Jennifer Gilby Roberts

Women's Fiction/Chick Lit Author

Missing Scene From ‘After Wimbledon’ #2

Another scene I cut from the published version of After Wimbledon.  The first part of the book went through quite a lot of reworking, so this scene doesn’t quite fit into the book.  In the final version, Joe plays on Centre Court in the first round so this conversation became irrelevant.  Prior to this scene, Lucy is chatting with Sam and that conversation was absorbed into one of the book scenes.

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I’ve just got back to practising, and I’m actually starting to feel pretty good, when Joe appears.  He’s striding towards me at full pelt, racquet clenched in one hand, his shoulder-length hair swinging around his neck and dark eyes flashing.

‘Honestly,’ he says, as he approaches. ‘It’s blatant favouritism.’

Here we go again.

‘What is?’ I ask wearily, stopping practice again.

‘Haven’t you seen the schedule yet?’

Yes, I have.  That’s how I knew this was coming.

‘They’ve put me on Court 1 in the first round, while Pennington is on Centre!’

‘They’ll have wanted you both playing last up so you’re on prime time TV.  They probably flipped a coin to decide who got which court.  Why do you always have to take it so personally?’

Joe glowers.  ‘Of course I’m taking it personally, when it’s a personal insult.  When I win the tournament I’ll be world number one again and this time I’ll be staying there.’

‘Of course you will…’ I start to say, then stop.  I can’t announce Sam’s retirement, least of all to Joe. ‘…you’re the better player,’ I finish quickly.

‘Of course I am.’

Excessive modesty is not a problem for Joe.

‘Well, all you have to do is to go onto Court 1 and play brilliantly and then they’ll probably put all your other matches on Centre,’ I say, trying to sound supportive.

Christ, I’m sick of this routine.  I must be crazy to even fantasise about dating another tennis player.

Mind you, I bet Sam doesn’t get himself worked up over crap like this.

‘Of course I’ll play brilliantly.  I am brilliant.’  Joe looks quite insulted.

I have to agree about Court 1.  He shouldn’t play there, his ego won’t fit.

‘Yup,’ I say, starting to bounce the ball again.  ‘So why don’t you go be brilliant on your own court so I can practise?’

Joe isn’t listening, he’s staring intently into the distance.  ‘Did I see Pennington sniffing around you before I arrived?’ he demands, eyes snapping back to me.

I can’t help rolling my eyes.  ‘He was not sniffing around, he just said hello.  We belong to the same club, that’s all.’

Joe’s eyes are narrowed.  ‘I don’t trust him,’ he says.  ‘He’s probably trying to get to me through you.’

I doubt it would work.

‘That’s crap, Joe,’ I say, resisting the urge to bounce the ball off his head.  ‘And you know it.  He doesn’t play dirty and I wouldn’t let him.’

‘Good,’ Joe says.

‘I need to practise.  Later.’

He strolls off.

I could stay on the tour and break up with him.

I go back to serving.

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50 Places to Find Free Kindle Books

A while back I posted a link to an article on 25 places to get free Kindle books.  I think I can do better than that.  No doubt lots of people will have got a Kindle for Christmas and be going mad filling it up.  So here’s where to pack it for free:

Direct Access

1. Amazon
Either look at the Top 100 Free Lists (UK link) for your category, or search for a keyword/phrase and then order results by Price: Low to High.  If you are a Prime member, you can also borrow many titles.

2. Smashwords

3. Goodreads
Goodreads giveaways are limited to print books, but free Kindle books can be had by joining one of the read for review groups such as: Making Connections, Modern Good Reads.  Authors will also advertise their free books in genre-specific groups, so join a few for the ones you’re interested in.

4. LibraryThing
Unlike Goodreads, LibraryThing giveaways do include Kindle books.

5. Project Gutenberg

6. Book Lending.com

7. WattPad

8. Open Library

9. Digi Libraries

10. Your Local Library
Many libraries now have an ebook collection.  Ask at your local branch.

Free Book Alert Sites
These are the sites who will let you know when new free books are available (usually on Amazon), along with links to purchase them.  They vary in how they choose books to feature, so no one site will pick up everything that’s available.  The advantage of these sites is that you can often choose what genres or keywords you’re interested in and get email alerts when something comes up.

[If you want only sites that offer UK links, see my Where to Find Free Kindle Books UK list.]

