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Hi everyone. Sorry it's taken me so long to write another blog.  Life's been getting in the way and sometimes I find it easier to compose another novel! However, I'm here now and ready to catch up. Please feel free to leave comments, I don't bite and I'm always happy to answer any questions you may have. All the novels in my series are now available in paperback from Amazon, but if anyone would prefer to buy a signed copy direct from me then please get in touch at pam.waltonhowes@btopenworld.com .

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I think it's time I told you a little bit about myself and how I accidentally became an author. It wasn't in my life plans. I can't lie and say I loved writing at school and yearned to be the next Enid Blyton. I enjoyed her books, what kid didn't in the fifties? All that fun with Aunt Fanny and Uncle Quentin and trips to Kirrin Island with Timmy the dog, not to mention the lashings of Ginger Beer!   But then I left school and wanted to do something more exciting, like working in a recording studio. Making coffee for the stars at Abbey Road would have been enough. But it wasn't to be. Girls didn't do that sort of job in the mid-sixties. So I never got the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Phil Spector or George Martin and produce Rock'n'Roll records. 

Instead, I did the next best thing; I got a job in my local record store. From that day my life took on a whole new meaning. Books were put aside in favour of the New Musical Express and Oh Boy and Roxy magazines and the latest top ten charts. I got to hang around with the lads who'd started bands on leaving school. I helped scribble down the lyrics of hit songs for the groups of boys craving stardom. And I was also lucky in being given free passes to the clubs in the area, not to mention the cinemas. Going out hardly cost me a penny so I could afford to keep up with all-important fashion trends and makeup. I saw many a top group, including The Who, The Small Faces, The Walker Brothers, The Yardbirds, Jimi Hendrix, an extremely young and leggy Rod Stewart and a serious chubby guy with glasses named Reggie Dwight, who played keyboards for Bluesology, a 60s UK R&B group. Reggie later became known as the one and only Elton John!


Anyway, all this hanging around with the groups and music-minded people was to be my inspiration when I had a mid-life crisis. The Interior Design career I'd chosen in my thirties was abandoned in favour of attempting to write fact-based articles for music magazines. This idea somehow grew into THREE STEPS TO HEAVEN, the first novel in what has since become a best-selling series of Rock'n'Roll Romances. I've been completely overwhelmed by how readers have welcomed my stories. The many wonderful reviews, comments and messages from my readers bowl me over. My greatest thrill is being compared to two of my favourite authors, Lesley Pearse and Joanna Trollope and to have rubbed shoulders with them in the Amazon sales rankings knocks me out. My fictional band The Raiders has taken over my life in a way I never thought possible. All I planned was one book. No way did I expect another to come flying out of the pen, never mind a third and fourth as well as a prequel and a short story anthology.

In 2011, during another personal crisis, and amongst producing all this Rock'n'Roll stuff, I wrote a stand-alone that's very close to my heart. FAST MOVIN' TRAIN was published in early 2012 and is a sensual romance based on a true story. For my book titles I always pick song titles that have a special meaning; each one carefully chosen to match the book's content. I'm currently working on another stand-alone love story. CATHY'S CLOWN is all about the relationship between an unlikely couple, student nurse, Cathy Lomax and Wall of Death rider, Gianni Kandola. I'm also in the throes of plotting two further Raiders stories. Will let you know the publication dates nearer the time.

Choosing to be an Indie Author might not suit everyone, but for me it's perfect. I have a great editor and a fabulous cover designer and between us I think we produce some good looking books. I choose my own working pace and I don't have to fit in with anyone's house-style. My genre of writing doesn't exist, apparently. It's a made-up one! I love the marketing side of things and I'm part of a great Facebook group of authors. We go by the name of Writing Kindle Books or, WKB.

To any new authors contemplating going down the Indie route, I'd say go for it. You've nothing to lose, no waiting around for years, only to have someone tell you that you don't fit their lists. There's no rejection letters to paper your office walls with, and you just might have an awful lot to gain. Until next time, all the best, Pam.















 
 
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THAT'LL BE THE DAY: ON SALE FROM TODAY

  It's a while since I've done a blog due to writing commitments. So I'd like to wish you all a very Happy Easter and hope you enjoy the break from work and school and eat lots of chocolate

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I'm very excited today as the prequel to Three Steps to Heaven takes to the virtual bookshelves of Amazon in both the UK and the US. Later this week it will be published to Smashwords and will also be available on Apple, Sony, B&N and Kobo.

This morning I organised a Book Launch on Facebook and this was attended by many supporters. Thanks to all who joined in and for the lovely messages. And what better day to do a book launch- the sun is shining, the sky is blue, but it's still cold. Hopefully spring is just around the corner.


