Saturday, 30 April 2011

End of Our Comedy Theme Party...

... but I hope you'll keep laughing :). I've thoroughly enjoyed this week! Many thanks to everyone who joined in the party, and of course, a special thank you to our guests of honour, Dakota Cassidy, Kate Johnson, Lizzie T. Leaf, Beverly Rae and Marta Acosta.

Our next party, 23rd to 27thMay, has a historical theme - I'll be announcing our guests of honour for that one very soon. I'll also have a few questions for everyone about how they would like the parties to proceed in the future, so if you have an opinion, I'd love to hear it.

In the mean time, have a great weekend!


Friday, 29 April 2011

Welcome Marta Acosta!

As our final guest of honour at the Comedy Party, I'm delighted to welcome back Marta Acosta, author of the fun and witty Casa Dracula novels. Welcome, Marta!

Mayhem Ensues by Marta Acosta

I studied Literature (with a capital L), so naturally I feel guilty about writing romantic comedies.  After all, serious writers write serious stories about serious subjects – the more miserable and hopeless, the more highly regarded.  Sometimes I daydream about writing a masterpiece about miserable, hopeless people.  It will have tortured metaphors and hundreds of pages of unnecessary detail so agonizing that readers will know it’s good – just like medicine that tastes like horrible. I’d be able to tell my snooty intellectual friends that I’m working on this Important Book, and they would be totally impressed and invite me to speak at their book clubs.

Instead, when people ask me what I write, I mumble, “Comedies, um, set in San Francisco, er, young woman, clever, contemporary, vampires, lots of hijinks, mayhem ensues…Oh, are those grilled prawns on the buffet?”

My agent told me that I should never use the term “romantic comedy” to describe my books. “It’s the kiss of death,” she said.  Which is interesting because the manager of my local bookstore told me about an author who wanted them to stock her $75 book about the history of tractors in Pennsylvania – I would have thought that was the kiss of death. 

Writing comedy means that in the 21st Century you use expressions like “hijinks” and “mayhem ensues.” Sometimes you say “rollicking good time.”  It means that characters misunderstand one another with chaotic results. It means readers say, “Oh, no, she didn’t!” when your heroine totally did.  In comedy, people make mistakes, but instead of giving up, they pick themselves up and carry on.

In comedy, mayhem ensues!  I love that phrase.  If you were writing an essay on my work, you’d notice that there are often fancy parties that go tragically awry.  I don’t know what this “fancy party going tragically awry” theme means in my fiction, or in my life, but I digress.

So why am I writing romantic comedies instead of trying to write Serious Literature? Because good medicine may taste bad, but laughter is the best medicine and it always tastes wonderful.

Haunted Honemoon by Marta Acosta (Book 4 of the Casa Dracula series)


As the only human to survive vampire infection, Milagro de Los Santos has become quite a celebrity among the blood-drinking elite. Too bad the perks of her condition—increased strength, super-fast healing—don't pay her condo fees. There are other complications too. She's feeling guilty about her fling with enigmatic Vampire Council member Ian Ducharme, and pining for her ex-fiancĂ©, Dr. Oswald Grant . . . the fabulous man whose kiss changed her life. It's when Milagro—irked by Ian's attentions to his neighbor—travels to London and enjoys a sexy flirtation of her own, that the blood really hits the fan.

Suddenly, those around her are dying gruesome deaths and Milagro's being interrogated. Who would kill to set her up as a murder suspect? Milagro just wants to turn back the clock and have another chance to make things right, but no sooner has she escaped to Oswald's ranch than an accident obliterates her memory. Will the murderer come after her now? And will amnesia spark a romantic do-over with Oswald—or will she make all the same mistakes before she ever gets to say ""I do""?

Love to Blood You, Baby

It was a marvelously sunny April day and I took a minute to admire the dignified bumblebees hovering like stripy zeppelins over the lavender hedge, and inhale the scent of freesia and narcissus before I packed my gardening gear into the back of my small green pickup. Since no one was around, I tossed a thirty-five-gallon bin of green recycling into the truck bed without my usual pretense of effort.

The garden had once been formal and restrained, with perfectly trimmed boxwood hedges; the sort of landscape my father, who had a landscaping company, installed. I'd transformed it into a place bursting with color and texture by adding interesting plant varieties and flowering shrubs.

As I swept the debris from the path, my brown dog, Rosemary, tap-danced by my side, and I told him, "We'll go in a minute. Thank you for your patience."

I leaned on the handle of my broom and looked up to see Gigi Barton, my client and friend, coming toward me. The heiress to the Barton tissue fortune ("It's not worth sneezing at if it isn't Barton's!") was dressed in a bold geometric print wrap dress over skinny pants and heels with a dozen tiny buckles. She worked the path like a runway and held out one arm to display a small silver package.

"Milagro, are you talking to that dog?"

"Yes, I am. The majority of pet owners talk to their pets. Did I tell you that I'm freelancing for Paws to Reflect, a newsletter for canine companions?" I had a degree in creative writing from a Fancy University (F.U.), but I hadn't been able to sell any of my fiction.

"You have the oddest ways of amusing yourself," Gigi said, "but the garden looks gorgeous. I love the urns."
The magnificent terra-cotta urns contained hundreds of deep purple and lemon yellow tulips, pansies, and freesias. "Thanks. I layered the bulbs, so you'll get a long succession of bloom."

"Wonderful!" She held the silver package toward me and said, "Would you give this to Lord Ian? I finally had the chance to have the mug shot framed from my arrest at our scavenger hunt last summer."

Gigi ran in the same circles as my boyfriend/lover/whatever, Ian Ducharme, who had one of those suspect European titles. Of course, I thought all titles were suspect unless they were on the covers of books.

I pulled off my grimy goatskin gloves and took the package. "I'm sure you look stunning."

She laughed. "I've learned a thing or two about getting a good mug shot over the years. The trick is to soften the lights with a scarf and have the photographer work with you. A girl like you shouldn't have any problem doing that. Just flash a little tit … or, in your case, a lot."

"Thanks for the tip, but I'm not planning on getting arrested anytime soon."

"That's what's fun about arrests, so spontaneous!" she said. "Oh, and tell Lord Ian that I'm taking his advice and looking into a summer house in Lviv."

"Where's Lviv?"

