The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Friday, 5 February 2016

When We Were Young

Those days of youth! Look at how sweet Art and Patricia look on their cover! Again, huge thanks to the wonderful and ever patient Bree Archer for gorgeous work. I'm going to be in contact with all the winners from the competition, by this weekend, and get this little bundle ready for release.

When I was in edits with Queen Barb, we had a mini chat about something. Intimacy. There's plenty between my two stars, but nothing explicitly sexual is written. I dunno man, me and Hot Muse Hank looked at each other and said at exactly the same time, "Swerve it." It just didn't feel right to write that sort of scene in this story. It didn't fit, it didn't work, even though I tried.

I - believe me - am not inhibited or a prude about sex and certainly not hesitant in throwing words around to describe the male and female anatomy. I am quite attached to the "p" word, but there we are. My usual enthusiasm for a shake down wilted when I was poised with typing how Art and Patricia and look I can't even do it now. It's like talking about my young children banging, and I refuse. So no explicit sex scenes here. I'd say sorry, and yet, I think when you do read it, you'll understand.

Besides, I've given all of it to Wynne and Bren, so you won't be missing much. Honest.

Studies of a blurb:

Patricia Nelson has the most important interview of her life coming up. It’s a world away from the girl she used to be. Her future relies on her being accepted into university, so no distractions. That means not getting turnt up, no drinks and definitely no boys. Not even Art. Beautiful, smart, convenient Art. She ain’t got time for that. Truly. None.

Arthur McWorth has never been thought of as a distraction. A nuisance. A terrible influence. The bane of his parents’ life, yes. But to a girl like Patricia, he’ll take distraction any day. Beautiful, smart and single Patricia. Since they’re practically family, he’ll help her get through her university interview. In exchange, he’s allowed to be someone altogether different. A boyfriend.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The Original High

I heard that for the first time digitally, old music is outselling new music. Are you surprised? I hear you all loud and clear. Yes, and no. Old music, well music that has meaning to me as of this time and period, the music that recalls my history – successes failures, loves and breakdowns, snapshots of my life – is bloody wonderful. But all music seems to be knocking it out to Pluto’s cold dark heart.

Like Rudimental’s new album, is packed with good tunes. Vaults, is still my new favourite band – still waiting on that album yo. Beppe needs it. And then I still go back to my old favourites. Nothing reminds me more of the struggle of studying than Kanye West’s Late Registration. Timberland’s Come Around was playing every time I got my eyebrows done. Coldplay’s Sparks sends the sweetest shiver through me, because I got a kiss from all four members of the band when they released their first album. That’s right Paltrow. I hit it first. 

New music right now... Is outrageous. I was in H&M’s changing room when TALA’s Praise came over me like a wave of bliss. I Shazamed it, stretching to the speakers standing in my bra and a fancy skirt with pockets. (I bought the skirt obvs.)  As Patricia says to Art, there’s nothing that a little Lethal Bizzle can’t fix, and I stand by that. 

While it’s great to appreciate the oldies, the newbies are creating goodies too. Hence An Art To It soundtrack. The best of both worlds:

  1. Laura Mvula: Overcome
  2. Mapei: Blame It On Me
  3. Jamie Woon: Gravity
  4. Vaults: Vultures
  5. Beach House: Sparks
  6. Mapei: Change
  7. TÃLÃ: Praise
  8. Kanye West ft. Adam Levine: Heard ‘Em Say
  9. Jessie Ware: Champagne Kisses
  10. Lucy Rose: Like An Arrow
  11. Rudimental: Never Let You Go
  12. Raury: Her
  13. Arctic Monkeys: Brianstorm
  14. Coldplay: Sparks
  15. The Naked and Famous: Young Blood
  16. Lethal Bizzle: Fester Skank
  17. Timberland ft M.I.A: Come Around
  18. Bombay Bicycle Club: Luna
  19. Foals: What Went Down
  20. Theme Park: Jamaica
  21. The Irrepressibles: Pale Sweet Healing
  22. Editors: Ocean Of Night
  23. Beck: Heart Is A Drum
  24. M83: This Bright Flash
  25. James Bay: If You Ever Want To Be In Love

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Up & Up

We're inexplicably still in January. And this month still sucks donkey balls for rent money. -_-

I've decided we need a cheer up. A good old fashioned jolly. How do we do that? I give away, I say. Why not? I'm aiming for a Valentine's Day release for An Art To It, Patricia and Art's story, one of my full extended tales from Season of Love Vol 2. I figure, I should give away a few copies to some folks, and lift the mood.

