New Ludlow Hall Release today… SEAN…

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iBOOKS   AMAZON  KOBO  NOOK

Happy Friday!

I can’t believe this is the tenth book set in the Ludlow Hall world (although when I count in the Ludlow Nights books it’s thirteen with BREAK THE RULES coming soon). Who’d have thought when I released RECKLESS NIGHTS IN ROME in 2012 it would lead to this!

Last night H and I were talking about the last four years and we goggled at the thought that by the end of this year there will be TWENTY-SIX books (including The Golddiggers) out by the end of 2016. And if I’m spared and well, there are incredibly exciting things coming for 2017/18.

A big hug and smoochies to my readers who keep me going every single day. I love receiving your emails and messages so keep them coming. For the Sophia Ferranti fans out there (and, boy, there are plenty) your favourite girl has a starring role in SEAN, just thought I’d put that out there. Hehehe.

Sean and Katherine and the supporting characters have been an absolute gift to an author, and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I’ve loved writing them.

On Monday it’s another Ludlow Hall sneak peek as we join the Ferranti twins on their first day of school. What could possibly go wrong?

Christine X

IN MEMORIAM

 

BANNER FOR TWITTER

 

When an author hears from a rabid fan who’s bought everything, even vampyre stories when she doesn’t believe in such things, it is always a huge thrill. One such reader contacted me after my mom died asking for Daisy’s story. “Where the hell is it, Christine? I’m worried about that poor fatherless child.”

Those were the first words she wrote to me. And so began an almost daily Facebook chat. This woman loved and adored hot alpha males (the hotter the better). But she more than loved and adored strong women, like Bronte Ferranti.  In fact, she told me she wanted to BE Bronte, which just made me shake my head.

What I didn’t know until months later, when she let it slip, was that she was battling cancer and having regular chemo. Apparently, the nurses kept asking her why she was laughing, and she told them she was reading Bronte’s story and Rosie’s. She just adored Rosie. Rosie helped her get through the nausea.

So I got to know her really well, and she totally understood why I was having such a hard time writing Daisy’s story due to the circumstances surrounding my mom’s death. She told me to take my time.

When we enter the world we’ve created authors sometimes have a hard time dealing with feelings a story creates. A bit like hearing a song from the past that takes us right to a special moment that meant a huge amount to us.

Then I stopped receiving posts from her. I missed her messages and after a week contacted her niece because I was worried and had a bad feeling. Her last message to me was on a Sunday and she passed away very suddenly on the following Monday. To say I was devastated doesn’t begin to describe the sense of loss.

She was naughty. She was fun. She was brave. Her name was Susan Benson and A Daddy For Daisy is dedicated to her memory.

Christine x

“One Day, I Want To Write A Book”

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This is a long post, so grab a coffee or a glass of wine, settle down and relax.

You know, I can remember the exact moment I said those words. I was ten and an avid Enid Blyton fan. Who remembers The Famous Five? I read them all, again and again and again… well, you get the picture. At eleven I found Elinor M. Brent-Dyer. Who remembers The Chalet School books? Read them, too, until they were in tatters.

 

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Then I went to High School and over the years was force-fed Herman Melville, Joseph Conrad, Albert Canus, Donald Rawley and of course Mr. Shakespeare. Many authors are much loved but my favourite author of all time, the one who really sparked my imagination, the one whose characters made me laugh and cry and read her books again and again was the fantabulous Georgette Heyer. One of her best has to be The Grand Sophy – still makes me laugh out loud.

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During this time I wrote a descriptive essay that made my English teacher, Mr. Henderson, cry, in a good way. He read it to the class (I was so embarrassed my face was radioactive) and the story made two of my mortal enemies cry, too. (I defy any fifteen year old girl not to have the odd nemesis in her life.) And Mr. Henderson said I should seriously think of becoming a writer. My parents immediately vetoed that brilliant idea, nipping it brutally in the bud, by stating that, ‘Writers make no money, honey, and we cannot afford to keep you. Become a shorthand/typist and live in the real world.’ So I did, which is why I can touch-type at over 100wpm. (Ha!) Karma, as they say, is a beetch.

And so, I scribbled stories, lots of stories. Mainly about love (I’d hit puberty and had strict parents who banned boys) so I wrote about my ‘perfect man’ (Ha!) and listened to David Bowie and Bryan Ferry (loved Bryan). As for books, I found romances, lots of romances and paranormal/fantasy, lots of those, too. Then I fell into international banking (trade finance) and met H, got married and had three children, dabbled in many things. Travelled the world. But right at the back of my mind I kept thinking, ‘One day, I want to write a book.’

