TUESDAY TALK CATCHES UP WITH CHOC LIT AUTHOR LYNDA STACEY

114_1426 (1)Good morning Lynda and welcome to Tuesday Talk. First of all many congratulations on winning Choc Lit’s Search for a Star 2015.  Can I firstly ask you to tell us a little about yourself.

Thank you so much for inviting me to speak to you. And thank you for your congratulations; I’m delighted to have won The Choc Lit Search for a star competition. It really was my dream comes true.

I began writing when I was a teenager, my English teacher wanted me to go into journalism, but I was the daughter of a miner and in 1984, I left school to work. Our family needed the income and we needed to eat.

Writing was put to one side; I was married by the age of 19 and found myself in an abusive and difficult relationship. After suffering for 3 years, I finally found a way to leave. I left my position as a dental nurse and took a driving and sales job with the company I still work for. I’m now the Sales Director at that company.

Over the years, I’ve pushed myself to live life to the limit, when you’ve lived how I did; you begin to appreciate life more. In 2002, I took a PADI scuba diving course. I learnt how to dive and pushed myself until I achieved the status of PADI Staff Instructor,  I was an instructor who could teach people from first breaths underwater, to being instructors themselves.

When did your writing journey begin and what was the trigger?

In 2007, I was involved in a car accident. My shoulder was badly damaged in the accident and I no longer had the strength in my right arm to rescue a scuba student if they got into trouble. I couldn’t risk people getting hurt or killed and I had to stop teaching.

It was then that I began to write again, taking it more seriously in 2012 and in 2013, I was shortlisted for the Festival of Romance New Talent Award. This was my trigger, I knew that I could do it and pushed myself to work every night after work to achieve my goal.

Your winning novel – Keeper of the House – can you tell us something about it?

It’s based upon a hotel in Scalby, near Scarborough called Wrea Head Hall.My husband and I go there on a regular basis; it’s the most amazing place. It only has 22 rooms, so you really feel as though you’ve gone awaywrea head hall 2 to your own country house retreat for the weekend. You can literally feel the history seeping out of the walls and I knew it had a story that just had to be told.

The novel has a parallel story, based in the 1940’s and if asked to describe it, I’d say it’s Fatal Attraction meets Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

My novel begins with Madeleine Frost, she finds herself in a rebound relationship after the death of her husband. Fearing for the safety of her three year old daughter, Poppy, Madeleine leaves and goes to live with her estranged father at the hall. But Declan won’t let go, he likes to control but Madeleine has met Christopher ‘Bandit’ Lawless, an ex-marine with an over protective nature. Bandit has no problem in trying to protect Madeleine, but can he save her, or does Madeleine become yet another of Declan’s victims?

What is the best part of writing for you? And what is the worst?

I love everything about writing. It’s a great release and I love getting to know my characters, building their lives and giving them a backstory.

I guess the best part is when people read and love what you do. There’s no better feeling than to get really great feedback.

The worst is probably the continual going over and over the same manuscript, no one (unless you’re a writer) would ever know how many times one manuscript is written or how long it takes.

How do you spend your chill out time?

I live in the countryside, I love to be at home, watch the wildlife and of course, I love to go to Wrea Head Hall for a treat.

I still Scuba dive for pleasure but these day’s I’d call myself a http://www.diver (a warm water wuss) and prefer to dive whilst on holidays.

What is your favourite holiday destination?

Difficult question, I’m afraid I’ve been spoilt. We’ve travelled a lot and have chosen our holidays by dive sites. I loved the Maldives; it was idyllic, the only way I can describe it is, it’s like being Robinson Crusoe, with a bar and a chef.

But then again, the Caribbean will always be special to me. My (2nd) husband Haydn and I got married on the island of Jamaica in 1997 and we’ve since travelled to Grenada, the Dominican Republic and Barbados since.

I love all of it, the music, the people and the culture. The scuba diving is pretty spectacular too, especially off of Grenada where you get the Atlantic meeting the Caribbean. There are lots of wrecks and with the deeper, fast moving water, you get lots of sharks. And yes, we go in without a cage.!!

If you were able to go back and live in any historical time period what would it be and why?

I’d like to go back to any part in time when we didn’t have wars. I hate everything about war and how evil mankind can be to one another.

So, I’d like to go back to a time when we had world peace….. but sadly no date springs to mind.!

You can catch up with Lynda on Twitter and her blog:

@Lyndastacey

http://www.lyndastacey2912.wordpress.com
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TUESDAY TALK WELCOMES TUTOR AND CHILDREN’S WRITER ESTHER NEWTON

 Good morning Esther and welcome. Can you tell us a bit about ‘you’?

I live in Thatcham, Berkshire, with my husband, daughter, three cats and two chinchillas.

