TODAY TUESDAY TALK CHATS TO WRITER SUSAN LODGE ABOUT HER WRITING JOURNEY, HEROINES AND BUCKET LIST DESTINATIONS…

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

Hi Jo, and thanks for inviting me to your blog.
I live near the Hampshire coast, write historical romance, tinker on the piano, eat too many biscuits, and wonder why I feel twenty years younger than my reflection in the mirror.

When did you decide you wanted to become a writer?

For many years I wrote short stories for my enjoyment and to share with my weekly writing group. Then I started submitting stories (lots of them) to publishers. Back then, there was a woman’s magazine market for fiction where I constantly sent my offerings. When I finally had a story published in The People’s Friend, I thought – Yes! I can do this.
That first modest cheque kickstarted me into writing in earnest. It took another two years, a lot of frustration, knockbacks and rewriting before my first novel Rebellious Cargo, was accepted by a publisher. But it was worth it. Like most ventures if you really want something you will achieve it – just don’t give up.

Who are your favourite authors? Have they in any way influenced your writing?

The late Patrick O’Brian’s sea stories were responsible for my decision to base my novels against the backdrop of the Royal Navy at the time of the Napoleonic wars. Although his books are not of the romance genre, I adored his Aubery/Maturin series – all twenty of them. I loved the way he depicted how a ship’s community functioned. The friendships forged, the call to duty, and the politics of the day all played out with superbly crafted characters. Plus, some wonderful subtle humour.

Georgette Heyer and Mary Balogh are also great favourites of mine. The former for her authenticity of the period she writes. The way she portrays the wit, manners and conversations of the Regency drawing rooms is unrivalled.
I picked up a Mary Balogh book in a charity shop many years ago and from them I was hooked on Regency romance. I think I have read and enjoyed all her titles. The Bedwyn series of stories, are amongst my favourites.

Which destination is top of your bucket list and why?

I would love to hire a yacht (with a crew) and sail around the Pacific Islands. Also on my list are the Galapagos Islands, Alaska and Finland. I love peace, space and tranquillity. Wild, untouched landscapes fascinate me – which is probably why I always wanted to be an astronaut.

What makes a good heroine?

She must have her weaknesses. And she needs to make the reader care about her, even if her actions exasperate them at times.
I also think a good heroine should never be too predictable.
My heroines often step out of their comfort zones, and that ends up with them making a few alarming choices. I frequently feel like slapping them, but they always redeem themselves in the end.

Esmie Elstone does something very bad in the first chapter of Captain Rockford’s Reckoning.

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

The sequel to Captain Rockford’s Reckoning, which was published in April this year and follows the story of Esmie Elstone and her lifelong neighbour Richard Rockford. The book is about friendship, first love, betrayal and a secret betting book run under the guise of a sewing club. Needless to say, little embroidery was achieved.
My present, work in progress, takes up the story of Patience Wetherby;
already known to my readers as the shy member of the club.
Patience had been promised to Colonel Hemmings who is on his way back from war. She has only met him once, years ago, and remembers nothing good about the event. Patience has her own plans and flees London determined to lead a modest yet independent life. But Patience finds turning her back on society and the safety of marriage calls on all her skills to survive – even the ones she never knew she possessed.

And lastly, you are planning to take a year out and get away from everyone. What four essentials would you take with you and why?

Photo of the loved ones.
Moisturiser.
Notebook and pens to write the next best seller.
Kindle full of books I need to read. Or a very fat book if there is no internet.

 Author profile

Susan Lodge PicSusan Lodge was brought up with five brothers in the West of England and spent her formative years climbing trees and watching westerns. Leaving home, she headed for London and embarked on a career in the Civil Service, gaining a science degree along the way.
Over the years she has worked in several historic cities, where the streets still resonate with the Georgian period, providing a wealth of inspiration for her stories. Her romantic novels are often set against the backdrop of Nelson’s navy, and she always manages to inject a fair dose of humour into the plot.
Susan always wanted to be an astronaut but would now settle for a flight into space. She loves tinkering on her piano, perfecting her swing dance routines and discovering new destinations for her characters.
Married, with two children Susan now lives in Hampshire.

Website http://susanlodge.com/
Twitter https://twitter.com/pagehalffull
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/susanlodgeauthor/
Blog https://susanlodgebooks.wordpress.com/

Captain Rockford

Link to my latest release – Captain Rockford’s Reckoning
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079Y9SCZB?tag=geolinker-21

Amazon author page.
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Susan-Lodge/e/B00B8UD0MQ/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

US – https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Lodge/e/B00B8UD0MQ/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Other titles –

 

 

Today Tuesday Talk welcomes historical author Fenella J Miller…

41613_260595754030500_884620120_nGood morning Fenella and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Great – writers love to talk about themselves. I am married and have two children and three grandchildren. My daughter and her family have relocated to the US -which is hard for me – but they are all very happy there. I live in a small riverside town in Essex with my husband and British shorthair Billy-Blue.

How did your writing journey begin?

I wrote my first book aged eleven – my father and brother laughed at it and I didn’t write another until I was in my late twenties. I was at home with small child in middle of Cornwall and didn’t drive. I wrote what would be called ‘women’s fiction’ now just for my own pleasure. I decide then that one day I would be a published writer. I now have 55 books written and published.

