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Wishing My Readers a Merry Christmas 🎄

I’m getting in early this year! I usually leave this post until a couple of days before Christmas. As I’m currently locked in Blackthorn though, I’m worried about losing track of time. It’s strange to think it was 2012 when I last worked over Christmas and New Year on Caleb and Leila’s story, ready to introduce them to you. Now, exactly five years later, I’m back full circle with them – this time to bring the Blackthorn story to an end.

Of course they should have been with you by now but, yes, I’m having closure issues! I know some of my readers are getting impatient (in a good way) but hopefully my slight delay means you have more Blackthorn to look forward to in 2018. At least it’s not over just yet!

Until then I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to all of my fantastic readers who have been a part of my 2017. Whether you have supported me via social media, email or by reviewing my books, you have made a HUGE difference as always. Being able to bring you my Lowtown series is proof of that, let alone having one of my books in bookshops for the very first time too with HAVEN. Thank you,

Have a wonderful Christmas and I wish everyone health, happiness and hope in 2018 – oh, and tonnes of wonderful new books to read too! Thank you so much for being there.

Take care, and have fun!


Flash Giveaway! Win a Blackthorn Paperback!

Whilst working on our Blackthorn finale as well as the first book in my new Lowtown series, I’ve had some wonderfully encouraging and inspiring feedback from my readers recently.

So, to say thank you for your support, I decided to run a flash giveaway to give you the chance to win a signed Blackthorn paperback of your choice.


You know how I love to keep giveaways as quick and easy as possible so, inspired by some of the comments above, all you have to do to enter is tell me:

What is it about Blackthorn that keeps you coming back for more?

And, for the first time ever, you can submit an entry both here on my blog as well as on my Facebook page to double your chances of winning!


There are TWO paperbacks up for grabs – and the two winners can pick which one they want*.

Whether you want to start your Blackthorn paperback collection, fill a gap, or complete your series so far or, if your collection is already complete, win one for a family member, a friend or even as a prize for your own blog or book club, the choice is yours.

*I’m afraid advanced copies of Blood Broken are not included in this giveaway. We’ll be having a special giveaway for that nearer the time.


  • The giveaway is open NOW and will close at midnight GMT on Friday 24th March, so be quick!
  • Only two entries per person please – one here and one on my Facebook page is the max.
  • All entries will be assigned a number and the two winners will be selected using a random number generator.
  • The winners will be announced on this post as well as on the related Facebook post on Saturday 25th March.
  • Winners will need to check if they have won and contact me to claim their prizes by midnight Wednesday 29th March for your books to be ordered. We can sort out the finer details then.


  • As with all my giveaways, prizes will be posted anywhere.
  • Proof of postage will be retained but prizes lost once out of my hands cannot be replaced.
  • And as with all giveaways, I will refrain from responding to comments. If you have any queries though, feel free to email or message me.

Good luck, everyone! <3



HUGE congratulations to….

Claire Palmer


Kimmie Lew

You have both won a signed Blackthorn paperback of your choice! Please either email me or message me via Facebook and we will sort the details.

Thank you, as always, to everyone who joined in. Your comments were incredible. I am so relieved I didn’t have to choose a winner based on those! And, of course, commiserations to anyone disappointed not to win. Rest assured, we’ll have plenty more giveaways to come.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone! xxx

Meet Me in London

I’ve been asked many times, over the last couple of years in particular, when I’m going to participate in a book-signing event. Well, it’s finally going to happen!

To mark the end of BLACKTHORN and the beginning of my brand new LOWTOWN series, I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be attending RARE18 at The Olympia in London on 24th February 2018. This will be my first public appearance and the first opportunity I’ve had to meet some of my readers – and I cannot wait.

If you’ve never heard of RARE (Romance Author & Reader Events), it’s an incredible event reaching increasing popularity since it began in 2014. It’s been hosted in Edinburgh and Montreal, is based in Berlin this year, and will be hosted in London and Rome in 2018. It’s your chance to meet a whole host of amazing romance authors across the full spectrum of the genre from contemporary to fantasy to suspense.

