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Archive for the tag “romantic comedy”

Cover Reveal – ‘The Weekend Spa Break’ by Anne John-Ligali

I am delighted to be participating in the cover reveal for ‘The Weekend Spa Break’, the second part of the Friendship Online Series, which is being published on the 30th April 2018 as an eBook by Books and Authors UK.

There will be a blog tour to coincide with the publication of this novella from the 30th April to the 14th May 2018 and I will be just one of the bloggers taking part.

It’s time now to feast your eyes on the cover. Are you ready?

 

Isn’t the cover simply divine! I could literally look at it all day.

Here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Friendships Online Series
Part Two

After finally meeting in person at the publishing party of the season, Constance and Estelle are determined not to let their friendship return to mere virtual champagne bottles and uploaded pictures of food.

It’s been a busy year, and Constance feels it’s time to reward herself with the spa break Estelle gave her for Christmas. Naturally, Constance wouldn’t dream of taking anyone other than Estelle, and this will provide the perfect opportunity to bond with her new chum.

As the excited pair spend some quality time together, they realise it’s not just writing books they have in common, but something that goes much deeper. After a few Jacuzzi sessions, facials, pedicures, and a massage by sexy Senior Therapist, Julio, everything seems to be peachy until an unexpected visitor turns Constance’s weekend of bliss … on its head.

 

A two-day spa break.

Sparkling water on tap.

And the perfect massage.

But who’s rubbing who up the wrong way?

~~~~~

‘The Weekend Spa Break’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-
https://amzn.to/2GVSnZX

 

About Anne John-Ligali

Anne John-Ligali is a writer and the founder of Books and Authors UK, a popular website featuring author interviews and book reviews. She loves all things books: reading, writing, going to book events, and meeting other book lovers. She has written a series of short stories and is currently writing her first novel.

Anne has always loved stories and read many books as a child, including the entire Sweet Valley High and Caitlyn series. Her interest in writing fiction came years later, when she began writing for pleasure in 2007.

Originally from Peterborough, Anne now lives in London. After moving to London, she studied graphic design at the University of Arts and has held a number IT administration jobs in the city. Anne continues writing and aspires to write more women’s fiction books, a non-fiction book and several children’s books.

 

Social Media Links

Author blog: http://annejohnligali.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/booksnauthorsuk/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnneJohnLigali

Author FB: https://www.facebook.com/annejohnligali/

 

Books and Authors UK: www.booksandauthors.co.uk

Books and Authors UK Twitter: https://twitter.com/BooksNAuthorsUK

Books and Authors UK Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Books-and-Authors-UK-674729805905507/

 

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Guest Post by Sharon Booth

I am absolutely delighted to have the lovely Sharon Booth on my blog today.  Sharon’s new novel, ‘Saving Mr Scrooge’, the second book in the Moorland Heroes series, was published as an eBook on the 14th November 2017 by Fabrian Books.  Sharon has written a wonderful Christmas guest post which I hope you all enjoy.

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Christmas. Just saying that word makes you feel all cosy and warm inside. What do we associate with Christmas? Off the top of my head, I would say, family, snow, Christmas trees, turkey, Christmas pudding, Christmas carols, holly, mistletoe, gifts, church, the Nativity, love, forgiveness, redemption, hope …

Some people, perhaps going through darker times, would associate the word with loss, with grief, loneliness, poverty, deprivation, with feeling excluded from the jollity that others seem to be enjoying, with greed and consumerism.

And some, refusing to accept any negativity around the Big Day, would label those people who are less enthusiastic as “Miserable”, “Miserly”, “Scrooge-like”.

All of these things are referred to — or stem from — Charles Dickens’ masterpiece, A Christmas Carol. Think about it. The Christmas we know and love, is so associated with the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, that the typical Christmas scene we often see on Christmas cards and decorations, is referred to as “Dickensian”. Charles Dickens, who – unbelievably – completed his novel within the space of six weeks, could never have imagined that his name and his characters would come to embody everything we imagine Christmas to be.

With the December release of the film, The Man Who Invented Christmas —  the story of those six weeks and how Charles Dickens came to create such an extraordinary piece of fiction — I decided to look back at how Christmas was celebrated before the publication of A Christmas Carol. What I discovered was that, generally, it wasn’t celebrated very much at all. Although once marked with much gaiety and joy, it became associated with Pagan festivals and fell out of favour during Puritan times. After the Restoration, Christmas was once again celebrated, but it never meant as much in the Christian calendar as did Easter, or even Boxing Day. At the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign, Christmas was barely recognised as a holiday. By the end, it was the most celebrated day of the year, and many of the traditions we hold dear today were forever embedded in the nation’s consciousness.

Although Dickens didn’t exactly invent Christmas, he was certainly responsible for pushing it to the forefront of people’s minds, and fixing in our imaginations what the “perfect” Christmas should be like. Yet, A Christmas Carol started life in his imagination as a plea for better treatment of the thousands of child labourers, forced into terrible working conditions.  Dickens wanted to do something about their plight. He wanted to stir up support for improvements. He wanted to open people’s eyes to the injustices that were happening in the factories and mills. He wanted to shame the businessmen and manufacturers, and force change to happen for the good. Eventually, he came to realise that lecturing the privileged classes wouldn’t be so effective as appealing to them in the form of a story. And so, A Christmas Carol was born, with its focus on a wealthy miser who — from his position of strength, power and wealth — could no longer see the depths to which the poor were suffering.

Dickens used the plight of one family in particular, the Cratchitts, and the uncertain fate of the frail child, Tim, to prick at his readers’ consciences. His use of the spirit world appealed to a Victorian society that was in the grip of a fascination for the occult. He passionately wanted to educate people to the truth of what was happening in the workplaces and slums of Britain. He believed the ignorance of the middle and upper classes to the suffering of the poor was a grave danger:

This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”

In A Christmas Carol, the traditions we know and love today are drawn so beautifully — the snow, the plump turkey in the shop window, the Christmas dinner with its plum pudding, the giving of gifts. But, more importantly, the story of Scrooge and his redemption reminds us that, at Christmas, there are still people who suffer, still people who are ill, lonely, poverty-stricken, and that we need to remember those people, find room in our hearts for them, and open our eyes to the injustices in the world. It also leaves us with a sense of hope, that change is possible. That we can learn from the lessons of the past. That we can find love again. That we can truly know what the spirit of Christmas means.

When I wanted to write a Christmas novel which was all about second chances, redemption, and forgiveness, I knew there was no better model to look to than A Christmas Carol. Throw in a place of work where the employees appear to be suffering under their apparently uncaring boss, Kit, and a “ghost” from Kit’s past, called Marley, who is determined to save him, and I had the beginnings of my own small tribute to this wonderful story. Of course, there is a twist to the tale, and things may not be as they appear on the surface … I loved writing Saving Mr Scrooge, and I hope people enjoy reading it.

My own Christmas traditions include watching another tale of hope, love and redemption, It’s A Wonderful Life, on Christmas Eve every year, and reading A Christmas Carol during Christmas week. We can’t guarantee the snow, but I’m lucky enough to be having a Christmas tree, good food, and presents, wrapped up in the love of my family. I’m looking forward to a very Dickensian Christmas!

