It’s 22nd January and publication day for The Final Reckoning, author Margaret James’ first ‘not to be missed’ thriller…

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What if you had to return to the place that made you fall apart?

When Lindsay Ellis was a teenager she witnessed the aftermath of a violent murder involving her lover’s father. The killer was never found.

Traumatised by what she saw, Lindsay had no choice but to leave her home village of Hartley Cross and its close-knit community behind.

Now, years later, she must face up to the terrible memories that still haunt her. But will confronting the past finally allow Lindsay to heal, or will her return to Hartley Cross unearth dangerous secrets and put the people she has come to care about most at risk?

 

BUY LINKS

 

MY REVIEW

Well known for her historical and contemporary novels, The Final Reckoning is a completely new direction for author Margaret James as she delivers her first thriller.

Central character Lindsay Ellis is returning to her home village of Hartley Cross after an absence of eight years. Her mother has died and she is there to organise the funeral and sort out the estate. The last time she was here as an eighteen year old she discovered the dead body of Louis Dyer, father of her then boyfriend Simon. After Simon’s arrest she was sent away to live with her father, who had recently divorced her mother.

Reminders of that long ago time when she and Simon were inseparable tug at her memory.  Acquitted of his father’s murder he now lives in the village where he runs a small antiques business.  Their relationship was an intense one. Is there any chance when they meet again some spark still remains after all this time?

Lindsay arrives with Nick Singer, an astrophysicist with whom she house shares in Oxford. As her own car is out of action he has offered to run her here and stay for a while.  Settling in she begins to make arrangements for the funeral. As she reacquaints herself with the villagers unanswered questions still remain. Who did murder Louis Dyer and why?

There is an incident after the burial which at first Lindsay doesn’t pay much attention to.  However when others occur she realises someone in the village doesn’t like the fact she’s back and wants her gone. But who exactly, and what is their motive?

I particularly liked Nick. Dis-organised and chaotic he came over as a typical scientist, totally committed to his work with little time for mundane things like washing up and keeping the place tidy. I think despite the fact they were total opposites Lindsay had a soft spot for him right from the beginning and it was interesting to see how their relationship developed.

The Casson family, whose bible bashing father was Louis Dyer’s best friend, are also central to the story. Among them the beautiful Jael, married but possibly having an affair with Simon.  Nathan, quiet and surly, a close friend of Lindsay’s and Simon’s during their teenage years.  Jael’s beautiful home is filled with expensive things. How has this been achieved when her husband works in an abattoir? Lindsay soon realises there are many things about this family that don’t quite add up.

This story keeps you guessing all the way. It’s well balanced between past and present so you have all the information you need about what led up to Louis Dyer’s demise.  As the book progressed and I got to know the villagers it seemed clear that more than one person had motive for Louis’s murder and for targeting Lindsay.   A great entertaining read with some unexpected twists.

Thank you Choc Lit for an ARC copy of The Final Reckoning in exchange for an honest review.

4_stars

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

margaret jamesMargaret James was born in Hereford, a beautiful cathedral city in the English Midlands. She started writing fiction when her children were very small, and her first novel A Touch of Earth was published in 1988.

Since then, she has expanded her range of writing-related activities to take in journalism, short story writing, teaching creative writing, helping to organise and judge writing competitions, and editing other people’s books.

She was delighted when her novel Elegy for a Queen was featured in the UK’s Woman and Home magazine in a selection of the five best time slip novels. The fact that Margaret’s own favourite time slip novel The House on the Strand was also featured put a big grin on her face! http://www.womanandhome.com/news-and-entertainment/385161/5-best-time-slip-novels

Since becoming a novelist, Margaret has realised that having a name like Margaret James leads to lots of confusion, and in her next life she intends to have a name that she shares with absolutely nobody else.

When she’s not writing, Margaret loves walking, reading anything and everything, gossiping, gardening and eating chocolate. She quite often manages to eat chocolate and write at the same time, which occasionally makes for a somewhat sticky keyboard, but also makes for happy writing.

