Tuesday Talk welcomes JB Johnston talking about Brook Cottage Books, her own writing ambitions and some interesting dinner guests…

This week I’m really pleased to have JB Johnston here. Most of you will know her through her blog Brook Cottage Books but as you will see, she’s a lady of many talents…

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Hi JB and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

IMG_6296Hi Jo and thank you so much for having me on Tuesday Talk. What an honour! My real name is Debbie Johnston (not to be confused with Debbie Johnson the published author). I write and blog under the name JB Johnston but generally answer to any name. I’ve gotten quite used to my alter ego. I’m from Northern Ireland and I live about 14 miles outside of Belfast. In my ‘official’ job I’m a social worker working in Children’s Services. In my other life I’m a reader, blogger AND author. I blog over at Brook Cottage Books where I coordinate virtual book tours for authors as well as sharing reviews. And, I’ve written a novel which has been critiqued by a reader in the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers Scheme. I’m not sure I’ll ever get the thing finished! Still a lot of work to do! I’m also married with 2 children and 2 step children and over the past year I’ve become slightly addicted to yoga. I lead a very busy and stressful life and I find it’s a wonderful escape from all that.

You are the mastermind behind Brook Cottage Books. What made you decide to offer this service to writers?

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I have always adored books and part of me dreams to one day publish my own book. I initially started reviewing books on a personal blog I used to write for parents of kids with special needs. Being a carer myself I wanted to offer a site that was supportive and had a bit of humour too. I had posted a few book reviews on that blog, but I soon became so inundated with requests for reviews that I set up Brook Cottage Books to meet that demand. A few years later, with the guidance of lovely book blogger and former book tour organiser Sharon Goodwin, I began organising book tours and other paid services to authors alongside the free stuff I do. I adore helping authors get the word out about their books and themselves. It’s something I’m passionate about as there are so many amazing authors out there who maybe haven’t been picked up by big name publishers but still have some wonderful writing to share with the world. I particularly love it when I find an indie author who stuns me with how amazing their book is. I also get a real kick out of meeting new book bloggers too. I love having a good old chat about bookish things!

Have you a favourite genre?

Oh gosh! That’s a difficult question. I love them all though tend not to read too much science fiction. When I first started blogging I adored thriller or horror novels. However, the more book tours I started to take part in the more I forced myself to slip out of my reading comfort zone and try new genres. I’m so glad I did because otherwise I wouldn’t have read so many wonderful books that have surprised me and taken my breath away with how amazing they are. If I had to give an answer though I think my favourite is ultimately Crime thrillers. I love a good whodunnit, but I’ve become a real sucker for a good old romance. I love everything from the classics such as Rebecca and Pride and Prejudice to books about zombies and killer viruses! If you like that sort of thing I can recommend The Passage Trilogy by Justin Cronin!

You have recently embarked on a writing career. How did this come about? Are you enjoying the experience?

I’ve always had ideas buzzing about in my head for as long as I can remember and used to write short stories when I was a teen. I did manage to get a short story published in a magazine when I was in my early twenties and then I had my son and my brain turned to mush. When I started book blogging I rediscovered my love of writing again but was too afraid to share it with anyone. However, in 2015 I took part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and wrote the first draft of my novel in 30 days. This almost killed me! Its exhausting. I’ve been tweaking and editing the book ever since and at times I adore the experience and there are other times I could burn the book! I’ve been told that’s normal behaviour for a writer. I’ve joined a writing group and help to run it along with the other members. This has forced me to take a leap and start reading my work out to other people! What I have discovered about writing is that authors are the bravest people on the planet. Writing a book, short story or poem is like going outside without your knickers on! Terrifying. That being said, I’ve ideas for 4 other novels and written the opening chapters to 2 other novels. I just need to find the time to develop them!

How has the RNA New Writer’s Scheme helped your writing?

RNA Artwork FINAL CMYKMy lovely friend Les Moriarty who sadly died in 2016, was an amazing support and was always encouraging me to apply to become a member of the Romantic Novelists New Writers scheme, but I was too afraid. Les was so supportive of so many writers that lots of us owe him a huge debt of gratitude for pushing us out of our comfort zones. When Les died in 2016 I was devastated and decided to finally make that leap and join the scheme. The scheme has been amazing in terms of support and guidance. I had the opportunity to submit my manuscript for critique back in August. I received an in-depth report which at times wasn’t easy to read. Looking back on it now with a slightly more rational mind I can see a lot of it was very good advice, so I’ve been working on incorporating some of the suggestions on how to improve the story and my writing. The RNA also holds an annual conference and I attended that and was even a member of a panel on one of the conference days. Again, I received some wonderful support from other authors on the scheme and have made life long friends. I can’t sing the scheme’s praises highly enough. The RNA is simply amazing, and its members are the friendliest people!
Beach or city girl? Where are your favourite holiday destinations and why?