11. BookBub

12. Ereader News Today

13. Pixel of Ink

14. Free Booksy

15. Bargain eBook Hunter

16. Snicks List

17. eReader IQ

18. Hundred Zeros

19. ManyBooks.net

20. One Hundred Free Books

21. Free Books Hub

22. Kindle Buffet

23. World Library

24. Shelf Buzz

25. Free Book Sifter

26. The eReader Cafe

27. iLoveEbooks

28. Daily Cheap Reads

29. eBooks Habit

30. Pixel Scroll

31. Free Ebooks.net

32. Ereader Utopia

33. Indie Book of the Day

34. Free Book Dude

35. Digital Book Today

36. The Kindle Book Review

37. Book Goodies

38. Kindle Book Promos

39. It’s Write Now

40. eReader Girl

41. Great Books, Great Deals

42. Free & Discounted Books

43. Free eBooks Daily

44. Kindle Books & Tips

45. Book Deal Hunter

46. Ebook Deal of the Day

47. The Frugal eReader

48. eReader Perks

49. Free Digital Reads

50. eBook Lister

Happy reading!

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Merry Christmas Everyone!

Picture from http://funny-pictures.funmunch.com/funny-picture-1156.html

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Abuse of Parents by Toddlers

You know, you hear about child abuse and spousal abuse a lot.  And don’t get me wrong, those are serious issues and important to talk about.  But you never seem to hear about abuse of parents by their children.  Not nearly-grown-up children, little children.  Specifically, toddlers.

They don’t tell you this when you’re considering having children, but toddlers can be vicious little creatures.  I don’t think it’s out of malice.  They just don’t understand their own strength, or the concept that others feel pain too, or any other way to deal with emotional upset.  But the fact is, they can do a lot of damage.  My toddler is generally very good tempered, but she kicks, occasionally hits, bites, scratches and pulls hair (I HATE that).  Sometimes in the midst of a tantrum, sometimes in the course of normal investigations and sometimes just because I haven’t cut her nails lately (because that’s a fun job in itself).  Sometimes she hurts me bad enough to make me cry.  Sometimes Daddy or I have to leave the room because we’ve got very angry with her for it.  It’s no fun being hurt.

And we don’t really have it that bad.  Some toddlers actually do enough damage for their parents to have to go to hospital.  Imagine going to the A&E (ER in US) and telling them your toddler beat you up.  And then having to convince them that, no, you aren’t covering for your spouse.

As if the pain wasn’t enough, you also have the worry.  That it’s not that they haven’t developed empathy yet, but that they won’t.  That you have a junior psychopath on your hands.  Them smiling when they’ve hurt you doesn’t help with this.

Parenting.  It’s great, isn’t it?

[On the upside, my daughter has just been discharged from premature baby clinic aged not-quite-2 because she’s doing fine.  They commented on her excellent leg muscles.  Yeah, I know about those…]

Useful links:
My toddler hits me – Net Doctor
Does your toddler hurt you? – Mothering
My 2 year old hurts me when he’s mad – Circle of Moms
How can I get my toddler to stop hitting me? – Baby Center

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Missing Scene From ‘After Wimbledon’

I cut quite a bit from the first draft of After Wimbledon, so I thought I would post one of the missing scenes.  In this one, Lucy is helping her cousin Maddy get ready for her date with Sam – the man Lucy dreams of for herself.

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Maddy’s bedroom looks like a tornado has been through it.  There are clothes everywhere.  On the bed, over the chest of drawers, across the chair and on the floor.  Various sparkly accessories hang from doorknobs, off mirrors and under the lampshade.

All this for a drink?  She must really like him.

‘Lucy,’ she says, flopping backwards onto the bed, ‘I’m having a crisis.  What in the world do I wear?’

I look at her.  She’s wearing black underwear with pink ribbons threaded through it, black high heels and a look of utter dejection.

‘Well, more than that,’ I advise, sitting beside her on the daisy chain duvet cover.  ‘Although you’d definitely get his attention.’

An image of Sam eyeing her slides in front of my eyes, like in one of those pairs of fake binoculars with the pictures.  I close my eyes and will it away.

What I need to do is to forget who she’s going out with.  Just focus on supporting her.  Then everything will be fine.

‘You know him better than me,’ Maddy says anxiously.  ‘What do you think Sam would like?’

It was good in theory.

‘Oh, you know,’ I say, waving my hands around.  ‘You should just be yourself.  Wear what you want to wear.’

‘But which me should I be?’ she asks, sitting up and clenching her hair in her hands.  ‘Sophisticated me?  Smart casual me?  Girly me?  Or sporty?’

I am so not cut out for this.

‘Smart casual you,’ I say, picking one at random.  I wrack my brain for what little I know of fashion.  ‘Something that emphasises your best features.’

Maddy looks worried and goes over to her wardrobe.  I’m astonished to find that it’s still full of clothes.  She turns back to me.  ‘What are my best features?’ she asks, biting her lip.

