Are e-books stupid? Should e-books be classed as ‘real books’? Director of @BloodHoundBook @BetsyReavley is in the hot seat with #TWG

The Writing Garnet

E-book or not to e-book?
Last month, the head of one of the world’s biggest publishers, spoke to the media about e-books. Whilst I would usually celebrate anything from the book world making the media, I remember being quite flabbergasted by what I had read in said article. I am sure a lot of people read the article in question – it had quite a lot of shares on social media at the time! The comment which left a lot of people, including myself, reeling, was the quote ‘e-books are stupid’. Pardon? I am fully aware that people prefer one format over another, after all, we cannot all like the same things. Some readers may prefer to read hardbacks or paperbacks instead of reading e-books, or visa versa. Personally, I don’t see the problem with that, I am just thankful that we actually have a choice. Think about it – many years ago, the only…

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A fabulously funny read from Caroline James. Think The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel but in the Lake District!

Let the shenanigans begin at the Best Boomerville Hotel …
Jo Docherty and Hattie Contaldo have a vision – a holiday retreat in the heart of the Lake District exclusively for guests of ‘a certain age’ wishing to stimulate both mind and body with new creative experiences. One hotel refurbishment later and the Best Boomerville Hotel is open for business!

Perhaps not surprisingly Boomerville attracts more than its fair share of eccentric clientele: there’s fun-loving Sir Henry Mulberry and his brother Hugo; Lucinda Brown, an impoverished artist with more ego than talent; Andy Mack, a charming Porsche-driving James Bond lookalike, as well as Kate Simmons, a woman who made her fortune from an internet dating agency but still hasn’t found ‘the One’ herself.

With such an array of colourful individuals there’s bound to be laughs aplenty, but could there be tears and heartbreak too and will the residents get more than they bargained for at Boomerville?


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Well, what a wonderful way for Choc Lit to launch their Ruby fiction imprint. The Best Boomerville Hotel kept me entertained from the very first page to the last.
After her husband’s death Jo Docherty closed their hotel, the Kirkton House for a year. But now she’s back and with the help of her friend, the larger than life Hattie Contraldo, has reopened as The Boomerville Hotel. The object of their new business is, and I quote, ‘for midlife singles to learn new things and take up fresh challenges’. The hotel offers everything, from spa treats and yoga, to more cerebrally challenging things like creative writing, cookery and art courses. There’s something for everyone, together with a resident fortune teller and shaman.
As Jo opens for business and guests arrive, the reader is introduced to a great group of very different people. One of the central characters is Kate, someone who has spent a good part of her time bringing couples together with her on line dating business. But after selling her company it’s now an opportunity for some ‘me’ time and maybe finding Mr Right? He appears early on as the Porsche driving affluent Andy Mack who Jo and Hattie are quick to nickname James Bond. Could there be romance in the air? Could The Boomerville actually be responsible for two people finding happy ever after?
This is such an entertaining read. OK there are quite a few characters to get your head around but they’re introduced in such a way you have no problem distinguishing who’s who. The story dips in and out of their lives giving a great mixture of drama and comedy during their stay. Caroline keeps the pot boiling so the reader is constantly wondering what’s going to happen next. A first class read, I absolutely loved it!



Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that features in her novels. She is based in the UK but has a great fondness for travel and escapes whenever she can. A public speaker, consultant and food writer, Caroline is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association and writes articles and short stories and contributes to many publications. In her spare time, Caroline can be found trekking up a mountain or relaxing with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.




ViennaColour250x250Hi Miriam and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Hi Jo and thank you very much for having me on your blog. I was born and brought up in the UK, but have lived for over forty years in Israel, where I married and had three children, now all grown up. I began my working life as a computer programmer, transferred to technical writing and am now an author and an editor.

The other thing I should say, because it comes up below, is that I developed social anxiety as a child, mostly because of the way I was treated at school, and have lived with it ever since.