Just for the record – this Margaret James wrote: A Touch of Earth, Fortune’s Favourite Child, The Treasures of Existence, The Snake Stone, A Green Bay Tree, The Ash Grove, A Special Inheritance, The Final Reckoning, Hallowed Ground, The Morning Promise, The Long Way Home, The Penny Bangle, Elegy for a Queen, The Silver Locket, The Golden Chain, The Wedding Diary, and she contributed to the anthology Loves Me, Loves Me Not. Margaret’s latest novels are Magic Sometimes Happens and Girl in Red Velvet.

The Silver Locket, The Golden Chain and The Penny Bangle are available as a Kindle download entitled The Charton Minster Trilogy.

She was thrilled when The Silver Locket won a prestigious Cataromance Single Titles Award in 2010, and when the cover of The Golden Chain was chosen to feature on the design of a KLM airliner in 2011.The Wedding Diary was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s RoNA award for romantic comedy 2014.

Margaret and Cathie Hartigan are co-authors of The Creative Writing Student’s Handbook, which takes students through the entire creative writing process. The Short Story Writer’s Workbook is the second of their bestselling guides for writers and is published in ebook and paperback. The third guide in the series is The Novelist’s Workbook and is available now.

See http://www.creativewritingmatters.co.uk for more details of the writing guides and the competitions run by CreativeWritingMatters, which include the Trisha Ashley Award for the best humorous short story.

Cover Reveal for The Path Keeper…Book 1 of the Indigo Chronicles.

Yes, I’m a little late to the party but wanted to wish N J Simmonds every success with her Indigo Chronicles series….

The Story

What if all our lives were mapped out before birth? Does anyone have the power to change our destiny?

Ella hates London. She misses her old life in Spain and is struggling to get over her past—until she meets Zac. He’s always loved her but isn’t meant to be part of her story. Not this time. Not ever. Little does she know that his secret is the one thing that will tear them apart and force her to live in a world that no longer makes sense. A world full of danger, lies and magic.

The Path Keeper is a passionate tale of first loves, second chances and the invisible threads that bind us. Can love ever be stronger than fate?

The Author

Natali Drake, who writes under the pen name of N.J. Simmonds, is an accredited member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association. When she’s not busy working on her YA fantasy romance series she is also a freelance writer and brand consultant. She has written articles for various UK newspapers and online publications with two of her essays appearing in The Mother Book published by Selfish Mother. In 2015 she co-founded the online magazine The Glass House Girls A littleand is a regular contributor.

Originally from north London, Natali studied Feature Writing at City University and began her career in corporate publishing and marketing before moving to Spain to write, and to raise her family. She now divides her time between her two homes in the Netherlands and Spain with her husband and two daughters.

New Year…New Beginning…

This time last year there were half a dozen milestone birthday bashes to look forward to, a week in Menorca followed by a week in the South of France. I had just completed The Boys of Summer and was about to submit to a publisher. I looked at the year ahead with optimism. Okay life’s not perfect but you have to take the good with the bad and there was a lot off good stuff going on that year.

Sometimes I think it’s just as well we can’t see the future, although in my case, if I had maybe I wouldn’t have landed up in a situation that intruded on most of 2018: my broken ankle. As my consultant’s registrar said, pulling no punches ‘You’ve done the worst possible thing you could to your ankle.’ I’d broken it in not one, or two but three places, resulting in having to have it permanently pinned and plated. And all this because I missed the bottom step on a staircase!

Five individual plasters (I was most upset that OH wouldn’t entertain the thought of me have a pink or blue one), a horribly itchy orthopaedic boot and a walking stick later, I’m well down the road to being back to normal. As soon as this happened to me, that was my goal. I brushed aside all those who very kindly said I could buy one of those ‘pretty collapsible walking sticks’ to keep in my handbag – sorry that wasn’t about to happen! As far as I was concerned the end of my journey was going to see me walking normally. And happily it has.

