Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Sunshine Award

The Sunshine Award is a lovely sunny flower that bloggers give to other “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”.
I was tagged for this lovely award by Ruchi Vasudeva, a dear friend and a fabulous author. Thank you Ruchi for thinking of me.
Now, for those tagged onward in this post, the rules of the ‘The Sunshine Award’ are as follows. They are really simple:
(1)     Thank the person who gave you the award in your blog post.
(2)     Do the Q&A below.
(3)     Pass on the award to 10 – 12 deserving and inspiring bloggers, inform them and link to their blogs.
Rule 1. Thank you Ruchi, I have taken my time getting to this but I have been very busy with my wip and haven't been on Facebook for ages!
Rule 2. Q&A

Favourite Colour: 
Blue, any shade of blue really, although the colour of the sky on a bright summer's day has to be the best.

Favourite Animal: 
I love them all, horses, dogs, goats, fish, rabbits, birds, elephants...if I had to pick just one it would probably be erm ...dogs.

Favourite Number:
7. I have no idea why, it is just the first number that comes to mind when I am asked that question.

Favourite Non-alcoholic Drink:
Coffee - or rocket fuel as my OH calls it :)
Facebook or Twitter:
I use both but face book is more for chatting and making friends, twitter is good for getting the word out.

Your Passion: 
Writing, my husband, and my family. Oh, and the seaside. I love to stand on a windy clifftop and feel at one with nature. That sounds really cliched doesn't it? but it's true. The sea is a recurring setting in my novels, Where the West Wind Blows is set on the Welsh coast, not far from where I live.

Giving or Getting Presents:
Giving! I always feel a bit awkward and embarrassed opening them, so giving is more successful for me and the buzz just before they tear off the wrapping is brilliant.

Favourite Day: Friday. My day off, I spend it with my husband, not doing much just being 'us.'
Favourite Flower: 
I love all flowers, my favourite is usually the one I am looking at. I suppose daffodils are the most thrilling of all because they appear like sunshine during our darkest days.the first one of the year always gives me a little tingle.

So this is about me and now longing to hear from the people I am passing this award to, who are:
Anna Valentine
F. B. Clements

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Come, Dance With Me

 Thank you to Francine Howarth for hosting this Online Book Fair and providing authors with a chance to meet their readers. Today I shall be introducing you to  my novel, Come, Dance With Me, a contemporary romance inspired by the TV shows, Strictly Come Dancing or in the USA, Dancing with the Stars. So kick off your shoes and get dancing!

Come, Dance With Me

Mary Middleton

When television chat show host, Sasha Johnson, interviews international ballroom dancer, Andrei Kovalevsky, her life is altered forever. And six years later, when fate thrusts them together once more, Sasha does all in her power to prevent him from blowing her world apart for a second time. But can she defuse a bomb that is already ticking?

Andrei Kovalevsky has won almost every ballroom dancing prize known to man, apart from television’s coveted Celebrity Dancing Trophy.  When Andrei is partnered with an old flame, Sasha Johnson, her two left feet threaten to kick the glittering prize way out of his reach.
With just eight weeks to do it, Andrei determines to break down the barriers between them, knock her into shape and turn Sasha Johnson into a dancer.
But secrets, lies and an irresistible attraction impede his way and their path to the Celebrity Dance final is fraught with trouble.

Mary Middleton’s latest novel, Come, Dance With Me, will waltz you through the glitzy, glamorous world of ballroom dancing and leave you breathless.

