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Top 5 Romantic Heroes || GUEST POST by Charlotte Butterfield

by Charlotte Butterfield

 

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When I was writing the character of Will in Me, You and Tiramisu, I wanted to create a man that was devastatingly handsome, but also a bit cheeky. Charming, but not sleazy. Funny, but not annoying. Sensitive but not in a weepy, curl-up-in-a-ball type way. It was a bit of a tall order, so I started looking back at my favourite heroes in TV and film for inspiration, and here are a few of my favourites:

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  1. The Colin Firth character in Love Actually. He rushes back in the middle of a wedding to check on his sick girlfriend. He writes novels on a typewriter. He owns a French cottage. He learns a new language to converse with the girl he’s in love with. He has a great collection of chunky knitwear.

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  1. Mr Big in Sex and The City. Those eyes. And flirty lip curl. But mainly the eyes.

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  1. Idris Elba in Luther. Ok, so he’s a bit violent, but only with baddies. I am totally in the Elba for Bond camp. Can you imagine that combination?

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  1. William Thacker played by Hugh Grant in Notting Hill. He owns a bookshop. And lives in Notting Hill. He wears shirts with rolled-up sleeves. He has interesting friends and likes going to dinner parties where the wine seems to flow freely. Score.

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  1. Jake Ryan played by Michael Schoeffling in Sixteen Candles. I watched this seminal eighties film when I was a teenager and instantly fell in love with the brooding bad boy. I watched it again recently, and apart from the awful haircuts, high-waisted jeans and general eighties cringiness, I can totally see why my younger self was so weak of the knee.

 

What about you? What are your favourites? Comment below to tell us, and you could win a paperback copy of ME, YOU & TIRAMISU! Or, if you’d rather, just grab your copy by clicking here.

 

Winner will be chosen at random from all eligible entries at noon GMT on Monday 6 March 2017. UK & Ireland only.

Lorraine Wilson: How I Write When I Can Barely Read

Harper Impulse has a lot of authors that have come from extraordinary places and situations, but no one has a story like Lorraine Wilson. Read this post to hear how she has overcome disability that would put most people off reading and writing for life and instead has become the author of nine books and many short stories.

 

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I’m a writer who can’t read.

 

At least, I can read a little, but even a page or two or filling in a form can leave me with disabling symptoms that make it very unpleasant.
Like most writers I used to read for pleasure voraciously. As a child I spent all my pocket money on books. Not a single day went by that I didn’t read, until I had an accident that left me with a brain injury. After that I was left with only audiobooks, which I do love but sadly not all books make it onto audio.

 

More importantly I was left with a pressing problem – how was I going to write? I’d had a full manuscript requested from a publisher before my accident but finishing it seemed like an impossible dream.

 

Thankfully I had an amazing support worker – a speech and language therapist who specialised in acquired dyslexia and who refused to let me give up. She taught me speech to text technology and text to speech. And we found ways around the changes in my brain, around chronic migraines, disabling eye pain, short term memory problems and nerve pain in both my arms. I could work with images, colours and mind maps for plotting my stories. I could do a little on paper when I couldn’t stand to be near a computer, although my writing often comes out jumbled up and even I struggle to make it out. With all those techniques and the emerging accessibility software it has got easier, to the point where I can do most of my writing remotely on my phone using Bluetooth headphones. I still have to use a computer to edit but often get human assistance when my brain can’t cope with remembering changes in plot and different characters. I have to say I couldn’t have wished for nicer, more supportive editors and I have a great group of writing friends – The Minxes of Romance – who refused to let me give up and gave up lots of their own writing time to help me.

 

Finishing my first novella (Confessions of a Chalet Girl) felt amazing. ‘Try a 50 thousand word book next’, my friends urged me. So I did and was astounded when I actually completed it. An 80-90 thousand word book felt utterly insurmountable but then so had all my other goals. And when you break it down to one or two thousand words a day it sounds much less daunting.

 

For ‘Chalet Girls’ I used different colour index cards to keep track of the various characters’ story threads and put a scene prompt on each card to be shuffled into an order I was happy with to make up the overall plot.

 

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I’ve shared a lot today because I want to pass on a bit of advice – if you’re an aspiring writer, don’t waste time. When I think of all the years when I wrote bits here and there, of all the healthy time I didn’t use…it’s enough to make me cry, except that really would be a waste of time!

 

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Legacy of Lucy Harte GIVEAWAY!

Hello fabulous readers,

 

So many of you have read and adored The Legacy of Lucy Harte by Emma Heatherington just as much as we have. The number of five-star reviews and what they say is overwhelming. So many of you have been deeply touched by the story Emma had created. Some of the highlights include:

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‘An inspiring read…beautifully written, Emma Heatherington keeps you guessing on each turn of the page’ Irish News

‘A wonderfully compelling read, beautifully written and a most heart-warming story’ Upstairs Downstairs

‘Utterly absorbing, beautifully written…This book will stay with me for a long, long time’ Roisin, Goodreads

‘An inspiring read…It’s funny how a book can influence your life choices but I think this might be one of those’ Cheryl, Goodreads

‘Wow, I just finished this book last night, and I haven’t stopped talking about it today…The story itself was so engaging, and I was rooting for Maggie, the lead character from the very start. I laughed, cried, felt angry, sad but most of all, hope – and the story lead me in so many different directions that I did not know how it might end’ Rachel, Goodreads

‘I finished this book in two days and loved every second of it…made me laugh, think and cry’ Sylvia, Goodreads

‘A lovely bittersweet story, which I read in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down’ Sally, Goodreads

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We love how much you love this book, so we want to give away a copy each to FIVE lucky readers! All you have to do in order to enter is comment on this post telling us an item on your bucket list. One entry per person, UK & Ireland only, 18+. Winners will be chosen at random at 12 noon on Saturday 25/2/2017. Winners will be contacted via email and will have 24 hours to claim their prizes.

