Journey’s End…

It’s always a relief to finish a manuscript. By the time I begin working on edits my mind is already well into sorting out the next story. Friday morning saw ‘The End’ become a reality as I e-mailed the final version off to my publisher.

I seem to have been working on this latest book forever. It’s not that I hit writer’s block or lost enthusiasm. It’s all been down to unexpected health problems. I’m hardly ever ill. Borrowing a phrase from one of my friends I haven’t got time to be ill. Over the last eighteen months, however, I seem to have experienced more than my fair share of health issues.

It started in Minorca on holiday in late May 2018 where we were staying with friends for birthday celebrations (mine). The night before the big day I received a text from Choc Lit offering me a contract for A Cornish Affair. As you can imagine this was the best birthday present ever and also an omen (or so I thought). It meant the coming year was going to be a good one. That lasted all of 24 hours. The next evening, before we left for the restaurant – before the cork on the pre-dinner bubbly had even popped – I stepped awkwardly off the bottom step of the villa’s staircase, twisted my ankle and broke it in three places. I’d just started to write a second book for my Cornish Coastal series and, of course, that came to a very sudden halt. Surgery, four weeks in plaster, two in an orthopaedic boot, physio and getting back to walking again took a big chunk out of the summer.  And when I did get a chance to sit in front of the computer (with my leg propped up on a cushion), I found it difficult to concentrate on anything. It was September before I felt ready to sit down and resume work on the project. The new year came, the word count grew and then in March I was called in for elective surgery (which had been postponed due to the ankle break). This wasn’t as intrusive as the ankle but, again, it took a couple of weeks before I could fully concentrate on my writing once more.

Then were the usual breaks and holidays in 2019 – Stratford on Avon, Suffolk, North Wales – and in between the writing continued. In September we had a week in Dartmouth. I had a sore throat for seven days and on our return this developed into a full blown bronchial virus making me wheeze like a heavy smoker. It took me three weeks to shake it off. I thought that was it. A mid-week break in Cornwall in October ended with another sore throat which quickly turned into a cold and yes…not wanting to be left out of all the fun…the dreaded virus joined the party!

Two weeks later, having managed to successfully get my twice cancelled flu shot, I’m hoping this is it as far as winter illnesses are concerned. I feel I’ve certainly had my share…and someone else’s too! But winter has only just begun so it’s a case of crossed fingers and a whole lot of hope.

So what’s next? Well I’m planning to take the weekend off, catch up with all the things I had to set to one side in order to get my writing finished – including social media. And then I’ve that new book to start…

Today is publication day for Marie Laval’s latest novel A Paris Fairy Tale

A PARIS FAIRYTALE

A wonderful new book from the author of the best selling novel, Little Pink Taxi
Is Paris the city of happily ever afters?
Workaholic art historian Aurora Black doesn’t have time for fairy tales or Prince Charmings, even in the most romantic city in the world. She has recently been hired by a Parisian auction house for a job that could make or break her career. Unfortunately, daredevil journalist Cédric Castel seems intent on disrupting Aurora’s routine.
As Aurora and Cédric embark on a journey across France, they get more than they bargained for as they find themselves battling rogue antiques dealers and personal demons, not to mention a growing attraction to each other.
But with the help of a fairy godmother or two, could they both find their happily ever afters?

 A PARIS FAIRY TALE  is available as a ebook and audiobook on Amazon and various other platforms here.

 

ABOUT MARIE

AUTHOR PICOriginally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the Rossendale Valley in Lancashire for the past few years. She writes both contemporary and historical romance, as well as short stories, always with ‘a French twist’. A SPELL IN PROVENCE, her debut contemporary romantic suspense, and historical romances ANGEL HEART, THE LION’S EMBRACE and DANCING FOR THE DEVIL, are published by Accent Press. Her latest contemporary romance, LITTLE PINK TAXI, is published by Choc Lit, and watch out for A PARIS FAIRY TALE, soon to be released by Choc Lit!

 

 

MARIE’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/marielavalauthor/) or

Twitter (https://twitter.com/MarieLaval1).

 

You can also find on Pinterest the many beautiful photos of Paris and illuminated manuscripts which inspired the writing of A Paris Fairy Tale. (https://www.pinterest.co.uk/laval0232/)

 

 

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An Italian Affair…

As a holiday destination Italy always been one of my favourite countries to visit.  The people, the history, the food,  the pace of life, the weather, and so many amazing places to explore.

