Heard of reverse promotion?

For something different in May I’m offering space on my blog for those who dare to write reverse promotion about their book (or themselves). It’s a fun/evil way of talking about your bad characters, or your characters’ worse traits (they aren’t perfect, I hope!), and dishing the dirt on your writing style. 


Here’s my reverse promotion on my romantic comedy – 

A Proper Charlie.

The book is British and set in London, so for any non Britons reading be prepared for a lot Brit lingo that’ll confuse the stuffing out of you. The main character, Charlie Wallis, also has ginger hair, and if that isn’t enough to put you off she’s too needy, too trusting and an utter doormat to her loser of a boyfriend, Andy.

The genre is romantic comedy but love scenes don’t come easy to me so I took the easy way out and wrote bad sex scenes–I’ve had lots of experience (did I just say that out loud?). Anyhoo, here’s short ‘sexy’ excerpt:

He stood
up – it took several attempts – but he eventually stood before her. ‘Had one
pint, that’s all,’ he said, pronouncing pint as “point”. He staggered
sidewards, righted himself, but then staggered the other way. He sat back down.
‘Think my drink was spiked.’
sat next to him. ‘Sorry I yelled, love. I’m tired, that’s all. You could have
asked me about having your mates here. I wouldn’t have minded,’ she lied. She
always felt the need to count the cutlery after they’d been round.
swallowed a belch and nodded.
slipped her arms around his waist. ‘I’m not too tired for making love, though.’
‘Need a
piss,’ he said and pulled away from her. Before he got to the bathroom, his fly
was undone and he was pulling his penis from his boxers. He peed with the door
open and then staggered back towards Charlie, tucking it away. He wiped his
hands on his jeans.
shag until morning,’ he said with a grin. 
He tripped and crashed to the ground by her feet. He laughed, belched,
and fell asleep.

A Proper Charlie is real life, real funny and real pink. If you’re a guy you’ll hate it: no guns (heck, this is a British novel!), no babes (heck, this is a British novel!), and no fast cars (heck this is a …). If you’re a girl you’ll hate it too: no hearts and flowers, no sexy guys (unless you find geeky men attractive) and no shiny, sparkly shoes (I don’t think Charlie has any!).

Charlie lives for love but she’s clueless, and clings to her boyfriend unaware that he’s abusing her trust. She’s clueless in everything she does, in fact, as one reviewer put ‘A Proper Charlie is a piece of steaming shite!’ and her boss Ben Middleton (no relation to Kate) gets covered in the stuff! 

So you see, unless you like annoying characters who are not only unlucky in love but useless, then do literature a favour and DON’T buy A Proper Charlie.

So over to you guys. Write something about your book using one of the below styles (or your own idea):

1. 200 to 700 word article (approx) on why people shouldn’t buy {name of book}.
2. 200 to 700 word article (approx) on why people should avoid all your book(s).
3. 200 to 700 word article (approx) on why people should avoid you completely (as a person and/or as an author).

Article (or bullet points) can be funny, argumentative, evil, an utter piss-take, your call.

Send in your author media (links, bio and pic) and book details (purchase links, blurb, extract etc).

Please send all ASAP so I can arrange everyone with dates using the ‘contact’ button top left of screen. All articles will appear here and tweeted out via Triberr. Intros to your article will be posted to WWBB’s Facebook page. All book covers will be posted on Pinterest in the Book Junkies library.

Come on, be brave…

When a dream becomes reality

A Day In The Life of 
Carmel Harrington

Have you ever watched the Oscars and fantasised about one day walking the red carpet one day? Maybe you have stood in front of your mirror with a hairbrush in hand and practised your ‘Gwennie’ acceptance speech!

Or of a Friday night, while soaking in your bath do you do a ‘Jimmy Rabbitte’ from The Commitments? Remember that hilarious scene where he practiced his celebrity interview with Terry Wogan? (Ok that’s a few years ago, so now it might be Graham Norton or Alan Carr that you use, but you get the idea!)

If you are sport-mad like my husband, you may have thought about scoring the winning goal for Liverpool in the Champions League Final once or twice. (delete/insert your favourite team here!)

