and certainly not your parents. You kept him completely under wraps, preferably between the sheets, and enjoyed.

I got the vibe from his oozing self-confidence that he was probably good in bed. At that moment, I resolved to find out. I didn't need to make a move; his arrogance assured him he was irresistible to all women and he came on to me, knowing I wouldn't refuse. I almost did, just to take him down a peg or two. But he was hot and I was horny, so I didn't mind him picking me up. After all, I had no intention of becoming one of his amusing anecdotes. I wasn't going to stick around long enough for that. I was simply in it for my ‘bit of rough,' then I was a goner.

• • •


When Jed and Annette spend a weekend in a luxury hotel, they're planning to take full advantage of the hot tub and large bed - preferably with a third party. Annette's never been with another woman before, but she's eager to experience some Sapphic delight. When the couple meets waitress Tamara at the restaurant they're lunching at, they agree she's perfect in many ways; but is she on the menu?

I kicked Jed discreetly under the table, warning him to cool it. He was flirting madly with the waitress who’d come to take our lunch order. Glancing up to see how she was handling it, I realized the young woman didn’t seem to mind at all. Of course, she could just be extremely friendly, but I doubted it. Jed was hardly being subtle. And he was a gorgeous looking guy, too. Women rarely failed to notice him, and he knew it.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that I was pissed off with Jed for flirting; far from it. We’ve got an arrangement which means we can hook up with other people with no repercussions, as long as we’re honest about it. In fact, divulging our dirty deeds to one another after the event usually ends up in totally hot sex. The lifestyle’s not for everyone – but it suits us just fine.

However, this time was different. Jed wasn’t just trying to get himself laid. He was trying to get this girl into bed with both of us. Despite the fact we’re an incredibly open minded and adventurous couple; I’d never actually been with a woman and figured this was a great way to experiment. Jed and I had had a whispered discussion as soon as we saw her and decided that if, when it came down to it, I wasn’t into the girl on girl thing, then the two of us could just pleasure Jed. He certainly had no objections. What guy would?

I was taking a back seat during Jed’s “seduction” because we had no idea of the girl’s sexuality and for that reason it made sense to assume she was straight. The plan was to see how she responded to Jed’s flirting first of all, then have me join in. If the girl freaked out; well, we’d have our nice lunch and then we’d go back to the hotel and fuck. If not, then we’d go back to the hotel and fuck, but with a guest.

The way things were going, it looked as though it was about time for me to step in.

 • • •

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over seventy publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include Best Bondage Erotica 2012, 2013 and 2014 and Best Women's Erotica 2013. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies. She owns Erotica For All, and is book editor for Cliterati.

Find Lucy Online --

-- > Lucy is giving away a copy of A Bit of Rough and A Menu with a Difference to one lucky commenter. Leave her a question or comment here with your email address to be automatically in the draw.

Or you can grab a copy of A Bit of Rough and A Menu with a Difference now for just $1.99 through Tirgearr Publishing.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Kristi Ahlers: The Trouble with Vineyards

Today we welcome back one of Tirgearr Publishing's most prolific authors, Kristi Ahlers. Kristi is the author of the wildly successful Trouble Series. What started with a kiss continues today with the release of The Trouble with Vineyards. But don't let her fool you. Kristi is a master of writing kissing scenes; they're quite prolific through the series!

It's not surprising Kristi can write kissing so well. Being the wife of a Marine, the long goodbye and the long hello kisses are surely well in within her experience ;-)

Today we're featuring Kristi's latest release in The Trouble Series, The Trouble with Vineyards. She continues her journey in California (see The Trouble with Beachs, May 2013, set in San Francisco) to the Napa Valley where Meredith Ramsay has just received two horrible pieces of news from her grandmother -- the family vineyard (est 1852) is in trouble, and the consultant they hire to help turn things around is none other than the love of Meredith's life, whom she left ten years earlier when she received a prestigious invitation from a Paris ballet troupe. At 19 years of age, the choice of fulfilling a life-long dream or staying put for a man she'd only met, Jackson Remy, was a tough one. Ten years later, Meredith is home and facing that man again. Things aren't looking good for poor Meredith! Fortunately, Jackson isn't easily intimidated, nor is he a quitter.