I have a close affinity with water and boats – Dartmouth and Fowey being two of my favourite UK holiday destinations.  So it’s not surprising when I arrived in Garda in 2001 for a week’s holiday, I was totally smitten.  I’ve been back twice since then.  Another stay in Garda and then across the water to Desenzano, the biggest town on the lake with its rail link to Milan and main ferry terminal.

1
Hotel Villa Rosa, Desenzano

When I began to develop the plot for A Cornish Affair, I needed my heroine Cat’s father Ruan to have two long term friends who would become key players in this story. So I created Gareth Hunter who like Ruan had been born and raised in Carrenporth and Étienne Di Marco. Étienne and Ruan had met at university.  Both from hotel owning families, they became good friends and over the years kept in touch.  Half French-half Italian, Étienne now owned the Casa D’Oro hotel group and was based at their flagship hotel Fiore Del Lago on Lake Garda.  The creation of this character and his hotel was helped by the fact we had recently stayed in Desenzano at the Hotel Villa Rosa and I was so taken with this beautiful hotel, I  used it as inspiration for Fiore Del Lago.

But it wasn’t only the hotel. The lake is one of the most relaxing and atmospheric places I’ve visited so taking Cat there to work for Étienne was like going on holiday without leaving home!

 

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If you’d like a trip to the Italian Lakes to join Cat in Desenzano,  A Cornish Affair is one of four books currently on offer as part of an Italian Summer Sale. You can buy on Kobo, Kindle and Apple.  And at just 99p for the e-book version it’s  una grande offerta.  The sale ends midnight on 17th July

Even in your hometown, you can feel like an outsider …

In the close-knit community of Carrenporth in Cornwall everyone knows everyone else’s business. Luke Carrack is only too aware of this. He’s been away for two years but nothing has changed – from the town gossips who can’t see past the scandal of his childhood, to the cold way he is treated by some of his so-called family.
The only person who seems to understand is local hotelier’s daughter Cat Trevelyan, although even Luke’s new friendship with her could set tongues wagging.
But Carrenporth is about to experience far bigger scandals than the return of Luke Carrack – and the secrets unearthed in the process will shake the sleepy seaside town to its core …

📚 https://amzn.to/31EQfMH
🔊 https://amzn.to/2XkRPnA

A Cornish Affair – Meet Emelia Trevelyan

Day three and it’s Great Aunt Em’s turn under the spotlight.

If ever there was a character I loved creating it was Emelia Trevelyan – ‘call me Em’.  On the surface she is a strong willed, cantankerous elderly woman. Rules simply do not apply to her.  As the story begins she is a member of a group of elderly women ‘The Gossip Girls’  from the village who create mayhem wherever they go.  But scratch the surface and you will find a completely different character.  She is incredibly lonely after losing her brother Gerren and his wife Jenna.  A year ago they handed the hotel over to their son, Em’s nephew Ruan, and left for retirement in France.  Em has never married. She spent her early years living at the Tarwin House Hotel and then when her parents died she inherited Caer Gwyn a circular white house set on a small promontory  a quarter of a mile away.  When Gerren told her about their plans to move to France, she hoped she might be a part of it.  Unfortunately she wasn’t.  Realising how much she missed their company, Ruan invited her back to live at the hotel; to be part of his family.  Unfortunately Em couldn’t help interfering in the day to day running of Tarwin House and Ruan was constantly having to speak to her.  Feeling more and more isolated, when Rosalind Myers, self styled leader of the Gossip Girls, offered her the opportunity to join their group, Em was delighted.  Her action in bringing them into the hotel and letting them snoop around the family’s private apartments saw Ruan sending her straight to back Caer Gwyn.

Gradually Em began to recognise how damaging Rosalind and her cronies’ actions were, but breaking away from them was difficult.  Being a part of the group appeared to be the lesser of the two evils. The alternative was a lonely life with her housekeeper and Hamish her West Highland terrier.  Things eventually came to a head one morning outside the town’s small supermarket where she was rescued by Nathan and Cat.  And it was Cat who came up with an idea which would channel Em’s energies in a different direction and give her a new purpose in life.