‘Legs,’ I say confidently.  All the Bennetts have good legs, even me.  Which is fortunate, since no tennis outfit will hide them.  ‘Wear a dress.’

That should narrow it down.

Maddy pulls a little black number out of the wardrobe and holds it against herself.  She looks questioningly at me.

‘Great,’ I say, giving her a thumbs up.  ‘And it matches your shoes.’

She doesn’t look convinced.  She puts it back and gets out another.  Dark blue lace.

‘That’s nice too,’ I say, nodding.  I bounce on the bed a little.  This is a really springy mattress.  Will Sam end up jumping on it?

I’d give anything not to have thought that.

Another dress is produced.  Pink cotton.

‘Also… good,’ I say.

I get the impression that this could take a while.

~~~~

Maddy has 27 dresses in her wardrobe.  I know, because I’ve seen all of them.  And which one has she decided on?  Yup, you guessed it, the original little black one.  The dress is on, her hair and makeup are done, a handbag has been selected and her taxi is here.

‘Do I really look okay?’ she asks, as she puts on her coat.

‘Gorgeous.’  And she does.  Already the best looking of all of us, she really knows how to make the best of herself.  Christ knows what she wanted my help for.

‘Have a great time,’ I say, as she climbs into the taxi.

‘Are you sure you don’t want a lift home?’ she calls out the window.  ‘We’re going that way.’

‘I’m sure,’ I call back, already a step away.  ‘I want to stretch my legs.  Bye.’

‘I’ll call and tell you all about it when I get home,’ she says and blows me a kiss as the taxi drives off.

Wonderful.  Then my life will be complete.

I trudge off in the direction of home.  The heartache starts after one step, the tears after two.

What’s wrong with me?  I’m behaving like some love-sick teenager.

Except I wasn’t like that when I was a teenager, because then all I cared about was tennis.

Maybe adolescence has finally caught up with me.  Maybe I’ll break out in acne and get into alternative dressing.  I could become an EMO, although I’m still not entirely clear what they are.

Right now I just need to get back home, get some dinner and forget all about this.

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New Author Interview

I did this interview for TBM at Making My Mark.

Tell us about your background and how you ended up writing.

I wrote plenty of stories as a kid, but – like a lot of writers – I got started for real writing fanfiction.  The first stuff was for a science fiction TV show called Farscape, when I was a member of a forum which included several other writers.  We were all very into one of the supporting characters and wanted there to be more stories about him, so we wrote them!  I’ve also written fanfiction based on Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and Torchwood.  Really, I should be writing science fiction as I also have a degree in physics, but my main interest has always been the relationships between the characters.

I’d always meant to write a novel and it was on my gap year that I sat down and wrote The Dr Pepper Prophecies.  I’d just read Sophie Kinsella’s Can You Keep a Secret? and just killed myself laughing over it and I wanted to try and write something that would make people laugh as much.  After Wimbledon, which I wrote several years later, was more about exploring feelings I was going through at the time.  The first draft was rather angsty, but the final version is considerably lighter.

How would you describe your writing?

It’s probably closest in style to Sophie Kinsella’s.  My books feature dry humour, sweet (occasionally sexy) romance, things going tits up and happy endings.

What’s your book, The Dr Pepper Prophecies, about? How did you come up with the title?

It’s a modern version of Jane Austen’s Emma, although the lead character is closer to Bridget Jones.  Basically, it’s about a young woman who sets out to improve the lives of the people she loves and makes a complete hash of it.

The title is a reference to a series of adverts for the soft drink Dr Pepper (I found out later that they were only shown in the UK) that had the tag line ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ and featured worst case endings to various scenarios.  They were very popular when I wrote it and can still be viewed on YouTube.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

Over the years I’d thought of trying to get an agent and then a publisher for The Dr Pepper Prophecies and had even drafted query letters, but I’d never actually sent them out.  My husband bought me a Kindle – after much resistance on my part, I have to admit – and shortly afterwards I discovered that anyone could publish Kindle books on Amazon.  I just sort of did it, with very little thought or knowledge.  I should probably have learned more about the process first, but then I might have chickened out again!

I read that you wrote After Wimbledon after being in Melbourne for the Australian Open. Are you a tennis fan? Who is your favorite player?

I do enjoy tennis.  I went through a phase when I was very into it and that’s when I wrote After Wimbledon.  I don’t follow it as much now, but I still watch Wimbledon.  My favourite player is Roger Federer.  I was lucky enough to see him play in Melbourne in the Rod Laver Arena (the equivalent of Centre Court at Wimbledon) and that was brilliant.  Though sadly it was just about the time he contracted mono, which ended his total dominance in the game.

