Happy Friday! #ThePositivityWave #1

Hiya! 🙂

The Positivity Wave

I have seen, and enjoyed, Meggy’s (https://chocolatenwaffles.com/2019/08/09/happy-friday-thepositivitywave-22/) & Nicki’s (https://thesecretlibrarysite.wordpress.com/2019/08/09/happy-friday-thepositivitywave-20/) positivity wave posts over the last few weeks and I thought it was about time I joined in. We can’t ever have too much positivity in this world! 

I’ll try to make sure I post earlier in future weeks!

Here’s what has made me happy this week…..

My lovely Dad popped around at the weekend and presented us with this beautiful painting of our Bella 🙂

He’s SO talented, don’t you think?

Bella painting August 2019Bella painting August 2019.2

Facebook memories reminding us of all the good times!

Laina's christening memoryLaina's christening memory familyIsle Of Wight memoryMe & Christine August 2018

Delicious sugar free biscuits my lovely Mum brought me back from her trip to Walsingham (I shared them with Steve and my lovely friend, Gayle).

Walsingham biscuits

Another lovely book club meeting at Church on Wednesday evening 🙂

Our next meeting (if anyone reading is local enough)…..

https://www.facebook.com/events/415749835840130/?event_time_id=415749855840128

I managed to make an almost perfect omelette this morning #ItsTheSmallThings

Omlette

Shared my thoughts on Torment by Mark Tilbury and I love how Mark always interacts with his readers/reviewers!

Torment review

#Torment by @marktilburyauthor https://chataboutbooks.blog/2019/08/08/torment-by-mark-tilbury-mtilburyauthor-bloodhoundbook-blogblitz-bookreview/ #BlogTour #BookReview

Today I have enjoyed work, a catch up with my friend Peter, a coffee with my Mum and I’m currently enjoying a pink gin whilst watching The Blacklist with my hubby 🙂

Lots to look forward to over the coming weeks!

#Blessed

Check out other positivity wave posts…..

 Blue Mood Cafe
Zooloo’s Book Diary
 FromBelgiumWithBookLove
The Reading Closet
One More Word

 

#Torment by Mark Tilbury @MTilburyAuthor @Bloodhoundbook #BlogBlitz #BookReview

Welcome to my stop on Mark Tilbury’s Torment blog tour! I am absolutely OVER THE MOON to be sharing my thoughts on this fantastic read with you all today. If you haven’t read this yet, then what are you waiting for?

Torment Blitz Dates

Well, what can I say!? Mark Tilbury has done it again! Torment is another outstanding read. I never doubted it would be though as Mark Tilbury is an outstanding writer.

What an opening chapter! I defy anyone not to be gripped as instantly as I was.

Beth and David seemingly have it all, with a happy marriage, a decent income, a lovely home, a baby on the way…. However, returning home to find a wreath hanging above your bed where there was once a dreamcatcher (which has been set alight and left to burn) and a kitchen knife in your pillow with R.I.P written in red lipstick, who wouldn’t be at least slightly freaked out!?

This is just the start of Beth and David’s nightmare. Someone seriously has it in for them, but who and why?

Beth isn’t the easiest of characters to like, if I’m honest, but I totally understood her mood swings and insecurities given what she is going through. David doesn’t really help matters, but then I think men often struggle to cope with things they have no control over and can come across as selfish and unfeeling when, really, they are just trying to ‘get on with things’ as best they can. Interfering friends will never help a struggling relationship either. I can understand why Beth confides in and leans on Kim though.

To say this book is full of suspense would be a seriously massive understatement. I had an inkling who might be involved but couldn’t for the life of me figure out why, and I knew I would be wrong one way or another. Once again, I was blown away when all became clear.

Just brilliant!

A chilling read which would make an excellent film in my opinion.

Many thanks to Mark Tilbury for my review copy.

Torment cover

Book blurb:


Who can you really trust?

Beth Cruikshank couldn’t be happier. She is eight weeks pregnant and married to the man of her dreams. But after returning home from a celebratory meal, she finds a wreath from her sister’s grave hanging above the bed and a kitchen knife embedded in her pillow. There are no signs of a forced entry. Nothing is stolen. And no one other than the cleaner has a key to the house.

And then a campaign of terror begins. Beth becomes increasingly paranoid as it becomes clear that someone close to the family is behind these disturbing events.   

But who would want Beth dead?

Can Beth find the answer before it’s too late?

Torment is a story of misplaced loyalty, revenge and sacrifice.

 

Author bio:

Mark Tilbury author photo


Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised.

After being widowed and raising his two daughters, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused.

He’s always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have had seven novels published by Bloodhound Books, including his most recent release, Torment.

When he’s not writing, Mark can be found playing guitar, reading and walking.

Mark Tilbury – Author of dark psychological thrillers…..


Website: http://www.marktilbury.com

E-mail newsletter subscription: http://eepurl.com/bNSvJn

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

Twitter: @MTilburyAuthor

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/marktilbury

 ICYMI…..