What made you decide to move from writing fiction to producing a non-fiction book?

It only seems as if that’s what I did. Actually, I wrote the non-fiction book on social anxiety in 2004 before I wrote any fiction. When I tried to get it published, I began to realise how difficult it is to become a published author and put the book aside. In the meantime, I started to write fiction and eventually got some short stories published in anthologies before being picked up by my publisher, Crooked Cat Books. When Crooked Cat ventured into non-fiction, they accepted my book from 2004, which I enhanced, and which was published in 2017.

Have you any plans to return to fictional work?

Definitely. I’m working on one work of fiction at the moment and have plans for others.

If money were no object where in the world would you love to travel to?

My husband and I have done a lot of travelling in recent years, including exotic places like India, Ethiopia and the Far East. But I’ve never crossed the equator and would love to visit anywhere in the southern hemisphere. I’d probably start with Australia and New Zealand, two places with plenty to discover and no language barrier.

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

I’m looking forward to getting back to writing when I return home from my current trip to the UK, during which, apart from visiting several lovely friends, I have given a talk on social anxiety and am about to co-lead a workshop.

In the novel I hope to finish shortly, a man who’s been socially isolated is sent to Japan to represent his company. The business trip is only short, but it has a major effect on his life.

And lastly, you are planning life on a desert island for a year. What four things would you take with you and why?

The thing that springs to mind first is the means for writing. I’m hoping that by wording it in this way, you will regard it as one thing, although it sounds like two: paper and pens. And in sufficient quantities to keep me going all year, please. That’ll keep me busy and happy.

Turning to more practical matters, I’d like a big crate of tinned and other food and drink that’ll last, to keep me alive.

Music would be nice – a wide variety of it, including songs to dance to. And maybe the playlist could include some Radio 4 programmes. I particularly like Woman’s Hour, Just a Minute and the News Quiz. Even Desert Island Discs.

And, of course, lots of books to read, starting with all those on my ever-growing to-read list.

This is beginning to sound like a welcome prospect. When can I go?

Author BIO

image001Miriam Drori was born and brought up in London and now lives with her husband and one of three grown up children in Jerusalem.

With a degree in Maths and following careers in computer programming and technical writing, Miriam has been writing novels and short stories for fourteen years. After some success with short stories, Miriam turned her hand to longer fictional works, publishing “Neither Here Nor There” and “The Women Friends: Selina” co-written with Emma Rose Millar.

Miriam’s latest publication is non-fiction and explores the common but little-known disorder called social anxiety, which has been her companion for most of her life. It looks at social anxiety from different points of view, with the help of many quotes from ‘sufferers’ who agreed for their words to be used anonymously. The book has been highly recommended by ‘sufferers’ as well as professionals in this field.

When not writing, Miriam enjoys reading, hiking, dancing and travelling.

Miriam Drori can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Wattpad and on her website/blog and social anxiety blog.


Neither Here Nor There, a romance set in Jerusalem.

The Women Friends: Selina, historical fiction based on a painting by Klimt.

Social Anxiety Revealed



As a huge fan of Sheryl’s I’m super excited to be joining this blog blitz…


The Babysitter: A gripping psychological thriller with edge of your seat suspense

You trust her with your family. Would you trust her with your life?

Mark and Melissa Cain are thrilled to have found Jade, a babysitter who is brilliant with their young children. Having seen her own house burn to the ground, Jade needs them as much as they need her. Moving Jade into the family home can only be a good thing, can’t it?

As Mark works long hours as a police officer and Melissa struggles with running a business, the family become ever more reliant on their babysitter, who is only too happy to help. And as Melissa begins to slip into depression, it’s Jade who is left picking up the pieces.

But Mark soon notices things aren’t quite as they seem. Things at home feel wrong, and as Mark begins to investigate their seemingly perfect sitter, what he discovers shocks him to his core. He’s met Jade before. And now he suspects he might know what she wants …

Mark is in a race against time to protect his family. But what will he find as he goes back to his family home?

