TUESDAY TALK WELCOMES WRITER JAN ELLIS CHATTING ABOUT HER WRITING, WHAT MAKES A GOOD HERO AND DESERT ISLAND MUST HAVES…

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

Thanks for having me, Jo. I’m self-employed and have several day jobs, mostly related to the book trade. I sometimes feel like one of those 1970s TV entertainers who kept lots of plates spinning on sticks. I love it and having a variety of work certainly keeps me on my toes.

Spinning plates

When did you decide to become a writer and how did you begin that journey?

I trained as a journalist because the careers lady at school said it was a good choice for someone who enjoyed telling stories! I soon moved into publishing and have been writing and editing non-fiction ever since. I fell into fiction after being approached by Endeavour Press to write a history book; we couldn’t find a topic that worked, so the publisher suggested I try my hand at romcom instead. I ended up writing four e-novellas for them, which were later picked up by a traditional publisher who also commissioned a brand-new paperback called The Bookshop Detective. Mine has not been a typical journey!

What makes a good hero?

Heroes should be complex and contradictory, which means they must have been through the emotional mill. My hero Daniel is still partly in love with his ex-wife, for example, even though she broke his heart. Like most of my characters, Dan won’t see 40 again…

You’re an author of rom coms and contemporary fiction. Have you ever been tempted to write, say, crime or a psychological thriller?

My last story centred around two Victorian mysteries and – as it happens – I began writing a thriller at our recent RNA Bath & Wilts writing day. Did I mention that I get bored easily?

 

When it comes to getting away on holiday are you a Beach or City girl?

A city near the coast is my idea of heaven. I’ve recently returned from Naples and loved it.

What would your advice be to new writers?

Go for it! Rather than fretting, grit your teeth and write something. It might be rubbish, but you can always revise it later. The important thing is to get the creative juices flowing. And read as much as you can, in any genre, trying to note how the authors manage dialogue, time-shifts, etc. Lastly, do make sure that your grammar, spelling and punctuation are correct before sending your book off into the world.

And finally, you’re planning a year out, getting away from everyone on a desert island – what ‘must haves’ would you take with you and why?

An endless pile of books, a year’s supply of teabags and a small dog. Who could ask for more?

ABOUT JAN

JE in NaplesJan Ellis began writing fiction by accident in 2013. Until then, she had led a blameless life as a publisher, editor and historian of early modern Spain. She fell into fiction when a digital publisher approached her to write a history book, then made the mistake of mentioning women’s fiction, which sounded much more fun.

Jan describes her books as romcom/mystery with the emphasis firmly on family, friendship and humour. She specialises in small-town settings, with realistic characters who range in age from young teens to 80-somethings. As well as being an author, Jan continues to work at the heart of the book trade.

About the books

JE books x 3

An Unexpected Affair and A Summer of Surprises and French Kisses and A London Affair are published in two paperback volumes by Waverley Books. The Bookshop Detective is a paperback original.

Follow Jan on Facebook and Twitter @JanEllis_writer
http://www.janelliswriter.com
Jan’s Amazon page: http://goo.gl/yqmAey

TUESDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER: PUBLICATION DAY FOR LYNDA STACEY’S PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER DEBUT THE FAKE DATE…

 

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Nine hours and eleven minutes …
That’s how long it’s been since Ella Hope was beaten to within an inch of life and left for dead.
She lies, unable to move and praying for somebody to find her, as she counts down the minutes and wonders who could have hated her so much to have hurt her so badly.
Was it the man she went on a date with the previous evening, the man linked to the deaths of two other women? Or somebody else, somebody who wants her out of the picture so much they’re willing to kill?
Whoever it is, they will pay. All Ella has to do first is survive …

BUY LINKS

AMAZON.COM: http://a.co/d/a3n5wtA

AMAZON.CO.UK: http://amzn.eu/d/2ovGlAO

 

MY REVIEW

This is Lynda Stacey’s first venture into psychological thriller land.  It begins in quite a dramatic way with reporter Ella Hope lying injured out on the moors. She has only a vague idea of what has happened but she does know someone attacked her and she has been badly hurt.

A great start to a story, pulling the reader straight in. What’s different about this psychological thriller is that it is interwoven with a romance between Ella and her new next door neighbour Will, also a reporter.  Ella has spent seven months recovering from her ordeal.  She still has a long way to go with safety issues around men but Will eventually wins her trust.  Ella is determined to get to the bottom of what happened to her and knows gym owner Rick Greaves has something to do with it.  As her memory gradually returns she begins to piece together what happened that night.

Right from the beginning we hear the attacker’s words and thoughts.  They have killed before. Now Ella has escaped death, will they return to finish the job?

A worthy four star read.

About Lynda…

L (1) copy 2Lynda grew up in the mining village of Bentley, Doncaster, in South Yorkshire and went to both Bentley New Village School, and Don Valley High School.

