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Sharon Black Discusses Her Fortnightly Column (@Authorsharonb) #tirgearr #romcom


Hi Celia,

Thank you so much for having me here on your blog today. I thought I’d chat about  something that has become very important for me: the fortnightly Monday column that I write for my blog, This Funny Irish Life.

First, and most importantly, it is my link as a writer, to my readers. Once my debut was published, I buried myself once again in writing. But while that’s happening, it’s so easy to become invisible again. And to forget that when you are writing, you do so with one perfect reader in mind.

That’s how my blog began. And it’s why I committed myself at the beginning of this year to a regular column. Because, just like writing a book, it’s ridiculous to believe that everyone will want to read it. Likewise, when I write my column, I imagine one person, one ideal reader.

My posts are short; no more than five or six hundred words. And since I wouldn’t dare to offer advice on anything, they’re usually a little irreverent, a little tongue-in-cheek and hopefully, entertaining.

But quite apart from simply popping my head above the parapet once a fortnight to say hi, blogging regularly is a great discipline for me. And that’s the second reason I blog. No matter how busy I am, or what else I have to do, I’ve committed to this. So it gets written.

Because of my background as a journalist, it suits me to work to regular deadlines.

I also find that even if I’m writing well, I’ll always write better because of my blog. It keeps me sharp. And because of the genre to which I was drawn, when I began to write fiction in earnest, it’s important that the columns I write, reflect what I like.

I like to leave people feeling upbeat. I like to make them smile or laugh. Humour is a tonic. It makes us feel better about ourselves and the world.

Though I have no doubt there are plenty of other writers, far more skilled than I, at writing humorously, my columns are also quite personal. They contain more than a modicum of truth.

Writers, at some level, must leave themselves open. This is my contribution.

*          *          *

EXCERPT: Charlotte is sent to cover Ladies’ Day at The Galway Races. It’s here that she meets Derry for the first time.

‘So, did you get lucky?’ a deep voice drawled.

Charlotte spun to find Mr Panama Hat grinning down at her. Bloody hell, she thought, smiling back despite herself. Any other man she knew would look utterly ridiculous in what seemed to be a tailor made, striped linen jacket and trousers, combined with that damned hat. But he carried it off with a self-confidence that bordered on swagger.
‘Yes actually, I did,’ she admitted, still smiling. ‘What about you?’

He grimaced. ‘I lost. My own fault. I took a flier on somebody else’s tip.’

Charlotte grinned sympathetically. ‘Oh?’

Mr Panama Hat shook his head, scowling briefly. ‘I read some bloody sports columnist from Ireland Today. Had a few winners earlier this week. As I said, it’s my own fault. I never normally bother with racing tips. Whoever it is, he obviously doesn’t know a horse from a three-legged stool.’

Charlotte swallowed hard. ‘So how much did you lose?’ she managed, trying to sound casual.

‘A thousand.’ He caught Charlotte’s horrified expression and laughed. ‘Hey, don’t look so worried! I’m a big boy.’
Charlotte stared at him in amazement. Who did that? Maybe he was a rich eccentric, the kind of guy who hung around the race courses, betting big. Not caring whether or not he won – or lost everything on the day. That said, she was damned if she’d come clean!

‘So do you normally gamble this recklessly Mr…?’ Charlotte trailed away meaningfully, biro poised over her notebook. He stuck out his hand, a warm smile forming.

‘Sorry I should have introduced myself. I’m…’

‘Derry! Where have you been? They’re just about to start the judging. Come on darling, I have to go line up. I want you to be able to see!’

A tall blonde, wearing a rose pink knee-length dress with tiny matching jacket, pink stiletto sling-back shoes and a dizzy spiral of cream and pink headwear, teetered over and clung to Derry’s arm. She looked, Charlotte thought, vaguely familiar. The blonde smiled tightly at Charlotte and then noticed her press badge.

