#GuestPost FINDING SUMMER HAPPINESS by CHRIS PENHALL#PublicationDay @ChocLituk @ChrisPenhall @RubyFiction


A huge pleasure today to be able to hand over my Blog to the lovely Chris Penhall to help celebrate it being publication day of FINDING SUMMER HAPPINESS!!!  Oh to be living in that setting right now – and enjoying blue skies!!Over to you Chris!!


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Release Day Post: Finding Summer Happiness by Chris Penhall

Thanks for inviting me to write a few words about my new novel.

Finding Summer Happiness is my third book and is set on the beautiful south Wales coast. It follows the story of Miriam Ryan, a successful businesswoman who has just sold her company and is search of rest, relaxation and solitude. However, when she arrives in her secluded idyll, she gets anything but!

I had wanted to write a novel set in Wales for many years, but it wasn’t until I spent a day walking with friends on the glorious Pembrokeshire coastal path that the idea for the story really began to take root in my mind.

We were walking between Manorbier to Bosherston, and as usual I kept stopping to take in the stunning scenery around me. As the path dipped down towards an empty beach, I had a flashback – completely out of the blue. I was on a beach with my family and friends when I was a child. We were playing cricket. And for the briefest of moments I felt I was there. But it wasn’t the beach I was walking towards: it was Oxwich Bay on the Gower Peninsula where we used to spend endless happy days swimming, playing ball games and jumping off the sand dunes.

And that is when my mind began to develop the storyline. I decided to incorporate those kinds of vivid little mental films that take us back to a particular time and place within the book to help tell Miriam’s story.

It took a few years to do, because not long after that my first novel, The House That Alice Built won the Choc Lit Search for a Star Competition, and I then I wrote the sequel to that Portuguese-set book, New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun, before I started work on Finding Summer Happiness.

I also have a half-formed interest in astronomy and one of the things on my list of things to do – which is very long list as a lot of things on that list didn’t get done in 2020 – is to go to a dark sky event. So, I decided that one of the main characters needed to be an expert in looking at the stars, and that’s why Alan Thomas, astronomer, author and dreamer was born. Not literally, as in the book he’s got adult children of his own. Miriam and Alan, plus two other characters, Rhiannon and Jim decide to go to one of the events. You’ll have to read the book to see whether they get there or not!

During the story, I also take some of my characters to Neath, which is where I was born. It’s quite a way from Pembrokeshire, so I get them to stop off briefly in Swansea on the way. When they are in Neath, an area called Fairyland is mentioned in passing – this does exist and you can get a bus there. It’s a housing estate, and there’s a road, so nothing supernatural or anything. When questioned, Alan is a bit vague about the origins of the name, as am I, but I have been told (by my cousin who was told by a friend who saw it written somewhere) that it could have been because it’s said a Roman Centurion got lost in the area – Neath has a few Roman remains in and around the town, including one next to

my old school – and some fairies helped him find his way home. Is this true? Are there other theories or reasons? Probably. I like the fact I don’t really know!

This is one of the themes of the book; how you can find beauty and magic everywhere – whether it’s gazing out to sea on the Pembrokeshire coast, standing on top of a hill in an old industrialised town, or in the genuine kindness from people you don’t know when you are least expecting it.

I have to say I also enjoyed creating some of the minor characters; there are a couple of surprise tribute acts and a Look-Alike festival, too. The idea from that came from the Elvis Festival in Porthcawl – which is also on my to-go-to-list – and the number of events I’ve been involved with whilst working for BBC local radio!

Anyway, I really enjoyed writing Finding Summer Happiness, and I hope you enjoy reading it too. Perhaps you’ll feel like you’ve had a nice long cwtch when you’ve finished the book. That’s the Welsh word for hug and is one of my favourites.

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About the book:

You won’t find happiness without breaking a few eggs … Miriam Ryan was the MD of a successful events and catering company, but these days even the thought of chopping an onion sends her stress levels sky rocketing. A retreat to the Welsh village of her childhood holidays seems to offer the escape she’s craving – just peace, quiet, no people, a generous supply of ready meals … did she mention no people? Enter a cheery pub landlord, a lovesick letting agent, a grumpy astronomer with a fridge raiding habit – not to mention a surprise supper club that requires the chopping of many onions – and Miriam realises her escape has turned into exactly what she was trying to get away from, but could that be just the thing she needs to allow a little bit of summer happiness into her life?