"Oh, it's the new Warsaw, Milagro. Everyone knows that."

"I'll pass along the message. See you soon, Gigi."

"Ciao, sweetie," she said, and returned to her house.

I finished sweeping, put away the broom, and then my dog and I got in the truck. I started the engine, cranked up the music, and considered my options. I hadn't planned on driving to see Ian, but the heat of the day had made me amorous, and I knew he was returning from one of his mysterious trips.

I'd never been able to stay away from him even when I was engaged to Oswald Grant, a much more admirable man, a good man, a principled man.

I joined in the traffic speeding out of the City and across the bridge, enjoying the sight of the rich orange cables and spires contrasting against the glimmering silver-green water and the azure sky.

On days like this, it was easy to convince myself that all was well with the world. I was grateful that I could not only endure the sunlight but enjoy it. There were few benefits of being the only hybrid (vampire-normal/whatever) alive, and this was one of the most important.

Once over the bridge, I took a boulevard that led to low hills and then exited onto a street that wound through expensive neighborhoods, each more wooded and exclusive than the last. I hated showing up anywhere empty-handed, so I stopped at the posh market in town.

Everyone here had that trust-fund look of studied casualness as they parked luxury cars with bike racks, drank organic soy chai lattes, and jogged in gear designed by NASA scientists.

My mutt barked at a dog walker with a trio of pewter gray Weimaraners.

"I agree," I said. "But it's rude to say so aloud."

I left Rosemary in the truck and went inside the market, conscious of my dirty jeans, sweaty T-shirt, and work boots. You'd think I'd get over my discomfort in these places, but I always felt like the scholarship girl who didn't fit in anywhere.

The difference now was that I wanted others to see me as an ordinary chica, instead of what I'd become.
It was warm enough to grill tonight. I tried not to look obvious as I lingered by the butcher counter, before picking out two strip steaks dripping with glossy garnet juices. As the butcher wrapped the meat, I caught a reflection of myself in the mirror behind the counter.

Strands of long black hair had come loose from my ponytail and my damp T-shirt clung to my bounteous chi-chis. When I wiped at smudges of dirt by my eyes, I smeared my mascara.

I bought a bottle of pinot noir, radicchio, two baskets of blackberries, sourdough bread, and a Nylabone for Rosemary. While I was waiting for my turn at checkout, I picked up a copy of the latest Vogue and flipped through it.

I stopped at a page with an ethereally beautiful blonde modeling boots and little else. Her name was Ilena, and I'd met her when she was with Ian. She'd called me a "pretty chubby little pickle," and I was fairly sure she meant "pretty chubby," not "pretty and chubby." Either way, the insult still rankled. I shoved the magazine back in the rack.

Once in my truck, I gave the chew toy to my dog, who let it drop to the seat.

"Don't be like that. I'll share my steak with you later."

I drove on a series of twisting lanes up a wooded hill. Most of the houses were hidden from the street. At the apex of one turn, I made a sharp right into the driveway of a belligerently modern house. The real estate agent had called this ugly arrangement of turquoise and peach blocks a West Coast Tuscan, but I thought of it as a California Crapsman.

There were no other car here, meaning that my boyfriend/lover/whatever hadn't returned yet.

When I opened the car door, Rosemary leaped out and ran around to the back of the house. I grabbed the groceries and Gigi's gift and followed my dog to the backyard, a plateau of grass with a small oval pool and a fantastic view of the wooded hills beyond. It was private here and serene, so long as I kept my gaze averted from the house.

I left the packages in the shade of a patio umbrella and stripped off my clothes. When I dived into the pool, Rosemary jumped in, too. I swam a few laps, enjoying the weightless sensation, and then I got out and looked for a stick to throw for my dog.

I spotted one of Rosemary's tennis balls in the shrubbery border. When I bent to pick it up, I heard, "Ah, a glorious full moon in broad daylight."

I grabbed the ball, jumped, and turned.

My boyfriend/lover/whatever, Ian Ducharme, let out a sexy, rumbly laugh. He was wearing an ivory long-sleeved shirt and navy slacks. His deep brown eyes glinted in the shadow of the Panama hat that was tipped forward to shield his face from the sun.

He had dark curly hair, an aquiline nose, hooded eyes, and a Cheshire Cat grin. He wasn't tall and he wasn't markedly good-looking, but he had charisma, which came from the Greek kharisma, meaning "gift," and that charisma made me distrust my attraction to him.

I said, "Don't do that!"

"Do what? I was merely admiring the sumptuous vista." Ian and his crafty sister, Cornelia, had been hauled around their family's properties when they were young, and they spoke English with a Continental accent: some words had a clipped British pronunciation and others were rolled luxuriously.

"Don't sneak up on me like that. I'm going to sew tiny bells onto all your clothes so that I can hear you coming." I threw the tennis ball in the pool and Rosemary paddled after it.

"Aren't you going to welcome me back?" Ian took a step toward me, and I suddenly felt both shy and thrilled.

I walked in the other direction, putting the pool between us. "I don't want to muss your clothes. You dress so flawlessly that I'm abandoning all efforts to keep up with you. I'm going to stay naked from now on."

"A laudable policy."

Ian moved toward me, but I kept stepping away. Despite all the times we'd been together, he could still make me feel wary; and, yet, I trusted him implicitly, inexplicably. I trembled with anticipation.

I said, "I only came here to deliver a package from Gigi. It's on the table. It's a framed mug shot."

"How thoughtful. I'd like to have a photo of you now, my raven-haired Venus rising from the waters."

"I bet you would."

He feinted a move left and I took a step right.

"Hellooo!" came a woman's voice.

As I looked to see who was calling, Ian moved swiftly to me and grabbed my wrist. I yanked hard, trying to throw him off balance, but I was distracted by the woman who appeared around the side of the house.

She was a pretty honey blonde with hair below her shoulders and a golden tan. She had the look of the wealthy women here, from her neatly arched brows to her narrow nose to her perfectly polished toenails in chic sandals. She wore a gauzy sleeveless shift and her arms and long legs were toned. She seemed to be about thirty, but it was hard to tell.

"I hope I'm not interrupting anything," she said cheerfully.

"Not at all," Ian said with a smile as he let go of my wrist.

It's amazing how accurate those dreams of being naked are: you think that if you act normal, no one will notice. I held my hands demurely in front of my hoo-ha.