‘Oooh, you’re from the papers! Maybe I could talk to you when the judging’s over. Do you have a photographer with you?’ She didn’t wait for Charlotte to answer, but rushed on. ‘You’ll have to excuse us right now, okay?’

‘Of course, don’t let me delay you,’ Charlotte said, stepping back.

‘Wait,’ Derry began, shooting her a sudden intrigued look. ‘You’re not with Ireland Today, are you?’

Shit. Charlotte managed a surprised laugh. ‘Um, yes,’ she squeaked. ‘I’m er, writing a piece on Ladies Day.’
‘Oh right.’ He frowned. ‘What about their Side Swipe columnist? Do you know him?’

Lie Charlotte. And do it well.

‘No. It’s being written anonymously. I think the writer works from home…’ She smiled brightly at him. Behind Derry, the blonde shot Charlotte a steely glare. Charlotte glanced one last time at Derry.

‘You should go. And I have to work. Nice to meet you.’ She turned and walked away.


Some would say Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan has it all. Beautiful, smart, athletic and a great job working as a journalist – in the almost exclusively male sports department. But Charlotte is not quite as sure as she seems. Recently split from her overbearing boyfriend, she escapes for weekends, surfing in the Atlantic, and spends her free nights watching sports, roaring at the TV.

Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer, gossip columnist and sophisticated man-about-town. The go-to guy for any woman seeking expert advice on what fabulous outfit to wear for any given occasion. He’s also tall, dark, good looking – and straight! So what’s the snag? He has a track record of dating glamorous, vain and shallow women.

Charlie gets an opportunity to write a new column under the pen name Side Swipe, but is soon drawn into a war of words and wit with a rival paper’s columnist The Squire – and their verbal fireworks get readers and editors talking. Yet neither Charlie nor Derry knows just whom the opponent is…

When Charlotte and Derry meet at the Races, the attraction is instant. As their relationship develops, so much more proves at stake, than protecting their alter egos. But a blunder puts Charlotte’s job in jeopardy just as Derry’s past makes front page, and Charlotte begins to doubt her feelings.

When Side Swipe and The Squire are finally forced to reveal themselves, will they revert to type – or confound everyone’s expectations?

*          *          *

Buy Links:
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sharonblackSHARON BLACK Biography.

IRISH author Sharon Black is a diehard screwball comedy enthusiast. Her first novel, Going Against Type, a contemporary romantic comedy set in Dublin, was e-published by Tirgearr Publishing in September, 2014 to great reviews.

She has had short stories published, and won the 2010 Dromineer Literary Festival short story competition. She worked for a number of national newspapers.

She writes a regular blog, This Funny Irish Life, featuring light, fun, personal columns, and tweets at Authorsharonb.

When she’s not writing, she reads, walks, sees friends, and drinks far too much coffee. She co-founded a local book club 15 years ago. She loves theatre, old Hollywood films, every romantic comedy ever made, and edgy stand-up. She hates shopping.

She lives in a Dublin coastal village, with her husband and their three children.

Find Sharon:

Amazon Author Page:



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Scandalously Yours…


When you go way, way back in history to write books, history tends to get mixed with legend, as is the case with Cornelia Amiri’s Timeless Journey. Some authors, like Ann Jacobs, go farther. Ann inserted not only Cornish legends but also a paranormal explanation for the curse her hero endured in Beneath a Cornish Moon.

The protagonists in Cornelia’s story buck the Celtic community’s traditions by allowing her reincarnated Roman lover to live; the curse over the earldom in Ann’s story disappears when its cause is destroyed.

Scandal, ancient style, is still romance overcoming tradition, although that scandal is more paranormal than actually created by characters’ conflicts with rules set down by their fellow humans.

Enjoy these two novellas along with the ones from later times in history, when mankind had created rules to give birth to delicious scandals.



From Wilder’s Thief, by USA Today bestseller, Josie Jax

Well, she was robbing a bank. That certainly qualified her as barmy. But dang it all to hell, she couldn’t afford to slip into the coddling arms of her wild imagination, not in the middle of a cussed hold-up of all things.