Do you plot out your novels from the start or do you let the story develop along the way?

The Dr Pepper Prophecies had quite a detailed plan and character sketches before I started out, which is probably why the final version is so close to the first draft.  When I wrote After Wimbledon I had a basic plan of major events – especially who was playing what when, as it’s based around the Wimbledon Championships – but a lot of the plot developed along the way.  With my third novel, I’m trying something different.  I have no written plan and I’m not even writing it in order, just adding scenes as they come into my head.  At some point I’ll have to pull it all together and fill in the gaps, but so far it’s working pretty well.

It doesn’t really matter which approach you use.  The very structured approach is good for avoiding writer’s block, because you always know what needs to be written next.  Giving yourself more freedom can result in some really good ideas that you might not otherwise have thought of, but you’re also likely to cut out a lot when you start editing.

Who are your favorite writers?

I think the best writer I have come across is Erich Segal.  He is best known for Love Story, but I prefer Doctors, Acts of Faith and The Class.  They are full of amazing characters and incredible detail and just bring different worlds to life.  I’ve read each of them many times and they lose nothing from familiarity.

Which book do you wish you had written?

I can’t deny that, from a financial point of view, it would be nice to have written something wildly popular like Harry Potter or Twilight.  But then I would end up famous and I don’t actually want that.  When I walk down the street half-asleep with something sticky down my front (I have a toddler), I do not want people asking for my autograph.  I never know what to say when someone says they’ve read my book, even when they’re people I know.

What advice would you give to authors?

  • Don’t start editing until you’ve completed the first draft, otherwise you’ll never finish it.
  • Always proofread on paper and get someone else to look at it as well.
  • At least in the beginning, write what you want to write and don’t think about what will sell.  There’s an audience out there for everything.
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Give a Review for Christmas!

The Dr Pepper Prophecies is currently at 94 reviews in the US and After Wimbledon has 3.  It would be the most fabulous Christmas present to get to 100 and 5, as those are big milestones.  I might just celebrate with a giveaway…  (My books in US, My books elsewhere)

In fact, I think we should all go and leave a review on a book we loved this Christmas, even those of us (including me) who usually don’t.  I’m going to write mine for 32 Going on Spinster by Becky Monson, which I finally found time to read!

Then I should probably wrap the rest of the Christmas presents, which are just a pile of Amazon boxes at the moment. 🙂

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Chick Lit Books and Short Stories for Tennis Fans

I’ve had a look round at what else is available for fans of chick lit and tennis, besides my own After Wimbledon.  Here’s my list, in no particular order:

Tennis Dates by Colette Freedman

Grand Slam by Samantha Brenner

The Tennis Party by Sophie Kinsella

Game, Set, Match by Nana Malone

Love-40 by Anna Cheska

Love Match by Amy J. Bates

Queen of the Court by Melanie Howard

How’s My Timing? by B.K. Moradeyo (short story)

The Team by Pat Cunningham Devoto

Games People Play by Louise Voss

I’ve put together lists of these on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads for your convenience.

Have I missed any good ones?  Comment and let me know.

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5 Things I Don’t Understand About My Toddler

107Apparently, when Thomas Edison was asked if it was true that he’d failed 10,000 times when trying to create the light bulb, he replied that he’d never failed at all but merely found 10,000 things that didn’t work.  In my experience, motherhood is a lot like this.  You know the outcome you want, you try everything you can think of and, if you’re lucky, after the 10,000th attempt you might actually get it.

Here are just a few of the many things that I do not understand about my toddler:

1. She throws lovingly-prepared food on the floor, then picks up dirt and eats it.

2. She knows the meaning of the word ‘No’ well enough to use it herself, but not to obey it.

3. She heads straight towards anything dangerous, even when entering an unfamiliar room.

4. She will happily spread her face with anything except water.  Ditto her head.

5. She can say ‘Mum’ but not ‘Dad’, despite clearly being a Daddy’s girl.

Yes, that’s us in the photo.  She’s gained a little more hair since that photo was taken, but it’s blond so you can hardly tell.  Isn’t she pretty?  And doesn’t she know it…

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Songs From ‘After Wimbledon’

In After Wimbledon, Lucy and Sam sing karaoke.  I thought I would share YouTube links to the songs I mentioned:

‘Barbie Girl’ by Aqua

‘These Things I’ll Never Say’ by Avril Lavinge

‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams

‘Gimme, Gimme, Gimme’ by Abba

What are your favourite karaoke songs?

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More posts about After Wimbledon.

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