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There are lots of things that get us excited here at @TeamBATC HQ.  Cute cats in hats.  George Clooney drinking coffee.  The perfect pair of shoes.  Nail varnish.  Sherlock…

But I have to say, our news last week resulted in even more jumping up and down than usual.

Firstly, we opened our doors to find the next eBook star of the commercial women’s fiction world.  Publishing in eBook is such an exciting and fast-moving world, and offers a fantastic opportunity for new authors to reach readers…and we at Books and the City want to discover and publish the very BEST new authors.

To kick us off, and for #oneday only, we asked for your submissions.  Yes, that’s right; we wanted to hear from YOU.  And I have to say, we were overwhelmed by the response… a huge pile of ‘first 3 chapters and synopsis’ are now sitting next to my desk, just waiting for me to delve into.  Can’t.  Wait!

Secondly – we were giddy to announce a commercial women’s fiction-focused creative writing masterclass, which will take place on Saturday 15th November, here at Books and the City HQ!  Aimed at as-yet-unpublished writers, the event will consist of a morning of one-to-one sessions with editors Jo Dickinson and Clare Hey and uber literary agent Lizzy Kremer, and afternoon panels for a wider audience with bestselling author Milly Johnson, Peter Saxton who is Publisher Liaison Manager at Waterstones Head Office, and Isabelle Broom – Book Reviewer at Heat Magazine!

Tickets will go on sale on 1st August, and more information will be posted here soon – so watch this space!

GLITTERATI TICKETS NOW ON SALE!

10492608_10152527995255827_4736251249685290415_nI am VERY excited to confirm we are bringing our fabulous Girls on Tour events to London on 28th August, and not just any old London, but our favourite 5* hotel bar – Red Bar – at Grosvenor House Hotel, overlooking the iconic Hyde Park.  Join bestselling authors Ali Harris, Jane Costello and Paige Toon for a very special evening of chat, fizz and cupcakes.  Of course, there will be books-a-plenty and a goody bag for everyone, plus our friends from Benefit Cosmetics will be on hand to provide complimentary ’make-uppers’ and we have the wonderful Hannah Beckerman as our compère for the evening!

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Tickets are available to buy now – further details, and to Join the event, are live on facebook.

SUMMER READING SATISFACTION GUARANTEED

Want to know which books the team here at Books and the City HQ recommend for guaranteed satisfaction over the Summer?  Sure you do!

 

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NAME: Sara-Jade Virtue

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When I was 16 there was no such thing as snap chat.  Or twitter.  Or tinder.  There was no MySpace or Freeview.  No Facebook, no Wii.  No Wi-Fi, no internet or tablet or laptop or Apple.  No kindle.  Not even a CD let alone a DVD or a ‘digital’ let alone a mobile.  But there was something, for me, more thrilling, more addictive and wonderfully pioneering than all those things put together.  Her name is Jackie Collins and in 1986 when I was just 16, she wrote a book called Hollywood Husbands and every Summer without fail I reread this book.  And I fall in love with my Ultimate Book Boyfriend – Jack Python – each and every time.  So my Summer Reading Satisfaction Guaranteed title just HAS to be Hollywood Husbands  for anyone who wants to be transported to a world full of glamour, power, scandal, intrigue and money.

Name:  Trish Hills  (@tishylou)

Blog:  Tishylou’s World

Layout 1 copy 1As a 20 something who had moved from Canada to the UK, I quickly found solace in books. Chick-lit/women’s fiction became my favourite genre and Jennifer Weiner was one of the early authors I discovered. I love all of her books but In Her Shoes grabbed me because of the wonderful story of friendship  between the sisters. I grew up with a brother and always wished I had that bond, although not always smooth, it’s one to cherish. The shoes also played a huge part in my love for this book! I used to wish I could own designer gear. I just love to escape into this book!

Name:  Jill Stratton  (@jillstratton)

Blog:  Jill Loves To Read

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I was recently lucky enough to read The Time of Our Lives. The book, to me, sums up a feel good summer read. Through it I discovered a group of best friends who know each other inside out. They are embarking on what should be the short break of a lifetime. The novel has all the fun, drama, laughs and escapism that you would want from a summer read, but it also has some gorgeous poignant moments, and of course there is a hot man involved! There is one disaster after another that will at times have you roaring with laughter and no doubt have others staring at you like you are a loon, but it will leave you feeling warm and with the feeling that life is pretty cool. I really enjoyed it and would happy recommend to others.

Name:  Amanda Moran  (@onemorepage)

Blog:  One More Page

killerheels_paperback_0857204866_300I love all of Rebecca’s books – they are all big, glitzy, sexy, dramatic reads, just perfect for a bit of summer escapism but one of my absolute favourites is Killer Heels.  Imagine The Devil Wears Prada but bitchier, Fifty Shades but sexier and Ugly Betty with even more drama and you have Killer Heels which is set between London and New York in the glamorous world of high fashion magazines.  The story follows the fortunes of Coco Raeburn who will do anything to get to the top and her equally ruthless boss Victoria Glossop.  I loved Coco’s rise from rags to riches.  The story is told alternatively from Coco and Victoria’s viewpoints with some amazing plot twists that made this an absolute page turner and perfect summer read for me!