The Abattoir of Dreams by Mark Tilbury @MTilburyAuthor @Bloodhoundbook #BlogTour #BookReview #AuthorInterview

The Revelation Room #BlogTour #BookReview @MTilburyAuthor @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681

The Eyes of the Accused #BlogTour @MTilburyAuthor @Bloodhoundbook #BookReview @sarahhardy681

The Liar’s Promise #BlogTour Mark Tilbury @MTilburyAuthor #BookReview @Bloodhoundbook

The Key to Death’s Door by Mark Tilbury @MTilburyAuthor #BlogTour #BookReview @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681

#YouBelongToMe by Mark Tilbury @MTilburyAuthor @Bloodhoundbook #BookReview

happy reading 🙂

 

#ArguingWithTheDead by @AlexNyeWriter @FledglingPress #BlogTour #AuthorInterview #LoveBooksTours

Welcome to my stop on Alex Nye’s Arguing with the Dead blog tour with Love Books Tours!

Arguing with the Dead tour

Many thanks to Kelly @ Love Books Tours for arranging the following interview with Alex Nye…..

 

For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?

My name is Alex Nye, and I write novels for both children and adults. My first three children’s novels are ghost stories inspired by Scottish history. CHILL and SHIVER are set on Sheriffmuir and touch on the Jacobites, while DARKER ENDS is set in Glencoe. In my adult fiction I like to get inside the heart and mind of intriguing historical figures such as Mary, Queen of Scots in FOR MY SINS ( March 2017) and Mary Shelley in ARGUING WITH THE DEAD (released this month). I also have another YA novel coming out soon about a Syrian boy called Hani on the run from traffickers alongside a girl called Mia, who is in care. Both escape into the Highlands and are chased through a system of underground flooded caves, beginning at Smoo Cave.

Where did/do you get your ideas from?

I am a creature of place, and my ideas are inspired by the settings I encounter, particularly wild Scottish landscapes. Scotland has been a huge inspiration for me. My best ideas occur to me when I’m out in the countryside, walking or cycling. I also find people endlessly fascinating.

Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?

Yes, I think so. Characters I know do find their way into my stories and fiction in surprising ways, but I’m not going to tell you who. I would like to do it more, but shy away from it sometimes – for obvious reasons. I love just observing people and listening to them, on trains and in cafes, particularly if you happen to catch a moment of revealing drama.

How do you pick your characters’ names?

I often come across interesting names when I visit schools, and I make a note of those. If a character is based loosely on someone I know then I pick a name which is similar. For example, Elspeth, Eva, Eliza, all conjure up a similar type of person in my head.

Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?

I once had a quote on my pinboard by Ernest Hemingway which went something like this. “I hung up my coat on the peg, sat down at my favourite table, took out my pencil and began to write…” I think that just about sums it up. Ideas are just ideas until you finish a first draft. Then you have to hack away at it, revise, redraft, edit, cut, shift things about to change the shape. It’s hard work.

Who are your top 5 favourite authors?

Emily Bronte, Mary Norton, Nan Shepherd, Joan Aiken, Tove Jansson.

If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Ted Hughes, because when I was 15, I won the 1981 WH Smith Young Writers’ Award which he set up and judged. I’d ask him if it was really him who read my piece about a foetus in a glass jar (which we examined during a Biology lesson).

Were you a big reader as a child?

I absolutely loved reading as a child, but I also played outdoors a lot too, riding my bike and exploring. I loved books like The Borrowers, Moomin Midwinter, Enid Blyton, Midnight is a Place by Joan Aiken, A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley, and thousands more.

When did you start to write?

It sounds cliched, but I began writing stories at a very early age. I was about 8 when a teacher, Mr Grant, began to read my stories out to the rest of the class, and I got a reputation for it (in a good way). From then on, it was just something which stuck, something I needed to do. I completed my first full-length novel when I was in my final year at King’s College, London. It was called Martha, which is now my daughter’s name. I’ve lost the original manuscript. Thankfully, I haven’t mislaid my daughter.

If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?

There’s a beautiful book called All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It’s a fabulous book about a blind girl surviving the Second World War in occupied France. Warning of a spoiler alert here. I would make the orphan Werner live at the end, although I completely understand why the author engineered his death. I was heartbroken at the waste, because he was such a gifted young boy, a genius. But then, how often does that happen in real life? Many young geniuses, people with massive potential and talent, are victims of war.

Is there a book you wish you had written?

The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd.

If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?

TO THE NORTH.

If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?

I would invite Macbeth to the Artisan Roast in Glasgow, and ask him to re-think some of his decisions. I don’t think he would fetch any stares, because… well, it’s Glasgow, and lots of people look like Macbeth now.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on another YA novel about a dolls’ house and a Victorian asylum for young women called BEHIND THE SCENES AT MIRROR GRANGE.

Tell us about your last release?

ARGUING WITH THE DEAD is a historical novel about Mary Shelley and the chaotic forces which shaped her. She is living in a cottage on the banks of the Thames through a terrible winter, sorting through the snowstorm of her husband (the poet Shelley’s) scattered papers. She remembers her travels through Europe staying in half-ruined villas in Italy, her turbulent relationships with Shelley and her own stepsister, and she also remembers months spent in Scotland as a child, when her stepmother and father sent her away to live. What she does not tell anyone is that she has always felt guilty about Shelley’s first wife, Harriet, who drowned herself in the Serpentine. When a dark figure appears to follow her, she and the reader wonder if it is Harriet, keen to take back what was hers.

Do you have a new release due?

I have a new YA novel about to be released called WHEN WE GET TO THE ISLAND… about a Syrian boy called Hani on the run from traffickers. He joins forces with Mia, a girl in care, and together the pair escape into the Highlands and are chased through an underground system of flooded tunnels and caves on the northern coast.

