Meet The Family – Ella Cook

Ella and I signed for Ruby Fiction at around the same time as I did and we took part in the Choc-lit festival last year. So with her first book finally being released I was so excited to sit down for a chat again.

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Hey Ella, and welcome to my blog “A Story About A Girl” I am really looking forward to learning more about your book “Beyond Grey”

 

What inspired you to write “Beyond Grey?”

A truly horrible journey home. We’d been visiting my parents, and got caught in a truly terrible storm around 30 miles from home. We’d come too far to turn around, and we were miles from services. It was all too easy to imagine an accident could happen. So that’s where the opening line and the storyline in which Jenn dies unexpectedly came from. 

As to the idea of life after death, and that spirits could be around us and watching over us even after they’ve left our world? It’s something I’ve always believed in. There have been moments of inspiration, feelings of guidance, and white feathers in my life too. 

What made you decide to submit with ChocLit?

I’d read a lot of their books in the past, and knew the name. I saw the Ruby imprint at about the same time my amazing group of writing friends were nagging me to start submitting (and stop being such a wimp). The stars aligned and here we are (though maybe there was some guardian angel type intervention too?) 

If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself?

Scrap the self-doubt. Quit the pity party (because I was good at that!) and get on and WRITE. Write what you love, and what you would want to read, and hopefully others will love it and want to read it too. 

Oh, and get a decent lap desk. I’m terrible for writing on the couch, and it’s not good having my laptop on my lap! 

If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

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Probably cooking, or crocheting. Or reading. Or video-calling with friends. Although, there is a 15,000 piece jigsaw of star constellations taking up half the dining table as well that we need to finish. It’s too cold for gardening, and we’re back in lockdown again! 

 

How did you deal with rejections when you started out?

Really badly. 

When I first finished Beyond Grey, I sent it to a couple of agents, got no replies, and moth-balled it. Which was one of the silliest things I could have done. But it does mean that I got to meet the amazing team at Ruby, and that my debut is right in the middle of a pandemic.  

Beyond Grey is primarily a story about healing from grief, and finding the light beyond the agonising grey of bereavement. It’s about hope, and who doesn’t need a bit more of that right now? 

What would you say to someone who wants to write?

Just do it. Open a notepad – or a new document – and just write. Learn the basics – things like punctuation, structure, how to tag dialog – and then just write. And don’t get disenchanted when your first drafts are less than perfect. You will almost never read the first draft of anything from a good writer: It will have been reviewed and edited – probably multiple times – before you get to see it. So expect to edit too. 

Do you have any writing routines or rituals if so what are they?notebook-4048796_640

I don’t really have any. I work full time, so write as and when I can. The nearest thing I probably have to a ritual is making sure I have a big cup of tea nearby. I also always try to jot down notes to myself as to what I want to write next – it makes it so much quicker and easier to pick up the next day! 

Which authors inspired you to write?

There have been so, so many. My reading taste is eclectic: Terry Pratchett, Tamora Pearce, Enid Blyton, Judy Blume. And most recently, Ann Evans. 

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

A bit a of mix I think. There will always be love and romance of some kind in my books – that’s just who I am. And hopefully humour as well, because I think it’s needed in life. And there will always, always be hope and happy endings. 

More About Ella

Ella’s been obsessed with books since she was a toddler. She decided to become a writer as soon as she realised that stringing letters together in the right order could actually be a career.  

She grew up in the outskirts of London, where fairies lived at the bottom of her Grandma’s garden, so it isn’t surprising that she still looks for magic in everyday life – and often finds it. 

When she’s not living in a fantasy world of her own creation, she writes bids and develops programmes for children’s services. She lives in rural Warwickshire (where there are probably more fairies) with her husband who is ever loving and understanding, and makes her gallons of tea in magical cups that can keep drinks warm for whole chapters.  

Throughout lockdown, Ella’s spent a lot of time cleaning (who hasn’t), crocheting rainbows, and writing. She’s got two new novels in progress – but did take a few breaks to write a stories (featuring a lot more dinosaur poop and talking animals than her usual style) for some very special youngsters spending birthdays in shielded lockdown.  

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@EllaCookWrites       Facebook-XperiaWritten by Ella

 

Check out the YouTube video of Ella, Helen and myself chatting during the Choc-lit festival

thumbnail_Beyond Grey by Ella Cook

What if you became an outsider in your own life?

Jennifer Hughes doesn’t have an extraordinary life, but that doesn’t matter – she loves her family and enjoys her job as a teacher. In her eyes, her unextraordinary life is utterly perfect.
But then, in the blink of an eye, Jennifer finds herself cut off from everything she knew and loved, confined to a strange new world and forced to watch from a distance as her family and friends pick up the pieces.
Can Jennifer hold her perfect life together, even though she’s not living it herself

 

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Top Books / Authors of 2020

This year has been pretty strange as I am sure everyone can agree. I have also been reading more again as I have been working from home and needing to find away to separate the two.

