Holiday Reading List – Mandy Baggot

My guest today is UK author Mandy Baggot. Let’s hear what Mandy suggests for our Christmas reading list.
Here she is:
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Looking for great gifts for Christmas? These are three of the best books I’ve read recently:-
Lost Girls – Angela Marsons
A brilliant crime thriller and #3 in the DI Kim Stone series. This is a gripping page turner with protagonist detective, Kim Stone in a race against time to find two kidnapped girls. I love this series, it was another five-star read for me and I can’t wait for more.
A Cottage in the Country – Linn B Halton
This really was a festive treat and will make you want to cosy up with a hot chocolate and be glad you’re not living Maddie Brooks’ life! Stuck in raging floods at Christmas time in a cold, partially renovated house with a grumpy (yet attractive!) man-who-can, I loved this feel-good story of reinvention.
Life or Something Like It – Annie Lyons 
I adore Annie’s books and this was another triumph. Cat is an opportunity-hungry career woman until she loses her job and has to look after her brother’s children. Will anyone survive? And what will Cat do without Twitter for a week? A perfect, fun, feel-good read with a dash of romance.
Check out Mandy Baggot’s latest release, One Wish in Manhattan or visit her website!
One Wish in Manhattan

Hooked? – 2

Here are three more books and their opening lines.

Assuming the book is in a genre that might interest you, do you want to continue reading after the first lines? The authors hope so. What do you think? Are you interested enough to turn the page?

1. Grumpy Old Menopause by Carol E. Wyer

Have you started to write post-it notes with your kids’ names on them? Do you need to change your underwear after every time you sneeze? Guess it’s time to read this book then.

….  It’ll help you get through “that” time of your life with a spring in your step and a smile on your face. (Yeah right!)

GOM High Resolution Cover

 

http://www.safkhetpublishing.com/books/select/Grumpy_Old_Menopause.html

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2. Made in Nashville by Mandy Baggot

The lights were so bright, brighter than the strongest spotlight Honor had ever stood under. They were coming from all directions. Right. Left. Overhead. The crowd was roaring, clapping, stamping their feet, dancing. They moved like a sea, swaying, bobbing, rising up and falling back in time to the music. This was what she’d dreamed of since she was a little girl.

Made in Nashville

 http://smarturl.it/buymadeinnashville

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3. Kurinji Flowers by Clare Flynn

The beginning of July, and the sky was the colour of a dirty pigeon. 1936 had been a terrible year; dull, grey days, abnormally cool and unremittingly miserable. At least, that’s how I remember it.   

Kurinji Flowers LARGE EBOOK

 

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Strings Attached

Mr Blake will see you now!

From 16th September 2014, Mandy Baggot’s Strings Attached is going on tour!

Strings Attached

 

Strings Attached is a contemporary romance novel that was shortlisted for Best Author Published Read at the Festival of Romance in 2012. It’s done a Waterstones store tour, its leading man has interacted via his own Twitter account and it’s been a bestseller on Amazon.

Here’s the blurb…

Caterer George Fraser has a mission. She’s going to prove everyone wrong. Ambitious owner of catering firm Finger Food and black sheep of her family, she’s determined to succeed in business where she’s so far failed in her personal life. Asked to cater for gorgeous rock star Quinn Blake’s after-show party her life suddenly takes a turn for the dramatic.

Magnetically drawn together, George and Quinn embark on a relationship that no one must know about. But is Quinn everything he seems or is there more to his star life than he’s telling her?

Things hot up when George is invited to the wedding of the millennium and her integrity very soon becomes compromised. With celebrity obsessed colleague Marisa in the mix and her beloved Adam spending more time in her life can George keep her secrets and hold on to her ambition, or will love finally get in the way?

 

What do people say about the book?

‘Mandy Baggot has created an impeccable love story’

‘The chemistry between George and Quinn from the very first meeting is intense and the intensity continues right to the last page’

‘I enjoyed George and Quinn’s relationship – the tenderness and the passion, the uncertainty and the secrets. This is a chick lit story that has stayed with me since I’ve read it’

‘An exciting and romantic story with an emotional edge’

‘A plot twist straight out of Dallas’

Strings Attached – One pull could change your life!

