Travel and Writing

As I prepare for my new release, I’ve been thinking a lot about what really inspires me as an author and have realised, shockingly late in the day, that as well as real life and the people around me, I’m heavily influenced by travel. The places I’ve been or the places I’d love to see help me focus my mind and gather my thoughts. The research side of things also helps take my mind off of the pressures of deadlines and gives my brain a welcome nudge too.

Take for example San Francisco. My debut novel, The Story of Us is set in the magical city by the bay, a place I have been lucky enough to visit twice already and will be returning to next year. I can’t get enough of SF and all someone has to do is mention those fatal words, ‘have you been?’ and my mouth just won’t stop. I could talk for hours about the haunting feel of Alcatraz as you pull up to the dock, the shivers you get down your spine as you walk towards the imposing prison, the fact hell will freeze over before you’ll get me there on a night tour! Or the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park where you really feel like you’re in Japan, surrounded by many sculptures, bridges, ponds and plants it’s easy to lose yourself while sipping a speciality tea or pink lemonade in my case. Haight Ashbury where you’re thrown back into the 60s or Pier 39 where the sea lions sit basking as tourists look on in awe (though they are quite noisy and whiffy, I won’t lie). So when it came to settings for Lexi to escape to in The Story of Us, there really was nowhere else that I would have wanted to escape to myself when writing.

My second novel follows Lexi around London and Yorkshire, which for me was again, like travelling. I live in Yorkshire but love London, so to be able to include Oxford Street and the wonders of London in my book was brilliant.

Learn To Love Again has a slightly different tone to it but still, inspiration for my setting came from a spur of the moment visit to see my Uncle up in Saltburn-by-the-Sea. It’s a wonderful coastal town that became the location of Barton-by-the-Sea, the small village that Lillie grew up in and the setting for my latest novella.

Dear Darling, while set in London, also visits Miami. Miami has been on my bucket list for years and I would love to go. Researching the hotels, the beaches, the attractions, was so thrilling and exciting that I almost felt like I was planning my own holiday. Nothing would have pleased me more than to jet off and do some thorough research but alas, Google had to come to my rescue instead.

It’s a funny old thing, inspiration. It comes when you’re least expecting it and shoots a bolt of excitement through your veins when you start piecing things together, raring to write and explore the wonderful world that has entered your brain.

There are still many places that I will be bringing to you soon, Tuscany is high on my list of locations because after spending a part of my honeymoon in Florence and exploring Tuscany, I cannot wait to share it with you!

Writing this post has been quite an eye opener for me really. I’ve always known that food has played a big part of my inspiration (mainly because I just love to eat) but now when I’m asked in an interview what inspires me, I feel like I can give a better response. Travel. Travel is what inspires me. Travel is what makes me want to mould and shape new characters and tell you all their tales; it’s what excites me when I visit a new place, and travel is what makes me want to write away furiously before the moment passes ha

I want to share with you a few of my favourite photographs of the places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen. Some are of places that I have written about, some you will read about very soon, but until then, enjoy…….

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Siena, Tuscany

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Siena, Tuscany

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Looking out towards San Gimignano, Tuscany

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The infamous Pier 39 seal lions – San Francisco

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Lombard Street – San Francisco

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The infamous Bush Man – San Francisco

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IHOP, the place where dreams come true…..well, if you dream about pancakes that is.

The famous Cliff Lifts leading to the sea – Saltburn-by-the-Sea

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Saltburn-by-the-Sea Pier

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Catching up

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Well hello there you lovely lot!

My gosh has this last month flown. I have so much catching up to do that I don’t know where to start, and then daylight savings time kicks in at the end of March here in the UK so I’ll lose an hour. Meh.

Anyway, I thought I’d let you all know that The Story of Us is on tour this week and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the blogs that are involved. Along the way, there will be reviews, excerpts and teasers, along with a giveaway and THIS is why I thought I’d pop by. The giveaway is for a $15 Amazon giftcard and 3 ebook copies of The Story of Us, it’s pretty exciting.

So aside from that, this month has consisted of a Legally Blonde hen party, trips to the hospital for check ups and having my blood taken, and lots of reading – I really should get caught up on my reviews!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/ODBhM2E0Njc1YzllYTRiY2JlYmRlOTU0OGQxMmJhOjA=/

I hope you’ll all enter and have a look at some of the tour posts, there are some lovely reviews for my book 🙂 I know, I know, I’m shameless ha

Enjoy what’s left of your day my lovelies and I’ll be back soon with those reviews I’m slacking on and more Story of Us news.