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

I have written two NA urban fantasy books and intend to write the last two in the series. Again, this is for my enjoyment – will decide when I’ve finished if I want to publish them.

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

The Maldives, South America, Australia and New Zealand. It’s not money that stops me but the fact that I am care for my husband who has vascular dementia.

What were your favourite books as a child?

Enid Blyton, Fairy Stories and then Lorna Hill both her ballet and horse books. I devoured all the boarding school books and horse stories too. I graduated to adult fiction around ten years old – Georgette Heyer and Leslie Charteris (The Saint).

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

I am just finishing the sixth and final book in The Duke’s Alliance series. The Duke’s Bride – hoped to get it done before I go away on 9th – but my editor will have to have what is done and I’ll email the last 10K when it’s finished. This is my fifth book so far this year. Then it’s the third and final book in my Ellen’s War series – I sold this series to Aria Head of Zeus earlier in the year. Over & Out has to be handed in by the end of the year. I then have to write the spring book for the Regency Romantics box set – something I do with a group of bestselling Regency writers three times a year.

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

This is a hard one. Bernard Cornwell, Christian Cameron, Michael Connelly and Sean Bean. Whoops! No women on my list – but wouldn’t want to share any of these.

 

 

The Reclusive Duke £0.99

The Duke’s Alliance – A Soldier’s Bride £1.99

Christmas at Devil’s Gate £0.99

A Most Unexpected Christmas £1.50

 

Fenella J Miller was born in the Isle of Man. Her father was a Yorkshire man and her mother the daughter of a Rajah. She has worked as a nanny, cleaner, field worker, hotelier, chef, secondary and primary teacher and is now a full time writer.
She has over thirty eight Regency romantic adventures published plus four Jane Austen variations, three Victorian sagas and seven WW2 family sagas. She lives in a pretty, riverside village in Essex with her husband and British Shorthair cat. She has two adult children and three grandchildren.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

mybook.to/reclusiveduke

https://www.facebook.com/FenellaJMiller/

@fenellawriter

www.fenellajmiller.co.uk   (website/blog/diary)

 

Tuesday Talk is back from it’s May holiday and to kick off June I’m really pleased to welcome fellow author Kathryn Hall…

KathrynGood morning Kathryn and welcome to Tuesday Talk. Can I begin, by asking you a little about yourself?

Hi Jo. Thank you for having me on your blog today. I’m a self-published author and currently have four books to my name – well, actually to my previous name of Kathryn Brown. However, I got married in May last year and have since decided to write my next book in my new name, Kathryn Hall. I’ve been writing for some considerable years now, having started off with short stories and articles, then progressing to a full-length novel. My passion in the paranormal encouraged me to write my first book back in 2007, and I based it on my own personal experiences when I lived in a Georgian farmhouse located in Northumberland. Discovery at Rosehill, followed by Secrets at Rosehill, focus on the life of Camilla, a medium who falls in love with the village Reverend and tells of the events which map out her rather interesting life. Camilla’s paranormal experiences at Rosehill have been taken from my own, though perhaps exaggerated slightly in order to beef the story up. I should add, however, the love story part of the books is totally fictional.

You’ve previously published four novels: two linked romantic/spiritual stories (Discovery at Rosehill and Secrets at Rosehill) and two romantic comedies (Nightingale Woods and Bedknobs and Bachelors). What’s next for you?

My next project is to write a third book in the Rosehill Series. I don’t have a title for it yet, and I haven’t so far as written a synopsis. But I have drafted the first chapter and decided on the outline. I’m hoping to do some research, like some ghost hunts and overnight vigils – any help will be much appreciated. I want the story of Camilla to continue as I feel she still has a lot to reveal about herself. The mansion that is Rosehill is partly based on the farmhouse in which I lived for fourteen years, though it is seemingly bigger and a lot grander. It boasts several guest rooms and a huge two-tier library, plus a sacred reading room where Camilla makes contact with the spirit world.

I honestly can’t say when this book will be finished as I have a long way to go yet. But it will be finished one day and then I shall think about my next project. Writing is, and always has been, my passion.

Are you a meticulous plotter or do you have a general outline for your story and simply see where your writing takes you?

The latter. Every time. I have a brief outline of the story, mostly in my head before I start to make notes and characterisations, and then I go with where the story takes me. I have such a lot going on in my life on a day-to-day basis that I couldn’t possibly stick to a plot.

If money was no object where would your perfect holiday destination be?

I would really like to go to Australia, mainly because I have a lot of family members there and it would be a wonderful experience to catch up with them. Three of my cousins over there are very spiritual and we have an awful lot of common. But I’d like to see my Uncle again, my late-dad’s brother. The last time I saw him was a poignant time for me, when he hugged me and it felt like I was hugging my dad. They are very alike and to be close to him in person again would be a truly memorable experience.

Do you use a muse for your hero when writing?

When I wrote the first Rosehill book, Discovery at Rosehill, I did actually have the very debonair actor, Martin Shaw in mind as the character of Reverend Marcus Calloway. Though I haven’t really thought about a muse for my other books, there are a number of famous faces I could look towards. I have my very own debonair character now, in the form of my husband. And I do have a penchant for the dog collar.

And last of all, you’ve been invited on I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here. Which four celebs would you ideally like to join you and why?