What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?

I’m usually stressed out my box, trying to organize book launches at that point, but a swim and a sauna relaxes me.

How can readers keep in touch with you?

Through all of the usual channels on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and through my website where you can email me. (see links below). I’m always delighted to hear from happy readers.

Is there anything else you would like us to know?

I love meeting pupils and teachers, and really appreciate their encouragement. Keep reading and buying books, using libraries, and sharing ideas.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Alex 🙂

Arguing with the Dead cover

Blurb

The year is 1839, and Mary Shelley – the woman who wrote Frankenstein – is living alone in a tiny cottage on the banks of the river Thames in Putney. As she sorts through the snowstorm of her husband’s scattered papers she is reminded of their past: the half-ruined villas in Italy, the stormy relationship with Shelley and her stepsister Claire, the loss of her children, the attempted kidnapping of Claire’s daughter Allegra from a prison-like convent in Florence. And finally, her husband’s drowning on the Gulf of Spezia as they stayed in a grim-looking fortress overlooking the sea. What she has never confided in anyone is that she has always been haunted by Shelley’s drowned first wife, Harriet, who would come to visit her in the night as she slept with her two tiny children in a vast abandoned villa while Shelley was away litigating with lawyers. Did Mary pay the ultimate price for loving Shelley? Who will Harriet come for next?

Buy Link 

https://amzn.to/2RKxnrf

happy reading 🙂

 

 

The Beijing Conspiracy by @ShaminiFlint @SevernHouse #AuthorInterview #LoveBooksTours

Welcome to my stop on Shamini Flint’s The Beijing Conspiracy blog tour with Love Books Tours!

The Beijing Conspiracy tour

Many thanks to Kelly @ Love Books Tours for arranging the following interview with Shamini Flint…..

Beijing Conspiracy Shamini Flint Author Picture

For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?

I was born in Penang, formerly Jewel of the Orient and now, as a result of rampant construction and destruction, a tarnished stone but with some charm still. I began my career in law in Malaysia before working at the UK law firm, Linklaters, in Singapore. I traveled around Asia for work before resigning to be a stay-at-home mum, law lecturer, coffee merchant, environmental activist and writer. I mostly write about things that worry me which is pretty much everything so recurring themes include the environment, law, politics, society and to calm myself down once in a while, a lot of sport.

Where did/do you get your ideas from?

I am obsessed with politics – I spend most of my free time reading up on the latest happenings and the history and context of events. It is trite to say that the world has grown smaller but the reality is that political decisions anywhere in the world affect the rest of us on some level – whether it is indifference to the climate crisis of the new Brazilian government, the banality of evil of the Trump administration or the undemocratic consolidation of power by the current Chinese leader.

My earlier crime novels were narrower in geographic scope but over the last few years it has seemed to me that there is an old-fashioned Cold War between the United States and China – a battle for influence, of ideas and ideology and of course, trade and land. The Cold War between the USSR and the US was widely written about and captured in fiction and I felt there was an old-school thriller to be written in this space, hence THE BEIJING CONSPIRACY!

Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?

I am a middle-aged Malaysian woman of Indian/Sri Lankan ethnicity and my previous major characters have mostly been Asian. This is the first time I have written the white male protagonist – a sort of reverse cultural apporpriation! But, honestly, I think Jack Ford is the sort of person one imagines a hero to be if one grows up only reading Western literature (there was hardly anything published locally or about anything ‘local’ to me for the the first three decades of my life). Before I realised that I was circumscribed by my race, gender and culture, Jack Ford is the hero I think I wanted to be; jaded, defeated, bitter but always finding the last dregs of energy to do the decent thing.

How do you pick your characters’ names?

Oh help! This is an ongoing process. I usually use placeholders – actual people or public figures upon whom a character is based. And then I have a fortnight of panic where I try and replace these with made-up names when the manuscript is complete. I often turn to the newspapers, use mashed-up footballer names – Ronaldo Beckham anyone? – and in this latest book, have used the names of friends of my children for various cameos. My kids are very popular in school right now!

Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?

Discipline. I write approximately 2000 words a day even on weekends. If I have more to say, I can go on longer but I very rarely do less when trying to write a book. The plus side is that I do end up with a manuscript; the minus is that vast amounts of writing ends up on the cutting room floor because I’ve forced myself to write when I haven’t had a germ of inspiration and the result is awful. I do, however, find it easier to edit work done than cope with an empty page.

Who are your top 5 favourite authors?

Harper Lee, Morris Gleitzman, Ruth Rendell, Tom Clancy, PD James.

If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Agatha Christie. I would just thank her for inspiring a generation of crime writing and for giving us Poirot. The I would ply her with alcohol and try and deduce how she achieved such a range of plots over so many books including such classics of the genre as Who Killed Roger Ackroyd and Murder on the Orient Express.

Were you a big reader as a child?

Yes – although I grew up in a town without a bookshop or a library – the abiding memory that all my family share about me is where I am curled up on the sofa with a book, oblivious to instructions and conversation.

When did you start to write?

Twelve months after my daughter was born sixteen years ago. My hormonal decision to quit my job as a lawyer to become a stay-at-home mum had just about driven me to distraction at that point and the decision to start writing saved me from going completely bananas.

If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?