For more on Marta's books, visit her website:
And her fab blog, Vampire Wire.

Today, Marta is offering one of her signed books (winner'c choice) to one lucky commenter who answers the question: What would you do if discovered naked in your garden by your neighbour? Brazen it out? Run screaming into the house? Marta's contest will close at midnight tonight and her winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread. Please note that entry to this contest is limited to US residents.

Criminal Comedy

Although I don't write comedy as such, a touch of humour among my characters usually comes naturally to me, and just occasionally, I do like to put them in ridiculous situations with amusing possibilities.

For example, in Ariadne's Thread, my Glaswegian heroine, is in such dire financial straits that against her better judgement, she's helping her brother and his criminal (and not very bright) pals rob a mansion in the Highlands during a New Year party. The plan is, if they're discovered anywhere they shouldn't be, they just say "Happy New Year" and no one will suspect a thing. Apparently.

Except Ariadne (Addie) is mistaken by the house's owner - an impoverished but very sexy concert pianist with a past - for a friend of his sister Tammy's, and she gets dragged into the party and ends up flirting so much with her host that he takes her upstairs to show her his etchings (or something). Unfortunatley, this takes them within spitting distance of where the robbers have locked Tammy up to stop her raising the alarm. And...

Well, see for yourself :)

From ARIADNE'S THREAD By Marie Treanor

     They had reached the top of the stairs now. Turn right, please turn right, away from Tammy…

     He drew her to the left. Addie was sure she could hear the office door rattling. She coughed to cover up any shouting, then found herself whisked into the piano room and the door firmly closed.

     “What are we doing here?” she demanded.

     “I thought you might like to play the piano with me.”

     The lamp was still on. By its poor light, his face looked rugged and more devilish than ever. And he stood too close, much too close. With the door behind her, there was nowhere she could go. God help her, there was nowhere she wanted to go…

     “Though now we’re here, I find I don’t give a stuff about playing.”

     You could drown in the storm of those eyes. She so needed to be away from him…

     “Shit, Kate.” His breathing seemed suddenly uneven. “Remember what you said about the lucky bag?” She opened her mouth to deny that she’d meant any of that, but he didn’t let her speak. “You’re right. It would be a bloody unlucky dip that dropped me in your lap. Tell me to sod off. Tell me quickly, and mean it—right after this kiss…”

     His head swooped down and his mouth seized her parted lips before she could think, let alone react to his words. She wasn’t prepared for it. She had no time either to reject him or to savor the moment. He went from speaking straight to kissing, his hands on either side of her face while his body pressed her back into the door. Paralyzed, she hung there while his mouth devoured hers, moving across her lips with a strange, tender hunger she’d never encountered before. It astounded her, enchanted her. So when his tongue slid between her lips, she opened wider to him, meeting his tongue with her own. He wound it in his, danced with it, sucked it into his own mouth while he explored every nook of hers.

     Sensation rolled inward like a tidal wave. Every caress of his sensitive fingertips at the corner of her lips, every movement of his devastating mouth, dragged her further in. She clung to him, kissing him back with forgotten passion till he groaned into her mouth.

     His hands left her face, trailing down her neck to her shoulders, and down the sides of her body, just teasing her breasts on the way to her waist where they lingered, stroking. Her hard, needy nipples pressed into him through the thin camisole. She moved in his arms, rubbing them against his chest. His hands swept down her hips, holding her while he pressed his lower body into her, his sporran jabbing into her abdomen.

     With an impatient jerk, his hand pushed between their bodies, pushing the sporran aside so that he could grind his erection into her instead. Through the thickness of his kilt, she could feel it already hard and thick. Desire flooded her, soaking her jeans. Her pussy pulsed with need.

     This can’t be happening…how can I want him so much so quickly?

     Changing the angle of his mouth, he deepened the kiss even further. One questing hand found her breast, cupping and caressing, his thumb flickering back and forth across her rigid nipple, making her moan into his mouth. She pressed forward into the delicious hardness of his cock and obligingly he rubbed it against her. She wanted it inside her, pushing, thrusting. She wanted him naked, to feel his skin, every inch of the hard body pressed so beguilingly against her now.

     At last, as if it were a supreme effort, he dragged his mouth free. “Tell me now,” he whispered, touching his forehead to hers. “Tell me quickly… ‘Sod off, John Maxwell, you’re nothing but trouble.’ Kate…”

     His mouth found hers again, brushing back and forwards across her lips as reality flooded back, bringing shame and guilt and a pain so sharp it made her gasp aloud. She grasped his head between her hands to stop his devastating mouth.

     “Johnny… I… Johnny, I’m not…”

     Something bumped inside the room, crashing against the window frame at the same time. A body fell into the room, cursing in fluent Glaswegian.

     Appalled, Addie watched over Johnny’s shoulder as Big Malky rose to his feet, shaking his shaggy head as if to clear it.

     Johnny spun round. “What the…?”

     Malky blinked at the pair of them. “Aw right there, big man?” he said amiably to his host. “Happy New Year.”

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Welcome Beverly Rae!

Thursday's guest of honour is laugh-out-loud parnaormal romance writer, Beverly Rae. Beverly, it's a pleasure to welcome you to the comedy party!

Should You Date a Werewolf? by Beverly Rae

I write paranormal romances which, of course, sometimes include werewolves. Isn’t it funny how dating the supernatural has become all the rage in just a few short years? I’m not sure where the fascination started, maybe with the book, An Interview with a Vampire, but I don’t think people having really given the idea of dating a supernatural creature enough thought.

Let’s take that werewolf, for example. What would it really be like dating one of those guys? To find out, why not make a pro and con list? (That’s what girls used to do before they could simply Google their date. Yeah, back in the olden days.)

The pros of dating a werewolf:

1. Most werewolves, while in human form, are real hunks. Example: Twilight’s Jacob
2. A werewolf boyfriend would have white teeth from chewing on all those human bones.
3. A werewolf lover could help decorate your home by easily moving furniture whenever you wanted. (They’re very strong, you know.)
4. A werewolf lover could “talk” to your new puppy and train him with one snarl.
5. A werewolf lover would only need to growl to get a seat at your favorite restaurant.
6. A werewolf lover would only need a few nights every month for a “boy’s night out”.
7. A werewolf lover would always be willing to play fetch.
8. A werewolf lover would get invited to all the pack parties.
9. A werewolf lover would need new clothes after every full moon.
10. A werewolf lover would be an animal in bed.