I would like Catherine Zeta Jones because I think underneath the Hollywood glamour and successful career, she’s a very down-to-earth woman who came from humble beginnings and has worked her way up with a lot of lucky breaks over the years (including meeting and marrying Michael Douglas). We all need a lucky break in our lives, and I’d love to know her secret…!

Helena Bonham-Carter is another I’d like to spend time with. She’s an eccentric and could probably keep a group of strangers enthralled in her tales for weeks on end.

The other two would have to be Patrick McGuinness and Peter Kay. What a hoot they would be. Two of my favourite comedians/actors. And both from my neck of the woods.

You  can catch up with Kathryn on social media on the links below  –

blog: www.crystaljigsaw.co.uk

Instagram: kathrynhall_author

Twitter: @kathrynhall_

Facebook: Kathryn Hall

And check out ber books – 

Discovery at Rosehill – Amazon

Secrets at Rosehill – Amazon

Bedknobs and Bachelors – Amazon

Nightingale Woods – Amazon

 

 

And it all started so well…

This year I had a milestone birthday.  Last September (you can never do these things too early) we booked flights and rented a friend’s villa in the small urbanization of Son Vitamina on the south east coast of Menorca.  The journey out was uneventful: a lunch time flight which arrived early evening giving us plenty of time to settle in.  The villa was beautiful and there was a gastro-pub (The Nelson) a few hundred yards up the road.  Although we shy away from Brit food on holiday, we did think it would be a good watering hole and promised ourselves a traditional English Sunday lunch while we were there.

We stayed on the island in 2011 and when not relaxing in the sun I found a shady place to write.  The WIP then was Between Today and Yesterday.  Now, seven years later, I had a new book to get underway and planned the same regime.  The first four days were amazing, eating out in Mahon, the island’s capital, walking the streets of Ciutadella.  Friday was the big day and we spent the morning shopping and then walked down to a small cove someone had told us about.  I remember taking great care in walking as the pathway was rubble and very uneven.  We spent the afternoon by the pool and then showered and got ready for the big event.  We had a ground floor bedroom in the villa and the safe was situated upstairs in our friend’s room.  I remember going up to retrieve a piece of jewellery to wear and then coming down very carefully holding onto the rail which ran from the top to just before the bottom of the stairs.  Reaching the last step I let go, stepped down and fell.  The bottom step was slightly deeper than the rest of the stairs, I had small heels on and I’m guessing I put my foot out and the step simply wasn’t there.  I ended up on the floor having fallen awkwardly.  As soon as OH and his friend helped me to my feet I knew I’d done some serious damage but everyone thought it was simply a bad sprain.  A bag of frozen peas to the swollen area followed by a visit to the local pharmacist produced a support for the foot and some antiseptic spray.  By the next morning, however, it was evident this was no simple sprain so all four of us headed for Mahon A & E.  There they x-rayed and confirmed a break.  The ankle was put into plaster and I was given a discharge letter, meds and instructed to go to my UK A & E for another x-ray on my return home.  Before leaving for the hospital that morning I spoke to the insurance company to let them know what they were doing. On arrival back at the villa I was contacted by a nurse to discuss my situation and arrangements were made for an ambulance to get me to Mahon Airport and collect me on arrival at Bristol.  Because I needed to elevate the leg during the flight home, the insurance company also bought extra seats on the flight.

The rest of the holiday was spent around the pool, although the weather wasn’t brilliant: hot and overcast most days. With assistance I did managed to get to The Nelson for lunch on the Sunday, other than that I did manage to make a series dent in my Kindle TBR pile.

On the day we were due to fly home the ambulance arrived two hours early just as we were in the middle of lunch.  Total panic stations but OH, me and our luggage were eventually on our way to the airport where a designated member of staff saw us through check in and was again on hand to get me onto the plane.  Unfortunately our return home coincided with the French Air Traffic Controller’s strike and our flight had been held up in Lisbon and then again in Bristol, resulting in a two and a half hour delay, one hour of which was spent sitting in the plane on the tarmac waiting for Mahon control tower to give us the green light for take off.  So a flight which should have arrived home at 6.50 in the evening, instead touched down well after ten.  I have never been so glad to be back in the UK even though it took nearly 45 minutes to get eleven of us mobility challenged adults off the plane.  From there it was an hour from airport to front door, making it nearly midnight when we eventually got to bed. I didn’t care though, I was HOME.

The next morning (Wednesday)we went to the Royal United Hospital A & E Department.  I honestly thought I’d be x-rayed, replastered and sent home. As they were putting on the new plaster I wondered why a small plastic pad with a clear nozzle had been inserted under my foot.  I was told it was to be attached to a machine which regularly inflated and deflated it in order to get the swelling down quicker.  ‘Am I having this at home then?’ I asked. ‘Oh no, you’re being admitted.’ was the reply.  Not exactly what I expected to hear…

