Friday, 13 January 2017

Where I make grand plans I'll probably not stick to.

2016 was a quiet year for me on the writing front. I won't go into great detail but the car crash I had the year before still cast a shadow, both in physical hurt and affecting my mental health. My back, my leg, my head seem to take it in turns to cause me discomfort but the frequency is gradually lessening and not getting me down the way it had been. To try and get a handle on my depression and anxiety I took part in some counselling. It was a different experience for me and I'm not wholly sure of how much it helped me. I do struggle to express myself (or at least I think I do despite people assuring me I don't come across like a complete imbecile) and I'm a better listener than I am at speaking. But it was interesting and I got to say out loud how things had affected me and still were, and admitted I knew things had to change. Sitting at the bottom of my pit of misery clearly wasn't working.

The last few months of 2016 were a lot better. Most of the insurance stuff concerning the crash was finally settled and anything outstanding needs no input from me. Though slow, I did start writing again and managed to release a co-authored book, The Road to Frosty Hollow, with RJ Scott. I've told her before but I'll say it again, I appreciate all of your support and thank you for letting me write the story with you :) And one more good thing to end the year was moving house. We're about settled in, a few bits and bobs to finish up, but I'm happy and so glad we went ahead with the move.

So, here we are, 2017. I'm going into this year thinking positively. I have plans for the writing projects I'd like to try and complete. Though I have other ideas and stories I'd like to tell, these are the ones I particularly want to focus on this year *crosses fingers*,

1. A second book set in Knowles Brook. The series is intended to be a series of standalone stories linked by the village of Knowles Brook and a few recurring characters. I have an outline for the next book and feel, following Frosty Hollow, it's the type of story I'd be happiest tackling next.

2. Dead Things 2. The story currently stands at about 48K and what I'd consider to be 2/3s of the way through. I have outlined the final few chapters, it's just finding the right frame of mind to get lost in zombies and the darker storyline.

3. The rerelease and eventually writing the third book in the Lone Wolf Trilogy. The Good Wolf and The Bad Wolf have both been returned to me and I'd like to find the time to read them through and see if there's anything I'd like to add to the stories.

4. A follow up to Just Jack about a different Jack Frost and delving a little more into the other creatures that inhabit their world.

and 5. Book 1 in a co-authored series with RJ Scott about cops. We came up with the idea a while back and hope to really get things rolling at some point this year :)

So there we go. What comes of the year, I guess we'll see. But here's hoping it is awesome.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Road to Frosty Hollow

Blurb

Nick and Cameron face old demons, and find new love, on a Winter road trip.
Former Marine Nick Sheridan is at a crossroads. With his entire life ahead of him he struggles to find direction and his place in the world. Car sharing to get home for his sister’s Christmas wedding seems like a good idea at first. Spending the time with the man he kissed and left years before, maybe not so much.

Cameron Bennett lost most of his teenage years to cancer and he now lives every day to the fullest. He decides to drive from Seattle to Vermont for his best friend’s wedding and capture moments of it on film. He hadn’t planned on car sharing with the man who kissed him ten years ago, but somehow he ends up with a brooding Nick by his side.

Along the way, the men learn that sometimes life plans mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. Love can be found in the most unexpected of ways, and facing your demons head on is sometimes the only way to live.

Buy Links



Latest Reviews
 
Dog-Eared Daydreams - 5/5 - "....The Road to Frosty Hollow is a heartwarming love story between two men who have known each other for years, have had feelings they believed were one sided, and are now on a cross-country road trip from Seattle, Washington to a wedding in their hometown of Frosty Hollow, Vermont....
 
....The Road to Frosty Hollow was a beautifully co-written slow burn romance which not only reiterates why RJ Scott is one of my favorite go-to M/M authors, but that Meredith Russell is as good at being an author as she is a cover designer. This one left me with a satisfied smile on my face and in my heart. Five-plus stars...."
 