Oh a beach girl. I long to lie on a sandy beach somewhere with a cocktail in one hand and a book in the other! Living along a main road I crave somewhere quiet. I love the ocean and I think its because of my grandfather who was in the navy! My favourite holiday destination is Malta. We went there on our honeymoon and it was just beautiful. If I had to choose a city though it would be Rome. Really enjoyed our stay there. Our hotel was a converted monastery, half of which was still a working monastery and still had monks worshipping there!

What advice would you give to newbie writers?

I think the best advice to give is to accept constructive criticism of your work in the manner it was intended. Its there to help you develop as a writer. Well, as long as its not rude, hurtful or plain horrible which is unlikely. Also, seek out the support of other writers. The book community is an extremely supportive world where you will find lots of wonderful people to guide you. Establish links also within the wonderful book blogging community as ultimately these are the people who will read your book and tell the world about it. Their dedication is amazing. But always remember to be kind and courteous throughout. The book world, while supportive is protective too so rudeness will just not be tolerated, and people will not want to read your book. I think kindness should be practiced in all areas of life. It’s my mantra!

And finally, you are hosting a dinner party and can invite four celebrity guests (dead or living). Who would you choose and why?

Oh, excellent question. I think the first person would be Stephen King as I’m a huge fan! I’ve enjoyed his books for many years and think he is a fantastic writer. He scares the life out of me! Secondly, I’d invite Harper Lee as I’d love to hear more about her life and why it took so long for her to release Go Set A Watchman. Last two guests would be Donald Trump and the Queen. I can just imagine the stilted conversation between those two! I think it’d make for a fun night!

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It’s 20th February and publication day for Little Pink Taxi, Marie Laval’s debut novel for Choc Lit…

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Take a ride with Love Taxis, the cab company with a Heart …
Rosalie Heart is a well-known face in Irlwick – well, if you drive a bright pink taxi and your signature style is a pink anorak, you’re going to draw a bit of attention! But Rosalie’s company Love Taxis is more than just a gimmick – for many people in the remote Scottish village, it’s a lifeline.

Which is something that Marc Petersen will never understand. Marc’s ruthless approach to business doesn’t extend to pink taxi companies running at a loss. When he arrives in Irlwick to see to a new acquisition – Raventhorn, a rundown castle – it’s apparent he poses a threat to Rosalie’s entire existence; not just her business, but her childhood home too.

On the face of it Marc and Rosalie should loathe each other, but what they didn’t count on was somebody playing cupid …

BUY LINKS

iBooks: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/gb/book/little-pink-taxi/id1326824583?mt=11&at=11lNBs

Kindle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Pink-Taxi-Choc-Lit-ebook/dp/B078KCQ5G3/

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/little-pink-taxi-choc-lit

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Marie_Laval_Little_Pink_Taxi?id=KIhDDwAAQBAJ

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37883129-little-pink-taxi

Our website: http://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/little-pink-taxi/

MY REVIEW

Absolutely loved this book.  At the centre is the sale of Ravensthorn Castle, a place Rosalie Heart has always called home. But with the arrival of new owner Marc Petersen, her whole life, and that of the small Scottish village of Irlwick is threatened.  Marc – half French/half Danish – is a cool no-nonsense business man whose world is about balance sheets and profit.  As part of the sale, Rosalie’s taxi business is under threat.  It doesn’t make a profit and Marc is unable to understand that she’s someone who believes the needs of her small isolated community are more important than income.

For Rosalie, Marc’s arrival unsettling. Why did Geoff McBride, currently in hospital after a car crash, decide to sell? And to this man of all people? Then there are the strange things that have been happening to her recently– hoax calls, threatening notes and a dark four by four shadowing her.

I particularly loved the way Marc and Rosalie’s romance was drip fed through the book. Their relationship moved from dislike to a wary companionship. Constantly thrown into each other’s company it wasn’t long before they were both trying their hardest to resist each other. But of course the inevitable happened – helped along by some ghostly happenings courtesy of Isobel McBride.

When Kirsty Marsh, Marc’s right hand woman, discovers what is going on she’s  determined Rosalie won’t get the man she’s set her sights on. Devious and clever, she sets out to wreck their relationship.

And last but not least I have to mention the setting – the mountains, the loch, the forest, the snow (lots of it) and  the wonderful, sometimes quirky,  inhabitants of Irlwick.

There is so much more I could say about Little Pink Taxi, but it would be giving far too much of the plot away and that’s the last thing I want to do.  All I will say is that it is a great read which includes romance, mystery, ghosts and a mythical treasure.  It’s also a thriller with some scary moments for both Marc and Rosalie.  All in all another winner for Choc Lit.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

AUTHOR PICOriginally from Lyon in France, I have been living in Lancashire for the past few years. I write both contemporary and historical romance, always with ‘a French twist’! A SPELL IN PROVENCE is my first contemporary romantic suspense and is available from Accent Press. ANGEL HEART, my debut historical romance, THE LION’S EMBRACE and DANCING FOR THE DEVIL are published by Accent Press too. Watch this space for LITTLE PINK TAXI, my new contemporary romance, which will be released by Choc Lit in February 2018!