Ellen

xoxo

Happy Galentines Day

Today’s post is all about celebrating the relationships with our girlfriends. The friends that are there for us through thick and thin, the ups and the downs, the ugly crying and the celebratory nights out. I think this is a fabulous idea and wonder why Hallmark haven’t snapped up this idea, after all, they jumped on the Grandparents Day didn’t they?!

For those of you that don’t know, Galentines Day is celebrated the day before Valentines Day and it’s a day to get together with your girlfriends, leave the men and cats at home and just share the love. Cards, gifts, Margaritas, the choice is all yours.

So today, I’m handing over the reigns, again, to the lovely Lexi. She enjoyed it that much on Monday that I just thought what the hell and this time, she’s managed to convince her BFF, Rosie to join in the festivities…..

Hello again my lovelies! Oh, Happy Galentines Day too, I hope you’re all going to be showing your friends just how much you appreciate them. I’m spending tonight with my best friend Rosie. She’s never really been huge fan on the whole Galentines Day so this last week or so was spent working on getting her to change her mind. I mean, it’s basically an excuse to have a girls night out/in, eat lots and have a few drinks, and maybe a present or two if you’re lucky. I thought long and hard about what to get her for such an occasion. I hand made her card which I’m pretty impressed with, even if I say so myself. Picasso would be proud. And very probably a small child. It’s quite red and glittery….I may have had an accident with a tub of glitter and a pot of glue but shhhhh. So for her present, I got her a gorgeous Diptyque candle because I know how she loves a good bubble bath with a scented candle after a mad day at work, and I also supplied the chocolate that was supposed to go with our movie – Rosie was on meal and cocktail duty, hopefully in that order.

That was how I’d planned our very adult, sophisticated Galentines night in anyway……when I arrived at Rosie’s however, I learnt that she had other plans.

As I opened the front door, I was greeted by a very hyperactive Rosie wearing shocking pink leggings and an oversized black t shirt with her hair in pigtails. This was our usual outfit of choice when we were about 8 years old. I laughed, and cringed, and then saw that she had Saved by the Bell on the television. We were obsessed with Zac (who wasn’t) and both swore we were going to be that cool when we reached high school, because at the time, we thought they were the shizz. Cringe.

The house looked like a 90’s throwback and I couldn’t believe that Rosie had gone to so much effort, the girl that had grumbled her way through several Pina Coladas last year as I tried to reminisce over the years gone by. She screwed her nose up and complained that I’d made her miss a new episode of The Simpsons, which apparently made me a bad friend. I was so close to pushing her drunk ass off of the bar stool, but I didn’t, because I am a good friend. So as I sat down, she explained to me that this year, she was going to show me how Galentines Day should be done. And she did.

I was the planner of the group growing up, I had to organise the four of us to within an inch of our lives, but this Rosie was on a mission to take me back in time through our friendship, all 27 years of it. I cried like a baby, she hit me. I hit her back. Then poured us some alcopops – because we had to add some sophistication to the evening, I insisted on glasses.

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Rosie had been very creative this year with her gifts which impressed me a great deal. She had made me a memory book, a playlist of our lives and bought me a dvd of Fiddler on the Roof, our favourite musical. And an Alexander McQueen scarf ‘just in case I thought the other gifts were shit’. She rocked my world. I think we all know who the man in our friendship is here don’t we folks. Now, obviously I can’t share some things with you on here, some of the photos should never see the light of day, but I can share with you the playlist of our lives! And the collage she made of our old crushes! Please don’t judge me, The Hoff really did make me swoon – still does to be fair.

*WARNING – EXTREME CHEESE ALERT* 

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Aren’t they adorable?!

And the music, oh the music. Music has always been a pretty big part of our lives, we love us some old school classics to get the party started. The party that currently has me being forced into a pair of electric blue leggings while fighting against the hair crimpers that are coming my way. Meeep.

Rosie’s Playlist

Ooh Aah Just a Little Bit – Gina G

Wannabe – Spice Girls

One and Only – Chesney Hawkes

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

Dirrty -Christina Aguilera

Paradise by the Dashboard Light – Meatloaf

(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life – Bill Medley

9 to 5 – Dolly Parton

Saturday Night – Whigfield

I feel a mix tape of my own coming on this weekend, what do you think ladies? You can’t beat dancing around with a drink in your hand with your best friends reliving all the good times. And this is why I will continue to celebrate Galentines Day!

I hope wherever you are, you’re all enjoying your evening. Now I’m going to go and get my Dirrty on 😉

Lexi xxxxxxx

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Love is in the air!

It’s day two of the Chick Lit Chat Valentine’s Promo Event and today’s treat is a romantic excerpt from The Story of Us. I tried hard to find a part without spoilers and finally managed to pull out this special part. I won’t be posting tomorrow because it would lead to too big a spoiler to introduce you to Lexi’s other half, but I will be back on Thursday with a special ‘Galentine’s blog’ brought to you by Lexi and her BFF, Rosie.

