Top Tips: Write What You Know

“Write what you know.” It’s the first advice given to new writers, but it’s invariably bad advice if you take it literally. Write what you know doesn’t mean your story has to be a carbon copy of your life. Nobody wants to read that, trust me.

On the contrary, ‘write what you know’ means you have to examine what you know, and also what you can research or learn. Because once you research or learn something, then you know it. Write what you know means you can literally write about anything, so long as you prepare.

Write what you know it also about experience and emotion. So yes, write about your dad’s red Ford Cortina estate with the traffic-light air freshener. Write about the fear of walking into your first gay bar. Write about the gut-wrenching pain you felt when that first woman broke your heart. But also, write about women from 1958, as I am in my upcoming lesbian romance, Big London Dreams. I wasn’t alive then, but I know how it feels to kiss a woman for the first time. To dance with a woman. I can put a magnifying glass on those emotions to hold the reader in the story, then shade in the period details once I’ve researched them.

Don’t be scared to write eras you haven’t lived, jobs you’ve never done, a gender you’ve never lived. Do the research, put yourself in the character’s shoes and truly feel their life. Then you can write what you know, because you know.

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Big London Dreams: On Location

My upcoming lesbian romance is very personal to me, even though I wasn’t born in the 1950s. It’s close to my heart because my parents met and dated in 1950s London, and my mum grew up on the White City estate in west London, where the book is partly set. My first historical romance charts the illicit affair between Joan Hart and Eunice Humphries. Like my mum, both work in a clothing factory as machinists. Everything else is conjured up from my imagination, but the fact there’s a sprinkling of my mum’s life in it made this book a real treat to write… Continue reading » “Big London Dreams: On Location”

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Top Tips: Lesbian Romance Key Scenes

Every writer wants to be different and rip up the rulebook. But if you write in genre fiction, the rules are there for a reason: because readers expect them and want them. If you fail to follow them, readers will shrug and say things like “it was a great story, but something wasn’t quite right”, and they won’t come back. The solution? Follow the rules, but put your own twist on them. Build obstacles/characters/side plots around them. You can still be special, but in a good way. If you’re writing lesbian romance, here are the top six scenes to put on the page… Continue reading » “Top Tips: Lesbian Romance Key Scenes”

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Seven Years As An Author: Ten Things I’ve Learned

You can do a whole lot in seven years. Eat 364 tins of baked beans. Have nine kids. Drink 2,555 pots of nuclear-strength coffee. Watch all of Grey’s Anatomy. Or, you could do what I did and write 18 novels.

I started out slow, with one novel, then another. In the first three years part-time, I eeked out five books. Then something clicked, and I’ve written three novels a year since 2017. It’s taken hard work, discipline and a whole lot of love to get here. Along the way, I’ve learned so much. But every day, I’m working for myself and doing my dream job. I can’t ask for more! What have I learned in the last 84 months? Read on to find out… Continue reading » “Seven Years As An Author: Ten Things I’ve Learned”

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Tuesday Tips: Writing Lesbian Sex Scenes

When you’re writing a sex scene, it’s important to focus on the emotion and not the body parts. It’s not a biology exam, and nobody is going to thank you for using the word vulva. Trust me.

Sex scenes in romance are like fight scenes or car chases in action-adventure books. They’re essential and highly anticipated. Your characters (and your reader) have to work to get there, and when they eventually reach their peak, it’s your job to ensure nobody is let down.

The key thing is to make your sex scene both sensual and alluring. Describe what’s happening, but do it from the perspective of the character and all that they bring to the scene. What are their hopes? What are can they see, touch, taste, hear? What’s it reminding them of? What are they feeling in their heart now it’s finally happening?

Fingers can slide and caress. Tongues can tantalise and tease. Lube can be popped and pressed. Everything the character thought they once knew can be rewritten. Sex scenes should move the story forward. They should reflect what has gone before and what’s possible from here on in. Your characters have just taken things to the next level. Show it all.

Remember, you’re not playing a game of Sex Twister: no crazy moves required. Don’t use coarse or flowery language as that will throw your reader out of the story. Keep it real, but elevate it to a almost-perfect reality. Make sure senses tingle and stars collide. It’s all in the build-up, all in the emotion. The first kiss, the first touch, the loaded look that tips your character over the edge. Romance and sex go hand in hand, so don’t be scared of writing a sex scene. Instead, put yourself in your character’s shoes and write from the heart. Embrace it. Have fun with it.

And don’t for one second think about the fact your parents might read it.

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Hot London Nights: Check Out India’s Flat!

One of my guilty pleasures is looking at property websites and watching property shows. In another life, I’d have been great at selling homes! When I decided to make Gina Gupta an upmarket estate agent (running Hot London Properties) in my new book, Hot London Nights, I knew the other lead, India Contelli, should be looking for a flat and that’s how they’d meet. I also knew I’d get to check out fabulous London pads in the name of research. Want to have a look at the property I based India’s flat on? Step this way…

Continue reading » “Hot London Nights: Check Out India’s Flat!”

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Hot London Nights Out Now!

Hello & happy February from me to you!

I have BIG London Romance series news: book seven, Hot London Nights, is out now! If you’re a fan of witty, British lesbian romance, this is the book for you. Plus, while it’s part of the London Romance series, it can also be read as standalone novel, too. If you’ve read the rest, get ready to dive into the latest. If you’re new to the series, welcome!

You’re going to love this book because:

1. It’s the story of India, a heartbroken TV star, and Gina, a love-shy late bloomer. These characters are sure to get under your skin and make you root for them!

2. It’s got family drama and steamy romance amid dreamy London rooftops. Also, chocolate biscuits galore.

3. It’s got a bonus second-chance love story that will melt your heart. Trust me on this.

4. It’s your chance to catch up with everyone’s favourite London lesbians including Jess & Lucy, Kate & Meg, Alice & Rachel, Tanya & Sophie and Eden & Heidi!

5. The story is sprinkled with next-level romantic stardust. Who knows, it might just rub off on you!

It’s been over a year since the last book in the London Romance series, and I hope this one keeps you engaged in the stories and the city, and most of all, wanting book eight (out later this year).

I hope you enjoy the story of Gina and India – do let me know what you think.

Buy Hot London Nights by clicking here!

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Hot London Nights: First Chapter Preview!

Book seven in the London Romance Series, Hot London Nights, is coming out on January 28th. Woohoo! This one is the story of love-shy Gina Gupta and TV star India Contelli. It involves family drama, steamy romance, London rooftops and a secondary love story to melt your heart. Want to read the first chapter to get a taste? Read on…

Continue reading » “Hot London Nights: First Chapter Preview!”

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My Goals For 2021

It’s January! It’s 2021! I want to run up to this new year and give it a kiss, but I can’t. Social distancing and all that. So while this fresh start feels like groundhog day, I’m banking on there being light at the end of the tunnel. With that in mind, 2021 is all about keeping the faith and writing some books. Ready to read my plans? Here they are… Continue reading » “My Goals For 2021”

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My Goals For 2020: How Did I Do?

So let’s get this out of the way first: 2020. Crikey bananas, what a year. I went into it full of optimism, but after March, things took a decided turn for the worst. But for all the terrible things around the world, business-wise at least, 2020 was my best year yet. I know. I’m not going to dwell on the pandemic, divisive politics and racism: 2020 had them all. This blog entry is going to see how 2020 was for me professionally. Did I hit my goals? Did I publish books? Did I survive? If you want to know the sticky details, read on… Continue reading » “My Goals For 2020: How Did I Do?”

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