The Way She Reads - "....I thoroughly enjoyed my road-trip with Nick and Cameron and was rooting for them to come together every mile of the way. Sometimes all I want is a relatively angst free, uncomplicated, yet engrossing story, which is exactly what The Road to Frosty Hollow was—utterly delightful...."
 
Making it Happen - "....Now see, this is a wonderful example of sweet, sexy second chance holiday romance.  It has characters you'll come to care for pretty quickly and want to root on throughout the story, a bit of tension coming from some unknowns in Cameron's life that cause some bumps in the road between him and Nick, and the constant hope throughout the story that everything will work out with a happy ending...."
 
Sexy Erotic Exciting - 5/5 - "....Scott and Russell delivered a well-developed story of two men on the cusp of much-needed changes and the ability to find a timeless love in each other.
 
I immediately connected with both characters and their joyous personalities even in times of despair. 
 
The Road to Frosty Hollow was a feel good, highly romantic story that brought a warmth to the spirit of love and the holidays...."

 
Excerpt

Chapter 1 

“This is crazy, sis. I can’t believe I let you talk me into this road trip.”

Nick Sheridan sat on the end of the bed and stared at his luggage. He’d been pacing a line back and forth in front of his bedroom window for what felt like hours, but, was really only minutes, and his nerves were getting the better of him. He held his cell phone in front of him, set on speaker phone, waiting for the reassuring sound of his sister’s voice to fill the room.

“It’ll do you good. It’ll do you and Cameron both some good,” Kaitlin said.

Her voice held an edge of excitement. She was setting him up, and he knew it, and he was pretty sure she knew he knew it. Cameron Bennett was the last person Nick wanted to share a cross-country drive with, with his dimples, and his smile and his ability to make Nick forget how to speak.

With a sigh, he scratched a hand though his hair, teasing his bangs to spiky points. “Maybe.” He glanced around his bedroom. He was supposed to have packed everything into boxes ready for the move back home in the New Year, but surfaces were still scattered with mementos of his life and his closet remained full of his clothes.

Kaitlin asked, “What time did Cameron say he was getting there?”

Nick rested his phone on the bed and got to his feet. “Anytime now.” He crossed to the window. Lifting a slat in the blind, he looked out on the street below.

Kaitlin’s voice came from the bed behind him. “You remember what he looks like, right?”

How could he not remember Cameron Bennett? The man’s face was plastered all over his sister’s social media every time Cam happened to be in the same state as her: Cam and Kaitlin horseback riding along a treacherous mountain trail, or jumping out of a plane, or parasailing. The man took risks that made Nick worry, considering Kaitlin sometimes got involved too. Kaitlin and Cameron had been best friends since any of them could remember.

Not only that, but Cameron’s face was all wrapped up in memories of one stolen kiss and years of what ifs.

Not that he was admitting that to his sister. “Shut up,” he said, raising his voice to make sure she could hear him.

Kaitlin laughed. “It’s so easy to wind you up. But seriously, have some fun, live life, get all thinky about what you want to do.”

“Thinky?” Nick mouthed the word to the room and smiled. He had been thinking. In fact, he’d done nothing but thinking ever since he received the official invitation to Kaitlin’s wedding a few months ago.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Happy New Year! Better late than never.

It's been a funny old year, as they say. Looking back at 2015, there's been some ups and downs. But it's a new year and I've made plans whereby I want to focus on more of the positive things in my life, my work, to rekindle relationships and sometimes just take a moment for me. So here I'd like to focus on the good stuff of 2015 and my plans for 2016.

Releases and writing:
At the very start of the year, Just Jack was released. I grew up reading fairy tales and fantasy stories, watching Disney movies so it was great fun to play in a world of magic and make believe.

The first half of the year was a bit of a struggle on the writing front, but with support I will be forever grateful for I managed to edit and add a few scenes for the rerelease of Sex and Cocktails with Pride Publishing in July, along with completing Fallout, the fourth book in the HA1710 series written with a group of awesome authors, and also Forever in the Sun, the last in the Sapphire Cay series with RJ Scott (both books released in August). So a little quiet on the release front but to be honest I'm so happy to have been able to write anything the way things have been at times.