I was admitted to Surgical Short Stay where because I’d been abroad, I was given a private room and told I would be ‘swabbed’.  This, of course, made my fertile imagination run riot as to what this entailed.  In the end, it was simply a cotton wool swab in each nostril and in the crease of the groin to make sure I hadn’t brought back any nasty bugs.  I spent two nights in the room, Wednesday with the pad inflating and deflating (and yes I did manage to sleep) and Thursday after the op.  I had to have a CT scan before they took me to theatre to check on my heel alignment and that was followed by a visit from the anaesthetist to talk to me about the surgery.  My last memory on arriving in theatre was seeing the clock – 15.55- and being told I was going to be put to sleep. Then there was nothing until I heard someone calling my name from far away and opened my eyes to see a nurse staring down at me. I was in recovery and it was 18.55.  I had absolutely no bad effects from the anaesthetic, in fact I felt remarkably wide awake.  On return to the ward I felt really hungry (having not eaten for nearly two days) and the health care assistant was an absolute angel, organising toast and strawberry jam for me – it tasted like a banquet!  All things considered, I slept well that evening and was discharged late Friday afternoon.  The consultant visited that morning to tell me my foot has been plated either side – not sure whether it’s a support mechanism to enable the bones to grow back correctly or whether from now on I’m going to have a bionic foot! I shall soon find out.

Since then it’s been a whole new learning curve. A steady round of medication and giving myself daily shots in the abdomen to prevent blood clots while I’m in plaster. And then there is getting around. Not easy but the physios set me up on a walker (easier than crutches) and the occupational therapist  organised a series of aids to help me cope with day to day living around the house.  OH has been wonderful, his whole life has been disrupted but he’s been amazing with all the household chores.  I do actually manage the ironing as I have a high seat which I use in the bathroom to sit at the basin and wash each morning.  Boy how I miss having a shower!

I’ve an appointment at the fracture clinic later today – another x-ray, stitches out and a new plaster. It’s five weeks and counting so should be free of my ‘boot’ by early July.  I’ll probably need physio afterwards.  And all this because I missed one step at the bottom of a staircase and fell awkwardly!

Folks I will never ever take my limbs for granted again, nor will I forget the amazing treatment from the staff at my local hospital.  Nothing was too much trouble. At the moment all I can do is read and work on the PC.  Writing that had to be put on hold after the accident is now centre stage and the creative juices are beginning to flow back again.

We have hired a wheelchair and next week I’m hoping we can find somewhere with access so we can get out and have some lunch.  Am not going to let this beat me!

Will post holiday shots on FB later.

 

Jo xx

 

 

IT’S PUBLICATION DAY FOR AT THE END OF THE SUMMER, JUNE MOONBRIDGE’S LATEST NOVEL…

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?

MY REVIEW

A romantic story of misunderstandings and second chances. June Moonbridge takes you from the UK to Rome as we follow the story of photographer Caro and rock guitarist Joshua.  Caro is a photographer specialising in scenery and Rome is the place she has chosen to take shots for a competition she is entering. Joshua , fresh from his band’s tour,  plans to attend music school there.   Thrown together on the journey to the Eternal City, Caro is wary of Joshua, having experienced an unfortunate incident during his band’s last after show party.  But once they arrive things begin to change, and those around them, who can see what is really going on, conspire to get them together.  A light romantic summer read.

ABOUT JUNE MOONBRIDGE

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: http://www.junemoonbridge.com

FB Author’s page: http://www.facebook.com/JMoonbridge

You can follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JMoonbridge

Perhaps look for her on: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/june-moonbridge

Links to buy other two June’s books:

http://myBook.to/AllTtHeartDesires

http://myBook.to/CaughtBetweenTwoWorlds

Goodreads. She’d love to see you read her novels: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13887820.June_Moonbridge

Or follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jmoonbridge/

 

BOOK PROMOTION: IT’S E-BOOK PUBLICATION DAY FOR THE TRUTH LIES BURIED by MORTON S GRAY, BOOK TWO IN THE BORTEEN SECRETS SERIES…

9781781894033

The Truth Lies Buried

Two children in a police waiting room, two distressed mothers, a memory only half remembered …
When Jenny Simpson returns to the seaside town of Borteen, her childhood home, it’s for a less than happy reason. But it’s also a chance for her to start again.
A new job leads to her working for Carver Rodgers, a man who lives alone in a house that looks like it comes from the pages of a fairy tale – until you see the disaster zone inside …
As Jenny gets to know Carver she begins to unravel the sadness that has led to his chaotic existence. Gradually they realise they have something in common that is impossible to ignore – and it all links back to a meeting at a police station many years before.
Could the truth lie just beneath their feet?

BUY LINKS 

Kindle UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Truth-Lies-Buried-Borteen-Secrets-ebook/dp/B07BFWJSSX/

Kindle US: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Truth-Lies-Buried-Borteen-Secrets-ebook/dp/B07BFWJSSX/

iBooks: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/gb/book/the-truth-lies-buried/id1358112709?mt=11&at=11lNBs

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Morton_S_Gray_The_Truth_Lies_Buried?id=EnFUDwAAQBAJ

Kobo Books: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-truth-lies-buried-choc-lit

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39309374-the-truth-lies-buried-choc-lit

Choc Lit website: http://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/the-truth-lies-buried/

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

_JK01305 smlMorton lives with her husband, two sons and Lily, the tiny white dog, in Worcestershire, U.K. She has been reading and writing fiction for as long as she can remember, penning her first attempt at a novel aged fourteen. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors.