Em is, of course, pivotal to one of the most important parts of the book, as witness to a murder, but you will have to read A Cornish Affair to discover how she becomes involved…

  

A CORNISH AFFAIR

 

Even in your hometown, you can feel like an outsider …

In the close-knit community of Carrenporth in Cornwall everyone knows everyone else’s business. Luke Carrack is only too aware of this. He’s been away for two years but nothing has changed – from the town gossips who can’t see past the scandal of his childhood, to the cold way he is treated by some of his so-called family.
The only person who seems to understand is local hotelier’s daughter Cat Trevelyan, although even Luke’s new friendship with her could set tongues wagging.
But Carrenporth is about to experience far bigger scandals than the return of Luke Carrack – and the secrets unearthed in the process will shake the sleepy seaside town to its core …

Amazon Buy Links

📚 https://amzn.to/31EQfMH
🔊 https://amzn.to/2XkRPnA

Also available on Amazon : Kobo : Nook: Google Play and Apple iBook Store

A Cornish Affair – Meet Luke Carrack

Day two and it’s Luke’s turn under the spotlight.

It’s hard to imagine that when I began writing this book Luke was set up to be the villain.  After all with his disadvantaged background he definitely has the makings of an anti-hero.  However, right from the start, casting Luke as the bad guy simply didn’t work. So I sat down and did some reworking of the plot and turned him into the book’s hero instead.

As I said above, Luke came from a disadvantaged background.  His mother Selina, the daughter of a wealthy local family, was a wild child of the 80s who got herself pregnant by one of her father’s employees.  He left the area before he knew her situation and never returned.  Eighteen year old Selina, always the rebel, left home and secretly married Ross Carrick, one of Carrenporth’s fishermen. Ross was ten years older than Selina, but he’d always loved her, even though he felt she was out of reach and all they had was friendship.  When Luke was born he took Ross’s surname.  For a few years his childhood was a happy one, despite being ostracised by his mother’s family and most of Carrenporth.  Then when he was fourteen tragedy struck. Ross’s trawler sank with all hands on board off the Scilly Isles.  Selina, never a strong character could not cope and took refuge in drink.  Within in year she too was dead.  Much to everyone’s surprise Selina’s brother Gareth who now owned the family business, stepped in to give Luke a home and educate him. This angered his social climbing wife Evie who felt Selina’s son had no place in their home, living alongside her own son Jordan.  While Jordan exhibited all the traits of an overindulged layabout, Luke achieved good school grades and worked for Gareth for a while before going on to university.  After successfully completing his degree he left to travel for a couple of years with a promise to come back and work for his uncle.  Now he’s returned to a place that has changed very little since his departure. A large portion of this small minded community still view him as Selina Hunter’s illegitimate son and his aunt still detests him. But Gareth, impressed by his nephew’s work ethic,  is about to reward him. And the job he has in mind is set to stir up even more hate and resentment from Evie and Jordan…

 

A CORNISH AFFAIR

 

Even in your hometown, you can feel like an outsider …

In the close-knit community of Carrenporth in Cornwall everyone knows everyone else’s business. Luke Carrack is only too aware of this. He’s been away for two years but nothing has changed – from the town gossips who can’t see past the scandal of his childhood, to the cold way he is treated by some of his so-called family.
The only person who seems to understand is local hotelier’s daughter Cat Trevelyan, although even Luke’s new friendship with her could set tongues wagging.
But Carrenporth is about to experience far bigger scandals than the return of Luke Carrack – and the secrets unearthed in the process will shake the sleepy seaside town to its core …

Amazon Buy Links

📚 https://amzn.to/31EQfMH
🔊 https://amzn.to/2XkRPnA

Also available on Amazon : Kobo : Nook: Google Play and Apple iBook Store

A Cornish Affair – Meet Cat Trevelyan

As I’m away for a few days, I thought I’d introduce three of the main characters from my current novel.

Today it’s Cat Trevelyan’s turn.  She is the central female character and the story is mainly narrated from her viewpoint.  Together with her twin brother Nathan she is the fourth generation of the Trevelyan family to make a career in the hotel business.

The Tarwin House Hotel sits on the cliffs overlooking the fishing port of Carrenporth on the North Coast of Cornwall just to the south of Newquay.  It was originally built by Cat’s ancestor Jago Menhenick in the 1800s as a monument to his successful businesses in copper and tin.  It remained the family’s home until her great grandfather Edgar decided to open it as a hotel.  Over the years it has been gradually extended and is now run by Cat and Nathan’s father Ruan Trevelyan.

Nathan works as the hotel’s deputy manager and also runs the basement nightclub Ship2Shore while Cat is an events planner in charge of the hotel’s functions suite.  She’s hard working, a bit of a perfectionist and maybe even a little too work focussed at times. Rarely having time for dating, she enjoys her single life, mostly girls’ evenings out with her best friend Jodie Penwarne.  She’s close to her father and has a soft spot for her difficult Great Aunt Emelia.  She can also be a bit prickly at times and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. As Luke tells her during one of their spats ‘…you need to cut yourself some slack when you’re off duty, Cat. Who knows, there might be a real nice girl lurking under all that spit and fur.’