~~~~~

 

Book Blurb

It’s the time of peace on earth and goodwill to all men, but at Carroll’s Confectionary, the meaning of Christmas seems to have been forgotten. New boss, Kit Carroll, is hardly winning friends with his high-handed attitude, his foolhardy approach to production, and his tight-fisted treatment of the factory’s employees.

Marley Jacobs, his self-styled PA, is determined to make him see the error of his ways, and return the festive spirit to Carroll’s Confectionary.

Unfortunately, the little matter of their previous relationship, along with Kit’s callous treatment of her when they were teenage sweethearts, keeps getting in the way of her good intentions.

With encouragement from co-worker Don, romantic sister Olivia, and — astonishingly — the usually sceptical Great Uncle Charles, Marley decides to save this modern-day Mr Scrooge from himself, despite having no well-meaning ghosts to help her.

But revisiting the past doesn’t just stir things up for Kit. As Marley struggles to deal with bittersweet memories, present-day events take a surprising turn. Can the future be changed, after all?

And is it only Kit who needs saving?

 

‘Saving Mr Scrooge’ can be bought at smarturl.it/savingmrscrooge

 

About Sharon Booth

Sharon wrote her first book when she was ten. It was about a boarding school that specialised in ballet, and, given that she’d never been to boarding school and hadn’t a clue about ballet, it’s probably a good thing that no copy of this masterpiece survives. She is the author of nine novels, and has also written for The People’s Friend. Sharon lives in East Yorkshire, with her husband and their dog. She is one tenth of The Write Romantics, and a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. She has a love/hate relationship with chocolate, is a devoted Whovian, and prone to all-consuming crushes on fictional heroes. Find out more about Sharon at www.sharonboothwriter.com

 

Links

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/sharonboothwriter

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/sharon_booth1

Amazon Author Pages:-

UK – http://bit.ly/sharonboothpageUK

US – http://bit.ly/sharonboothpageUS

 

Cover Reveal – ‘The Big Event’ by Anne John-Ligali

I am thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for ‘The Big Event’.  The first book in the Friendship Online Short Story series, it is being published as an eBook on the 30th November 2017.  I totally love the design of this cover and the colours are just gorgeous.

Anyway, I’m sure you all want to know what the book is about so read on.

 

Book Blurb

Constance Jeffries is excited when she gets the chance to meet up with virtual friends at a get-together in a London hotel. She’s been tweeting and messaging her lovely friends for years and feels they must be just as excited to finally meet her in person too.

Or so she hopes.