My point here is that for most of us, we all have a day-dream or fantasy ‘what if’ moment in our heads that we never really think will come true, but it’s fun to think about every now and then.

Well for me, my fantasy day-dream was to see a book I’d written for sale in a bookshop. Preferably not in the bargain basket! Ever since I was a young girl, a self-confessed book nerd I might add, I would marvel at the beautiful covers that adorned book shelves row after row and wonder what it must feel like for those authors to see their work displayed so magnificently. Over the years, I have spent many a happy afternoon drinking coffee in my local bookshop, flicking through new releases and deciding which book would be my next purchase. And inadvertently I would find myself day-dreaming about one day seeing my own name amongst those heroes of mine. Just thinking about it would make me smile.

November 14th, 2013 was just an ordinary Thursday for most people, but for me it was a day that will stay forevermore in my memory bank of magical moments. It was the day that I saw my book for sale in a bookshop for the very first time. I’d held the paperbook proof already and that was an amazing moment that I’ll never forget, but this was a whole other experience!

When my editor Charlotte Ledger advised me the release date would be November 14th, I cannot explain the excitement. Think back to what it felt like to be a child waiting for December the 1st to become December 25th. Do you remember that feeling of excitement and delicious anticipation with a big auld dash of impatience thrown in for good measure! Well, that’s how I felt!

When November 14th arrived I gave up all pretence of make-believing it was an ordinary day and headed to Byrnes Bookstores in Enniscorthy. Luck was on my side, I even got a car-parking space right outside the store!

Right in front of me, as I entered the store, on the very first shelf was my book. I couldn’t miss it! But then my eyes wondered to the Book Shelf entitled New Releases and there I was again. And the company I was keeping. My book was below Patricia Scanlan and Cecelia Ahern, beside Helen Fielding and on top of Nicolas Sparks. Oh My!

I stood back and discreetly watched the bookshelf for a few moments, hoping I might get to see someone buy my book. A woman walked over to the new releases and her eyes travelled over the books in front of her. Her hand reached out and touched several titles and all the while I was whispering to myself, ‘Pick mine, pick mine!’ And then oh joy, she reached in and picked up my book! Before I could stop myself I let out of squeal and she jumped at the sound and turned around to see this mad woman smiling from ear to ear and her and thanking her for choosing that book! She looked a little bit worried (understandably!) so she quickly put the book back down and legged it! 

In hindsight maybe stalking the bookshelves is not a good marketing ploy, so I shall refrain from repeating that again. Honestly.

Now I have a new daydream. Do you want to hear it? Ok, here it is, I’m walking the red carpet to the world premiere of the latest movie – called Beyond Grace’s Rainbow! A girl’s got to dream!

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Beyond Grace’s Rainbow 

Winner of The
Best Romantic Read eBook 2013 at the UK’s Festival of Romance.

Winner of The People’s Kindle Book Awards March 2013.


When Grace is diagnosed with cancer her best chance of survival is to find a bone marrow transplant from a family member. Only Grace is adopted and her one previous attempt to connect with her birth mother resulted in bitter disappointment.

But with her young son, Jack, to think about, and the return of her ex Liam, Jack’s father, reminding her of feelings she’d thought she’d buried long ago, Grace refuses to give up hope just yet. 

With the help of her friends she bravely embarks on a journey of discovery. This search will bring her from her home in vibrant Dublin to the unspoilt beauty of Wexford where she must unravel a web of lies and deceit that has spanned over thirty years.

With a wonderful cast of supporting characters and plenty of charm, this will have you laughing and crying at the turn of a page.

“There were some of the happiest life-affirming moments in this novel which were followed by some of the most devastating moments I’ve ever read.” She Loves To Read

“Beyond Grace’s Rainbow is a bittersweet, quietly brilliant novel that will make you cry, laugh and cry all over again.” Female First Magazine

Carmel Harrington, an author and playwright, is published with HarperCollins Romance Imprint HarperImpulse.