Getting rid of the stick by early September was the start of yet another phase. Although my right leg was much stronger after being incarcerated in plaster for six weeks, I now became faced with an issue I hadn’t even thought of – balance. At times I felt like a toddler taking their first few steps: wobbly and unsure. I could not believe my balance had been affected so much, but it had. Gradually, however, with daily walks, I gained the confidence which brought me back to normal mobility. The downside was while out walking I had to keep making stops as the ankle would start aching if I did too much. At the same time I knew I had to keep pushing myself to get the joint working properly. No gain without pain!

It’s crazy to say this but when I actually managed a trip into town for the first time on the local bus, I felt I’d achieved so much. It was yet another big milestone to getting back to the life I’d had before the accident. Seven months on I’m continuing to put the ankle through daily physio exercises. Yes it still aches occasionally and first thing in the morning the muscles have to be ‘woken up’. I’m doing regular walks and have joined a gym. Now it’s all about maintaining these routines, keeping positive…oh and watching where I put my feet in future!

Best wishes

Jo

Tuesday Talk welcomes writer Mick Arnold talking about his writing journey and the inspiration behind his debut novel The Season For Love…

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

Hi Jo.
Firstly, may I say a big thank you for having me today and I’d like to wish you a pre-emptive Happy Christmas.
For the first half of my working life I was in the Royal Air Force when I travelled the world, remembering some of it, and had a pretty good time without actually doing that much, in all honesty.
I’ve been an unashamed Trekker (yes, not a Trekkie) for all my life and can still quote too much of any of the series. Thank god there are no pictures of me in fancy dress as an albino Horta!
I love watching movies and have a secret addiction for the Sharknado films, but don’t tell anyone! My other addiction is to Disney/Pixar films as I find good animation hard to better.

When did you decide you wanted to be a writer and what were the first steps you took towards this?

I don’t recall having had any aspirations on trying to write before I was persuaded to read a novel by Annie Sanders, The Xmas Factor. I’d never read a romance/woman’s fiction story before, but it was Christmas so I read it. Then I read it straight away again and the morning after, I got out my laptop and started to tap away, getting down an idea for a story about a lady in denial and her best friend from school who lived on a narrow boat with a psychotic cat. That story remains locked up, but it’s where I got the bug to write.

How important has the RNA New Writers’ Scheme been to your writing career?

Very. I can’t leave this as just being a one word answer, no matter how much that one word covers everything.
I believe I came across the NWS scheme whilst I was doing some online research, came across the RNA website and the information on this scheme. Once I was lucky enough to join, I found a group of like-minded people who were full of support for each other’s attempts. There was nothing anyone wouldn’t do for you if you asked, and there was, and still is, no back-stabbing.
Of course, the option to have a manuscript critiqued is an invaluable service too, though I would always come back to the support network the NWS scheme provides as its most valuable resource.

THESEA-4_finalWhat inspired you to write your debut novel The Season for Love?

I woke up one morning and I had a ‘scene’ going round and round in my head that ended up being the last few paragraphs in my head. So, I wrote that down as quickly as I could and then sat there wondering if there was anything I could do with it. From there, I essentially story-boarded the story in reverse, which was quite interesting but frustrating, until I found myself writing what was going to be the first chapter. I find that a lot of my ideas for stories come from either dreams or from a song I hear on the radio.

What would your advice be to new writers?

I’ll get the obvious one out of the way first. Read, read and read some more, preferably in the genre in which you wish to write. Join a writer’s group if there’s one near you, but don’t go if you don’t get along with the people there. There’s no point in upsetting yourself, try something online instead. There are plenty on Facebook for example. Most importantly, develop a thick-skin as you’ll likely need one. Unless you’re utterly brilliant, you will get rejection emails. Don’t take them personally as you should be able to take something from most of them. If you do reply to them, be polite as you never know when you’ll run into that person again. Lastly, write for yourself, for the pure joy of the thing.

And finally, you’ve been invited to take part in I’m a Celebrity – Get Me Out of Here. Name four celebs you would like to be taking part with you and why.