Cat’s first meeting with Luke Carrack does not go well. She sees him as an arrogant know all and tries to avoid him as much as possible.  However he seems to regularly turn up in the most unexpected places, always making her feel irritable and angry. But when things go wrong at a wedding reception where he’s a guest, through his actions she begin to see him in a completely different light.  Of course it would be too easy to let the course of true love run smoothly.  Once they get together are a tremendous amount of obstacles these two have ahead of them….but you’ll have to read the book to discover what happens and whether they get their happy ending.

 

A CORNISH AFFAIR

 

Even in your hometown, you can feel like an outsider …

In the close-knit community of Carrenporth in Cornwall everyone knows everyone else’s business. Luke Carrack is only too aware of this. He’s been away for two years but nothing has changed – from the town gossips who can’t see past the scandal of his childhood, to the cold way he is treated by some of his so-called family.
The only person who seems to understand is local hotelier’s daughter Cat Trevelyan, although even Luke’s new friendship with her could set tongues wagging.
But Carrenporth is about to experience far bigger scandals than the return of Luke Carrack – and the secrets unearthed in the process will shake the sleepy seaside town to its core …

Amazon Buy Links

📚 https://amzn.to/31EQfMH
🔊 https://amzn.to/2XkRPnA

Also available on Amazon : Kobo : Nook: Google Play and Apple iBook Store

Tuesday Talk welcomes author Richard Gould, chatting about the inspiration behind his books and his choice of some interesting dinner guests…

R J Gould

This week’s Tuesday Talk  sees me  joined by author Richard Gould. Good morning Richard and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Thanks for inviting me, Jo. This is a great blog site and I’m delighted to be able to contribute. I write contemporary romantic fiction. Writing in this genre is unusual for a male. My readers are predominantly female and the feedback I receive suggests that the male take on relationships offers an interesting insight.

I’m published by Accent Press and was taken on following membership of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme. I live in Cambridge and am a member of Cambridge Writers where I lead the Commercial Editing Group. Writing can be a lonely activity, but being a member of these two groups brings valuable opportunities to share ideas and receive feedback.

My most recent novel, Jack and Jill Went Downhill, an adult take on the nursery rhyme, is my third publication with a fourth soon to follow.

How did your writing journey begin?

I’ve written many factual articles about education, quite serious stuff addressing underachievement and social mobility. My fiction is a lighter-hearted antidote. The journey into fiction began because of two strong interests. The first, quite simply, is people. I’m fascinated by diversity, resilience, mood swings, irrationality and unexpected pathways. I found myself sitting on a train or at a restaurant, aware that next to me was a wealth of story potential. About ten or so years ago I started jotting down ideas and the imagined characters I created were soon emerging as the protagonists in my novels. A second interest (or maybe fixation is more appropriate!) is humour. I tend to see the funny side of things, even adversity. I use irony and humour to describe my protagonists’ searches for a fulfilling relationship, with considerable mock pathos as they overcome juggernaut-loads of baggage on their journeys to romance.

You’re a writer of romantic fiction. Is there any other genre that you might be tempted to write?

I’m male. I shouldn’t be writing Romance if my experience of being a member of the UK Romantic Novelists’ Association is anything to go by. At their conferences with 200+ delegates, there will be no more than ten or so male authors attending. I didn’t set out to write Romance, I just got put there by my publisher (Accent Press), this no doubt because I write about relationships. In my novels, a mix of highly eccentric and plain ordinary men and women are trying to make the most of their lives. I suppose one distinction between Romance and more typical male writer genres – Espionage and Crime, for instance – is the focus on character rather than plot. That’s not to say that plot isn’t important, but it’s the people who drive the plot in my writing.

So – and it’s taken quite some time to reach an answer to your question – it’s probably ‘no’. With over seven billion people in the world, there’s enough raw material to keep me writing about relationships for quite some time. As an aside, using ‘R J’ instead of ‘Richard’ in my author name is my cowardly compromise after agents suggested that as a Romance writer, I should use a pseudonym.

Where do you get your inspiration for your characters from?

