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View from Dubrovnik city wall

Croatia: Getting around in Dubrovnik, Split and Hvar

So, if you're here, you're probably looking for information on travelling to and around Croatia? You're in luck' because I just got back. I can only ...

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Remembering Yemen...

I never did make it to Syria unfortunately, but I did visit Yemen in 2008, which I'm thinking about now in the midst of this ...

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Christmas in Prague...

I just got back from Prague - another new city for me. I love nothing more than heading off to a new place and just ...

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Tinder Diaries: Getting my Groupon...

Shamus's profile shots scrolled like some kind of Action Man calendar. In one photo the 39-year-old Irish-Canadian was hugging a goat on what looked like ...

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Tinder Diaries: Tempur-Pedic promises...

And another Tinder Diary for you, this one's also from last year in Vancouver.  Tempur-Pedic promises... 'I got you a drink!!!' the text message yelled at me. ...

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Tinder Diaries: The Burner In The Park

In trawling through folders on my laptop for some old work I've just come across some diaries I wrote about Tinder dating last year in ...

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I go to the gym a lot. And other things I never thought I'd say...

Once in Sydney I joined a yoga studio for $350 a year and went once. In New York I spent close to $600 and went to ...

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Things you should probably know before going to Burning Man

So, Burning Man. Hmm. How was it, you ask? Honestly. I can't even really tell you yet, and it's been three weeks. But I'll try. As a ...

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11 things you only ever say on WhatsApp when you're going to Burning Man...

I LEAVE TOMORROW!! Am I ready? Probably not.  I'm what's known as a Virgin, (this will be my first time at Burning Man) and in ...

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Thoughts about rainbows...

I cycled home tonight right under a rainbow - the kind of rainbow that smiles across the sky in every colour, and then more colours ...

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How to tell when you travel too much (and when you should stop)

Yup. That's how. That's a screenshot my friend just sent me, when I told her to add my new phone number in Amsterdam. "Another one?!" "Yeah, but I'm ...

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…Best Of...

It started with a boy called Matt: why I'm going to Burning Man (in 2 weeks!!!)

Going to Burning Man has been pretty high on the bucket list for years... ever since I started chatting to an American guy online back in 2003, who ...

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The Royal's idea of 'Indian street kids' is not quite right

I know I shouldn't read the Daily Mail because it always annoys me... but today THIS was ridiculous. Honestly. Been to India? Yeah, so have I. Met ...

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How to write a novel: 25 rules

This post is so inspiring, just had to share! Thanks to Matt Haig, who posted it originally. Sometimes us writers really need to read cool stuff ...

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Amsterdam, I love you! See you again soon.

I've decided to move to Amsterdam. Maybe not forever but definitely for a little bit, because, well.... this. And this: And this:  OK maybe not the last one... ...

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Free tsunami romance for Valentine's Day...

Winner of the TBC (The Book Club) award for best non-fiction, 2016.  Hey guys, I'm giving away The Day Of The Wave over Valentine's weekend in ...

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How to Create Titles to Hook Your Readers

This post is written BY JUDITH BRILES posted on February 10, 2016 on The Book Designer Are you sometimes stuck when it comes to adding a title to ...

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Yay, I won an award!

It's a super duper awesome start to the new year, because after a long hiatus during which I've been working reeeeeeally hard and not blogging ...

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Who's the Mills and Boon Man Of The Year 2016? Get your face on a book cover!

Here ye, all you amazing men - and women who know amazing men! Thought I'd spread the word about this. Mills & Boon are launching ...

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Pills that make you poop glitter...

Oh my! We should give these to ALL the pigeons in London until the whole city is a sparkly rainbow! Granted we'd be covered in shit, ...

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Know your strengths...

I'm sitting in the cafe. It's just me, two loud ladies who sound like they're from Essex, and a blonde with her boyfriend. An Essex ...

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Humans of Iceland...

This is Sverrir and the replica of his great grandfather, who was once the pastor of the pretty and remote herring fishing town, Siglufjörður. He was ...

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Adventures in Iceland (in brief because I'm VERY remote right now and WIFI is scarce)...

It started when we flew Fokker. Yes, Fokker. Oh come on, tell me I'm not the only child who finds this funny? It wasn't long before ...