She is currently the Sales Director of a stationery, office supplies and office furniture company in Doncaster, where she has worked for the past 25 years. Prior to this she’d also been a nurse, a model, an emergency first response instructor and a PADI Scuba Diving Instructor … and yes, she was crazy enough to dive in the sea with sharks, without a cage.

Following a car accident in 2008, Lynda was left with limited mobility in her right arm. Unable to dive or teach anymore, she turned to her love of writing, a hobby she’d followed avidly since being a teenager.

Her own life story, along with varied career choices helps Lynda to create stories of romantic suspense, with challenging and unpredictable plots, along with (as in all romances) very happy endings.

Lynda joined the Romantic Novelist Association in 2014 under the umbrella of the New Writers Scheme and in 2015, her debut novel House of Secrets won the Choc Lit & Whole Story Audiobooks Search for a Star competition.

She lives in a small rural hamlet near Doncaster, with her ‘hero at home husband’, Haydn, whom she’s been happily married to for over 20 years.

 

 

 

It’s publication day for Choc Lit author Kirsty Ferry’s Watch for me by Twilight (Hartsford Mysteries)….

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The past is never really the past at Hartsford Hall …
Aidan Edwards has always been fascinated by the life of his great-great uncle Robert. A trip to Hartsford Hall and an encounter with Cassie Aldrich leads him closer to the truth about Robert Edwards, as he unravels the scandalous story of a bright young poet and a beautiful spirited aristocrat in the carefree twilight of the 1930s before the Second World War.

But can Aidan find out what happened to Robert after the war – or will he have to accept that certain parts of his uncle’s life will remain forever shrouded in mystery?

MY REVIEW

I absolutely love the Hartsford Mysteries and Kirsty Ferry’s latest offering in the series –  Watch For Me by Twilight –  is no exception.  Lady Cassandra Aldrich (Cassie) is organising the next Living History weekend at the Hall.  Her sister in law Elodie, who is currently expecting twins has handed over responsibility to her, despite the misgivings of husband Alex (Cassie’s brother). But Cassie is undaunted. After all, how hard can it be?

Aidan Edwards sees Cassie’s advertisement asking for mementoes for the Weekend. Having recently gone through his Great-Great Uncle Robert’s trunk he realises some of the items there connect him to the Hall.  Taking along photos and Robert’s sketch pad he takes a trip to Hartsford Hall to investigate further.

Watch for Me by Twilight is a time slip which gives us two hugely enjoyable stories – one set in the present where Cassie and Aidan make some interesting discoveries as they work together on the Between the Wars Living History project (with a little romance along the way) and the other in the past which details Robert’s love affair with Stella Aldrich.

Thoroughly recommended…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Kirsty Ferry HRKirsty is from the North East of England and won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition in 2009 with the ghostly tale ‘Enchantment’.

Her timeslip novel, ‘Some Veil Did Fall’, a paranormal romance set in Whitby, was published by Choc Lit in Autumn 2014. This was followed by another Choc Lit timeslip, ‘The Girl in the Painting’ in February 2016. ‘The Girl in the Photograph’, published in March 2017, completes the Rossetti Mysteries series. The experience of signing ‘Some Veil Did Fall’ in a quirky bookshop in the midst of Goth Weekend in Whitby, dressed as a recently undead person was one of the highlights of her writing career so far!

Kirsty’s first timeslip novel ‘The Memory of Snow’, commended in the Northern Writers’ Awards, is set on Hadrian’s Wall, with the vampire tale ‘Refuge’ set on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. She has also put together a collection of short stories, a non-fiction collection of articles and writes Gothic Fiction under the pen name Cathryn Ramsay.

Kirsty has had articles and short stories published in Your Cat, Peoples Friend, Ghost Voices, The Weekly News and It’s Fate, and her short stories appear in several anthologies. She was a judge in the Paws ‘n’ Claws ‘Wild and Free’ Children’s Story competition in 2011, 2013 and 2014, and graduated from Northumbria University in December 2016, having achieved a Masters with Distinction in Creative Writing.

You can find out more about Kirsty and her work at http://www.rosethornpress.co.uk, catch her on her Facebook AuthorPage, follow her on Twitter @kirsty_ferry or pop by her blog at http://www.rosethornramblings.wordpress.com.

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Watch-Twilight-Choc-Hartsford-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07FJYKJ9V/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Watch-Twilight-Choc-Hartsford-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07FJYKJ9V

Apple iBooks: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/gb/book/watch-for-me-by-twilight-choc-lit/id1411286585?mt=11&at=11lNBs

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kirsty_Ferry_Watch_for_Me_by_Twilight_Choc_Lit?id=EYxlDwAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/watch-for-me-by-twilight-choc-lit

Website: https://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/watch-for-me-by-twilight/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40965331-watch-for-me-by-twilight-choc-lit

 

ChocLit-logo

TUESDAY TALK WELCOMES WRITER SONJA PRICE, CHATTING ABOUT WRITING TECHNIQUES, INSPIRATION AND CELEBRITY DINNER GUESTS…

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

Yes- first of all thank you for inviting me over. I live in Somerset with my family and dog and love living out in the country. When I’m not writing, I’m usually hopping on and off planes to teach in Germany.