I love reading. I enjoy crime, as well as psychological thrillers and I’m especially passionate about children’s books. One of my favourite stories is by the author Cornelia Funke. When Santa Fell to Earth is a beautiful book, full of magic and wonder. It’s a treat to read.

On a Saturday morning I can be found at my local Cats Protection with my daughter. We are socialisiers, which means we spend time with the cats, especially the ones who haven’t had much human contact. I’ve fallen in love with many and have homed three rescue cats so far! I’ve just been asked to take over as editor for their magazine, so that’ll be an exciting new venture for next year.

When did your writing journey begin?

I’ve always loved words and writing, but I started out working with numbers in a bank. I was on an accelerated training programme and studying banking exams, so I didn’t have much time for writing and it wasn’t long before it was a thing of the past – or so I thought. My love affair with writing ignited again when I had an accident and seriously injured my back. It meant I could no longer carry out my job working in the bank. That accident has turned out to be the best thing that’s happened to me! It led me back to writing, which has now become a daily part of my life.

I could hardly move after I first hurt my back and so I spent a lot of time lying out on my bed. I saw an advert in the paper for a distance learning writing course. It felt as if it was meant to be, so I enrolled and it wasn’t long before I was having articles and short stories accepted for publication.

Are you drawn to any particular genre?

When my daughter was small, I loved sharing books with her and developed a love of children’s books. That led me to write my own series, for 5-7 year olds, which has recently been taken on by a publisher. The first in the series is due to be launched next year.

You work as a tutor for the Writers’ Bureau. How did that come about?

The Writers Bureau helped me on my way to becoming a writer. Without them, I don’t think I’d be where I am today. Thanks to the writers’ Bureau, I was having a wide variety of writing accepted for publication so I thought about helping others who’d been in the same position as me and who needed that little bit of support and guidance. So I contacted the Director of Studies and have been a tutor for the past seven years.

Who are your favourite writers?

got21I love George R.R. Martin and his Game of Thrones series, Kate Atkinson and her Jackson Brodie private investigator books and I have Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse to thank for getting me first hooked on crime writing.

What destination is the top of your bucket list and why?download

New York. I love cities and have always wanted to see New York at Christmas.

imagesIf you were holding a dinner party and could invite four guests, who would they be and why?

Lee Evans for entertainment, David Attenborough as he’s a fascinating person, Bryan Adams for a sing-song and Daniel Craig needs no explanation!

Catch up with Esther on her social media sites:

https://esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com,

Twitter: @esthernewton201 and

Facebook: Esther Newton.

Esther can also be found on Linkedin.

TODAY FRIDAY 13TH NOVEMBER IS LAUNCH DAY FOR LAURA HUNTLEY’S LONG AWAITED SEQUEL TO BLACK EYED BOY….

Laura Pic Today sees the release of Green Eyed Girl by Crooked Cat Publishing. The dramatic sequel. to Black Eyed Boy. Follow the story of Emily and her black-eyed boy. She thought the drama was over. It was just beginning…

ABOUT GREEN EYED GIRL

A year after driving away to begin their new life together as travelling gypsies, things are less than perfect for Emily and Dylan.

Although Emily has accepted the dark secret of the black-eyed clan, she cannot find the courage to make the transition herself, leaving her always on the outside.

A natural disaster sends Emily rushing back to her home town of Whitby, where her life is instantly turned upside down and she is left confused by her new feelings, especially when she spots a familiar face in the crowds. Emily and Dylan soon drift apart, and the void becomes wider by the day.

What will it take for Emily to realise what she stands to lose? And will it be too late? As she ponders her options, fate strikes. A stranger has discovered the secret of the black-eyed clan – and Emily finds herself in a dangerous and terrifying situation. The clock is ticking.

And only one black-eyed boy can save her.

GEGCOVER

BUY LINKS: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Green-Eyed-Girl-Laura-Huntley-ebook/dp/B017RYBI3E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1447323937&sr=8-1&keywords=green+eyed+girl

A CHANCE TO WIN FESTIVE GIVEAWAYS FROM CHOC LIT AUTHOR SHERYL BROWNE…

The Rest of My Life, recommended by the WHSmith Travel Fiction Buyer and recently at #2 on the Amazon Top 100 Paid Women’s Romance Fiction Best Sellers List, has been shortlisted for the Love Stories Awards 2015!

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To celebrate, Sheryl is sharing a little Christmas cheer early by giving away a beautiful love bird key pendant and a FREE e-copy of any one of her other books. To be in with a chance of grabbing your prize, check out the #restofmylife Rafflecopter comp below.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/3400da5f1/?

As a special pre-Christmas treat, anyone leaving a review for the The Rest of My Life on Amazon is also welcome to choose an extra FREE e-copy of one of Sheryl’s other books. Simply message her on Twitter @sherylbrowne or Facebook with the Amazon link.