Name:  Erin McEwan  (@erinschoicee)

Blog:  Erin’s Choice

johnnybegood_paperback_1471129578_300It’s really hard to pick one favourite novel from Paige because I love Chasing Daisy too, like LOVE it, but there is something about Johnny Be Good that just has me reaching for it over and over again. I could probably quote it verbatim and I love visiting books I’ve already read over the holidays. It’s the perfect summer read. It’s set in LA mostly, so even if you’re not going on holiday this year you can live vicariously, and it involves the MC being PA to a rockstar, a gorgeous untamed brilliant rockstar called Johnny Jefferson. If he alone doesn’t satisfy your summer reading then I’ll eat my sun hat.

Name:  Simona Elena (@skydreamersimi)

Blog:  skysbookcorner

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Last summer during my holidays I read One Perfect Summer and fell in love with Paige Toon’s style of writing, I had to get all her other books instantly!  I spent most of my summer reading her books and that brought me into this great book blogging world – so thank you Paige.  It’s hard to choose a favourite, but I have to go with Chasing Daisy because I just adore this book. It’s the perfect summer read, full of drama, real emotion, fun, great characters, a gripping storyline and it will get you hooked instantly!!! I experienced a whole range of emotions reading this book, crying at one point and then laughing at another, it’s a heart-warming, sweet and amazing story, perfect for a lazy day at the beach.

 

Name:  Shaun   (@bookaddictshaun)

Blog:  bookaddictshaun

chances_paperback_1849836108_300A few years ago I bought a book from Waterstones and the rest, as they say is history.  That book was Chances by Jackie Collins.  Chances is my favourite book of all time.  It is an incredible book.  It is like ten feature length films in one.  I remember the first time I read it and how amazing I thought it was.  People describe books as ‘unputdownable’ but this literally is, it’s annoying when you have to stop reading and the hours fly by like minutes when reading it.  I don’t know how many times I’ve read it but each time is just as good as the first and I’m not bored yet.

Lucky Santangelo is a one off and an absolutely fantastic character.  She is my favourite fictional female character ever.  So addictive to read about.  Gino is another great character.  Chances has a wonderful cast of characters, all of whom are believable.  Carrie’s story is so horrible to read about but not all that hard to imagine.  Reading about America in the 20s, 30s etc was so enjoyable and fascinating and I loved feeling like I was there myself.

Chances doesn’t read like a book, you forget that you’re reading a book and instead get lost in the world that Jackie Collins has created.  This book, and indeed many of her other novels, has everything.  Sex, glamour, love, comedy, murder, treachery, tragedy, money, everything you could possibly want from a book.

Name: Natalie McCormack  (@PajamaBookGirl)

Blog:  BookgeekWearsPajamas

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Milly Johnson is without a doubt ChickLit royalty. Her books are always easy, charming, and full of character. My Milly Collection has, over the years, become one of my favourites and has go to books for when I’m in the need for something uplifting.

I first came across Milly when I read Here Come The Girls and instantly fell in love with it. Since then I have been on a Milly spree and have read every book she has to date. Here Come the Girls is still up top, but has recently been pushed out of my number one spot by her latest release The Teashop on the Corner. It is honestly a book that will have you giggling like crazy one minute and wiping a tear with sadness the next. The suspense element has you gripped and it  lasts right through to the final pages without dragging or becoming tedious. And of course as usual it is packed full of northern charm, which to me is the key element in what makes Milly an author who stands out from the rest. She does not take herself serious at all and you see that in her writing. I’m happy to say I’ve had numerous chats with her and can vouch for that too. It is always a pleasure to read her books.

Name: Heidi Bartlett  (@Cosmochiklitan)

Blog:  Cosmochicklitan

Layout 1My Summer Reading Satisfaction Guaranteed title? Easy! Definitely Here Come the Girls by Milly Johnson. I’ve read this book a few years back when it first came out and immediately fell in love with Milly’s cheerful writing style and her funny and entertaining description of cruise ship life. Her characters are extremely likeable and so well thought out and developed that experiencing the whole storyline together with them is a piece of cake. I always wanted to go on a cruise holiday, even more so after reading this fantastic book! I normally don’t like reading books more than once, but this is one novel I could read every summer to evoke the  perfect summer feeling in me  – sun, sea and more sun and more sea (and of course a few hiccups and complications along the way J).  Here Come the Girls literally screams summer read at me and I am sure that everyone who has read this title will agree with me.