By this time I was reading thrillers and fantasy like Eric Van Lustbader and devouring every single thing he wrote.

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Then we were back home in the UK, H had retired early (due to overseas service) and I joined a multi-national construction company. Wrote a ‘How-to’ book for sales staff that the staff, strangely enough, enjoyed because it was ‘chatty’ and ‘funny’ and ‘relevant.’  And all the while I was thinking, ‘One day, I want to write a book.’ The construction company was sold, the recession was knocking at the door, I was implementing change in the company, stressed and overworked.

So H sat me down and said, ‘What do you want to do?’ and, you guessed it, I said, ‘One day, I want to write a book.’ He looked me dead in the eye and said, ‘Then do it. You’ll be good at it.’

How’s that for confidence?

So, then the decision became, ‘What will I write?’ And more importantly, ‘What sort of reader will I write it for?’

My first ever serious attempt was a fantasy about mages and witches and alternate realities. It didn’t have a title. But it did have a ten year old hero and dark and gothic castles, blood feuds, demons – blah, blah, blah. Then I wrote a short ghost story about a banshee, which was so bloody and gothic and horror-filled I actually scared myself. But I was so gripped and excited and tormented by the thing that I knew right then writing a story was what I wanted to do. But I wanted to do it well. And so began the intensive journey of applying myself to learn my craft, including how to edit. This was 2009.

After many pitiful attempts at fantasy and a complex futuristic vampyre paranormal (the first chapter and pivotal moment finaled in The Romance Junkies competition in the USA) I decided to write a romance. After all, I thought, how hard could it be?

Right?

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It didn’t take long to discover that there’s a hell of a lot more to this romance business than meets the eye. A lot more. So I joined an online writer’s group. And we set ourselves goals and tasks and scenes and swapped stories about our characters. The girls were ruthlessly honest but great fun. Through those wonderful and generous women, I joined Harlequin’s on-line forums where the editors run tons of wannabe author competitions where thousands (yes, thousands) of readers can vote and comment honestly. Competitions like ‘The first 1,000 words of a contemporary/sweet romance’ and ‘A 3,000 word pivotal moment of romantic suspense.’  But, best of all, were the online workshops run by their bestselling romance authors – most of whom were USA Today and New York Times Bestselling romance authors – and these girls knew the romance genre inside out. They shared techniques. They answered seriously dumb questions and gave honest feedback with a generosity of spirit that I came to realise is prevalent in the romance industry. As for the fans, well, all I can say is that they are THE most voracious readers and utterly loyal when they find a writer they like.

And so we come to ‘So You Think You Can Write?’ competitions and ‘New Voices.’  Of course, I entered those (under the name Scottygirl) and had lovely feedback. And I found amazing friends that I still have today, among them finalists. Meanwhile, I was writing scenes. Scenes that had to grab the reader. I experimented with manipulating reader emotions, making the reader laugh (came second). Then I wrote a heart-wrenching scene about a young widow of two years who has a one night stand with a hot Spaniard (came joint first. I won author Tessa Radley and she spoke to me all the way from New Zealand to give me writing advice – I’ll never forget it. It’s still a highlight of my life. She said she’d buy everything I wrote. Gulp.) Then I finaled in two more competitions, one where I made readers cry. I felt I was finally getting somewhere. Time to submit the first three chapters of my book I was polishing to such a shine it could be seen from outer space. It took six long months to receive a reply. A rejection. But it was a good rejection because it was two pages long and told me exactly what to improve and to please re-submit. So I knuckled down to re-write it and…. got breast cancer.

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Now, to most people breast cancer is pretty devastating news. Don’t get me wrong – it was more than devastating to me and my family. I had a long road ahead. BUT, overnight I lost the fear of failure. I don’t think I’ve ever written so much so fast before or since. Everything that was buried deep in my subconscious spilled onto the page. Everything. Meanwhile, I underwent half a dozen operations and began treatments. When I couldn’t type, I wrote in journals in bed. H used to find me switching on the light in the middle of the night and scribbling like a demon because an ‘idea’ or ‘a plot twist’ had entered my mind and I just had to ‘get it down’ because believe me, when we wake in the morning our mind is empty.