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The Rest of My Life

“You can’t run away from commitment forever … “

Adam Hamilton-Shaw has more reason than most to avoid commitment. Living on a houseboat in the Severn Valley, his dream is to sail into the sunset – preferably with a woman waiting in every port. But lately, his life looks more like a road to destruction than an idyllic boat ride…

Would-be screenplay writer Sienna Meadows realises that everything about Adam spells trouble – but she can’t ignore the feeling that there is more to him than just his bad reputation. Nor can she ignore the intense physical attraction that exists between them.

And it just so happens that Adam sees Sienna as the kind of woman he could commit to. But can he change his damaging behaviour – or is the road to destruction a one-way street?

http://lrd.to/rest-of-my-life

A little message from Sheryl:

As some of you may know, I’ve had a bit of stressful year this year with my partner’s health issues. I would just like to say a HUGE thank you all those lovely people who have supported me and made my writing journey so worthwhile.

I hope all is well in your world.

GOOD LUCK and keep safe everyone!

Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, sexy, poignant fiction. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for the Best Romantic e-book Love Stories Award 2015, Sheryl has seven books published, two shorts in Birmingham City University anthologies, and a further short published in ‘Let’s Hear it For the Boys’ – all proceeds to Movember raising funds for men’s health awareness.

Sheryl’s new contemporary romance novel was recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer. THE REST OF MY LIFE comes to you from award winning Choc Lit.

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TUESDAY TALK TAKES A PEEK INTO THE VERY BUSY LIFE OF KIM NASH

Kim with booksGood morning Kim and welcome to Tuesday Talk. First, can you tell us a little bit about you?

Good morning Jo, thanks for inviting me along today.  First and foremost, I’m mom to 8 year old Ollie.  I also work for Bookouture (www.bookouture.com), I am a book blogger, I also work with an amazing mind, body and spirit author called Theresa Cheung (www.theresacheung.com), I do ad-hoc freelance marketing and publicity from time to time, I co-run a local book club and I am an independent consultant for Arbonne which is a Swiss pure, safe and beneficial skin-care, make-up, health and well-being business (kimnash.arbonne.com).  Phew! No wonder I’m tired!

What is your job at Bookouture?

I am publicity and social media manager.  This means that it’s my job to spread the word about our fabulous books and authors in both online and traditional publications. I am the contact for reviewers and bloggers so I’m constantly arranging interviews, reviews and features with our authors.  I run the social media platforms, NetGalley, Goodreads and our internal database too.   I organise author and reviewer endorsements for books we are publishing and arrange competitions, cover reveals and publication day launches.  And I’m the first port of call for customer service.  Oh and of course, I’m also on the lookout for prospective authors that I think would fit well in our portfolio.

How long have you been reviewing books as Kim the Bookworm and how did this begin?

About 5 years ago I was going through a stage in my life where I was really unhappy and doing everything for everyone else and nothing for me and reading was really the only thing I had time to do and loved as I could lose myself in my books.  I read a book called A Spring Affair by the fabulous Milly Johnson and it was about a lady who started clearing clutter from her house and realised that it wasn’t actually her house she was unhappy with but her life.

This really resonated with me at that particular time, which is something that I think happens a lot with books and I started doing things that began to change my life.  Inside the book was a quote from Milly saying if you enjoyed the book to email her and tell her.  I did and she wrote back within an hour, which I was SO gobsmacked at, and we got chatting and over the weeks she asked me if I’d like to be an advanced reader for her.  I never even knew this was a thing that existed! I was obviously over the moon! I mentioned I was thinking about starting a blog.  She told me to go for it and that’s where it all started!  So if it wasn’t for Milly Johnson, I wouldn’t be where I am today!

Have you a favourite author?

Tons! And it’s a really tough question because I have so many! Milly (obviously!), Carole Matthews, Louise Douglas, Sue Watson, Amanda Prowse, and I’m so very lucky to be working at Bookouture because we have so many awesome authors that I adore and would be reading even if I didn’t work with them and I thank my lucky stars every day that I get to do my job and work with these guys!

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m currently reading Mandy Baggot’s One Wish in Manhattan.  The last book I read was Snowflakes on Silver Cove by Holly Martin – adorable! And before that it was Carole Matthews’ The Chocolate Lover’s Christmas which was fabulous.  I’m quite into Christmas books right now! But next I’m about to start Helen Phifer’s The Ghost House which I need to start in daylight because I’m a big scaredy-pants.   I’m also reading a self-help book called The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.   My TBR pile is SOOOOO tall!

Have you ever thought about changing places and becoming a writer?

I have indeed! I’ve always wanted to write since I was young.  In fact I recently went on a Write Foxy workshop with Miranda Dickenson, another of my favourite authors which was really inspirational and it really kicked my butt into just getting on with it!  I’d recommend this workshop to anyone who is writing or would like to start.

If you did, what would you write?