 

 

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IT’S PUBLICATION DAY FOR CHOC LIT AUTHOR JANE LOVERING’S LATEST NOVEL LIVING IN THE PAST…

LIVING IN THE PAST

Do you ever wish you could turn back time?

Grace Nicholls has a few reasons for wanting to turn back the clock … although an archaeological dig at a Bronze Age settlement on the Yorkshire moors is not what she had in mind. But encouraged by her best friend Tabitha, that’s exactly where she finds herself.

Professor Duncan McDonald is the site director and his earnest pursuit of digging up the past makes him appear distant and unreachable. But when a woman on the site goes missing, it seems that his own past might be coming back to haunt him once again.

As they dig deeper, Duncan and Grace get more than they bargained for – and come to realise that the past is much closer than either of them ever imagined …

MY REVIEW

Jane Lovering is a very unique voice and brings both drama and humour to the romantic fiction she writes. Living in the Past centres on a dig which takes place in North Yorkshire during the summer holidays. Young widowed history teacher Grace still mourns the loss of husband Jamie who died of cancer two years ago. Her friend Tabitha suggests a break away but the thought of working on an archaeological dig – somewhere which conjures up images of heavy rain and plentiful amounts of mud – holds little appeal. Despite her initial reservations Grace joins Tabitha at the dig. When Tabitha’s partner Millie arrives on site and she has to move out of their tent she is offered a room with Professor Duncan McDonald, the dig leader; a large, scruffy unapproachable man. When one of the dig members goes missing and the police arrive to interview Duncan, Grace learns she is not the only one with a troubled past. Despite still mourning husband Jamie, Grace has her witty moments. She’s also a strong, compassionate character. Discovering her ability to move between present day and the past she uses it to help Duncan find closure on a situation that has haunted him for fifteen years. An incident he has never stopped blaming himself for. It has a bit of a domino effect too. As Grace becomes more involved with helping Duncan so her preoccupation with Jamie and the past gradually begins to fade. Duncan is not your usual Choc Lit hero either. In fact he’s anything but. Scruffy and more often than not covered in mud, at the beginning of the story he’s distant and unapproachable. But meeting Grace causes a shift in his attitude and begins to mellow him. And when all that mud is showered away, Grace discovers underneath his worn jacket, baggy jumpers and faded jeans there’s quite an attractive man lurking… The title Living in the Past has been well chosen. It not only relates to the fact the story centres around an archaeological dig, both characters are also in some way tied to previous events in their lives. Well deserving of five stars…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

jANE LOVERINGJane was born in Devon and now lives in Yorkshire. She has five children, four cats and two dogs! She works part-time and also teaches creative writing. Jane is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and has a first class honours degree in creative writing.

Jane writes romantic comedies which are often described  as ‘quirky’.

Her debut Please Don’t Stop the Music won the 2012 Romantic Novel of the Year and the Best Romantic Comedy Novel award from the Romantic Novelists’ Association.  

BUY LINKS FOR LIVING IN THE PAST

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Living-Past-Choc-Jane-Lovering-ebook/dp/B078GRHXT1/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Living-Past-Choc-Jane-Lovering-ebook/dp/B078GRHXT1/
iBook: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/gb/book/living-in-the-past-choc-lit/id1327244667?mt=11&at=11lNBs
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/living-in-the-past-choc-lit
Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Jane_Lovering_Living_in_the_Past_Choc_Lit?id=3a9DDwAAQBAJ
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37731978-living-in-the-past
Our website: http://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/living-in-the-past/

Tell Me No Secrets is now out in paperback and today author Lynda Stacey is here to give us the low down on Ben Parker and what makes a good hero…

 

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TELL ME NO SECRETS

Can a secret be worse than a lie?

Every time Kate Duggan looks in a mirror she is confronted by her guilt; a long, red scar reminding her that she was ‘the one to walk away’ from the car accident. Not everyone was so lucky …
On the surface her fiancé Rob is supportive – but the reality is different. He’s controlling, manipulative and, if the phone call Kate overhears is anything to go by, he has a secret. But just how dangerous is that secret?
When Kate begins work at a firm of private investigators, she meets Ben Parker. His strong and silent persona is intriguing but it’s also a cover – because something devastating happened to Ben, something he can’t get over.
As Kate and Ben begin their first assignment, they become close. But, what they don’t realise is how close to home the investigation will bring them, or who will be hurt in the process …

Buy Link to Choc Lit
http://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/house-of-secrets/
Buy Link to Amazon:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tell-Me-No-Secrets-gripping-ebook/dp/B06Y5LN8BP/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1493732572&sr=1-1&keywords=tell+me+no+secrets
or GetBook.at/Tmnsecrets