Tickets are going on sale on Saturday 4th March at 3 p.m. UK time. Don’t delay once the tickets become available as there are over 1,000 confirmed attendees already. If you’d like to find out more before then, you can join RARE 18 London‘s Facebook group where they are announcing authors who are attending. For those not on social media, I’ll update the end of this post once I have further news.

So, if you’d like the chance say hello and have your books, audiobooks, notebooks, giveaway prizes you may have won in the past, or anything else signed by me, I’d love to see you there.

My new publisher, Piatkus, is very kindly planning on providing some LOWTOWN stash and hopefully I’ll have one or two BLACKTHORN treats too. 🙂

On top of all of that, I’ve discovered that it won’t just be authors and readers attending. I jokingly put a teaser out on my Facebook page earlier in the week that I was going to be participating in a signing event and that Kane, Caleb, Jask and Eden would be joining me – but in 2D only. Now I’ve heard that some cover models really are going to attend! So, who knows, maybe* one of our Blackthorn boys will appear after all.

Form an orderly queue…


*Don’t hold me to it being one of our boys. I genuinely have no idea which models are coming!


This event is now sold out.

A Grimm Day

I make no secret of the fact I love fairy tales. I’ve written a post previously about how, with them having been embedded in my psyche since childhood, I don’t doubt their background influence on Blackthorn. Fairy tales were the PNR equivalent when I was a child. Wolves, witches, treachery, romance, magic, a struggle for survival, the battle between good and evil set against mystical and often dark and threatening settings, it’s no wonder the world I’ve created contains those elements.

Above: My collection of fairy tales

As well as loving fairy tales, I also have a passion for visiting National Trust properties. Whether absorbing their internal grandeur or exploring their beautifully maintained grounds (or wandering off into the depths of the woods), I can’t visit these places enough when taking a break from writing. So when I heard Killerton were hosting a celebration of Grimm’s Fairy Tales over the Christmas and New Year period, it became top priority for a day out. I was so enthralled by what I found, I thought I’d share a few pics (and some annotations) from the day. I hope my fellow fairy tale fans out there enjoy them!

The stunning exterior of Killerton House in Exeter: the perfect magical setting to host a celebration of some of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Although the sun had broken through in these photos, it had been a frosty morning when we set off for our visit, adding to the enchantment of the place on our arrival (needless to say I’m a huge Narnia fan too 🙂 ).

A glimpse of Killerton’s internal staircase, light being cast through the glass dome above. It might be familiar to those of you who have read Blood Torn:

“Ascending the stairs alongside him, her attention was drawn to the opaque glass dome that crowned the ceiling…”

Blood Torn, chpt 2. 

The first stop was The Elves and the Shoemaker display. Later I had a peek inside Rapunzel‘s tower which included a full-size figure of the lady herself, her posture emanating her loneliness. Is it any wonder Eden refers to Jessie as ‘Rapunzel’ in Blood Deep?

The story of Sleeping Beauty spanned two rooms. The first room displayed the spinning wheel and poison whilst Sleeping Beauty slept a few feet away. The neighbouring room celebrated her wedding to the Prince who, if interpretations are correct, rescued her after fighting his way through a Blackthorn hedge. 😉

Hmm, I wonder which vampire came to mind with this library…?

If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know I have a long-standing fear of werewolves (which convinced me I’d never be able to write a lycan hero), so I really could have done without wandering down a lengthy corridor before nearly jumping out of my skin when faced with this growling fella! Jask I can handle, Little Red Riding Hood‘s nemesis, not so much!

This had to be my favourite display of all, which is why I left it until last. The story of Hansel and Gretel both terrified and fascinated me as a child. So even at forty-two, I had a little shiver as I glimpsed firstly at the child prison before taking a closer look at the baking tray… to see human fingers ready for cooking! It’s no wonder our Caleb despises serryns so much!

I can’t wait to see what Killerton will come up with next year! 🙂

And before I go, I’d like to give my thanks and a huge shout-out to Big Little Sister Blog who listed Blood Instinct and Blood Bound amongst her favourite books of 2016! Yay!!!

As well as My Bookworm Blogger who is so excited (and maybe a little sad?) about 2017 bringing Blackthorn’s finale that she’s given the entire series a shout-out on her blog today.