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I've really enjoyed writing That'll Be The Day as it took me back to my early teens and the angst of first love, black leather, and rock'n'roll. There's no sweeter combination. I always feel a bit lost when I've just finished a book, missing the characters and their antics. No doubt it won't be too long before I start another. I'm planning the next one already - a stand-alone romance, set in the mid-sixties, between a student nurse and a fairground wall of death rider! Okay, I know it's usually nurses falling for doctors, but I like things to be a bit different. The working title, which will probably stay, is Cathy's Clown. I'm looking forward to starting it. I've also got the seeds of a new Raiders story in my head, hopefully in time for a pre-Christmas release. To all who downloaded That'll Be The Day, hope you enjoy and look forward to reading your comments/ reviews. Bye for now. Pam.


 
 
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It's time I did a new blog. Sorry it’s been so long but I wanted to save this for a significant date and today is that day. February the 3rd. The day the music died. The 54th anniversary of the deaths of Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens who perished in a plane crash. I've been busy writing the next novel in my series of Rock'n'Roll Romances which will be dedicated the lives of these young men. "That'll be the Day" is a back to the future tale, but you won't be getting Marty McFly to entertain you. Instead you'll be getting Eddie, Roy and Tim, on the cusp of leaving school, and forming The Raiders.

"That'll be the Day" is a step back in time to those seemingly more innocent days of black and white TV with a choice of two channels, the BBC Light Programme with few popular songs played except for the odd one or two on Sunday lunchtime's Two Way Family Favourites. It's no wonder teenagers were restless and desperate for change. The war was long over and rationing was a thing of the past, when the sounds of Rock'n'Roll music drifted across the sea from America. Exciting changes were afoot. Young lads, fed up of school, began to form groups. Influenced by the sounds of Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran and of course Elvis Presley, they exchanged school uniforms for tight jeans and leather jackets.




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In 1957 a certain young rocker from Liverpool formed a skiffle group, much to the disproval of his Aunt Mimi. He called the group The Quarrymen, after his school, Quarry Bank High. One afternoon the group was invited to play at the Woolton Church Fete. An impressionable young lad in the audience was later introduced to the young rocker. After proving his worth by playing a faultless version of Eddie Cochran's Twenty Flight Rock on a borrowed guitar, the young lad was asked to join the group and the world famous partnership of Lennon and McCartney, and the beginning of The Beatles, was born.


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In 1958 three teenage boys from Cheshire saw Buddy Holly and The Crickets perform at The Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, and so began the birth of my fictional band The Raiders and my song-writing duo of Mellor and Cantello.

I thought it would be a nice idea to take my readers back to the beginning, to the group finding its feet and learning to put on a show, and also the start of their relationships with their girls.

I aim to have this novel finished for springtime publication. Meantime you can have a sneaky preview of the cover, designed by the talented Jane Dixon Smith, which features Eddie Mellor and his young girlfriend Jane Wilson. As readers who are familiar with the series know, Eddie and Jane are a long-term, happily married couple, but their road to happiness in the first few years was a rocky one.

In the last few months I've had some fabulous comments on all my novels. Thank you so much to everyone who has purchased, left reviews, messages on my FB page and author website. It means such a lot to know so many people are enjoying reading my stories. Until next time, and I promise it won't be as long, take care, happy reading, Pam.


 
 
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Three Steps to Heaven is proud to be part of the Tears of Crimson Halloween Celebration. It's 1961 and Eddie Mellor and Jane Wilson are in love. Eddie's group, The Raiders, is about to make it big. They have the world at their feet and an exciting future to look forward to. Then in walks Angie Turner... The first novel in a series about The Raiders, spanning 50 years. If you enjoyed this book, you might enjoy other's that are part of the celebration for example:Kimi's Secret by John Hudspith; The Baptist by Ruby Barnes; Shattered by Karl Jones and Michelle Hughes. Find all the books participating in the Tears of Crimson Halloween Celebration by following the Listmania list http://www.amazon.com/lm/R28WDNNKZF6OAV/ref=cm_lm_pthnk_view?ie=UTF8&lm_bb


 
 
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Been so busy lately catching up with many projects and getting to grips with further chapters of  the fourth novel in my series - NOT FADE AWAY - that I've fallen behind with blogging. So to help me out my favourite character has offered to lend a hand by answering a few questions, on the proviso you treat him gently.

 

PAM: Roy, welcome. It's a privilege to have you as a guest. Would you like to tell the readers what's been happening in your world since the end of ALWAYS ON MY MIND?

 

ROY: It's my pleasure to be here. As you know, I re-married my wife Sammy a short time ago and we're kept busy bringing up my young sons and sharing joint custody with their mother, Livvy.

PAM: Well that's a job and a half! Are there any plans in the pipeline for another Raiders tour?

ROY: Yes, Eddie and I are currently working on a batch of new songs for the next album. We'll be in the studios in September and the tour will start with a show in our home city of Manchester around Christmas. It's our annual charity gig to raise funds for Leukemia research.

PAM: A very worthy cause and one I know that is close to your heart. I'm sure all your fans will look forward to that.