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NOW FREE ON AMAZON: The Day Of The Wave

A moving, emotional romance based on real-life events. NOW FREE ON AMAZON! The Day Of The Wave follows Isla and Ben in the wake of surviving ...

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***FREELANCE PHOTO - POSTMEDIA NETWORK USE ONLY*** VANCOUVER, BC.:JUNE 24, 2014-- Pedestrian traffic in front of Canna Clinic on Commercial Drive, in Vancouver, BC, June 24, 2014.  Canna Clinic at 2223 Commercial Drive, has a doctor from 5 to 8 p.m. every day. Locals can get certified by an in-house  naturopath, and pick up some pot.  (PHOTOS by Don MacKinnon)

Comedy night at the Canna Clinic...

Today I learnt two things. The first is that penguins have knees inside their bodies. Yes. Knees. Inside. I'm not even kidding. The second is that ...

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Spalding School Reunion is Imminent...

I got a message today about a school reunion for the class of 96. My first thought was JEEEEESUS, did I really leave school 19 ...

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Best things to see on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. OK, maybe not the best...

I was just eating my sushi on a restaurant patio last night when a man seemingly dressed as a Mario Brother climbed a nearby tree ...

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Oh Canada, how I LOVE being in you...

And I think these photos prove why! I'm so inspired the more time I spend here, which is Vancouver right now, in case you were ...

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Fun on the Natchez Trace - recreating scenes from a novel in real life!

Yesterday a friend and I drove from Nashville, out past the famous Loveless Cafe (where we stopped to pick up some Peach Preserve) and onto ...

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Read and review 'Before He Was Gone' and get a FREE copy!

The New Adult Book Club on Goodreads are reading Before He Was Gone to review. Sign up if you want your free copy to review! "Sometimes, ...

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RIP Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran (an excerpt featuring their great work, from Balilicious)

How fuggin AWFUL to hear about the executions of these two men, and the others who were wiped out needlessly today in Indonesia. Don't people ...

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Boxing Day Tsunami book trailer (The Day of the Wave)

I made this today! One day I will give up trying to be a filmmaker (maybe), but it's SO satisfying when it uploads and I'm ...

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The Day of the Wave - Playlist

This is probably the most fun I’ve ever had putting a playlist together for a book. There were just so many great artists who inspired ...

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Aliens in the White House...

Just got a newsflash on my phone: 'Small one-person helicopter lands at White House West Lawn. Pilot in custody.' I know I should click on it ...

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Boxing Day Tsunami romance excerpt: (The Day of The Wave)

This is an excerpt from my latest new adult romance, coming May 2015. In brief... "Isla and Ben were just sixteen when the Boxing Day ...

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Uber in Nashville is interesting...

Me: 'So, what's the craziest thing that's happened to you since you started driving for Uber?' Him: 'Are you a shy girl?' Me: 'Er, I don't think ...

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Have I mentioned the Family Dollar Store yet?

Have I mentioned the Family Dollar store yet? It's my new favorite place here in Nashville. Contrary to the name, not everything inside costs a dollar, ...

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Lavenders, motorcycles and a feeling of deep uncool at Nashville's Barista Parlor...

There are some places in this world that will just serve to make you feel deeply uncool, no matter how young and awesome you previously ...

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Why Craigslist in Nashville is killing me...

Here's what this guy just wrote in reply to my post about looking for a room to rent in Nashville: "We are seeking a FEMALE caring nanny/care giver. ...

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Observation of the day...

Ubud cafes were full of middle aged women writing books on macs. Nashville cafes are full of cute young guys making music on macs. I know where ...

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Before He Was A Secret (Starstruck #3) Playlist...

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmhXXflqDQPAxUHvBiWosmLHWTd6sBM4Z I can't write a word without being inspired by every sound in the air around me, and I turned to music more than ever with ...

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Musings on a Nashville snow day...

No one told me flying south for the winter would take me somewhere colder than England. Then again, there's something so peaceful about walking alone down ...

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Fight your way through! A message to writers like me…

Fight your way through! A message to writers like me...

...and other creative souls no doubt! Someone sent me this video today by the amazingly inspiring Ira Glass, which I found very interesting. I can relate ...

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The difference a motorised bike makes...