When did you decide to become a writer and how did you begin that journey?

Once I’d secured a position at university in Germany by getting a PhD in English Lit, I decided to write whatever I wanted. It just kind of took off from there so that I now spend most of my time writing.

Are you a plotter or do you have a general outline of your story and begin writing to see where it takes you?

I would always advise newbies to plot if they can, but do I practice what I preach? No, it’s simply never happened, but there’s always hope. You have to mine your creative vein in any way possible and I happen write in the most time-consuming of ways. When a newspaper article, or some incident inspires me, I sit down and wait for the rest to come, which often involves staring at a blank screen for ages. I wish it were otherwise, but even though I despair at times, it’s is the only way that works for me.

Where do you go for inspiration? Are you someone who sits in cafes watching the world go by or do you get a buzz from wide open spaces?

The Giants Look Down coverI work at home in my study overlooking a field of sheep. They haven’t played a major role in my stories, though! Rather, I let my imagination travel to unfamiliar terrain. My first book THE GIANTS LOOK DOWN was set in Kashmir and BLACK SNAKE, which I’m now finishing takes place in the Canadian Wilds. I’ve never been to either place and the news inspired both stories. GIANTS is about a young girl’s struggle to become a medic against all odds which I started after I heard a report about the Great Earthquake that hit the Vale of Kashmir in 2005. I wanted to find out more about the region, which is surrounded by the highest mountains on this planet and contains a string of beautiful lakes. BLACK SNAKE tells the story of a widow’s quest to solve the mystery of her husband’s death out in the Canadian Wilds against the background of the conflict surrounding the construction of pipeline across Indigenous Canadian burial grounds.

If you had unlimited funds, where in the world would you choose to go for a holiday?

Having written about Kashmir in such detail, I would love to go there. In fact, India would be high up on my list anyway as it is the most colourful and interesting of places.

What one good piece of advice would you give to new writers?

Don’t put yourself down. So many would-be writers, especially women, talk about their work as if it’s a dirty secret, saying things like ‘I’ve written this but it’s no good.’ Believe in yourself and if you want to get published, hone your art and persevere.

And finally, you’re planning a celebrity dinner party. Which four individuals (either dead or alive) would you invite and why?

Does everyone say Barrack Obama? He’s wise, capable and charming.
Patricia Highsmith – what a talent, what a character.
Stephen Fry – I’m sure he could answer any question I had and he’s so funny to boot.
Banksy – I want to get to know person behind the thought-provoking art.

 

More about Sonja:

JH16 Sonja PriceShe’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and her short stories have appeared in Stories For Homes, the Shelter Anthology of Short Stories and In these Tangles, Beauty Lies, an anthology in aid of the Beanstalk Trust for children with reading difficulties. Her debut novel The Giants Look Down came out in 2016 and made her a finalist for the Joan Hessayon Award.
Links
Website: http://www.sonja-price.com
Twitter: @PriceSonja
Facebook: Sonja Price Author
Buying links:

Tuesday Talk catches up with Rachel Brimble about writing, bucket lists and favourite authors…

Author pic - Jun 2018Hi Rachel and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Sure! Thanks for having me here today – I live in a small town near Bath, England with my husband of 20 years, our two teenage daughters and mad chocolate Labrador, Tyler. When I’m not working (which isn’t often!), I like to read, knit and watch far too much TV.

When did you decide to become a writer and how did you begin that journey?

I’ve wanted to write books since I was about eight or nine and discovered Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven series. I was obsessed with them! Unfortunately, real life distracted me, and I worked in a bank for 10 years before I left to look after my children full-time. When my youngest started school in 2005, I had a ‘now or never’ moment and my first book, Searching For Sophie, was published by The Wild Rose Press in 2007. I haven’t looked back since!

What makes a good hero?

For me, a good hero is someone who is strong inside and out, caring, kind, fiercely (but not violently) protective and a provider. I tend to write strong heroines, so I like to create heroes who can match their passion and integrity.

You write both contemporary and historical fiction. Have you a favourite?

I love both equally! I love that I can write both as it gives me the opportunity to alternate between the two genres and, hopefully, keep my writing fresh for me and my readers. I signed a four-book historical contract with Aria in January, so I won’t be writing any contemporary for a while but I’m sure the time will fly by until I can.

What destination is at the top of your bucket list?