Honestly, this story was not even a chore to write - I know me I get bored or distracted, but Hot Muse Hank and I were very focused, because despite the soul crushing stress of examinations, and the pressure of getting into university, I had the best of times, with the greatest of friends. (I mean, I had The Spice Girls, Millennium, The Fresh Prince and Bacardi Breezers on the cheap!)

The give away is going to be a two parter; answer on the blog in the comment section below, or send me an email to billylondonluv@gmail. Answer both to be in with a chance:

1. Who is my favourite teen across all my books? There aren't many so this should be well easy...
2. Who was your favourite artist as a teen?

Part one has a correct answer, but two is all your own. The give away will end on 31st January 2016 midnight GMT. We're gonna start February fresh and clean!

Let's get nostalgic! Lemme know! Good memories can only ever bring light to dark times.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Golden Years

This year is not going well, already. Barely two weeks in and one of my musical heroes has died, from that blasted, terrible disease.

Before I existed, when my dad was strolling down the streets of London in a sheepskin coat and my mum wore velvet hot pants and platforms, they were awed and entranced by Ziggy Stardust - the androgynous alien who told them to let the children boogie. And when I turned up, with careful brushing of a needle, they included Let's Dance with the Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust to their LP collection, mixed in with Isaac Hayes, Barry White and Areatha Franklin. They never told me that music was exclusionary, only inclusive.

People would look at me strangely when I'd sing along to Starman and Young American and Heroes - as if asking me "How do you know that music?" Because it was always my music. I bang on about it enough how music drives my writing. I'm not sure I ever bang on about how music improves everything. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't listen to something Bowie produced, orientated, inspired, or written. At a recent birthday, I sang the intro to Dance Magic Dance - without prompt. Because I listen to that song weekly. That guitar solo in the bridge, is life itself. How can I not? Bowie juggling crystal balls, wearing those grey leggings, awakening my very soul.

The only reason I bought The Prestige on DVD was because of Bowie's cameo. I don't remember the rest of the film (apart from the secret to the trick) but Mr. Knighthood's are not for me Bowie, is ingrained on my soul. I was looking forward to spending a weekend immersed in Blackstar, revel in some new music, since my Strictly Come Dancing repertoire inclusive of I'd Rather Be High (Venetian Mix), needed accompaniment. Venetian Mix - who else does that? Mixes a song in Venetian style, adds a flaming harpsichord and dares you to not enjoy the hell out of it? Until now. I'm not ready to say goodbye to him.

When it comes down to it, there are two people who have lost their father. And as much as he is an idol to me, and countless others, my thoughts, my prayers, my wholehearted sympathies are with Bowie's children.

David Bowie is extraordinary. I refuse to refer to him in the past tense, because Starmen don't die. Goblin Kings don't die. Diamond Dogs are everlasting. I know in time, I'll be able to boogie once again.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Begin Again

Hey hey! This took foreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeever, but it's ready! Paperbacks of my lengthy stories and definitely all of the IKs are coming. And we start where we always do. Book One. I was going to refer to another type of beginning, but we're only seven days into a new year and I don't want to get struck by God's lightning of justice!

Breathe in those sweet smelling pages. I have pages! It's so pretty in person, I couldn't quite believe it was my book when it turned up on Christmas Eve, like the best of presents! If Sofia Da Canaveze had her way, they'd be gently sprayed with Diptyque. But I don't have Da Canaveze money so, we're going to have to stay with paper. It's not a wrong decision, it is what it is Sof. Allow it, okay? Haven't you got a store to run?

The interference will never, ever end...

Windows Paperback

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

A Whole New World

Merry New Year!

I mean I blinked and Christmas was over and some Essex bloke in a coat and roll neck jumper was complaining about how hot he was as we were pressed against a bar, with at least a hundred people while all I was thinking about was how to get two bottles of prosecco back to my peoples. We were packed in so tightly, had we all been naked, it would have been one hell of an orgy.

