PUBLICATION DAY PROMOTION: THE SPITFIRE GIRL by FENELLA J MILLER 16th October, 2018

 

Today I’m pleased to be hosting Fenella for the launch of her new book The Spitfire Girl, published by Aria Fiction

Aria Logo

ARIA

 

9781788548397

THE SPITFIRE GIRL • FENELLA J MILLER

16th October 2018 • £2.99

 

The Blurb

‘The perfect ingredients for a cracking good read. Well recommended.’ Jean Fullerton

It’s 1939 and the threat of war hangs over the country…

Flying instructor Ellie Miller has grown up a tomboy. She’s never had interest in the latest clothes or lipstick colours – her only passion is flying her beloved Tiger Moth. But when war is declared, and she is no longer be able to do what she loves most – fly.

Unless she joins the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force that is! Given the choice to keep the home fires burning – or join the fight on the home front Ellie doesn’t have to think twice.

Joining the WAAFs she meets friends that become her family in the skies – sharing both the small daily triumphs and grief as war slowly tears both the country she loves, and her heart, apart….

Heartwarming and emotional story of pluck and courage in WWII – perfect for fans of Nancy Revell’s The Shipyard Girls series and Daisy Styles’ The Bomb Girls series.

 

AN EXTRACT…

Essex

July 1939

‘Well, Miss Simpson, what do you think?’ Joseph Cross asked as he pointed to the de Havilland 60 Moth that stood proudly on the worn grass outside the barn that served as a hanger.

Ellen wanted to hug him but thought he might not appreciate the gesture. ‘I love it. Is it dual control?’

‘No, but it has the usual two seats so can take a passenger.’

‘Good – I’ve got more than enough pupils to teach. Since the government subsidy last year every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to learn to fly.’

‘I hope you don’t expect me to pay you any extra, young lady. I reckon you owe me far more than your wages would have been for all the lessons and hours you’ve spent flying my aircraft over the past five years.’

She put her hands on her hips. ‘Giving my brothers and me lessons at your Flying Club couldn’t have been as much as the rent you would have had to pay to use my father’s farms and fields.’ He was about to interrupt but she continued. ‘Not forgetting the fact that Dad bought the first aircraft and both Neil and George acted as instructors until they joined the RAF.’

He scowled but she wasn’t fooled for a minute. ‘The cost of one lesson is usually two pounds – the three of you never paid a penny…’

‘Joe, I don’t want to stand here arguing anymore. I want to take her up before it gets too hot. Are you coming with me or can I go solo?’

‘Circuits and bumps only, my girl, no flying off into the wild blue yonder. There are three new enquiries to be dealt with in the office – I want you to sort those out this morning.’

The other aircraft the flying club owned were a Swallow and a Gypsy Moth. Both were fitted with dual controls. Joe had several clients who liked to go up on their own and pootle about until the fuel ran out. This de Havilland had been bought to satisfy those clients.

Sidney, the ground engineer, and the only other full-time employee, wandered out from the hanger. ‘Nice little machine, Ellie, sweet as a nut. You going to take it up for a spin?’

‘If that’s all right with you, I’d love to. I’ll not be long – I just want to get the feel of it for myself.’

‘The bloke what brought it said it flies like the Gypsy only a bit faster. You’ll have no problem – you’re a natural. I remember your first solo flight when you were no more than a nipper…’

Joe poked his head out of the office. ‘No time for reminiscing, Sid, let her get on with it. Just had a bell and we’ve got a new pupil coming in an hour.’

‘Sorry, guv, I’ll not hold her up.’

She collected her helmet and goggles and scrambled into the cockpit. Even though the weather was warm she needed her flying jacket on over her dungarees. It got a bit nippy at a thousand feet above the land. After doing her pre-flight checks she taxied into position on the grass runway and took off.

An uneventful forty-five minutes later she landed smoothly and headed for the office to catch up with the paperwork. The new pupil, a middle-aged bank manager, decided after a couple of circuits of the field that he didn’t want to learn to fly after all. As they’d only been in the air for a quarter of an hour there was no charge.

By the time her last pupil left the airfield it was almost six o’clock. Often they had to work until it was too dark to fly, but tonight they’d finished early. Ellen left Sid to lock up and jumped onto her bicycle. At least in the summer Dad didn’t come in for his tea until late so she wouldn’t have missed her meal.

She pedalled furiously down the track, swerving instinctively around the dips and ruts, covering the mile in record time. She skidded into the yard, sending half a dozen chickens squawking into the air in protest, and tossed her bike against the wall.