I’d really love to visit the US and see The White House before travelling to Maryland were I’d like to stay in Nora Roberts’ hotel in Boonsboro and attend one of her signings which she regularly holds in her husband’s bookshop in the same town.

When not writing, what do you like to read?

According to my husband, I read everything, lol! My favourite genres are romantic suspense, historical fiction based on past British kings and queens and historical crime, such as books by CJ Sansom and Alex Grecian. The only genres I can’t read are paranormal or sci-fi.

And finally, you’re appearing in I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Which four celebs would like to appear with you on the show and why?

Ooh, tough question! David Attenborough because I admire him so much and could listen to his voice all day. Oprah Winfrey because she is my inspiration in my quest to live an authentic life. Peter Kay because he only has to smile to make me laugh and Nora Roberts so she can teach me to write as brilliantly and as prolifically as her!

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MORE ABOUT RACHEL…

Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. Since 2007, she has had several novels published by small US presses, eight books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical.

In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a brand new Edwardian series set in Bath’s finest department store. The first book, The Mistress of Pennington’s released July 2018.

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!

Links:

Website

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Facebook Street Team – Rachel’s Readers

Amazon Author Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Rachel-Brimble/e/B007829ZRM/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1490948101&sr=8-1

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1806411.Rachel_Brimble

Bookbub:

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rachel-brimble

Cover

1910 – A compelling tale of female empowerment in Bath’s leading department store. Perfect for the fans of the TV series Mr Selfridge and The Paradise.
Elizabeth Pennington should be the rightful heir of Bath’s premier department store through her enterprising schemes and dogged hard work. Her father, Edward Pennington, believes his daughter lacks the business acumen to run his empire and is resolute a man will succeed him.
Determined to break from her father’s iron-clad hold and prove she is worthy of inheriting the store, Elizabeth forms an unlikely alliance with ambitious and charismatic master glove-maker Joseph Carter. United they forge forward to bring Pennington’s into a new decade, embracing woman’s equality and progression whilst trying not to mix business and pleasure.
Can this dream team thwart Edward Pennington’s plans for the store? Or will Edward prove himself an unshakeable force who will ultimately ruin both Elizabeth and Joseph?

Buy Links:

Amazon UK: http://amzn.eu/2SvRcqp
Amazon US: http://a.co/3OFh9JK
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-mistress-of-penningtons-rachel-brimble/1128920728?ean=9781788546508
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-mistress-of-pennington-s
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Rachel_Brimble_The_Mistress_of_Pennington_s?id=dIFSDwAAQBAJ
Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-mistress-of-penningtons/id1362129705?mt=11

It’s publication day for Evie’s Little Black Book by Hannah Pearl and here’s my review…

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Is hunting down every man you’ve kissed the answer to finding Mr Right?
When Evie is invited to the wedding of the guy she’d fancied throughout her teens, it’s the final straw. What’s wrong with her and why can’t she keep a man?
In between consoling herself with ice cream and chocolate, and sobbing her heart out to her cousin Chamaine, Evie has a brainwave – and it all centres around her ‘little black book’ (well, more floral patterned notebook really) – which contains the details of every man she’s ever kissed or dated. Perhaps the cure for her disastrous love life has been nestled within its pages all along …
Does Evie’s little black book really hold the answers, or will she learn that exes are exes for a reason?

A fun heart-warming story that’s perfect for the beach or the garden from this award-winning new author.

Hannah Pearl won the Books and the City Heatseeker short story competition, in partnership with Heat magazine in 2017 for her short story The Last Good Day.

Kindle UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Evies-Little-Black-Book-fabulous-ebook/dp/B07F39FYSX/
Kindle US: https://www.amazon.com/Evies-Little-Black-Book-fabulous-ebook/dp/B07F39FYSX/

iBooks https://geo.itunes.apple.com/gb/book/evies-little-black-book/id1404904652?mt=11&at=11lNBs

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/evie-s-little-black-book

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Hannah_Pearl_Evie_s_Little_Black_Book?id=XVBiDwAAQBAJ

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40725790-evie-s-little-black-book

Website: https://www.rubyfiction.com/dd-product/little-black-book/

MY REVIEW

Evie’s brother’s best friend George is getting married, sending Evie into meltdown.  He’s the one guy she had a mega-crush on during her teens but never got to go out on a date with.  Now he’s about to tie the knot with someone else.  The approaching wedding sees her taking stock of all her past relationships. She has written about them in detail in her ‘little black book’ (actually a pretty floral notebook).  By revisiting each of her old loves, she hopes to be able to see where she went wrong and how she might be able to change her luck with men in the future and maybe find ‘Mr Right.’