MY REVIEW

Kate Duggan blames herself for an accident which killed her brother and crippled her twin sister Eve. She has a constant reminder of the crash – a scar on her face which she camouflages with makeup. Not only does she feel guilty for what happened, her own physical disfigurement has left her with low esteem. When she meets handsome personal trainer Rob, she believes she has found someone who looks beyond the scar and really loves her. Now engaged and living in a cottage her grandmother left her, things appear to have changed. Rob is no longer a warm loving man but bullying and secretive.
Originally training as a lawyer, Kate joined the Met as a police officer . Having left her uniform days behind she is about to begin working for private investigators Parker and Sons. On her first morning when introduced to the owner’s son Ben she feels a spark of attraction but reminds herself she is already committed to Rob. Ben is also attracted to Kate but is still mourning the death of his wife and unborn child. As the two of them begin working together on a drugs case, a close friendship forms.
Lynda Stacey provides all the right ingredients for a thoroughly enjoyable read. She skilfully brings her characters together , introducing us to a hero and heroine still holding onto their painful pasts, a thoroughly unpleasant boyfriend and the mother from hell to mention but a few There are enough plot twists and turns in the plot as it sweeps Ben and Kate in and out of dangerous situations, as you wonder whether they will eventually get together or not. An excellent follow up to her first novel House of Secrets.

4-stars

Author Bio

L (1) copy 2Lynda grew up in the mining village of Bentley, Doncaster, in South Yorkshire,
Her own chaotic life story, along with varied career choices helps Lynda to create stories of romantic suspense, with challenging and unpredictable plots, along with (as in all romances) very happy endings.
Lynda joined the Romantic Novelist Association in 2014 under the umbrella of the New Writers Scheme and in 2015, her debut novel House of Secrets won the Choc Lit & Whole Story Audiobooks Search for a Star competition.
She lives in a small rural hamlet near Doncaster, with her husband, Haydn, whom she’s been happily married to for over 20 years.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lyndastaceyauthor
Twitter: @Lyndastacey
Website: http://www.Lyndastacey.co.uk

 

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Tell Me No Secrets: The Hero – All About Ben Parker

With the paperback release of Tell Me No Secrets, I decided that it was at this time that I got to look back at how I created Ben, the hero of the book …

Who is Ben Parker?

Ben is obviously gorgeous but has a secret of his own. He’s caring, understanding and comes over as calm, with just a hint of vulnerability, all of which quickly shows through in his personality.

Ben is the son of William Parker, who owns the private investigator firm where Kate Duggan goes to work. Everyone keeps telling Ben to move on, to start his life again, but Ben still lives with the past, with the loss of his wife and unborn child and with the guilt that if only he’d been home, he might just have been able to save them both.

What makes a good hero?

And of course this is only my opinion.
A good hero is hard to find. I often read books where the hero isn’t that appealing (to me), they are often flat and without much of a personality, which is why I like to give my heroes a history. I feel that they need depth of character and a big personality. They don’t necessarily have to be overly gorgeous, but of course it helps. I feel that it’s more important for them to be kind, respectful, passionate and sensitive. I also feel that the hero needs to be interesting, and just a little flawed. He needs to feel emotion, even if sometimes that’s anger or hatred, especially towards someone who is trying to hurt the people he loves. All of this helps the reader identify with him, they take the journey with him as he overcomes those flaws, and what’s more they begin to root for him to achieve and succeed.

A piece of the novel from Ben Parker’s point of view…!

Ben cringed, caught her eye and mouthed ‘sorry’. He liked the way she came across, appearing to be timid, cautious, yet with the flick of a switch, she’d turn feisty, and easily capable of standing her ground.

She intrigued him. He realised why she thought the accident was personal, he could understand her not wanting to talk about it in public and why she had omitted it on the application form. After all, he knew that her sister had been paralysed, her brother killed and out of curiosity, he half hoped his father would push her for just a few more answers.
Ben once again caught her gaze. She looked defenceless and ready to run; her eyes held the light like mirrors and sparkled as though full of tears that didn’t or couldn’t fall. He smiled at her and her mouth curled up slightly at one side in a quirky, nervous half smile and then there was the scar, a scar that carved itself into her jawline. It was definitive, yet somehow added to her vulnerability, and for some reason, it made her even more beautiful.
He breathed in deeply and then closed his eyes. She wore a fragrance that reached its way across the office. It was fresh, musky and distinguished and he kept his eyes closed momentarily to enjoy the scent.

Rousing himself, he walked to the door and excused himself from the room. He then stood in the passageway with his back against the wall. His hands made fists and he felt angry with himself for looking at Kate that way. She was a work colleague after all, and he reprimanded himself for thinking otherwise. It had been the first time, since Julia had died, that he’d admired another woman. Or had thought of one in that way and, for a moment, he felt as though he’d betrayed her memory. Even though he knew he didn’t need it, he looked up to the sky for forgiveness, before taking a deep breath, opening the door and walking back into the office, where Kate and his father were talking.

 

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TODAY TUESDAY TALK WELCOMES SUZAN COLLINS DISCUSSING THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE CHATTY CAT SERIES AND HER LATEST WRITING PROJECT…

Today I’m pleased to welcome Suzan Collins the creator of the Chatty Cat series.

Hi Suzan and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

I live by the sea and enjoy writing fiction as it allows me to make up stories – and eat cake! I also write non-fiction to inform others.

What led to you becoming an author?

