Joining us this week is Lucy Woodhull, author of the wonderfully funny novel, 667 Ways to F*ck Up My Life. It's a witty, hilarious novel about twenty-something Dag, whose life takes a strange turn when she swaps her overly-responsible life for a series of fuck-ups.

Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less.
Uh oh:  jerks
Middle finger
Fuck up yay!
Uh oh:  again

What inspired you to write 667 Ways to Fuck Up My Life?
Both my BFF and I have had some hard times beyond our control on and off in the last five years or so, and we would often observe that the more horrible the person, the more they seemed to win.  Assholes finish first, right?  We'd joke around that, in order to improve our luck, we ought to trip a puppy or something.  Now, of course, we would never!  We are very pro-puppy.  But it was kinda funny to think about just...giving up.  Not trying anymore to be perfect and good and responsible, because bad shit happens anyway.  That's where the book came from--the question of what would happen when a nice lady flips the finger at life?  It was very fun to execute, bwahahahaha! (<-- evil laugh)

Where do you do most of your writing?
On the couch at home.  My husband jokes that I will, some day, sink into the cushions, never to be seen again.  But I do take walks and stuff.  Does to the fridge count?

What is your favourite book?
A Room With a View by E. M. Forster.  It's got love, humor, satire, sexy Italians, wayward old ladies--anything you could ask for!  In fact, there are two chapter titles in 667 Ways to F*ck Up My Life that are Easter eggs for any A Room With a View fan.

Which part of 667 Ways to Fuck Up My Life did you enjoy writing the most?
(mild spoiler) I think the scene in which Dagmar gains success and revenge on her jerk ex-boss held the most fantasy fulfillment for me.  Everyone has that one boss you'd love to give what for.  The second most would be when she tried to seduce Hunter the Broista.  I've worn pleather.  It's not okay.

Who is your favourite literary heroine?
Amelia Peabody!  "Another shirt ruined!"  Fans of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series will get that--she's a Victorian Feminist Egyptologist with a seriously hot, also Feminist, husband.  They solve mysteries and hunt for treasures and are generally awesome.  I think Amelia taught me to expect a lot from a spouse--to expect true respect, without which, there cannot be real love.  I credit Elizabeth Peters for teaching me to hold out for my own amazing husband!  She was a fascinating woman in her own right, and I cried when she passed in the last couple of years.  I urge anyone to read these books--they're fun and funny!

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
I say write first and foremost.  Find your voice, find the stories that make you dance with glee to get onto paper.  Do a bunch of that, and then learn the "rules" of writing.  I think establishing what make you the unique and amazing writer you are is the most important thing, because the business and the rules will kinda try to beat that out of you.  The marketplace can be narrow.  But the more you know yourself and your own style, the more you'll be able to take some advice and leave the rest.  I've been told by more than one authority that I'm too weird, I'm too funny (I don't think they meant it in the nice way!), and I'm too different.  And that may be so.  But damn it, I'm me, and it only took one yes to set me on my path.  If you love who you are and what you write, then a thousand no's cannot take that joy away from you.  All you can control is the work, so love it.  Love yourself and advocate for yourself as you grow and learn...and the yes-es will follow!

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
This winter, I plan to release Super Forty, the tale of a forty-year-old divorced, barren, and penniless superheroine!  She lives with her parents, and wears sensible shoes and pajamas as her super outfit.  I am SO excited to release this book!  I got a little waylaid by buying a house (whee!!), but as soon as the literal dust settles, I'm going to finish editing and release it.  The theme of all my books boils down to wanting women to realize that we're all freaking superheroines, no matter how many lemons we've had pelted at our heads.  Super Forty is the book of my heart, and I can't wait for Shannon, the world's unlikeliest superheroine, to make her debut.  Her special power will make you laugh, I guarantee it.

Thanks, Lucy!

You can find out more about Lucy at her website, Facebook, or by following her on Twitter.