Her début novel Beyond Grace’s Rainbow, was a bestselling eBook and is now released in paperback. It was voted Best Romantic eBook Read 2013 at the UK’s Festival of Romance Book Awards. It also won the Peoples Choice Kindle Book Awards in March 2013.

Her second novel Sleep of Dreams will be published by HarperImpulse in February 2013. She is currently working on a sequel to Beyond Grace’s Rainbow. Listen to Carmel Harrington chatting about her book on You Tube. She is married to Roger and together with their two small children Amelia and Nate, live in Co. Wexford, Ireland.
Click below for a sneak preview of an excerpt from Chapter 1.
Grace was abruptly pulled back from her
daydreaming by a demand from Gerry. ‘Right Grace, I’m in suspenders here for
too long! Why are we all here? Don’t tell me you’re preggers again!’ Gerry
‘Nah couldn’t be that Gerry, the sperm of the
devil hasn’t been around for years now!’ Tara joked.
Tara was talking about Liam. She never
missed an opportunity to have a dig at him, never forgiving him for leaving
Grace on her own.
‘Very funny Tara. When are you going to
stop laying into Liam? He’s guilty of a lot of things, but sperm of the devil
is going a bit far I think. Remember he’s Jack’s Dad.’ Grace responded a bit
Seeing Tara’s hurt face made Grace feel
instantly guilty for snapping at her. She was only joking after all. She smiled
lamely to try to take the sting out.
‘Gerry is right thought. I’ve put off
telling you my news for long enough now. I did get you guys around here for a
reason.’ Making sure everyone had a full glass, Grace figured it was now or
‘No getting anything past you lot! I’m not
sure how to start.’ Grace faltered. ‘This is harder than I thought.’
‘Are we talking ‘It could happen to you’
kind of news? Gerry interrupted with a smile. ‘Nicholas Cage, Rosie Perez
winning the lotto. Nick gives half his winnings to a waitress played by Bridget
Fonda. Rosie goes frigging nuts!’ With every word Gerry’s voice had raised a
pitch with excitement.
‘Jaysus Gerry, you don’t have to give a
synopsis of every movie you quote – we have been to the cinema on occasion too
you know!’ Tom quipped.
‘Fraid’ not, Gerry. No lotto wins here. No
Nick Cage either for that matter! I suppose it’s more of a Terms of Endearment
moment actually.’ Grace responded.
Gerry loved it when his friends played
along with him. With a big grin he started his narrative.
‘Jack Nicholson, Shirley McClaine, Debra
Winger. God Jack was gorgeous in that movie. As for Shirley, she was simply
divine. Can you guys remember that scene in the hospital? I swear I needed
Valium because I was crying so much.’
And with that Gerry stopped. The meaning of
what Grace had just said hit him and for everyone else too. Four pairs of eyes
turned away from Gerry and looked at their friend.‘Right, I need you guys to be
strong. No tears, OK?’ They all nodded silently, so Grace continued. ‘It’s a
bit of a bitch, but I’ve got cancer.’This was the first time that Grace’s
friends had all been silent. Tom found his voice first of all. ‘Grace, this is
one sick joke. Not even a good one. See, nobody’s laughing.’ He gestured
maniacally around the room.
Grace thought this was the first time she’d
ever seen Tom look scared.
‘It’s not a joke though, is it?’ Abby asked
‘No pet. It’s no joke. Or at least if it
is, the joke is on me.’ Grace answered softly.
Sean then spoke quietly. ‘If you guys have
any questions, I’ll answer them for you.’
Tara jumped up then, angrily pointing at
Sean, barely able to get the words out, ‘You knew about this Sean? You knew and
didn’t tell me.’

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The Snarky Sarcasm Chromosome

Nic Tatano

“Do I look like a clown to you? Do I amuse you?” Joe Pesci’s famous questions to Ray Liotta in the movie Goodfellas are valid when it comes to writing humor. Because there’s no real definition of what’s amusing and what isn’t.

As a writer of romantic comedies, I try to draw on the three things that have shaped my personality: I’m Italian, I’m from the New York City area, and I work in the television news business. For me, writing snarky, sarcastic characters is easy because I’m a snarky sarcastic character in real life. I can’t help it. Like Lady Gaga, I was born this way.