Quinn

 

Read an exclusive extract now…

George smiled and was about to text a reply when the swing doors banged open and Quinn marched into the room, a thunderous expression on his face.

‘How dare you!’ he greeted, striding up to her.

‘How dare I what?’ George replied, standing her ground and looking at him.

‘How dare you refuse to come to Manchester in front of Michael!’ Quinn yelled.

‘How dare I?! How dare you put me in that position,’ George exclaimed angrily.

‘It was just a catering job,’ Quinn said, standing opposite her, so close it was a little unnerving.

‘No it wasn’t,’ George snapped back.

Quinn just kept his gaze focused on her, staring as if he was daring her to look away. George swallowed, knowing what was going to happen next.

His lips crashed against hers a second later and he was holding her so tightly she thought the breath was going to leave her body entirely. She melted into him, like she did every time they were together and only let go when she just had to stop to take in air.

‘Quinn,’ she began as he moved his lips down her neck and began lightly kissing her shoulder blade.

He didn’t reply. She could feel the tip of his tongue brushing against her collarbone.

‘Quinn,’ she repeated, trying not to shiver as his hot breath warmed her entire insides.

His fingers were at the buttons of her shirt now and she was perilously close to letting him carry on.

‘Quinn,’ she said firmly.

Finally he stopped and brought his head back up to look at her.

‘We can’t keep doing this. I won’t be that girl.’

Follow the Strings Attached tour on the dates below and purchase the book for just 99p from 16 September until the end of the tour!

 

Tour dates and links

Tuesday 16 September

K T Book Reviews

BestChickLit

 

Wednesday 17 September

Sky’s Book Corner

 

Friday 19 September

Elder Park Books

Lost in Chick Lit

 

Monday 22 September

Chicks That Read

 

Tuesday 23 September

On My Bookshelf

Jera’s Jamboree

 

**JUST 99p!** Buy Strings Attached http://smarturl.it/stringsattached

 

Quiz Show Fun – Mandy Baggot

Humour in writing doesn’t have to be a series of one-liners. It can be a subtle view of the lighter side of an otherwise serious scene. Authors who weave this kind of “humour” into their writing usually capture the reader’s interest more than if they had stuck to the dry sequence of events they had planned in their storyline. The use of this kind of light humour also makes the scenes more real. How many times have you been in a serious situation and said, “Someday we’ll look back on this and laugh.” THAT is one of the kinds of humour I’m talking about in this series.

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My guest today is Mandy Baggot of the UK. She writes romantic novels that often have a funny side to them. Her sense of humour makes these “love stories” fun to read. Find out about all Mandy’s novels at her amazon.co.uk link here.

Here is an excerpt from Mandy Baggot’s novel, “Knowing Me, Knowing You.

‘I don’t think you should have any more of those,’ Joel said, putting the glass back down on the bar.

‘I’m sorry, I didn’t realise I was paying you to do impersonations of my mother,’ Kate snapped.

‘I just think it might be better if you didn’t have too much more, that’s all.’ He took hold of the glass as Kate reached for it.

‘Give me my drink back!’

‘No.’

‘Give it to me!’ She made a lunge for the glass.

Joel dodged out of the way and Kate fell, bashing her elbow hard on the bar.

She hurriedly stood upright, straightening her dress.

Joel spoke. ‘All we have to do is answer a few questions. It’s no big deal. It’ll keep your client sweet and it will backfire on Miranda, who obviously nominated you to make you feel uncomfortable.’

‘She spends her life finding new ways to make me feel uncomfortable,’ Kate mumbled in reply.

‘So show her you don’t mind stepping into the breach and entering the contest. Rise above her.’

‘There are bloody TV cameras out there!’ Kate exclaimed, still looking longingly at the drink Joel was shielding.