For now though, enjoy:

As I round the corner into the main living area I gasp, holding my hand to my mouth.

There before me is a table set for two. Candles are lit, wine sits in an ice bucket and the San Francisco skyline begins to shimmer as the city prepares for night time. The picnic basket that I struggled over with earlier sits in the kitchen, emptied, and I can’t help but hope he hasn’t had a binge while I’ve been asleep. The thought makes me smile a little. I know he wouldn’t do that, but the image of him with a napkin tucked into his t shirt as he feasts on an array of picnic food makes me laugh.

“Something funny?” He slips his arm around my waist and pulls me back against his chest as he kisses me lightly behind my ear sending a tingle up my spine. I breathe out contentedly and look up at him.

I hope you’re all having a great week and I will see you all soon!

Ellen

xoxo

Your Valentine’s Week starts here!

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Well hello there you lovely lot!

It’s Valentines week and boy are you in for a treat. You’ll be getting a lot of action from the gang from The Story of Us thanks to the Chick Lit Chat Valentine’s Promo Event which I’m very excited about. You’ve all met the lovely Lexi, and if you haven’t, you’re about to get to know her quite well in this brilliant Q & A! I’ll hand her the reigns now and hopefully she’ll behave 😉

1) What three qualities do you find most attractive in a partner?

Wow, you’ve not given me an easy one to start with have you. Cheers guys. It’s so tempting to put a peachy bum, abs of steel and gorgeous eyes, but that’s just a bit shallow isn’t it? To be honest, I think my answers are kind of obvious, but they’re true. To me, respect is one of the most important things in a relationship. It works both ways of course, but a guy has to respect you, not just treat you like an accessory or a piece of meat.

Secondly, a great sense of humour. If he doesn’t laugh at my jokes, then he clearly hasn’t got one. Seriously, I’m hilarious.

Finally, kindness. Someone who has a good heart will always melt mine.

So there you have it, respect, kindness and a great sense of humour….although the peachy bum, abs of steel and gorgeous eyes do help too ;)

2) What’s your idea of romance?

I love to be whisked off of my feet unexpectedly. Or just to have someone make cute little gestures. Take for example my dad, he brings my mum a bunch of roses home every Friday, without fail, just because. I love receiving messages or phone calls just because your other half misses you through the day or misses hearing your voice. I’m a sucker for the sweet traditional stuff, I liked to be romanced old school baby!

3) Who’s your favorite on-screen couple (Film or TV)?

Okay, so if I tell you this you have to promise not to scoff at me….promise?It’s, Homer and Marge Simpson. I know, I know, they’re cartoon characters, bla bla bla but I challenge anyone to say that they wouldn’t want the unconditional love that Marge has for Homer. They stick together through thick and thin, through Homer’s misgivings and the kids causing havoc. Homer always comes good in the end, he’s just a little bit hopeless sometimes.

4) What’s been your most embarrassing moment in regards to the opposite sex?

Does having your leg dry humped by a dog on your first date count? If so, THAT!

5) What was your first impression of your partner or crush? How accurate was it?

I thought he was an absolute ass. Never wanted to see him again to be honest. But I’m glad I did because I learnt that he had his reasons for being like that and as wrong as they were, I appreciated his honesty.

6) How have you coped with break-ups in the past?

HA, this is a good one. I’ve eaten my own body weight in ice cream and cried at Kate Hudson movies. It’s never pretty.

7) Which hot actor would you want to be stranded on a deserted island with and why?

Ooooh, now you’re talking! I’m quite torn though, I’m quite partial to some Simon Baker but Alex O’Loughlin is pretty damn special isn’t he?! Alex looks like he could hunt for food and set up camp pretty well because trust me when I say nobody wants to be around me when I’m hungry ;)

8) What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done for love?

Moved away from everything and everyone I knew.

9) PDA: How much is acceptable?

Ugh, I’m all for sweet little kisses or an arm around your waist, maybe even a little moment on the bum but I really do hate when people are practically down each others throats in the middle of the street. Get a room y’all, get a room.

10) What is the best relationship advice you’ve ever gotten?

Take a chance and forget about the past. You have to follow and trust in your heart, it usually knows what it’s doing.

Well, that was fun! I hope I get to come back again at some point, I’ve quite liked taking over. I’d better love you and leave you though, I have a kitty here that’s threatening to jump all over my laptop, God only knows what nonsense he’d come up with.

Thanks for joining me! Lexi xxxx

Day of rest?! What’s that!