PURCHASE LINKS

getbook.at/FindingSummerHappiness

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/finding-summer-happiness

About Chris Penhall:

Chris Penhall won the 2019 Choc-Lit Search for a Star competition, sponsored by Your Cat Magazine, for her debut novel, The House That Alice Built. The sequel, New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun was published in August 2020. Her short story, Lily McKee’s Seven Days of Christmas appears in Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction’s Cosy Christmas Treats anthology.

Her new novel, Finding Summer Happiness is is set in Pembrokeshire in South West Wales.

Chris is an author and freelance radio producer for BBC Local Radio. She also has her own podcast – The Talking to My Friends About Book Podcast in which she chats to her friends about books. Good title! Born in Neath in South Wales, she has also lived in London and in Portugal, which is where The House That Alice Built is set. It was whilst living in Cascais near Lisbon that she began to dabble in writing fiction, but it was many years later that she was confident enough to start writing her first novel, and many years after that she finally finished it! A lover of books, music and cats, she is also an enthusiastic salsa dancer, a keen cook, and loves to travel. She is never happier than when she is gazing at the sea. 

You can find more information about her on www.chrispenhall.co.uk or follow her on twitter: @ChrisPenhall     

Instagram: christinepenhall 

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

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#GuestPost NEW BEGINNINGS AT THE LITTLE HOUSE IN THE SUN by CHRIS PENHALL #PublicationDay @RubyFiction @ChrisPenhall

It’s Publication Day for NEW BEGINNINGS AT THE LITTLE HOUSE IN THE SUN so I’m delighted to be hosting CHRIS PENHALL on the Blog today as she shares some thoughts on her new release! I’ve shared my review on the blog today so go grab your copy and enjoy the exploits of Alice as she starts her new life in Portugal! 
Right, over to you Chris…… 

 New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun by Chris Penhall

New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun is the sequel to my debut novel, The House That Alice Built, which won the Choc Lit Search for a Star Competition in 2019.

The first book follows Alice, who, having escaped to Cascais in Portugal for a while, has to face up to the thing that she was running away from – the prospect of selling her beloved house in London as her ex wants the money to start a new business.

New Beginnings picks up the story as she begins her new life in Portugal, full of excitement and dreams for the future with Luis, the man she fell in love with, and many friends to help her along the way. However, as we all know, the road to true happiness has many a dead end along the way, plus a few trips and falls, and surprises from the past present challenges Alice wasn’t expecting at all.

So, the question is, will she find her dream life in the sun, or will she want to run back to London and hide once again?

As in the first novel, there’s plenty of sun and laughter, the return of old friends – Kathy, Ignacio and Carlos – plus we meet one or two new ones too. And there’s some unexpected temptation for Alice, Portuguese tile painting, karaoke, Mary’s dodgy tea and more time spent in Lisbon. The yellow Rolls Royce also has an important role to play, as well.

I wrote both books as I had lived in Cascais in Portugal many years ago with my family and I fell in love with the place. I now spend a lot of time in Lagos in the Algarve, so the country has made a huge impression on me and that is reflected in the stories.

I revisited Lisbon for the first time in 15 years last November, and I really felt like I had come home. And when we took a day trip to Cascais it was as if I hadn’t left. As I walked to the square, where Alice spends a lot of her time, I was worried it would have changed. But it was the same. There was also an unexpected surprise – an old friend who had left many years before and we thought we’d never see again had returned to work there. He waved at us, we waved back, hugged, had a chat over a coffee and I realised that what I had written about in The House That Alice Built really was a reflection of how life is there, and not just out of my fevered imagination.

We went off exploring then came back to the square for another coffee. This time there was a busker playing next to the statue of Luis de Camoes, and as we sat down I said to a waiter that we only wanted a drink, to which he responded – “What more could you want – music, wine, love!”

Oh, Cascais, how I had missed you!

And so, when I came home to the UK and carried on writing New Beginnings, I wanted to reflect that in how Alice felt when she got off the plane at Lisbon airport after spending a few months in London sorting out her house.