From Aphrodite’s Necklace, by Anh Leod:

Holding the necklace and feeling quite steamy in her private area, she stepped into the hallway. She pressed her thighs together and when she separated them, they were sticky with some kind of hot fluid that had moistened her inside. She swallowed her shock as her nipples thrust against her corset. What was happening to her?

From Madamoiselle Makes a Match, by Kate Rothwell

Summoning all of her bravery, she darted in and landed a quick kiss on his chin but then backed away at once. “There. I was the first to touch. You want to touch me now?”

From Seducing Laura, by Lynne Connolly

That reminder of her one disastrous youthful indiscretion nettled Laura. It was something she preferred to forget. She sipped her tea and allowed her quick temper to subside within her. “That was an entirely different case, and our parents dealt with it smartly. Besides, I wasn’t an heiress. Belinda is. You know we have to be constantly on our guard against fortune hunters.”

From The Brass Octopus, by Maeve Alpin

“You seem uncharacteristically bothered. You do love to judge others, but you are usually quite calm about it–especially here among all your friends…the books.” Polly’s eyes gleamed as she flashed a wry smile. “What did he do?”

“He read a passage of Early Experiences out loud.”

From Beneath a Cornish Moon, by Ann Jacobs

The night seemed as fitting as any might be to stand vigil o’er her sire’s earthly remains. While her silent future husband stood the first watch at the foot of the bier, Lea sat beside the window, her head bowed as she fingered her rosary beads.

Silently Lea grappled with stark reality. She glanced toward Alain. His expression told her naught. He appeared as dark as the night, as mysterious as the Eucharist. No less overwhelming now than when he had worn full armor, he made her tremble, yet lent her strength by his presence.

A strength Lea appreciated more as hours went by and she endured the rituals of saying farewell.

From Timeless Voyage, by Cornelia Amiri

Her captive’s extraordinary eyes, fathomless as the sea, drew her to him. How could a Roman be so handsome?

Thoughts swam in her head. I do not know him. Even if I did, he’s a Roman. I have to hate him.

Laig the Dark headed scowled. “We leave no survivors, save for the Roman slaves we set free.”

From Wooing the Librarian, by Jane Leopold Quinn

In his life before becoming a preacher, in his bounty hunting days, he wouldn’t have bothered with a proper looking woman. He’d needed the easy, no commitment, no responsibility, no-morning-after type of woman back then. It was all different for him now. Now he wanted the morning-after woman, the family, the promise of forever.

image UTS logo

About Scandalously Yours authors:

In August 2014, a well-known publisher of erotic romances announced a downturn: slowed sales, layoffs of editors and cover artists, and most important, later and later royalty payments. Authors began requesting reversion of rights, and subsequently a group formed, consisting mostly of former authors of this publisher. Box sets had become the project of the time, and so Under the Sun Publishing was formed as a division of Inkwell Royalty Solutions, to revise former titles from this publisher and bring those that fit the UTS guidelines out in box sets. We have since expanded our offerings to include books originally published elsewhere and never-before-published novels and novellas.

The guidelines: all books would be romances between one man and one woman, sensual to frankly erotic but without the coarse language many readers find objectionable. The first of these sets was released in September 2015, followed by two more in October and November. Book four, the first historical set, was delayed while we evaluated effectiveness of promotion, and Scandalously Yours will enjoy a twenty-stop blog tour before and immediately after its release on March 8, at multiple booksellers rather than as Kindle exclusives.

Under the Sun hopes readers will enjoy the stories it has compiled for them and pass the word along that its box sets are not only great reading but also great bargains!


Scandalously YoursBuy links:—

Amazon UK–

All Romance Ebooks–



Books will also be available at and iTunes (Apple), but buy links are not yet available for them.



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Walking back to happiness…about stress, and how to ditch it.

New Somerset 110

I’ve never really come face to face with full-on, exhausting, completely debilitating stress before. Over the last six weeks, trying to deal with  a long build up of anxiety, panic attacks and deep sadness brought on by post-Ofsted helplessness and frustration, I’ve learned what it means to want to give up.