I have read fifty books and there has been some outstanding reads! This time round I wanted to do things a little different and highlight some amazing books i’ve read this year, but still take the time to acknowledge the greats that keep putting out amazing books that I have read this year @mredwards came back and gave us all what we had been asking for the completion of the Magpies storyline. I was relieved to be about to read an @callytaylor book and not feel totally rung out afterwards and it was named after my most favourite thing in the world Sleep! Louise Jensen @Fab_fiction wrote another fab book The Family which I finally managed to read. Angela Marsons @WriteAngie kept up the strong Kim Stone story line when I read Blood Lines, I just wish I managed more than one of her books a year!

So on to notable books I’ve read this year…

First off to stop him hogging three separate spots is Matt Wesolowski @ConcreteKraken 

The review for Deity can be found HERE while reviews for the other two and the rest of the series can be found HERE 

The Nowhere Child

 

The Nowhere Child by Christian White @CWhiteAuthor took me by complete surprise and I really enjoyed reading it! This wasn’t the typical missing child story and the reveal at the end was totally unexpected.

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Three Hours by Rosmund Lupton @Rosamundlupton there had been a lot of chatter about this book when it was released. So I was really keen to read it and was over joyed when I didn’t have to wait for the paperback when the kindle price came down. There is alot of reference in this book to Macbeth that made me wonder if I would have enjoyed it more if I was up on story and references. There is also a lot of “after reading” with this book if you are interested in finding out more about some of Amerian school shootings.

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Shaddow Man an What Lies Buried by Margaret Kirk @HighlandWriter

I won both of these books from the author during Virtual Noir At The Bar, and DI Luka and his team have now become a firm favourite of mine for 2020. These books are very atmospheric and not to be missed for Scottish crime fighting.

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A surprise addition to my reading this year As Weekends Go and If I Ever Doubted You by Jan Brigden @JanBrigden

Both these books felt like they were giving me the inside track on life as a famous footballer and the girl next door that ultimately fall in love. This isn’t a “love story” and offers something far different from your typical romance book. I felt myself cheering for on the characters in these books and I am crying out for more from Jan in this genre.

The Moscow Whisper (Sean Richardson, #3)

The Moscow Whisper by Michael Jenkins @FailsafeQuery has continued his high standard of writing. I raced through this book like I had done with the previous two making sure Michael keeps his standing in my top reads of 2020.

Instructions For Falling In Love Again

Instructions For Falling in love again by Lucy Mitchell @LucyMitchAuth another book completely away from my genre. This is such a nice book and had me sobbing into the night. It is just a nice book about people failing in love after loss and people turning there life around for the better.

Reckoning Point

Reckoning Point by J M Hewitt @JMHewitt like Mark Edwards above J M Hewitt finally gave us a follow on from the Exclusion Zone. It was so good to find out what what happened to the characters and brought alot of the stories to a final satisfactory close. Will there be more to come from Alex Harvey and Ellen? Who knows.. Also I got round to listening to Exclusion Zone on audio and it was everything I remembered and more… SOB SOB SOB when hearing it brought a whole new “feeling” from when I read it in a Spanish airport coming home from our cruise.

A Killer's Wife (Desert Plains, #1)             The Hallows

A Killer’s Wife and The Hallows by Victor Methos @VictorMethos I read the neon lawyer ages ago, so was happy to read more of Victor’s work. I was also super excited when one of the above books was on Amazon first reads! I have a secret love from legal thrillers and Victor’s books scratch that itch.

Good Samaritans (Detective Sergeant Pace, #1)  Nothing Important Happened Today (Detective Sergeant Pace, #2)  Hinton Hollow Death Trip (Detective Sergeant Pace #3)

Good Samaritans, Nothing Important Happened Today and Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver @will_carver I may have slightly cheated here and listened to these on audio, but would definitly read them when given the chance. Reading them at times did pose the question of is Will Carver okay? Does he need urgent physiological help? Though if you can’t write it all in a novel where else can you do it? I do prefer that he is writing it thought…

Stone Cold Heart (Cat Kinsella, #2)

Stone Cold Heart by Caz Frear @CazziF I’d had this one on my shelf for a while and was so glad to get round to reading it. Though I have missed the first one in the series I will be most certainly be reading more about Cat Kinsella and her questionable past.

Stay Mad, Sweetheart

Stay Mad, Sweetheart by Heleen Kist @hkist is a #MeToo / #Timeup novel and is most certainer one of my books of 2020, with it’s strong female cast and important themes. I felt that this book is SO IMPORTANT in today’s society that as soon as I read it I past it on for someone else to experience! I really hope there is more to come from Heleen because if her writing continues at this standard she is bound to go far.

The Source

The Source by Sarah Sultoon @SultoonSarah I still need to write a review on this, but I have no idea how I am going to manage it. As there is so much that needs to be said about this book…

Dead Man’s Daughter (DI Meg Dalton, #2)

Dead Man’s Daughter by Roz Watkins @RozWatkins continues along the same path that her debut The Devil’s Dice laid. A terrible crime but there was no way that super natural forces could be in play or could they? I am eagerly awaiting her third book Cut to The Bone that I brought just before Christmas! If Roz continues along this path I know I am going to love it.

Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors by Sadie Ryan @The__SadieRyan  is a book I raced through as the sense of panic ramped up until I couldn’t turn the pages any quicker! A great story about family and what people do to protect what they love and what people will do for revenge.