The first ex on her list grew up just around the corner from where she lives but now the house is occupied by Jake, who is living there with his sister Bea and her small daughter Alice.  Evie arrives in the middle of a domestic crisis in the kitchen and she’s only too happy to help Jake and Alice out.  She befriends Jake and his family, enjoying their company as she continues to revisit her past and catch up with old flames.  However, it’s soon clear that maybe happy ever after is right in front of her if she will only open her eyes.

A delightful romantic  debut and super summer read…I absolutely loved it!

Many thanks to Choc Lit/Ruby Fiction for an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

RUBY LOGO RD NSChocLit-logo

This week Tuesday Talk chats to Sue McDonagh, about Art, Writing and her choice of Dinner Guests…

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

Hi Jo, and thanks for the warm welcome! I live at the bottom edge of Wales, about a mile from the sea, where I moved over thirty years ago after surviving ovarian cancer. At that time, I was a policewoman in industrial Essex, so it represented not only a change of scenery, but also of culture, as I became instant mum to two little boys!

When did you decide to become a writer and how did you begin that journey?

I’ve always enjoyed writing, but the journey towards novelist began when I learned to ride a motorbike, aged 52. My steep learning curve, and the amazing women I met during that time was the catalyst for the idea behind ‘Summer at the Art Café’. The idea refused to go away, and the novel began life as NaNoWriMo in 2014. Don’t laugh, I was enthusiastic and naive, and most surprised to discover how difficult it was to write a novel! I read books about how to write, and wrote my quota in the evenings until I had my 50,000 words. It was mostly pretty awful, but I learned such a lot.

As an artist what is the most unusual commission you’ve received?

I’ve had some funny commissions. I’ve been asked to paint a man in a tutu (I turned that one down…) and some years back, another guy asked for a portrait of himself for his wife. I had no idea he wanted a nude until he started stripping off in my studio. I’d taken a dozen photos before I remembered I had no film in the camera…

Now that Summer at the Art Café has been published what is next for you?

The second in the trilogy is already written and under contract, and I’m currently working on the third. They’re still set very much on the Welsh coast, and family issues like step-children and the modern extended family feature largely.

What destination is top of your bucket list?

Anywhere I can go on my motorbike! Although I loved Thailand when I visited after the terrible tsunami, and I’d like to return to see how the country has healed.

What would your advice be to new writers?

Just get those words down. I’m terrible at taking my own advice though, and I can spend way too long fretting about plot threads that go nowhere. Somehow, when you actually get the words down, they start to make sense. It’s a sort of magical alchemy that never stops surprising me.

And finally, you’re planning a dinner and inviting celebrity guests. Which four (dead or alive) would you invite and why?

Aw, I’d love to have met the wonderful Robin Williams. I’m not very impressed by showbiz type celebrities in general, so I’d probably have a great evening with some of my amazing friends, and my late parents, particularly my mum who died last year and was my biggest inspiration.

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/SueMcDonaghWriter/
Pinterest:
https://www.pinterest.co.uk/suemcdonagh/my-novel-summer-at-the-art-cafe/
Amazon link:
http://amzn.eu/fK14bfC

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From watercolours and cupcakes to leather jackets and freedom …
If you won a gorgeous purple motorbike, and your domineering husband said you were too fat for leathers and should sell it, would you do as you were told – or learn to ride it in secret?

Artist and café owner Lucy Daumier intends to do just that – but learning to ride is far from easy, especially under the critical eye of prickly motorcycle instructor, Ash Connor.

But gradually Lucy gets the hang of it, and in the process re-discovers the girl she used to be. So starts an exciting summer of new friendships and fun – as well as a realisation that there is more to Ash than meets the eye when she is introduced to his seven-year-old daughter, Daisy.

But can Lucy’s new-found happiness last when a spiteful family member wants to see her fail?

What people are saying about Summer at the Art Cafe:
My favourite book this year! Initially the beautiful illustration on the cover made me smile and I soon realised that I had picked the ideal complement to enjoying the sunshine in the garden. I loved this book and the evolving story which developed around the characters, who in the main you could not help but warm to. ~ Amazon reader.

This book is an impressive debut novel, with all the right ingredients for that perfect summer read. ~Amazon reader.

Delicious from beginning to end. I’m not in the slightest bit surprised that Sue McDonagh is an artist as well as a writer. I have rarely read a book where the author so skilfully paints pictures in your head with such vivid colour and description that it all becomes so very real. ~ Amazon reader

A Year to Remember Part 3…

Home is where you feel comfortable, where you can relax with all the familiar things around you.  Waking up on Saturday May 26th I realised I might be home but my daily routine was going to be completely different.  True I was no longer in hospital  being woken up at 5.30 am but I was now sleeping in the spare room because I needed the whole of the bed in order to sleep with my new best friend, my plaster.  Thankfully I’d now rewired my brain so that it favoured my left leg instead of my right.  There was no way I was going to forget and accidentally put weight on it and end up back in hospital.