I miss my bike in Bali so much that today I actually hovered outside someone's house in South Harrow contemplating whether I could justify spending ...

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Proving my roots: The nonsense that is taking the IELTS test in London...

"PUT YOUR PENCILS DOWN! PENCILS DOWN, NOW!!!" Dumbledore boomed. I almost jumped out of my plastic chair, nerves shot to sh*t. I have a problem ...

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There's nothing more sexist than The Sun pulling Page 3 Girls...

Yes... SEXIST. If only for what's being said around the decision to drop this whole thing! "Instead of bare breasts, the pictures will now show scantily-clad ...

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I SURVIVED: The Freak British Tornado (and the suspect still running loose)

A mini-tornado hit north west London this afternoon - causing damage to homes and cars. I think I summoned it. I was thinking very dark ...

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It's cover reveal day for Before He Was A Secret. Exclusive excerpt here...

Today's the day, whoo hoooooo! I can finally reveal another amazing cover by designer Jeanine Henning, for the third standalone romance in my Starstruck Series, ...

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The night Emma Watson stole my toothbrush...

WARNING!!! I feel like I should say something. I've been quiet for way too long... almost an hour actually, but about an hour ago I ...

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Vaginal smoking and the benefits of yoni egg insertions (note: there are many)...

I have recently become quite fascinated with vaginal treatments. The fascination began when I saw this tempting advertisement on a board outside a spa in ...

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The truth about 'Ecstatic Dancing' at The Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali... (warning, this post may smell)

Everyone in Ubud knows the Yoga Barn. It's a sort of second home for eager expats, all of whom are quite happy to spend an ...

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Go to Bali for less than a quid! Balilicious is 99p, starting today.

Becky Wicks lifted the burqa on Dubai In BURQALICIOUS. Now she turns her attention to Bali as she hilariously navigates life as an adopted Balinese ...

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How do you handle negative reviews for your book on Amazon and Goodreads? And are readers actively LOOKING for bad books?

What didn't make me smile throughout my recent and ultimately successful free book campaign on Amazon KDP (and I'll tell you this, seeing as we're ...

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Before He Was A Secret Blog tour sign ups are live. I'm looking for bloggers to join in (and get a free copy!)

Once again I'm having a blog tour with the amazing Xpresso Reads for the third in my Starstruck Series, which is coming out in March ...

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Read an EXCLUSIVE excerpt from Before He Was Gone (Starstruck #2) and get your ARCs now…

play plot lie

I had so much fun writing this book and I was inspired while sitting on a beach in Vietnam, talking to my friend Dacey about what it must be like to be stranded there, with no pho… no phone… no nothing. Gasp. Imagine. If you’re a fan of the TV show Survivor – and others like it – mark this one up to read when it’s released next month, because I wrote it for you 🙂

Before He Was Gone is the crazy journey of two contestants in a gameshow called Deserted, struggling on a tropical island, battling it out to win a million dollars. As well as the elements and all those crazy challenges (set by America’s most-loved host, Ed Bernstein), they must also fight their mounting emotions as they threaten to send things even further out of control. Here’s an exclusive excerpt through the eyes of our hot male lead, Joshua… a man with a secret he doesn’t want anyone to find out:

 

‘I’m telling you, it has to be here, I’ve looked everywhere else,’ Shan huffs at Alyssa, sticking his hand into the tree hole and pulling out nothing but sand. He’s wearing just his G-A-Y-fronts. It’s still uncomfortable for everyone but him, especially when they’re wet, but he and the others who lost the last challenge still don’t have swimsuits so it’s not all his fault.

‘You can’t have looked everywhere,’ Alyssa says, flashing me a look of despair, ‘else you would’ve found it. Someone else must have it already.’

I lower my eyes. I feel like a total dick watching them search, knowing Jaxx already has the immunity charm, but what can I do? I turn to the palm tree next to us, but as I’m about to climb I feel a hand on my shoulder. I turn around. ‘Teach me?’ Alyssa says, eyes shining.

‘Don’t you dare climb that tree,’ Shan tells her, running his hand along another branch, feeling for the charm that won’t be there. ‘I don’t want to have to scrape your broken body up in pieces.’

‘You won’t have to,’ Alyssa says, still looking at me. ‘I’ll be OK. You can put me on your back like Edward Cullen if you like, call me Bella?’