Now here’s a strange one for me. I may be one of the few people who don’t watch any ‘celeb’ type programs (Strictly Come Dancing does not count please), as they annoy the hell out of me. So, can I pick four celebs actually people you may have heard of instead of the majority of non-entities you hear going on these shows? Here I go:
First, I’m going to group the whole cast of ‘Made in Chelsea’ just so I can pour buckets and buckets of scorpions over them and then leave them there. I don’t know if that’s something you can do in the program, but if it isn’t, then it should be, to at least one ‘celeb’.
Second and I’ll have three bods whom I really like for these last three, Brian Wilson who’s the main songwriter of The Beach Boys. He’s my musical god whose ear should be preserved when he dies. His harmonies are to die for and I love writing with his songs playing in the background.
Third. Terry Pratchett. Yes, I know he’s not alive, but this is my wish. I’m a he fan of his Discworld series and badly miss my yearly fix of his books. No writer can make me laugh out loud as consistently as he can. The world he created is simply magnificent.
Fourth. I’m pushing it here, but the actor James ‘Jimmy’ Stewart. I adore his movies and he’s one of the most underrated actors ever. I challenge you not to laugh at his comedy timing in ‘Harvey’ or not to hold your breath with the suspense of ‘Vertigo’. Wonderful stuff.

 About the Author

FB_PicMick is a hopeless romantic who was born in England, and spent fifteen years roaming around the world in the pay of HM Queen Elizabeth II in the Royal Air Force, before putting down roots, and realising how much he missed the travel. This, he’s replaced somewhat with his writing, including reviewing books and writing a regular post at the http://www.NovelKicks.co.uk blog site.
He’s the proud keeper of a cat bent on world domination, is mad on the music of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, and enjoys the theatre and humouring his Manchester United supporting wife. Finally, and most importantly, Mick’s a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, with the publication of this, his debut novel, The Season for Love.

Author links –

Facebook Author Page:
https://www.facebook.com/MWArnoldAuthor/
Twitter:
@Mick859
http://www.novelkicks.co.uk/category/mick-arnold/

Book Blurb
Buy Links –
Amazon US
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Amazon UK
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Barnes & Noble
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Bookstrand
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Smashwords
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Kobo US
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Kobo UK
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http://passioninprint.com/future.php

Tuesday Talk welcomes writer Carol Thomas who chats about her writing journey, romantic holiday destinations and chooses some interesting dinner party guests.

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

Hello, thank you for having me on your blog. I live on the south coast of England with my husband, four children and lively young Labrador. I have been a playgroup supervisor and taught in primary schools for over fifteen years, before dedicating more of my time to writing.

In 2017 I was delighted to gain a publishing contract with Ruby Fiction, an imprint of Choc Lit, for my romantic comedy novel, The Purrfect Pet Sitter.

When did you decide you wanted to be a writer and how did you begin?

I have always had a fascination with words and studied creative writing as part of my degree. I had an idea for a book, so in 2012, when I was taking a break from teaching, I decided it was a now or never situation. My contemporary romance novel, Crazy Over You was published via Matador in 2015.

What makes a good heroine?

I like to read and to write about relatable heroines. Female friendships tend to be central to my novels. When bringing these women to life, I like to juxtapose either their character type or their stages of life.

Name one of the most memorable things that have happened to you?

The birth of each of my babies was special, of course. But the experience of having my third daughter was particularly memorable as my husband delivered her. It was two weeks before Christmas, the tree was up in the living room, and it was a frosty morning. Labour started and progressed quickly. The ambulance and midwife couldn’t make it on time, and so my husband delivered our daughter with instructions being given over the phone from the hospital. With just us, our other two daughters and our, then two, Labradors in the house, it was very special.

You’re a dog lover, and canine friends feature in ‘The Purrfect Pet Sitter’. Are you planning to include them in any future books?

I am indeed. As I’ve had Labradors in my house for the last eighteen years, they are very much a part of my everyday life. As a result, they sneak into my books too. The sequel to The Purrfect Pet Sitter sees a return of Jack, the wonky-eyed black Labrador, and I am twelve thousand words into my current WIP, and what do you know, a dog has snuck in already.