My husband organised my breakfast and laid out clothes for me. The walking frame enabled me to get to the bathroom and then he helped me into the chair where I sat at the basin to brush teeth and wash.  I could then slip from that onto my good leg and balance on the walker again to get back to the bedroom to dry my hair and dress.  I stayed upstairs until lunch time reading or working on the computer.  I then bumped my way downstairs on my backside and the walker was transferred to the hallway so I could pick it up when I reached the bottom.  All the cooking and housework (apart from the ironing which I managed sitting down) became the responsibility of my husband and I have to say he was absolutely brilliant.  Having lived on his own he could cook, which was a blessing – and he is incredibly organised.  After lunch I’d stay in the lounge and watch TV or read.  I also had a steady stream of visitors and so many flowers! It was to prove a very frustrating time though because I like to be active. I like to go out and with your right leg in plaster and supported by a walker, what you can do is incredibly limited. I had to cancel a hair appointment, the dentist and I also missed out on a friend’s milestone birthday lunch.  My own milestone birthday had attracted a lot of invites from girlfriends wanting to take me out.  All of these had to be put on hold.  Our weekly trip to the pub also had to be postponed for the time being.  Luckily my sister had, through a neighbour clearing out their father’s house, managed to get hold of a wheelchair.  It was an absolute godsend as it not only became useful for the hospital visits to come, it opened the door into that outside world; a place where I could enjoy a meal and a glass of wine!

Eleven days after the op I had my first appointment at the fracture clinic to have my 20180624_122732stitches out and another x-ray.  The consultant seemed pleased with the result and I was sent off to the plaster room for plaster No 4.  I had to keep this on for five weeks to give the ankle time to heal.  As you’re all aware we’ve had a scorching summer this year and having your leg stuck in a plaster is no joke when the temperature soars. By the time the five weeks was up I couldn’t wait to get rid of this uncomfortable, heavy wrapping around my leg.  During that time nothing much much progressed around my mobility.  We were getting out for meals, friends were calling round but I was generally housebound. However, on my next clinic visit I had been told if all was well I’d be fitted with an orthopaedic boot which would enable me to put weight on the ankle and walk.  For me that day couldn’t come quickly enough.  I’d seen these boots and in my mind I thought this would be the beginning of normality – unfortunately not.  It was merely the next step of the journey.

20180702_180950I take a size 3 (35) in shoes. The boot was labelled ‘small’ but believe me, it was enormous.  I called it my Darth Vadar boot because it looked like something out of Star Wars.  It was heavy and because of the depth of the sole and the support for the foot there was no way I could walk upright.  My first tentative steps up and down the clinic were quite painful but gradually got better as I progressed with it.

On the positive side I managed to wean myself off the walker and use a walking stick which made me much more mobile.  I also managed to get to another birthday lunch, hobbling into the restaurant, trying to reduce the black unattractiveness of this boot with a summer dress and failing miserably.  Again this was through a period of hot weather and the boot was so uncomfortable that whenever we went anywhere – pub, restaurant or a friend’s house, I would release all the Velcro strips and allow my leg access to fresh air.

When the boot was fitted I was advised there would also be physio sessions.  Hearing nothing after a week I chased up appointments only to discover they had mislaid my application.  However, this was soon rectified and when I began those sessions that was the moment I knew I was on the way to getting back to normal  The exercises gradually began to make changes, to loosen joints which had not only spent six weeks without any movement but had also been the subject of quite a serious operation.  Two sessions in I abandoned the boot. I found a pair of sandals which fitted both feet,  began to take daily walks (with the aid of the walking stick), and could walk up and downstairs (very carefully I might add!). Four sessions in and I’ve taken back responsibility for the cooking and absolute bliss! can get into the bath to take a shower.  It’s a gradual thing, each day brings changes, something I can do that I couldn’t do, say, a week ago.  Currently I have six different exercises which I have to repeat four times a day.  I’m under no illusions that this is going to be a quick fix, but you can see the difference.  My foot, which was quite swollen when I was fitted with the boot, is almost back to normal size. My skin has stopped flaking – yes, even with the daily application of body lotion that’s one of the side effects of having your foot and leg sealed in plaster for six weeks.  I’m continuing to use body lotion on the scarred areas to make the skin more supple and I also use Bio Oil which helps minimise scarring.  My right leg will probably never be the same – I’ve a 2 inch scar over my inner ankle bone and a 5 inch over the outer one.  There are aches and pains occasionally but this is to be expected and will probably go on for a long time, if not indefinitely.  I’m still using the stick but more for balance than anything else and once I get going I don’t really need it.  I promised my physio that when I next see her I will come without it!

So that’s it, not quite the end but well on my way to getting my full mobility back. No marathons planned or moments dancing in stilettos…and in future I’ll be very careful about where I put my feet.  Of course, walking is only half the story, now it’s all about increasing the distance I can walk. Again this is something that will take time and determination to bring about.  A friend of ours who had a knee op two years ago said it took him a whole year to get back to normal.  At least with this time frame I have realistic expectations.