Last January, Dead Things 2 had just crept past the 10K mark. In November, I finally felt ready to pick it back up again. The story currently stands at 40K and I'm looking forward to getting stuck back in this coming week.

So my projects for 2016 are first to complete Dead Things 2, then work on the second book in my Knowles Brook series, I'd like to write a second book to make Just Jack into a series of Jack Frost stories, and continue with a shifter series idea I've started plotting out. Also this year, with RJ Scott, I'm writing books in the Providence PD series which will be all about cops and bad guys. I'd also like to look at stories to send to Pride Publishing, possibly a series and then completing my Lone Wolf Trilogy that is with Extasy Books. I'd hoped to write the book last year but like Dead Things, the plot involved darker themes than I could really handle at the time. I already felt on the edge so didn't feel able to put myself in my characters shoes. But, 2016 is new and shiny so hopefully this year I can look to make a start on the third book.

Art:
Cover art has kept me sane (well as sane as I usually am lol) through 2015. It was great to get back to my desk and be able to lose myself in something creative. There's only so many TV Box sets a girl can go through while laid up. I will do an update on my art blog later this month looking at some of my favourite pieces from last year, but a heartfelt thank you to all the authors I worked with last year :) I look forward to seeing what you have for me this year.

Life:
I will say it's been hard to be positive sometimes but I appreciate the people in my life and their support. A few nice things from the year include being hired as a maths tutor after my friend put in a word for me. It's been great and already we've seen some good progress between mock exam papers with her marks. I'm so proud of her and I really needed that to show me I'm not completely useless to everyone at the moment. Also, my sister went back to work after her maternity time for her second child so I am now back babysitting once a week and despite a patchy start with lots of tears, my niece's not mine, she's now one of the favourite parts of my week. She's a funny little thing and she makes me smile constantly.

I had a few lovely weeks away with my husband, two of those were in different parts of Wales. My granddad was Welsh and going there makes me kind of feel like going home, though the sheep give zero fucks about road safety lol. Also we painted a couple of walls in the house and tidied the garden... well hubby did, mine was more a supervising kind of position lol.

For 2016 my goals are mostly to focus more, move more, eat better, be brave - especially where driving and leaving the house is concerned, de-clutter my life (I've already done my clothes and shoes) and the house and set up my office properly, laugh more, get out and see my friends, take some time for me and actually do something with that time - TV watching sure, but also find other ways to relax or be creative. Don't hide behind my problems. I want to get some control back in my life.

So, come Monday I'll be ready to say - Happy New Year!

Monday, 30 November 2015

Cover Reveal - New Lease Of Life by Lillian Francis

Hi, Lillian Francis here, and I’ve popped in to show off my amazing cover for my novel, New Lease of Life, coming soon from Dreamspinner Press.

But first the Blurb.

New Lease of Life

Phillip used to laugh a lot, back when his friends called him Pip. However the good deed that left him hospitalized not only marred his body, it stripped him of his good humor too. Ever since, he has pushed his friends away and shut out the world. Donating his vintage clothing to a charity shop should have been the final act in a year-long campaign to sever the links with the man Pip used to be, but the stranger on his doorstep awakens feelings in Pip that he hasn’t experienced since the incident that left him angry at the world and reliant on the cold metal of the hideous hospital-issue crutch.

Colby forces his way into Pip’s life, picking at the scab of his past. Colby isn’t interested in Pip’s money or his expensive address. He has only one goal: to make Pip smile again. With every moment in Pip’s presence, Colby chips away at the walls Pip has built around himself. Pip knows it’s impossible to fight his attraction with Colby’s sunny disposition casting light into the darkness in his soul.

Drum roll please.

Presenting
Cover art by Paul Richmond.

Also to celebrate the reveal Lillian is having a giveaway over at her blog here

Friday, 20 November 2015

Just Jack News

I just wanted to share a few bits and bobs about Just Jack.