Her debut novel ‘The Girl on the Beach’ was published as an ebook in January 2017, after she won The Choc Lit Publishing Search for a Star competition. The story follows a woman with a troubled past as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s headteacher, Harry Dixon. This book is available as a paperback from 10 April 2018.

 

Morton’s second book for Choc Lit ‘The Truth Lies Buried’ is published as an eBook on 1 May 2018. Another romantic suspense novel, the book tells the story of Jenny Simpson and Carver Rodgers as they uncover secrets from their past.

Morton previously worked in the electricity industry in committee services, staff development and training. She has a Business Studies degree and is a fully qualified clinical hypnotherapist and Reiki master. She also has diplomas in Tuina acupressure massage and energy field therapy. She enjoys crafts, history and loves tracing family trees. Having a hunger for learning new things is a bonus for the research behind her books.

http://www.mortonsgray.com

Twitter – @MortonSGray

Facebook Page – Morton S. Gray Author – https://www.facebook.com/mortonsgray/

 

ChocLit-logo

 

Tuesday Talk welcomes author Caroline James talking about the inspiration behind The Best Boomerville Hotel and introduces us to some rather special foodie guests at her dinner table…

Today I’m really thrilled to be hosting author Caroline James on Tuesday Talk…

caroline james

Good morning Caroline and welcome to Tuesday Talk. Can I begin, by asking you a little about yourself?

Hi Jo, lovely to be on Tuesday Talk today. I was born in Cheshire and have spent my working life in the hospitality industry having run businesses that encompass all aspects. I started life pot washing and waiting table and in time ran my own pub and restaurant and before owning a lovely country house hotel in Cumbria. I am based in the UK but like to travel as much as possible.

How did your writing career begin?

I’ve always wanted to write but never thought I was good enough. I hated school and left at the first opportunity. I’ve had stories in my head all my life but about six years ago, when one refused to go away, I had an epiphany and realised that if I didn’t get it written into a manuscript and publish I would go to my grave wondering what might have been. So, I glued my rear to a chair and grabbed any spare time I could and eventually, Coffee Tea the Gypsy & Me was born and, unable to find a publisher, I self-published and the book went straight to number three in women’s fiction on Amazon. I’ve never looked back and five books later am signed with a brilliant publisher.

What inspired you to write ‘The Best Boomerville Hotel?’

BOOMERVILLE 2My hotel in Cumbria inspired me. The property was beautiful and set in a lovely village. In my writing, it becomes a fictional hotel that features in some of my books. As I get older I realised that many of my friends struggled with their middle years and beyond. Research told me that one in three people in the UK live on their own and I thought it might be good to create a place where this age group could go and stay and indulge in courses that would enhance their later years. Guests can take pottery, creative writing and cookery etc. or do something whacky like getting stoned with the Shaman in his tepee or learn about clairvoyance in an old gypsy caravan. Since publication I constantly get asked to open a real Boomerville Hotel and if I had the hotel today, I wouldn’t hesitate!

Hattie and Jo’s characters have been central to several of your books. Will we be seeing more of them?

Yes, I am afraid so. As an author, I get the urge to kill off my characters at times but these two refuse to go away. Hattie is a real favourite for so many readers and her larger than life character, zest for life and naughtiness certainly gives me plenty to write about. Jo is drifting into a comfort zone that she longs to burst out of so I will undoubtedly be waking her up going forward.

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

I am currently writing the follow up to The Best Boomerville Hotel. A new Boomerville is opening in Ireland and is full of lots of craic and shenanigans. There are many new characters to get my teeth into and I hope readers will enjoy this as much as I am enjoying writing it. I am also penning a novel with Hattie in a detective role, a ‘cosy mystery’ and it seems to be writing well so that is something that may surface in the future.

As you’ve had a career involved with food, it seems a natural choice for me to ask the dinner guest question. So, if you could invite four famous people (either dead or alive) to grace your fantasy dinner table, who would they be and why?

My perfect dinner table would be with chefs, who would also cook the courses. Sorry to be so indulgent but it is a ‘fantasy’ dinner party!
FLOYDFirst off, I would invite the late, great Keith Floyd, TV Chef and personality. For many years, I ran a business representing celebrity chefs and Floyd was always an idol. My book Coffee Tea the Chef & Me was inspired by Floyd’s time in Kinsale, in Southern Ireland, and by following his footsteps there I learnt a great deal about the man and why he loved Kinsale so much. Something that was reciprocal by all the residents in this gorgeous foodie haven. He was tremendously entertaining chef. I’d have Floyd preparing the main course, which he would cook as he enjoyed his notorious slurps, whilst regaling us with his entertaining tales.

 

BUCKFAST TONIC WINE (MARTIN BLUNOS) 23.11.2012My next guest would be the chef Martin Blunos. Martin is one of the finest chefs in the country, having held two Michelin stars for more than 17 years. He currently has a lovely restaurant, Blunos in Bangkok and I would love him to bring the east to the west and cook a variety of oriental appetisers from his vast repertoire.
Martin’s background is Latvian and he is a Baltic giant of a man, a man with panache and presence and fabulous dinner party company.