The cons of dating a werewolf:

1. A werewolf lover would have really bad breath after eating (especially after eating humans.)
2. A werewolf lover is not someone you want to nag during the full moon.
3. A werewolf lover would shed.
4. A werewolf lover would tear your new sofa to shreds.
5. A werewolf lover might drool when in “full fang”.
6. A werewolf lover would need new clothes after every full moon.
7. A werewolf lover would devour all the steaks and chicken in your fridge. (The hot dogs would probably be safe, though.)
8. A werewolf lover would use your shoes as chew toys.
9. A werewolf lover wouldn’t like getting “doggy bags” at restaurants.
10. A werewolf lover might eat your new puppy.

Hmm, since the comparison is fairly close I think you’ll have to make the deciding factor. As for me, if I wasn’t happily married and a werewolf lover was a possibility, I think I’d just have to rely on good old attraction. I’d have to ask myself if we have chemistry. And since I am a dog person… Well, you get the picture.

How about yourself? Would you date a werewolf? Why or why not?

Excerpt from Running with the Pack (Canon Pack Book 3) by Beverly Rae

Lauren dropped to the back of the group and switched her gun’s safety to the off position. If she had to, she could cause a diversion from the rear easier than in the front of the group. Halfway through the alley, John went down on one knee, waited for them to do the same, then pointed to a dark corner where one building met another. She squinted into the blackness and hoped she wouldn’t see what she feared most.

A small werewolf bent over the prone body of a homeless man. The man, wearing rags and shoes with holes in the bottoms, was either asleep or unconscious. His hand, however, firmly clutched an empty whiskey bottle.

The poor man had no idea that a werewolf stood over him. Could she wake the man up without scaring the werewolf into biting him? If so, would John and the other hunters hold their fire to keep from hitting the man? Inching forward, she touched John’s shoulder to warn him against shooting while an innocent human was in the line of fire, but she was too late. A shot blasted the silence apart, jolting her and sending her stumbling to the side.

The werewolf’s screech of pain echoed around the alley. Wounded, the shifter landed on its feet but couldn’t stand. Blood ran down its hind leg. The werewolf tried to stumble away, but lost its footing and slumped to the ground.

“Gah! What the fuck is this? Help! Someone get this thing away from me!” The man dropped his bottle to scuttle away from the growling creature. The other men rushed to John, cheering and slapping him on the back. Two hunters helped the man to his feet and retrieved his bottle, then led him down the alley toward the street. Pointing his rifle at the snarling werewolf, John stood back, his chest out and pride oozing from him. “Say nighty-night, shifter.”

Lauren slowly regained her feet, tears stinging the backs of her eyes. Why couldn’t she have acted faster? Disappointment mingled with guilt, tearing a hole in her stomach. But now was not the time to wallow in her feelings. She gritted her teeth and took a few steps toward the sickening scene and the great white hunter holding court over his doting subjects.
“Wait! Don’t shoot!”

John and the others pivoted to her without placing their backs to the werewolf. “What, Lauren?” His eyes flashed above his gleeful grin.

She clenched her fists, resisting the urge to slap the stupid smile off his face. “You promised me I could shoot first.” Why hadn’t she remembered to say that earlier? Had their discussion about Cannon thrown her off? But maybe she wasn’t too late.

“I did? I don’t remember that.” John’s brow knitted and she prayed he’d taken his dumb pill today. He wasn’t the brightest man on the block and she could usually convince him to do what she wanted without him knowing she’d bamboozled him.

“Yeah, you did. Granted, you were drunk.” She got the expected snickers from the group. “But a promise is a promise. And now you go and blow it.”

“Seriously, babe, I don’t think—”

“You don’t think and I don’t care, John. Just answer the question. Are you going to give me what I want or not?” She pouted in the way John couldn’t resist.

Hoots and laughter surrounded her. “Yeah, John-boy. Give her what she wants or one of us might have to give it to her.” John punched the loudmouthed hunter in the arm.

She strode to the group and positioned her body between John and the werewolf. “So the way I see it, you owe me the kill.” She turned to face the werewolf and widened her eyes, hoping to alert him to her plan. “Let me be the one to put him down.”

She watched the battle in John’s eyes and knew how much he wanted to kill the shifter. But, with the heckling of the others, he had little choice but to give in.
“Fine. Just make it quick.”

She blew him a kiss along with a sexy smile and waved everyone back. “You guys might want to step away. Uh, you know. I’m not that good a shot.”

“Ain’t that the truth?”

“Back up, dudes. You never know where her bullet will go.”

At least her bumbling hunter act was still holding up. She almost shook her head in disbelief. Almost a year and they still hadn’t caught on? Wow.

She stepped closer to the bleeding wolf. If he was as intelligent as she thought werewolves were, he’d catch on. At last his gaze met hers and she gave him a huge no-way-can-you-miss-this-signal wink. He blinked, then tilted his head. She wasn’t sure he understood what she was about to do, but he knew she was up to something. She aimed a couple of inches above him, allowing for the discharge from the rifle to miss him.

Get ready, wolf. Taking a breath, she squeezed the trigger. The shot rang out and, after only a moment’s hesitation, the werewolf yelped, jerked, then fell silent. Taking the dirty blanket the homeless man had used, she flung it over the body of the werewolf in feigned disgust. “Good riddance.”

The hunters shouted and John lifted her to twirl her around. “You did it. You finally killed one.”

“Finally? But I killed the female. Remember?”

“Oh, sure. Yeah. I forgot. Never mind.” John released her and turned to his men. “Grab the carcass for Lauren, men.”

“No!” Her shout stunned them into inaction, giving her a moment to think. “Uh, I mean, it’s my kill, right? Then I decide what to do with the hide. And I’ve decided that I want to leave it right where it is.”

“But why waste a hide you could hang on your wall?”

Lauren took John by the arm and led him away from the werewolf. “You know I don’t like trophies on my walls. Besides, it’s a scrawny thing.” She adopted an evil expression. “And I want it to stay here. I want to imagine the rats having a feast. I think that’s the best way to dispose of a vile creature like that. It’s my kill, my decision, right?”