667 Ways to F*ck Up My Life by Lucy Woodhull

Twenty-something Dag has always been the ‘perfect’ woman. Responsible, honest to a fault, hard-working. Even her bras are no-nonsense. And for what? Her boyfriend dumps her for being boring, and her boss fires her for not sucking on his nether regions to get promoted. What’s a perfectionist overachiever to do? A complete one-eighty.

To heck with rules—Dag orchestrates a spectacular fall from grace by ruining her life exactly six-hundred-sixty-six times, and finally has a little naughty fun. Some scandalous Spandex and a few bar lies later, tame little Dagmar becomes Giselle, ballsy siren.

The wild thing is…it works! Dag gets a better job and meets the sexiest man she’s ever known. Well, Giselle meets him. Dagmar doesn’t exist. Except that she does, and her escapades just became a ticking time bomb, one that might blow her heart to smithereens.

Join Dag for her irresistible and hilarious fuck-ups, because every good girl needs to inject a little bad girl sizzle into her veins.

COMING SOON: The Boy is Back by Meg Cabot

Bestselling author Meg Cabot returns with her new novel, The Boy is Back, next month! Meg is hugely well-known for her young adult novels, including The Princess Diaries and the Mediator series. However, she has also penned novels for adults which include Royal Wedding, Size 12 is Not Fat, and Every Boy's Got One. 

Reed Stewart thought he’d left all his small town troubles—including a broken heart—behind when he ditched tiny Bloomville, Indiana, ten years ago to become rich and famous on the professional golf circuit.  Then one tiny post on the Internet causes all of those troubles to return . . . with a vengeance.

Becky Flowers has worked hard to build her successful senior relocation business, but she’s worked even harder to forget Reed Stewart ever existed. She has absolutely no intention of seeing him when he returns—until his family hires her to save his parents.

Now Reed and Becky can’t avoid one another—or the memories of that one fateful night.  And soon everything they thought they knew about themselves (and each other) has been turned upside down, and they—and the entire town of Bloomville—might never be the same, all because The Boy Is Back.


Playing FTSE is the new novel by Penelope Jacobs, in which a young graduate navigates work and relationships in her new life in the City. Penelope has stopped by for this week's Q&A to discuss her novel, her heroine Melanie and some useful writing advice...

Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less.
Ambition, friendship and sex. A brilliant but deeply-flawed woman makes it in the City.

What inspired you to write Playing FTSE?
I met many of my female friends during my early years in the City. The work was demanding, but we always had fun on weekends discussing our romantic lives. In such a male-dominated environment, there were endless amusing anecdotes about our male colleagues and office affairs. I wanted to capture the atmosphere of the City in my twenties. Although we worked under a great deal of pressure, we also enjoyed high-octane fun. My novel is fictional, but it is inspired by many true events.

Where do you do most of your writing?
I squeeze in my writing whenever I can. Mostly I work from home, in between school runs. This tends to be in short bursts during the morning and early afternoon. I hardly ever write in the evening, as I find it impossible to concentrate at night time. The school holidays are a write-off, as my children don’t understand the concept of space!

What is your favourite book?
My all-time favourite novel is “Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. A brilliant author, I only wish I could read it in his native language Spanish. The book delves into the madness of enduring love and the depths to which a person can fall. It is a story of delusion, despair and optimism, which manages also to be highly entertaining. If you have ever suffered unrequited love, this is a poignant novel to read.  

Which part of  Playing FTSE did you enjoy writing the most?
I wanted to create a flawed character, who is both a victim and a villain. It was an exciting challenge to mould this brilliant but romantically idiotic woman.  The dialogue with her best friend was fun to write and helped explain her dilemmas, but I also thoroughly enjoyed the prose, where I was able to immerse myself more fully into her inner thoughts.

Who is your favourite literary heroine?
I have just finished reading two books by Elena Ferrante. My Brilliant Friend and The Story of a New Name. The novels follow the lives of two young girls in Naples, through the eyes of Lena. A fascinating study of friendship, rivalry and love. I was gripped by the dynamic of their complex relationship and I can’t wait to read the next two books in the series.