 

NUTTERAndrew Nutter would take the next place. Another brilliant chef, Nutter has businesses in Rochdale and never ceases to amaze me by the creativity of his cooking and style, which makes his restaurant a number one destination for so many. Nutter is crazy and you never know what is going to come next. He would create a dessert for the occasion that would blow us away. I’ve enjoyed memorable times with this chef and as a dinner companion there is little chance that we’d leave the table before dawn.

 

MOOREFinally, Michael Moore. This lovely chef is based in London and I enjoyed superb meals at his restaurant in the West End. Michael’s mum was born in Basheba on the east coast of Barbados, an island that has many connections for me. Basheba is one of my favourite places in the world and inspired my novel Coffee Tea The Caribbean & Me. Michael’s eclectic style of cooking has been described as modern global cuisine and as this dinner party will have many courses, I would ask him showcase his style.

Thank you so much Caroline for coming along to chat

My pleasure Jo, thanks for hosting me on your lovely blog.
Happy reading to all your visitors,
Caroline xx

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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?

The Best Boomerville Hotel Links:

Amazon: http://mybook.to/TBBH

Kobo: https://goo.gl/VRh2XT
Caroline James Links:

Ibooks/Google: https://goo.gl/2aq7sz

Itunes: https://apple.co/2lZrl6F

Author Biography

CAROLINE 2Caroline 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.

 

TUESDAY TALK is taking a break during May and will be back on 5th June with author Kathryn Hall…

 

 

 

 

 

Author Interview: Morton S. Gray – Author of the Borteen Secrets Series for Choc Lit

 

Tomorrow is e-book publication day for Morton S Gray’s second novel for Choc Lit – The Truth Lies Buried – and I’m really pleased that she’s been able to spare me a few moments for a chat…

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

Good morning, Jo. I’m so pleased to be joining you today as I have double publication success to celebrate – the paperback of my novel The Girl on the Beach (published 10 April 2018) and the eBook launch of my new novel The Truth Lies Buried (published 1 May 2018).

I live in Worcestershire, UK with my husband, youngest son and Lily, our little white dog. My eldest son lives nearby.

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

Ever since my nan gave me a box full of Enid Blyton’s books, which someone had passed on to her, I have loved reading. My early school compositions were full of gold ingots, big brothers and caves like in the Famous Five books. As well as encouraging my reading, my nan taught me how to knit and crochet and engendered a love of crafts in general. We also used to settle down on Sunday afternoons to watch films. Consequently, it is no surprise that my first novel, written when I was fourteen, closely resembles an Errol Flynn film, complete with galleons, swords and a dashing hero.

I got top grades in my English language and literature examinations at secondary school, but went off to university to study business studies and German. I got a graduate job in the electricity industry and stayed there for sixteen years, where the writing I did mainly consisted of reports, board minutes and training manuals. I left this career to be a full-time therapist, specializing in clinical hypnotherapy, Reiki, acupressure massage and energy field therapy.

It wasn’t until I had my second son that I returned to writing. I wasn’t very well following his birth and had to give up my therapy business. I entered and won a short story competition and began to wonder if I could maybe write. The rest, as they say, is history.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of writing a novel?

I’d say go for it if you have a passion to write.

Enter competitions – it was a short story competition win that convinced me to give writing a go and another competition win, Choc Lit Publishing’s Search for a Star competiton that gave me my publishing break.

If you know the genre you want to write in it is worth considering joining an association for that style of writing. I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association and their wonderful New Writer’s Scheme, which enabled me to have a critique of a novel for each year I was a member until I achieved publication. This advice from already published novelists enabled me to revise my work to publishable standards.

Have plenty of stamina and persistence, as a writing career rarely happens overnight. You have to be willing to put in hours of work to achieve success. Even when your novel is accepted for publication, the publisher is likely to want their own edits done on the manuscript. Needless to say you have to love your story, as you end up reading it so many times.

Build up a social media presence as you go along, as you will need it when you are eventually publicising your book.

Will there be more books in the Borteen Secrets series?

I have many more ideas for books in this series. Many of the inhabitants of my fictional seaside town of Borteen are already clamouring for their stories to be told!

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

1. Books – Both to read and notebooks to write in. Guess that means I’d need pens (oops that’s three counted as one!)
2. Chocolate – I love it.
3. Sun cream – I’m very fair skinned
4. Coffee – my family say a strong coffee a day keeps me human. Lol.

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

1. Brian Cox, the physicist – as I find his theories and knowledge fascinating (and he’s not bad to look at either).
2. Kirsty Allsopp – I love her programmes and her sense of humour.
3. Alice Roberts – Again I would love to discuss her scientific theories with her.
4. Kit Harrington – I just like looking at him and will have to base a character on him soon.

About the Author

_JK01305 smlMorton lives with her husband, two sons and Lily, the tiny white dog, in Worcestershire, U.K. She has been reading and writing fiction for as long as she can remember, penning her first attempt at a novel aged fourteen. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors.

Her debut novel ‘The Girl on the Beach’ was published as an ebook in January 2017, after she won The Choc Lit Publishing Search for a Star competition. The story follows a woman with a troubled past as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s headteacher, Harry Dixon. This book is available as a paperback from 10 April 2018.

Morton’s second book for Choc Lit ‘The Truth Lies Buried’ is published as an eBook on 1 May 2018. Another romantic suspense novel, the book tells the story of Jenny Simpson and Carver Rodgers as they uncover secrets from their past.