A short story about the importance of ‘real’ friendships and how it’s the little things that matter the most.

~~~~~

Like the sound of this book?  Well, you’re in luck then because you can pre-order it from Amazon UK.  Here is the link – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Big-Event-Gorgeous-Possibly-Friendships-ebook/dp/B076NMB2G6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1508756132&sr=8-1&keywords=anne+john-ligali

 

About Anne John-Ligali

Anne John-Ligali is a writer and the founder of Books and Authors UK, a popular website featuring author interviews and book reviews. She loves all things books: reading, writing, going to book events, and meeting other book lovers. She has written a series of short stories and is currently writing her first novel.

Anne has always loved stories and read many books as a child, including the entire Sweet Valley High and Caitlyn series. Her interest in writing fiction came years later, when she began writing for pleasure in 2007. Since then, Anne has been writing on and off and enjoys participating in writing groups. Twice in 2014, she won the monthly Novelicious Pintrest Prompt Fiction Competition.

When Anne is not writing, she is likely to be at soft play with her kids, taking long evening walks in Hyde Park, making green smoothies, window shopping, or having a pampering session at her local beauty salon (whenever she gets the chance). She can also be found watching box sets (albeit with a bit of shame at still having to catch up on Scandal, Grey’s, and Downton).

Originally from Peterborough, Anne now lives in London. After moving to London, she studied graphic design at the University of Arts and has held a number of IT administration jobs in the city. Anne continues writing and aspires to write more women’s fiction books, a non-fiction book and several children’s books.

 

Book/Author Links

Website – http://annejohnligali.com

Twitter – @AnneJohnLigali

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/annejohnligali

Instagram – booksandauthorsuk

 

Book Blog Website – http://www.booksandauthors.co.uk

Twitter (Blog) – @BooksNAuthorsUK

Blog Facebook Page – http://www.facebook.com/booksandauthors

 

Interview with Natalie Kleinman

I would like to introduce you all to Natalie Kleinman whose novel, ‘Escape to the Cotswolds’ was published as an eBook on the 21st June 2017 by HQ Digital.  I interviewed Natalie and asked her all about her latest book.

 

Can you tell me a bit about ‘Escape to the Cotswolds’ please?

After her husband cheats on her one time too many, Holly leaves London and starts again in the beautiful village of Cuffingham. A talented artist, she is able, with the help of a legacy from her parents, to open a small gallery in the high street. She’s doing well, is spotted by an American dealer and whisked off to the States for an exhibition. Back in England Holly gets a puppy, the adorable Tubs, but still something is missing from her life. And then there’s Adam, the gorgeous vet with whom she has a less than satisfactory relationship. Will they ever recover from the scrap of their first meeting?

 

How long did it take you to write?

About six months from first draft to first edit. Then another edit. Then ano…

 

Where did you get the idea for your book from?

It began as the germ of an idea. A cheating husband. A girl who has the courage to start again. And an area I lost my heart to years ago in which to set her story. Aside from that I’m a bit of a panster so from that point on it took me where it would. That first draft is as much a journey of discovery for me as I hope the finished article is for my readers.

 

Have you ever visited the Cotswolds and if so, how would you sell it to someone thinking about going on holiday there?

Many times and I wouldn’t have to sell it. It sells itself. Glorious honey coloured stone buildings. Quaint villages and hamlets. English market towns. Rolling countryside. Magnificent country houses. Does it for me.

 

Did you find that your characters spoke to you whilst you were writing?

Always, to the extent that two demanded I change their names because they were definitely not happy with the ones I’d given them, particularly my hero. He was right. The first one didn’t fit. And Holly’s inner thoughts became private conversations between the two of us. I found myself willing her on. Even some of the minor characters are real to me. I can clearly picture Betty and Donald and their farm.

 

What would you do if you met any of the characters from your book for real?

Greet them like the old friends they are.

 

What was the publishing process like for you?

A wonderful experience. My manuscript was submitted on 30th January and accepted on 15th February. My editors at HQ Digital were incredibly helpful and quick to reply to any queries. In no time, it seemed, I was given a publication date, then a cover reveal (I love it) and before I could blink it was up on Amazon and on its way.

 

How did you feel on the day your book was published?

Excited, euphoric and a bit stunned by the promotion side of things.

 

Are there more books coming?

The next one is in the planning stage, sort of. I don’t do a meticulous plan (remember, I said above I’m a panster) but I’ve written an outline and the whole story is in my head, though not the details of course. A couple of chapters done and already I’m finding out about my characters. One is particularly appealing. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

 

Has social media been useful to you?

Immensely. It’s not my favourite thing but I appreciate its importance. How can readers buy a book they don’t even know exists?

 

What advice have you got for anyone wanting to write a book?

Write it – but remember that writing is a craft, to be learned like any other. Now-famous authors who experienced instant fame had probably been writing for many years before their overnight success. There will be highs and lows but if it’s in you it will find a way out. Above all, engage with other writers. Join a group or a creative writing school. And depending on your favoured genre, look to the romantic, crime historical associations and become a member. The help you will receive will be priceless. On a personal level I can’t recommend The Romantic Novelists Association too highly.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

What spare time?

 

Who are your favourite authors?

Georgette Heyer. Lee Child. Georgette Heyer.  Harlan Coben. Georgette Heyer…

 

You are given the task of living on a desert island for one month and are only allowed to have two books with you.  What would they be?

Frederica by Georgette Heyer. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read it. It’s like a comfort blanket. And Escape to the Cotswolds so my characters, who have become my friends, can hold my hand until I’m rescued.

 

Thanks for answering my questions, Natalie.  Your book sounds wonderful and I wish you every success with it.

 

About Natalie Kleinman

Natalie, a born and bred Londoner, has a not-so-secret wish to live in the area she so enjoys writing about. While this isn’t practical at the moment she stills allows herself to dream of honey-coloured stone cottages, quaint villages and rippling brooks. Maybe one day.

A late-comer to writing, she has two published novels and many short stories to her name. She attributes her success to a determination to improving her craft, attending any and every writing event she can. All that and a weekly attendance at The Write Place Creative School in Dartford where cream cakes are frequently on the agenda.