‘I don’t see the problem. It’s one little quiz. You must have done quizzes before.’

‘Yes. In pubs. With friends. About music and films not about someone I’ve only just met! We know nothing about each other! How is that going to look?!’ Kate shrieked.

‘You’re overreacting. Come on, we’re going back in.’ Joel took hold of Kate’s arm and led her towards the door of the function room.

‘This is madness! And what sort of escort agency do you work for? You’re bullying me and you’re hurting my arm,’ Kate hissed as he propelled her through the doors and back towards the table.

‘It will be over in an hour or so. We’ll probably only be on stage for ten minutes. Think how many brownie points this will earn you with Frank,’ Joel whispered as Miranda approached.

‘They said the questions were intimate. What side of the bed do you sleep on? What underwear do you prefer?’ Kate asked.

‘Kate, we don’t have to win.’

‘No, but they have to at least believe we’re a couple.’

Knowing Me Knowing You

Writing Styles – Part 2

Continued from Writing Styles – Part 1

Writers all have different ways of conveying meaning to their readers. In this post I’ve asked authors to provide short excerpts with examples of how they’ve developed description of a character and a setting. A third challenge was to provide a sentence or two showing their favourite ending to a scene.

My first guest today is Darlene Jones with excerpts from her novel “Embattled.”

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1. CHARACTER: She fluffed her hair and straightened her jacket. Satisfied that she looked presentable for the superintendent’s visit—no chalk on her clothes or hands. No blood either. She bolted to her office, seeking escape with the boss and her performance review.

2. SETTING: She struggled through the thick vegetation, swinging the machete awkwardly, working her way towards her destination. Vines wrapped themselves around her legs. She yanked at the long skirt of her dress to free herself. She swung the machete again, and pushed through the narrow opening she’d created, ignoring the thorns that scratched her bare arms and shoulders. “Suitably dressed, I am, I am.” A spider web enveloped her. The machete cut through it easily enough, but remnants clung to her skin.

3. SCENE ENDING: “Oh, my God! What’s happening to me?”
Embattled jpg for Kindle

Find out more about Darlene Jones’s books on her website: www.emandyves.com

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Also joining us today is Mandy Baggot.

MandyBaggot

1. Character – Nathan Regan

He was good-looking, but his clothes were a style disaster. He was wearing an off-the-peg charcoal suit, a white shirt open at the neck, and on his feet were very cheap shoes. He wasn’t the hotel’s usual clientele. He looked like he might be more at home selling mobile phones.

2. Setting

When Autumn saw the property, she smiled for the first time in a very long time. It was gorgeous. This was more like it. This was what she was used to. As soon as the Jeep had parked up outside and Teo had opened the door, she had almost floated out of the vehicle, joy and awe etched on her face. It was a new building, traditionally constructed, the color of slate with a green tiled roof. There was a garage straight ahead, and to one side, wooden steps led up to a front door.

Her jacket was over her arm now. The heat was stifling, and she knew that inside there would be a shower at the very least, somewhere she could wash off everything she had endured over the last day. She walked toward the steps, unable to wait any longer.

3.  Scene Ending

The room silenced as Alison Raine looked to Autumn for an answer to her question.

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Website: www.mandybaggot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mandybaggot

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mandy.baggot

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2968625.Mandy_Baggot

Loveahappyending Bookshelf: http://loveahappyending.org/mandy-baggot/

Sapphire Star Publishing: http://www.sapphirestarpublishing.com/mandybaggot

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More writers to come next time.

Writing Challenges

I asked fellow writers to give us some insights into situations they face with regard to their writing. If you’re a writer, you may recognize some of their complaints and solutions. Let’s see what they have to say.

What are your greatest challenges in writing and how do you deal with them?

Sue Fortin, author of United State of Love

Sue profile pic 1I have to say my biggest challenge is The Voice of Guilt.  It’s not often I get a long stretch at writing and when I do, always at the back of

united-state-of-love

my mind, there’s a little niggling voice whispering things like “Don’t forget that pile of ironing,”’ or “Doesn’t the bathroom need cleaning?”