Name: Jennifer Joyce  (@Writer_Jenn)

Blog:  Jennifer Joyce Writes

wishlist_paperback_0857205560_300Last year, I turned thirty. Which is pretty scary. Yes, it was just one more number than twenty-nine, but it was also something much more. It was saying goodbye to my twenties. It was reaching a significant milestone that only a decade ago had felt a million years away. But here it was, staring me in the face and there was nothing at all I could do about it. I was in my thirties now and there was no going back.

And then The Wish List was published and I devoured it. It captured all the thoughts and fears I’d had myself about turning thirty, but it did it in such an amusing and uplifting way. I loved the characters and knew exactly what Emma was going through, although she had her list to complete before thirty smacked her in the face, which was fun. Why hadn’t I made a list myself? Maybe I’ll make one before I turn forty…

Name: Zarina de Ruiter  (@zarinatweets)

Blog:  Page to Stage Reviews

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I fell in love with A Gift to Remember as soon as I laid eyes upon its stunning cover. This may sound superficial, but while I try not to judge a book by its cover I can’t help but find myself drawn to a particular title because of the way it is presented. The striking image in this case showed the characters cut-out from the pages of a novel and as a bibliophile myself this appealed to me immensely.

The story within was as beautiful and romantic as I expected from the cover. It tells the tale of the bookish Darcy who frequently disappears within the pages of her treasured novels, dreaming about her namesake Mr Darcy and the equally handsome Mr Rochester in between her shifts at a small independent bookstore in New York. This was instantly recognisable as, let’s face it, who hasn’t swooned over gorgeous but fictional men before? I’m sure if the choice existed many women would opt for their perfect literary hero over the often disappointing reality.

To continue on with the bookish theme, each chapter from Darcy’s point of view started with a book-related quote relevant to her situation. Some of them I had heard before and already loved, but others were new and enlightening to me. The literary theme, combined with the introduction of swoon-worthy Aidan and loveable husky Bailey, made for a delightfully romantic and heartwarming read.

Name: Suz & Jaydee  (@B00kShelf)

Blog:  Page Central (BookShelf)

Layout 1I read The House By the Sea in 2011 and it has stayed in my mind since.  When a book stays with you that long, you know it’s a brilliant book and that the impact it has had on you, has been huge!

Name: Emma Louise (@EmmaIsWriting)

Blog:  EmmaLouBookBlog

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Last summer, I picked up a book from ASDA.  I hadn’t heard of the author before and it was before I became a book blogger.  The book was The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon.  Before I had even read the blurb, I fell in love with the charismatic cover.  The soft sunshine colours were heaven.  When I read the blurb, I immediately knew I’d love the book and therefore, I purchased it straight away.  When I arrived home, I read it straight away and oh wow!  What a treat.  The Longest Holiday will always be my favourite novel by Paige.  Not because of hunky Leo, or the love he has for his friends.  But because Paige welcomes you with open arms to her fictional world.  You can’t help but be swept away by her imagination.  I loved the setting of Florida and when I was there myself in November, I spotted a couple of places which were mentioned in the book. That increased my love for the book. It’s not just the book I love, it’s Paige as well. She’s the one who encouraged me to become a book blogger. She’s always there for her fans. She’s not just an author, she feels more like a friend.

Some things you need to know about digitaloriginals are:

* The term ‘commercial women’s fiction’ is generally used to mean fiction that appeals primarily to women, though not necessarily written by a women, and tends to be full of modern relationships featuring friends, family and lovers.  It can be funny, it can be sad, but most of all it covers great storytelling that resonates with women.  It rarely features aliens, blood, guts and gore, zombies, ladies in crinolines, dragons, child wizards or autopsies.

*  Your novel needs to be around 80,000 – 100,000 words and complete.

*  You need to send it as a word document (or equivalent) double spaced.

*  We will consider novels that have been self-published, or have been previously published, providing you have retained full rights, or had rights reverted back to you.

* We will endeavour to respond to all submissions within 30 working days, and will provide feedback on your submission where appropriate.

* If your novel is selected, we will publish in digital format, which will be available across all e-tailers in the English language across the World.  You will be working with our experienced inhouse team, and will be provided with a contract, full editorial input including copyediting and proofreading, a suite of marketing and publicity promotion and an eBook jacket.

*  Remember, we are not a vanity or custom publisher.  digitaloriginals is part of the Simon & Schuster UK publishing company.  A digitaloriginals author will benefit from the Simon & Schuster editorial, marketing, publicity and sales expertise and your contract with us under the digitaloriginals project offers you the same benefits as all Simon & Schuster UK authors receive.

 

 

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New York research for ‘A Gift to Remember’!
July 7, 2014  |  Features  |  Comments are off

As the saying goes, you can tell a lot about a person by the contents of their bookshelves. Or can you? This notion was the bones of the inspiration for the story of A Gift to Remember. One time during a trip to New York, I spent a very pleasant …