Natalie lives with her husband in Blackheath, south-east London – except when she’s tripping off to The Cotswolds in the name of research. Somebody has to do it!

 

Links

Amazon
Facebook
Twitter
Blog

 

Book Review – ‘Reunited’ by Daniel Gothard

‘Reunited’ is Daniel Gothard’s second book to be published by Urbane Publications. It came out in October of last year and seems to have been getting some very good reviews. I bought a copy for my kindle.

It’s 2012. Ben Tallis is thirty-six years old, has achieved his ambition of becoming a journalist and he’s engaged to a very ambitious lawyer. But there seem to be a couple of problems within the relationship. When Ben receives an invitation to a 20 year old school reunion he really doesn’t want to go. By mistake he mentions the reunion to his editor who smells a great feature article and insists that Ben returns home, faces his past, and writes a feature on how much we change and yet in so many ways we stay the same. It doesn’t look like Ben has much choice. So he reluctantly returns home, re-engages with his past and realises that you can never run from the truth or who you really are. The reunion gets Ben thinking back to 1992 when he was still at school and his best friends, including one he was secretly in love with. How will Ben get on at the reunion? Well, that’s for you to find out.

I started reading this book straight after ‘Simon says’. Again, the cover is very retro and bright which is a good thing as it stands out. Having read and enjoyed Daniel Gothard’s first book I was looking forward to ‘Reunited’, although to be honest I wasn’t entirely sure how I would get on with it. My school days aren’t exactly something I like to think about and I would never even consider going to a reunion. As it goes I really enjoyed this book.

I think going back between the past and present worked extremely well. I did on a couple of occasions get a bit confused though, as in I thought I was still reading about Ben’s school days when in actual fact the story was back in the present. Maybe this is because I got hooked and wanted to know what happened next in Ben’s past. Ben and one of his best friends had a really hard time because of bullies. I think going back home and meeting people from his past really helped Ben to put things into perspective.

I am looking forward to reading future books by Daniel Gothard and will definitely be buying a copy of ‘Reunited’ in paperback to add to my collection.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

 

Links

‘Reunited’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/reunited/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reunited-Daniel-Gothard/dp/1911129546/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1489950517&sr=8-1

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Silver Bells Christmas Pantomime’ by Lynsey James

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‘The Silver Bells Christmas Pantomime’ was published on the 10th November 2016 by HQ Digital UK. Having previously read one of Lynsey James’ books I was delighted to get involved in this blog tour. Read on for my review.

The story is set in Luna Bay, a small village in Yorkshire. It’s getting close to Christmas and the annual pantomime is about to be the talk of the town. It could really do with some help. Unfortunate then that Alice Woods who used to be on Broadway isn’t feeling Christmassy.

When the pantomime comes under threat Alice is forced to push her personal pain aside and step in. With some help from her recently new found friends and a very gorgeous Hollywood A-list celebrity the play starts to come together. Will the pantomime be a success and will Alice finally start believing that Christmas can be a time for miracles?

I really enjoyed reading ‘The Silver Bells Christmas Pantomime’. I thought it to be such a delightful, relaxing and fun story. I like the way Lynsey James writes and makes her characters come to life. It didn’t take long to meet them all and I soon felt as if I had known them for a while.

Luna Bay was definitely a magical village and one I would have liked to visit. Most of the people there seemed to be really warm and loving. The Moonlight Café sounded amazing and the cakes to die for.

Alice had been grieving for quite a while and she really needed something to get her out of herself and to help her to move on. Luckily she had some very supportive friends, plus Ethan coming into her life was a godsend. The change in Alice was absolutely astounding and she did an amazing job with the pantomime.

I think readers will get a lot out of this story. It’s sure to leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

 

About Lynsey James

Lynsey James was born in Fife in 1991 and has been telling people how to spell her name ever since. She’s an incurable bookworm who loves nothing more than getting lost in a good story with memorable characters. She started writing when she was really young and credits her lovely Grandad- and possibly a bump on the head from a Mr Frosty machine- with her love of telling stories. She used to write her own episodes of Friends and act them out in front of her family (in fact she’s sure she put Ross and Rachel together first!)

A careers adviser at school once told Lynsey writing wasn’t a “good option” and for a few years, she believed her. She tried a little bit of everything, including make-up artistry, teaching and doing admin for a chocolate fountain company. The free chocolate was brilliant. When Lynsey left my job a couple of years ago, she started writing full-time while she looked for another one. As soon as she started working on her story, Lynsey fell in love and decided to finally pursue her dream. She haven’t looked back since.

When Lynsey’s not writing, eating cake or drinking tea, she’s daydreaming about the day Dylan O’Brien FINALLY realises they’re meant to be together. It’ll happen one day…

 

Links

Amazon: –

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Silver-Bells-Christmas-Pantomime-Luna-ebook/dp/B01D4WRFCG/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1474730052&sr=8-5&keywords=lynsey+james

Goodreads:-

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30376050-the-silver-bells-christmas-pantomime

 

Blog Tour – ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ by Julia Williams

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Fans of Julia Williams will be thrilled to know that she has a brand new book out.  ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ was published as an eBook and in paperback on the 3rd November by Avon.  I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour for which Julia has written a guest post.  First though, here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Christmas with the family. Cosy, relaxing…and a total nightmare?

Driving home for Christmas, Beth has everything she wants. The kids and the house, the career and the husband. So why is it that when the New Year comes, she can’t stop thinking about her old college boyfriend?

Her husband Daniel is tasked with bringing a struggling school up to scratch, but when family life catches up to him, can he be a good father and a good teacher at the same time?

Beth’s sister Lou has just been dumped…again. Single and childless, she can’t help but be jealous of her sibling’s success. But is the grass really always greener?

It’s a Wonderful Life is a heart-warming novel about the lives that could have been, and what happens when you start to question the choices you made…