Growing up in a loud, sarcastic Italian family I learned early on that just about anything could bring on a snarky comment. If Mom overcooked something, Dad might say, “At least she didn’t burn the salad.” She’d get even if she caught him looking at his bald head in the mirror, with something like, “Hey, Mister Clean, it aint growin’ back.” During the Christmas family dinner my cousin gave it to the wealthier members of the clan. “Can whoever owns this garish Mercedes convertible move it? You’re blocking my Ford Pinto.”

Author Nic Tatano

And to a New Yorker, any simple question demands a smart-ass answer. Ask the average person for the time, he’ll tell you. Ask a New Yorker, and you’ll get an eye roll followed by, “What do I look like, Big Ben?” Of course there’s the classic response to, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Answer: “Practice, practice, practice.”

The smart-ass chromosome is dominant in my heritage, like dark eyes and the habit of talking with your hands. And after receiving a Bachelor’s degree in snark from my family, I actually made it worse by going into journalism. I never realized I’d run into such dark, wicked newsroom humor that would offend millions of viewers if it ever hit the air. But it’s a defense mechanism; reporters deal with tragedy so much we have to lighten things up. So nothing is sacred, especially if Darwin is thinning the herd in a good way. A sleazy politician died? He’s either “taking a dirt nap” or “has reached room temperature”. An idiot who blew himself up in a meth lab explosion is a “crispy critter”. A press conference with a lot of reporters is a “gang bang”. Yes, we’re a genteel bunch.

So, is there a scientific formula for writing humor? Do I look like Stephen Hawking to you?

I don’t “try” to inject funny stuff into my books, because it comes naturally. Most of the stories I did as a reporter were features: those light, funny pieces you see at the end of the newscast (often known as “fluff”). Since I was used to writing fun facts, I figured I could write fun fiction. Anyway, what you read is basically an extension of my personality. They say every author puts a little bit of his or her own personality into a book; in my case it’s more than a little. Find the most snarky character in one of my books and it’s me. I simply change the name and the face (said face is always much more attractive than my own). And in my rom-coms I often undergo a literary sex change.

I love injecting accents and fun stereotypes into my work, and since I set everything in New York City, the possibilities are endless. Do people who aren’t from New York find the slang and accents amusing? Fuhgeddaboudit! Are youse guys kiddn’ me?

Then I add a dash of the people I grew up with in the old neighborhood. The Italian girl who slapped the back of your head if you tried to pull a fast one on her. “Do I have ‘stupid’ tattooed on my forehead?” The matchmaking Jewish mother. “You’re still single? You want I should fix you up with a nice girl?” The bookie who won’t give you an extension on what you owe. “Do I look like Citibank to you?”

If you’re a writer who is a normal person (not like me) and want to inject humor into your work, simply think about the characters in your life you found amusing. If you found them funny, chances are your readers will as well. Everyone knows those larger than life people who have the gift that is a sense of humor. And every location has its funny quirks; think about the local slang or traditions you find amusing.

So, back to the original question: Do I amuse you? It depends, because everyone’s definition of humor is different. Some people find my work hilarious, others don’t get it. And I get that.

Life’s funny that way, huh?

Wingman Girl

Wing Girl: [wing-gurl] noun
1. A young, single woman frequenting liquor-serving establishments who attracts then later repels eligible men that are eventually picked up by her friends.

2. The essential accessory for dating in Manhattan.

For years guys have cruised bars using the “wing man” as a divide and conquer weapon designed to liberate a gorgeous woman from her not-so-beautiful friend.

Meet Belinda Carson, Wing Girl.

She’s a kick-ass, take-no-prisoners investigative reporter fighting for truth, justice and higher ratings. But while her fame draws in the hotties, it’s unfortunate that you can’t buy a new personality at Bloomingdales!

Because up close and personal these unsuspecting suitors get fried by a snarky attitude that’s sharp enough to slice a stale bagel…

which leaves her grateful friends to swoop in for the delectable leftovers!

Only enough is enough – isn’t it time for Belinda to stop taking one for the team and land her own Mr Right?