ROY: I hope so. It all really depends on what you have in store for me in Not Fade Away. All I want is a quiet life with Sammy and the boys. But I guess there's little hope of that!

PAM: I'll do my best not to give you too rocky a road to travel this time around.

ROY: Well whatever you decide, keep me out of Livvy's clutches and don't make it too hectic.

PAM: I'll try. I've a few things up my sleeve for you. You'll have to wait and see. Now tell us about the first gig The Raiders performed and a little bit about the band in its early days.

ROY: We started playing together after seeing Buddy Holly and The Crickets at The Liverpool Philharmonic in March 1958. My dad took me, Tim and Eddie as a treat. He had an ulterior motive. Des O'Connor was one of the support acts and Dad was a fan. We came out of that show full of enthusiasm and big ideas. We were gonna form a trio and get famous. Later that year my dad bought me a pink pre CBS guitar. Tim made a tea chest bass and Eddie's mum and dad bought him a drum kit for his birthday. That was it, we were rolling.



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We listened to all our favourite songs over and over and wrote down the words. We worked our backsides off to learn them. We skipped school and got into loads of trouble, failed all our exams, but it was worth it. We played a few youth club dances and one at Pickford Town Hall and then Mario, the owner of the coffee bar we used to hang around in, which eventually became The Roulette Club, gave us our first gig there and we became the resident group.

 

PAM: And how did you decide on your name - The Raiders?

ROY: We were called Roy and the Raiders at first. It was my dad suggested we drop Roy and stick to The Raiders. He said it sounded snappier.

PAM: You were introduced to the girls at one of your gigs. Was that the first time you met Sammy?

ROY: Yeah. I'd seen her hanging around Pickford with Jane and Pat, but couldn't pluck up the courage to talk to her. Thought she was out of my league. She was a stunner even at fifteen. Hair down to her waist and legs up to her armpits! Then I was introduced to her and it turns out she fancied me too. Think we fell in love that first night.

PAM:  You must really regret what happened with Livvy.

ROY: I do. I regret hurting Sammy and I'll spend the rest of my life making it up to her. But one thing I can't say I regret is my children; Harley and Roy Jnr and of course little Danny, Livvy's son by her late husband, who I've brought up as my own.

PAM: Losing your eldest son Nick must have been a very difficult time for you and Sammy.

ROY: It was. And finding out that Livvy was expecting my child was also hard for Sammy. It couldn't have happened at a worse time.

PAM: I know it tested your love for each other, but would you say that it also strengthened your relationship with Sammy?

ROY: Definitely. Sammy's one hell of a woman. It hurts me to hear people say she was weak to take me back. It takes strength to do that and forgive. Unless you've walked in similar shoes, you can't possibly make assumptions on someone else's life. Call me all you like, world's worst cheating hero etc, but leave Sammy out of it. And to the woman who called me a hippie, get your facts straight, Mrs! I'm a rocker through and through. Never been a hippie in my life.



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PAM: Talking of rockers, apart from Buddy Holly, tell me about your other musical influences.

ROY: There have been many. Eddie Cochran, Elvis, Jerry Lee, Chuck Berry, Roy Orbison. And Ed and I have often been likened to The Everly Brothers; the harmonies in our duets, I guess.

PAM: Why did you decide to stop being a trio and become a four piece band?

ROY: We had this mate whose group had folded almost before it began. He was a looker, a bird magnet and he played a mean guitar. Ed thought it would give us more depth so we auditioned him and that's how Phil Jackson joined The Raiders. And then of course we decided to ask Carl on board and became a five piece, same as we still are today. One of Ed's grandsons, Nathan will be working with us on the next tour. He's a great guitarist too.

PAM: Well, Roy, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to me.

ROY: My pleasure. Until we meet again.


 
 
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As announced last week, my new box set is now available on Amazon at a very special price. Three full length novels from my rock'n'roll romance series, spanning forty years from the sixties onwards, for the price of two. Hope you enjoy. Pam.  

UK Amazon Links. http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-RocknRoll-Romance-Series-ebook/dp/B008FYA8NW/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1341010495&sr=1-6

USA Amazon Links. http://www.amazon.com/The-RocknRoll-Romance-Series-ebook/dp/B008FYA8NW/ref=sr_1_7?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1341050718&sr=1-7&keywords=pam+howes

Here's an accompanying trailer to get you in the mood to dance and take the trip down memory lane. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sT0-8Dc4JYc&feature=youtu.be


 
 
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Hi folks and followers. I'm very excited at the moment. On July 1st there will be an issue of an e-book box set containing the first three novels in my Rock'n'Roll Romance series. This box set will be offered at a very special price - a sort of buy two get one free - offer. The fabulous box cover has been designed by the wonderful and talented JD Smith http://www.jdsmith-design.co.uk/  It features the wrap-around juke box from the cover of Three Steps to Heaven. I'm thrilled with it and have had some fab comments from author friends. I'll post a preview picture on this blog and would love to hear what you think.