~~~~~

Getting in the festive mood

Let’s get one thing straight: I am not one of those people who starts posting the number of sleeps till Christmas in August. Call me old fashioned, but I can’t think about Winter until…well, Winter. I love the Autumn, with its falling leaves, and golden colours, and I’m just not prepared to think about Christmas till Autumn is done.

Having said that, there are lots of things that get me in the mood for festive season. Firstly, though I hate shopping the rest of the year, I do love Christmas shopping. There is something really satisfying about chasing down the perfect gift for someone you love. And thanks to the internet, these days you can do it without enduring the hurly-burly that is Christmas shopping…

…Having said that, I do like last minute scouring round the shops, when people are mainly cheerful with the thought of the holidays round the corner, and the air is filled with the sound of cheesy Christmas songs. No matter how many times I hear it, Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas time brings a smile to myself.

My second means of starting to feel festive is entertaining. I do really enjoy pre Christmas drinks with friends, complete with mulled wine and mince pies. And since I bought my husband a fire pit last Christmas, we can also get that really cosy feeling of sitting out by the fire and not freezing to death. Perfect!

But really, it’s not till closer to the day that I really start getting in the mood.

Christmas probably starts in our house when we put the decorations up. Usually around the second week of December (which is way too early for me, but I’ve been long overruled on that one!)  When the children were small they put the decs wonkily on the tree, and we sneakily straightened them when they went to bed.  Nowadays we leave them in charge, and with two now at university decorating is not allowed to begin till they’re both home (suits me). They usually spend half the time decorating themselves with tinsel, while listening to a Christmas album, before the tree gets covered in baubles.

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Every year I like to add a new decoration or two if I can so they’re an eclectic mix of: cheesy and naff (cheap and cheerful baubles); cute (things the kids made when they were little ); off the wall (A tooth-shaped  dentist called Dave in honour of my husband); or charming (this year’s addition is a tiny little wooden bell from a German rellie). And once they’re on the tree, I really start to feel ready for the festive onslaught…

… a feeling which increases as we start the food shopping. Back in the day when the children were small, my husband paid scant attention to this, but now he gets very enthusiastic. Some might say overenthusiastic. His children perhaps, when he brings back huge bags of goodies from Sainsbury’s which would probably last us through a nuclear winter. But hey, ho, his heart is in the right place, and one things for sure, we’ll never starve…

And finally my favourite thing of all is decorating the table, and putting presents under the tree. I love wrapping the presents slightly less, but over the years have developed a strategy of wrapping in advance. This does mean long complicated lists and sudden dashes to get extra small things to make sure everyone has the same number of presents under the tree, but it’s worth it to see the fun everyone has trying to work out what Santa’s bought them this year…

It’s still a way off before I am going to get in the mood, but writing this actually has got me started early this year.  So I’m off to light the fire pit, and heat up the mulled wine…  You?

 

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Its-Wonderful-Life-Christmas-romance/dp/1847563600/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1478290926&sr=1-1

 

Book Launch – ‘Single by Christmas’ by Rosa Temple

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Congratulations to Rosa Temple whose new book, ‘Single by Christmas’ is out today.  There’s a Rafflecopter giveaway towards the end, but first a bit about this novel.

 

Book Blurb

You’ve heard the saying, ‘opposites attract’ haven’t you? Well meet 27 year old Alex Marshall, a party girl with a penchant for free flowing Prosecco, and her devilishly handsome scientist boyfriend, Charlie, who loves jazz and dinner for two.

Alex and Charlie are together for 11 blissful months until Alex goes out of town and does something she will later regret. Was she drunk? You bet. Does she want Charlie to know? Well what do you think?

With the couple about to spend their first Christmas together will Charlie be the forgiving kind or will Alex be Single by Christmas?

This is a feel good, Christmas novel with very few mince pies, not much snow and absolutely no mistletoe – just a couple of best friends, a sociopathic nemesis and a lot of drinking.

 

Excerpt

You might be wondering what I was doing, sitting in a graveyard at five minutes to midnight on Christmas Eve. And if you guessed gravedigger or graverobber, you’d be wrong. But ask yourself, who sits in a graveyard when it’s cold and out and out spooky unless it’s absolutely critical? The church, where I attend Midnight Mass with my family every year, is just across the way. But sitting on that particular bench just inside the graveyard was absolutely critical.

You see, in the lead up to Christmas I managed to lose something. Well, not something, someone. Charlie; my reason for living, my heart, my soulmate …  you get the idea. And before you start crying, don’t worry, he wasn’t buried there. At the time, I wasn’t exactly sure where Charlie was, but he knew I was there. Waiting.

By the stroke of midnight I would have known for sure if I’d truly lost him. I’d asked him to join me and my family for the service. They’d arrived earlier. I smiled and greeted them all – Mum, Dad, big sister, Elise, and her husband and my younger sister, Jo-Jo. They asked where Charlie was and I managed to hide my worst fears and say he’d be along soon, that he was held up. So they just kissed me and piled inside with the rest of the congregation.

My family had been looking forward to seeing Charlie, even more so than they were me. You see, like everyone who meets Charlie, they’d fallen in love with him. Who could blame them? He’s charming, he’s intelligent, he’s sweet, kind, generous. The list could go on. I admit those things weren’t what first attracted me to Charlie. No, the attraction was pure lust and desire. He walked into that New Year’s Eve party the year before and I was stunned into silence. And I’m never silent. Tall, well dressed, mesmerising looks and those dimples that appear every time he smiles, which he does a lot by the way.

And I love Charlie’s family, too. His mum, Leeza, his dad, Don, who Charlie gets his looks and sense of humour from, and his brother. I wasn’t sure Leeza approved of Charlie having a white girlfriend, at first, but I realised that was just paranoia on my part. His family are not like that. His mum, who I grew to admire and love, was just being protective, the way some mothers are.

But, I digress. My family had no idea that I’d seen Charlie twenty-four hours prior to the service and that we’d had a heated argument and that Charlie had practically slammed a door in my face. Minutes before that I’d made a complete and utter fool of myself in front of his wonderful family and he’d walked away with such disgust and disappointment in his face my heart broke in two. He’d closed the door on me but I hadn’t stopped sending begging texts and hysterical voicemails just so he would show up on Christmas Eve – like he’d promised me. I wasn’t expecting a miracle, just praying for one. Because it would have taken a miracle for Charlie to walk towards the church, bypass the tall wooden doors, see me on the bench, push open the graveyard gates and tell me he’d forgiven me.