In both A Street Café Named Desire and The Engagement Party, a real life event and people triggered the story – a school reunion and a party. From that starting point imagination takes over as the experience is twisted and distorted beyond all recognition. There might be a similarity between a protagonist and a real life person, maybe someone I know or a person I’ve spoken to at the event and they sound interesting. At speed that person is transformed. I’d never tell someone that they were a character in my novel though I think one friend has guessed but never confronted me about it.

Beach or city? Which location attracts you the most and have you any favourite destination?

I’m OK with beaches, though more for the scenery than hanging around in a lounger frying all day long. But it’s city for me, for the cultural opportunities – the art galleries, cinema, theatre, music, historical buildings – and for all those people to observe as potential future protagonists. As far as favourite destination goes, it would be anywhere in Italy.

Are you currently working on a new book? If so, can you tell us something about it?

I’m working on two novels, one at the final editing stage and one about two-thirds through the first write.

Nothing Man is the story of a mid-fifties man contemplating suicide. Recent difficulties have led to this decision, most significantly, his wife walking out on him and being made redundant. He feels he has nothing to look back on with pride and nothing to look forward to with hope. Bearing in mind the first section of the novel is sub-titled ‘Life Before Suicide Day’ and the second part ‘Life After Suicide Day’, it’s hardly a spoiler to state that he doesn’t go through with it. It turns out that he’s anything but a nothing man as he finds friendship then romance together with career success at a national environmental charity. I hope to have this released late Autumn 2017. (Do email me via my website if you’d like notification of release).

I have a working title for the second novel, but am as yet undecided. This is the tale of a middle-aged couple who seem to be competing for who can have (according to their children) the most embarrassing mid-life crisis.

And lastly, you are holding a dinner party and are planning to invite four famous guests (either living or dead). Who would you choose and why?

What a difficult question, there are so many options, ranging from 20th Century dictators (why on earth did you do what you did?), to Impressionist artists (did being despised by mainstream artists upset you?), to leading scientists (could you please explain in layman’s terms what on earth you’re going on about?).

Here are my four:

  • Charlie Chaplin (for his film work and politics),
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman (for an understanding of her motive for writing The Yellow Wallpaper),
  • Steven Spielberg (for how to write and direct great movies – did you know that he was in special needs at school),
  • and Nicole Kidman (it’s a romance thing!)

R J Gould Website and social media links

Website:                      http://www.rjgould.info

Twitter:                       https://twitter.com/RJGould_author

Email:                          rjgould.author@gmail.com

Facebook:                    https://www.facebook.com/richard.gould.14418

 

RICHARD’S BOOKS

 

coverA Street Café Named Desire: A heartwarming romantic comedy

A man’s quest for two dreams – a relationship with the gorgeous Bridget and opening an arts café.
David meets Bridget at a twenty-five year school reunion and instantly develops a teenagesque passion for her.

There is a juggernaut-load of baggage to overcome ahead of having any chance of a relationship – a demanding soon to be ex-wife, a tyrannical new boss, an accountancy job he detests, stroppy teenage children, and encounters with the police.

There’s a further distraction, his plan to quit his job and set up an arts café is proving to be more challenging than he anticipated.

Amazon link: http://Mybook.to/streetcafe

 

The Engagement Party_coverThe Engagement Party: A laugh out loud romantic comedy about family relationships

Two young lovers; two families; one celebration destined to be a disaster.

Wayne and Clarissa are a young London couple whose immediate families are about to meet for the first time. Trying to create harmony amongst mums and dads from very diverse backgrounds and social classes is hard enough but in this case, there are eight parents, step-parents and partners to deal with.

The couple are deeply in love, but tensions arising from the forthcoming lunch party have created such a rift that it’s touch and go whether their relationship is strong enough to survive the event.

If you think your family has its “issues” this book will make you appreciate that things could be a lot worse!

Amazon link: http://Mybook.to/theengagementparty

 

Jack&Jillcover.inddJack and Jill Went Downhill: An adult take on the nursery rhyme

The story of two young lovers who happen to be called Jack and Jill.

Jack and Jill meet on Freshers Big Party Night at an English university and for both of them it’s love at first sight. Despite their backgrounds, personalities and interests being poles apart, the relationship flourishes during their student years.

It’s not quite as comfortable when their studies are over and they move to London to start work.

Way back when they’d first met, they shared the joke that their names were those of the nursery rhyme. Down the line, they fail to recognise that their lives are matching the plot. Jack falls down, Jill comes tumbling after, and their relationship is on the rocks. Can it survive?

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jack-Jill-Went-Downhill-nursery-ebook/dp/B01F2JYV12/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497516611&sr=8-1&keywords=r+j+gould