 

And if you’d rather purchase the book on Kindle for just 99p, click here!

 

Best of luck!!

The perfect recipe for Romance…

Jane Lark’s gorgeous new romance, Just for the Rush, is out now (https://t.co/u7zMyXIdP4) and lovely Jane has written a fun recipe for love…

 

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First introduce the restless woman who is looking for something much more than she has

Throw in the perfect looking bad guy, with a wicked streak and a thirst for things that make his heart pound

Mix it up with a time of year when every body wants to be with somebody

Give him a motorbike and leathers

Take it off to a beautiful backdrop with picture postcard views of high hills, broad lakes and gnarly woods

Insert an isolated cottage

Then dress the room with a roaring fire in a glowing log burner

Finally, just add champagne

But what happens when she wakes up and the adrenalin’s gone…

 

 

Jules Wake on the Inspiring Setting in From Rome With Love

With my new book, With Love From Rome, I’m hoping to spread a little sunshine in these cold months with a taste of the gorgeous heat and atmosphere that is uniquely the eternal city.

It’s one of my favourite cities and has always held a fascination since my first visit when I was only twelve. Sadly my first memory of the city was rather macabre, a body lying beside the road, draped in a tartan blanket and one sad, solitary, ugly black shoe in the middle of the road. My more recent visit was much more inspiring.

There are so many sights to see in Rome, it’s hard to know where to start, but on this trip I was lucky enough to see a rather unique part of the city.

This trip came about when a friend was posted to Rome. For obvious reasons when he invited us to come and stay, my husband and I jumped at the chance, despite his warning that the accommodation was basic and would be on a government compound. To be honest, how bad could that be, with all the city of Rome offered, we only needed a bed for the night.

So duly forewarned, we battled the hell that is Ryanair, our feet perched on top of piles of other people’s ‘hand luggage’, (the size of which would house my entire shoe collection, which is not inextensive) and emerged from the airport blinking into brilliant sunshine to be greeted by our lovely host.

Even driving into Rome, you immediately get a flavour of the uniqueness of this amazing city, where the ancient brushes shoulders with the modern in happy juxtaposition with busy roads intersected by aqueducts that are thousands of years old.

And yes, stereotypically, the traffic is bonkers, as you can see from the state of some of the cars and the haphazard parking on tiny narrow streets.

We pulled up outside the ‘government compound’ with its very ornate gate, to the right of which a discreet brass plaque which said British Embassy.

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Government compound my backside! Yes, here it is:

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The gates opened and we passed through security, rolling up along a drive through beautifully landscaped gardens.

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Our host casually pointed to the rather splendid palace to our right, the British Ambassador’s official residence, the Villa Wolkonsky.

We continued before pulling up outside a smaller, more modest residence but no less interesting because it’s built into the arch of an aqueduct built in the 1st Century AD by Emperor Claudius which cuts through the centre of the grounds (aka Government Compound!).

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It’s rather like a hermit crab that’s taken up residence in another shell.

Our room, complete with balcony overlooked the fabulous Villa.

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And here is the Villa Wolkonsky and I have to credit fellow author Clare Harvey who very kindly let me use her shot of the villa. In one of those amazing six degrees of separation, Clare and I share a mutual friend, our host at the compound, and she too stayed in this wonderful place and had much greater foresight than I in getting a decent picture of the Villa.

The Villa was originally owned by a Russian princess in the 1830’s who rather fittingly entertained numerous writers and artists there including Sir Walter Scott, Stendhal and Nikolai Gogol, who wrote much of his work, Dead Souls while staying here. In 1920 the Villa was bought by the German government and became the German embassy. According to my host, the gorgeous outdoor swimming pool, had to be deepened in readiness for a visit by Hitler. I was rather looking forward to saying I’d swum in the same pool as Hitler, unfortunately despite a visit to the Villa, he didn’t make use of the pool. Saying I’ve swum in the same pool as David Miliband, who holidayed here with his family in 2009, doesn’t quite have the same ring about it.

The British government temporarily took up residence in 1946 when the embassy at Porta Pia was blown up by terrorists and the government subsequently purchased it in 1951.

So, how could I resist – I had to use this unique and rather romantic setting in From Rome With Love. The house we stayed in became the apartment in which Lisa stays and there are a couple of scenes where she contemplates the gorgeous palazzo across the way from her balcony. It was rather lovely to revisit the house and the wonderful memories of the sights and sounds of Rome, when I wrote this book and I hope that readers will be able to feel a touch of sunshine between the pages.

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Thanks for sharing this gorgeous insight into Rome, Jules! From Rome With Love is out now, pick up your copy here today.

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