With everyone nice and warm inside the church, I continued to sit watching puffs of vapour appearing in front of my face from every exhale, brimming with an apology that may never be heard.

You might be saying, “If Charlie’s that wonderful, why couldn’t he just come to the church, it’s Christmas after all?” You have to know, he’d never be that unforgiving without very good reason.

Honestly? It took a whole year of knowing Charlie to finally understand what it is to love someone completely and to be loved the very same way in return and just one month to lose it all.

And this is how …

 

Competition

Hopefully the blurb and excerpt have whet your appetites and are making you want to read this book.  If so, you’re in luck because Rosa Temple is running a competition in which she is giving away 5 eBook copies of ‘Single by Christmas’.  The closing date is 1st November.

To enter click on this link: Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About Rosa Temple

author-picture

Rosa Temple is a writer of romantic comedies, chick-lit and contemporary romance. To date she has published one novella, Sleeping with Your Best Friend, and her first full length novel, Natalie’s Getting Married, was published on 14th March 2016.

She has tried her hand at various occupations, from tea lady (albeit for one morning only after being returned to the agency because half an office block suffered caffeine deprivation) to supervising the office running the London Bar Exams.

Rosa is a Londoner born and bred and still resides in West London with ambitions to escape to the country when a suitable country pile becomes available.

In 2014 she was awarded a Distinction in her Creative Writing MA from Brunel University.

Rosa admits to being a reluctant keep fit addict. She owns a yoga mat, a pair of trainers and a spin cycle that gathers dust in the corner of her writing room. She vows that she will run the London Marathon again but has been saying this since her first and only marathon, run in 2010. Hence the trainers.

Having been a ghostwriter for several years, Rosa has written several magazine articles and has penned a multitude of one off novellas and novella length series in the romance genre and in its various sub-genres to include: contemporary romance, historical, adult only, romantic comedies and sweet romances.

Rosa is a member of a writing critique group who meet monthly. This lively and hard working group keep her on her toes as she hones her writing, listening and editing skills.

Rosa’s husband and eldest son are both musicians, her second son swims at a National level for his London team.

Before devoting the majority of her time to her writing of romantic comedies and chick-lit, Rosa was a singer (that’s how she met her husband) and still continues to perform and write songs.

Early reviews show that Natalie’s Getting Married is a favourite of many readers and book bloggers and she follows it with Christmas romantic comedy novel, Single by Christmas, with plans to publish a book series in the very near future.

Rosa loves to chat (about anything really) so follow her on Twitter @RosaT_Author or visit her blog, Rosa Temple Writes, on rosatemplewrites.blogspot.co.uk

Read an excerpt of Natalie’s Getting Married on Goodreads or Facebook

 

Links

Blog – Rosa Temple Writes: http://rosatemplewrites.blogspot.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RosaTempleWriter/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RosaT_Author

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14071311.Rosa_Temple

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LY2MLIH

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LY2MLIH

Google+ : google.com/

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Plumberry School of Comfort Food’ by Cathy Bramley

Blog Tour Poster

‘The Plumberry School of Comfort Food’ was published as a paperback original by Corgi on the 30th June 2016.  I absolutely love Cathy’s books and was delighted to be asked if I wanted to take part in this blog tour.   For each day of the tour a question taken from an interview by Zarina (@zarinatweets) is being asked.

 

Here is today’s question…..

What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?

I have a lot of author friends and we all have periods of doubts about our ability to write, so don’t worry about failure, just go for it and do the best you can.

 

About Cathy Bramley

Author Picture

Cathy Bramley is the author of the bestselling romantic comedies Ivy Lane, Appleby Farm and Wickham Hall (all four-part serialised novels) and Conditional Love. She lives in a Nottinghamshire village with her husband, two daughters and a dog.

Cathy loves to hear from her readers. You can get in touch via her website http://www.CathyBramley.co.uk, Facebook page Facebook.com/CathyBramleyAuthor or on Twitter: twitter.com/CathyBramley

 

‘The Plumberry School of Comfort Food’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

http://amzn.to/29mo7pm

 

Cover Reveal – ‘When Only Cupcakes Will Do’ by Daisy James

Book Cover

Daisy James has a new book coming out soon.  ‘When Only Cupcakes Will Do’ is being published by Carina as an eBook on the 4th August 2016 and today I am taking part in the cover reveal.  I think it’s really pretty.

 

Book Blurb

When life gives you lemons, make lemon drizzle cupcakes…

Lucie thought that proposing to her boyfriend in Tiffany’s would be the best day of her life. Until he said no. In just a few seconds, her whole world is turned upside-down! And when she accidentally switches cocoa powder for chilli powder at work, she finds herself out of a job, too…

Baking has always made life better in the past, but can Lucie really bake her way to happiness? Starting her own company, selling cupcakes out of an old ice cream van might just be the second chance that Lucie needs!

Of course, she never expected to find love along the way…

 

‘When Only Cupcakes Will Do’ can be pre-ordered now from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/When-Only-Cupcakes-Will-Do-ebook/dp/B01FSGSLC4/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1464890026&sr=1-4&keywords=daisy+james

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Breakfast at Poldark’s’ by Samantha Tonge

Book Cover

It’s time to reveal the cover of Samantha Tonge’s new book.  It’s so lovely and colourful don’t you think?  ‘Breakfast at Poldark’s’ is being published by Carina as an eBook on the 28th July 2016 and will be out in paperback on the 25th August 2016.

 

Book Blurb

DREAMING OF THE PERFECT MAN?