I used to manage care homes and there was a gap in training materials so I wrote some open learning workbooks for the staff to complete. When I left management I was offered a four book contract by Jessica Kingsley Publishers and in 2018 a further two book contract…. And now have 16 titles published #nonfiction #fiction #adults #children

What inspired you to write The Chatty Cat series?

22nd Feb 2017_4Chatty is an actual cat. My cat. Chatty was rescued by the local RSPCA and named Twinkle. A few days of moving in she chatted so much I soon named her Chatty Cat. Social media is great for showing people things and of course within a day or two of Chatty moving in I posted a few photos of her. As the days went on people were asking about her and wanted to see more pics so I set up a FB page for her. I was then contacted by some who are not on FB saying they wanted to keep up to date with and a blog was built. Chatty narrates her own books and as they follow her life they also give valuable info to the children reading her books e.g. how to look after a cat, an introduction to bullying, dementia etc. Book five which is out soon follows Chatty and her furry friends and their adventures and the passing of one of their cat friends. There are some sad chapters in this one but it teaches children about death and that you can talk about it.

My books are written for children and adults read them too!

Four book covers

Chatty Cat: My Purr-fect New Home Book 1
Chatty Cat: Spring into Summer Book 2
Chatty Cat: My Purr-fect Friends Book 3
Chatty Cat: Activity Book Book 4
Chatty Cat: Autumn into Winter Book 5 (coming really soon)

Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Suzan-Collins/e/B0037DXY46/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1518448936&sr=1-2-ent

Are you a meticulous planner or do you come up with an idea, begin writing and see where it takes you?

I’m an in-betweener. I have an idea and start writing it to see where it takes me and then devise a plan.

Are you able to tell us a little about what you are working on at the moment?

I’m always working on a few books at a time and usually fiction and nonfiction. Currently I’m revising ‘The Get Writing Buddy’, writing a novel and writing the first children’s book in Izzy Cat’s series (my second rescue cat). Chatty and Izzy are very different not only in size but also in character. Chatty is now confident and laid back whereas Izzy is cheeky and in to everything.

Great pic of Izzy walking up the garden_29th Oct 2016

 

In my children’s books I always have an auction for people to bid to have their pet or relative named in my cat series with monies from the auction going to Cats Protection Anglia Coastal (they rescued Izzy Cat). The auction closes on 14th Feb so if any readers wish to buy that special unique present for their loved one here’s the link
https://www.facebook.com/Auction-to-have-your-pet-or-relative-named-in-my-Izzy-Cat-book-1635423019849832

Me and Lucy's grandson

ABOUT SUZAN

Head n shouldersInternationally selling author, Suzan Collins, enjoys writing fiction as it allows her to make up stories – and eat cake! She also writes non-fiction to inform others – and eats cake!

To see all books by Suzan Collins and find out more about her, please visit:
Website: http://www.suzancollins.com
Facebook Author page: http://goo.gl/zfiqyv
Twitter: @suzancollins

 

Chatty Cat’s social media: https://www.facebook.com/ChattyCat/
Twitter: @chattycatsuzi
Blog: http://chattycatno1.wordpress.com/

 

THIS WEEK TUESDAY TALK IS CHATTING TO AUTHOR VAL PENNY ABOUT WRITING, HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS AND HER DEBUT NOVEL, HUNTER’S CHASE…

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Today I would like to welcome crime writer Val Penny whose debut novel Hunter’s Chase has just been published by Crooked Cat.

Hi Val and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

I am an American author living in SW Scotland. I have two adult daughters of whom I am very proud and live with my husband and two cats. I have a Law degree from Edinburgh University and my MSc from Napier University. I have had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer.

What influenced you to become a crime writer?

I am am avid read and my favourite genre is crime thrillers. As I have not yet achieved either of my childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store, I have turned my hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels, until those dreams come true.

What does your writing day look like?

I tend not to write in the morning, I do my household tasks then. I prefer to write in the afternoons and will often write from then until late in the evening. I like to keep going until I finish committing my run of thoughts to paper ( or computer!).
Beach or city girl? Where are your favourite holiday destinations and why?

I like to relax on vacation, but that can as easily be done exploring an interesting city or chilling with a cool drink and a book by a pool. I love to travel. It is often said, that I would go to the opening of an envelope! Invite me anywhere, and I will surely turn up.

Are you able to tell us a little about what you are working on at the moment?

My first crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase‘ set in Edinburgh, Scotland is published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. It is available from Amazon.
I am now writing the sequel, ‘Hunter’s Revenge‘ which will be published in late summer  2018

And finally, you’ve  been invited onto Desert Island Discs. Out of all the choices you could make, what would be your favourite pieces of music?

I enjoy music and have very eclectic tastes. The most recent concert I went to was given by the noted Scottish pianist Steven Osbourne who played a fabulous selection of Beethoven. Just before Christmas I went to the most marvellous jazz concert by the Tommy Smith Quartet, and amongst my favourite current performers are Adele and Sam Smith. I think I would choose a piece by each of these.

Hunter's Chase book cover

Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until Edinburgh is safe.

DI Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city and he needs to find the source but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course. Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman’s life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable. Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this taught crime thriller.