A Deeper Song (D.I. Hannah Robbins #6)  See No Evil (D.I. Hannah Robbins #7)

A Deeper Song and See No Evil by Rebecca Bradley @RebeccaJBradley my Nottingham crime writing sister? Once again Rebecca has taken her lead character Hannah and made her life hell and with each book it seems to be getting worse. When I felt that Hannah’s life had finally settled down wham! Rebecca comes in there and goes “don’t be stupid” I’m going to make things 10 times worse and 100 more time interesting.

I wrote a review of all of Rebecca’s books HERE with her books being such an inspiration to my attempt at Nottingham crime writing.

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2021 reads

I am really looking forward to more from Noelle Holten @NHolten40 I have her next two books lined up to read Dead Perfect and Dead Wrong.

Sharon Bairden’s @SBairden’s Sins of a Father on my book shelf which will most certainly be read.

Sam Carrington’s @Sam_Carrington1 The Missing Wife.

Roz Watkin’s Cut to the Bone, and more great reads from Team @OrendaBooks

And no doubt some great reads from my publishing family!

 

Book Review: Deity @ConcreteKraken @OrendaBooks #Book5

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A shamed pop star
A devastating fire
Six witnesses
Six stories
Which one is true?


When pop megastar Zach Crystal dies in a fire at his remote mansion, his mysterious demise rips open the bitter divide between those who adored his music and his endless charity work, and those who viewed him as a despicable predator, who manipulated and abused young and vulnerable girls.

Online journalist, Scott King, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the accusations of sexual abuse and murder that were levelled at Crystal before he died. But as Scott begins to ask questions and rake over old graves, some startling inconsistencies emerge: Was the fire at Crystal’s remote home really an accident? Are reports of a haunting really true? Why was he never officially charged?

Dark, chillingly topical and deeply thought-provoking, Deity is both an explosive thriller and a startling look at how heroes can fall from grace and why we turn a blind eye to even the most heinous of crimes…

My Thoughts

There is so much I want to say about this book, and I don’t even know if I can begin to write down my feelings for this book other than you need to read it!

There is so much linkage in the story to, todays happenings in the “celebrity” world and as I read this novel I could help but make comparisons to what we know about Jimmy Saville, Michael Jackson and Ian Watkins (Lost Prophets.)

Matt uses the memories we have of our “heroes” and plays on what we * think * we know and leads us down a dark avenue of deception, secrecy and the costs of fame and what we * can * have when we’ve got the world at our feet.

I am of the generation of “nu metal” and I have felt comforted by the songs of Lost Prophets. “Its not the end of the world” is my song I bring out once a year when we get super busy at work, I can probably sing most tracks on “fake sound of progress” I also made the mistake of reading the trail transcripts when Ian Watkins was sent down. At the beginning I felt that it wasn’t the other three members of the bands fault but….

Michael Jackson was (possibly) comparing himself to god by the end of his career he was coming back! With a tour and new albums before he died (side note: I thought the touring company killed him for insurance purposes because they knew he couldn’t deliver)

And as for Jimmy Saville he prayed on those who were in care, and common how many of us wanted to go on “Jim’ll fix it” and a lot of what he was up to didn’t come out till after his death and many of those who were in charge of such vulnerable people looked the other way.

Matt seems to have taken all of these examples and possibly many more and created a story around a “pop star” and his rise to fame and then death and all the things that we learn during the course of the book he was doing / said to be doing.

Scott King’s voice in the podcasts comes across like we are listening to our mates speaks, Scott comes across as someone who is seeking the truth and won’t let himself by swayed by the stories he hears from either side of the camp and when the final reveal is made like in all the other stories, he makes the right decision and does the right thing never mind the consequences. But our main character has been like this all the way through the books, even when he started to be trolled early on in I think book 2.

This is all to the credit of Matt’s writing and his use of characterisation in the stories he tells.

When we reach the last story and we learn the truth I sort of felt that those who create the “monster” are the only ones who can bring them down which is very true in many scenarios but with how this book is written and the characterisation use, we know the decision is left ultimately to the Podcast author Scott King.

Matt is fast becoming one of my favourite authors and this book is up there with Changelling, though I didn’t cry as much at this one, you will be glad to know. What I also like about Matt is when I start his book I don’t feel like I want to cry because I will never be that good. Which is certainly how I feel when I read some of my other favourite authors… Which I think is to his credit he is good but he doesn’t make me feel like I’ll never be that good!

Matt is one of the powerhouse authors at Orenda who continues to deliver a new style of telling a story whose style can’t be copied because it’s original and different and if it was we would immediately know it was no doubt Matt who has inspired the work…

I wrote a review of all of Matt’s books up until this one as part of my Book Series post, which can be found HERE!

WHY CAN WE NOT GET THESE BOOKS ON AUDIO VIA THE LIBRARY? They’d be borrowed I know that for sure! 

You can contact Matt via

logo_thumb800 @ConcreteKraken     foto Matt’s Website

 

You can pre order Deity which is out in TEN DAYS via:

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and all other online retailers…

 

 

Book Review: Whispers In The Dark @cmacwritescrime @RedDogTweets #ErikaPiper #Book2

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Who will heed the call when Death comes whispering?