Kate Golightly needs to move forward and what better way to do that then with a trip to the Cornish coast with best friend and boss, Izzy.

The sea wind is just what Kate needs to finally relax and begin to let go of her past. Except she’s suddenly got one big reason to panic! She RSVP’d ‘yes’ to the Queen Bee of her high school’s wedding saying she’s bringing her boyfriend (she doesn’t have one) who looks just like Ross Poldark!

With only two weeks to find the Poldark look-alike of her dreams Kate is under a lot of pressure for the Cornish coast to deliver…

A hilarious and moving romantic novel from bestselling author, Samantha Tonge. A must-read this summer!

 

About Samantha Tonge

Author Picture

Samantha lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and a cat that thinks it’s a dog. Along with writing, her days are spent cycling, willing cakes to rise and avoiding housework. A love of fiction developed as a child, when she was known for reading Enid Blyton books in the bath. A desire to write bubbled away in the background whilst she pursued other careers, including a fun stint working at Disneyland Paris. Formally trained as a linguist, Samantha now likes nothing more than holing herself up in the spare room, in front of the keyboard. She has sold over 80 stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, “Doubting Abbey”, from CarinaUK HarperCollins, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award in 2014. Game of Scones won the 2015 Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category.

 

Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29219342-breakfast-at-poldark-s?ac=1&from_search=true

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1XA9oIT

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1XA9IHl

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=423066221136190&fref=ts

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/SamTongeWriter

Website: http://samanthatonge.co.uk/

Guest Post by PJ Whiteley

Philip Whiteley

PJ Whiteley is the author of ‘Close of Play’, which was published last year.  He has written a guest post for this event.

 

The same, or different?

By PJ Whiteley

March 2016

There are only seven stories. Or five. Or two. I’ve read various such theories. And it’s well established that we humans are wired to engage with certain dramas and be unperturbed by others. As readers we desire justice, resolution, we are intrigued by mystery, we want mutual lusts to be consummated. Any deeper issues that a writer may wish to introduce are best in supporting roles, and they get defined by a creative writing teacher as ‘themes’. The safest option for an author is to wear these philosophical discussions lightly, and write a romance, or a thriller, to an arc that does not depart too far from convention.

So the big question that confronts a new(ish) novelist like myself is: to what extent shall I write to a formula or genre, and to what extent shall I dare to be bold and create something a little different? With my first novel Close of Play, I was stuck on it for several years. I had created a promising situation, and some hopefully intriguing characters with distinctive insights into contemporary life, conveyed through personal reflection and dialogue. But the drama had little direction. I completed it when I realized that the reader would want a resolution of ‘will they/won’t they’; some big moments and some comic moments. I wasn’t selling out; I was learning the craft of story-telling.

Yet there is still a ‘but’ lurking. Do we really want every romantic comedy to have a fairly transparent secret that He has concealed from Her (or the other way around), to be revealed 40 pages from the end causing a break-up resolved when He (or She) is urged by the Best Friend to ‘Go Get Her/Him’, as prelude to the Big Kiss at the end in the airport lounge? Is it not more intriguing to have one situation resolved, while another thread comes loose? The reader wants to be taken by surprise sometimes, by plot or by a person; to have a character who is compellingly vivid and also unpredictable, like Boris in The Goldfinch, or Aoife in Instructions for a Heatwave, to take two examples from contemporary novels.

And for me, the ‘themes’ (a dreadfully thin and inadequate word) are not just a small part of the book. The most memorable reads for me have prompted me to think anew about the nature of truth-telling, relationships, and personal beliefs, or other ways in which an individual attempts to make sense of this unplanned thing that happens to us called life. The story propels the book; it isn’t the whole of it.

For my second novel Marching on Together, I’ve dared to create a story with six principal characters, and charted a course without an obvious ending. But just as I wasn’t selling out when I nudged Close of Play towards romcom territory, I’m not abandoning the reader or respect for a strong narrative with Marching on Together. I am seeking to create some captivating dramas, genuine romance and heartfelt moments. I think you will care for Yvonne, and urge her to be less harsh on herself; I think you’ll be wanting things to work out for Johnny. I hope you’ll like Terry, an artist and a real one-off.

As for the story, you probably won’t be able to see where it’s headed. But that’s good, isn’t it?

 

PJ Whiteley’s first novel, Close of Play, was published by Urbane Publications in April 2015. It was shortlisted for the People’s Book Prize in summer 2015. Marching on Together, also by Urbane Publications, is due March 2017.