Thank you so very much, Michelle and Stephanie. <3

I’ll be back with some news very soon. And, of course, a very happy New Year to you all, Team Blackthorn! Let’s make 2017 a great one! <3

Blackthorn Anniversary Winners Announced

Thank you to everyone who entered and supported my anniversary giveaways both this week and last week. And, of course, a massive thank you to everyone who supported my four-year anniversary month in general – whether with likes, comments, shout-outs or shares across social media, I really appreciated it. <3 I hope you had as much fun with it all as I did!

But this is all about the winners – all chosen at random – so here goes…





The winner of the anniversary bundle and signed A3 poster of your choice is:

Claudia, please email me with your address and include which book cover you would like. 🙂



My Bookworm Blogger has also announced the winner of the signed paperback of Blood Bound and postcard as:

Linda Brandt

Linda, please email me with your address and I’ll get your prizes on their way to you!



There were also a number of winners of the flash giveaways on my Facebook page last week. If you haven’t done so already, please feel free to either email me or message me via my page to claim your prizes:

Mor Rosenberg

Linda Tudhope

Tracy Gallacher

Kara Lee Lovell Johnson

Sarajane Cotton

Jennifer Dyer

Sharon Goodley

Natasha Manuel

Suzanne Millan

Dawn Higgins

Julia Whitehouse

Veronica Morgan

Huge congrats to all of the winners! Thanks again for your support, and have a brilliant a weekend! <3

Blackthorn Anniversary Bundle Giveaway

Today is the day! Four years ago today, Blackthorn was first launched. Thank you to everyone who read and supported my anniversary post here yesterday as well as all of your wonderful comments on social media. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! If you missed it, you can find it here.

I would also like to say a massive thank you to Tracey Rogers, Wopsywoobookblog and Passionate About Books who have all celebrated with their own special anniversary posts on their blogs today, including recalling how they discovered Blackthorn. Thank you to HelCeesBanginBooks for giving my series such a big shout out on her FB page too. I really appreciate it, ladies. <3

Thank you as well too to everyone who supported my interview with My Bookworm Blogger yesterday. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning a signed paperback of Blood Bound together with a signed postcard, you still have time. Just click on this link.

And talking of giveaways…


Last week I had three 24-four flash giveaways on Facebook to win stickers and limited edition postcards. Today, I’m giving ONE entrant the chance to WIN THE ENTIRE BUNDLE of prizes.

The bundle includes:

  • One signed limited edition ‘4-year Anniversary’ large postcard
  • One signed limited edition ‘Readers’ Quotes’ large postcard
  • One signed ‘Blackthorn Heroes’ large postcard
  • One set of ‘Blackthorn Heroes’ stickers, including 1 Kane sticker, 1 #TeamKane sticker, 1 Caleb Sticker, 1 #TeamCaleb sticker, 1 Jask sticker, 1 #TeamJask sticker, 1 Eden sticker and 1 #TeamEden sticker. That’s 8 stickers in total.
  • One Blackthorn Logo sticker

But exclusive to this website giveaway, I’m including a SIGNED A3 POSTER of the Blackthorn book cover of YOUR CHOICE in the prize bundle!


As today marks the release of Blood Shadows, all you have to do to enter is:




For your entry to be valid you must

  • leave your answer in the comment thread below, OR
  • email me

The giveaway is OPEN NOW and will close at Midnight (GMT) on Wednesday 30th November.

The winner will be drawn using a random number generator and will announced on Thursday 1st December.

Additional info:

  • The winner will need to claim their prize within 14 days of their name being announced.
  • The prize can be posted anywhere.
  • Proof of postage will be retained but prizes lost in transit cannot be replaced.
  • As with all giveaways, I will avoid responding to entries.

Good luck – and have a brilliant week! <3

**My sincerest apologies to any of my blog followers who are still not currently getting email notifications for my blog updates. The issue will hopefully be resolved soon. 

It’s Blackthorn’s Fourth Anniversary!

Tomorrow marks four years since Blackthorn was launched. Blood Shadows was officially released on 27th November 2012. Since then Blackthorn has sold in six figures, reached readers in several countries and obtained numerous number ones in both the Gothic and the PNR charts on Amazon as well as having reached the Top 50 on’s main kindle charts too. Blood Shadows was even optioned by Hollywood movie giants Relativity Media! It’s been quite the four years. And next year it’ll all be coming to an end with the series finale.