But a combination of a sensible doctor (‘take time out, get some fresh air and exercise and step back from work – you’re not letting them down; you’re making yourself strong again’), a very understanding boss, brilliant family and hugely supportive workmates have worked their magic. This week I went back to school, feeling absolutely terrified but much better. The welcoming hugs made it all worthwhile.

So here’s my plan for overcoming the effects of a system that’s kicking teachers in the teeth and then giving them a few more kicks when they’re down:

  1. If you possibly can, give yourself some space from work – a good doctor will understand. Crying at the surgery seems to work well…
  2. Get your boots on, get out into the fresh air and walk and walk and walk.
  3. Read feel-good books.
  4. Do some writing if you can. If you can’t, don’t worry. You will one day soon.
  5. Eat well (forget weight loss, indulge yourself with wine/gin/Baileys, but mostly go for the healthy stuff.)
  6. See family and friends as much as possible and if they want you to talk about your worries, do! They won’t mind if you blub. So long as you stop eventually and give them some cake.
  7. Don’t let yourself think this bad patch will never end. It will.
  8. If all else fails sit down with a cat on your knee and watch The Sound of Music*. (*Substitute film of choice. I know this one could actually bring on stress in some people.)

So, lovely people, if you’re in a bad place, where everything seems black and the world clearly hates you, I wish you the very best of luck. All will be well. Trust me. You can borrow my cat if you like.


Lessons Learned When Writing The Dragon in The Garden by Erika Gardner


So, just when I think I’m starting to figure things out, the other shoe invariably drops. It happens every dang time. Honestly, it’s not such bad thing.  It’s good to shake things up. Dragon was the second book that I completed. The first was an epic fantasy that I have been forced to shove into a drawer. It’s crap. Well, it’s crap with glimmers. But I digress.

The Dragon in The Garden was the first book that I finished and thought, huh, we might have something here. Of course, that’s a common enough experience for writers in the first flush of typing “The End” (not that we usually do that, but you get the idea). Probably because getting that first draft done just feels so darn good.  Then reality sets in and we see that the gargantuan amount of work still to be done. Which coincidentally was something I learned writing Dragon

  • You aren’t done when you think you’re done. In fact, it would be best if YOU do not make the judgement call as to when to start sending out your precious manuscript. No, leave that decision to your critique group and your beta readers. They’ll tell you when you are ready. Don’t rush it.
  • Critique hurts. It’s okay to cry. I say that because you just might. I did.
  • Critique is good. It is necessary. Take it and be grateful for. The fact that these people cared enough to take time from their busy (and everyone is busy) schedules to help with your dog and pony show is precious. Do not squander their time and efforts on your behalf. The work will be better.
  • Bacon can make almost anything better. Unless you’re a vegetarian. Hopefully then tofu bacon makes everything better. I wouldn’t know. I won’t touch the stuff. Because there exists real BACON.
  • If bacon won’t work, there’s always wine. Or… the two together. Sometimes you need to double down.
  • Agents, editors? They are just people. Some are kind, some are callous, but they are all mere flesh and put on their ass-less chaps one leg at a time, just like the rest of us.
  • It’s okay to hear voices in your head. It’s part of the creative process. Just… don’t believe everything that they tell you.
  • The hardest thing you will do is to write your synopsis. You’ll hate it. Likely it won’t be your best work. That’s okay, most people hate them, too. But it’s another hoop you must jump through, so jump, little froggie, jump!
  • You WILL be rejected. That’s not an if, it’s a WHEN. Likely you’ll be rejected a lot. It will suck. Please see points #4 and #5. Feel free to email me. I’ll talk you off the ledge.
  • You’ll want to quit. DON’T!!! That’s it you can’t quit. PERIOD.

So, those are my pearls of wisdom. They may seem self-explanatory, obvious, as plain as the Italian nose on my Irish face. Yet, there’s a difference between hearing them and feeling them, really coming to grips with knowing them.