Small time drug dealer, Marcus Stone and DCI Clive Burston had never met until one night in August. By the end of that night, both had been shot dead in a small bedroom in the heart of gang territory.

DI Erika Piper is called to the scene but is at a loss to explain what’s happened. How did these two even meet, let alone end up dead in what appears to be a strange murder-suicide?

As Erika leads the investigation, another two bodies are found, killed in a similar fashion. One murder, one suicide. But who is controlling this macarbre puppet show?

As Erika delves deeper into the lives of the dead, the pieces begin to fit together and a number of nefarious characters crawl out of the woodwork – one of whom is almost certainly pulling the strings.

A catastrophic event and a personal miracle threaten to derail the investigation. Erika must find the strength to continue, before the whispers catch up with her too…

My Thoughts:

Chris McDonald’s second book reads like his fifth!

All the main characters are back including Erica, Lewis and DCI Bob.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to find this book when I learned it was about such a powerful  subject of depression and suicide in all honesty I felt sick with nerves and almost gave up before I even started! But I’m glad I didn’t as the subject and it’s suffers are handled very well and with the utmost care and respect.

Not wanting to spoil it for anyone but I’m not sure i agree with some of the things that happened to our main characters but I am sure Chris has it all planned out…

To me this book didn’t feel like a second, Chris has come along way since a wash of black that sometimes takes authors years to achieve not their second book out!

Really hope there is more to come from Erica sooner rather than later!

Grab your copy here,

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Paper and Hard backs can also be brought directly from the publisher.

Happy IWSG Day!! – December 2020 #IWSG @TheIWSG

Insecure Writers Support Day!

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Every 1st Wednesday of the month we all come together to support each other in our writing endeavors. You can join the blog hop by clicking Here

We all looked after by Alex Cavanaugh and his trusty co hosts are are Pat Garcia,Sylvia Ney,Liesbet @ Roaming AboutCathrina Constantine, and Natalie Aguirre!

I really do not understand how the months are going so quick! I missed last month so I had better write something for this month. As I don’t want to lose my top 100 spot.

So I am currently working on my second round of edits! I have also been promoted at work, so all in all everything is good!

I have managed to also get on some what with book 3, I have changed my position for writing, so I have been sat in bed with the laptop which has kinda worked! Also put it all back on scrivener as it seems easier to find things using that compared to word!

My simple answer to the montly question is no, so there probably no point me posting about it…

I hope everyone is doing okay 🙂

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 Perfect Liebook cover

Jen Garner tries her best to be ‘wife and mother of the year’. She helps organise school plays and accompanies her husband to company dinners, all with a big smile on her face.
But Jen has started to receive strange gifts in the post … first flowers, then a sympathy card.
It could just be a joke; that’s what she tells herself. But then the final ‘gift’ arrives, and Jen has to question why somebody is so intent on shattering her life into pieces …

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Unwrapping The Best Man – Rachael Stewart

Did someone say it’s nearly Christmas? There are only 31 days to go!!!! We are almost in full countdown mode…

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I caught up with Rachael during the release of “The Bad Sister” so with her new book “Unwrapping The Bestman” hitting the shelves and Christmas just around the corner I knew we were due for another catch up.

Are you a lover or hater of Christmas Rachael?

Love, love, LOVER! Christmas was such a happy and special time when I was a child. The whole of December, the picture windows / chocolate advent calendar countdown, the decorating of the tree, the baking, the excitement at school…it was such a thrill that I only have to hear mention of Christmas now or catch the scent of mulled spice or the start of a Christmas tune / movie / TV programme and I am giddy.

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Unless it’s January, in which case I definitely suffer the January blues!!

Though having said that I have been known to use festive room fragrance through the year because it gives me an instant buzz 🙂

What are your likes and dislikes about Christmas?

I think ultimately what I love is the fact that it’s the time I remember best for being surrounded by family and friends, and the happiness that comes with all that shared love and laughter. As soon as I was old enough, I would shop for presents, the idea of giving as special, if not more special, than receiving. It’s a time when work is parked and forgotten, and the focus is wholly on whomever you choose to spend that special day with (and the many celebratory days that lead up to it, we often have more than one Christmas Day in our house!). There is also something so very special about the festive spirit that consumes one and all!

I also love baking and experimenting with new festive recipes, which let’s face it, aren’t always the greatest success but it’s in the doing that I get the most enjoyment.

What do I hate? That’s a tough one. If I’m brutally honest it’s the drinking that goes too far, the bar brawls etc etc. Never nice and it’s particularly evident around the festive period. Maybe not this year though, if Covid-19 gets its way! Possibly the only upside to this blasted virus!

Do you have any Christmas traditions, if so what are they are they carried on from your childhood or have you created your own?

wishes-3006367_640Writing a letter to Santa is a must. As is laying out their Santa sacks Christmas Eve, writing a thank you letter to Santa and leaving out the obligatory whisky, mince pie and carrot. I love, love, love this tradition and so long as our kids live under our roof, they’ll be doing it! 🙂

We also have to drink mulled wine and eat roasted chestnuts while watching our fave Christmas movies like Die Hard (it’s a Christmas movie, I won’t debate it! My husband even has framed pictures that we have to display throughout December which are festive cartoon sketches of Die Hard 🙂 Very fun!), Home Alone and recent additions include Elf and Christmas Chronicles. My husband also likes to sneak Bad Santa in there, but it’s okay, as I then make him watch The Holiday with me 🙂

Do you think we’ll have a white Christmas this year?