To say the steam is rising in this story would be an understatement. Bad news, confrontation, hard truths and more are all brought to the surface in this one, including some of those stellar steamy kisses ;-)

The Trouble with Vineyards takes readers into the workings of an old family vineyard while also recounting some of the Napa Valley's history. One can't help visualizing rolling hills filled with grape vines, smelling the grapes on the warm valley breeze, and tasting the varietals on the tongue during a wine tasting. Aah, bliss! This is a must read for fans of Ms. Ahlers, and for those who love a good bottle of wine, or three {hic!}

Let's take a look at this fabulous story --

• • •

Meredith Ramsey is at the end of her rope. It’s up to her to turn her family’s vineyard into a money maker or a winery that has been in the family for one hundred eighty-two years will go up for auction. Her grandmother Marie, decides what Meredith needs is some help.

Enter Jackson Remy. He runs a very successful consulting company and it’s up to him to help turn things around for Le Clerq winery. He’s up for the challenge but what he wasn’t counting on his overwhelming desire for Meredith which has never abetted even after ten years have passed. When the two of them come together the sparks fly and anything can happen and if a few grapes get crushed in the process all the better.

“Dear, I need you to sit down. You might not like what I have to say.”

“Might not or won’t like?” Meredith dropped back into her chair and braced herself for whatever her grandmother was about to say. Adrenaline began to pump through her system.

“Do you remember Jackson Remy?”

Oh, no. No, no, no, no. This wasn’t happening. “Yes, I remember him,” she gritted out through clenched teeth and tried to find her center and her balance. There was no way life was going to be this cruel.

“Well, I hired him. As you know, he spent his life growing up around the grapes, he knows what it takes to make a winery work and make money, and he has practical experience.”


“No?” Her grandmother sat back in the chair and narrowed her eyes. “I never took you for a chicken heart. Give me one good reason why I should tell him not to bother coming when he may be the only person who can help you turn things around.”

Meredith hung her head in resignation. Oh, she could name a dozen reasons why she thought this was a bad idea, but she wasn’t going to be selfish or silly. She was an adult and she’d act like one. It would be her secret that she was screaming like a child on the inside. Now would be a brilliant time for that long awaited big one earthquake to take place and swallow her whole.

“Good girl. I knew you’d be responsible and adult with this. I’m almost positive Jackson has forgotten all about that night.”

“Geez, Grandma, do you have to talk about it?”

“Dear, how is ignoring what happened going to make it go away? I think it’s best when you both meet that maybe you just get it out there and deal with it and move on.”

As if it was that easy. Meredith ran a distracted hand through her now tangled hair. If she could go back in time and change things, that long ago night where she made the dumbest of mistakes would be the one thing she’d re-do.

“After all you both were so young, and—”

“Grandma.” This was not something Meredith wanted to talk about—now or ever. She’d all but run away from the one guy who could have made her happy. She’d been such a twit a decade earlier.

“Yes, dear?”

“Please, don’t bring up that night again. I’ll work with Jackson to turn the winery around but I won’t rehash the past. It’s behind me for good or ill and what is done is done.”

“ClichĂ©s one and all dear. Maybe this is fate giving you a much needed second chance to right the huge mistake you made.”

“Yeah, because fate gives a rat’s hoo-ha about a mistake I made when I was nineteen.”

Her grandmother shook her head sadly. “I just want you happy, sweetheart, and I know Jackson was the man who would have added to your happiness.”

“Yes, well.” Meredith had no idea if that was true or not. She wasn’t terribly miserable; the last ten years had been good for the most part. Granted, there were days when she’d think about him and remember the summer spent under the stars in the vineyard with the son of the vineyard foreman. The summer days spent swimming at the lake, laughing and living. She missed the way he’d look at her before he’d kiss her senseless and how her body came alive when he touched her.

But she’d only been nineteen. It was her first trip visiting her family since her dad had passed away six years earlier. The whole summer with her family had been magical. She’d missed her California cousins and she loved being around the winery: the scents, the textures.

There was something very captivating about the winery. Maybe it was the family history, or maybe it was due to the fact it was something so very different from what she was used to. In any event, she’d thoroughly enjoyed her summer.

And then everything seemed to go wrong.

Or she ran off being a coward and that was what had been wrong.

However you want to look at, it the perfect summer ended up with a perfect dark mark.

“Why don’t you go upstairs and get ready, dear?”

“Get ready? For what?”

“Our company, of course.”

“He’s coming today?” So much for having a few days to get her act together and used to the idea of seeing Jackson again.