“Whatever you say, Lauren. I’m just so damn proud of you. Men, group together.”

Lauren swallowed the bile in her throat and returned his hug but didn’t follow the others as they circled around John. Instead, she paced over to the werewolf, then bent down and lifted a corner of the blanket, pretending to examine the head. “Stay still until we leave. If I can, I’ll come back to help you,” she whispered. She would’ve sworn the shifter’s lips pulled back into a smile.

She turned to face the group and a movement above her brought her to a standstill. The beautiful black werewolf who’d escaped with the injured female werewolf crouched on the roof above her, his lips curled back to expose deadly fangs. She took a moment to appreciate his magnificent body, then abruptly dropped her eyes. If she drew attention to him, John would start the hunt again, thrilled by the chance to bag two in one night. The magnetic pull emanating from the mystical animal, however, drew her attention back, holding her spellbound. His eyes, brilliant amber, glowed against his black face and the dark night around him.

Lauren couldn’t help but study him. His body was all muscles and packed action. This creature, this regal being, was more a true hunter than John could ever be. The werewolf tilted his head, reminding her of someone else. Suddenly, realization struck her, dazing her. It’s Daniel. She smiled, a little embarrassed not to have made the connection before. She should have known. In either form, he had the same intensity, the same sexual pull, the same overpowering presence. She frowned. The same accusatory expression? But why was his fury focused on her and not the others? Shit, he doesn’t understand. He thinks I’m with them.

Panic rolled through Lauren. She had to do something before John and the others noticed him. In the end, however, it was Daniel who drew their attention.

The werewolf on the roof turned toward the hunters and widened his snarl. A spine-tingling growl floated down to the hunters, and he crouched as though ready to attack.

Praying her idea would work, Lauren lifted her rifle, aimed and pulled the trigger.

RUNNING WITH THE PACK (Cannon Pack, Bk 3) - - When hunter becomes hostage, the only question is: Death by bite, or by bullet? Order from or Samhain  In eBook and paperback
DANCE ON THE WILDE SIDE (Cannon Pack, Bk 2) - - Wanted: One wild man. Domesticated males need not apply.
A Samhain Publishing Bestseller.  In eBook and paperback

HOWLING FOR MY BABY (Cannon Pack, Bk 1) -  - Romeo and Juliet never had to worry about being skinned alive! 
A Samhain bestseller   A BookOnBoard bestseller.   In eBook and paperback

I MARRIED A DEMON - (Para-Mates, Bk 1) - - What's a nice girl like me doing with a demon like you?

Today, Beverly is giving away a $5 Amazon gift certificate to one winner who answers her question above: Would you date a werewolf? Why or why not? This contest will close at midnight tonight and the winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Screen Laughs

OK, I have to ask - what are the films or tv shows that make you laugh the most? Are they romantic?

My first love laughter wise, was the Marx Brothers, who have everything from zany slapstick to smart one-liners and even satire (Duck Soup). Any romance in the plot was generally a vehicle for Groucho to insult the lady he wished to marry (generally for her money), or was a bit of a side-line. I've already mentioned Fred and Ginger this week, and on the subject of old black and white films, I remember a series about a married detective that was quite sweet romantically and made me laugh too - The Thin Man?

I also love the earlier Steve Martin films - Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, All of Me, The Man with Two Brains, Roxanne etc. Romantic and side-clutchingly funny. But here's a weird thing - my nephew, who's in his early twenties, and loves comedy, had never heard of Steve Martin! We had to send him home with a book and a long list of films to track down.

However, most comedies I see these days tend to be children's! Shrek, Despicable Me, the ubiquitous Spnge Bob Square Pants etc; or the slightly unsuitable comedies full of swearing and drunkennes that my teenage sons have taken to watching whenever they get away with it! I still love Pirates of the Caribbean in all it's forms, especially Captain Jack Sparrow - and I have to say I also liked the romantic bit at the end with Will and Elizabeth meeting again after ten years :(.

What about romantic comedy tv shows? I'm sure there must be some, but right now, I can't think of any! Red Dwarf, funny as it is, isn't really romantic since poor old Lister's love life never really got off the ground! My son has started watching an American series called How I met your Mother, which is quite witty and entertaining! Reminds me of Friends a bit :).

Anyway, enough of my rambling! Let's hear your favourites! What have I missed?


Welcome Lizzie T. Leaf!

I'm delighted to welcome today's guest of honour to the party - a very funny, talented writer, and my very good friend, Lizzie T. Leaf! Welcome, Lizzie!

Tickle My Funny Bone by Lizzie T. Leaf
I love to laugh and that probably explains a lot of my friend choices as well as my marriage.  My friends and husband laugh with me…and sometimes at me.
But that’s okay.  I’ve learned not to take some things seriously when they are wiping tears from their eyes over something I’ve said or done, if not at that moment then later.  Hindsight helps me see the humor of the situation or how dumb the statement that had them rolling on the floor.
The love of laughter is probably expected of someone who hates to miss an episode of America’s Funniest Videos.  And I confess, there are the clips that have me thinking, “Ouch, that must have hurt,” while clutching my aching stomach from laughing so hard.  Yes, I’m a little sick.
In my first critique group, I admit to being a little hurt when one of the members snorted out the sip of coffee she just taken through her nose while reading my precious words.  When she proclaimed, “That’s so funny,” I couldn’t help my reaction…stunned.  I hadn’t tried for funny.
When the other members joined her in agreement and saying my sense of humor comes through on the written page, I admit to doubting their judgment.  Over time, I have come to accept that’s possibly the case.  I have friends who call me and when we hang up say, “I’m so glad I decided to call you…I really needed a laugh today.”  So, guess my aptitude for ‘snark’ can come across as funny to some.
Of course, in life there’s angst, and in writing you need to have it to torture your hero/heroine of both to create a story.  Still, I do strive for lighter moments and hope to bring a smile to the reader.  A good story, whether mine or another author’s, can be like hitting your funny bone—hurts like crazy, but you laugh with the pain.
How about you?  Has your funny bone been tickled recently?