Anyways, last year was hard work - it sped by in a blink, but it was terribly hard work. I came to some conclusions:

  1. I still cannot write when I am emotional, and I have been emotional a lot. From weddings, to friends having babies (friends I still see in my mind as wearing school uniform and not having sex), to brotherly relocations (sodding Dubai), it is impossible for me to focus on far away places and love and drama if my heart is on a plane, or in delivery rooms.
  2. I have obligations to family in Ghana. No escaping it, especially when health care costs money. Simple vaccinations can avoid a myriad of problems, and whatever my grievance with them, I have to ensure they are healthy. 
  3. I need a break. I spoiled myself in 2014. I went all over the shop and had a jolly good time doing that. This year, Morocco - whilst incredible - was all too brief. Spain, absolutely beautiful, was too short. And holidaying in London, never feels like a holiday when your mother can call you about hot water bottle recommendations. I mean...
  4. I need a new home. In London means either winning the lottery or getting a promotion with a 50% salary increase... but yah. Change of scenery. Change of location. Seriously. 
The good thing is, I've finished a new adult story thanks to NaNo! It was a young adult, but it got a bit too sexual too quick. I've also nearly finished Wynne's Surprise, which means I have to let the Scot with Swagger go (not ready, not ready, not ready!) I think I've got the paperback thing down, and I can get the meatier stories ready for sweetly scented, papery release. And most of all, with all the fresh, new babies popping out of my friends' bodies, I am feeling twinges of Beppe's story coming to me. Twinges that could be interpreted as sympathy pains, but after an April 2016 jaunt to Croatia, I wholeheartedly believe I will be back on the writing track. 

Change of scenery is nothing less than the best writer's balm to fatigue of too much hard work and not enough rest. So if in 2016, I'm a little quieter, or I'm not blasting people from Made in Chelsea on Twitter as much, it's because I'm watching War and Peace and blasting people on Twitter, or I'm finding my focus in a different country altogether, to get words back on the page where they belong. You know you can't miss something if you're with it all the time? 

I need to miss writing. 

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Under the Mistletoe

Day Two and story number two! Feeling festive yet?