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Step Away from the Cat!

Monique McDonell

I’m blogging today about a phenomenon that
I may be guilty of in my own fiction.  You’ll recognise it when I explain. It’s when a main character uses a pet as a
confidant and ally.
Let’s loosely call it ‘the animal as a literary device’.

Take a lonely
single girl who sits around talking to her cat (or dog or hamster) lamenting
her situation because nobody else understands her. Sure she might be a ditz and
she might be a bit flaky, but dammit if she isn’t home every night to feed Fido
or Whiskers and to lament her miserable life!

There’s a reason you see this in books and
that’s because when it’s done well, it works. Here are some very successful
examples that may spring to mind:

Janet Evanovich uses it in a lot of her traditional
romances, and in the Stephanie Plum series it seems Rex the Hamster is almost
the only thing Stephanie can keep track of (how one hamster has survived so
many explosions in one apartment with just a cage to protect him is quite the
mystery, but Stephanie needs Rex and so he has bravely powered on through
nineteen books so far!
Don’t let my cynicism throw you off, I’ve read all nineteen
of those books!).

A great example of this done well in the
chick lit genre is Must
Love dogs
by Claire Cook. I loved this book back in the day because at that
time it was a fresh angle….eight years later, hmm I’m not sure.

Meg Cabot did it in The Princess Diaries
(cat) and in The Boy
Next Door
(dog). If you can add pet-sitting into the story line you get
double points. Well, not that there are points but you get the dog as the
confidant and the fish out of water scenario as well. 
(In my first novel Mr Right and Other
Mongrels the main character has the opposite issue – a crippling dog phobia –
not much sitting around talking to the dogs in that one).

So what is my point you ask? People do have
pets and they do talk to them. People really will race home to feed their cat
rather than have a night of crazy sex
with a new love interest – either because
the cat really does need to eat or because it’s a nice way out when you’re
scared you like him too much or you don’t like him enough –  but either way it does happen. People do walk
their dogs and meet new friends at the dog park, absolutely. It’s real life and
that makes it realistic, sure.

I guess my point is that done well it is
just fine to have animals as confidants in books but done badly it’s just
another cliché. It’s another “here we go” moment for a reader and neither the
author nor the reader wants that.

That’s why I say “Step Away from the Cat”
unless he brings some unique energy or purpose that will have the readers
caring about that animal, not just as a literary device, but as a real life
character that they too would give up a wonderful romantic evening for.

Mr Right and Other Mongrels

Blissfully happy in her own universe Allegra (Ally) Johnson is the sweet best friend everyone wants to have. Quietly and independently wealthy she runs a charming second-hand bookshop in beachside Manly. Heck, sometimes she even goes downstairs from her flat to run the shop in her Chinese silk pyjamas. It sounds like bliss. But is it enough? 

When dog-phobic Allegra is rescued from an exuberant canine by the chivalrous Teddy Green, Australia’s hottest TV celebrity and garden make-over guru, her life begins to change. Dramatically!

Unaware of Teddy’s fame Allegra finds herself falling for him, despite her best attempts to resist his charm. Supported by her eccentric family and her fabulous gay friend Justin, Allegra embarks on an on-again off-again romance with Teddy, complicated by his jealous ex-girlfriend, fashionista Louisa and her own narcissistic hippy mother Moonbeam.

Will Ally be able to overcome her insecurities and find happiness with this possible Mr Right or will Teddy’s celebrity lifestyle prove to be too much?

Mr Right and Other Mongrels is a light-hearted story about how one chance encounter can change your life.

About author Monique McDonell is an Australian author who writes contemporary women’s fiction including chick lit and romance. She lives on Sydney’s Northern Beaches with husband and daughter, and despite her dog phobia, a dog called Skip.

At University she studied Creative Writing as part of of her Communication degree. Afterwards, she was busy working in public relations and didn’t write for pleasure for quite a few years although she wrote many media releases, brochures and newsletters – and still does in her day-job.

When she began to write again she noticed that writing dark unhappy stories made her unhappy, so she made a decision to write a novel with a happy ending, and has been writing happy stories ever since.