Morton previously worked in the electricity industry in committee services, staff development and training. She has a Business Studies degree and is a fully qualified clinical hypnotherapist and Reiki master. She also has diplomas in Tuina acupressure massage and energy field therapy. She enjoys crafts, history and loves tracing family trees. Having a hunger for learning new things is a bonus for the research behind her books.

http://www.mortonsgray.com

Twitter – @MortonSGray

Facebook Page – Morton S. Gray Author – https://www.facebook.com/mortonsgray/

About the Books

9781781893142

The Girl on the Beach

Who is Harry Dixon?

When Ellie Golden meets Harry Dixon, she can’t help but feel she recognises him from somewhere. But when she finally realises who he is, she can’t believe it – because the man she met on the beach all those years before wasn’t called Harry Dixon. And, what’s more, that man is dead.

For a woman trying to outrun her troubled past and protect her son, Harry’s presence is deeply unsettling – and even more disconcerting than coming face to face with a dead man, is the fact that Harry seems to have no recollection of ever having met Ellie before. At least that’s what he says …

But perhaps Harry isn’t the person Ellie should be worried about. Because there’s a far more dangerous figure from the past lurking just outside of the new life she has built for herself, biding his time, just waiting to strike.

Purchasing links for ‘The Girl on the Beach’ at http://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/the-girl-on-the-beach/

 

9781781894033

The Truth Lies Buried

Two children in a police waiting room, two distressed mothers, a memory only half remembered …
When Jenny Simpson returns to the seaside town of Borteen, her childhood home, it’s for a less than happy reason. But it’s also a chance for her to start again.
A new job leads to her working for Carver Rodgers, a man who lives alone in a house that looks like it comes from the pages of a fairy tale – until you see the disaster zone inside …
As Jenny gets to know Carver she begins to unravel the sadness that has led to his chaotic existence. Gradually they realise they have something in common that is impossible to ignore – and it all links back to a meeting at a police station many years before.
Could the truth lie just beneath their feet?

Pre-order link for ‘The Truth Lies Buried’ at http://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/the-truth-lies-buried/

 

THE PURRFECT PET SITTER by CAROL THOMAS – REVIEW

COVER FOR PPS

Introducing Lisa Blake, the purrfect pet sitter!

When Lisa Blake’s life in London falls apart, she returns to her hometown rebranding herself as ‘the purrfect pet sitter’ – which may or may not be false advertising as she has a rather unfortunate habit of (temporarily) losing dogs!

But being back where she grew up, Lisa can’t escape her past. There’s her estranged best friend Flick who she bumps into in an embarrassing encounter in a local supermarket. And her first love, Nathan Baker, who, considering their history, is sure to be even more surprised by her drunken Facebook friend request than Lisa is.

As she becomes involved in the lives of her old friends Lisa must confront the hurt she has caused, discover the truth about her mysterious leather-clad admirer, and learn how to move forward when the things she wants most are affected by the decisions of her past.

BUY LINK AMAZON.CO.UK: http://amzn.eu/jj4xMC9 

MY REVIEW

Two things don’t usually work for me in books. One is animals, the other children. However, I have to make an exception in the case of The Purrfect Pet Sitter, Carol Thomas’s debut novel for Choc Lit Ruby.

Lisa Blake left everyone behind to see the world. Meeting Ben along the way they travelled for a couple of years before eventually settling down in London with steady jobs, enjoying the buzz of the big city.  Sadly things haven’t gone to plan and she’s back home, living in her parents’ house. With Mr and Mrs Blake now moved to a new home in France, Lisa’s on her own (under the watchful eye of self appointed neighbourhood watch local Harold Martin) and has set herself up as a pet sitter. Her business, The Purrfect Pet Sitter doesn’t always deliver. In chapter one we see her chasing after black labrador Jack who has slipped his lead only to find him at a tea kiosk being fed bacon butties by an attractive biker in black leather called Dominic.

Returning  home has also brought back the past and the people Lisa left behind: best friend Felicity (Flick) and her first love Nathan Baker.  Running into Flick in the supermarket eventually sees the two sorting out their issues and a tearful reunion.     Lisa’s decision (while under the influence of alcohol) to check for Nathan on social media and then do something incredibly rash also sees the two of them meeting up again.

Lisa is a likeable character whose return home sees her having to confront her past before she can build a future.  She abandoned her best friend and first love so has a lot of bridges to build. She also has unfinished business with ex-boyfriend Ben, still in London. Elderly Winnie (Jack’s owner) is on hand, always there to share coffee and biscuits and her wise advice.

Flick and her brood are hilarious.  Although her life managing four kids seems chaotic at times there is an orderliness of sorts and it’s a warm, loving family.  I could however, sympathise with her situation. Desperate to find time to spice up her marriage with her husband Pete, with four boisterous children the opportunity was always going to be out of reach.

Once Lisa and Flick had sorted out their differences it was great to see them both together. So many funny moments. Nathan (now a fireman) and Dom (a paramedic) also become involved in Lisa’s life. The question is who will be the lucky man? Well, of course, I can’t possibly go into detail because that really would spoil the story.  All I can say is that this ticked every single box.  Choc Lit’s Ruby is for stories which tap into the reader’s emotions and The Purrfect Pet Sitter certainly did that for me.