 

~~~~~
Close of Play

Competition

Matthew Smith is kindly giving away three copies of ‘Close of Play’.  To enter just leave a comment telling me what your favourite genres are.

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 3rd April 2016.

The winners will be randomly chosen within 7 days of the closing date.  Their details will be passed on to Matthew Smith who will send out the prizes.

 

Good luck!

 

Guest Post by PJ Whiteley + Competition

Close of Play

‘Close of Play’ is PJ Whiteley’s first novel.  Below is an interesting guest post from the author.

 

Men don’t ‘do’ romantic drama. Or do we?

Recently, I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association. As expected, there are rather more women than men. I thought that the ratio might be 85-15 or 90-10. In fact, it’s more like 99-1, and a few of the male card-carrying members use female pseudonyms. There is a similar story in the readership profile. The extent to which the cover and other aspects of marketing of my first novel Close of Play, a romantic comedy, have been tilted towards the expected female audience has been a fascinating learning experience, as my publisher applies the finishing touches.

If you read the mini-biographies on the Romantic Novelists Association’s site, many relate how they grew up as bookworms, typically devoted to fantasy tales and romantic melodrama. My CV is very different. I didn’t read Jane Austen or Jean Plaidy as a boy. I played sport, read about sport, made Airfix kits and watched war movies. The books I enjoyed usually had a male lead figure and a fair amount of sport or danger. So it was a long and very indirect route by which I came to pen a romantic novel in my early 50s. My childhood influences can hardly have had any impact at all.

Or so it would seem. But if one uses an expanded definition of romantic drama, my early years were filled with the most heart-rending, achingly emotional tales, often rendered by alpha males. Their names included Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan and John Lennon. There were a lot of tears and much insecurity; probably more direct soul-baring than any female scribe would dare, until Alanis Morrissette came along. Above all, these and other singers expressed an intense longing; this desire really to know a woman as well as love her.

So what is it about songs that gives blokes permission to get in touch with our inner feelings (or any other feelings, for that matter)? And why do we struggle when it’s on the printed page or at the pictures?

I’m afraid I can’t provide definitive answers, only a few observations. There is something about the ‘will they/won’t they’ drama that struggles to hold the male attention as the main or sole story arc; especially in a movie featuring Kate Hudson or Reese Witherspoon because, of course, we know they will in the end, after a break-up 20 minutes from full time as she discovers the secret that he had kept hidden (I still enjoy them, mind – guilty pleasure).

Humour helps. I might not have struggled with Far From the Madding Crowd at O-Level if Gabriel Oak hadn’t been so dour and earnest. Or a bit of political intrigue or philosophical depth. Or at least a car chase. Somehow, the question: ‘Is he The One for me?’ is not enough to hold our interest for 90 minutes or 288 pages. But for three and a half minutes, with a soaring chorus, and a macho guitar solo to come, we can give our passion a full-throated roar. We do have a romantic heartbeat, but it’s detected in different ways.

Close of Play has many ‘romcom’ features. I make no apology. It has a slightly different slant in that it’s from the man’s point of view. The two main male characters have been a bit sniffy towards love n romance n girly stuff in their early adult years. They prefer playing cricket and drinking beer. But each of them aches for the woman they really, really want, and fear that it might all be too late. I hope the female readers will be touched by their longing and forgive them their mistakes. And maybe, just maybe, the occasional bloke will read it, disguised inside GQ magazine, as he listens to Blood on the Tracks via his headphones.

PJ Whiteley, March 2015.

 

About PJ Whiteley

Author

PJ Whiteley, who writes non-fiction as Philip Whiteley, is an experienced author, principally about management. He has written extensively about how low wages are bad for business, as part of a bid to try to convince economists that society consists of people. Taking a break from this Quixotic task, he has turned his hand to romantic comedy, seizing on the potential of men preferring to play or watch sport than talk about their feelings and stuff.

Close of Play is the first novel, centring on perennial themes of the human condition: love, loss, hope, life choices and that nagging feeling in the back of the mind that you may not fully be up to date with how your team is doing.

PJ Whiteley’s boyhood ambition was to represent Yorkshire Cricket Club. He gave up playing as an amateur a few years ago when facing the quicker bowlers became a bit too tricky, but still plays five-a-side football. He works from home full time as an author and is married to a sex therapist, so things could have turned out worse.

 

Competition

To celebrate the publication of ‘Close of Play’ I am running a competition in which 10 lucky people will win a paperback copy of this book.  To enter just leave a comment telling me what you think is romantic.

 

Terms and Conditions 

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 16th April 2015.

The winners will be randomly picked and notified within 7 days of the closing date.  Their details will be passed on to Urbane Publications Limited who will send out the prizes.

 

Good luck! 🙂

 

‘Shop Gossip’ by Kathryn Player

shop_gossip_front_cover_design_version_2

Last month Kathryn Player released ‘Shop Gossip’, a short romantic comedy.

 

Book Blurb

When the charity shop is in danger of closing down, the ambitious Ruth (the shop supervisor) will do anything to keep it open. One cake sale later and a disastrous encounter with a Health and Safety officer, Ruth lands herself in hot water with Head Office.  Meanwhile, Molly (a volunteer) has a stab at internet dating and Nadia (her sister) has a huge crush on the shop manager.  But does Alex feel the same? What happens when a forty seven year old married woman has another try at love?

Nadia follows Alex when he goes on a date and she narrowly avoids being arrested.  She realises that she needs to leave Alex alone so, therefore, she decides to focus on her ambition to be a successful beautician.  She is determined to make it work and doesn’t miss an opportunity to give her beauty products away.  However, the dream receives a cruel blow from the bank and just when things couldn’t get any worse, Nadia finds out her husband has been having an affair. 

Nadia starts to question things.  Is she really cut out to be a beautician? And is she too old to find someone new?  Sometimes it’s easier to go crawling back to the husband of twenty years, rather than try life on your own without an income.  Does Nadia want to take the risk?  Is love really worth it?

 

Author Bio

Author

Kathryn Player was a teacher for ten years before she decided to have a career break and become a stay-at-home Mum. At the same time, she launched her debut novel, ‘Moody not Broody’, which was written three years earlier. ‘Moody not Broody’ is based on her teaching antics (experiences) over the past ten years.

Kathryn’s second book, ‘Shop Gossip’ (a short romantic comedy), is about two sisters who work in a charity shop and is based on real life stories which Kathryn’s mum has told Kathryn over the last five years.

Currently, Kathryn is working on the sequel to ‘Moody not Broody’ and hopes to release it in the summer of next year.

 

‘Shop Gossip’ is available on Amazon:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shop-Gossip-short-romantic-comedy-ebook/dp/B00MOTO0WO/ref=pd_sim_kinc_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=00KCMZAA5VG9QFXYA1RR

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