Lizzie is offering a PDF ebook of Beyond Magic to one lucky winner who answers her question: Has your funny bone been tickled recently? Tell us what's made you laugh recently, or comment on Lizzie's post in some other way to enter the contest. The contest closes at midnight tonight and the winner will be announced on this thread tomorrow.
Beyond Magic
The Magical Love Series
By Lizzie T. Leaf
Published by Passion in Print

Following the Powers directive to unite soul mates, a Scottish Cailleach's magic will have repercussions in several realms.

Mixed-blood Ian McCabe, grandson of Fae and gods tries to deny his powers. When he discovers mortal, Emma Grant unconscious at the bottom of the steps to his castle, his world starts to change.

Tour director Emma Grant's bus breaks down and her effort to find help results in a fall that knocks her unconscious. She awakens to find the man of her dreams staring into her eyes.

 But will his secrets and her distrust of men tear them apart?

Emma Grant has an assignment to guide a group through Scotland, unaware this little trip will lead to her meeting her soul mate, but before that happens, the Powers want to have a little fun at her expense.

Emma saw no need for a “get acquainted” dinner. This group all came from Atlanta and belonged to the same retired teachers association. If anything, they knew each other too well, and none of them seemed to have a problem telling the others what worked best for anyone. She walked into the private room she’d reserved for tonight’s dinner and discussion of their itinerary to find everyone seated. They’d left her no choice but to take the only empty chair at the head of the table.
“You know, Emma dear, we all noticed you’re a little tense.” Mary, who appeared to have the kindest disposition in the group, smiled and brushed a snowy puff of hair off her left eye. “You’re single aren’t you?”
Shocked at such a personal question asked by a woman who looked like Mrs. Claus, Emma eyed the speaker with distrust. Still, she couldn’t stifle a tiny surge of elation that someone in the group actually knew her name, even if they did throw in “dear.”
On the other hand, she resisted the urge to wipe the sweet smile from the older woman’s face with an explanation; her marital status was no one’s damned business. Instead, she decided a nod would serve as the best course of action—and waited for the other shoe to drop.
Mary shot a smug glance around the table at her companions. “We thought so. That probably explains why you get so uptight?”
“What?” Emma stared in disbelief. She’d had enough. It was time to put this group of busybodies in their place. “What business is my marital status to you ladies? As I recall, the contract I signed was to lead a tour, not share my personal life.”
Ouch, that really came out harsh. As a tour director I’m supposed to be patient, not bitchy.
“I told you so.” Mildred’s orange frizz bobbed up and down. “It’s okay, dear. Not getting any tends to make one a little testy, especially when you’re younger.”
The comment sent the sip of water in Emma’s mouth down the wrong way. Tillie, the senior member of the group sitting on Emma’s left, pounded her on the back.
“Are you okay, dear?”
Finally, she managed a strangled “yes” and wiped tears from her eye as she struggled to clear her throat. The last thing she needed was to have an eighty-eight-year-old woman resuscitate her. “I’m fine. Really.” She blinked to clear her blurry eyes.
“Good.” Mary looked relieved. “Then you’re ready to hear the rest of our plan.”
“Plan? What on earth are you talking about? Plan for what?”
“Emma, dear, we’ve decided this for your own good.” Mary beamed at her. “The group voted and the decision is made.” Mary looked around the table at her companions and most heads bobbed up and down in agreement. “We’ve decided to help you find a man.”
Words failed her. Emma stared from one grinning face to the next.
“Now wait just a damn minute.” Deena crossed her arms and glared at her friends. “I told you this is the dumbest idea you’ve had lately, so don’t count me in on the ‘we’ bull crap. Not every woman needs a man in her life to ask permission on when she can take a piss, or whatever else she wants to do.”
Mary patted the angular woman’s hand. “Whatever you say, honey, but not everyone is as independent as you.”
“What makes you think Emma’s not? I’ve lived my life the way I want for seventy-one years, and if that’s the path she chooses, then leave her be.” Deena’s eyes scanned the group and her stare dared anyone to challenge her. “Anyway, you don’t need a man to lead a full life. That’s my say on the matter.”
“She’s still bitter about Sam Jenkins. He broke off their engagement you know,” someone whispered loud enough for Emma to hear.
“You’d think after fifty years, she’d be over it.”
Emma knew the last remark came from Barb.
“Humph.” Deena pushed her chair back and stood. “I’ve lost my appetite. Good night, ladies.”
Emma stared down at the bowl of soup placed in front of her by a waiter.
Maybe if I throw my face into it and breathe deeply I can drown.

Available in ebook and print:
At your local book seller in print
And on various eBook distribution sites including All Romance eBooks and Fictionwise

Award winning author, Lizzie T. Leaf started life in Kansas, continued her growing in North Carolina, and currently shivers through the winters in Colorado.  She has numerous e-books in varying lengths and her first print book, Struck by Lightning, won dual 2007 Beacon awards, in addition to being a finalist in two other contests. 

 Since discovering the fun of writing paranormal, she plays with creating vampires, faeries and other immortals.  Her current book, Beyond Magic is the first in the Magical Love Series at Passion in Print Press.  What’s not to love when a Scottish Cailleach is directed by the Powers to unite several pair soul mates?  It’s safe to say that some of the future connections will surprise even the Cailleach.

She is currently working on the second book in the Magical Love series scheduled to release late summer/early fall 2011.

When not creating mischief for paranormal beings, or exploring the other genres she wants to write, Lizzie loves to read, spend time with her family and travel with her best friend husband.
Beyond Magic now at Passion in Print Press

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Romantic Comedy in Verse

And now for something completely different :). Today I thought I'd share some bits and pieces of poetry that have made me laugh - or at least smile with tragic understanding :).  Let me know if any of them make you laugh (or cry!) and why!

Story by Dorothy Parker
'And if he's gone away,' said she,
'Good riddance, if you're asking me.
I'm not a one to lie awake
And weep for anybody's sake.
There's better lads than him about!
I'll wear my buckled slippers out
A-dancing till the break of day.
I'm better off with him away!
And if he never come,' said she,
'Now what on earth is that to me?
I wouldn't have him back!'
I hope
Her mother washed her mouth with soap.

Txt me my darling by Expicurious

My phone subscription will renew
But I can't contain my Love 4U
My facia's the height of fashion
My keypad rattles with great passion

I need a bit of SMS
If only to relieve the stress
I'll type a ;>) with sexy lashes
Hot Love tonight - In dots and dashes

Text me tonight - Oh, Text me harder!
Or I'll get bored and raid the larder
Text me my darling – O please B mine
O Text me where the sun don't shine!