I don’t know about books but I am still in a temper over Season 8 of Game of Thrones. What in the world did the writers think they were doing? To me, it was lazy, sexist tropes strung together with special effects and a real betrayal of their loyal audience. I hope I never do that to my readers.

Is there a book you wish you had written?

Every single book except mine? As a writer, the vast amount of talent around is quite daunting and honestly makes one pause and wonder what one has to add. I still don’t know quite know by what right I write and it leaves me in a cold sweat once in a while.

If I could rewrite a ‘book’ – I would probably fix the Bible – take out all the nonsense about homosexuality and add more details to the whole “love thy neighbour” spiel – equality for women, minorities etc. Also, I would probably take out any and all references to God.

If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?

Haven’t the faintest! I say that, and now I realise that could be my title. HAVEN’T THE FAINTEST – An autobiography by Shamini Flint.

If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?

Atticus Finch. I’d probably take him to an outdoor place with lots of greenery and privacy so I could have him to myself. Also, it would have to be a place that served Fairtrade coffee and did not have those plastic stirrers.

What are you working on right now?

I usually have more than one project going on at the same time so I don’t get bored. So right now I am working on a volume of poetry, a graphic novel on environmental issues and a humorous biography of my father.

Tell us about your last release?

THE BEIJING CONSPIRACY is, I hope, a dramatic story about the world on the brink of war between the major superpowers and, I think, a terrifyingly plausible plot of how we might end up in such a place when our politics are in the hands of the greedy, inept and short-sighted.

The hook, or the trigger for writing it, was that image of the Tank Man and his lone protest in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacres in 1989. It is a picture that has haunted me for years and I was glad to finally write a book that reminds us of his lasting sacrifice.

Do you have a new release due?

Not due as such but a couple of things should be ready for publication by the end of the year.

What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?

A quiet glass of champagne and a sense of it all to do over again. I am not very good at enjoying myself.

How can readers keep in touch with you?

I am on Twitter ranting about Trump (@ShaminiFlint), on Facebook and my website with email contact details is http://www.shaminiflintbooks.com.

Is there anything else you would like us to know?

Please stop using single use plastics and vote Green?

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Shamini.

The Beijing Conspiracy Cover

Blurb

“I need your support. There is no one else I can trust. Please help her. Please help our daughter.” When ex-Marine Jack Ford receives a letter containing news of a daughter he never knew he had, he feels compelled to return to China, a country he hasn’t visited since 1989 when, as a young American spy, he fell in love with a beautiful student activist and found himself caught up in the horrors of the Tiananmen Square massacre. But why has Xia got in touch now, after a thirty-year silence? On arrival in Beijing, Jack finds himself accidentally in possession of an explosive piece of information both the Chinese and American governments are desperate to get their hands on. Alone in a strange city, suspected of being a traitor by his own side, not knowing whom to trust, Jack is faced with an impossible dilemma: should he save his new-found daughter or prevent a new world war from breaking out?

Buy Link

https://amzn.to/2Ipp6Wl

#OneLastSummer by Victoria Connelly @VictoriaDarcy @AmazonPub #BlogTour #AuthorInterview #LoveBooksTours

Welcome to my stop on Victoria Connelly’s One Last Summer blog tour with Love Books Tours!

One Last Summer tour

Many thanks to Kelly @ Love Books Tours for arranging the following interview with Victoria Connelly…..

One Last Summer Victoria Connelly

For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?

I’ve been writing stories ever since I was a teenager. It’s my job and it’s my joy. I love writing stories about people who are trying to find their place in the world. Many of my characters are trying to escape difficult pasts or situations. And I always set my books in beautiful locations – manor houses, medieval castles or country cottages. I truly love the English landscape.

My new novel, One Last Summer, is set on the Somerset coast in an ancient priory which my heroine, Harrie, has hired for herself and her two best friends. But the holiday isn’t all what it seems because Harrie has been keeping a secret…
Where did/do you get your ideas from?

– All sorts of places. A piece of junk mail inspired my novel, Molly’s Millions. But most of my novels are inspired by my own interests and passions – my love of Jane Austen inspired my Austen Addicts series, and my love of old houses and gardens has inspired a lot of my settings, and my obsession with books helped me write my Book Lovers series.

Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?

– Not exactly. I wanted to write about the effects of illness because I lost a very dear friend last year. But the character of Harrie in One Last Summer is fictional. However, there are elements of Audrey that come directly from me – I’m a bit of a workaholic and have had a few health issues that have made me slow down a little this last year!

How do you pick your characters’ names?

– I love choosing character names. When choosing the three friends in One Last Summer, they all had to be different and yet fit together well. ‘Harrie’ sounds so sweet and friendly, ‘Audrey’ sounds more serious and ‘Lisa’ has a light-hearted feel – all perfect for the characters. But the name I love the most is that of the stonemason: Samson Haverstock. I wanted something strong and unusual – something my heroine, Harrie, could poke fun of!

Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?

– I try to write two novels a year plus another shorter project like a novella. When I’m writing my first drafts, I aim to write 1,000 words a day. I work best in the mornings and I often use voice recognition software as I suffer from RSI if I type too much. I don’t plan my stories in any great detail. For me, that would take the fun out of the process.

Who are your top 5 favourite authors?

– H E Bates, Miss Read, Rosamunde Pilcher, Debbie Macomber and – a new discovery of mine – Mary Alice Monroe.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?