Buy Link: myBook.to/HuntersChase

ABOUT VAL

author pic 2Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballet dancer or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her first crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ set in Edinburgh, Scotland will be published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. She is now writing the sequel, ‘Hunter’s Revenge’.

VAL’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

http://www.authorvalpenny.com
http://www.facebook.com/valerie.penny.739
Friends of Hunter’s Chase – http://www.facebook.com/groups/296295777444303
https://twitter.com/valeriepenny

 

THIS WEEK TUESDAY TALK CATCHES UP WITH AUTHOR ANNE ALLEN AND WE CHAT ABOUT HER WRITING CAREER, FAVOURITE AUTHORS AND THE LATEST NOVEL IN HER GUERNSEY SERIES -THE INHERITANCE…

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Hi Anne and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Firstly, thanks for inviting me onto your blog, Jo, it’s lovely to join such super authors on Tuesday Talk.
I’m a retired psychotherapist and hypnotherapist; a mother of three grown-up children and grandmother to two small ones living close-by. Only really happy when by the sea, I’ve moved around a great deal to ensure that’s where I live ☺

How did your writing career begin?

Although I’d often had the ‘itch’ to write, particularly enjoying writing the essays for my OU degree (!), I never seemed to have the time or motivation to start. Then, about eleven years ago, I was pushed into entering a 500 word true-life story competition in Prima magazine and amazed myself by winning. This spurred me on to start the novel which became the first in The Guernsey Novels series, ‘Dangerous Waters’. I was a complete beginner and knew nothing about how to write but thoroughly enjoyed the process. It was only after receiving a couple of professional critiques, one from the RNA NWS scheme, that I realised I had a way to go if I wanted to see the book published. So began many re-writes and edits. Having no joy with agents, although some offered encouragement, I took the plunge and self-published in 2012 under my own imprint, Sarnia Press.

Who are your favourite authors and have any of them inspired your writing in any way?

My list of favourite authors has changed over the years as I’ve matured and acquired different reading tastes. I’ve loved books by Maeve Binchy, Joanna Trollope, Erica James, Katie Fforde, Robert Goddard, Mary Higgins Clark, CJ Ransome and Barbara Erskine. My stories focus on relationships, family dramas and mysteries, including a touch of dual-time and time-slip. My inspiration comes from across the board, but I feel I owe most to Erica, Maeve and Barbara.

Your books are set in Guernsey. Is there any other favourite location you might use in the future?

Mmm. At the moment I can’t see that happening as I love writing about Guernsey, having lived there for many happy years. I’m now in Devon so that’s a possibility one day …

If money were no object, where in the world would you take a very special holiday?

Oooh, choices, choices! I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some fabulous places over the years, but would love to visit India and China. Their ancient cultures are so intriguing and their modern so different to ours, I’m bound to have a wonderful time.

Are you able to tell us a little about what you are working on at the moment?

Yes, it’s number 7 in the series (all standalone stories, but with links to each other) and titled ‘The Inheritance’. In the other books I’ve referred to events of the German Occupation in tandem with the present, but this story goes back to Victorian times, when Victor Hugo lived as an exile in Guernsey. It’s dual-time, and the Victorian element concerns a young widow, Eugenie, who is befriended by Victor Hugo and his mistress Juliette Drouet and becomes his copyist. She lives in Hauteville, near Hugo’s house and her life becomes involved in theirs. Eugenie finds him charismatic, becoming more and more drawn to him. She reminds Hugo of his beloved, dead daughter, Léopoldine, and he sees her as a reincarnation of his child. In the present day, Tess, a doctor, inherits Eugenie’s house from a great-aunt, the family being direct descendants of hers. The family myth has always been that Eugenie was Hugo’s mistress, bearing his child. Tess finds Eugenie’s journals, hidden since the late nineteenth century, and learns the truth behind the myth.

And lastly, you have been invited onto I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here. Name four celebrities you would like to share the jungle with.

Can I just say, nothing would ever tempt me to do this in real life! But, hypothetically speaking, I’d choose Colin Firth – for his manly presence – Dawn French ¬– for a laugh – Bear Grylls – to do the yucky stuff – and Daniel Craig – to get me out of there!

Website: http://www.anneallen.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Anne-Allen-Author-176883759173475
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnneAllen21
Author Page on Amazon: http://Author.to/AnneAllen

 ABOUT ANNE

Iphoto for emailAnne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children, and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.
By profession, Anne was a psychotherapist, but long had the itch to write. Now a full-time writer, she has written The Guernsey Novels, six having been published and the seventh, The Inheritance, is due out in 2018.

Tuesday Talk chats to author Katey Lovell about her writing journey, favourite authors and desert island ‘must haves’

Today I’m chatting with Harper Impulse author Katey Lovell

 

Hi Katey and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Hi Jo! I’m a romance writer based in South Yorkshire who loves reading, writing, live music and musical theatre.

What made you want to be a writer and how did that journey begin?

I’ve always loved making up stories – as a child I had a lockable notebook that I used to write my first tales down in. As I got older I started writing what would now be called fan-fiction about Take That, and then moved on to poetry and short stories.