To mark the occasion, and to keep to the theme of 8 Blackthorn books, I thought I’d share… 8 THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT MY CREATION OF BLACKTHORN. Oh, and look out for details of a giveaway at the end!


Although tomorrow marks four years since Blackthorn was first published, it’s actually twenty years old this year!


Okay, so it wasn’t exactly stormy but it did all begin one night. I’d moved to a city over 300 miles away from home to begin my first teaching job. After an evening out with my new colleagues, I managed to get lost on my way home. With no one at home to expect me and with 1996 hardly being the era of mobile phones, I had no option but to try and navigate my way alone through the empty city streets. It wasn’t long before I became increasingly lost as well as deeper into unfamiliar territory. So, during that time, I did what every self-respecting scared-out-of-their-wits author does and made up stories to keep calm and distract myself – and Blackthorn was born.


From then on Blackthorn became a labour of love. I never intended it to be published, instead it was one of many simultaneous projects I had underway. Some went by the wayside but Blackthorn was one idea I simply couldn’t walk away from.

Once I had the concept behind Blackthorn, I wrote short stories to get to know the world. The stories were set in various districts across the locale, from Blackthorn to Summerton. Once the idea behind the overarching plot – the downfall of this oppressive society – took hold, the key contenders were already clear. Kane and Caitlin, Caleb and Leila, and Jessie and Eden all evolved from those short stories into what Blackthorn is today. The only exceptions were Jask and Phia.


I’ve caused much confusion amongst some readers and reviewers by bending the mythological rules. For one thing, only lycans have fangs whereas vampires have an extra set of feeding incisors instead. None of my “third species” as I call them are immortal, nor are they cursed or contaminated, and they most certainly aren’t the undead! Why? Because apart from rare occasions when these “creatures” were constituted as deities, they have almost always been associated with evil origins. This was further enforced by the introduction of Christian ideologies, with vampires in particular not only deemed as a risk to our physical self but our spiritual self too. Then there’s the influences of literature and films in the mix. I wanted to come from the angle that just because we don’t understand something doesn’t automatically make it evil – one of the fundamental themes behind Blackthorn.

After all, one of the greatest freedoms of being a writer of fantasy is the ability to be selective about which aspects of mythology to apply. The creation of my third species is as much about characterisation and plot as fitting in logically into the Blackthorn world I’ve created.


After I’d finished putting Blackthorn together, I stuck my head above the parapet to try and work out its potential for publication. But what had begun during a time when PNR was rarely found on the shelves was then faced with a market overwhelmed with vampiric heroes and fantastical urban underworlds, let alone well-established names globally dominating the genre.

Despite the knock of confidence, I started to look for publishing opportunities – only to find that, for those who accepted unagented submissions, Blackthorn didn’t meet their guidelines. Not only were my books too long, the preference seemed to be for standalones (especially from debut novelists unable to prove they could sustain a complex series). Most of all, my heroes didn’t conform to readers’ expectations. All in all, Blackthorn looked like it would be too high a risk to pursue.

So without even attempting to submit anywhere, I tucked Blackthorn away in my bottom drawer as I focused on a different genre.

It was only when my dad passed away in 2007 that I returned to Blackthorn, determined to pursue my dream of getting it published one day. To try and up my chances, I pulled out all of the overarching plot threads to the series and started turning Blackthorn into stand-alones.

The biggest clincher for signing with my current publisher was when they read Blood Shadows and Blood Roses and suggested that maybe Blackthorn could extend beyond three books. More than that, they asked if maybe I saw potential for an overarching plot to tie all the books together. I couldn’t pull all of my original notebooks out of my bottom draw quick enough!


Those who supported Blackthorn from the beginning will know that the covers of Blood Shadows and Blood Roses once looked very different. They were designed by Henry Steadman and had a much more traditional Gothic feel. They also incorporated red, white and black. According to folklore, these are the three colours associated with the Blackthorn plant. (If you’d like to know why I called the series ‘Blackthorn’, you can read about it here.)

Before Blood Torn’s release in February 2014, Bookouture decided to give the series a brand new look with a contemporary urban edge.