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Also, at the moment I'm toying with the idea of having a rock'n'roll CD to compliment the stories. If my partner and I manage to pull this off, the CD will be available from my website and I will post details if and when it happens. The plan is to feature the originals of all the songs mentioned in the books from Sam Cooke, Arthur Alexander, Chuck Berry, Elvis and many more. There will also be three original Mellor and Cantello songs written especially for The Raiders, including My Special Girl. As you can imagine this all depends on copyright and permission to use the original songs. It's all in the very early days of planning as I write so I will keep you informed.



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I'm making good progress with the writing of Not Fade Away, the fourth Raiders novel. Hopefully this will be ready for publication by September and you can read the first chapter on here in the previous blog.  I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everybody for their purchases, wonderful support, fabulous reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, emails, comments on Facebook and my blog. I couldn't wish for nicer readers and fans. I'm deeply indebted to you all. I wish I could say have a great summer, but for us in the UK it came and went the other week and I think that might have been it. Since Jubilee weekend it's been a washout apart from a couple of days.

This morning the Olympic Torch was carried up the main road near my home and there was a good turn out of supporters, clad in wellies, raincoats and carrying brollys. That's the Brits for you. We don't let the rain dampen our spirit of patriotism.  

I have a new author page on Facebook if you'd like to "like" it I would love to see you on there. The link is:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pam-Howes-Author/260328010709267     

Until next time, thank you once again. Pam. :-)








 
 
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A different sort of blog this month. A taster of the next novel in my Rock'n'Roll Romance series. This is the fourth story about The Raiders and their lives and loves. Why - "Not Fade Away" - as a title? Well I thought it appropriate as The Raiders are now clocking sixty but still touring and recording. Like The Rolling Stones and Eagles, they'll carry on until they get carted off to Rock'n'Roll heaven. Old musos who enjoy what they do, never fade away. The song was written by Buddy Holly, you'll see it credited to Charles Hardin and N. Petty. Charles was, of course, Buddy's real name and Norman Petty, his producer, at the Clovis Studios in New Mexico. The Crickets and Buddy recorded a classic album there in 1957 called "The Chirping Crickets". "Not Fade Away", with its Bo Diddley beat, featured on this album, along with other golden tracks; "That'll be The Day" and "Oh Boy". Then along came The Rolling Stones who, of course, had a major hit with it in 1964. But for me, Buddy's is the greatest, and the book will be dedicated to his memory. Below is the first chapter. Please let me know what you think. All comments are welcome as we're in first draft early stages and nothing's yet set in stone.

NOT FADE AWAY

PROLOGUE

   When Roy Cantello, lead singer with chart-topping band The Raiders, had an affair with Livvy Grant, a young singer half his age, it was to change his and wife Sammy's lives forever. Roy fathered a daughter. Livvy handed baby Harley to he and Sammy to bring up as their own and then vanished from their lives, only to reappear when Harley was sixteen. Roy became reinvolved with Livvy and when she claimed to be pregnant again with his child, Sammy divorced him. The child wasn't Roy's, but the son of Livvy's late husband. Roy has raised Danny as his own. He and Livvy had a son the following year but their relationship didn't work out. Roy remarried his wife Sammy six months ago and shares joint custody of the two little boys with Livvy. Everything is now warm and cosy in Roy's world, but not for long…

CHAPTER ONE

ABBOTT'S EDGE, CHESHIRE MAY 2005

Roy swatted a wasp from the neck of his lager bottle and pushed his sunglasses up on top of his head. 'Bloody nuisance,' he muttered, wafting after the wasp with his newspaper. 'Bit of sun and they come out in swarms.'

'A single wasp's hardly a swarm,' his wife, Sammy said. She stopped watering the patio planters as the wasp buzzed angrily around his head. She batted it away and it flew round to the front of him.

'See, there's another one!'  

She shook her head, laughing. 'It's the same one, you dope! You're turning into a right grumpy old sod, Cantello! And besides, wasps don't swarm. It's bees that swarm.'

'Really?'

'Really.'

'Aren't you the clever one?' He smacked her playfully on the backside. 'And less of the old, you. And I'm not grumpy. Don't you remember how I nearly swallowed a wasp once when I was abroad with the band? The little bugger got into my can. Next thing I knew it's stinging my bloody tongue and I couldn't sing that night. I could have swallowed it. Might have proved fatal.'

Sammy sat down on a lounger beside him. 'Yes, but it didn't and you're still here to tell the tale! Did you get the barbecue out of the garage? Was there any gas in the can?'  