– Debbie Macomber – her output and her sales are astonishing. I’d love to ask her how she organises her time. She’s also an amazing business woman, running reader weekends and even cruises! She’s a real inspiration to me and I’d love to have a tour with her of her home town – the setting for her lovely Rose Harbour Inn series.

Were you a big reader as a child?

– Yes! I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series, but I always wanted Anne to have a summer romance. You could tell I was going to become write romantic novels one day! And I remember my excitement at buying my very first book with my own pocket money: it was Watership Down and it was £1.25. A great investment.

When did you start to write?

– I started writing my first novel when I was fourteen, using a manual typewriter and copious amounts of Tipex. I used to take it into school for my friends to read and that early feedback got me hooked, I think!
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
Is there a book you wish you had written?

– Ending change: Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles. It’s just too sad! Tess has already been through enough without that ending too!

– The book I wish I’d written is H E Bates’s The Darling Buds of May – I love this book – the characters, the setting, the lyrical language and the pure joy of it all.

If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?

– I have actually written three short autobiographies about moving from London to the Suffolk countryside – the first book is called Escape to Mulberry Cottage and is followed by A Year at Mulberry Cottage and Summer at Mulberry Cottage.

If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?

– I would love to meet Ma Larkin from The Darling Buds of May, but could I go to hers for tea instead? I would love to sample some of her baking and see Home Farm!
What are you working on right now?

– I’m writing the fourth novel in my Book Lovers series. I know readers have been eagerly awaiting Josh Nightingale’s story. I’m also writing my first screenplay which is very exciting. It’s quite a different process from writing a novel, but I’m enjoying the challenge.

Tell us about your last release?

Here’s the blurb:

They have the whole summer ahead of them. Is it enough to rekindle the friendship they once shared?
Harriet Greenleaf dreams of spending the summer in a beautiful ancient priory on the Somerset coast with her two best friends—but her dream is bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s a chance to reconnect three lives that have drifted apart; on the other, she has a devastating secret to share that will change everything between them forever.
First to arrive is Audrey—the workaholic who’s heading for a heart attack unless she slows down and makes time for herself. Then Lisa, the happy-go-lucky flirt who’s always struggled to commit to anyone—or anything. Ever the optimist, can Harriet remind them of the joy in their lives and the importance of celebrating good friendship before it’s gone?
Through the highs and lows of a long, glorious summer, these three women will rediscover what it means to be there for each other—before they face the hardest of goodbyes.

Do you have a new release due?

– The fourth Book Lovers novel should be out in the autumn. Do sign up to my newsletter via my website to be the first to hear about it.

What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?

– I’m usually already deep into writing the next book! But we’ll often have a day out and my husband spoils me with my favourite rose or violet cream chocolates!

How can readers keep in touch with you?

My website is at: http://www.victoriaconnelly.com where readers can download a free novella.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/312085782631729/
Twitter: @VictoriaDarcy
Instagram: @VictoriaConnellyAuthor
Is there anything else you would like us to know?

– One Last Summer is my twentieth published novel so this is a real celebratory year for me and I’d love to take this opportunity to thank every single reader who has read and reviewed my books. I couldn’t do this job without my readers!

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Victoria 🙂

One Last Summer cover

Blurb

They have the whole summer ahead of them. Is it enough to rekindle the friendship they once shared?

Harriet Greenleaf dreams of spending the summer in a beautiful ancient priory on the Somerset coast with her two best friends—but her dream is bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s a chance to reconnect three lives that have drifted apart; on the other, she has a devastating secret to share that will change everything between them forever.

First to arrive is Audrey—the workaholic who’s heading for a heart attack unless she slows down and makes time for herself. Then Lisa, the happy-go-lucky flirt who’s always struggled to commit to anyone—or anything. Ever the optimist, can Harriet remind them of the joy in their lives and the importance of celebrating good friendship before it’s gone?

Through the highs and lows of a long, glorious summer, these three women will rediscover what it means to be there for each other—before they face the hardest of goodbyes. 

Buy Link

https://amzn.to/2J2RbnU

Author Biography

Victoria Connelly studied English literature at Worcester University, got married in a medieval castle in the Yorkshire Dales and now lives in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a young springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens.

She is the author of two bestselling series, Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in 2008 by Ziegler Films in Germany. The Runaway Actress was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Comedy Novel award.

Ms Connelly loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden, with either a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.

Her website is www.victoriaconnelly.com where readers can download a free novella.

 

Social Media Links –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/312085782631729/

Twitter: @VictoriaDarcy

Instagram: @VictoriaConnellyAuthor

 

 

#FlashbackFriday August 2019 with @StephanieHarte3 @karenclarke123 #BookReviews

Welcome to my Flashback Friday feature 🙂

On the first Friday of each month I like to have a little look back at what I was reading during the same month in previous years, since starting my blog.

Please do join in if you have the time to share with us what you were reading this time last year!

Here are my reviews from August 2018 (plus a link to previous FBF’s)…..

Peppermint Park by Stephanie Harte @StephanieHarte3 #BookReview

Peppermint Park cover

The Beachside Sweet Shop by Karen Clarke @karenclarke123 @bookouture #BookReview

the-beachside-sweet-shop-kindle-jpeg

 

#FlashbackFriday with @LJRoss_author @ChristaWojo @NicolaMarsh @Fab_fiction @mredwards & @allisinclair #BookReviews

 

#TheHuntingfieldPaintress by @Pammieholmes @UrbaneBooks #BlogTour #AuthorInterview #LoveBooksTours

Welcome to my stop on Pamela Holmes’ The Huntingfield Paintress blog tour!