Well it’s 2020 – anything could happen, right?!

What is your earliest Christmas memory?

Laying out my Santa’s sack at the end of my bed, putting a carrot out for Rudolph, a mince pie and whisky for Santa, and writing my thank you letter. Also, waking up so very early and squeezing my sack to see if HE had been and if he had, breaking into my parents’ bedroom at some ungodly hour (like 3am!) and begging to open presents 🙂

My parents would be exhausted but they would indulge us every time, they got as much joy out of it as we did. In fact, I think that’s the main reason I love it so much – it was the day on which my parents would forget whatever stress they were under and smile and adore and indulge us for the whole time – everyone was happy. And I love my parents so very much for giving me the best Christmases ever growing up. I only hope my kids can say the same when they are my age!

What was the best present you received as a child?

My hi-fi. If I remember right, it was second hand and it was the bestest record-player-5044190_640present ever. As was the My Little Pony Castle. Also, second hand but I didn’t care. Preloved/Newloved – worked for me! Also, my Raleigh racer bike, LOVED that bike!! Ooo, that was more than one!! See, I’m getting giddy again already!! Sorry, Claire!!

What was the one present you always wanted but never got?

Mr Frosty! I begged and begged and never got one. We, of course, bought one for our kids as soon as they were the right age, and guess what, it’s hardly been used. So maybe my parents knew what they were doing. I always wanted an actual pony too, but I’ll let them off that one 😉

What is your favourite Christmas carol and Pop Song?

I absolutely adore The Pogues “Fairytale of New York”, but I LOVE all Christmas music, and I’ll let you into a little secret, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” does feature in Unwrapping The Best Man…

If you were asked to guest DJ on a national radio station on Christmas day what would you play?

I would play every Christmas tune known to man – how unpopular an answer is that?! But seriously from the 1st December it’s ALL I listen too…yes, I’m that festively annoying! Another trait I share with Caitlin!

What would you buy the main characters in Unwrapping the Best Man for Christmas?

Unwrapping the Best Man stars festive-loving Caitlin and very-much-the-Grinch Jackson…so what would I buy them…Hmm…

I’d buy Jackson some really good earphones (you know the ones that mute the outside world!) because boy can Caitlin talk— Joke! Though she can, seriously, but he loves that about her.

winter-4680713_640I think I’d actually buy them a skiing holiday so that they can go from slope to slope having fun together by day and enjoying the glorious mountain views covered in snow. And then cosy up in front of a warm fire on an evening in a gorgeous wooden lodge and get all lovey-dovey and indulge in some super-sexy time…Or maybe that’s what I want to buy for my hubby and me…sorry, getting giddy again, Claire!! 🙂  Maybe I’m more like Caitlin than I ever realised…

 

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Unwrapping The Best Man

On the first night of Christmas, her sexy crush finally gave to her—an unbelievably hot night! Now she’s ready for nights two, three and four… Unwrap the steamy sequel to Getting Dirty by Rachael Stewart.

I’ve lusted after brawny, gorgeously rough Jackson Black for six lust-fueled, unrequited years. But Jackson has rules, and the big one is “no getting involved with clients” of his elite London sex club. Including me. But our best friends are getting married, and for one deliciously hot night, the maid of honor and best man agree…what happens in the Scottish Highlands, stays in the Scottish Highlands.

It was everything I wanted and more…until the complete jerk disappears during the night.

Now it’s Christmas, and I have a plan to prove to Jackson Black just how much I don’t care, that he doesn’t turn me on like a Christmas tree. Only Operation: Naughty Elf is backfiring big-time. That aching need for his touch is stronger than ever. It’s painfully clear that I want more than just a fling from the untouchable Jackson Black.

I have one chance to unwrap the best man. But is this sexy, guarded grinch about to steal my heart…or break it?

 

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Rachael Stewart adores conjuring up stories for the readers of Harlequin Mills & Boon and Deep Desires Press, with tales varying from the heartwarmingly romantic to the wildly erotic.

She’s been writing since she could put pen to paper as the stacks of scrawled on A4 sheets in her loft will attest to, and the lovingly bound short stories that her father would run off at work and proudly share out with his colleagues. Thinking it was a pipe dream to be published one day, she pursued a sensible career in business but she was really play-acting, achieving the appropriate degree and spending many years in the corporate world where she never truly belonged. Always happiest when she was sat at her laptop in the quiet hours tapping out a story or two. And so here she is, a published author, her full-time pleasure, a dream come true.

A Welsh lass at heart, she now lives in Yorkshire with her husband and three children, and if she’s not glued to her laptop, she’s wrapped up in them or enjoying the great outdoors seeking out inspiration.

logo_thumb800@Rach_B52     Facebook-Xperia  Rachael Stewart Author

 

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Rachael Stewart

 

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Want to find out more about Rachael’s books, check out her Amazon author page.