With luck she’d have time to wash before her parents sat down to eat. It had taken Mum months to get used to seeing her only daughter dressed in slacks or dungarees. She might be a farmer’s wife now, but she’d come from a grand family and had very high standards.

The fact that Mum had been disowned when she’d married a farmer should have softened her but instead, according to Dad, it had made her even more determined to bring her children up as though they were landed gentry and not the children of a farmer.

After a quick sluice in the scullery Ellie headed to the kitchen – she was about to open the door when she realised the voices she’d heard were coming from the seldom used front parlour. Mum insisted on calling it the drawing room, but no one else did.

This must mean they had guests. She looked down at her scruffy oil-stained dungarees and wondered if she had time to nip upstairs and put on something more respectable. Unfortunately, her mother must have heard her come in.

‘Ellen, you are very late this evening. Had you forgotten Neil has a twenty-four hour pass?’

She was pretty sure this was the first she’d heard of it but having her oldest brother home was a wonderful surprise. She didn’t stop to think why this meant they were in the parlour, and burst in.

‘Hello, little sister, I’ve brought a chum along. Let me introduce you to Gregory Dunlop.’

Only then did she become aware of the second RAF uniformed young man staring at her with open admiration. He was a bit shorter than Neil, but broader in the shoulders, with corn coloured hair and startlingly blue eyes.

‘I’m pleased to meet you, Flying Officer Dunlop.’ She wasn’t sure if she should offer her hand as despite her best efforts it was far from clean.

He stepped closer and held out his and she had no option but to take it. ‘I’ve heard so much about you, Miss Simpson, and have been pestering your brother for an invitation in order to meet you for myself.’

His grip was firm, his hand smoother than hers – but what caught her attention was his upper crust accent. ‘I’m sorry to appear in my work clothes. If you don’t mind waiting a few more minutes I’ll pop upstairs and change into something more suitable for the occasion.’

‘Please, don’t worry on my account. I think you look perfectly splendid just as you are.’

He seemed reluctant to release her hand but she pulled it away firmly. He was a very attractive man and was obviously interested in her, but she wasn’t looking for a boyfriend.

‘Run along, Ellen, you’ve got plenty of time to put on a frock as your father has only just come in himself. We are having a cold collation so nothing will be spoiled by waiting for another quarter of an hour.’

She smiled at her brother in resignation and he winked. They both knew there was no point in arguing once their mother had made up her mind.

She met her father in the passageway. ‘Have you got to change as well, Ellie? She told me at lunchtime I’ve got to put on something smart.’

‘It must be because of Neil’s friend. He certainly sounds very posh.’ She pushed open her bedroom door and was about to go in when he replied.

‘Seems a lot of fuss for nothing but easier to give in than put up with a week of black looks and sour faces.’ He shook his head sadly and went into the room he no longer shared with her mother. Ellie wished her parents had a happier relationship.

If there was one thing she’d learned, by watching the disintegration of what must once have been a happy union, it was this: Don’t marry for love as it doesn’t last. If she ever took the plunge it would be with a man she respected, liked and who shared her outlook on life.

Her mother had told her to put on a frock but she rebelled. She didn’t wish to impress their visitor so would come down in what she usually wore – slacks and blouse. The only time she put on a frock was when she was forced to attend church. Most Sundays she had the excuse that she had to work at the airfield.

She checked her face was oil free and ran a brush through her hair. Satisfied she was presentable she hurried downstairs eager to catch up on Neil’s news. George, her other brother, hadn’t been home since January and she was desperate to hear how he was doing.

Her mother pursed her lips when Ellie came in. ‘Is your father coming, Ellen?’

‘I don’t know, Mum, but I don’t think he’ll be long.’ She joined her brother by the open window, leaving his friend to entertain her mother.

‘I wish you wouldn’t deliberately provoke her, Ellie. Why won’t you call her Mother? You know how much she dislikes being called Mum, especially in front of strangers.’

She shrugged. ‘Whatever she was in the past, now she’s just a farmer’s wife. Have you finished your training?’

He grinned and pointed to the wings on his uniform. ‘I have, didn’t you see these? George is still in Scotland – seems he pranged a Moth and needs longer up there.’

‘He obviously didn’t hurt himself or you wouldn’t be so jolly. Do you know where you’re going to be stationed?’

Their conversation was interrupted by the arrival of her father looking uncomfortable in a collar and tie. After he was introduced to the guest her mother clapped her hands as if wishing to attract the attention of a crowd of children.

‘We shall go in to dine now that we are all here.’