It's more exciting at peak rates
Please Please B quick - my phone awaits!
Text me my precious - with skill and grace
(I'll OGSM in uppercase)

Habitation by Margaret Atwood

Marriage is not
a house or even a tent
it is before that, and colder:
The edge of the forest, the edge
of the desert
the unpainted stairs
at the back where we squat
outside, eating popcorn
where painfully and with wonder
at having survived even
this far
we are learning to make fire

The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Pussy said to the Owl, 'You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?'
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

'Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?' Said the Piggy, 'I will.'
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

Welcome Kate Johnson!

Our guest of honour today is a wonderful British writer guaranteed to keep you chortling - Kate Johnson, aka Cat Marsters. Welcome, Kate!

“Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then for the love of God, tell a joke.” That’s how Joss Whedon describes his style of writing, and it’s something I wholeheartedly agree with. I’m horribly mean to my characters, getting them shot and stabbed and beaten up and quite often so painfully heartbroken it makes me weep to write it—but that doesn’t stop me cracking jokes about it.

Of course, it could just be that I’ve got a warped sense of humour.

It’s quite a natural reaction to make jokes in the face of danger and pain. Gallows humour, I suppose. You leaven the situation and try to make it a bit less awful. Remind yourself that there’s always something to laugh about. JK Rowling knows this, which is why her terrifying Boggarts are defeated by laughter. Satirists know this, which is why news panel shows are always making fun of terrorists and dire economic situations. It’s harder to be afraid when you can think of something silly. As that incredibly wise soul Roger Rabbit put it, “Sometimes in life, it’s the only weapon we have.”

Take my current WIP, Run Rabbit Run. When my hero, Luke, is informed that his trouble-magnet girlfriend Sophie has been accused of murder and subsequently disappeared, he replies dryly, “Must be a Tuesday.” On discovering his flat has been broken into and everything searched and conspicuously tidied, he remarks, “I really must get searched by MI5 more often. They’re excellent housekeepers.”

Some people call it flippancy. Well, Luke does, and it pleases him no end. His superiors, of course, are less than pleased with his jokes in the face of bad news. He doesn’t earn any points with his boss for replying to the news that he’s being suspended on full pay with, “Great. I’ll make a start on my Christmas shopping.” But by then he doesn’t really care.

As I mentioned before, this is something my favourite screenwriter, Joss Whedon, knows very well. When Buffy and her friends are told they’re facing apocalypse, they reply in dismay, “Again?” Preparing for a fight that might kill them all, they stand around discussing arrangements for a shopping trip. And it’s not just the prospect of death that moves the Scooby Gang to flippancy. At the end of one of the most moving declarations of love I’ve ever heard in the episode Chosen, Spike tells Buffy she’s ‘the one’.

“I don’t want to be the one,” she replies.

“I don’t want to be this good-looking and athletic,” he replies. “We all have our crosses to bear.”

I’ve been told by my editor that when she read my erotic fantasy epic, Mad Bad & Dangerous, in which various of my characters are beaten, starved, burnt and flogged, and which ends with a huge battle nearly killing one of my protagonists, that she ‘laughed like a loon at every page.’ She assured me it wasn’t at the terrible quality of my writing (she really did) but at the flamboyant humour of characters in grave situations. On being told his girlfriend is causing a breach of the peace, my hero Bael cheerfully replies, “Kett is a breach of the peace.”

And so we come to my latest release, a book set in a nightmarish parallel world full of mud and blood and empty of all hope. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still make a joke of things. There might not be any food, the army might be running out of munitions, the enemy might be bigger and stronger and harder. But there’s one thing my guys have got on their side: they at least still remember how to laugh.

Excerpt from The Untied Kingdom by Kate Johnson, available now from Choc Lit in ebook and paperback. ISBN: 9781906931681. Buy link:

‘Sir! Sir, are you all right?’

That was Tallulah. Grimly, Harker dropped to the stony shore under the Tower’s walls and let the body over his shoulder flop on the pebbles.

‘I’m all right,’ he said. ‘Get a doctor, would you?’

She peered closer at the limp body. ‘Is it – is it a person? Is it alive?’

Harker, busy performing mouth-to-mouth and trying not to think about what the drowned woman would be coughing up if she was still alive, didn’t bother to answer. In the background, people were shouting. The guards on the walls had seen him dive into the river and come out with some sort of bedraggled alien.

Well, it wasn’t an alien, Harker was pretty sure. It was a human woman, and she – yes, there she went, coughing up river water through blue lips.

He rolled on to his back and fought the urge to throw up. Who knew what he’d ingested in the Thames’ foetid depths?

People were streaming out of the South Gate now, and a guy with a stethoscope flung over his pyjamas was kneeling by the unconscious woman.

‘She all right?’ Harker said, and the doctor nodded.

‘I think so. We need to get her inside. Can I get a stretcher?’

‘Dunno,’ Harker said, mostly to himself. ‘Can you?’ Patting his pockets, he found his cigarettes – a soggy, unsmokable mess. Dammit. Well, if he couldn’t have a quiet smoke, he’d have a quiet nap instead.

He lay back, closed his eyes, and tried to block out all the noise and the light. It was a trick he’d perfected after years on campaign. These days he could sleep anywhere, any time.

Then a foot prodded his ribs, and he opened one eye, grumpily.

‘Well, then, hero,’ Saskia said, her face demonic in the torchlight. ‘I suppose you’ll be needing medical attention, too?’

Harker waved a hand. Truth be told, he was so wet and cold he was beginning to worry about his extremities. ‘Get me a packet of smokes and I’ll survive,’ he said.

‘I think we can run to that.’ Saskia extended a hand. ‘Come on. Wheeler wants to see you.’

Harker groaned. ‘Why? What’d I do?’

Saskia just glared at him.

‘Oh, right.’ Ignoring her hand, he hauled himself upright. ‘Let’s go and face the fun, then.’

Dripping wet, he squelched through the gate after Saskia and gave the guard there a damp salute.

‘Sir, is it true you pulled an alien from the river?’

Harker rolled his eyes at Saskia. ‘Yep. Blue skin, it had, and one giant wing.’