I would like to end this story of my journey out of the land of broken bones by saying that all through my hospital stay and outpatients visits I received the most amazing care.  The NHS is a wonderful organisation filled with dedicated people who not only give you outstanding clinical support, but also make you laugh and keep your spirits up.  Another thing is that treatment is free at the point of delivery. In other words my stay in hospital, the op, the ambulance trip home after discharge, the outpatient clinics and physio didn’t cost me a penny.  The NHS isn’t perfect but as Brits I think we should be really thankful it’s there for us.

THE AFFAIR by SHERYL BROWNE – A gripping psychological thriller with a shocking TWIST

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The moment she opened her eyes, she knew everything had changed. The stale taste of alcohol; her uneasy stomach. She looked at her husband sleeping peacefully, and knew she would never tell anyone what happened last night.

You will think you know what happened to Alicia that night.

You will see a desperate wife, lying to her husband.

You will watch a charming lover, trying to win her back.

You will judge her, just like everyone else.

You will assume you know what happens next. But everything you think you know about the past, the relationships, what drives Alicia and her husband to lie… is wrong.

If you loved The Girl on the Train, The Wife Between Us and The Sister, you’ll love this compelling and gripping psychological thriller from Sheryl Browne. The Affair will have you hooked from the very first page!

Buy Links:

AMAZON UK: http://amzn.eu/cqCdQNt

AMAZON.COM: http://a.co/1t6RFaz

What readers are saying about The Affair:

‘Wow… I’m speechless… it is just that amazing… seriously stop reading this review and just buy the book… I was so gripped by this that I read it in record time, and even when I paused for a break, my mind was still on it… This is addictive, compulsive book that has blown me away… Clear yourself a few hours where you can lock yourself away from the real world… simply superb!’ Rachel’s Random Reads

‘Wow!!! I was totally taken away with this book from page one. A real page turner. Go 1-click this book today, you won’t regret it. So many twists and turns.’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

‘This was a really, really good book… twists on twists!… The ending was awesome!!!!!’ Goodreads Reviewer

‘Great read!!!…Wow! Just as you think everything is settled, it isn’t!!! This book is not to be missed! Recommend!!!’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

‘Wow!! I read this book in just a weekend!!… I read it so fast!! If you like psychological thrillers, you should definitely pick this one up! :)’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

‘Wow!… The Affair is a hugely addictive book … A compelling story with dark and chilling moments, and it will have you gripped to the pages. A definite 5 star read.’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

‘The story starts with a big shock, BAM, in your face and it carries on from there until the very last sentence… I LOVED it, a great read, told in this author’s special easy to read style that brings you in and keeps you there.’ Goodreads Reviewer

‘Expect the unexpected, don’t try to predict the many twists and turns (you’ll NEVER guess the ending) and get the tissues ready.’ Goodreads Reviewer

‘One hell of a bang… This book really plays with the emotions, there are times when I empathised with the main character but hated her. There were other times when I hated what she was doing but loved her. I really liked it.’ Nigel Adams Bookworm

‘An unputdownable read. I loved that I had no idea what the author had in store next for me.’ By the Letter Book Reviews, 5 stars

‘It’s an enthralling story that keeps your attention all the way through with an interesting twist to add even more spice.’ B for Book Review, 5 stars

‘The secrets and the family drama throughout this book. I couldn’t put the book down, it’s just so good.’ Goodreads Reviewer

‘A suspenseful thriller with a flipping twist at the ending.’ Escape With a Book

‘Sheryl Browne is an author whose work I will watch out for from now on! It starts off with a bang and never quite lets up… the story gripping and emotional. Recommended!’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

‘A compelling psychological thriller… Let’s just say that there are many twists and secrets and lies aplenty… pulls you into the story and holds you there until the end!’ Goodreads Reviewer

MY REVIEW

Sheryl Browne is well known for delivering edge of the seat stories and The Affair is no exception. Justin and Alicia Cole are a happily married couple with a fifteen year old daughter (Sophie) and a six month old son (Lucas). As the family reels from a devastating RTA, the return from Dubai of Paul Bradley – an old work colleague of Alicia’s – lead Justin to question exactly why he always seems to be around. Has something gone on in the past between him and Alicia he knows nothing about?
Soon suspicion and doubt begin to worm their way into the marriage of two people trying to cope on a day to day basis after experiencing an unthinkable tragedy. We’ve become used to Sheryl’s twists and turns, of putting her main characters into the most unbelievably stressful situations from which as a reader, you can’t see any way out of. For the amount of physical and mental pain Justin experienced he more than earned his hero title. With Bradley’s arrival and the revelations he brings with him, plus danger from a source closer to home, I wondered how Justin could possibly come out of this holding onto his sanity. Bradley too is an absolute masterpiece. Maybe he’s not the psychopath we’ve been used to in Sheryl’s other books but he’s just as destructive.
Fabulous! Another well-deserved five star read.

gold-star

ABOUT SHERYL BROWNE

Sheryl Browne brings you powerful psychological thriller and contemporary fiction. Sheryl’s latest psychological thriller THE AFFAIR – the second 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.