“Yes, dear. I figured it would be doing you a service to just get it over with—somewhat like ripping off a band-aid really quick on a hairy arm.” She nodded her head. “Yes, this is much more humane.”

Meredith could do nothing else but offer a smile and will her heartbeat to a normal rhythm and the desire to pass out to dissipate. “Why did I give up dance?” She muttered to herself as she stood.

• • •

Kristi Ahlers is a California girl! She grew up in Northern California in a small city called Yuba City. Since then she's lived in Brussels, Belgium, and England along with a myriad of other locations. A former flight attendant, she was able to continue to feed her love of travel. This has greatly influenced her writing, allowing her to pen stories about places she's managed to visit and things she's experienced.
Kristi loves to hear from her readers.

Find Kristi online --

Kristi Ahlers
Kristi's Blog
Tirgearr Publishing

 -- > Kristi is giving away a copy of The Trouble with Vineyards to one lucky commenter. Leave her a question or comment here with your email address to be automatically in the draw.

Or you can grab a copy of The Trouble with Vineyards now for just $1.99 through Tirgearr Publishing.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Kay Brooks: Between Heaven and Earth

Please help me welcome Kay Brooks to Heart of Fiction.

Kay started her writing career at an early age. She developed a love of Gothic stories, the supernatural, and romance as her writing developed, which all shine through in her work. When not writing, Kay is a teacher. Her topic? Literature, of course!

Today, we're talking about Kay's book, Between Heaven and Earth, out today through Tirgearr Publishing. This is the story of a man born in 1812, but due to a curse, he survives through his immortality, which Oliver finds as another curse.

Then a woman called Tabitha enters his life and the life he had known up till now, a life which he's sought to hide lest his immortality be discovered, is brought into focus. She pulls his life story from him, the guilt he carries with him of the death of his father, and the curse he also carries in his immortality.

This is an emotional journey through the life of a man carrying with him the weight of the world, and then some. Oliver and Tabitha form a strong bond which readers will instantly be pulled into. Once started, it will be difficult to put this book down.

Before we go onto the excerpt, we had a chance to talk to Kay --

Welcome to Heart of Fiction, Kay, and congratulations on the release of Between Heaven and Earth. And thank you for taking some time out of your busy schedule to chat with us. I'm sure midweek is a challenge for a teacher, especially as school has just started again.

Teaching is a hectic job. One spends a lot of time with the cirriculum, grading papers and other duties. How do you find time to write? So you have a schedule? What is your daily writing routine like?

I try to write a little every day but this isn’t always possible. As a secondary school teacher, I often have to bring work home so I can mark and plan lessons. When I get the writing bug though, I will dismiss all other jobs and write from dawn until dusk. My aim is to write at least one novel per year and then, if I can ever write full time, I would increase this as much as possible!

If Between Heaven and Earth is any indication, full time writing shouldn't be too far into the future!

When you get time to write, do you have a favorite place you like going or do you have a dedicated desk or office? Please describe it?

My writing space varies but my favourite is near the back window, where I can look out and see our two rabbits hopping about. Unless my two incredibly vocal children are around, it is very peaceful. Cleaning up the surrounding clutter to take a photo will probably take me at least an hour. I have a notepad for each writing project and one for the reviews of women’s literature that I write. Quite often, I have an audience while I am writing as my two cats like to be as close as possible, even if that means repeatedly sitting on the keyboard until I rearrange myself so there is space on my lap!

Oh, don't I know the trials of pets and writing. I have two dogs and they're constantly under foot. But if it wasn't for them, and kids, we'd never get off the chair, would we?

Speaking of off the chair, what do you enjoy doing when you're not writing?

I love spending time with my family, which is made up of my ever-supportive and long-suffering husband, Chris, our two sons, James and Christopher, and out menagerie of much loved pets. Living on the Fylde Coast provides lots of opportunities for days out and walks along the beach. When the weather doesn’t allow for this, I love watching 80s films, my favourite being either Overboard or Mannequin. I like nothing more than a romantic film with a guaranteed happy ending. Add in a bar of chocolate and a bottle of wine and I’m in Heaven!

Oh, the beach! That's very refreshing and inspiring. I'm a fan of 80s films too so I'm right there with you on your movie choices!

Thank you so much for chatting with us.

Now, let's check out Between Heaven and Earth --

• • •

Life can be very lonely when you have secrets. Oliver knows that better than most. Being over one hundred years old and still looking the same as he did back in 1834, most of his existence is spent moving from one place to the next in hope of hiding his immortality. Carrying the guilt of his father’s death is exhausting and Oliver wishes for death to release him. Then, the wayward Tabitha enters his life, wanting him to take her on a journey through his history. In return, she’ll teach him that love can conquer anything in its path.