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It was during this time that the Italian Nico Ferranti sprang to life in my head as a three dimensional character as did Bronte Ludlow and her pal Rosie (about whom, the editor of the publisher I’d submitted the work to who read the first three chapters said to ‘tone Rosie right down’.) So I worked on Nico’s back-story, what or who had made him the man he was today? What age was he when the worst thing that could happen to a child happened? What are his strengths? Weaknesses? Goals? And I did the same with Bronte. Poor Bronte, God love her, I killed her parents; her fiancé betrayed her; she lost her family home; she discovered her father was not her father; she had endometriosis, which meant maybe no children. She was beautiful, but couldn’t see it. She hated her breasts, etc., etc. BUT I made her resilient, she set up her own business with her pal Rosie and they triumphed; she wasn’t looking for love; she fell out with her (half) brother because she wanted to reach out to her real father; she stood up to Nico who wanted to buy the home left to her by her mother; she was her own woman and she rocked!

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And so the time came to send the entire re-written book to the publisher. However, there’s a twist to the tale. During the time of my return to health and re-writing the story, in the United States of America, a movement had been born. Independent authors. I’d been following a couple of bloggers who were talking about it, especially J.A. Konrath & Co. Interesting, I thought. At the same time the publishing industry was going through (still is) a seismic change. Did I, I wondered, have the time to wait, maybe six to twelve months for a publisher to get back to me? And after I spoke to some Big Name independent romance authors who were ‘breaking through’ and took their advice, I decided I didn’t have the time to waste. H and I talked and talked and talked for weeks, did our due diligence and H said he’d format and deal with the technical side of submitting digital books to the distributors, accounting and the tax authorities. In the meantime two romance editors I’d met on-line offered to edit and proof my book. So, on the 12th April 2012 we published Reckless Nights In Rome. To say we were petrified would be putting it mildly. I didn’t worry about the book or what was happening to it, got my head down and wrote A Stormy Spring and then Run Rosie Run and they were both published by Christmas 2012. That Christmas Reckless was a perma-free and Stormy and Rosie were all in the top ten of iBooks in thirty countries and selling in Barnes and Noble and doing well in Amazon.com. And that’s when I found my readers. Readers who buy everything I write. Everything. Each story is written with them at the front and centre of everything I do.

 

Some of you who are reading this have followed the ups and downs of the journey. In 2014 I had a sudden bereavement and a couple of health challenges connected to cancer treatment. But all the while I’ve never stopped writing, even if I had almost a year of not publishing new stories. My readers have been patient and loving and understanding and I want to thank each and every one.

 

It’s also true to say that as authors we don’t work in a bubble of one. My covers are done by Frauke and Gabrielle Prendergast who also designed the CC MACKENZIE brand. Formatting, distribution, sales accounting, invoicing and Chief Operating Officer of More Press is H. Author Engine, particularly Jennifer Lewis Oliver and Greg Carrico are awesome.

CC MACKENZIE now has ten books published in the Ludlow Hall franchise. This year there are the first books of a new Ludlow Nights series, books that are fun and fast pace with laugh out loud moments. The first of which, His Rules, is under the New Adult romance genre, will be available free and exclusive to my mailing list for a short time, with more to come. Four, yes four, vampyre books, the first and second out together on 28th March with book three on pre-order coming at the end of April and book four on pre-order coming at the end of May with more to follow. Plus A Daddy For Daisy – date to be advised. More short novels, but they’re a surprise. I love surprising readers.

I’ve truly been blessed by the support of generous authors who write in a variety of genres (not only romance) – Diane Capri, Jillian Dodd, Steena Holmes, Ruth Cardello, Marie Force, Lindsay J. Pryor, Natalie G. Owens, Dana Delamar, Kristine Cayne, Stacey Joy Netzel, L.C. Giroux, Liz Matis and Katherine Bone.

More recently I was part of a group of authors who wrote a continuity series based in the Island of Eden a world written and created by Lauren Hawkeye. This month we published an Eden boxed set with contributions by Lauren, me, Avery Aster, Opal Carew, Steena Holmes, Mari Carr, Cathryn Fox, Eliza Gayle, Adriana Hunter, Roni Loren, Sharon Page, Daire St. Denis and Elena Aitken.

On the night of Wednesday 18th April 2015 something amazing happened, we made the USA Today Bestsellers list. So now I can say I’m a USA Today Bestselling author. The reason I’m sharing this is not to toot my own horn, but to encourage those who don’t believe they can follow their dreams to – Go For It!

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So tell me, what are your innermost dreams and what are you doing to make them come true?

 

Big hugs,

Christine XX

 

 

 

 

 

SURPRISE LUDLOW HALL CHRISTMAS STORY RELEASED TODAY

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Click on the links to buy here:

AMAZON USA  AMAZON UK  iBOOKS USA  iBOOKS UK  SMASHWORDS   BARNES AND NOBLE

 

Greetings of the season to one and all!