This time, she begins to explore Lisbon more and ventures over the Tagus south across the River Sado. On our visit to the city in November, we visited Time Out – the food court opposite Cais de Sodre station – quite a few times, found ourselves in a restaurant in Santos which is an area I had never visited before, ambled along the Tagus at dusk, and revisited Casa De Alentejo. We also took a trip to the Museum of Fado, and ate quite a few pasteis de natas. Needless to say there’s a hint of all of those experiences in the novel.

I was supposed to revisit Lisbon in May, but that’s been put on hold. But when I do get to go back, my first stop will be at the bar along the river where all the chairs face west so you can have a drink and watch the sun set over the Ponte 25 de Abril – the bridge over the Tagus. Sigh …

ABOUT THE BOOK

Follow your yellow brick road ….

Alice Dorothy Matthews is on the road to paradise! She’s sold her house in London, got rid of her nasty ex and arranged her move to Portugal where friendship and romance awaits. All that’s left to do is find a place to call home.


But Alice’s dreams are called into question when complications with friends, work and new relationships make her Portuguese paradise feel far too much like reality.
Will Alice’s dream of a new home in the sun come true?

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChrisPenhall 

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

Website: http://www.chrispenhall.co.uk/

Buying links:

 Kindle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/New-Beginnings-Little-House-Sun-ebook/dp/B08CY3FQ7X/ 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/new-beginnings-at-the-little-house-in-the-sun 

Apple Books : https://books.apple.com/nz/book/new-beginnings-at-the-little-house-in-the-sun/id1523474220

#BookReview NEW BEGINNINGS AT THE LITTLE HOUSE IN THE SUN by CHRIS PENHALL #PublicationDay @RubyFiction

ABOUT THE BOOK

Follow your yellow brick road ….


Alice Dorothy Matthews is on the road to paradise! She’s sold her house in London, got rid of her nasty ex and arranged her move to Portugal where friendship and romance awaits. All that’s left to do is find a place to call home.


But Alice’s dreams are called into question when complications with friends, work and new relationships make her Portuguese paradise feel far too much like reality.
Will Alice’s dream of a new home in the sun come true?

PUBLISHED BY RUBY FICTION

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/New-Beginnings-Little-House-Sun-ebook/dp/B08CY3FQ7X/

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/new-beginnings-at-the-little-house-in-the-sun

Apple: https://books.apple.com/gb/book/new-beginnings-at-the-little-house-in-the-sun/id1523474220?mt=11&app=itunes&at=11lNBs

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Chris_Penhall_New_Beginnings_at_the_Little_House_i?id=3bXyDwAAQBAJ

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/new-beginnings-at-the-little-house-in-the-sun-chris-penhall/1137338107?ean=2940162783909

Website: https://www.rubyfiction.com/dd-product/new-beginnings-at-the-little-house-in-the-sun/

MY REVIEW

It’s always good to reconnect with characters that you enjoyed reading about in a previous book, so it was wonderful to go back to see how Alice is getting on with her big move to Portugal and it didn’t disappoint! It really centres around the doubts that play in her mind – yep, that inner voice that we all have in our head that tells us we’ve done the wrong thing, or we should have done things differently – and Alice is no different and there’s an awful lot for her to take on board in this book.

From finding somewhere to live and invest her money, to taking on more business wise and to dealing with new arrivals in the life of Luis, her boyfriend, life seems to be throwing a million things her way so there seems little chance of her getting the slower pace of life she always dreamed of when she was back in England.  But she’s not one to turn down new business opportunities and grabs chances when they come calling!

What I love about Alice is her determination! Despite constant knockbacks and her dream properties seemingly being snatched away from her at the last minute, she never gives up hope of finding the perfect place for her new life to continue.  And there’s always her mum on the end of the phone to give her the best advice and Aphrodite the cat to give her companionship!

With a million things all happening at once, you just want her to find her happy with Luis and get the stability she craves!  And I’m just hoping we’ll be getting more from Alice and her Portugese life in the not too distant future!  Enjoyable and heart warming!!

★★★★★

#BlogTour THE HOUSE THAT ALICE BUILT by CHRIS PENHALL @rararesources @ChocLituk @RubyFiction

A huge delight to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for THE HOUSE THAT ALICE BUILT! My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for putting this all together and letting me be part of it all!