The time is coming. The time for the unburdening of the soul. She is my last hope of a better life, if it can be deemed that. I have watched her from the first moment I laid eyes on her when she was a small child. On the day I had given up hope of finding that special person, she became my reason for being again. I had been sitting in my favourite thinking spot--a bench shaded from the sun by the branches of a huge oak tree with my back to the church, gazing at the wondrous rows of gravestones before me, ironically in between the living and the dead. A squeal of joy had broken my morbid thoughts and I turned to see the source. A young girl of about five years came running towards where I sat, her auburn curls bouncing, her eyes dancing, and her skirts fluttering in the wind. Her smile overflowed with the vibrancy of being young and alive. As her eyes met mine, she stopped abruptly but her smile remained. On reflection, a smile came effortlessly to my lips for the first time in decades. The moment of familiarity was shattered by the piercing call of an angry mother.

“Tabitha, how dare you run out of the Lord’s House? I shall be embarrassed to show my face in front of the congregation again. You are a terribly naughty girl!” the woman bent down to straighten her child’s skirts and then became aware of me. She stood and turned to face me. Her cheeks flushed red with self-awareness as she uncomfortably shifted from one foot to the other. “I’m sorry if she disturbed your mourning. I don’t know what gets into her sometimes!” she mumbled, shaking her head in disapproval.

“Youth, I should think,” I defended the excited creature. The woman smiled, taking this as an acceptance of her apology.

“I saw a squirrel. In that tree right there!” Tabitha cried pointing above my head.

“How could you see a squirrel out of those windows?” Her mother pointed towards the church. “They are at least six foot above the pews.”

“I saw him in here,” she pointed to her head. “And he was shiny and white.”

“A shiny, white squirrel? Well, I never. Tabitha, you must learn to stop telling tales. Now say sorry to this man and we will be on our way!” She took hold of her child’s arm and forced her attention onto me. Tabitha tried to force her head under the protective arm of her mother.

“That’s alright, Tabitha,” I said gently and she turned the gaze of her huge brown eyes to me. “I’ll keep an eye out for that squirrel of yours. If I see him, I’ll tell him you came to visit but missed him, okay?” Tabitha smiled and nodded. As she walked away, she would skip once every two steps and before she disappeared out of view, she turned to wave.

Her image stayed with me all week and on the Sunday morning, I felt compelled to return to the church bench in the hope of seeing her again. My mind was filled with lines from William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence.”

When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it.

The words reverberated in perfect harmony with the sound of her laughter. Although, Blake had not been as the famous poet he is today, he had been alive when I was a boy. His poetry often made me yearn for the past. To be able to sit and watch children play purely for pleasure and inspiration for poetry would indicate abnormality in a person now. A platonic relationship between a grown man and a young girl was scrutinised to the point of ruin. This thought made my decision for me. If Tabitha were to be the one I told my story to, I would have to wait for her to grow up into a woman. Of course, this involved the risk of her changing into a person I would be unable to relate to just as I had seen happen to my distant relative, Robert. I had been on the verge of making him my confidant when he betrayed the very people I had grown to love. But she would be less impressionable as an adult would and therefore, my words would be less likely to harm her. If she should grow up and become closed-minded then I would simply seek another to suit my purpose. I vowed to keep a look out for other suitable listeners. Although to be honest, I did this mainly to convince myself that all my hopes were not pinned on one person, and only half-heartedly. As Tabitha grew from a young girl full of imagination, to a young woman with the talent to carry out her ideas, I grew to care deeply for her well being.

• • •

Kay Brooks is dedicated to English literature whether it be reading, writing or teaching. She is the author of novels, short stories and reviews for Hints of her interest in the gothic, the supernatural and romance can be seen in her writing. As well as being an author and a teacher, she is also mother to two amazing boys and a very happy wife. Other interests include animals, theology and cheesy 80’s films!

Find Kay Online --

Tirgearr Publishing

-- > Kay is giving away a copy of Between Heaven and Earth to one lucky commenter. Leave her a question or comment here with your email address to be automatically in the draw.

Or you can grab a copy of Between Heaven and Earth now for just $4.49 through Tirgearr Publishing.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Sean-Paul Thomas: The Universe Doesn't Do Second Chances

Please help me welcome Sean-Paul Thomas to Heart of Fiction.