If you loved reading The Girl on the Train, Behind Closed Doors and The Sister, you’ll love the suspense of The Babysitter. This unputdownable read will have you turning the pages until way after dark.


Sheryl Browne has delivered yet another fabulous nail biting read. What is interesting about this story is that unlike her previous thrillers, this time we actually get inside the head of the incredibly evil young woman who owns the title of this book. We learn her motives and see exactly how she means to achieve her goals, acting with an icy callousness common to those with psychopathic tendencies.

She is someone whose actions have been triggered by events experienced as a child long ago. A traumatic event and the first time she met DI Mark Cain. He said he’d always be there for her and she hasn’t forgotten that promise. Now an adult, she has recently moved in opposite Mark and his family.  When her cottage is badly damaged by fire they come to Jade’s aid. As she has no relatives they offer to put her up while the insurance is being sorted.  Jade tells them she is trained in child care and offers to help Mark’s wife Melissa, looking after the children while she works.

On the surface Jade is perfect. She’s pretty, competent; nothing it appears is too much for her to cope with.   Her arrival seems to have come at the right time as Mel suddenly begins to feel unwell, leaving her with the day to day responsibilities for seven year old Poppy and baby Evie. Mark too is affected as Mel’s depression and lack of energy worsens and begins to have an adverse impact on his job.

I was amazed at how cleverly Jade manipulated everyone around her, creating massive cracks in the Cain’s previously idyllic marriage.  Even when things don’t quite go to plan, she’s there, finding ways around the problem to get her back on track.

And poor Mark, like all Sheryl’s previous central male characters he comes under incredible pressure as he battles to save both his marriage and his job. There were times I wondered how or even whether he’d survive.

Jade is a thoroughly nasty character, complex and damaged.  She’s one jump ahead of everyone in her twisted plan to get rid of Mel and have Mark for herself.  She’s on a mission and absolutely nothing is going to stand in her way.

An edge of the seat story, cleverly written with great characters  – Jade was an absolute masterpiece!


unnamed (1)Sheryl Browne brings you powerful psychological thriller and contemporary fiction. SheryI’s latest psychological thriller THE BABYSITTER – the first of a three-book deal – comes to you from fabulous BOOKOUTURE. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association and the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and previously writing for award winning Choc Lit, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing.

So why does Sheryl write in two genres? Quoting E. L. Doctorow, Sheryl says: “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights…” This she thinks sums up a writer’s journey, you never quite know where you are going until you get there. You might start with an outline, but a strong character will always divert from the plot. If Sheryl’s not sure where a character is going, she simply has to trust him to show her the way. Plus, according to one reviewer, she also has a scary insight into the mind of a psychopath.

Please do find out more about Sheryl at
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AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Skydiving Instructor ANDY GUEST who has just published his autobiography TYPE T.

28577300_10156269217318408_2505589770508304384_nToday I’m chatting to author Andy Guest who has just published his autobiography – Type T.  Quoting from the blurb ‘Type T is a true and compelling account of Andy’s testosterone-fuelled escapades, where not everything goes to plan. It’s a tale of the strength of the human mind when it steps outside the comfort zone.’

Good morning Andy and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Good morning, Jo. Thank you for having me. Well, I’m just an average person who at the tender age of eighteen decided I wanted a life of adventures, and who realised in order to make it happen I would have to step outside my comfort zone. I hoped, in doing so, that I would perhaps learn more about myself, which I did. Adventures aside, I’m married to Alison and I’m a father of two sons who have their parents’ genes, so it came as no surprise to see their adventurous and competitive spirits surface. I live in Devon, a stone’s throw from the drop zone at Dunkesewell, where I spend most of my time jumping from aeroplanes as a skydiving instructor.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? How did your journey begin?