Up until the point I was offered a publishing contract, there were only six books in the series (seven if I split the finale into two). I’d initially been signed for three. When it came to discussions for the third book, I was ready to move on to Jessie and Eden’s story. However, my editor at the time as well as author Michele Hauf (who was my mentor during the writing competition through which I was discovered) both felt Jask Tao deserved a story of his own.

I already knew the role Jask and Phia played in the overarching Blackthorn story (no spoilers for anyone who hasn’t got that far!), but I never intended a romance between them, nor to explore the lycans’ plight in Blackthorn in any great detail. Instead I’d planned to keep the focus on the vampires in the story. In addition to that I have a deep-rooted fear of lycanthropy so didn’t think I’d be able to write Jask as an appealing enough hero!

Since then, Jask has gone on to become one of Blackthorn’s most popular heroes – and it’s all thanks to my wonderful first editor and the fantastic Michele Hauf.


Like the vast majority of published authors, writing wasn’t my only job when Blackthorn was launched. It’s a myth that once you get a publishing deal, you give up the day job and spend all of your days writing books. In fact, for the first four Blackthorn books I was still holding down a teaching job. I’d be teaching lessons to teenagers one day and then immersed in Blackthorn the next, swapping lesson planning and reports with book edits and fan mail. It wasn’t until January 2015 that I started writing full time. By that time, I’d waited almost 30 years to get to that point. If you love something enough, I guess you hold on for as long as it takes.

So that’s it – 8 facts you may or may not have known. And as you can see, Blackthorn had been on quite the journey even before it reached your shelf/device!

I’ll be back tomorrow to mark the official day with a GIVEAWAY BUNDLE for one lucky winner.

Until then, I’m thrilled to say I was invited to a special anniversary interview with ‘My Bookworm Blogger’.

I was asked some of the most insightful Blackthorn-related questions I’ve ever had, so please do head over and take a look. Stephanie’s also giving away a SIGNED PAPERBACK of my latest release BLOOD BOUND as well as an exclusive SIGNED Blackthorn POSTCARD!

Have a wonderful evening and ‘see’ you tomorrow! <3

Four Years of Blackthorn

Blackthorn was launched four years ago this month. I can barely believe it. If you were supporting me this time last year, you might remember we had a big anniversary giveaway to mark the occasion. I’m not sure where those twelve months have gone.

Since then two more Blackthorn books have been released, and now there’s only one more to go.

The reality is really starting to sink in – and not only for me by the sounds of it! I know some of you have been supporting my series from the outset. Some joined Blackthorn as recently as a couple of weeks ago. Either way, I know the prospect of the end being in sight is creating mixed feelings. But, for now, let’s refuse to linger in the word ‘final’. We still have one more big adventure to come and what I hope will be a fun year ahead once the countdown officially begins. 😀

*This is not the actual cover. It’s just a teaser.*

I can’t give you any indication as yet as to when Blood Broken will be out (and bribery will make no difference 😉 ). But please rest assured I’m already underway with the first draft and I won’t keep you waiting a moment longer than I have to.

And even though I’m not doing a big giveaway this time around (because I’m saving that for the finale), I’m still marking the occasion across Twitter and Facebook over the next month, reminiscing with some quotes and Bites from the last four years. If you don’t follow me on either of those, you can peruse some of them here.

This was just a quick post for now. I’m going to be back here on the weekend of the 26th and 27th of this month (the official four-year anniversary of Blood Shadows) with my proper anniversary posts. I’ll hopefully ‘see’ you then!

Thank you, as always, for your ongoing support. <3

Blood Bound Paperback Winners Announced

On Friday I opened a Halloween giveaway for two readers to be in with a chance of winning a signed paperback of Blood Bound.

Entries came in via email, here and my Facebook page. All entries were allocated a number that was entered into a random number generator.

Last time all the winners came from Facebook but, this time, we have a Facebook AND a website winner! Huge congrats to:

Tracy and Malorie, I’ll need you to email or message me with your address and I’ll get your signed book out to you asap!