 

Christmas At The Little Beach Cafe – Morton S Gray

Christmas At The Little Beach Cafe – Morton S Gray

Did someone say it’s nearly Christmas? There are only 29 days to go!!!!

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Welcome back Morton, I’m looking forward to catching up and talking about all things Christmas and of course your new book

 

Are you a lover or hater of Christmas Morton?

I hate the frenetic quality of the build up to Christmas, those times when you can’t park because the carparks are so full and everyone seems to lose basic civility. I hate the pressure of trying to get Christmas presents and the Christmas food.

However, I love sending Christmas cards. I love Christmas decorations, Christmas trees and lights. I love spending time in a relaxed way with my family. So on balance, I love Christmas.

Do you have any Christmas traditions, if so what are they are they carried on from your childhood or have you created your own?

We tend to have a quiet time really, maybe do a couple of jigsaws together and watch films. My husband is brilliant at cooking Christmas lunch thankfully, because meals with so many elements like that tend to get me very flustered – I’m more a one pot type of cook.restaurant-690975_640 On Christmas day, we fetch my mother in time for lunch and share our meal with my two sons and the eldest’s girlfriend. In the afternoon, my sister and her family join us and they take mom home.

Do you think we’ll have a white Christmas this year?

No! I can’t actually ever remember a snowy Christmas. It’s more likely to be cold and sunny, or misty and moist.

What is your earliest Christmas memory?

Difficult one. I was an only child until I was seven. I enjoyed Christmas much more once I had a sister. I used to like watching her open her presents first. I remember one confusing Christmas when Santa left presents all over my parents’ bedroom instead of in the usual pillow cases at the end of our beds! They weren’t even in piles for my sister and I. I realise now that my mom and dad must have overslept, but as children, we wondered what was going on. Mom retrieved the situation by getting us to guess who each item was for, so it turned out as great fun in the end.

What was the best present you received as a child?

As part of our Christmas stockings we always used to have huge boxes of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolates – I don’t even see boxes that big for sale any more. But, I think my favourite single item would be my talking doll. She was about two feet tall and had a string to pull in her back. Her conversation was limited to a few sentences, of course – “I am Little Poppet” was her first phrase. My mother was brilliant with the sewing machine and had made her a full wardrobe of clothes. Now I think about it that must have taken her so many nights of sewing when I was asleep or at school. That memory made me a little teary as my mother now has Alzheimer’s and dementia.

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What is your favourite Christmas film?

I adore Love Actually and The Holiday and have watched them numerous times, but never tire of the stories or sound tracks.

What would you buy the main characters in Christmas at Moonshine Hollow for Christmas?

Silvie would be easy. She loves Christmas, so anything sparkly, probably a nice jumper to wear and a necklace. Justin is more difficult, because anything to do with Christmas propels him back into horrid Christmas memories. He loves drumming, so I guess a drum of some kind would always be welcome.

 

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Run away to the little beach café this Christmas …

Five years ago at Christmas, solicitor Justin Sadler made the decision to leave his comfortable existence behind and move to the coast. Since then, he’s tried his best to ignore the festive season and, as he sits in the little beach café and reflects on that fateful night when his life was turned upside down, he expects his fifth Christmas alone to be no different to any of the others since he made his escape.

But when he encounters a mystery woman on the beach, he soon realises he may have found a fellow runaway and kindred spirit. Could Justin finally be ready to move on and let Christmas into his life again?

 

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Morton lives with her husband, two sons and Lily, the tiny white dog, in Worcestershire, U.K. She has been reading and writing fiction for as long as she can remember, penning her first attempt at a novel aged fourteen. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors.

Her debut novel The Girl on the Beach was published after she won the Choc Lit Publishing Search for a Star competition. This story follows a woman with a troubled past as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s new headteacher, Harry Dixon. The book is available as a paperback and e-book.

Morton’s second book for Choc Lit The Truth Lies Buried is another romantic suspense novel, The book tells the story of Jenny Simpson and Carver Rodgers as they uncover secrets from their past. This book is available as an e-book, paperback and audiobook.

Christmas at Borteen Bay was Morton’s first Christmas novella. It is set in her fictional seaside town of Borteen and follows the story of Pippa Freeman, who runs the Rose Court Guesthouse with her mother, and local policeman Ethan Gibson, as they unravel a family secret as Christmas approaches.

Bestselling Sunny Days on the Beach, is her fourth novel for Choc Lit. Again set in Borteen, this book is the story of what happens when craft shop owner, Mandy Vanes takes in an abandoned teenager, Nick Crossten and the repercussions when Graham Frankley, a gin distiller, arrives in town to say he has received a letter telling him he is Nick’s father.

Morton previously worked in the electricity industry in committee services, staff development and training. She has a Business Studies degree and is a fully qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Reiki Master. She also has diplomas in Tuina acupressure massage and energy field therapy. She enjoys crafts, history and loves tracing family trees. Having a hunger for learning new things is a bonus for the research behind her books.

If you’d like to find out more of what Angela gets up to (Advance warning: this may include references to wine, dark chocolate, Poldark and the hunky Aidan Turner)

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I previously spoke to Morton as part of my welcome to the family series, that can be found Here!