What would be your most romantic holiday destination and why?

CAROL 1Hmm, this is tough because I do like Venice and honeymooned there. But last year I convinced my husband to take me on a research trip to the French Alps. We stayed in Verchaix, it was just the two of us, snowy, magical and very romantic. The trip inspired scenes in The Purrfect Pet Sitter.

 

 

And finally, you’re planning a dinner party. If you could choose four celebrity guests (past or present) who would they be and why?

Gary Barlow, Chris Hemsworth, Aidan Turner and Keanu Reeves. I’d like to point out that this dinner party is strictly for research purposes into character types for writing male heroes, honestly! 😉

 

THE PURRFECT PET SITTER

 Introducing Lisa Blake, the purrfect pet sitter!

When Lisa Blake’s life in London falls apart, she returns to her hometown rebranding herself as ‘the purrfect pet sitter’ – which may or may not be false advertising!
But being back where she grew up, Lisa can’t escape her past. There’s her estranged best friend Flick who she bumps into in an embarrassing encounter in a local supermarket. And her first love, Nathan Baker, who, considering their history, is sure to be even more surprised by her drunken Facebook friend request than Lisa is.
As she becomes involved in the lives of her old friends Lisa must confront the hurt she has caused, discover the truth about her mysterious leather-clad admirer, and learn how to move forward when the things she wants most are affected by the decisions of her past.

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Publisher: Ruby Fiction

Buying Links
Amazon: http://getbook.at/TPPSAmazon
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-purrfect-pet-sitter
Ruby Fiction: http://www.rubyfiction.com/dd-product/the-purrfect-pet-sitter/
View the book trailer: http://tinyurl.com/TPPS-booktrailer

About the author:

CAROL 2Carol writes contemporary romance novels, with relatable heroines whose stories are layered with emotion, sprinkled with laughter and topped with irresistible male leads.

She also writes for children. Her children’s books have irresistibly cute, generally furry characters young children can relate to.

Website and Social Media Links:
http://carol-thomas.co.uk
http://facebook.com/carolthomasauthor
http://twitter.com/carol_thomas2
https://www.pinterest.co.uk/carol_thomas2/
https://www.instagram.com/carol_thomas2/

 

Blog: http://carol-thomas.co.uk/blog

Monday 3rd December – Publication day for Christmas at the Black Cherry Retreat by Angela Britnell…

CABCR Cover

 

A festive feel-good holiday read. Highly recommended.

What if you had nowhere to call home for Christmas?
When Fee Winter books a winter break at the remote Black Cherry Retreat in the small town of Pine Ridge, Tennessee, it’s with the idea that the peace and quiet will help her recuperate from her hectic life as a photographer.

But what she didn’t bank on was meeting Tom Chambers and his huge, interfering yet lovable family. With them, could Fee finally experience the warmth and support that’s been missing from her own life – and maybe even find a place to call home in time for Christmas?

BUY LINKS

 

Angela RONA Award Pub PhotoAngela grew up in Cornwall, England and returns frequently from her new home in Nashville, Tennessee. A lifelong love of reading turned into a passion for writing contemporary romance and her novels are usually set in the many places she’s visited or lived on her extensive travels. After more than three decades of marriage to her American husband she’s a huge fan of transatlantic romance and always makes sure her characters get their own happy-ever-after. Over the last twelve years she’s been multi-published and sold over 25 novels. She also writes short stories for women’s magazines. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Romance Writers of America and the Music City Romance Writers.