To combat this, I try to plan ahead and have in my mind a set day or time I’m going to write. That way, I can make sure

everything at home is done beforehand so when I sit in front of my laptop, I have a clear conscience and can concentrate on my WIP. I know I shouldn’t really have to feel guilty but …

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Bonnie Trachtenberg

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My greatest challenge in writing is getting myself to finally sit down and do it. I wish I was one of those writers who looked forward to it, but I’m just not. Sometimes I’d rather do anything else, including laundry or cleaning! Unfortunately, what gets me to finally force myself to sit down is anxiety that I haven’t accomplished anything. I sometimes ease myself into it by having a television on while I pull up my latest pages. Once I get started reading them over and correcting any problems, I’ll mute or turn off the television altogether. Soon after, time begins to fly by and I’m back under “the spell”.

 

Bonnie Trachtenberg is the author of “Wedlocked” and “Neurotically Yours.”

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Mandy Baggot 

Author of contemporary romance, Taking Charge and upcoming romantic suspense novel, Security

Mandy-Baggot

Distractions! They are everywhere! Children, pets, husband, Twitter, Facebook, You Tube music videos, TV, dancing babies, interesting blog posts, pictures of half naked men. Some days I think someone is deliberately out to get me! You will not write Lady Baggot, you will waste the day leering at the work of other people while you get nothing done! When this happens there is only one thing to do. Switch it all off! Turn off the internet, the radio, the television, the half-naked men and FOCUS. Let nothing else into your world. Remain focussed for as long as possible or at least until the children scream for attention and food. As writers we feel we need to stay on top of what’s going on at all times – constantly comment on everything that happens on social media – I know I do! But if I didn’t stamp on those distractions sometimes I’d never get a book written!

Besides “Taking Charge” and “Security,” Mandy Baggot is also the author of “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” “Public Property,” “Excess All Areas,” and “Breaking the Ice.”

 

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Stephanie Keyes Stephanie-Keyes-180x240 The greatest challenges that I face in writing…

  1. The first is editing. It’s exhausting for me! As liberating as writing and creating are, editing is a drain.
  2. The second is time. As a mother with two little ones, I find that coming up with time to write is just as challenging. When you add in public appearances and other responsibilities, pulling together a few moments to write can be challenging.

Regardless of the challenges, I don’t know that I’d change a thing. Both challenges help me grow in my writing.

Stephanie Keyes is the author of “The Fallen Stars” and “The Star Child.”

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Linn B. Halton Linn-B-Halton-180x240 Self-pub or submission? Deciding whether to self-publish or submit to a publisher is the hardest decision of all. Having one foot in both camps has made that decision even harder for me personally. Both routes work well and I do love the support that my publishers – Sapphire Star – are able to give; also their advice and guidance plus technical expertise. Being able to hand over a manuscript and only having to get involved with the edits and cover design, is easier than having to go through the whole publishing process yourself. But there’s a part of me that likes to be in control of everything and whilst it’s been a HUGE learning curve, there’s a lot of personal satisfaction in acquiring new skills. Marketing isn’t easy but the same thing applies whether you self-pub or sign a contract; no one will buy your book if they don’t know it’s out there! For the moment I hope that I can continue to use both routes to publication and enjoy honing the new skills I’ve learnt. Here’s my latest, newly-acquired skill – 3D book covers!

Linn B. Halton is the Author of “Never Alone,” “Touched By the Light,” “The Quintessential Gemini,” The Restaurant@ the Mill,” and “Being a Sceptic is Oh So Easy.”

Linn's 3-D books

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Darlene Jones 100-0059_IMG One often hears of “writer’s block.” It’s happened to me with each of my novels. I come to a point when I just don’t know where to go with the story or the characters. My solution is to stay away from writing for a time. I’m lucky in that any time lines are self-imposed so I have the luxury of not writing for a bit. Then, when ideas start whirling in my head, I get back at it.