Review: See No Evil @RebeccaJBradley

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A brutal killer with a vicious calling card targets the older males in Nottingham. Are they connected or are the murders simply random attacks?

That is the question Detective Inspector Hannah Robbins and her team must investigate as they hunt down the monster on their streets.

But Hannah has just returned to work after a terrifying ordeal, and is still distressed as snapshots of the trauma plague her every waking moment.

Across town Amelia Vaughn, a senior Crown prosecutor, questions herself when a sensitive police file lands on her desk. However, things begin to look more sinister closer to home.

As the two professionals struggle to hold it together the murders become more frequent. The two women are on a collision course that no one could see coming. Can they each do what it takes to bring the killer to justice or will personal attachments result in another loss of life?

My Thoughts

Hold the front page! Hannah Robbins is back!

There are so many things that are going on in this story, which bring Hannah back into fore front of our minds!

Addiction, Nottingham, child abuse, murder, children’s home, secrets, family and friendships and that is to name just a few.

Rebecca uses her knowledge and experience to sensitively talk about shocking subjects that mirror real life experiences but still manages to tell a story and keep us griped for 269 pages.

Rebecca also manages to make you care about the character’s in the story and also in away!? understand why they are doing the things they are doing…

I am also really keen to know where Rebecca is going to take the Hannah’s story as she recovers from being kidnapped and her injuries old and new.

Now being seven books in these character’s are really beginning to feel like family!

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Check out my overview of the Hannah Robbins series and you can also get in touch with Rebecca Bradley via socail media or her website.

 

 

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Link to all of Rebecca’s books

Christmas at Moonshine Hollow – Angela Britnell

Did someone say it’s nearly Christmas? There are only 45 days to go!!!!

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Welcome back Angela, I’m looking forward to catching up and talking about all things Christmas and of course your new book

 

 

Are you a lover or hater of Christmas Angela?

Can I please be a little bit of both because I suspect that’s the way most people are?

What are your likes and dislikes about Christmas?

Love – the true meaning behind the season and spending time with family especially seeing the excitement in my grandchildren’s eyes.

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Hate – the overly commercial event it’s become and sappy Christmas songs and films. If anyone wanted to torture information out of me just lock me in a room and play ‘White Christmas’ or make me watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and I’ll tell you anything!

Do you have any Christmas traditions, if so what are they are they carried on from your childhood or have you created your own?

When I married my American husband our festive traditions were very different but we’ve adapted many of them along with making ones of our own in the best tradition of trans-Atlantic romance. That’s why we always have crackers on the table and eat roast potatoes and sprouts with our roast turkey along with southern dressing and sweet potato casserole!

Do you think we’ll have a white Christmas this year?

I don’t remember having a white Christmas growing up in Cornwall and it’s doubtful we’ll have one here in Nashville it’s more likely to be mild and damp.

What is your earliest Christmas memory?

Being excited about finding the silver sixpence in the Christmas pudding and it was only years later that I realised that I always found it thanks to my indulgent parents!

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What was the best present you received as a child?

My aunt hand sewed a shoe box full of clothes for my Sindy doll and they were so unique and special – my only regret is that I didn’t hold onto them.

What was the one present you always wanted but never got?

I can’t remember anything in particular which some people might say was because I was a spoiled only child!

What is your favourite Christmas carol and Pop Song?

I love traditional carols and although it’s hard to choose I’ll plump for ‘Oh Come all ye Faithful’ preferably sung in a packed church with an organ and a couple of trumpets thrown in for good measure. church-1235849_640

If you were asked to guest DJ on a national radio station on Christmas day what would you play?

I think I might go out on a limb and not play anything related to Christmas – there are plenty of places people can listen to Christmas music so maybe my listeners would prefer some summery Beach Boys songs along with some rousing Queen and Abba hits for good measure.

What would you buy the main characters in Christmas at Moonshine Hollow for Christmas?

Cole gives Jenna a very special present in my book but I can’t spoil things and tell you what it is.

If I was buying them something I’d choose something related to the history of moonshine for Cole – a friend of mine has a small antique still she uses as a fireplace decoration that would be perfect for Cole’s house.

I think Jenna would appreciate a gift card to visit all the beautiful Tennessee state parks when spring comes around.

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Christmas at Moonshine Hollow

Mistletoe and moonshine: a Christmas match made in heaven?

Moonshine Hollow’s famous ‘Lightning Flash’ might be an acquired taste, although the same could be said for moonshine distillery owner Cole Landon, what with his workaholic habits and ‘Scrooge’ tendencies when it comes to all things Christmassy.

But when Jenna Pendean from Cornwall pays a visit to Cole’s family-run distillery in Tennessee during the holiday season, will Cole’s cynicism about the existence of Christmas miracles be put to the test?

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Angela grew up in Cornwall, England and returns frequently from her new home in Nashville, Tennessee to visit family and friends, drink tea and eat far too many Cornish pasties!

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. Thanks to over three decades of marriage to her wonderful American husband she’s a huge fan of transatlantic romance and always makes sure her characters get their own happy-ever-after.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Romance Writers of America and the Music City Romance Writers. Her first novel ‘Truth and Consequence’ was published in 2006 and she’s now had over 30 novels published internationally and several short stories in women’s magazines.