I laugh. I have no clue who Edward Cullen is, or Bella, but for a second I picture Harri in her place – that first day at the climbing center, all rosy cheeked and English. I didn’t need to teach her anything. She was pretending not to know how to climb. I acted like I didn’t know she was pretending.

I bite my cheeks. Alyssa’s presence throws me off balance, even on solid ground. The more we talk, the more I know I have to start keeping away from her. I can hear Evan’s voice in my head, reminding me how much rests on me winning this. But for the past three nights now, we’ve sat out on those rocks watching sunset turn to night, just talking. Other people come and go, but at the end it’s always us. There’s always something else to say; some worldly issue we have to dissect and debate, some memory she jogs in me from things I thought I forgot and her eyes light up when I tell her my stories. Alyssa’s seen and done some equally crazy stuff, though:

‘So you’re saying you never paid for a restaurant meal, the whole time you were with him?’ I asked her last night.

‘HotFlush picked up the check; whatever we did. Or, the hosts covered us. Those guys get free stuff just for being famous. One time, this hotel on an island in Dubai gave us a whole floor, and they set up a chocolate fountain. Oh, and they gave Chloe and I designer purses. We found out they were worth two thousand dollars each.’

‘Holy shit! Every girl’s dream.’

‘Not really, I sold mine on eBay. I’ve been saving for the culinary course. All designer purses look like fakes anyway; I got the same one from Chinatown for twenty bucks. No one ever knew.’

‘You’re from another planet, Double G,’ I told her.

‘Well so are you,’ she said, laughing. ‘I can score a free hotel suite in the Maldives just by name-dropping, but that won’t save me in the apocalypse. I’d still need you for that.’

Damn. I look at her now, eyes still begging me to teach her how to climb. ‘Please,’ she says again. She shoots me the look she says the magazines all think is from her best side, bats her long, dark eyelashes over-dramatically and I sigh at her.

‘OK. Fine. You win. You might scuff up your hands though,’

‘I’m a big girl.’

I step behind her, so she’s facing the tree. ‘Oh, Christ,’ Shan says, ‘here we go!’

‘Shut up,’ she tells him.

‘Concentrate,’ I say. ‘OK, put one hand around the tree, chest level. The other goes at the same height but to the side.’

‘Like this?’ she says, and I reach around her, shifting her hands. My entire torso is up against her back and she falls silent, holding the tree. She’s hot, like I am. My face brushes her hair for a moment. Focus.

‘When you’re ready, jump up, put your feet each side of the tree and grip,’ I say. ‘Keep your knees perpendicular to your body. Don’t think too much, just do it.’

‘This is going to go wrong,’ Shan says.

‘Quiet,’ she tells him again. ‘OK, step back, both of you.’ She takes a deep breath as I move away an inch. Her shoulder blades tense as she grips on tighter.

‘Hop like a frog,’ I say. ‘Use your hands at the same time.’

She leaps up in front of me. I watch her feet curl with every muscle around the bark and she hops, clinging to the tree again at the top of her jump. Her ass cheeks are showing beneath her tailor made hot pants and I watch as the camera guy with us runs in for the money shot.

‘You’ve got it,’ I yell, ‘keep going, up, up…’

‘Christ, Lord save her,’ Shan says, gripping my arm as she takes another leap, but Alyssa lets out a shriek and loses her grip with her feet. She starts to slide straight down the trunk and I dart forwards as Shan gasps. I catch her round the waist before she can twist and fall. She’s laughing in my arms, back flat against me, catching her breath and balling her fists.

‘Are your palms burning?’ I say, spinning her round and taking her hands. I hold them flat. They’re red but she’s OK. She didn’t fall far.

‘I did it!’ she says in elation, looking up at me.

‘No you didn’t, you almost broke yourself, woman!’ Shan snaps. ‘Don’t do that again.’

‘I’m gonna do it again,’ she says, but Stephanie’s voice makes us all turn around.

‘Guys! Come quick! You gotta see this!’

This standalone sequel to Before He Was Famous is up now on NetGalley for bloggers and reviewers to request and get reading. It’ll launch August 25 on Amazon KDP.  Request it here!

Before He Was Gone is on Goodreads.

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