'Yep. I'll switch it on in a minute. They'll be getting hungry. I promised them hotdogs.' He dropped his glasses back down his nose and looked across the well-tended garden to the play area where RJ and Danny were in the sandpit, squabbling over whose turn it was to play with the digger. Never in his wildest dreams did he envisage having two under fours at the age of sixty-one. Running around after them kept him fit though. He looked at Sammy who was watching the boys closely. He knew what she was thinking; well at least he thought he did. She glanced at him and he reached for her hand and squeezed it. She had a nostalgic look on her face and sadness in her eyes. He swallowed hard, wished he could make it go away permanently. But it would take time, maybe the rest of his life. He'd never give up trying to make amends though. Sammy was his world. He'd love her forever.    

'Wish we could go back in time,' she said wistfully.

'Me too,' he said. 'But you're happy, aren't you, Sam? I mean, with what we've got now. There's nowhere on earth I'd rather be than with you in this place.'

'And me too, but don't you think it's a bit too small when we have the boys to stay? I really wish now that I'd hung on to Jasmine House.' She was referring to their old Edwardian home. 'I miss all those spacious rooms and the huge garden. This place was supposed to be for my retirement. It's not big enough for a family. We can't stay here when the boys get older. We'll have to buy another house.'    

'We'll see. Here's Harley.' He waved at his daughter who emerged from the French doors and joined them on the sun-loungers. 'How did the scan go, sweetheart?'  

'Great,' Harley said. 'Everything's on track. Ten more weeks.'  She rubbed her very pregnant belly. 'I'll never get up off this lounger. You're gonna have to get a crane.'

'Still only two in there?' he teased.  

'Dad!' She laughed. 'Idiot. There's hardly room for two never mind more.'

'We'll definitely need more space when the babies arrive,' Sammy said. 'Perhaps we should see about building an extension.'

'Maybe.' Roy lit a cigarette, ignoring Harley and Sammy's disapproving looks. Too late to stop now. He'd tried, half-heartedly, a couple of times, but life was too stressful and he needed his fags. He didn't smoke indoors anymore, so that was an improvement. He closed his eyes and thought about the birthday surprise he'd be springing on Sammy in a couple of months. Unbeknown to her, he'd bought back her beloved Jasmine House from the boy band she'd sold it to following their divorce. It was in the throes of a complete makeover courtesy of their interior designer son. Roy had instructed him to spare no expense. It had to be perfect. Sammy wasn't that happy at turning sixty. He thought buying their old home might soften the blow. Hopefully they'd recapture some more of the magic they'd lost. He felt happier now than he'd felt in a long time. He wanted to make sure she did too. A feeling of contentment washed over him. A feeling he was getting used to. Life was pretty sweet and about to get even better. So much to look forward to. His new grandchildren and the house. He finished his cigarette. 'I'll start the barbeque and …' he stopped as the telephone rang out in the kitchen. Bloody phone, always disturbing his peace. Harley struggled to her feet, announcing that she needed the loo and would answer the phone.

 Roy stood up. The boys were getting noisier and a loud squeal made him jump. 'RJ, don't pull Danny's hair like that,' he shouted. 'Naughty boy. Come here, Dan.'

'Daddy,' Danny yelled as he ran to Roy who caught hold of him and sat back down with him on his knee. He stroked his blonde curls and wiped his blue eyes with a tissue. He loved the little boy as though he were his own flesh and blood. He looked up as Harley returned.

'It was Livvy,' she said. 'Tour's finished. She got an earlier fight from the States and she's getting the shuttle from Heathrow. She'll pick the boys up at seven.'  

'Bloody hell,' Roy said. 'That's all we need.'   

'She never thinks,' Sammy tutted. 'Why can't she wait until tomorrow and we'll take them home ourselves like we arranged? I hate her coming here. Sorry, love, I know she's your real mother, but…'

'Mum, it's okay, I understand,' Harley said.

'What time is it now?' Roy asked.

'Five-thirty,' Sammy said. 'Doesn't give us much time to get organised. Forget the barbecue. Make them beans on toast, Roy. I'm getting in the bath. No way is she seeing me in shorts and a scruffy top!'

Roy shook his head as she hurried away. Scruffy top? Sammy never looked anything but immaculate. 'For God's sake. I could throttle Livvy at times,' he said to Harley. 'She's a bloody nuisance, swapping arrangements without warning. She knows damn well that Sammy doesn't like her coming here.'    

***

Sammy pulled the curtains across and lay down on the big brass bed while the bath filled. She stared up at the beamed ceiling, smiling as a little spider spun an intricate web just above the window. He'd have to go before bedtime, but for now she'd leave him in peace. She could feel a headache starting. Probably tension, she thought. Hardly surprising with her nemesis dropping in later. She turned as Roy came into the room.

'You okay, darling? You look pale.'

'Bit tired,' she said. 'And annoyed.'

He bent to kiss her. 'I'm sorry she's messed up our last night with the boys.'

She sighed. 'Go and see to their tea. I'll be down as soon as I'm ready.

She closed her eyes, but found it impossible to switch off. A nice soak would work wonders, she hoped. There was no way she was greeting Livvy without full makeup, freshly-washed hair and figure-hugging clothes. That was one thing she still had in her favour - her slim waistline and long, slender legs. Roy was always telling her she looked wonderful for an old bird, cheeky sod that he was!