In 2014 I was struggling with ill-health (I have Crohn’s Disease, which wasn’t diagnosed at this point, as well as anxiety). I left the job I’d been in for the previous nine years and started working as a lunchtime supervisor, thinking it would give me more time to focus on both getting better and working towards making a career in writing. During that time I wrote the Meet Cute series of short stories, which were published by Harper Impulse in 2015, who’ve also published my three full-length novels.

Who are your favourite authors? Have they influenced your writing at all?

I’m a big fan of women’s fiction and I love Miranda Dickinson, Rebecca Raisin, Giovanna Fletcher, Carmel Harrington, Carrie Hope Fletcher…so many people! I’m a voracious reader, so I’d be surprised if I hadn’t been influenced by some of my favourite authors.

The first book I read that made me want to write about relationships with a touch of humour was Come Together by Emlyn Rees and Josie Lloyd – I actually met Josie a few years back and told her how I’d been influenced by her.

Currently you write feel good romance. Do you think you would ever be tempted to write something completely different or are you happy where you are?

I really enjoy writing about love, friendships and family dynamics, and I think anything I write will focus on relationships, but I’d love to try my hand at magical realism in the future – I have a notebook bursting with ideas that may one day become a novel!

Beach or city girl? Where are your favourite holiday destinations and why?

I’m definitely a city girl. Don’t get me wrong, I love the beach too, but our holidays are almost always to cities – I’ve particularly loved Florence, New York and San Francisco. I’m drawn to interesting buildings and exploring residential neighbourhoods to get a flavour of the places I visit.

That said, I do wish I was the type of person who could enjoy lazing on a sun-lounger with a good book!

Can you tell us what you are working on at the moment?

I’m currently working on the first book in a trilogy with my agent, Julia Silk from MBA. I can’t tell you too much, but it centres around a 30-year-old woman who’s trying to get her life in order. It’s about friendship and family and the pressures of modern society.

You are planning to spend a year on a desert island. What four ‘must haves’ would you take with you and why?

Oh heck – I’m rubbish at these kind of questions. I’m pretty miserable without the ability to record my thoughts, whether that’s writing books or making lists, so either a laptop or a notepad and pen is a must. If there’s no electric, I guess I’ll be going the old fashioned route! The same goes for a book – I’ve always got at least two on the go. If I was just selecting one, I’d probably go for 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff, which is my ultimate comfort read. I’d also find it hard to be without music, but without electricity I suppose I’d need some kind of Walkman and a lot of batteries! And finally, cake. I’m a big fan of cake…

You can contact Katey via Twitter – @katey5678, Instagram – @katey5678 or facebook http://www.facebook.com/kateylovell, or her blog, which can be found at http://www.kateylovell.blogspot.co.uk.

Katey’s Amazon page – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Katey-Lovell/e/B00YLIBPRE/

ABOUT KATEY

DSC_9580 copyKatey is the author of three commercial women’s fiction novels published by HarperCollins imprint HarperImpulse. Her heart-warming novels are about people overcoming everyday challenges with the support of their friends, family and local community. She has also written a series of coffee-break romances and two novellas, and is currently working on a new series of three novels.
Originally from South Wales, Katey now lives in Yorkshire with her husband and son. When she’s not writing she’ll most likely be found indulging her love of musicals, enjoying live music or reading anything and everything she can lay her hands on.

 

The Next Big Thing…

It’s Monday once more and the outside the rain is steady and persistent.  I feel this winter has been particularly awful with very few light sunny days and so much wet, dark weather. We’re very lucky to live on the side of a hill even though we are probably only five hundred yards from a river – By Brook – which meets the River Avon on the edge of the village.  No chance of flooding, which I guess, next to fire must be one of the most awful things a house owner can experience.

When I woke up this morning I realised we’d already reached January 15th – half way through the first month of 2018 already!  I’m trying to keep up the positive vibe, pleased that I’ve secured Tuesday Talk interviews for February and March.  That’s one less pressure. I’m also nearing the end of a very long writing journey.  As no doubt I’ve mentioned many times in previous blogs, my current WIP has at times has taken to me to the edge of my patience…and sanity.  It began really well last January and I thought that this, like all my previous books, would be finished by Christmas. Unfortunately not. This story has taken on a life of its own.  I guess I could keep revising and improving until the men in white coats turn up to take me away.  However, I’m glad to report I have one extra scene to write – something I feel needs to be included in the book – and then I’m done.  Part of the reason I’m drawing a final line under this particular WIP is that a new story is knocking on the door.  I’ve been gradually putting it together in my head as I’ve been doing revisions on The Boys of Summer.  This has given me the boot up the backside I badly needed in order to get one project finished and another started.

Hopefully at the end of play today I’ll have written and polished that final scene and the whole thing will be winging its way to my editor for a final check and read through.