So, I was writing the first story of my new Ludlow Hall franchise called LUDLOW NIGHTS, His Rules, when I noticed more than few messages from readers asking me if I was writing a Ludlow Hall Christmas story for them. Initially, my response was ‘No’ because I didn’t have time. And then I thought, ‘To hell with it. I’ll write them a story.’ And here it is! I outlined Marc’s story about six months ago and decided to use his character for a Christmas tale. I LOVED writing about bad boy made good Marc Atelier, head of security for the Ferranti Group. And head receptionist of Ludlow Hall, Elena Margaret Mary Kennedy, the youngest of seven siblings and the only girl. As she says herself, Elena runs her department with the light touch of a feather duster, she’s my kind of girl. AND it was a good way for me to introduce the Kennedy family to readers! Yes, there will a lot more to come from this family. And I can hear the cheers from here.

Here’s the blurb:

SPEND CHRISTMAS AT LUDLOW HALL AND AS FANS OF THIS SERIES WILL TELL YOU, THERE’S NEVER A DULL MOMENT!
 AT CHRISTMAS, THERE’S NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN FAMILY
 
 
Charismatic Marc Atelier, head of security of the Ferranti Group, has arrived at Ludlow Hall hot on the trail of a corporate spy.
Yet, from the moment he focused his intense blue eyes on head receptionist, Elena Kennedy, neither of them can deny the heat of an attraction that’s about to burn out of control.
 
But there’s more to Elena than meets the eye… And Marc likes what he sees…a lot.
I hope you enjoy the story!
And I

want to wish all y’all Happy Holidays!
Hugs,
Christine XX

I NEED TO MOVE ON

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“I want closure, querida. I want to be able to move on with my life. I want to be able to go to sleep without hearing your voice, without wanting to bury myself deep inside you, without imagining you being loved every which way by another man. I want peace, Gabriella. And you are going to give me that peace. Tonight.”  Jacob Del Garda

Ha! Knew that would get you going! It’s been a while since I last posted and that’s because I’ve been working like a stupid crazy person to get Jacob finished, edited, revised, edited, revised, copy-edited, revised, proofed, revised and then ready for publication. And at the same time writing the first draft of A Daddy For Daisy and Delicious and Deadly, the next two Ludlow Hall books. It never gets any easier this gig.

So I’m thrilled to announce that THE FALL OF JACOB DEL GARDA  is out now, CLICK the links below.

AMAZON  iBOOKS  GOOGLEPLAY  SMASHWORDS

I’m still waiting for KOBO and NOOK – I’ll add them as soon as I get them!

Here’s the blurb:

 

Twin sisters – twice the trouble

Twelve months after disappearing from Jacob’s life, the woman who broke his heart, supermodel Gabriella Dolman, is back. But things have changed. Now Gabriella is a photographer – still fabulously beautiful – but no longer glamorous, and no longer looking for love. Though Gabriella claims she just wants to move on without him, Jacob’s pretty certain that her reaction to their red-hot kisses implies otherwise.

Tobin Gillespie believes in taking a stand, and he never turns his back on a challenge. So when his work as a PR guru brings research scientist Sophie Dolman back into his life, her obnoxious behaviour and lethal putdowns aren’t enough to put him off – quite the reverse. And the more they clash, the more determined he is to break down the wall around her heart and claim it for his own.

 

 

Please let me take this opportunity to thank all my readers who contacted me over the last few months, over 190 of you, who told me to take my time with this story after the sudden loss of my mother. I love each and every single one of you. This story is for you.

 

Big hugs,

Christine XXXXX

DESERT ORCHID IS ALIVE!

IT'S ALIVE

IT’S ALIVE AND AVAILABLE NOW IN ALL STORES

AMAZON  iBOOKS  KOBO  GOOGLEPLAY 

BARNES AND NOBLE  SMASHWORDS

 

Some of you might remember the original Desert Orchid story featuring Charisse and Khalid that I began in weekly episodes on this blog… two years ago (how time flies). And some of you might have wondered what on earth happened to Charisse and Khalid. Well, the story has sort of morphed, as my stories are wont to do, into something bigger. Something more exciting. Something a little bit… different.

First of all let me make clear that at the heart of the tale is a romance (this is me you’re dealing with). The story is a nail biting suspense thriller, with plenty of twists and turns, that readers (they tell me) did not see coming. In this book I get to shoot, poison, kidnap and kill. THE best fun in the world! I also emotionally torture two characters who had gone through more than their fair share of grief and torment. I just tormented them even more. I even got to deal with a couple of sociopaths – and let me tell you, writing those guys was dealing with a different kind of human.