ChocLit-logo

TUESDAY TALK welcomes writer Angela Britnell chatting about what makes a good hero, romantic destinations and desert island must haves…

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

Thank you for inviting me to stop by for a chat! I grew up in a small village in Cornwall, in the far south west of England, and joined the Royal Navy when I left school because I wanted to expand my horizons. I couldn’t have imagined where that choice would lead until I was assigned to a small NATO HQ on the Danish Jutland peninsula where I met Richard, then an American US Naval aviator – my very own tall, dark handsome stranger. At 6’ 6” they don’t come much taller. We were engaged within 3 months and married the following spring. We traveled around with his job from Denmark to Sicily, California, Maryland and London (having three amazing sons along the way) before he retired for the 1st time and accepted a job in Tennessee. He’s always been hugely supportive of my writing and is now retired for the 2nd time allowing us to spend more time travelling again and being besotted grandparents to Franklin, Jemma and Sophie.

When did you decide you wanted to be a writer and how did you begin?

I didn’t really decide as such it sort of happened! I’ve always been an avid reader and would read the back of the Cornflakes packet at breakfast because my mother wouldn’t let me bring a book to the table. It never occurred to me that ordinary people wrote the books I loved but a few years after we moved to Tennessee I saw a creative writing class offered locally and the idea of 6 evenings away from my noisy little boys sounded appealing. I loved it from the first night and at the end of the classes knew I had to keep writing although at that point the idea of getting published never entered my head. My writing tutor encouraged me to expand a short story I’d written and that went on to became my first full length novel. Thankfully that one is lost in the mist of time now but the next novel I completed was Truth and Consequence – I can still remember the overwhelming joy and shock when a small Nashville publisher offered me a contract.

What makes a good hero?

My heroes always have a good sense of humour, although because of circumstances it might not be obvious at first, because I can’t imagine spending a day, let alone a lifetime, with someone who can’t make me smile on a regular basis. Good looks aren’t important (says she with more than a touch of guilt for drooling over Aidan Turner) but integrity, honesty and trust are crucial because in my mind no self-respecting person can truly love without them.

What is the most romantic place you have visited?

That’s a difficult question – I narrowed it down to three – Cornwall, Florence and Vienna but I’ll settle on Vienna because we went there on our honeymoon and it’s such a romantic city.

What would your advice be to new writers?

Don’t sit around and wait for some mythical muse to strike but try to write consistently because no one can edit an empty page. Read a wide range of writing books, go to workshops and meet with other writers – take notice of the advice they give and experiment in order to discover what works best for you.

And finally, you are planning a year away from it all on a desert island. What four ‘must haves’ would you take with you and why?

I assume you can’t take your family with you? If I’m there alone I’d definitely need the ability to make a cup of tea, plenty of books, a supply of Cornish pasties and wine!

 

CABCR Cover

What if you had nowhere to call home for Christmas?

 

When Fee Winter books a winter break at the remote Black Cherry Retreat in the small town of Pine Ridge, Tennessee, it’s with the idea that the peace and quiet will help her recuperate from her hectic life as a photographer.

But what she didn’t bank on was meeting Tom Chambers and his huge, interfering yet lovable family. With them, could Fee finally experience the warmth and support that’s been missing from her own life – and maybe even find a place to call home in time for Christmas?

Out on 3rd December, 2018, currently available for pre-order

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07JL3CNDX/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1540231423&sr=8-1&keywords=christmas+at+black+cherry+retreat

https://tinyurl.com/y752mrm6

Amazon US

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JL3CNDX/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1540231477&sr=8-1&keywords=Christmas+at+Black+Cherry+Retreat

https://tinyurl.com/ycnxfqsj

 

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

www.angelabritnellromance.com

www.facebook.com/angelabritnell

www.twitter.com/angelabritnell

Instagram as AngelaGolleyBritnell

author@angelabritnellromance.com

 

ABOUT ANGELA

Angela RONA Award Pub PhotoAngela grew up in Cornwall, England and returns frequently from her new home in Nashville, Tennessee. A lifelong love of reading turned into a passion for writing contemporary romance and her novels are usually set in the many places she’s visited or lived on her extensive travels. After more than three decades of marriage to her American husband she’s a huge fan of transatlantic romance and always makes sure her characters get their own happy-ever-after. Over the last twelve years she’s been multi-published and sold over 25 novels. She also writes short stories for women’s magazines. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Romance Writers of America and the Music City Romance Writers.