Many years ago my brother was interviewing my father about his experiences as a Malayan police officer fighting in the jungles, with the idea of writing a book about him, but sadly my father passed away before it was completed. It was only after I heard some of the stories that it struck me there was a part of my father I never knew, and my sons would never know. So, by writing my autobiography, future generations of my family will know something about me. I was spurred on by friends who, after hearing about my experiences, found them fascinating and urged me to write about them.

How did you find the writing process? Which parts were the easiest and the most difficult for you?

I’m extremely grateful that I was introduced to an editor who opened my eyes to the writing world and showed me the ropes. Once I got started, writing about most of my experiences was easy… I just viewed the images in my mind and transferred the stories onto paper. One story in particular was extremely difficult to write about, though. I had buried a lot of emotional stuff deep inside me and had put up a barrier as a way of dealing with it. Allowing that barrier to drop and letting those emotions resurface was painful, but the story had to be told as it had such an impact on my life.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about writing their own memoir or autobiography?

There’s no point in writing an autobiography if you’re not going to be honest. People will see through any lies so stick to the facts and remember that none of us are perfect. I wrote my book in the present tense, so the readers will feel they are with me on my journey, and I think it makes the stories come alive on the page. Some things will be difficult to write about but you need to rise up and overcome those difficult moments. Sometimes you may have to step away from the keyboard in order to compose yourself, but it’ll all be worth it in the end. For me, it was actually quite a cathartic process.

Do you have any plans for a second book?

Now I’ve had a taste of writing and enjoyed the experience, I’m certainly toying with the idea and have a few ideas flying around in my head, but I’ll initially take a break and let the ideas grow. While that’s happening I have a lot of marketing to do!

If you were cast away on a desert island, which four things couldn’t you live without?

I’d need an endless supply of tea to help me chill; a fishing line with a hook to entertain and relax me, and to provide food; a pillow (just having that little bit of comfort makes all the difference), and a machete. I’d obviously use it to build things but I could also wave it at an approaching boat and yell,”Get off my land!” if the need arose.

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

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the explorer, as it be would be fascinating to hear about his adventures. Neil Armstrong, to hear his first hand account of landing on the moon. Douglas Bader, the Spitfire pilot and POW escapee. Wow! What an adventure he had in his life. And finally, Nellie Bly, the American journalist who stepped off the train in New York on 25 January 1890, and into history. She had raced through a “man’s world” in seventy-two days, and it would be fascinating to talk to her.



Join Andy Guest as he reflects on his lust for adventure and recounts the thrilling and often dangerous situations he has faced by living a life on the edge.

Packed with action and sprinkled with humour and emotion, this is an extraordinary story of one man’s quest to understand himself and to release an inner spirit that constantly challenges him.

Andy will take you up – to the clouds, the bridges, the skyscrapers and the mountain tops – in his pursuit of excellence in the world of skydiving and BASE jumping, and lead you from the gruelling Royal Marines training camp in Lympstone to ‘Bandit Country’ in Northern Ireland, and from the horrors of war-torn Afghanistan to the piracy of the open seas.

Type T is a true and compelling account of Andy’s testosterone-fuelled escapades, where not everything goes to plan. It’s a tale of the strength of the human mind when it steps outside the comfort zone.

Amazon :



Today I’m with Melissa Kirk, a publishing professional who provides invaluable support services to creatives…

Kirk_0713ncHi Melissa and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Sure! I’ve lived in the east bay of the San Francisco bay area for most of my life, grew up in Berkeley, and now live in Richmond. My first jobs were all about publishing and words…a bookstore, a newspaper, a small publishing house. I worked in publishing houses for 17 years, and have been freelancing as an editor and book coach for 2 years.

I just got the wonderful opportunity to serve on the Richmond Arts and Culture Commission, which I’m excited about.

In my spare time, I hang out with my cats, laugh with my friends, and grow vegetables.

What prompted you to start CreateBuzz Writing and Words to Honey Editing and Publishing services?