Now that you know my big life secrets… wanna know what I wrote about? It’s a fairy tale for adults who don’t want to grow up. Who says we really have to anyway? Enjoy!

TheDragoninTheGardenbyErikaGardner-200There is magic beneath the mundane and in The Dragon in the Garden, Siobhan Orsini witnesses it all. No lie can fool her, no glamour or illusion can cloud her Sight. She sees through them all and wishes she could close her eyes. Returning to face her past, Siobhan inherits her grandparents’ house in California’s wine country. She encounters a talking dragon, a hot fallen angel, a demon lord, a Valkyrie, and, oh yes, her ex-boyfriend. And that is just in the first twenty-four hours. 

It’s time to find out why she has this power. 

Siobhan seeks out the Oracle and learns that only her Sight can help mankind navigate the travails of an ancient war. Our world is the prize in a battle between the dragons, who would defend us, and Lucifer’s fallen angels, who seek to take the Earth for themselves. Using her gift, she will have to make a choice that will decide humanity’s future.

To purchase The Dragon in The Garden please see:


This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller. Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.


To e or Not to e – That is the Question – A Guest Post by Mary O’Sullivan

tourbutton_thickerthanwaterAll set to go on holiday? Passport, check. Money, check.  Books, check. Nothing left to do except weigh your luggage. And then you find you have gone over the weight the airline allows. Your choice is to pay the tariff at the airport or start unloading things now. That’s when you realise how really heavy print books are. And how very convenient an eReader would be.

The glossy paperback or the hardback you see today has some pretty strange ancestry. The book as we now know it, started life as a clay tablet in Mesopotamia in the third century BC. It had to be written on while the clay was wet and then fired to dry. Imagine trying to haul a week’s worth of clay tablet off on your holidays.  Papyrus appeared in the second millennium BC and because it was pliable and lighter, it was more user friendly – though the history of the reign of Rameses 111 on papyrus is said to measure over 40 metres long when unscrolled. That is approximately the height of a ten storey building. Obviously that prototype was not going to stand the test of time.

Around the same era, Chinese people were writing on a variety of materials- bone, shells, wood, silk. It was there, in the first century BC, paper was made, reportedly from the bark of a blackberry bush.  An Italian missionary, named Matteo Ricci, visiting China at that time, noted that there were a lot of books in circulation and that they were being sold at very low prices. Which is exactly the observation Matteo would probably make now if he came back to visit the twenty first century.

There were many innovations in script and book materials between the clay tablet era and 1440, when Johannes Guttenberg invented the printing press. Because printing made books cheaper and more widely available, it brought about a seismic change. Books became commercially viable and the hunt was on for a reading market in the general public. That hunt still continues in today’s world of mass-produced and self-published books. A positive change for authors is that the writers of old had no rights over their published works. Nor did they receive payment unless they had a generous patron. Copyright over the work is a great improvement but the loss of generous patrons is to be regretted! The first book printed in the English language in 1475 was Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye. I wonder how many books have been printed since Guttenberg first had his eureka moment with the printer. It must number millions, or even billions, when all languages are taken into account.

The next big step in the genesis of the book was the Amazon Kindle in 2007. The material used had changed again. The words were on screen and not on paper. You did not turn pages but pressed a key, you could change the text size to suit yourself, buy books without leaving your home and have them instantly loaded onto your eReader. The Kindle was light, compact, capable of storing hundreds, if not thousands, of books at a time. A boon for those holiday reads.

And so it began, the battle of the print book versus the eBook. People divided into two camps; one, the traditionalist, who swore they could not survive without the smell of a new print book; two, the eReader owner who gloried in not having to find shelf-space for their books. eBooks are also, by and large, cheaper than print, so therefore accessible to a wider audience. The advent of eBooks has made self-publishing a viable option. This development has detractors and advocates. It is good that everyone has the opportunity to tell and share their story, whether that is biographical or fiction. On the other hand, the mass of new ebooks coming on line at any one time is staggering. As a reader, I struggle to decide on my next read. As a writer, I cringe at the volume of books mine have to compete with.