Darlene Jones is the author of three novels. Her fourth novel is forthcoming.

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Carol E. Wyer

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Being left alone to type is the biggest problem I face. My husband can’t seem to understand that when I am writing, I need to be left alone, even after five novels. My age helps me hugely. A couple of years ago, I developed insomnia but I turned it to my advantage. Nowadays, I wait until he is snoring in bed, then get up and type until the early hours of the morning. Only to be recommended if you can manage being sleep-deprived for several weeks and don’t mind looking like  a hung over panda who has had a few rounds with a champion fighter. I also find that my eyes get tired more easily these days and I make quite a few typos. I use the “Search” feature in Word to ensure I haven’t made my usual mistakes of typing “form” instead of “from” and so on. It is surprising how useful that tool is.

Carol E Wyer, author of “Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines,” “Surfing in Stilettos,” “How Not to Murder Your Grumpy,” and “Just Add Spice.”

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Anneli Purchase

Anneli[7]

When no bright ideas are blowing around the trade winds of my mind, the doldrums set in. Some call it writer’s block. I call it the doldrums. I dread them. They usually settle in after I’ve written a scene that doesn’t work and I don’t have a new idea yet. I despair of ever writing another good sentence. The solution? When I can’t stand the lack of creativity anymore, I find a quiet place. I take my pen and paper and scribble out possibilities in a brainstorming pattern, making circles around keywords and linking possibilities to them also in keywords. Eventually, a new thread appears and I can’t wait to get back to the computer to try the new scene. Saved again, until the next weather system moves in. Funny thing is, the doldrums happen when the trades are becalmed, and yet my personal doldrums are anything but calming.

Anneli Purchase is author of “The Wind Weeps,” “Orion’s Gift,” and “Julia’s Violinist.”
Front Cover  jpg (1)(2) The Wind Weeps [1] thumbnailOrion's Gift

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Nicky Wells

Author - Nicky Wells

Author – Nicky Wells

Challenge #1 ~ Second-guessing myself. This is a new phenomenon that has presented itself after receiving fabulous edits and suggestions for my first two books. Now, while I write, I can almost hear the editor say, “show, don’t tell” or “can you prove that?” which means I occasionally question my writing even while I write. My response? If it’s an obviously valid point, I make an immediate adjustment (e.g. more dialogue, do the research on a particular point, etc.) If it isn’t, I follow my writing heart and keep writing, perhaps making a note of the uncertainty for future consideration. If in doubt, I’d always advise to keep ploughing on  rather than getting caught up in second-guesses!

Challenge #2 ~ Length. Or rather, limiting the length. I am a prolific writer! The first draft of my second novel came in at nearly 150,000 words. The knives had to come out and some drastic cutting took place. Now, when I write, I listen to myself and my “gut” for cutting. If I know a scene is beautiful but non-essential, I cut it out immediately or, better still, don’t write it at all. Of course it’s not a perfect process (and it ties in with challenge #1 a lot of the time) BUT my most recent WIP finished at 106,000 words ~ a perfect word count, as far as I’m concerned, and a much sharper, fast-paced manuscript from the start.

Nicky Wells is the author of “Sophie’s Turn” and “Sophie’s Run.” Forthcoming on Sept. 5, is her next novel, “Sophie’s Encore.”

Sophie's Turn

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Melanie Robertson-King, author of A Shadow in the Past.

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I work full time as well as write. So juggling work, promoting my current book, and writing requires a sense of balance and sadly, I’ve not found it yet.

I try to do promotional work in the mornings before I head off to the day job.

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Patricia Sands

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My greatest writing challenges:

Condensing my thoughts into fewer words is my primary goal for future projects. Both of my novels have hovered around the 130,000-word mark and the ideal is 80,000 – 90,000. I realize now that I should have made The Promise of Provence into two books and could easily have done so.

My advice: Pay close attention to your word count from the beginning of your WIP. If you see it is getting out of hand, take a look and see how you might tighten up.