The Huntingfield Paintress tour

With thanks to Kelly @ Love Books Tours for arranging the following interview with Pamela Holmes…..

For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
My name is Pamela Holmes and I’m a writer of short stories and novels. My first book, The Huntingfield Paintress, is about a Victorian vicar’s wife who paints an angel ceiling. My second, Wyld Dreamers, is about the loves, secrets and lies of a group of hippies living in the Somerset hills in the 1970s who meet up again 25 years later. I live in London, have two sons, grow food on an allotment and sing in a band.

Where did/do you get your ideas from?
For my first book, I was inspired by Mildred Holland, the vicar’s wife who lay on her back for six years to paint a vision of golden angels and saints on the ceiling of a tiny church in Suffolk. I saw her work one New Year’s Day when I called in to he church on the recommendation of a friend. The ceiling wasn’t a casual dabble dashed off on a wet Tuesday – it had taken her six years to paint. I’d always written, worked as a journalist for print and TV, and so on. But seeing her achievement flicked a different writing switch in me. Two years later, I’d produced The Huntingfield Paintress, then I started the second book.
There were subjects I wanted to explore. One was how young people cope with death. My mother died when I was 16 and my friends didn’t know what to say. The character in Wyld Dreamers, Amy, is not me but her experiences draw on my own. I’m also fascinated by secrets. When they’re revealed – which they inevitably are – relationships that seemed unbreakable can be threatened. On the other hand, the truth can heal and deepen the bonds between people.

Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
Some of my characters are based on people I’ve met but so vaguely that no one would see themselves while others arrive fully formed and I don’t recognise them at all. Characters are a mish-mash of personalities, a patchwork of motivations and reactions of the people I’ve talked to or heard on the radio, sprinkled with imagination.

How do you pick your characters’ names?
I change my character’s names as I write. At first, the name I use just pops into my mind. But as the characters begin to live and love, their name sometimes feels wrong. I’m always listening for names, I carry a notebook and when I come across one I like or better still, a first and a surname that’s a perfect combination, I’ll write it down. I used to assume I’d remember everything because it seemed right. But I don’t.

Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I slip from bed early when my body is barely awake but my brain is clear to sip Earl Grey tea, sit at my computer and, on a good day, write until lunchtime. The afternoon is when I garden, think about plot and wonder how the scenes could fit together. I’m useless by tea time. I might review and edit what I’ve written before supper.

Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
I have just re-read Tessa Hadley’s Late in the Day, a subtle and sometimes bitter exploration of ageing and marriage. I love the touching quiet novella West by Carys Davies and Aftershocks by AN Wilson, a story shaking with earthquakes and love. If you’ve never read Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout or Penelope Lively’s Moon Tiger then remedy this situation promptly; they are both brilliant.

Were you a big reader as a child?
In US kindergarten (as the entry class was called) we were given books about two children, Dick and Jane. ‘Go away, Spot’ was the book that taught me to read. The front of the book showed the dog with the hose in his mouth, spraying Dick with water. Hilarious, I thought. The day I found could read the words, I fell off the stool I was sitting on.

What are you working on right now?
I’ve got a character in mind, a woman in her mid-60s. I’ve written a short story about her; there’s more to write though I can’t formulate it just yet. Keen to attract the attention of men, she’s judgmental and acts on her conclusions in shocking ways. I’m also writing a film script of The Huntingfield Paintress.

Is there a book you wish you had written?
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. It’s about a love strong enough to drive a soldier wounded in an appalling Civil War to stagger home across the mountains to a woman left tending the land. I’m gripped by stories about the drive to return, the kindness of strangers and the glory of human resilience. The book is set in a part of the USA steeped in history. I was born in South Carolina but left months later. I’d like to visit.

Tell us about your last release?
It’s called Wyld Dreamers. It’s about five young people who form a hippy commune on a smallholding which crumbles after 18 months. Twenty five years later, circumstances bring the group back together. But where to set the story? That was easy; Somerset, where I’d lived on a farm with friends in the 1970s. None of the characters in Wyld Dreamers are based on people I knew though some of the events mirror what happened; milking cows, gutting rabbits, driving tractors and dancing under the moon. Characters include Amy, who loses her mother soon after she arrives on the smallholding, Seymour Stratton, a successful London photographer who thinks of the place as a playground for his friends and Mrs Morle, the housekeeper who is critical of her employer’s city habits and what the hippies get up to. I explore ideas of that time such as parity between the sexes and self-sufficiency. Our discussions seemed radical then even if they’re mainstream now. So my research for Wyld Dreamers meant delving into diaries, record collections, recipe books and journalism rather than parish records and history books which is what I needed for The Huntingfield Paintress.

What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
I pop open something fizzy and celebrate. There’s nothing else to be done on such a special day. You’ve got to live hard and play hard, that was my dad’s motto, and though I didn’t always do what my father told me to, I remember to act on his words.

How can readers keep in touch with you?
I have a website (www.pamela-holmes.com) with a sign-up box which I’d ask anyone interested to use to get in contact. Or they can email me or my agent. I like contact with readers, hearing what they think and what they enjoy reading, too. In the ‘blog’ section of my website, I mention events and talks I’m giving. This summer, several involve me leading workshops on how to get started with writing.