Huge thanks to everyone who joined in. I have to say, when you unleash your dark side, you really unleash. 😉 I hope you all had a fantastic Halloween! <3

Win a Signed Paperback of Blood Bound

Vybers, stashers and plaigars, oh my…! (For anyone who’s never seen The Wizard of Oz, my adaptation of the infamous line will mean nothing.)

Halloween is nearly upon us so what better time to have a giveaway? I have two signed paperbacks of Blackthorn’s penultimate book BLOOD BOUND ready to be claimed.

As it’s Halloween, I thought we’d veer away from the pleasures of Blackthorn for a change and place all that goes bump in the night centre stage instead. After all, Blackthorn might be known for its dark romance but let’s not forget the ghoulish fourth species lingering in the shadows – nor our villains.

SIRIUS, ROB and FEINITH appear to be the front-runners when it comes to the Blackthorn villains who chill you to your core so, just for this weekend, I thought it was time they faced a horror of their own – and you get to choose it!




Maybe you’d like to lock Rob in a room with Night Children, have Feinith left to a pack of vybers, or for Sirius to come face-to-face with a soul ripper. I hope you find it darkly satisfying after all they’re put our beloved heroes and heroines through. 😉 (If you can’t remember your soul ripper from your nilkim, I’ve added a reminder at the bottom of this post.)

Best of all each villain counts as one entry, so you can have up to three chances to win!

(And, yes, if you’d like them to have a run-in with one of our Blackthorn heroes or heroines first, you can include that too.)


For your entry to be valid you must either:

The giveaway is open NOW and will close at midnight (GMT) on Halloween.

Winners will be drawn using a random number generator and will be announced here and on my Facebook page on Tuesday 1st November.


Winners will need to claim their prizes within fourteen days of the announcement, so please check back to see if you have won.

As with all Blackthorn giveaways, prizes will be posted anywhere. Proof of sending will be retained and prizes cannot be replaced if lost in transit.

Good luck – and have a great Halloween weekend! <3

Fourth Species
Physical features
Why you wouldn’t want to meet them in a dark alley
Bone feasters Willowy shadows that move within iridescent acidic mist.
Always in a group, they can be seen huddled facing each other as they wait for their prey.
They use acidic mist to melt the flesh from their victims, making their bones more accessible.
Night children Appear as young children but keep their leathery aged faces covered until ready to attack. Their faces are mouthless with black canyons where their eyes should be. Although small, they’re fast and strong. Once pinned down, they clamp their mouth over their victim’s to drain the life essence out of them, aging them to death within minutes. They appear as a collective in a crowded place and always target the youngest victim in a group first.
NilkimGiant, twenty-foot-high pile of white flab, inanimate until disturbed. Rolls like a snowball, using suckers to gain momentum as well as snag its victims either suffocating or consuming them in the process.
PlaigarsProportionally too-long arms, chunky muscular thighs, wasp-like waists and rotund upper torsos. They are bald all over with a tan-like hue to their skin. Whilst resting, they hang upside down like bats.Fast runners once active, they have suckers on their three-toed feet to enable them to run up walls as well as along ceilings. Their teeth are pin-like darts that they fire to paralyse their prey. They use their cylindrical tongue to drain their victims of all their bodily fluids.
StasherCan be heard making a tic-tic sound when it senses its prey. They have a human-like form. They use their round-piercing red eyes to paralyse their victims ready for attack. Once their prey is paralysed, this fourth species stashes them in hidden places such as crevices until they’re ready to feed. In order to feed, they roll their prey into a ball, crushing them whilst they’re still alive, before feeding them directly into their mouth-like abdominal cavity to be slowly digested.
Soul ripperThey take on the form someone the victim recognises – often a loved one. If you look into their eyes, your image will appear upside down. They rip the astral body out of their victims to keep the soul contained within, preventing them from entering the afterlife. They imprison the victim on the astral plain, feeding off the energy generated by their soul until it finally evaporates. Once they start on a family, they always return to finish the line.
VybersSeven-feet tall and masked by a dark cloak, they have grasshopper-like legs for leaping onto their prey. Often seen to hold their arms semi-aloft, their lengthy talons play the air like a piano as they sense vibrations caused by movement or sound.Impossible to escape and likely to hear and feel you coming long before you spot them, vybers are smart, strategic and never work alone.