My second goal is to be more organized about thoughts and research. I tend to write notes to myself on post-its and end up with an enormous stack. My basic and most important research I keep in notes on my computer and can easily refer to them but the random ideas, words, and bits of information always end up on post-its. I have to stop doing that!

My advice: Develop an organized method of making all of your thoughts and ideas easily accessible. I like the idea shown here and am going to try to do this for my next novel which is slowly simmering as I write this!

Patricia

Patricia Sands is the author of “The Bridge Club” and “The Promise of Provence.”

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TBC Kindle cover

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Readers, please share your comments with us. We want to know what you think.

A Tale of Two Heroes

 

 

Hi, Anneli.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today. It’s a real pleasure!

Well, what’s been going on with me lately? I have been ULTRA busy, that’s what! It’s my own silly fault because this year I decided it was time to up the stakes a bit. It was time to look after the most important people in my life…no, not my husband Mr Big…MY READERS!

I am going to attempt to bring you all a brand new novel every six months! ‘Can it be done?’ I hear you cry. Well, who knows? I certainly hope so! But it does mean I’m spending most days with two men! And what’s wrong about that? Add in some chocolate and wine and you’ve got the perfect life, right? The trouble is, between them, they can get pretty exhausting! Let me introduce them to you!

Nathan

Nathan

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This is Nathan Regan. He’s the star male in my first romantic suspense novel, Security. It’s being brought to you by my wonderful publishers, Sapphire Star Publishing, on 4 April 2013. Mark the calendar!

Nathan’s just been appointed as bodyguard to pop diva, Autumn Raine and he isn’t very happy about it. Autumn is hard work. She titivates constantly and has been ruined by the life of luxury she’s been living.

Nathan’s as down-to-earth as they come; rough, ready, the quintessential action hero. But although he has many scars on the outside, it’s the ones on the inside that hurt the most. Beneath this brash exterior is a very complicated man. I do love a man with inner vulnerability! What do you think? Is he hot?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How about this one? Do you like him? Well, this is Guy Duval (Guy pronounced ‘Gey’ because he’s French) and he’s the male lead in the novel I’m halfway through writing at the moment. It’s called Do You Remember? and I’m working towards an October 2013 release for it.

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Guy’s a professional footballer, just signed to a UK team and when he opens a brand new leisure centre he’s reacquainted with his first love, schoolteacher Emma Barron.

There are actually two stories going on in this book as I’ve used flashback chapters to tell the story of Guy and Emma first meeting back in 2005. Hopefully this will take the reader on two journeys. One tracks teenagers falling in love and the other details how things have changed and how circumstances have altered these people.

Unlike Nathan, Guy is a bit more clean-cut. He’s been living the celebrity lifestyle, he’s rich and successful, and he has a model girlfriend. Life couldn’t get any better you’re thinking. Well, he’s desperately unhappy and because of events of the past he is full of self-loathing and a shame he can’t get rid of.

I hope I’ve intrigued you enough to find out more!

Mandy Baggot

Mandy Baggot

Bio

Mandy Baggot brings you award-winning fiction. In 2012 she won the coveted Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance. Her novel Strings Attached was also short listed for Best Author Published Read.

Mandy writes strong contemporary romance and characters you’ll fall in love with. Previously self-published, she was signed by US publishing house Sapphire Star Publishing in January 2012. Shortly afterwards she became a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Mandy is also a featured author at innovative writer/reader website Loveahappyending.com.

A self-confessed Twitter addict, Mandy also likes to show off her singing talents on You Tube – check out Lady Gaga! She has auditioned for X Factor, appeared on ITV1s Who Dares Sings and longs to duet with Bryan Adams. She also has a fondness for white wine, mashed potato, country music and World’s Strongest Man.

Mandy lives near Salisbury in Wiltshire, UK with her husband, two daughters and two cats called Kravitz and Springsteen.

www.mandybaggot.com

https://twitter.com/mandybaggot

http://www.sapphirestarpublishing.com/mandybaggot