Home is where the heart is … 

Alice Dorothy Matthews is sensible. Whilst her best friend Kathy is living it up in Portugal and her insufferable ex Adam is travelling the world, Alice is working hard to pay for the beloved London house she has put her heart and soul into renovating. 

But then a postcard from Buenos Aires turns Alice’s life upside down. One very unsensible decision later and she is in Cascais, Portugal, and so begins her lesson in ‘going with the flow’; a lesson that sees her cat-sitting, paddle boarding, dancing on top of bars and rediscovering her artistic talents. 

But perhaps the most important part of the lesson for Alice is that you don’t always need a house to be at home. 

Purchase Links 

Amazon UK

Ruby Fiction

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

Google Play

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Penhall is a freelance writer and radio producer.

Her book, The House That Alice Built, won the Choc-Lit Search for a Star Competition 2019. 

Born in South Wales, she has also lived near London and in Portugal, which is where The House That Alice Built is set. It was whilst living in Cascais near Lisbon that she began to dabble in writing fiction, but it was many years later that she was confident enough to start writing her first novel, and many years after that she finally finished it! She is now working on her second. 

A lover of books, music and cats, she is also an enthusiastic salsa dancer, a keen cook, and loves to travel. She is never happier than when she is gazing at the sea. 

Chris has two grown up daughters and lives in the Essex countryside. 

Chris is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association. 

Social Media Links – 

Author Website

Twitter

Facebook

MY REVIEW

This was a wonderful read with a real feelgood factor!!  I can see why this story won the Search For a Star competition! It has all those elements that keep you as a reader rooting for the main character and cheering when everything falls into place!!

Alice is trudging through her life! Her work is miserable, her ex, Adam, is off round the world and she’s having zero fun! When her friend Kathy flies over from Portugal for a visit she pesters Alice to come and visit her but Alice seems so stuck in her ways that she’s reluctant to go, but things are about to change to leave her with no option but to get packing!! 

With the realisation that maybe it’s time to put herself first, Alice finds herself in Portugal to visit Kathy and ends up with a little house/cat sitting job to see her through this new little chapter in her life! What is she going to do with herself?! For someone who likes routine it takes a while to get used to the change, but with the advice of ‘go with the flow’ ringing in her ear she starts to embrace this new way of living!

Her friend Kathy is brilliant in helping Alice find her feet and try new experiences and also makes her remember just how creative she used to be, before life got in the way! She can’t believe how warm and friendly everyone is either! She seems to be getting quite a bit of male attention from very attentive drivers and waiters !! Never a bad thing to have too much attention!!

With new passions to explore and new relationships beginning to blossom, I loved seeing how Alice began to find her happy! She took  back control and even though she often found it easier to run away from her problems whenever the past reared its’ head again, the new confidence she found in herself seemed to make her ready to face anything life could throw at her and this story was just a delight to read throughout!

★★★★★

#CoverReveal The House That Alice Built by Chris Penhall @RubyFiction

cover reveal

Hello!! I’ve got a gorgeous cover reveal to share with you all thanks to the team at RUBY FICTION  and CHRIS PENHALL so hope you’re itching to see it!!  

Here’s a little bit about the book to set the scene…….

Home is where the heart is …

Alice Dorothy Matthews is sensible. Whilst her best friend Kathy is living it up in Portugal and her insufferable ex Adam is travelling the world, Alice is working hard to pay for the beloved London house she has put her heart and soul into renovating.

But then a postcard from Buenos Aires turns Alice’s life upside down. One very unsensible decision later and she is in Cascais, Portugal, and so begins her lesson in ‘going with the flow’; a lesson that sees her cat-sitting, paddle boarding, dancing on top of bars and rediscovering her artistic talents.

But perhaps the most important part of the lesson for Alice is that you don’t always need a house to be at home.

The House That Alice Built is published on 20th August by Ruby Fiction and will be available to purchase as an eBook on all platforms, as well as in audio.

Are we ready?!    Here we go…..

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Doesn’t it just make you want to get up and escape to Portugal right now?!   Will be eagerly awaiting the 20th August to dive into this one!!

HAPPY READING!!