To find out more about Sheryl’s novels, go to http://www.facebook.com/SherylBrowne.Author/ or follow @SherylBrowne on Twitter.

To find out more about Sheryl, go to http://www.sherylbrowne.com

A Year to Remember Part 2…

So there I was, expecting to be replastered and sent home, only to be told you’re being admitted and having an operation.

I was wheeled up to the Surgical Short Stay Unit where I was given a private room. This was to isolate me from the other patients as I’d just returned from abroad.  I was told I would need to be swabbed to check I’d not brought anything like MRSA back with me.  The first thing I did was make a list of things I’d need during my stay and send my husband back home to collect them.  Once I had those I settled myself in and he left saying he’d call back that evening.   I read for most of the afternoon while various members of staff looked in on me.  I only had a sandwich for lunch – not surprisingly after the events of the morning my appetite had fled.   Before being taken up to the ward, the consultant’s registrar had gone through everything.  I’d listened and understood all I was being told  – that I had a trimalleolar break, meaning not one but three fractures which would need to be pinned.  I’d signed the form attached to the clipboard but I have to say everything seemed so surreal, as if it was happening to someone else not me.  After my husband’s evening visit once more my Kindle helped me pass the time. Although being told the noise and movement from the machine clipped to the foot of the bed and working like a pair of bellows on the pad in my plaster might keep me awake,  I had a great night’s sleep .

I had no idea that in hospital they wake you up at five thirty.  Because it was late May and was light outside I automatically thought it must be around seven.  There were tablets to take and my breakfast to order. A health care assistant came in to change the bed and help me get into the ensuite bathroom for a wash. My lack of appetite continued and all I could manage was juice and toast for breakfast. Later that morning my consultant arrived with his team.  As I wasn’t someone in for elective surgery, they were hoping to fit me in that day which meant no more food from now on and no more fluids from 11.30.  Someone drew an arrow in marker pen over my right knee and they left.  My husband visited mid morning and then for the rest of the day I read. Various members of staff popped in and out and then around 15.00 the anaesthetist arrived to explain the op was on and what would happen.  Before I left for the operating theatre I had to have a CT scan to check my heel bone wasn’t out of alignment.  Soon after my return from x-ray the porters arrived to wheel me to theatre.  As I arrived I noticed the clock on the wall said 15.55. After inserting the cannula into the back of my hand the anaesthetist told me he was going to put what he called a block into the back of my leg behind the knee.  This would automatically dispense an analgesic into my bloodstream for the first 24 hours after the operation. He then injected into the cannula, telling me it would make me feel as if I’d had a couple of glasses of wine.  It did…I felt totally relaxed!  The last thing I remember was being wheeled into the theatre and seeing all these faces wearing masks looking down at me.

Someone was calling my name. I opened my eyes and found myself in bed propped up against pillows in what I realised must be the recovery area.  A nurse sat next to me. The clock on the wall was showing 18.55.  My leg had been re-plastered but I had no sense of pain or discomfort so the analgesic was obviously doing its job. She asked me a few questions which I realised were to make sure my brain was functioning OK.  Eventually two porters arrived to take me back to the ward where my husband was waiting.  I always believed when you come around from an op that you’d be drowsy but I wasn’t. I was wide awake – and  starving!  After he’d gone a health care assistant came in and although I’d missed the evening meal she organised three rounds of toast and jam.  It was like a banquet – I had no idea something so simple could taste so good!  Again I slept well with the bonus I was no longer coupled to that air pump wheezing away at the foot of the bed!

The next morning the consultant and his team arrived and I was told I would be discharged that afternoon.  Someone from the Home Care Team arrived to talk to me about home aids and after a discussion it was decided I’d need four items in order to help me get around the house.  As access to our downstairs loo, which is off the utility, was considered difficult and I was told getting up and down stairs on my backside would wear me out, I very, very reluctantly accepted a commode.  However I was forced to admit after a few days at home that she was right; pulling myself upstairs backwards using my hands was pretty tiring – in fact at times it was downright exhausting.  She left me with a walker and said physios would arrive later to make sure I could use it OK.  After a tour of the ward they seemed happy and left. So now it was all about waiting to be discharged.

Just before six the ambulance crew arrived.  At last, me and my discharge medication were going home.  Little did I know the challenges that awaited me there, but that’s for the next and final instalment.

TO BE CONTINUED