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
Remember that your friends and family are not the best critics. The most helpful feedback I received was from an entirely independent editor. Her comments were hard-hitting but definitely forced me into making some significant changes to the storyline.

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
I am working on the sequel to Playing FTSE. My heroine is now in her thirties and has to face a series of new challenges in her romantic life and working career.

Thanks, Penelope!

You can find out more about Penelope Jacobs on her website, or by following her on Twitter.

Playing FTSE by Penelope Jacobs

When Melanie Collins joins an investment bank as a young graduate, she quickly discovers that femininity is an invaluable asset. But it must not be abused. She witnesses other women falling victim to office affairs and is determined to be taken seriously. In an industry where abilities are rewarded handsomely, she rises rapidly through the ranks. But her increased profile attracts the attention of a senior colleague and she is ill equipped to handle his advances. Balancing a demanding job with a confusing personal life proves difficult and soon their relationship threatens to jeopardise her career. As events move beyond control, her glamorous world becomes tainted by betrayal and bitterness. Set against London's financial markets, 'Playing FTSE' explores the dynamic of ambition, friendship and love in the City. A woman can reach the top, but at what price?

NEW RELEASES: A New York Love Story by Cassie Rocca

As the festive period draws ever closer, I'm devouring some of the fab Christmas-themed books that are available! (Such as this selection - and this one too!)

A New York Love Story by Cassie Rocca is another I'm adding to the Christmas TBR list. Available now from Aria, the novel focuses on Clover and Hollywood actor Cade. Their very different lives are about to collide!

Giving a present is not always easy. Clover O’Brian knows that only too well: her job consists of helping people in the arduous task of choosing unusual gifts. Christmas is coming, New York is buzzing, and Clover, who has always loved the festive period, savours the atmosphere.

Cade Harrison already has everything in life. A Hollywood actor, he is handsome, rich, famous and popular. Success, however, has its downsides; having just emerged from a disastrous relationship with an actress, he feels a need to hide away in an area unfrequented by stars, in an apartment lent him by a friend, far from prying eyes – especially those of tabloid reporters. But as chance will have it, the apartment in question is right opposite the one occupied by Clover, who until now has seen Hollywood actors only on the big screen. Two quite different lives meet by chance, at the most exhilarating time of year...

BOOK REVIEW: A Wedding in Cornwall by Laura Briggs

A dream career opportunity and the chance of love in a gorgeous country house? Event planner Julianne is about to get more than she expected from her trip to the UK in A Wedding in Cornwall - a new novella from Laura Briggs (author of Picture Mr Perfect, Boyfriend By the Book and The Wedding Caper).

When Julianne's colleague falls ill, the chance to fly out to the UK to plan the wedding of a celebrity drops in her lap. Of course, it'd be silly not to snap it up - so Julianne temporarily leaves her life in the States behind to take up residence in the stunning, historical Cliffs House.

However, her job soon becomes more difficult than she envisioned, with the famous couple not seeing eye to eye on a lot of the wedding details. With the beautiful bride-to-be proving to be hard to please, Julianne knows that she's in for a challenge - even more so when she meets Matthew, the handsome gardener, and other obstacles begin to arise...

I read this novella on a relaxing weekend away, and absolutely loved it. This is the first of Laura's books that I've read, and I'll certainly be reading more. At the beginning of the book, Laura states in a letter to her readers that she has, in fact, never visited Cornwall, which is quite a surprise as she has described it wonderfully. Her writing places you right there on the gorgeous coast, and within the stately walls of Cliffs House.

A Wedding in Cornwall is a sweet, uplifting and romantic tale which I fully enjoyed. It certainly brightened my day, and better still, heroine Julianne will be returning this month in Laura's next novella, A Christmas in Cornwall.