A great debut from Carol…

Many thanks to Choc Lit for an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review.

BUY LINKS

Kindle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Purrfect-Pet-Sitter-Carol-Thomas-ebook/dp/B079T5XXFV/
Apple iBooks: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/gb/book/the-purrfect-pet-sitter/id1348739394?mt=11&at=11lNBs
Kobo books: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-purrfect-pet-sitter
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Carol_Thomas_The_Purrfect_Pet_Sitter?id=HgxMDwAAQBAJ
Website: http://www.rubyfiction.com/dd-product/the-purrfect-pet-sitter/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39083246-the-purrfect-pet-sitter

BOOK PROMOTION: RISE OF THE SOUL CATCHERS by KAREN KING PUBLISHED 25TH APRIL 2018

ROTSC cover

Can love survive anything – even death?

Sapphire and Will vow to love each other forever. But when a car crash ends that dream all too soon, they find themselves separated in an afterlife with zones named after the colours of the rainbow. Determined to find each other, they start an adventurous journey alongside a cast of characters they don’t know whether to trust. They finally meet again in the terror-fuelled Red Zone where the dreaded Soul Catchers are planning on taking over the entire afterworld and are plunged into a dangerous battle. Is their love strong enough to survive against the odds?

(Previously published as Sapphire Blue)

BUY LINKS

Rise of the Soul Catchers is available for pre-order from Amazon and will be published on 25th April.
Amazon: http://ow.ly/Fz1L30j0hqh

 

Rise of the Soul Catchers extract: Sapphire’s Viewpoint

Chapter Two 

I am alive.

I lie still, keeping my eyes closed, trying to feel if I’m hurt, if anything is broken. I flex my fingers, my toes, move my head real slow from side to side. Everything seems fine.

Oh God, Will! Is Will okay?  I snap open my eyes, sit up, look over at the passenger seat praying that Will is alive too. Only there’s no passenger seat. No car. No Will.

What the hell has happened? Did I dream it?

I couldn’t have dreamt it. I remember it all so vividly. Will driving along, singing, the container in the middle of the road, the tree zooming toward us, the crash. Besides I’m not in bed. I’m…

I look around. Everywhere is covered by a thick, white mist and it’s eerily quiet. Where am I?

“Sapphire!”

Grandpa?  Surprised, I swing around and stare at my grandpa walking through the mist toward me, waving with a big smile on his face. Now I know I’m dreaming. Grandpa died two years ago.

“Sapphire!” Grandpa’s right in front of me. He holds out his arms for me to run into them, like I used to when I was little, but I can’t move. My feet are glued to the ground as I gape at him. “Grandpa?” I whisper

. “It’s me,” he says. “It’s really me.” He reaches out and envelopes me in a big hug. I feel his arms wrap around me, smell the familiar musky-scent and relax a little, allow myself to sink into the warmth and comfort of his embrace. “Don’t be frightened, I’ll look after you.” Grandpa’s voice is soft, gentle and I’m so glad to see him again that I nestle in closer and rest my head on his shoulder just like I used to do when I was little.

“I’ve missed you, Grandpa,” I mumble.

“I’ve missed you too, sweetie. It’s so lovely to see you again, but not like this. Not so soon. You’re too young.” His eyes are shining with tears.

Too young for what? Suddenly I’m jolted back to the present. What’s happening? What’s Grandpa doing here? I want to wake up. I don’t like this dream. I focus on waking, imagine myself opening my eyes, finding myself in my comfy bed with its bright, daisy-flowered duvet cover, snuggling up to the big, yellow Miss Sunshine cushion Will bought. That’s what he calls me. His Little Miss Sunshine. He says I brighten up his life.

Will.

Where’s Will? “Wake up,” I whisper to myself. “Wake up.”

“This isn’t a dream, love,” Grandpa tells me as he strokes my hair. “I know it’s a lot to take in and it will seem strange at first, but you’ll get used to it. There’s lots of family waiting to meet you, aunts and uncle and your great-grandparents. We’ll all look after you.”

His words freak me out. I try to pull away from him. “They’re all dead!” I scream. “And, so are you. You’re dead!” I pinch my arm. Hard. Squeeze my eyes shut. This is a dream. It must be a dream.

Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

KK Head and ShouldersKaren King writes edgy YA with a heart and sassy, heart-warming romance. Her first YA, Perfect Summer, was runner up in the Red Telephone Books 2011 YA Novel Competition and her second YA, Sapphire Blue, now republished as Rise of the Soul Catchers by Littwitz Press, was called ‘the best YA book out there right now’ by a reviewer for Ind’Tale magazine.
Karen has four romcoms published by Accent Press, and a fifth one is due out in June this year, Her latest romcom, The Cornish Hotel by the Sea, was #3 in the Amazon bestseller holiday reads. She has recently signed a two book-contract with Bookouture for more romance novels.
Karen has also written several short stories for women’s magazine and had 120 children’s books published.
When she isn’t writing, Karen likes travelling, watching the ‘soaps’ and reading. Give her a good book and a box of chocolates and she thinks she’s in Heaven.

Author links
Website: http://www.karenking.net/
Twitter: @karen_king
Karen King Young Adult Books Facebook Page
Karen King Romance Author Facebook Page
Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/karenkingauthor/