Join Jack and Leo for a one-off special
This was a short piece (about 500 words) written for Amber Kell's Birthday Bash. It was fun to go back and visit them as Jack talks about celebrating his kind-of-birth-day. You can find this and a small giveaway (running until Sunday) at Amber's blog here.

~*~

Just Jack is now available in print
I love this cover so much and I'm so excited to see it released as a paperback.

Blurb
When the line between fairy tales and magic, and the real world become blurred, can love really conquer anything?

Leo Marsh is having a bad day. He just caught his boyfriend cheating on him, and not for the first time, then he falls, quite literally, for a man who has to be too good to be true.

When Leo slips and falls on some ice in front of Jack, Jack sees something all too familiar in Leo's eyes. For over fifty years, Jack has existed in a solitary life of ice and bitterness. Just like Leo, he was betrayed by a man he loved, and swore no one would ever break his heart again: he gave up on love, and it seemed love had given up on him.

But if by fate or magic, Jack and Leo find their paths crossing for a second time, and with a little guidance from friends, dare to take a chance on each other. The problem is, Jack isn't the charming and uncomplicated guy Leo thinks he is. When Jack gave away his ability to love, he became something else, someone cold and unloving. He became Jack Frost.

As Jack and Leo get closer, Jack is left torn and confused. Jack yearns for anything that reminds him of his humanity, but the truth is, he feels nothing, not warmth, not love, and he knows he might never be able to love Leo the way he deserves to be loved.


My copy came just this morning and I am so incredibly pleased with it. Bittergrace is a good friend and I appreciate the time and hard work she put into doing it for me.

Buy links:  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 
~*~
 
E-book on sale
Between the 27th November and 27th December Love Lane Books is offering the e-book with 25% off. If me as an author and Just Jack is new to you and you're looking for something sweet and warming, but also all about the chilly winter days, now is your chance to pick it up at a reduced price.
 
 
For more details on the book including excerpts, reviews and buy links visit Just Jack's page at Love Lane Books here
 
~*~
 
Future plans
Just Jack had been intended as a one off, but after a few lovely readers planted the seed about further books, well, my mind just keeps going there. I have plans for, certainly, 2 further books. They aren't direct sequels, they will be more about expanding the Jack Frost world and focusing on two other Jack's, so a series. I hope to write the first of those ideas in 2016 *crosses fingers*
 
That's all for this edition of Just Jack news. Watch this space for more updates on future books in the series.
 

Friday, 14 August 2015

Fallout (HA1710 #4)

Fallout is the 4th book in the HA1710 series. Details on the other books in this series is at the end of the post.

This book can be read as part of the series or as a standalone story.

Blurb

Can missing a fatal flight be the wake up call Harrison needs?

When Harrison Kelley is banned from getting on Flight HA1710, it seems to be the perfect ending to a crappy couple of days. Not only did he wreck a wedding, but he’s drunk way too much and been on the receiving end of the groom’s brother’s fists. Being escorted out of the airport by security was just the icing on the wedding cake.

Elijah Pettifer has lusted after Harrison from afar for years but Harrison never sees him as anything more than a friend. If he ever saw him at all. While attempting to defend what little honor Harrison has left, Elijah gets caught up in the wave of chaos surrounding his teenage crush. But missing his flight home because of Harrison’s mess might just be the luckiest thing to ever happen to him.

With a 24-hour ban imposed by the airport, and having only each other for company, the two men grow closer. But will the fate of the airplane they should have been on be the push Harrison needs to walk away from the toxic relationship of his past? And can Elijah make Harrison see exactly what he’s been missing out on because of it?

Buy Links

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  ARe  |  Smashwords  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  | Apple iStore


Reviews

Sexy For Review - 5/5 - "... Ms. Russell wove a tale of life’s adventures, of- you can’t recreate the past, but you can take the good from it and move forward. ... Harrison and Elijah are both beautiful souls finding their way through life and love and Ms. Russell has given them the platform to do it together. Beautifully written, Fallout touched this reader’s heart...."