Ellie hid her smile at her mother’s pretentiousness behind her hand. Ham and salad hardly deserved such an introduction.

When her father mentioned the likelihood of there being a war her mother insisted that this was not a suitable topic of conversation at the dinner table. No one was particularly interested in discussing the weather and an uneasy silence fell.

‘We’ve got another aircraft, Dad. I took her up and…’

Her mother glared at her. ‘I’m sure that Flying Officer Dunlop doesn’t want to hear about your highly unsuitable employment. A young lady should be interested in more feminine things, don’t you agree, Mr Dunlop?’

The young man nodded solemnly. ‘I’m sure that most girls would prefer to talk about fashion or flowers but your daughter is different. I’ve never met a female pilot before and am most impressed. How many hours solo do you have now, Miss Simpson?’

‘Please call me Ellie, everyone else does.’

‘And you must call me Greg.’

‘Well, Greg, to answer your question, I’ve been flying since I was twelve – six years now – and got my A licence when I was fourteen and my instructor’s certificate when I was sixteen. I’ve logged more than twelve hundred hours now.’

‘Good God! That’s a damn sight more than I have.’ He couldn’t fail to hear her mother’s horrified gasp. Instead of being embarrassed he smiled at her. ‘I apologise for my appalling language, Mrs Simpson, I do hope you will forgive me.’

‘Apology accepted. I’ll say no more on the matter.’

He turned to Ellie. ‘I want to hear how you manage in poor weather conditions and hope you will talk to me before we leave tomorrow morning.’

Before she could answer she was instructed to clear the table and fetch the dessert. Obediently she pushed her chair back and began to collect the plates. When Greg made a move to stand up she shook her head.

Clearing the table was a woman’s job, as well all the other domestic duties that she did her best to avoid. Pudding was a sherry trifle accompanied by a jug of thick, fresh cream from their dairy herd. She placed the large glass bowl on the tray and put the cream beside it. The ham salad, again all home-grown, had been excellent but this would be even better.

The Author

Fenella Miller author photo 2

Fenella J Miller has over thirty eight Regency romantic adventures published plus four Jane Austen variations, three Victorian sagas and seven WW2 family sagas. She lives in a pretty, riverside village in Essex with her husband and British Shorthair cat. She has two adult children and three grandchildren.

Social media links

Facebook: @FenellaJMiller
Twitter: @fenellawriter

Buy links

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2NxOetm
iBooks: https://apple.co/2pGTu4x
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2pK87En
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2ILUTzs

Miller_Fenella

CHOC LIT RUBY FICTION: IT’S PUBLICTION DAY FOR WHO CARES IF THEY DIE by WENDY DRANFIELD

WHO CARES IF THEY DIE

Who Cares if They Die: A compelling psychological thriller you won’t want to put down

 

Perfect for fans of L J Ross, Joy Ellis & Faith Martin.

Did she jump or was she pushed?
It starts with the hanging woman in the Maple Valley woods; the woman with no shoes, no car and no name. On paper it’s an obvious case of suicide – but to Officer Dean Matheson, something doesn’t add up.
Then there are the other deaths, deaths that also look like suicides – but are they? The victims are all women living on the fringes of society, addicts and criminals. Who will miss them? Does anyone really care if they die?
Dean Matheson is making it his business to care, even if it means he becomes a target …

BUY LINKS

Amazon:   https://www.amazon.co.uk/Who-Cares-They-Die-psychological-ebook/dp/B07G38PPKP/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Who-Cares-They-Die-psychological-ebook/dp/B07G38PPKP/

IBooks:  https://geo.itunes.apple.com/gb/book/who-cares-if-they-die/id1420445716?mt=11&at=11lNBs

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/who-cares-if-they-die

Google:  https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Wendy_Dranfield_Who_Cares_if_They_Die?id=fP1mDwAAQBAJ

Website: https://www.rubyfiction.com/dd-product/who-cares-if-they-die/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41058107-who-cares-if-they-die

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
WNEDY DRANFIELD

Wendy is a crime thriller writer who lives in the UK with her husband and 3 rescue cats.

She is both an indie author and a traditionally published author, with two novels released plus several short stories published in UK and US anthologies.

Wendy is a member of the Crime Writers’ Association and the Society of Authors.

Social media:

Twitter: @WendyDranfield
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WendyDranfield1/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13513643.Wendy_Dranfield
YouTube: https://youtu.be/UB1GFJ8NZRk

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…

 

40876177

 

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)….

WATCH FOR ME BY TWILIGHT - COVER

 

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.