Born to Scottish and Irish parents, Sean-Paul spent his youth traveling Europe with his parents as an Army brat. He spent travel time reading and exploring, and as a result, developed a keen interest in writing about his surroundings, all of which he still enjoys today. In fact, as we speak, Sean-Paul is spending a few weeks in Romania.

While The Universe Doesn't Do Second Chances is not Sean-Paul's debut book, it is his first with Tirgearr Publishing.

The Universe Doesn't Do Second Chances is a heartbreaking yet endearing tale of love. This book crosses many genres so it's difficult to pin down just one. It includes a bit of romance, a bit of comedy and tragedy, a bit of fictional memoir, and more.

It may seem odd for a man to write romance, but for Sean-Paul, bringing out the emotions in his characters seems as natural as breathing. Readers will quickly be pulled into this story and want to keep reading until the end.

The Universe Doesn't Do Second Chances is the story of a 30something man who's lived a lonely life. He's not a ladies man by any stretch of the imagination. He's shy, reserved, and afraid to take chances because he doesn't want the embarrassment of being pushed away or of failing. When he boards a plane in Paris, bound for his hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland, Liam's life is about to change. It's not a spoiler to say this flight is going down. It's the story of what happens to Liam in that split second before the crash that will grip your heart.

I'll just say, you gotta read this story.

Sean-Paul is a traveling man, as I mentioned above, he's currently on holidays in Romania, but before he left, we had a brief chat with him.

Welcome to Heart of Fiction, Sean-Paul. We've caught you between journey's. You're just back from Granada and now you're in Romania. We're all envious here, I can tell you! Thanks for taking time out of your schedule to chat with us. Let's dive right in --

With so much going on in your life, work and travel and such, how do you fit in writing. Do you have a routine?

It can sometimes be really hard to get into a writing routine. First I need to get all plumbing jobs/duties out of the way. It's impossible for me to write while in the middle of a bathroom job. My mind just can't relax - (Men and two things at once and all that :) ) When I do find time to write, I'll usually get up around 8am, have a coffee, check all e-mails, surf the net, do some light exercise, shower, breakfast, read the last chapter I was working on, then just write...anything...and see what happens.

If you're like most writers I know, you probably get sudden bursts of inspiration while in the middle of your day job -- the most inconvenient time for it.

When you do have time to settle into a routine, where do you settle? Do you have a particular writing space?

An old brown wooden desk inside my second floor Georgian flat bedroom in Edinburgh lol It's spacious, with gorgeous views over southern old Edinburgh town, looking towards the Salisbury Crags and Arthur's Seat. The socially buzzing Edinburgh meadows is only a five minute walk from my street. A few years back I bought a second hand swivel arm chair since I really need to be sitting comfortably while writing. So of course I love this chair to bits.

Upon my desk you will always find my small netbook laptop, an empty coffee cup, half full tea cup (with tea bag still intact), empty red wine glass from the night before, spare random cables - which I have no idea what they are used for, a wrist strap (sometimes my wrist gets sore from writing or surfing the net) Foreign coin collection stored inside an old Nescafe jar, sunglasses (which I sometimes use when the glare of my computer screen becomes too much for my sensitive eyes), my Kindle for reading breaks, and a poetry diary, where I write the odd poem or two whenever the inspiration to do so comes to me.

I'm impressed . . . a poetry diary! Now we understand more where the sensitivity comes from to write a book like The Universe Doesn't Do Second Chances.

What do you enjoy doing when you're not writing?

I love travelling more than anything. Whether it's heading to a new place I've never heard of or been too before, in Scotland (or UK) or venturing off around Europe, I love it. I've made so many friends just randomly travelling around Europe that I very rarely have to book a  hotel/hostel anymore. I can usually find a couch or floor somewhere through friends or friends of friends somewhere in the country I'm travelling to. lol

Otherwise, hobbies are reading, hiking, history, rugby, food, diet, cooking, working out, meeting friends and enjoying Edinburgh.

Those are all great things to inspire writing. Not that Edinburgh alone isn't inspirational enough.

If you had one wish, what would it be?

If I had one wish, it would to be able to support myself forever, just traveling the world and writing.

Your wish and many others, no doubt!

Thank you for taking time to have a chat with us and letting our readers know more about you. Safe journeys to you!