 

And the new project?  Well currently I’m getting the cast together. The location? I’m still not there yet.  It’s going to be either South Cornwall or North Devon  I have a great love for both counties and the atmospheric backdrops they can provide so am finding  it very hard to choose. As far as the plot goes, although there’s the central romance there will. as usual, be subplots woven through the book.  I began as a saga writer and I guess I’ve never been able to shake off the need to write a story which centres on more than just two people.  Strangely I’m not a great fan of soaps although I guess there is a slight parallel in my books in that it’s all about characters, families and communities.  So what do you think?

 SHOULD IT BE NORTH DEVON?

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OR SOUTH CORNWALL?

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In the time it’s taken to write this, the rain has stopped and then returned.  A thoroughly miserable Monday but this writer has work to do. So now I’m off to sort out that very last scene. Wish me luck!

TUESDAY TALK KICKS OFF 2018 WITH A CHAT TO AUTHOR KATHRYN FREEMAN ABOUT HER WRITING JOURNEY, DREAM HOLIDAY ESCAPES AND AN INTERESTING TABLE OF DINNER GUESTS…

Tuesday Talk’s first guest of 2018 is Choc Lit author Kathryn Freeman…

5707-2Hi Kathryn and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Only if I can start by thanking you so much for inviting me to Tuesday Talk . A bit about me. I’m a wife and mum to two boys who find it highly embarrassing that their mum writes romance. I trained originally as a pharmacist and spent over twenty happy years working in the pharmaceutical industry as a medical writer before leaving to become self employed . Now I juggle both types of writing and wait in dread for the day my beating hearts get mixed up. I keep fit by running, swimming and playing tennis (not all on the same day). The exercise means I can then indulge in my favourite pastime of eating (fish and chips, if you’re asking) and drinking (champagne if you’re buying).

How did your writing journey begin?

My first book was written as a New Year resolution – the only one I’ve ever kept to. It crashed and burned, but the writing bug had taken hold. Three years and many manuscripts and rejections later, I was lucky enough to get a publishing contract with Choc Lit. The breakthrough had been joining the RNA New Writers’ Scheme and getting their invaluable feedback on what I was doing wrong.

Would you ever consider writing something other than romantic fiction? If so what would that be?

Romantic fiction is my passion; it’s what I love to read in my spare time, so I think that’s why it’s also what I love to write. I can’t imagine writing a book without romance, though I would like to dip my toe into romantic suspense – see answer to question 6!

 If money were no object, where in the world would you particularly like to visit?

Holidays are a priority for me (who needs double glazing/ a car that doesn’t keep breaking down/savings?) and I’ve been lucky enough to visit several ‘dream’ holiday destinations already. I’d go back to the Barrier Reef, Hawaii and Florence in a flash. Still on my wish list are a safari in South Africa, a relax on the beach in the Seychelles and a tour up the West coast of Australia.

What were your favourite books as a child?

I was a Famous Five addict as a child, becoming a Mills and Boon addict as a teenager.

Are you able to tell us a little about what you are working on at the moment?

My next book out will be a romance set in a biscuit factory, currently (and cunningly?!) entitled Crumbs. Meanwhile I’ve started writing a third Christmas book (the other two were written at Easter; this time I wanted to write one in the right season). I’m also trying to knock into shape an attempt at romantic suspense. She’s a scientist, he’s the bodyguard hired to stop some evil men wanting to use her virology expertise for their own end.

And lastly, you are planning a dinner party. If you were able to invite four famous guests (living or dead) who would you choose and why?

  • Jenson Button would be first on my list, because after writing Before You (featuring a racing driver) I’m in awe of the bravery, skill and fitness required to be a Formula 1 driver. Oh and because I totally swoon whenever I see him interviewed.
  • Terry Wogan because he made me laugh as a teenage girl and still had me laughing when I turned fifty.
  • Ryan Gosling so I could just sit and ogle him. Shirt not required.
  • Nora Roberts, so I can ask her how she’s able to write such incredible books.

 

Kathryn’s social media links

Website: http://kathrynfreeman.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kathrynfreeman
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KathrynFreeman1

ABOUT KATHRYN

I was born in Wallingford but have spent most of my life living in a village outside Windsor. A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also loves to write romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero…
I’ve two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to bother buying a card again this year (yes, he does) so the romance in my life is all in my head. Then again, my husband’s unstinting support of my career change goes to prove that love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes can come in many disguises.

Before You

When life in the fast lane threatens to implode …

Melanie Hunt’s job working for the Delta racing team means she is constantly rubbing shoulders with Formula One superstars in glamorous locations like Monte Carlo. But she has already learned that keeping a professional distance is crucial if she doesn’t want to get hurt.

New Delta team driver Aiden Foster lives his life like he drives his cars – fast and hard. But, no matter how successful he is, it seems he always falls short of his championship-winning father’s legacy. If he could just stay focused, he could finally make that win.

Resolve begins to slip as Melanie and Aiden find themselves drawn to each other –with nowhere to hide as racing season begins. But when a troubled young boy goes missing, everything is thrown into turmoil, including Aiden’s championship dream.

Buy link for Before You
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Before-You-Kathryn-Freeman-ebook/dp/B01FB6MM08