***

Sammy lay back in the bubbles and closed her eyes. Bliss. She could hear the boys jabbering as they came upstairs. She heard Harley chastising RJ. With his thick dark hair and big brown eyes he was the spit of Roy and Harley, but a right little devil at times.

'See you later, Mum. I'm off out soon,' Harley called. 'Sorry I can't stay until Livvy arrives, but I'd already made arrangements. Tell her I'll catch up with her tomorrow.'

'Okay, sweetheart.' She wished Harley could stay. She always managed to diffuse any tense situation when her birth mother was around.

Sammy didn't mind Roy sharing joint custody of the boys with Livvy. Even though Danny was not his flesh and blood, she and Roy had formed a bond with the little lad. He had a sweet and gentle nature. Livvy had reappeared in their lives when Harley was sixteen. Roy became re-involved and when Sammy discovered Livvy was pregnant again, she'd called time on their marriage, even though it wasn't really what Roy wanted. A few months after their divorce she realised her mistake, in spite of all the pain and betrayal, she was still in love with him and he with her. Roy begged her forgiveness and they'd remarried. This time it was for keeps, she was determined. She knew Livvy still had a hold over him with their children. But there was no way she was getting her hands on him again. She climbed out of the bath and wrapped herself in a big fluffy towel, ready for a pampering session that would keep Roy's eyes glued to her, and her alone.

***

'Right, boys, sit on the sofa and wait quietly for Mummy,' Roy said as RJ sucked his thumb and twiddled the ear of his bunny. Danny yawned and rubbed his eyes, snuggling into the favourite old blanket he always took to bed with him.

The lounge door opened and Sammy walked in, flicking her long, light brown hair back over her shoulders. She perched on the arm of the sofa and he stood in front of her. He felt an instant twitch as he gazed down into cool blue eyes that held a wicked twinkle. She could still turn him on and she knew it. 'Wow! Looking good, Mrs C.' He pulled her up and into his arms, pressing against her. 

He loved the way her tight black jeans sat neatly on her slim hips. He ran his hands over her firm backside, clutching her closer. Her cream silk sweater, with the wide neckline, slid off one slender shoulder as he held her. He buried his face in her neck, breathing in the seductive scent of her perfume. He wished he could drag her back up the stairs right now and shag the arse off her.

'Just a little something I threw together,' she whispered, running her hands through his hair.   

'You know, Sam, for a woman clocking sixty, you look terrific. I'm so proud to be seen with you. I love you.'

'I love you, too,' she said, pulling him onto the sofa. 'But don't get any ideas before she arrives. It's taken me ages to get ready. You can save it 'til later.'

'Just one kiss to keep me going,' he said, leaning in.

'Roy!' Sammy nodded at the boys who both had their eyes shut now. 'Oh, look, poor little things. They're asleep already. They should be in bed.'

'Might as well have that kiss then. Promise not to mess your hair up.'

She smiled and moved into his arms.

He kissed her and squeezed her and thought about how thrilled she'd be when he told her he'd bought back Jasmine House. He couldn't wait to have long, loving nights in their old bedroom; to share the new Jacuzzi bath with her, as they'd done so many times in the past, with an accompanying bottle of wine. Here at the cottage there was no Jacuzzi and the bathroom, tucked under the thatched eaves, had such a small bath and at over six-foot tall he was hard pushed to lay full length in it, never mind share.     

'What are you grinning at?' Sammy said.

'Oh, you know. Just thinking about later,' he said, winking at her. He looked at the clock. It was now seven-thirty. Typical of Livvy that she didn't think to call and let them know she was running late.

'Wish she'd hurry up,' Sammy said. 'I feel all churned up inside.'

'I know,' Roy said. 'Me too.' The doorbell rang. He got up to answer, and let in Livvy and a tall grey-haired, denim clad man, wearing a Stetson and a big friendly smile. 'Come on in. The kids are asleep. Pity you couldn't leave them until tomorrow.'

Livvy shook her head, blonde curls bouncing. 'I want them home tonight. I've not seen them for four weeks. You remember Hank, my drummer.'

'I do,' Roy said, shaking Hank's outstretched hand. 'How you doing, mate?'

'Howdy,' Hank replied. 'I'm doing good thanks, Roy, and you?'

'Okay,' Roy nodded. 'Come through. They're on the sofa.'

Sammy got to her feet as Livvy ran into the room and fell to her knees beside her sleeping sons. She dropped kisses on their heads and hugged them. 'I've so missed them. Have they been okay?'

'They've been fine,' Sammy said. 'You could have called more often, you know.'

Livvy shrugged. 'Don't like being a nuisance. And I get upset when I hear their voices. Anyway, I bet they haven't missed me half as much as I missed them. They love coming here to stay.' She got to her feet and took Hank's hand. 'Hank and I have some news.'