I can imagine, as I write this, the Assyrian scribes hanging on to their clay tablets and swearing to never have anything to do with Papyrus scrolls. And so on with each historical change until the battle of print and eBook was joined in 2007. The format of the book has changed but not the essence. Does it matter whether a child absorbs the magic of fairy tales from a printed page or an LCD screen? Will a story be any different whether it is bound between paper covers, or flicks by on an eReader?

I have a personal preference for eBooks for several reasons, the main one being I suffer from arthritis in my hands and holding a weighty book can be uncomfortable. My feather light eReader fits snugly in my hand and never causes me pain. The eBook revolution also gave me the opportunity to self –publish my seventh novel, Fire And Ice. It proved to be a challenging but satisfying exercise.

Having said all that, I have print books which I have owned since childhood. In fact I treasure a little book which my grandmother read when she was a child. It’s titled, The Birthday Present, by Miss Edgeworth and was printed by Milner And Sowerby in 1858.  There are beautiful illustrations in that book and exquisite print. The stories are dated, but the book itself is a precious work of art. I doubt very much if my grandchild will, in the future, hold my Kindle and admire it as an exquisite artefact.

Who knows what the next step in book evolution will be? The only certainty is that mankind will continue to learn and express creativity. Whatever shape the book takes it will always be part of educating and entertaining mankind.

Thank you to Celia for hosting me on her blogspot and thanks also to Lucy Felthouse (Writer Marketing Services) for organising my visit here.




Excerpt  from Thicker Than Water

Here, in Rainbow Cottage high up over Ballyderg town, Jan had found relaxation.  Ever since she could remember, possibly since she had been born, she was driven by an inner spring of energy that constantly bubbled up. She was always on the go. Tasks to be completed, decisions to be made, energy to be burned up. It was these hills, the still and brooding giants with wispy cloud hair, which first soothed her into sometimes slowing down. Changes swirled around them, the seasons, the weather, light and dark, but their core stood firm against outside influence.  Eventually she had absorbed that lesson.

From the   plate glass window of the lounge she watched a car wind its way up from the valley. She went into the kitchen and switched on the kettle, knowing from experience that the green tea they both enjoyed would be brewed by the time he arrived at the cottage.

Gerard Shannon parked in his usual place ten minutes climb on foot to Jan’s cottage.  He stood and inhaled deeply before striding out.  He always enjoyed the exercise but today he felt breathless, tormented, an iron band of tension squeezing his chest. If only the success and control he had in his business life applied to his private life also. If only he had been honest all those years ago. If only he could be honest now.



Blurb for Thicker Than Water :

When local teenager, Keira Shannon and her father, business man Gerard Shannon, go missing, the town of Ballyderg unites to search for them.

As the search continues rumours of domestic violence, extramarital affairs and criminal behaviour are rife. The crisis causes families and lifelong friends to doubt each other.

The only certainty left is that the town has been visited by evil. Or has it? Could it be the evil one has always lived there sharing history, laughter and tears? And if so, who could it be?

Buy Links

Amazon buy links :            

Tirgearr   Publishing                 

Amazon Author Page:              


maryosullivanauthorpicAuthor  Biography:

Mary worked many years as a Laboratory Technician. Her hobby, her passion, has always been writing. Busy with family and career, she grabbed some moments here and there to write poetry and short stories. She also wrote a general interest column in a local newspaper.

As the demands on her time became more manageable she joined a local creative writing class. It was then, with the encouragement of tutor Vincent McDonald, that the idea of writing a novel took shape. She began to expand on a short story she had written some years previously. It was a shock for her to discover that enthusiasm and imagination are not enough. For the first time she learned that writing can be very hard work.

Mary now has six traditionally published novels, nine eBooks and hopefully more to come, inspiration permitting.

Social Media Links

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