I would write the sort of things I love to read which is women’s or popular fiction – the sort of stuff that makes you laugh, cry, but generally feel good.  I love reading thrillers too but don’t think I’m clever enough to write one of those!

When you are able to dip out of your busy life, how do you spend your relaxation time?

My son Ollie is my best buddy in the whole world so anything we do together is my most favourite past time whether it’s visiting somewhere or just hanging out.  I obviously read – a lot! I recently set up a book club in Cannock, Staffs (which is near to where I live) with a lady who owns a cafe and coffee bar and we LOVE our book club. It’s not traditional because we don’t choose a book, but what we do is to talk about the books we’ve read and some of us set reading challenges, which might be to read a new genre, or a book that is popular, or to read more.  We have an author at each one too to talk about their writing journey and to do a reading. It’s really just about people who love books coming together, drinking tea, eating cake and chatting about books.

I love reading self-help/self-development books and with my Arbonne business I arrange get-togethers where I introduce people to the products.

And sometimes, when I crash from my busy life, I binge-watch Devious Maids, Greys Anatomy, Stella, Mount Pleasant and Hawaii 5O.   I’m not a big TV watcher but I record things so I can skip through the adverts!

I also have an amazing group of friends who I love catching up with as often as we can.

What is your favourite holiday destination?

I love anywhere with turquoise sea and stunning white beaches where I can lie on a sunbed and read, read, read.  That doesn’t happen when you have a child though so it’s been a while since I had that type of holiday.  I’ve been lucky enough in the past to visit Barbados, The Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Mexico, The Maldives, Florida and loads of places in Europe too.  And I absolutely LOVE The Algarve, I’ve visited there many many times and have some lovely memories.

Holidays for me are about creating memories, so anywhere with Ollie is great, even in the UK, as long as I can take a long walk on a beach and breathe in the sea air and watch the waves lap onto the shore.

If you were stranded on a desert island and were able to have four essential items, what would they be?

OMG! Great question! Really hard for me because I don’t think there’s anything really that I couldn’t be without!

My iPad loaded with a million books – and of course it would have to have a never ending power supplyer because the thought of that running out of battery though just gave me palpitations!

My son! Because we’d always find something to laugh about! I probably should have picked him before my iPad but as they say on XFactor – this is in no particular order – honest!

A coffee machine and an endless supply of coffee

A big fat never-ending cake!

Many thanks Kim for a great interview, lovely to have you on Tuesday Talk!!

BOOK REVIEW: THE BUTCHER BIRD (SOMERSHILL MANOR MYSTERY 2) BY S D SYKES

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Oswald de Lacy is growing up fast in his new position as Lord of Somershill Manor. The Black Death changed many things, and just as it took away his father and elder brothers, leaving Oswald to be recalled from the monastery where he expected to spend his life, so it has taken many of his villagers and servants. However, there is still the same amount of work to be done in the farms and fields, and the few people left to do it think they should be paid more – something the King himself has forbidden.

Just as anger begins to spread, the story of the Butcher Bird takes flight. People claim to have witnessed a huge creature in the skies. A new-born baby is found impaled on a thorn bush. And then more children disappear.

Convinced the bird is just a superstitious rumour, Oswald must discover what is really happening. He can expect no help from his snobbish mother and his scheming sister Clemence, who is determined to protect her own child, but happy to neglect her step-daughters.

From the plague-ruined villages of Kent to the thief-infested streets of London and the luxurious bedchamber of a bewitching lady, Oswald’s journey is full of danger, dark intrigue and shocking revelations.

MY REVIEW

Oswald de Lacy is Lord of Somershill Manor. After a dead baby is discovered impaled on a thorn bush, the locals are convinced the culprit is the terrible Butcher Bird which was released when villager John Burrows opened up the casket of his dead wife.  Oswald however, dismisses their anxieties as superstitious nonsense and despite the doubts of those around him is determined to discover who is really behind the child’s death.
Oswald is a great character; he constantly battles against the embedded beliefs of those about him. He is a just leader, treating everyone with respect, even those who prove him wrong.  He is a patient man but he has his work cut out now as he goes about getting to the bottom of this mystery.

I loved the whole feel of this book; the characters, the story and the way it unfolded.  I particularly loved Oswald’s interaction with his bossy mother and tetchy heavily pregnant sister, each with their own issues. This isn’t just a medieval thriller, it gives the reader far more than that – humour and great characters who’ll you’ll either love, hate or be totally exasperated with.  I’m not one for spoilers, so it’s all about reading the book to find out for yourselves exactly what Oswald’s detective work uncovers.  However, please do read this because it is a really entertaining book.  My only regret?  That I didn’t get an earlier introduction to Oswald by reading Plague Land…I’m about to remedy that now.

I would like to thank the publisher for a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

A great read and well worthy of five stars…