Roy stood behind Sammy and put his hands on her shoulders. 'News?'

'Yeah. We err; we got married last week in Vegas!' She held out her hand to show off a plain gold band. 'We'll have a proper ceremony when we get organised.'

'Married? Well, congratulations,' Roy said. 'Didn't even know you two were an item.'

Hank cleared his throat and put his arm around his new wife's shoulders. 'We've err, well we've been good friends for a long time. But you know, it's two years since my wife passed. I felt I was ready to move on and so did Livvy.' 

'I'm pleased for you.' Roy shook Hank's hand again and pecked Livvy on the cheek. He looked into her baby-blue eyes and felt nothing. Even looking down at her neat little figure in tight denim jeans, fringed leather jacket and cowboy boots, a mass of golden curls framing her face and falling to her shoulders, a look that had driven him crazy a few years ago, he still felt nothing. He was also surprised to find he felt no jealousy or animosity towards Hank. He breathed a deep sigh. It was definitely over. The feeling was good. He turned to Sammy and saw relief in her eyes too. She pecked Hank on the cheek and gave Livvy a hug.  

'I guess we should have a drink to toast you,' Roy said. 'Sam, there's a bottle of Moet in the fridge. Will you do the honours?'

'My pleasure.'

***

In the kitchen Sammy leant against the worktop and said a silent prayer of thanks to whomever. Livvy, married, meant there'd be less likelihood of her calling Roy so often in the future and having him running back and forth to Ashley Grange if one of the boys were ill or for any excuse she could come up with. She usually called his mobile too and not the cottage land-line which always had Sammy feeling uneasy. Now she'd got Hank to rely on, life hopefully would get better. She poured four flutes of Moet and carried a tray into the lounge.

'Well, here's to the pair of you.' Roy held up his glass in a toast. 'Hope you settle down okay at the Grange, Hank. You'll soon get used to the UK weather.'

'Thank you.' Hank cleared his throat as Livvy's cheeks flushed bright pink.

'I'll tell them, honey,' Livvy said and put down her glass on the coffee table. 'We're not going to be living at Ashley Grange, Roy. Hank has four daughters and grandchildren in LA. So we're going back to the States and taking the boys with us. It's all arranged. We'll be living there permanently from next month.'

Sammy felt Roy stiffen beside her. He gave a strangled gasp and put down his glass.

'Over my dead body!' he roared, startling RJ into wakefulness.

'You can't stop me taking them,' Livvy said as RJ began to cry. 'I knew you'd be like this. They're my babies.'  

'They're Roy's too,' Sammy said and picked RJ up and cuddled him. He snuggled into her neck, thumb back in his mouth, eyes closed again. Sammy swallowed hard. She loved the still-baby scent of him, and stroked his sweaty little head. She couldn't bear to part with him and as much as he complained about kids under his feet all the time, she knew it would destroy Roy to lose them both.    

'There's no way you're taking them. If you want to go off with Hank, that's fine, but the boys stay here,' Roy said, quieter this time.  

'We'll see about that,' Livvy snapped. She took RJ from Sammy. 'Hank, you carry Danny out to the car.'     

'I hope you've got some child seats,' Roy said, standing by the lounge door as Livvy tried to push past him.

'Of course we have. We went home to get my car. I'm not that stupid, you know.'

'Honey,' Hank said, lifting Danny up. 'Just go. We'll discuss this tomorrow with Roy.'

'Nothing to discuss,' Roy said. 'They stay in the UK with me and Sammy. And not only that, our daughter is due to give birth to your first grandchildren soon,' he flung at Livvy. 'Don't you even care enough about that to wait?'

'I'll be back for the birth,' she said. 'Hank will take care of the boys. They'll be fine with him. Two of his girls are mothers; they'll help look after them for however long I'm over here.'

'You haven't a bloody clue about parenting,' Roy said, shaking his head. 'You dumped Harley on me and Sam, and now you're talking of taking the boys to another country and leaving them with strangers? No disrespect to Hank, but what about when you're both on tour, or recording for weeks at a time? Who'll look after them then? I'm sorry, Livvy, but I'll fight you to the ends of the earth for custody. They're going nowhere.'

***



 
 
It's all very well pouring your heart and soul into your new WIP, but even when the end is in sight, you haven't finished by a long mile. You can polish and tidy as you go along, cutting out any unnecessary frills and furbelow's. But that still won't be enough. Many of us are too close to our own work. We can't always see the faults or plot flaws like the fact that your MC has gone from being over six-foot-tall and dark to five-foot-eight and blonde, over the passage of ten chapters. The fact he was born in June but now celebrates his birthday in October and drives a sporty BMW when he began the story driving a bog-standard Vauxhall Astra. You get the picture. You might have started writing the story in question four years ago, when petrol was dirt cheap and he didn't think twice about filling up his tank, whereas now it takes half a week's wage to fill it. All these things need careful thinking about and this is where a good all-round editor comes in handy. He'll spot the things you've missed and help you put them right. I'm very lucky in that I have one. Editor, that is. Click here  John Hudspith is one of the best free-lancers in the business today. He amazes me with his ability to just change even one tiny thing that makes a world of difference. I often think - why didn't I see it? It's glaringly obvious once Johnny's pointed it out.