The Huntingfield Paintress cover

Blurb

Plucky and headstrong Mildred Holland revelled in the eight years she and her husband, the vicar William Holland, spent travelling 1840s Europe, finding inspiration in recording beautiful artistic treasures and collecting exotic artifacts. But William’s new posting in a tiny Suffolk village is a world apart and Mildred finds a life of tea and sympathy dull and stifling in comparison. When a longed-for baby does not arrive, she sinks into despondency and despair. What options exist for a clever, creative woman in such a cossetted environment? A sudden chance encounter fires Mildred’s creative imagination and she embarks on a herculean task that demands courage and passion. Defying her loving but exasperated husband, and mistrustful locals who suspect her of supernatural powers, Mildred rediscovers her passion and lives again through her dreams of beauty. Inspired by the true story of the real Mildred Holland and the parish church of Huntingfield in Suffolk, the novel is unique, emotive and beautifully crafted, just like the history that inspired it.

Buy Link

https://amzn.to/2W7fGaC

happy reading 🙂

Author Info

Pamela Homes – Pamela Holmes was born in Charleston, South Carolina. At the age of eight, she moved with her family to England. She studied nursing at London University as a mature student having spent three years living on a commune in Somerset where she developed a love of gardening, milking cows and laying hedges. She became a health journalist and on-screen reporter. She now works and volunteers to improve the lives of older people including those with dementia, and she sings in a rock band. The Huntingfield Paintress is her first novel. She won the Jane Austen Short Story Award in 2014 and her latest work was awarded Highly Recommended in the HISSAC competition 2015. Pamela is the mother of two boys and lives in London with her husband.

 

#CoverReveal #TheSeagullsLaughter by @HollyBidgood @Wildpressed #LoveBooksTours

Today I am delighted to be hosting a cover reveal for Holly Bidgood’s The Seagull’s Laughter!

Cover Reveal

First lets find out a bit more about the book…..

Blurb

Born in 1973 to a Greenlandic mother and an English-Explorer father, Malik has always been something of a misfit. He has one black eye and one blue. As a child his mother’s people refused to touch him and now his own baby daughter’s family feel the same way.

On his own now, Malik’s only companion is a guiding spirit no-one else can see, but one day a white man with a nose like a beak and a shadow like a seagull appears on his doorstep and invites him to England.

Martha has had enough of living with domestic abuse. She compares bruises with her friend Neil, who regularly suffers homophobic attacks. With Martha’s baby, they go on the run to Shetland, where Martha has happy childhood memories of summers spent with her aunt.

On their way up north in a camper van, they come across a dejected Malik, alone again after a brief reconciliation with his father’s family.

They arrive safely together in the Shetland Isles, but Malik still needs answers to the identity of the beak-nosed man who casts a shadow over his life, and must now embark on a further journey of his own.

The Seagull’s Laughter is an immersive read, intertwined with nature and the magic of Greenlandic folk tales.

Check this out…..

The Seagull's Laughter Cover LARGE EBOOK

Stunning!

About the author…..

The Seagull's Laughter author Holly Bidgood

Holly grew up in Derbyshire but has always been drawn to the sea. She has written from a young age. Her love affair with island landscapes was kick-started on a brief visit to the Faroe Islands at the age of eighteen, en route to Iceland. She was immediately captivated by the landscape, weather, and way of life and it was here that she conceived the idea for her first novel, The Eagle and The Oystercatcher.
Holly studied Icelandic, Norwegian and Old Norse at University College London. She also studied as an exchange student at The University of Iceland (Háskóli Íslands) and spent a memorable summer working in a museum in South Greenland.
She decided to start a family young, and now has three small children. Holly helps run Life & Loom, a social and therapeutic weaving studio in Hull. She likes to escape from the busyness of her life by working on her novels and knitting Icelandic wool jumpers.
The Seagull’s Laughter will be published in November 2019.

Keep your eyes peeled for the pre-order link!

 

#AnExtraShot by Stephen Anthony Brotherton @FreddieJoJo1 #MiniBlogBlitz #BookReview @rararesources

An Extra Shot banner

Having read and enjoyed book one, Another Shot, I was keen to read An Extra Shot to find out where Freddie and Jo-Jo’s story would lead.

This book is written in the same way as the first, without chapters as such but each part is written either from Freddie’s or Jo-Jo’s perspective at different times during their lives. It flits from past to present but is easy to follow and paints a picture of two people who may have missed out on 30 years of true happiness together. I felt sorry for the both of them in book one as neither seem to have led particularly happy lives overall. Freddie is a very likeable character. Quite vulnerable with not a very great deal of self-esteem. He let Jo-Jo go when she left for university believing he was never really good enough for her and feeling as if she would have a better life without him. Jo-Jo never forgot him though, but never forgave him for not calling as he’d promised. I do have to say though that I didn’t really warm to Jo-Jo and she grated on me even more so in this second book. Not in a bad way, I found her quite fascinating! She comes across as quite self-centred and bossy, in the past as well as the present, with Freddie and also with her husband. Her daughter proves the apple didn’t fall far from the tree either, although I understand her being defensive and protective of her mother. Jo-Jo is fixated on the fact that Freddie never called, but I’m sure that if it was me I would have tried to call him at least once, if only to make sure he was okay. She never once seemed concerned that anything might have happened to him, just that he left her! I find that odd and quite telling of her character.