 Come, Dance With Me
Mary Middleton

 Chapter One

 ‘Guess what’s happened!’ A candy-striped straw fell from Lisa’s lips as Sasha slipped into the seat opposite. She pushed away the dregs of her milkshake and met her friend’s dancing eyes and pretended to hazard a guess.
As usual Sasha was brimming with secrets but she extended the moment by summoning a waitress and ordering a large mug of hot chocolate. Then she dug in her bag, took out her phone and began to text, biting her lower lip as her thumb flew across the buttons.
Lisa slumped back in her seat, watching from the corner of her eye as Sasha unwound a multi-coloured scarf from about her lower face.
It was cold outside, the coldest December for thirty years and the tip of Sasha’s emerging nose was attractively pink, unlike Lisa’s which was an interesting shade of puce and beginning to peel after a heavy cold. 
Pulling the scarf free of her neck, Sasha gave Lisa the benefit of her infectious three-cornered grin and leaned forward confidingly over the table.
‘My boss, Mike, is in hospital.’ 
Lisa raised her eyebrows. ‘And that’s good news is it? Well, whatever happened to Christmas spirit?’
‘No, no. Of course, I’m really sorry Mike is sick but … you must see what this means.’
Sasha flicked back her hair and pinioned Lisa with her dancing eyes.  Beneath the table Lisa squeezed the roll of fat at the top of her waistband, already regretting the extra mince pie and cream she’d indulged in.
‘No, I’m sorry, Sash, I don’t get it. I don’t see how Mike being ill can, in any way, be good news. It’s only five days until Christmas, doesn’t he have a wife and kids?  It could ruin their holiday. What’s up with him, anyway?’
Sasha waved a hand, dismissing the question. ‘I’m not sure, it’s his appendix, I think; but that’s not really the point.’  She sat back and smiled a thank you as the waitress set before her a large steaming mug of hot chocolate, complete with whipped cream, marshmallows and chocolate sprinkles.
As always, she bit the chocolate flake in two and handed Lisa the remaining half before picking up a spoon and beginning to eat whipped cream from the top.
‘It means that they have asked me to do all his interviews for the duration of his illness.’
Lisa narrowed her eyes, beginning to understand what all the excitement was about.
Sasha was a rookie chat show host; a sort of runaround-come-dog’s-body for Mike Bywater, the biggest cheese to ever hit the small screen.
Delighted at last to have Lisa’s full attention, Sasha gave a short burst of triumph, stifling a squeal as Lisa’s mouth fell open and her eyes widened.
‘But, isn’t he supposed to be meeting Andrei Kovalevsky for the Christmas Eve show? Surely they are not letting you to interview him. I mean …oh, my God …they are …’
Sasha dropped her spoon and the girls clasped hands over the table, squeezing tight, Sasha’s face stretching into a comical grimace.
She was fit to burst with excitement. ‘I know, I can’t believe this is happening.  Andrei Kovalevsky, the most beautiful man on the planet and me, Sasha Johnson. It’s like a dream.’
Lisa picked up the spoon and began to demolish Sasha’s cream before it disintegrated into the hot chocolate.
‘Hey, do you want to borrow my Valentino, the red one? It is a size twelve and way too tight for me. Even when I could fit into it, it just emphasised my fat bits but on you it will be stunning.’
Sasha put her head on one side, her strawberry blonde hair trickling like water over one shoulder.
‘You don’t think dressing up too much will make it look like I’m after him or anything?’
‘Well, you are, aren’t you, if you’re really honest?’
Sasha’s face darkened to a colour not too far removed from the dress in question.
‘Of course not. You know I’m not like that. I’m waiting for the right man.’
‘Sash, get real; when it comes to Andrei Kovalevsky every woman is ‘like that.’ Flippin’ ‘eck, go for it, girl, what better man to lose your virginity to? You’ve held on to it far too long in my opinion. Even a one-night stand with him would be enough for me …I‘d be over the moon with a quick snog under the mistletoe.’
Sasha gave a wistful, uncertain laugh.
‘As if he would ever look at someone like me.’
Lisa’s eyes swept across her friend’s flawless skin, wide blue eyes and what she could see of her perfectly proportioned figure. Sometimes it was hard to believe that Sasha really had no idea of how good looking she was or the effect that she had on almost every man she met.  While Lisa relied on four-inch heels and half an inch of foundation to get her through the most ordinary day, Sasha dared to leave the house with no makeup at all. And when they kicked off their high heels at a dance Sasha still managed to look elegant while Lisa was so short, she didn’t look old enough to be out. Sometimes Lisa wondered why she didn’t find herself a shorter, fatter, plainer friend.

Sasha and Lisa had known each other for ever but it was a wonder their friendship had lasted, for their working lives were worlds apart. Shortly after graduating from university, Lisa had secured a dull secretarial post at the social services while Sasha had landed her dream job in television.
Sasha had worked hard, leaving little time for a private life or romance. In the early days she had been employed as a runner, making tea, taking messages. Later she had been raised to the post of researcher, slowly edging her way up the ladder until she was finally allowed into the inner sanctum of Mike Bywater, the smooth-talking, self-obsessed chat show host that prime time audiences loved to hate.
The producers were always promising her a shot at hosting the show but, until now, her job had been restricted to digging for information, compiling a list of questions deep enough to penetrate the surface, but not intrusive enough to offend.  The gently probing interviews convinced the celebrities that, when they were with Mike, they were with a friend, a confidant. It was her hard work that had put Mike where he was, at the top.
Sasha knew she could go far if she were just given a chance. She had begun to think she would never rise any higher, never get her face fully into the limelight and she thanked God for the burst appendix that had laid the mighty Mike Bywater low, and just might finally prove to be her lucky break. 