Towards the end of editing the story, there were lengthy discussions between my editor and H and myself regarding a change of direction for the series. Deep in my heart I’ve always wanted to write a continuity series – where each book stands alone as a complete tale – with two characters strong enough to take centre stage right through the books to link the series. With Charisse and Khalid I’ve found those characters. I know them better than I know my own family. And so their story, along with their close friends, siblings, and the story of their country, Onuur, and the people who inhabit that land will carry on. The El Haribes will continue to fight against unseen forces including a terrorist War Lord, people trafficking, the drug trade and much more. And all the while, against all the odds, and personal sacrifice, a deep and abiding love prevail.

It all begins with Desert Orchid where Khalid and Charisse meet. And just let me say that the road to true love is a pretty rocky one. Against the background of falling in love, the couple deal with the reality of an unseen enemy who has waited many years until the time is right to strike. There’s heartbreak, death, betrayal and a relentless evil who will not stop until it gets what it wants. But what strengthens the couple’s initially fragile bond, is a very real selfless love that is growing between them. A love that will be tested again and again.

And since it’s Mother’s Day in the United States of America, this post is dedicated to all mom’s everywhere. Especially my own mom, Ruth, who died very suddenly before the book was completed.

Big hugs,

Christine X

 

A FILM-STAR, A BABY, AND A PROPOSAL

IT'S A LUDLOW HALL CHRISTMAS!

IT’S A LUDLOW HALL CHRISTMAS!

Hello my darlings,

It’s been a while since my last post, and that’s because I’ve been writing, visiting London, writing, and attending a wedding! Writing. Editing. And writing.

As a family, we love this time of year. There’s something about Christmas that makes me all warm and fuzzy. And from the lovely feedback and comments I’ve been receiving about my books, I know my readers love feeling warm and fuzzy too.

The Ludlow Hall series has struck a chord, especially Nico and Bronte. Readers are enjoying watching how their relationship and marriage unfolds with all their trials and tribulations. It was something I always wanted to read – how a couple I loved in a romance – coped with real life challenges in subsequent stories. The reader response has been nothing short of amazing and has truly humbled me.

So to keep all y’all going until book five, The Fall of Jacob Del Garda, comes out next year I had the bright idea to write a Ludlow Hall Christmas special featuring the usual suspects, Nico and Bronte, Alexander and Rosie, and the fabulicious movie star Mathias Carter and super-model Eve Langan, who gives Matt a run for his money. Bringing two independent and successful career people, who’ve overcome many early challenges in their lives, together is always fun. Especially when they don’t have time for love, marriage, children, or a happy-ever-after. How the might fall flat on their face. Hehehe. Watching them climbing out of the deep hole they’ve dug for themselves is always a blast. And Nico Ferranti steps up to lend his best pal Matt a hand in his hour of need. The scene where Matt returns the favour brought a tear to a couple of beta reader’s eyes, and that is very a good thing.

Man, I love this job.

I’m waiting for the story to go live on iBooks and Barnes and Noble. When it does, I’ll add the links. Until then, here’s the Amazon links USA and UK and SMASHWORDS.

As y’all know I’m part of a boxed set called Sugar and Sin, which has been really well received. Well, we’ve got together again to bring you more of the same – Sugar and Sin, The Sexy Seven. Seven books by the same authors plus one. The plus one is the talented and all round awesome romantic suspense writer Dana Delamar, who keeps readers on the edge of their seats. Dana has joined our ranks and we’re thrilled to have her.

We’ve been touched by the Amazon Angel who has very kindly given us a pre-order button for the set, so thank you, Amazon! The set is on pre-order at a very special $3.99 and due for release on 15th January 2014. I love the way Kim Killion of the Killion group has branded Sugar and Sin – the colour of this set is warm and sunny – just like us! I love it!

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Here are the pre-order links (we’re waiting for B&N):  Kobo  AMAZON  iBOOKS

While I have your attention, I’d like to thank you, dear reader, for your continued patience while I’ve been juggling my writing calendar.

My publishing schedule (hopefully not subject to change) is:

Book one of a new Desert Princes series – Desert Orchid (cover reveal coming very soon) January 2014.

Book five of The Ludlow Hall series, The Fall of Jacob Del Garda (cover reveal coming very soon), February 2014.

Book six of The Ludlow Hall series, A Daddy For Daisy, late Spring 2014.

For those of you waiting for the next Vampyre Legal Chronicles instalment, I have an exciting announcement in the New Year about what’s happening to the entire series.

So stay tuned!

Thank you so much for taking the time to email/FB message/Tweet and leave very kind comments on my website. Readers rock!

You know I adore hearing from you guys, so any questions feel free to fire away.

Christine X