Today might be classed as the day of rest, but there is certainly no rest for this little monster! I’ve had my head firmly in my laptop and iPad – I’m a multi tasking machine – for the last week or so and I’ll be honest, my brain is struggling to cope haha it tries it’s best, but now it’s begging for something else to do. So I’m treating it to a book….as long as it blogs nicely for me here 😉

My current read is Beauty by Louise Mensch (previously writing as Bagshawe). I am such a huge fan of hers and the fact that she seems so lovely whenever you tweet her or anything, just makes it even better. I’m about 45% through but will do a little write up and review for you on here when I’ve done. I will tell you now though, it’s bloody brilliant so far!

Of course, my brain has mainly spit it’s dummy out because I’ve been trying so hard to nail the marketing side of The Story of Us. This is not an easy task. God’s honest truth, yesterday I was Facebooking on my laptop, tweeting on my iPad and replying to emails on my phone. It. Was. Crazy. So being back on WordPress in a way is quite nice because it means I’m writing again without being restricted to 140 characters!

Anyway, yesterday, I promised to tell you a little bit more about my characters. There’s so much I want to tell you that I truly don’t know where to start….so how about I start at the logical place? How about I start with the lovely Alexandra, Lexi for short. Sunday names can be so awkward can’t they.

Lexi Jones is a fiery little redhead that grew up in Leeds, Yorkshire. She has an adorable little kitty called Mr Beefy and works exceptionally hard in advertising – too hard really, think 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton. She lives with Walker Harrison, a bit of an arse if we’re being completely honest here, but he does have certain qualities…..if you look hard. I thought a lot about my main character as I was developing her. I like to get an image in my head and then mould her from there and although Lexi was a little harder to pin down image-wise, I did finally manage it. The thing I love about her is that, she’s just like most of us girls. Sometimes we do lose sight of the things that are important to us, and it’s only when something forces our hand that we wake up and decide to make a change. I speak from experience here too. It’s so easy to keep plodding along with a job, or a relationship, because you get comfortable and change is scary, but when your hand is forced and you do finally walk away (for me it was a  job) you slowly realise that it was the best thing you could have ever done.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a little snippet with you all on here. I have a few favourite parts but there are some that I can’t share with you at the moment, they would be pretty big spoilers 😉

 “I can’t think of any words that would do it justice, and yes before you say anything I know that I’m the one in advertising and I should be able to think of words at the snap of my fingers but -” I’m just about to get very deep with Ryan – ahem – when I feel something thud against my leg. I see the horror and glee in Ryan’s eyes as I slowly look down. The dog from earlier on is having its way with my leg and I’m frozen in disgust. My brain is screaming at me to shake it the hell off but I just. Can. Not. Move. – Lexi

If you want to join the madness over on Facebook, here I am: Ellen Faith – Author.

I hope you’ve all had a brilliant weekend and I’ll see you very soon.

Mucho love,

Ellen

xoxo

Welcome to the weekend

Hallelujah, we have reached the weekend people! This calls for a celebration, right?

Well, to be honest, that’s not the only thing that I’m celebrating today…..are you ready folks? You’ve been here with me for a lot of the rants and ramblings, a lot of the ummm-ing and arrrr-ing (okay, so maybe I arrrrr-d a lot more than ummmm-d) but I finally did it.

I SELF PUBLISHED!

Now, one of my last posts was about how I’d had to do a little detour from the novel I had intended to release, and that I was on my way with a new book. It’s this new book that I eventually released yesterday. It’s called The Story of Us and here is the synopsis for you all to have a little looksie at:

Alexandra Jones has a pretty peachy life. A gorgeous, stinking rich fiancé, her sleazy boss is retiring which means an imminent promotion in a job she loves, and she gets her best friends Jimmy Choos when she dies. Although she would prefer her best friend to stick around as long as possible. Obviously.

But when a blast from the past turns up on her doorstep just as her world turns upside down, she decides to take her best friend, Rosie, up on her offer of a 10 day break in San Francisco. Whilst Rosie works on a fashion shoot and Alexandra becomes well acquainted with the photographer’s brother, it becomes clear that this trip is one that will change their lives forever.

And here is the cover, isn’t she pretty?! Courtesy of the amazing Rebecca at Berto Designs.

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Now, I’m going to be back again tomorrow to fill you all in on what’s been happening since I posted last, along with a little something else about my new book. I feel like you all deserve something a little extra for putting up with me being so quiet lately. If you want to pop on over to Goodreads and add it to your TBR list, you can do so by clicking here: Goodreads – The Story of Us and you can even find chapter one there for free!

Or if you think it sounds awesome anyway and would like to dive straight in and buy, then click on the Amazon links below 🙂

Amazon US: The Story of Us 

Amazon UK: The Story of Us 

Happy February guys!

Ellen

xoxo