Multitasking Momma's - 5/5 - "... Harrison also gets to realize who he is and see what he could become. Elijah finally gets the chance he'd missed out on and will get his chance to claim his man. The road to their discovery of what was clearly in front of them, is the icing on this cakish book. ... Sweet, rough, stupid, romantic. These are the words the come to mind when thinking Elijah and Harrison. Thing is, I realize I want more of them so want more of their story in the future. That need to know more is what makes them my fave couple so far...."

Rainbow Book Reviews - " ...This is an emotional roller coaster ride between two men transversing the territory between friends and lovers. Wise, honest Elijah just may be my favorite character in the entire series. ... As Harrison began to change, putting Elijah's feelings in front of his own, trying hard to improve himself, he gained my respect. All of the stories in the series are delightful ... If you like stories about honesty, forgiveness, character growth, and hope, you may enjoy this tale. Thanks, Meredith, for the excellent read. ... "

Prism Book Alliance - 4/5 - "....Fallout is an emotional rollercoaster, both before and after the plane crash, it’s also a beautifully written story of betrayal and friendship, and how sometimes only when things are really dark can you see the light and only then can you look at something with fresh eyes...." 


Excerpt (From Chapter 5)

The day of the crash

Harrison downed the shot of bourbon and slid the glass across the bar. He glanced at his cell phone as the screen lit up. With a sigh, he spun the phone around and read the message. Throughout the day, Elijah had sent him a series of messages. Where was he? What was he doing? Was he okay?

Can’t a guy drown his sorrows in peace?

He sighed when his cell vibrated and Elijah’s name flashed up. The phone danced across the top of the bar. Harrison watched it for a moment.

Leave me alone.

He picked up his phone and canceled the call.

“Wow, that’s kind of rude. Just so you know.”

Harrison checked over his shoulder. “What are you doing here?”

“Looking for you.” Elijah took the stool beside him and rested his folded arms on the edge of the bar.
“How did you find me?”

Elijah shot him a disapproving look as he glanced at the empty glass. “The one text message you did reply to said you were coming to the airport. So I thought to myself where would I go if I wanted to be away from people and wallow in my own self-pity?” He scratched behind his ear and his tone softened. “This was the first bar I looked in.”

“You shouldn’t have bothered.” He didn’t understand why Elijah cared so damn much.

“Maybe.” Elijah sat upright on the stool. “I just wanted to check you were okay. After everything that happened.”

Harrison shrugged. “I’m fine. I just figured it was best to give everybody their space.”

“You mean Kevin?” There was a flash of something in Elijah’s eyes as he said Kevin’s name. Was that a warning?

Release Day: Forever In The Sun

The final book in the Sapphire Cay series.

Blurb

Feuding families, unearthed secrets, and a violent storm threatens the Cay. Will the idyllic island with her cast of characters make it through unscathed? It’s time for the circle to close on the story of Sapphire Cay, and on the men who have lived and found love on her beaches.

Join characters old and new as we celebrate Dylan and Lucas’s wedding and delve into the history of Sapphire Cay.

Connor and Shaun are directly related to Peter and Alfie, a couple whose clandestine lover affair was overshadowed by old prejudices and a world war. Shaun Jamieson is a writer, a romantic and needs to pen the story of the affair’s final secrets; Connor French’s family wants to stop Shaun.

When the two men step onto the sands of Sapphire Cay, they find more than just the secrets of an old love. They find hope and comfort in each other. But with the past hanging over them, can they ever have what Peter and Alfie could not? Or are they just as ill-fated as their ancestors?

Buy links

Amazon UK  |  Amazon US  |  ARe  | ...

Excerpt

Chapter 3

“Don’t show us up. You got that?” Dylan stood under the shade of the trees at the edge of the beach and looked down at Mutt. The dog looked back up at him, before twisting his head from side to side in an attempt to snag the blue ribbon, which held the small pale gray doggy waistcoat in place.