To read more about Sasha and her romance with Andrei click here in the USA 
Here in the UK

Also available in Paperback from the publisher click here to purchase

Mary Middleton's other books include:

For One Night Only click here to purchase Kindle copies in the UK
here in the USA

Vittorio's Virgin click here to purchase Kindle copies in the USA
Here in the UK

The Greek Tycoon's Secret Daughter
Click here to purchase kindle copies in the UK 
here in the USA

Where the  West Wind Blows 
Click here to purchase kindle copies in the UK
Here in the USA

All books available in paperback here direct from the publisher or for signed copies from the author email

Thursday, 7 March 2013

The Leibster Blog Award Challenge

 I've been nominated for the Leibster Blog Award Challenge by Karen Aminadra, author of Charlotte and Relative Deceit. The purpose of the challenge is to help bloggers increase their followers. I have to tell you eleven little known things about  myself, answer eleven set questions and nominate eleven other bloggers to take the challenge after me.
If you are nominated below, post on your own blog linking back here, with 11 random facts about yourself, answer my 11 questions and nominate 11 new bloggers (and think of 11 questions to ask them - can be anything!).
Here I go, fingers crossed I can think of eleven 'interesting' things about me - lol.

1. I don't write for months on end while a story is incubating in my head, then I splash it all on paper in under a month. The editing is by far the longest part of the process.

2. I still have all my dolls and teddies from when I was little :P

3. I sing all the time, it drives my family mad. If I am not singing then I am seriously unhappy ...or have a sore throat.

4. If I have to kill off one of my characters or if they are going through a trauma I cry real tears as I write the fatal lines.

5. I HATE cameras, that is why there are hardly any pictures of me.

6. As far as I know, I am not related to Kate Middleton.

7. I prefer dogs to cats, I like the way they can't live without me. Cats just tolerate me.

8. Pink is my favourite colour but I never wear it as it clashes with my eyes :)

9. I am fussy when it comes to friends and don't have many (not including Facebook friends) but once I have claimed you as such, it is for life.

10. My first crush was when I was about seven and the object of my passion was Davy Jones from The Monkees.

11. I am not very interesting :)

The Questions set for me by Karen Aminadra

1 - Do you speak another language? (Other than English?)
No. I am useless at languages. I didn't even pass C.S.E French exam :(

2 - Is there a place in the world that you've always wanted to visit?  Where/what is it? 
I'd quite like a leisurely trek around Europe in a gypsy caravan with a lovely man to take care of the horses and cook my dinner over an open fire beneath a starry sky.

3 - If you could go back in time, when would you go to and why?
Somewhere not too uncomfortable. I couldn't bear it if I couldn't have a bath. Maybe I'd be Scarlett O'Hara before the civil war broke out, pretty and pampered and courted by those lovely Tarleton Twins.
4 - If you could go back in time within your own lifetime, what would you do?  Would you change anything?
I'd work harder at my French lessons. Learn to be more self assertive but I don't think I'd change much - I like my  life as it is now and if I changed something in the past then I might alter the hear and now.
5 - Which of the characters that you've written is your favourite and why?
Oh, I love them all, apart from Vittorio in Vittorio's Virgin who is a bit of a baby. Johnathan Barberis Jones in The Greek Tycoon's Secret Daughter is dead sexy and once he has sorted his head out, rather nice. And Jezz McAlister in Where the West Wind Blows is wild and sexy and underneath his bluster, very vulnerable. He has to be my ultimate favourite, although that may change very soon - when I begin to write the next one. Funny how I just assumed you wanted to know about the male characters -lol.
6 - Is there someone whom you'd love to put into one of your novels and kill off? (I won't ask who, but can you tell us why?)
I can think of a leading politician or two who could do with a good lesson.
7 - Are you nostalgic?  What or when for?
I love those old Fred and Ginger movies and, although I doubt there was ever a time when people burst into song and dance at the drop of a hat, it would be lovely to think so. Not that I can dance but I can dream. It was my dream of being able to dance that prompted me to write Come, Dance With Me. It is so romantic to express your affection with movement.
8 - What was your favourite band/group/singer when you were growing up?
Donny Osmond! I loved him so much until I was about sixteen I had him plastered all over my bedroom walls. Looking back, I can't think what I saw in him, although he is quite dishy now he has grown up.
9 - Who was your first kiss with?
Lots of imaginary ones with Donny but my first real one would have been during a game of kiss chase with the boys at school.
10 - Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre?  Which genre and why?
My latest novella Where the West Wind Blows is different to my others, that is why I branded it differently. It doesn't have the Mary Middleton Pink and Black. It is still contemporary and still a romance but it is darker and bleaker at the beginning and their trials are much more devastating than I usually subject my characters too.
11 - What is the one thing in the world that you cannot live without? 
The internet. It has changed my life totally. Without the internet, I'd not be able to work. I wouldn't be able to contact all my lovely on-line friends or interact with my readers. I wouldn't be able to write. Stop it! What a horrid thought!

Now, here are eleven questions for my nominees to answer.