The young man’s eyes were enormous. ‘Gosh!’


‘That wasn’t necessary,’ Saskia said, as they made their way to the General’s quarters next to the mess.

‘Yeah, but it was fun,’ Harker said, looking back at the trail of puddles behind him. A slight commotion at the gates heralded the stretcher, complete with blue-skinned alien, but sadly minus any wings.

‘You never take anything seriously, Harker,’ Saskia said, stepping out of the way of a guard patrol on their way past the White Tower.

‘Nope,’ he said, knowing it infuriated her when he didn’t rise to the bait.

‘That’s probably why you’re still only a major,’ she said, which was an unusually low blow. Harker wondered what he’d done, specifically, today, to make her so angry.

‘Probably,’ he said, and grinned in the gloom as her scowl intensified.

General Wheeler’s office was attached to her quarters in Martin Tower. When the army had moved in, rooms were offered in the Lieutenant’s Lodgings and the White Tower, but General Wheeler had been keen to make the point that the army was not here to stay, and so had taken up temporary lodgings in one of the more luxurious towers.

Harker privately considered that five years was a pretty rubbish sort of temporary, but hadn’t seen any point in saying so.

He dripped up the worn stone stairs to her office, and stood at attention.

‘Ah, Major,’ the General said. ‘At ease. Do take a seat.’

Harker, contrary to his bones, remained standing. Saskia, looking thunderous, sat down. General Wheeler finished writing whatever terribly important document she’d been working on, and set it aside. Her pale blue eyes fixed on Harker like a searchlight.

‘And how is our alien?’

How does she know? Harker wondered. It happened five minutes ago. ‘Still breathing, sir, although not knowing much about aliens I’m not sure if that’s healthy or not.’

‘I really don’t think–’ Saskia began.

‘One eyewitness reports that it was, in fact, a dragon,’ Wheeler said, glancing at a document.

‘No, sir. Not enough wings,’ Harker said, beginning to enjoy himself. ‘Or scales.’

‘Really?’ Saskia snapped. ‘And how many dragons do you know?’

Oh, come on, she’s giving you that one. Harker paused for a delicious second, avoiding Wheeler’s gaze, then said, ‘Oh, a few, Colonel. A few.’

Saskia made a growling noise in the back of her throat.

‘Of course, several watchers thought it was merely a large bird,’ Wheeler said, ignoring this.

‘Still not enough wings, sir, and too many appendages of the arm variety.’

‘But you have no argument with the hypothesis that it may be an alien?’

‘No sir. Happy with that, sir.’

‘And this is because …?’

‘Blue skin, sir,’ Harker said promptly, while Saskia made a noise of impatience. ‘Not a natural colour among humans, sir.’

‘Of course not,’ Wheeler said. She scanned another document – Harker was under the belief she kept a few lying around to make you think she had notes on everything – and added, ‘Unless said human has been in a freezing river.’

‘Werrl,’ Harker said expansively, ‘if we’re going to look at it that way …’

‘Oh, don’t be ridiculous,’ Saskia exploded. ‘It was clearly a human being in one of those flying machines.’

‘An aeroplane?’ Wheeler said.

‘No sir,’ Harker said. ‘I think it was a glider, sir.’

‘You think, Major? And what do you know on the subject of aeronautics?’

Absolutely nothing, but he’d been listening idly in the mess the other day while a couple of engineers discussed the topic eagerly. If only for want of money, they’d moaned, we could be flying in the air, and that’d show the Coalitionists who was boss! Harker had smiled and declined to comment, because personally he figured that flying in the air would just give the Coalitionists something else to aim at.

‘Unfortunately, sir, it’s impossible to be certain,’ he said. ‘Reason being, that flying apparatus is now at the bottom of the river.’

‘And why is that?’

‘Had to cut it off her, sir. Current had hold of it.’

‘So it’s a female alien then, is it?’ Saskia said sourly.

‘Indeed it is,’ Harker said, smiling at her.

‘Harker, please stop being so silly. You saw her closer than anyone else, you know she’s a human being–’

‘Who fell out of the sky in a country where the only thing coming from the clouds is rain,’ Harker said. ‘Makes her a pretty foreign body in my book. Sir.’

She scowled at the ‘sir’.

‘An illegal alien, Harker?’ Wheeler said.

‘Well, I dunno if flying is exactly illegal in this country, sir,’ Harker said. ‘So far as I know, we ain’t never arrested a bird for it, but I don’t expect we allow people to go around doing it, either.’

‘We do have pilots, Harker,’ Saskia said reprovingly.

‘Either of ’em missing, sir?’

General Wheeler gave a faint smile. ‘Not to my knowledge,’ she said, and Harker knew that if Wheeler didn’t know something, then it wasn’t knowable. ‘Well, then, Major Harker. It seems clear to me that what we have is no more than an aeronaut blown off course. Naturally,’ she went on, before Saskia had even opened her mouth to object, ‘since we have very little in the way of an aviation industry, I expect you to investigate where she came from and why. It is entirely possible that she is a spy.
‘Yes, sir,’ Saskia said eagerly. ‘I can conduct the investigation–’

‘Colonel, you have much more important things to do,’ said Wheeler. ‘This is clearly a matter for the good people at St James.’ She let her searchbeam gaze settle on Harker, who shifted damply and sighed. St James. Hell.

‘I’ll see to it in the morning, sir,’ he said.

‘Do,’ Wheeler said, turning her attention back to her desk in that way Saskia had begin emulating. ‘Do.’

Buy link:

Kate Johnson lives in rural Essex where she belongs to a pride of cats and puts up with a demon puppy. She has done a variety of not-particularly great jobs, ranging from airport check-in to lab assistant, but much prefers writing for a living. For one thing, the hours are better, and no one ever tells her off for not ironing her shirt. In fact, the lack of ironing might be the single greatest advantage to being an author. Kate loves going off at mad tangents, which you’d surely never have guessed, but also enjoys reading romance and fantasy, watching funny stuff on TV, drinking coffee by the gallon and occasionally leaving the house. The Untied Kingdom is her first novel to be published in the UK.


Today, Kate is giving away a signed copy of The United Kingdom to one lucky reader who comments with their favourite example of black humour, or who comments on her post in some other way. The contest will close at midnight tonight and the winner will be annoucned on this thread tomorrow.