Dylan watched Mutt for a moment. He imagined the dog felt as overdressed and out of place as he did. Dylan didn’t do suits and ties, not like this anyway. He stood tall and smoothed his hand over the material of the gray suit he wore, a similar shade to what Mutt was wearing. Why had he let Edward talk him into this?

We could always dress Adam, Scott, and Jamie in bridesmaid dresses and have them follow you down the aisle, Edward had said far too seriously.

Mutt had seemed the lesser of two evils. Besides, the dog was family now. Their boy, their baby.

With a smile, Dylan affectionately stroked Mutt’s head. He stopped when he heard music echoing from the beach. “Looks like it’s time.” He patted Mutt on the back and encouraged him forward with a pull on his leash.

Emerging from the trees, Dylan stopped where tufts of long grass made way for hot white sand. He glanced along the aisle. Guests were standing in front of their seats, waiting for him to make his way to the front. The lady registrar stood on a platform, beneath an arch of blue and white flowers. He wrapped the leash around his hand, keeping Mutt at his heel, as they made their way to the stage.

Dylan glanced from side to side, remembering to smile whenever he met anyone’s eyes. He was relieved when he reached the front. Focusing on the area to his right, he aimed to where Scott was waiting. He handed Mutt’s leash over to Scott, then took his place in front of the registrar.

Anticipation turned over his stomach and he stared back toward the trees. He wanted nothing more than to see Lucas, to touch him, to kiss him, to catch the slightest of glimpses of the man he would call husband from today. This morning had been close to torturous. He had never been one for traditions or following the rules, but Tasha had insisted they shouldn’t see each other until the ceremony. He might have missed waking up with Lucas but it meant each touch and every kiss, when he did see him would be all the better for it.

The music faded into a second piece. As the instrumental recording rose in volume, so did the swell of emotions within him. He didn’t think he’d ever felt so happy, nor had he ever loved someone as much as he did Lucas. He looked at his lover and couldn’t help but smile.

Lucas was wearing a pale blue suit, set off with a dark tie that matched the one Dylan wore. He looked incredible, and Dylan thought back to their first nights together, right here on the beach. Lucas had been a different man back then, they both had. Together they had grown and moved on from what their lives had been. Lucas had found a sense of peace and happiness and realized that sometimes you have to stop, take a breath, and enjoy life. And Dylan? He finally stopped running. For years he thought, if he didn’t stay too long in one place, all the bad stuff and his broken relationship with his dad would get left behind and lost. The thing was, it didn’t work like that. Those things he carried with him always, but with Lucas, he’d taken steps to forgive both himself and his father.

Arm in arm, Lucas and Tasha walked toward the front. Tasha was in a lightweight sapphire blue dress, tailored to fit her growing belly. Lucas lifted his head, meeting Dylan’s eyes. The smile he had on his face warmed Dylan’s heart and he was sure he had never felt anything like this before—pure bliss, perfect happiness, as he had everything he could ever want.

Reaching the edge of the platform, Tasha kissed her brother on the cheek and took her place on the left beside Liam. In her hands, she clutched a small posy of white flowers. The stems were wrapped tightly in blue ribbon and a small fabric purse hung from her wrist. She already seemed misty-eyed, and she leaned in close to her husband as she watched her brother with love and pride in her eyes.

Lucas stepped up to stand beside Dylan. He gently took Dylan’s hands in his, then leaned forward. “I know,” he whispered and pressed a kiss to Dylan’s jaw.

Dylan looked at his fiancĂ© and narrowed his eyes. “What?” he mouthed.

“Cake,” Lucas mouthed in return.

There was no chance to reply as the music faded and the registrar welcomed them and their guests. He half-listened to her words, all the time his attention firmly on his soon-to-be husband. If Lucas was upset about the cake, he wasn’t showing it. He looked happy. Briefly, their gaze met and Lucas reassuringly squeezed Dylan’s hands. The cake didn’t matter. What mattered was they were here, they were together, and they were about to seal their happy ever after with vows and the exchanging of rings.

And that was everything to Dylan.