Over Egg Nog Lattes © Billy London

There had to be something in here. Reya begged all the possible ghosts of Christmas to help her. Reya’s sister had to be the fussiest cow ever, and having made her case to their parents, bemoaning the lack of birthday gift and Christmas present last year. She had ways to go to ensure she had a peaceful day - and that was all anyone could hope for over Christmas. A little bit of sodding peace.
“What are you looking for?”
Reya whipped around. A slender, beautiful woman looked at her with disinterest, waves of sleek black hair tumbling over her lace blouse. “I don’t know.” Reya offered.
The woman rolled her eyes. “Well, who are you buying for? Do hurry up darling, it’s closing time.”
“My sister.”
“And what does she like?”
“She’s really fussy,” Reya said. “That’s why I’m stuck.”
“Aren’t we all? Here.” The woman handed over a dress. “Silk, lined, classic. Took me a long time to convince the designer to let me stock, but she did. Because I’m persuasive.” The arch of her brow told the story of her success. “I’m assuming your fussy sister is a size eight.”
How she knew that, Reya would never know. “Spot on.”
“Come along, I have to be in Sheen in two hours. My sister in law has well deserved champagne chilling for me.”
Fascinated by the woman’s accuracy, Reya followed her to the ornate cashier desk. Carefully, she folded the dress in scented tissue paper, then inside a glossy box, and finally placed it into a luxurious, glossy bag, the name Sofia swirled across the front in gold lettering. “How long have you been open?”
“Three months,” the woman announced with pride, her green eyes narrowing with amusement. “And we’re magnificently in profit already.”
“Didn’t it used to be some wiccan boutique?”
“Exactly. It’s much better as my boutique.” She rang up the dress and Reya handed over her credit card. “Your sister will be pleased. I was named in Charisma magazine as a destination shop.” She smiled at Reya, and she was convinced no one ever said no to her. “Merry Christmas and all that soppiness.”
“And to you. Thanks Sofia.”
She waved a thin hand through the air, and returned to tidying the racks of beautiful rainbow of clothes. Relieved that her final shopping was complete, Reya stumbled into a coffee shop and collapsed into a chair. She felt something tugging at her coat and looked down. Oh come on. Day away, please! Little Owen from her nursery class gazed up at her with his big brown eyes.
“Hello Miss Reya.”
No one could pronounce her surname. It was a given anyone over four would have the same problem.
“Hello Owen,” she murmured, scooping him from the floor and sitting him on her lap. “Where are your parents?”
“Daddy’s buying you a coffee. He said you look tired.” Reya’s eyes went straight to the counter where tall, dark and strictly off-limits for being a far too good looking father, was busy handing over his card. Doctor Be Good To Me, the mums called him. He and his partner had finally started behaving like normal adults for their son’s sake. Actually, it had been his former partner, Carol who had blazed a trail of hatred through the nursery, trying her best to keep Niven away. Reya truly wished parents wouldn’t bother. Their children wouldn’t appreciate it when they were older.
Niven set the ceramic mug in front of her and sat down opposite. “Someone looks comfortable,” he commented, nodding towards his son, who had snuggled into the crook of Reya’s neck.
“Sorry Daddy,” Owen murmured, lifting a hand to rest against Reya’s collarbone.
“Looks like it.” He replied, lifting an eyebrow. Despite speaking to him up close on several occasions, he didn’t come over as any less intimidating outside the nursery. “Finished your shopping?”
Reya looked over Owen’s head to check on her bags. “All done. Last minute dot com as per usual. What about you? Why aren’t you at home wrapping?”
Niven’s face shifted. “Carol’s picking him up in half an hour. We’ve got about two hours together on Christmas day.”
Oh. How disappointing for him. “At least you’re able to talk and make plans.”
He smiled at her, and she felt as mushy as a marshmallow in hot chocolate. “You’re sweet. What are you doing for the holiday?”
“Spending time with my parents, my sister who happens to be married to my ex boyfriend.” Saying it aloud over time lost its shock value. Except to people who hadn’t heard the story before. Niven looked appalled. Reya glanced down at Owen who was fast asleep. “It sounds worse than it is. We’re all friends now. I’ve even bought her a present.”
He stared at her thoughtfully. “What time’s dinner?”
“Oh, we never eat before four.” She glanced up from brushing Owen’s forehead with the tips of her fingers. “Why?”
“Can I come? To be honest with you, once Owen goes with his mum, the rest of the day’s going to be seriously lacking any entertainment.”
She stared at him. “Why? Seriously, why?”
“I never like unfair fights,” he replied, lifting his coffee cup. “Your parents won’t mind will they?”
“Or you like fighting too much?”
“No,” he said with a laugh. “My GP told me I’m not confrontational.” He laughed again. “It’s true. Don’t make that face. Owen, you awake?”
His son shook his head against Reya’s breast. Niven retrieved his phone from his pocket. His expression darkened briefly, then he shucked on his coat and scooped Owen from Reya’s lap. “Carol’s here. Can you stay for five minutes while I explain the beauty of my plan?”
Reya nodded, dumbfounded. 
“Excellent. Owen sweetheart? Wake up and say bye to Miss Reya.”
Owen lifted his sleepy head and waved a hand weakly in Reya’s direction. “Happy Christmas Miss Reya.”
“And to you Owen.”
“I’ll be back,” Niven mimicked Arnold Schwarzenegger to Reya’s burst of laughter. Once he left, she sent her father a text message. He was more au fait with technology than her mother. 

Have a friend who wants to come for dinner tomorrow. Is that okay? She sent swiftly.

A little notice would have been courteous. But as we are cooking for Armageddon, one more mouth won’t make a difference. Any dietary requirements for her?

It’s a he, Dad. And not that I know of.

Is this a boyfriend?!!! 

The extra exclamation marks sent another ripple of laughter through her. Niven returned to the cafe and gently touched her arm as he sat back down.

I hope so Dad. We’ll see you tomorrow.

“Are you sure?” Reya asked eventually, when she couldn’t stare at those arched cheekbones of his. 

“You know Owen adores you. And I’d do anything for someone my son loves. So yeah. We’re going together.”