Rating: 5/5

BOOK NEWS: Between Sisters by Cathy Kelly

Fans of Cathy Kelly, author of Secrets of a Happy Marriage and It Started With Paris, will be delighted to know that her latest novel, Between Sisters, will be released in paperback this month.
The novel focuses on two rather different sisters, Cassie and Coco, who are brought even closer together with some revelations from the past...

Sisters Cassie and Coco have been there for each other ever since their mother disappeared when they were children. Responsible Cassie spends every moment trying to be perfect wife and mum, but can't help feeling she's getting it all wrong. Commitment-phobic Coco adores running her vintage dress shop - but since a disastrous break-up, her love life's become an antique. Their lives are full to the brim - so why do they both feel that something is missing? As the sisters try to find their way to lasting happiness, fate has a few surprises in store as the past makes a sudden appearance in the present ...

UNCOVERED PICKS: Five new reads for October

October's here! Time for darker evenings, colder days and gorgeous autumnal weather. And of course, chilly nights are perfect for cosying up with a good book. Here are five of the many new novels that'll be available this month!

Losing It by Emma Rathbone
Twenty-six year old Julia Greenfield has long suspected that everyone is having fun without her.

It’s not that she’s unhappy, per se. It’s just that she’s not exactly happy either.

She hasn’t done anything spontaneous since about 2003. Shouldn’t she be running a start up? Going backpacking? Exploring uncharted erogenous zones with inappropriate men?

Trapped between news of her mother’s latent sexual awakening and her spinster aunt’s odd behaviour, Julia has finally snapped. It’s time to take some risks, and get a life.

After all – what has she got to lose?

We Were On a Break by Lindsey Kelk
‘You’ve just had a holiday,’ I pointed out, trying not to yawn. ‘Wasn’t that enough of a break?’

‘I don’t mean that kind of break.’

There’s nothing worse than the last day of holiday. Oh wait, there is. When what should have been a proposal turns into a break, Liv and Adam find themselves on opposite sides of the life they had mapped out.

Friends and family all think they’re crazy; Liv throws herself into work – animals are so much simpler than humans – and Adam tries to get himself out of the hole he’s dug. But as the short break becomes a chasm, can they find a way back to each other?

More importantly, do they want to?

Paris for One (and Other Stories) by Jojo Moyes
Nell is twenty-six and has never been to Paris. She's never even been on a romantic weekend away to anywhere before. Traveling abroad isn't really her thing. But when Nell's boyfriend fails to show up for their mini-vacation, she has the opportunity to prove everyone including herself wrong. Alone in Paris, Nell finds a version of herself she never knew existed: independent and intrepid. Could this turn out to be the most adventurous weekend of her life? Funny, charming, and irresistible, Paris for Oneis vintage Moyes as are the other stories that round out the collection.

The Singalong Society for Singletons by Katey Lovell
Monique and Issy are teachers, housemates and lovers of musicals! Their Friday night routine consists of snacks, wine and the Frozen DVD. So when Monique’s boyfriend moves to America for a year and her sister Hope moves in because of her own relationship woes, Friday nights get a new name… ‘The Singalong Society for Singletons’!

It’s a chance to get together, sing along to their favourite tracks from the best-loved West End shows, and forget the worries of work, relationships and love (or lack of it). But when Issy shares the details of their little group further afield, they get some unexpected new members who might just change their opinions on singledom for good…

Today Will be Different by Maria Semple
Eleanor knows she's a mess. But today, she will tackle the little things. She will shower and get dressed. She will have her poetry and yoga lessons after dropping off her son, Timby. She won't swear. She will initiate sex with her husband, Joe. But before she can put her modest plan into action-life happens. Today, it turns out, is the day Timby has decided to fake sick to weasel his way into his mother's company. It's also the day Joe has chosen to tell his office-but not Eleanor-that he's on vacation. Just when it seems like things can't go more awry, an encounter with a former colleague produces a graphic memoir whose dramatic tale threatens to reveal a buried family secret.