We met on click here YouWriteOn, an online authors' critique site, in 2008 where I'd uploaded the first two chapters of my novel, click hereThree Steps To Heaven. At that time I hadn't a clue about the mechanics of writing, POV, structure, tone, and all that jazz. All I know is that I had a story I wanted to tell. So I took the plunge and uploaded the first two chapters. I had a couple of reviews in the first few days. They were favourable enough, no one said chuck it in the bin anyway, but I didn't feel I was getting the feedback I was really after. Then the third review came in and I actually almost missed out! It was a review from Johnny and was the most helpful I'd ever seen. Not only that, he'd kindly sent a word doc with further help to my email address. Now earlier that day, prior to reading the review, I'd deleted a load of spam and guess what, I'd deleted the word doc. I didn't recognise the incoming address you see. It had found its way into the spam folder and got binned along with the usual Viagra and loan offers! I contacted Johnny and he kindly sent me the document again. It was amazingly helpful. And that was it, the start of a great working relationship. Johnny has now edited another three novels for me and under his wing my writing skills have grown beyond anything I could ever have imagined. My books all sell very well, and the many five star reviews coming in on Amazon and Goodreads are beyond my wildest dreams.

Apart from well-edited text, a book also needs a really great cover. I mean, you wouldn't send your kids out looking scruffy, would you? And your book is an extension of you, your baby being sent out into the world for people to judge. They'll love it or hate it; you have no control over who buys it. But if it's well presented, at least it's in with a fighting chance of being looked at. And that's where a good cover designer comes in. I was introduced to click here JD Smith by Johnny when I decided to self-publish "Steps". I had an old fifties-style juke box in mind and Jane produced something I think is perfect. A wrap-around juke-box that goes from front to back. Jane has since designed the covers for all of my novels. She seems to get exactly what I'm looking for from my very brief, brief! I always get several choices to choose from and many people comment how much they like the covers. 

So all in all, if you've finished your book, but want to know it's as good as it can be, before you send it out to agents or go as I did down the Indie route, may I suggest you think about using my lovely editor. And when you are ready, ask Jane to design the cover of your dreams. I can promise you will not live to regret it.

To take advantage of my new, competitively priced formatting service for Kindle and Smashwords, with guarantee to The Premium range, contact me for further details at. pam.waltonhowes@btopenworld.com



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I'm not the world's best blogger. I started with the good intention of doing something every couple of weeks. Unfortunately life gets in the way of even the best intentions. But we're in the third week of January and I need to get my finger out - and quick - with an update. I've been really busy trying to finish my WIP "Fast Movin' Train". I'm almost at the end now and hopefully will be publishing very soon. The weeks since November have flown by and my series of Rock'n'Roll Romances have done incredibly well in sales, all becoming Best Sellers in the Amazon ratings. This has been helped by Amazon's new KDP Select programme, which allows an author to offer a free book for five days during any 90 day period. I've offered all of mine in turn and the knock-on-effect on the other two has been wonderful. I so appreciate everyone who has downloaded, enjoyed, tweeted and reviewed. Thanks to you all for your support. I guest blogged recently on the Multi Story website and felt very honoured to be asked to do so. The article is all about building a platform for Indie Authors. You can see mine and guest blogs on various interesting topics at this link click here
At the moment my head is filled with ideas for the fourth novel in The Raiders series - "Not Fade Away" - and I can't wait to get started. The characters are dusting off their guitars and drums, ready to rock again. Roy Cantello is asking me daily what have I got in store for him this time around. He keeps reminding me that he's edging sixty now and although he still likes to rock and have fun, he'd like a gentler time in "Not Fade Away." He feels he couldn't go through any more angst at his age. Well I can't promise him too much peace, because that would be no fun for me, as his author! But whatever, I'll make sure he's up to his usual tricks and enjoying life. He knows me well enough by now, and the challenges I like to chuck at him. He says to thank you all personally for enjoying his stories and promises to change his ways next time. Bet Sammy will be pleased to hear that. Although she might have a surprise or two up her own sleeve! Who knows? Depends on what comes tumbling out of the pen once I start. I have a rough idea, but characters tend to carry on suiting themselves and occasionally I have to reign them in and tell them, "You can't do that!" "Says who?" they reply. "We never promised you a rose garden, Mrs Writer!"

One more thing to mention. If you are an Amazon Prime customer in the USA or anywhere that is served by .com, you can borrow my novels for free.

I'll keep you all informed of progress and will even post the first chapter of Not Fade Away on here, once it's ready. Thanks for catching up with me. Have fun, back to you soon. Pam.