I think Freddie is wrong to have felt he was never good enough for Jo-Jo as I feel it would be more accurate that she was never really good enough for him, but I do feel sad for the both of them that a simple phone call could have changed their lives completely. Now the truth is out in the open what might the future hold for them?

I look forward to reading book three.

Many thanks to the author and to Rachel for my review copy.

An Extra Shot

An Extra Shot Cover

‘An Extra Shot continues to tell the story of Freddie and Jo-Jo. It moves backwards and forwards through time in a series of first-person flashbacks and describes how the couple fell in love as teenagers, why they drifted apart, what happened in their lives away from each other, and what happens when they meet up again over thirty-five years later.
A failed reconciliation in book one, Another Shot, has left Freddie at a railway station thinking about jumping under a train and Jo-Jo in a hotel room consumed with the dark secret she has carried for most of her adult life. Freddie is saved by his best friend, Jack Sparrow, and Jo-Jo is convinced by her daughter, Amy, to meet up with Freddie again. Freddie then persuades Jo-Jo to go away with him for a long weekend in Devon and the couple return home with their love reignited.
However, Jo-Jo can’t let their relationship continue without telling Freddie the truth about her dark secret. Is their love strong enough to get them through?’

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Extra-Shot-Stephen-Anthony-Brotherton/dp/1912881446

US – https://www.amazon.com/Extra-Shot-Stephen-Anthony-Brotherton/dp/1912881446

Author Bio –

Another Shot Author

‘I was born in Walsall, grew up in the West Midlands and now live in Telford with my two cats, Boris and Tai. After working in the health and social care sector for over thirty years, I have now taken early retirement to write the trilogy that has been rooted in my head for most of my life.
An Extra Shot is the second book in the Shots trilogy, which is based on a first love relationship I had as a teenager. It tells the story of Freddie and Jo-Jo, who are reunited in a coffee shop three decades after the end of their teenage romance. How they originally met, why they parted, what happens in their lives apart, and what happens when they reunite is all told through a series of first person vignettes. I am currently working on the final book.
Getting these stories down on paper has been a cathartic process. I hope you enjoy them.

Social Media Links –

Instagram @freddiejojoreunited
Twitter – https://twitter.com/FreddieJoJo1

Follow, like and share the book love with these awesome book bloggers…..

An Extra Shot Full Tour Banner

ICYMI…..

#AnotherShot by Stephen Anthony Brotherton @FreddieJoJo1 #MiniBlogBlitz #BookReview @rararesources

happy reading 🙂

 

#YouBelongToMe by Mark Tilbury @MTilburyAuthor @Bloodhoundbook #BookReview

You Belong To Me

WOW! You Belong To Me is another awesome read from the amazing Mark Tilbury! I have loved everything he has written, and this was no exception. The only thing I regret is not having had the chance to read it until now.

I finished You Belong To Me very late last night. There was no way I was going to sleep until I knew how things were going to pan out. I don’t know how Mark Tilbury does it, but he still manages to shock me in one way or another, although I do naturally expect his stories to be dark (putting it mildly!). If you love a psychological crime thriller which has an excellent mix of likeable and not so likeable, but equally fascinating characters with a compelling story to tell then you will love this book (and all others written by Mark Tilbury).

In You Belong To Me we meet Danny, Josh, Kieran and Rob who were witness to a horrendous crime, almost ten years previously, involving the disappearance of fifteen year old Ellie Hutton. This crime was committed by Danny’s older brother, Calum. Calum is a nasty piece of work who truly made my skin crawl. It’s frightening to know that there are actual real people out there, just like him. His cruelty towards animals is particularly sickening. I felt so sorry for Danny being related to him and I really felt for the all the boys when their plan to get one over on Calum backfires spectacularly. What they find themselves in the middle of is nothing short of horrific. Being young, naïve and completely believing Calum’s threats they feel they have no choice but to keep his secret. They were never going to have much of a chance to go on to lead ‘normal’ lives after such an ordeal and they each have their own ways of attempting to fight their demons having sworn they would never breathe a word of what happened.

When another girl goes missing, in the present day, Danny decides to get the gang back together and try to put Calum in his place once and for all. The four of them, now adults, come back together and agree with the plan and hope they can achieve their goal before anyone else gets hurt. Will their plan work or will it just backfire on them once again? I was absolutely gob-smacked by the end of the book! This author is a genius!

Absolutely outstanding writing, once again! Unique and perfectly executed. Highly disturbing, but completely captivating. LOVED it!

I can’t wait to start Torment now!

ICYMI…..

The Abattoir of Dreams by Mark Tilbury @MTilburyAuthor @Bloodhoundbook #BlogTour #BookReview #AuthorInterview

The Revelation Room #BlogTour #BookReview @MTilburyAuthor @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681

The Eyes of the Accused #BlogTour @MTilburyAuthor @Bloodhoundbook #BookReview @sarahhardy681

The Liar’s Promise #BlogTour Mark Tilbury @MTilburyAuthor #BookReview @Bloodhoundbook

The Key to Death’s Door by Mark Tilbury @MTilburyAuthor #BlogTour #BookReview @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681

#CoverReveal #Torment by Mark Tilbury @MTilburyAuthor @Bloodhoundbook

happy reading 🙂