1. What sort of books do you like to read?

2. If you were stuck on a desert island who would you like as your Man Friday?

3. When the coffee runs out, what do you like to drink?

4. Are you a cat or a dog person?

5. How different is your present partner to your first love?

6. Do you prefer sad or happy endings?

7. What did you do all day before the internet was invented?

8. Have you ever read a book or seen a film that has heavily influenced your life?

9. What is your ideal holiday destination?

10. Do you like wild, over grown gardens or gardens where the flowers are planted in regimented rows?
11. Do you prefer blogs that offer, factual articles, personal information or details of new book releases or giveaways?

For the Leibster Blog Award Challenge I nominate:
F.B. Clements, Sally Max, Ruchita Summer Vasudeva, Annie Seaton

I still require7 more bloggers, if you would like to join in please let me know on my facebook page

Thursday, 14 February 2013

A Valentine's Gift for You - final day - FREE on KINDLE

So here it is at last, Valentine's Day. A day for sharing with the man or woman of your dreams. But sometimes that isn't possible and if you can't have romance on our favourite day of the year, at least you can read about it.
Come, Dance With Me is FREE today for your kindles and if you don't have a Kindle, it is not too late to leave a comment at the bottom of the page for a chance to win a signed paperback copy.
Here is the last excerpt of Come, Dance With Me ...enjoy and if you want to read more, you know what to do.
In this excerpt Sasha and Andrei are enjoying a meal with friends.

Sasha, in seventh heaven to be at the table with the two men she loved most in the world, was aware of Andrei’s leg beneath the table. Each time he moved, his knee brushed hers, making her quiver. It was extraordinary how, even though she spent the larger part of each day in his arms, she was still not yet accustomed to his touch. She didn’t think she ever would be, even if she spent a lifetime dancing with him. It was as if his every contact marked her, imprinted on her soul, as if he was slowly taking possession, making her his – piece by piece. One day, she knew, he would touch her and she would be totally consumed, leaving nothing more of her to be had.
She watched him chewing his food, his jaw strong. He put down his knife and fork and turned to reply to something her brother had said, using his hands to punctuate his sentence. At that moment, in the circle of the candlelight, Sasha admitted to herself for the first time, that she was deeply in love with him. Seeing him there, in the company of her brother, surrounded by the soft music, the gentle laughter of friends, the whole affair between them seemed inevitable. There was nothing she could do to stop it. It would happen. She wanted him; he wanted her. She wondered why she had fought against it for so long.
Jack chewed thoughtfully, emptying his mouth, twitching his fork as he spoke.
‘So, Andrei, what are the chances of you two winning Celebrity Dance then?’
Andrei sat back, put down his knife and picked up his wine, his gaze warm on the back of Sasha’s neck.
‘If your sister works as hard as she has been up to now, we stand every chance.’
She blushed scarlet, took a deep breath before straightening up and turning to look at him. 
‘Surely not, Andrei. I mean, I’m not that good and I make so many mistakes. What about Vanessa? She is so much younger, so much more …sprightly.’
‘You make it sound as if you are a million years old, my darling. It is not just about the steps, it is about feeling the dance, interpreting the music...’ His voice trailed off as he became aware that all three of them had stopped eating and were staring at him in some astonishment. Sasha’s face was suffused with colour, her eyes like lamps.
He shrugged, suddenly seeming more foreign, more exotic. ‘What have I done? What did I say?’  His eyes darted from Sasha to Jack, and back to Lisa again, his brows raised, his face anxious, afraid he had offended them in some way.
Lisa put down her glass. ‘Nothing, Andrei,’ she said. ‘You did nothing wrong at all. You just called Sasha your darling, that’s all.’
Blood rushed up to taint Andrei’s face and, to help him overcome his obvious confusion, Jack turned away and began to ask Lisa about herself, where she worked, where she went on holiday, if she had a partner. 
Sasha, meanwhile, with her ears burning and her insides aflame, experienced Andrei’s every movement as if she made them herself.  When he stroked his chin with his long fingers, her own fingertips tingled, when he lifted his glass it was as if she became the rim, when he dabbed his lips with a napkin it were as if she were made of damask. 
Everyone noticed that she was uncharacteristically quiet but they were too well-mannered to mention it that the thing that had been growing between them, threatening to swamp them both, was now inevitable.  Even Sasha knew that now. Although she listened to the conversation, laughed gently in the right places, spooned up her dessert without tasting it she knew, without a shadow of doubt that by the end of the night her life would be changed forever. Whether the affair between them was short lived, or lasted for the rest of their lives, it had to happen.

Leave a comment now to be included in a draw to win a signed paperback copy or get on over to Amazon for a FREE kindle copy of Come, Dance With Me. Available today only.

All my books are available either as Kindle books from Amazon Click here if you are in the UK

Paperback copies are available direct from my publisher here