If you’d like to find out more of what Angela gets up to (Advance warning: this may include references to wine, dark chocolate, Poldark and the hunky Aidan Turner)

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Meet Me at Fir Tree Lodge – Rachel Dove

Did someone say it’s nearly Christmas? There are only 65 days to go!!!!

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I caught up with Rachel during the release of “The Fire House on Honeysuckle Street” so with her new book “Meet Me at Fir Tree Lodge” hitting the shelves and Christmas just around the corner I knew we were due for another catch up.

Are you a lover or hater of Christmas Rachel?

I wasn’t always! I had a fair few difficult Christmases growing up, and I used to work for most  of them to avoid it, but since I had children, it’s taken on a new meaning so it’s really nice to enjoy being together.

This year will be a difficult one of course, but our little family under           our roof will be making the best of it. My husband cooks the dinner, and I do the rest, so it works out well. 

What are your likes and dislikes about Christmas?

I hate the commercial overtones, and the assumption that everyone has an easy time in the festive period and has someone to spend it with. It’s a difficult time for many, and that makes me sad.

What I love about Christmas is the family time, the suspension of the            normality and the cheer that people seem to have around the season. I’ve seen a lot of lovely things done for others, and that gives me hope that it’s not all bad. 

Do you have any Christmas traditions, if so what are they are they carried on from your childhood or have you created your own?

I always buy my children new PJs for Christmas, well all of us actually!

plate-for-santa-4772837_640 We put a carrot out for Rudolph and a mince pie and a drink for Santa, and I lay flowers for my late cousin, who’s  birthday is Boxing Day. I light a candle for those who can’t be here, and I give to charity in whatever way I can.

My husband and I always wanted to have a really normal family Christmas for our boys, so we have done that since they were born. Oh, we always watch Home Alone too, and I adore Jingle all the Way and of course, The Holiday.

Do you think we’ll have a white Christmas this year?

Well, it’s 2020, so I wouldn’t count it out!

What is your earliest Christmas memory?

Being with my mother and younger brother, opening presents round the tree. My mum’s face watching us open gifts that she’d worked hard to buy for us. We cherished every gift, and still do.

What was the best present you received as a child?

Books, hands down. I still want books for Christmas and I am nearly 40!

What was the one present you always wanted but never got?book-1966235_640

I can’t recall anything. We were lucky that way I guess, and I never really wanted anything much but PJs and books.

What is your favourite Christmas carol and Pop Song?

Well, everyone loves Mariah Carey, but it’s The Pogues for me.

If you were asked to guest DJ on a national radio station on Christmas day what would you play?

I would do a happy songs set, without Christmas music on at all! Some people need a pick me up that day without the fat red suited man being mentioned, so yes, I would do a happy song set for people to bop to.

What would you buy the main characters in Meet me at Fir Tree Lodge for Christmas?

Ooooh, that’s a good one! Definitely something to bake with for Rebecca, who loves to have a dabble with trying new things.

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Luke I would buy a filo-fax or a desk with shelves built in, as he is a bit of a disorganised dork!

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Fir Tree Lodge coverMeet me At Fir Tree Lodge

Escape to Fir Tree Lodge, where new beginnings come with a fresh blanket of snow…

Rebecca Atkins has everything she could hope for – the perfect fiancé, fabulous friends and a career as a professional skier. But when an accident on the slopes brings her crashing down in the snow with a catastrophic thud, everything changes. Her career is over, and her fiancé turns out to be, well, not so perfect.

With the chance to start afresh, Rebecca does what anyone else in her position would do… She turns to baking and manages the Alpine Bites café, nestled in the French Alps.

But when handsome stranger Luke Sommersby becomes Rebecca’s unexpected lodger, her plan to completely forget about love is thrown into jeopardy. Guarding her heart since the accident, Fir Tree Lodge is strictly a man-free-zone.

Luke is kind, caring and gorgeous, but the emotional scars from her fall still run deep, and she fights to keep the sparks catching her heart at bay.

Will Rebecca be able to find a second chance in the snow and step into a bright new future with Luke by her side?

Fans of Jenny Colgan, Emma Davies and Debbie Johnson will love Rachel Dove!

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Rachel tells us about herself below:

I am a writer and teacher, living in West Yorkshire with my husband, our two sons, and our furry pets.

In July 2015, I won the Prima magazine and Mills & Boon Flirty Fiction Competition, with my entry, The Chic Boutique on Baker Street, out now in ebook and paperback. The Flower Shop on Foxley Street followed this in 2017 and both books hit the Amazon top 200. Chic Boutique got to #2 in the rural life humour chart and is regularly in the top 100 of that chart. The Wedding Shop on Wexley Street came out in ebook on 10th August and the paperback 1st November 2018.

I am the winner of the Writers Bureau Writer of the Year Award in 2016 and I have had work published in the UK and overseas in various magazines.

I love to write romantic fiction, both rom-com and harder hitting women’s fiction.

I am also a teacher and have an MA in Creative Writing from Teesside University. 

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Want to find out more about Rachel’s books, check out her Amazon author page.