Well, about two years ago, I lost my 13-year job at a publishing company.
I knew this was a sign that I needed to really choose carefully what I wanted to do next. I ended up hiring a coach to help me figure it out, and we explored how much I love the arts and the creative world, and collaborating with creative people. It’s something I would do for free if I could!

So both my businesses are ways for me to help creative people in different ways, to get their voices and their work strongly out to the people who will love what they’re saying.

What kind of services do you offer to writers and creatives?

I started CreateBuzz as a way to help creative people get the clients and customers that would help them be able to make an income from their creativity. I help clients with marketing and community-building, which is all marketing really is. Whether its social media, writing web copy, doing video, holding art shows and events, submitting work to galleries, pitching services to potential clients, or brainstorming “out of the box” ways to get your creative work seen, I can help with that, and I can do the marketing work that many creative people don’t want to do, because they’d rather be doing their creative work.

Words to Honey is my editing and book coaching business, where I provide the same services to writers as I did at my old job and then some: editing, writing coaching, help with proposals and pitches, market research, pitching to publishing houses, book representation, ghostwriting, and marketing. But it’s better than my old job, because I can truly collaborate with the authors instead of being the gatekeeper, as I was at the publishing company. I focus on nonfiction.

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

Oh, I’m not a city person at all. I’d much rather be in nature, whether the beach, the forest, mountains, or desert. I really love the desert, actually.

If I could pick any “holiday” travel (not that freelancers get holidays!) I’d go on a road trip across the states. I’ve always wanted to do that. I love exploring this country. There are so many cultures, landscapes, and types of people. One thing I like about having two freelance businesses is that I get to do so many different kinds of things. I get bored easily. On a road trip, there’s a potential adventure around every corner!

Have you ever been tempted to write fiction? If you have, what genre would you choose and why?

I used to try to write fiction. I have two half-novels I wrote during NaNoWriMo, but I could never finish them. One of them is about a bunch of freaks living in New Orleans, one of whom turns out to be a vampire. LOL. The other was about a woman who leaves an abusive relationship and drives across the country on a motorcycle.

If I were to try again and if I could finish something, I’d probably do something in the magical realism/dark future realm. I love that stuff.

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?

I’d probably invite Nikola Tesla, Alan Turing, Ada Lovelace, and Grace Hopper. I’m fascinated by the history of tech – how we got these crazy tech devices we have now. I’d just sit back and listen.


Melissa Kirk is an editor, writer, book coach, businesswoman, and marketer living in the SF bay area.


Twitter: @words_to_honey





At the End of the Summer-Amazon

At the End of the Summer
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 1st May 2018

Joshua’s life as a rock guitarist seems like a dream come true. Sold out concerts, red carpet events and wild nights portray him as a confident young man with the world at his feet. Only few friends know the scars he carries.
When freelance photographer Caroline meets the rock band Burning Ruins at the after party, an irresistible chemistry of attraction between her and the sexy rock guitarist is clearly seen to everybody. However, after a forced conversation from Joshua’s side, Caroline’s convinced the attraction is not mutual.
Waking up the next morning, Caroline has no idea what happened. She flees out of the hotel room mortified, convinced she’d become another of the band’s trophies. Determined never to meet anyone from Burning Ruins ever again, she has no clue people around her have different ideas.
In a summer that takes them from London to Wales and to the sultry heat of Rome, they’re desperately fighting their demons from the past, while trying to protect their broken hearts. Will they ever let each other mend their broken hearts or will they try to heal them alone?


June Moonbridge _ aka _ Petra RovereJune was born in June and she always loved the moon. She comes from Slovenia, a country in the middle of Europe.

She studied economics, and quickly realised she hated it. Afterwards, she found herself working in mainly male-dominated businesses; at first in automotive and later steel products. She can choose the best steel for your project, but don’t, please don’t, ask her which lipstick brand you should use.

She started to write in high school and was criticised by her teacher. Stubborn as she is, that didn’t stop her. Under different pen names, she had stories published in magazines, and then went on to publish three books.