Now, let's get to that extract of The Universe Doesn't Do Second Chances --

• • •

A lonely man in his late thirties living an average life of missed opportunities and regrets especially regarding the opposite sex, dies in a plane crash somewhere over the English channel. When he awakens in a subdued and bizarre subconscious state, he is granted by the powers that be, one chance to spend a day with the two women in his life who made an impact on his heart, yet he never had the courage to let go of his fears and act upon his instincts and desires at the time of meeting them.

Paris Charles de Gaulle - 2013

For as long as I could remember I was never really that great with women. Actually, this is not entirely true. I was good with chatting to, chatting up, chatting with, socialising and interacting with women who already liked me and had already been introduced through a third party or mutual friend. Either through clubs, parties, social gatherings or even introduced via my own sister on a few odd occasions. (My sister is a nurse, so some wild nights out with her and her crazy co-workers have been my saving grace more than once in the past.) But it was just when it came to meeting the women whom I truly desired, wanted to get to know and mulled over from afar, they were my stumbling blocks.

You know those particular stand out beauties you see once in a blue moon walking by themselves down the high street on a Saturday afternoon or sitting on a park bench all alone during their lunch break in the middle of summer, who immediately catch your eye, looking utterly bored out of their minds and just begging for some single handsome stranger to come and distract them away for twenty minutes or so from their mundane and repetitive daily worlds. That special girl who right away tugged so hard on your heart strings that your blood turned to ice and your soul melted to its very core because you knew she was completely your type without even having spoken to her. All you had to go on was a gut feeling and that special crazy something about her that spoke to every inch of your fibre and being and said this girl is the one for you, my friend, if you would only step up to the damn plate, put all your fears of public rejection, humiliation and inhibitions behind you and gather the courage, will power and determination to go and get her. That rare, radiant and beautiful Angel who caught a glimpse of you, too, and smiled back at you in turn while you were within their proximity but, alas, you had absolutely nothing to say to them in that moment. Nothing. No simple magic words, no charming chat up line, just a blank frozen mind and a stuttering tongue. But in reality, just to say one word, utter one stupid, tiny, silly little insignificant syllable would surely have been a million times better than saying nothing at all and living a life full of regret of not acting in the moment. And then poof, just like that, she's gone forever, out of sight, but never out of your mind.

Before you know it you're spending the next few miserable weeks and months thinking about her constantly. Dreaming what might have been and reminiscing over and over again that split second opportunity when you glanced, she glanced, then she smiled and you returned the smile, too, and could've actually done something about it before it slipped through your fingers in a nervous, panic stricken state of hesitation. Better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all. Whoever came up with that phrase I wanted his greasy head on a silver platter.

Yes, my life was full of these deep lingering regrets and split second hesitant missed chances, especially with the women I desired. So it actually came as no surprise at all to get one more of those rare opportunities shortly before my death at thirty nine years of age.

• • •
Born in London to Scottish and Irish parents, Sean-Paul spent most of his childhood and teenage years growing up on the move in the likes of Cyprus, Germany, Wales and England as an army brat. With a keen interest in both reading and writing he was diagnosed with the travel and writing bugs very early on in life.

Now, writing, reading and traveling are his main passions in life, but he also loves outdoor sports too from Rugby and Hiking to Tennis and Boxing.

His main inspiration for writing today comes from living in such a beautiful, Gothic, hauntingly, awe inspiring, dramatic and historical city such as Edinburgh. This place has given Paul so much amazing inspiration to write the more time he spends dwelling here with her. And he challenges anyone with 'so called' writers block to take a walk up and around the magical Carlton hill in Edinburgh's city center sometime. (In any kind of weather too, which will usually be a windy rain storm even in the heart of summer) Then just kick back, relax and enjoy the majestically views of our glorious castle, Princes Street Gardens, the bridges, the breathtaking and spectacular volcanic Munroe 'Arthur's Seat', The River Fourth, the Greek influenced national monument on the very top of the hill (which is where Edinburgh gets its nickname 'Athens of the North' from.) And of course the view of the fabulously Gothic monument of Sir Walter Scott, Scotland's greatest and most famous writer to date.

Find Sean-Paul online --

-- > Sean-Paul is giving away a copy of The Universe Doesn't Do Second Chances to one lucky commenter. Leave him a question or comment here with your email address to be automatically in the draw.

Or you can grab a copy of The Universe Doesn't Do Second Chances now for just $4.49 through Tirgearr Publishing.