After having two children, and learning that her second child has autism, she married their father and carried on working. Work and family life left her with little free time. But the desire to write didn’t die.

When life somehow sorted itself out, she challenged herself to write a novel in English and her first submissions were rejected…

For what happened then, re-read the third paragraph, second sentence above…

Since then she has published two novels: All that the Heart Desires and Caught Between Two Worlds are both stand alone and can be found on Amazon Worldwide, currently on discount or you can read them for free on KU.

You can find and follow June:
June’s blog ~ Dreams under the Moonbridge can be found on:

FB Author’s page:

You can follow her on Twitter:

Perhaps look for her on:

Links to buy other two June’s books:

Goodreads. She’d love to see you read her novels:

Or follow her on Instagram:



This week I have author Rachel Brimble sitting in the Tuesday Talk chair…

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

I live near Bath with my husband of 20 years, our two daughters and mad chocolate Labrador, Tyler. I have eight books published with Harlequin Superromance and four Victorian romances with eKensington as well as several titles with the Wild Rose Press. I’m thrilled to announce I’ve just signed a new four book contract with Aria Fiction for an Edwardian series.
When I’m not working, I like to read, knit, watch TV or walk the countryside.

Who are your favourite writers and have they influenced your own writing in any way?

My favourite author is Nora Roberts who inspires me rather than influences my work – I LOVE her books and in complete awe how prolific she is and how she consistently produces great characters. She’s who I want to be when I grow up!

Having three writing hats – Romance, Romantic Suspense and Historical Romance – once you have finished a book how do you decide what comes next?

Up until now, I’ve tried to alternate between the three so it keeps my writing fresh for me and my readers. However, the new four book contract I’ve just signed and, the delivery times we’ve negotiated, means I will now have four historical books out in succession.
Once they’re done, I know I’ll be desperate to write a contemporary story, lol!


vintage texture background with watch (time)
vintage texture background with watch (time) and rose

I know how much readers loved your Templeton Cove series. Were you sad to bring it to a close and will there be a new series to replace it?

I was immensely sad! Never in my wildest dreams did I think the series would run to five books, let alone eight. The funny thing is, I could’ve easily continued to write them if that’s what Harlequin had asked for. Templeton Cove has become such a real place to me that deciding the next story was like peeking into one of the houses and seeing what was going on…

TC banner inc ASITC

If money were no object where would your dream holiday destination be?

I’d like to go to one of the exclusive, ridiculously expensive resorts in the Maldives or Seychelles. They look idyllic. I’d read and relax all day, having food and drinks brought to me before heading for a dip in the pool. Bliss!

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

I am currently working on editor revisions for book 1 in my new Edwardian series as well as heading into the second draft of book 2. After that, I’ll start plotting book 3 – 2018 is going to be entirely about the Edwardian era, lol!

And lastly, you’re planning to spend a year on a desert island. What four items would you take with you?

Pens and lots of paper (is that 2?)

A copy of Gone With The Wind

My pillow

A pair of sturdy shoes!



Mac Orman is on a mission. When he discovers his recently deceased father had been searching for his birth mother, Mac aims to finish the job by finding the grandmother he never knew. His quest leads him to Templeton Cove—and a firecracker of a woman who instantly jump-starts his tortured heart.
For Mac, Kate Harrington is the most tempting kind of distraction. But their sizzling connection comes with a side of suspicion for Kate, who doesn’t trust this brooding stranger in her town. Mac arrived with no plans to stay, but as he falls for Kate, he wonders how he could ever possibly leave.

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
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Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in Author pic - 2017the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had seven books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and an eighth coming in Jan 2018. She also has four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical Press as well as writing several single titles for the Wild Rose Press.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.
She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!
Facebook Street Team – Rachel’s Readers
Amazon Author Page:

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…


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?


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!


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


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 …







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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.



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!