GuestPost WAITING FOR OUR RAINBOW by VICTORIA CORNWALL #PublicationDay @ChocLituk @VickieCornwall

An absolute delight to welcome the lovely VICTORIA CORNWALL to the Blog today, to share her thoughts on Publication Day of WAITING FOR OUR RAINBOW!  All the details to get hold of your copy are down below!!

Over to you Victoria….

🌈🌈🌈

PUBLICATION DAY: Waiting for Our Rainbow by Victoria Cornwall

Thank you for having me on Books & Me blog, Karen. It’s lovely to be here.

Waiting For Our Rainbow is my first WW2 romance. It was inspired by the memories of an elderly gentleman seeing American G.I.s for the first time when he was a boy. During a time of rationing, it was very exciting to see soldiers arriving in trucks and throwing sweets out the back for them to catch. ‘They were always friendly to us children,’ I remember him recalling fondly. In a time when paternal relationships were more distant due to either long working hours or war, these young men were different and often friendly. This experience left a lasting impression on the gentleman for the rest of his life.

I was always aware that an area of woodland near my home was once used to hide tanks during the war. I have always loved history and have a particular interest in WW1 and WW2, so one day I began to research this period in Cornwall’s past. Who were these young soldiers? Why were they in Cornwall? What did they do during their time here? Where did they go when they left Cornwall? And what happened to everything they left behind?

So many people have helped me with my research. American historians, written memoirs, conversations with people who were alive at the time, newsreels, archive footage of veterans being interviewed and news articles. I was also able to visit some of the places myself. Waiting For Our Rainbow wrote itself in a way, as everything the soldiers did during their preparations for D Day was well documented. Anne and Joe’s love story represents those who lived through this historic time, when people from different cultures built new relationships and even found love despite knowing they would ultimately have to say goodbye. Through my research I learnt many things about these young American men and their Cornish hosts. I came away realising that despite their differences, ultimately they realised they were stronger working together than holding on to what makes them different from one another. It’s a lesson that is as relevant today as it was back then.

Waiting For Our Rainbow will be released as an Ebook on 31st January, 2023. A paperback and audio version will follow shortly afterwards.

🌈🌈🌈

About the book

Waiting For Our Rainbow is a WW2 romance between an American soldier and a young Cornish woman during the preparations for D Day.

Would you give your heart away if you knew it could only end in goodbye?

It should have been a time of romance and excitement for Anne – but it’s 1941 and the war is raging. So instead, she spends her days repairing spitfire wings and reminding herself that the real sacrifice is going on far away from her Cornish village.

When the news breaks that America has entered the war, it brings cautious hope to Anne and her family. And eventually, as the Jeeps filled with GIs roll in, it seems their little community is to play a pivotal role in the next stage of the fight.

But the Americans don’t just bring Hollywood glamour and optimism, they also bring something more tantalising – so when Anne meets handsome Joe Mallory, she has to remind herself of exactly why he’s there; that any relationship between them could only end in goodbye.

But is the inevitability of ‘goodbye’ powerful enough to stop what has already begun to blossom?

🌈🌈🌈

Buying Links

 Amazon UK: https://bit.ly/3DgkIoY 

Amazon US: https://bit.ly/3XWu5lo 

Kobo: http://bit.ly/3Jp0E7L 

Nook: http://bit.ly/3Y6lSeJ

 iBooks: https://apple.co/3R7EpFb

 Google Play: https://bit.ly/3wE943a

About the Author

Victoria grew up on a farm in Cornwall and is married with two grown up children and three grandchildren. She likes to read and write historical romance with a strong background story, but at its heart is the unmistakable emotion, even pain, of loving someone.

Her books have subsequently reached the finals of the NEW TALENT AWARD at the Festival of Romantic Fiction, the RNA’s JOAN HESSAYON AWARD, the 2021 RNA’s Goldsboro Books HISTORICAL ROMANTIC NOVEL AWARD. Her books have also been twice nominated for the RONE Best Indie or Small Published Book Award by InD’tale magazine.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Social media links

Website: www.victoriacornwall.com

Twitter: @VickieCornwall

Facebook: www.facebook.com/victoriacornwall.author

Instagram: www.instagram.com/victoria_cornwallx

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3hTR1yuAwJUbFyj0k9P4eQ

Pinterest: uk.pinterest.com/vickiecornwall/

🌈🌈🌈

Advertisement

GuestPost CAPTURED BY A SCOTTISH LORD by MARIE LAVAL #PublicationDay @ChocLituk @MarieLaval1

Hello and welcome along to my Blog!! A real pleasure today to have Marie Laval here to help celebrate Publication Day for the fabulous CAPTURED BY A SCOTTISH LORD! She’ll let you know where she gets the inspiration from for the story!Links to go grab your copy are down below so treat yourself!! You will not be disappointed!
Over to you Marie…..

Publication Day Post: Captured by a Scottish Lord by Marie Laval

People often ask me where I get my ideas from. Well, all I had to do for Captured by a Scottish Lord, my latest historical romance published by Choc Lit, was to look at a beautiful book about the Highlands of Scotland my children had given me for Christmas. Not only was it filled with photos of incredible castles and dreamy landscapes, but there was also a detailed map of the area and the moment I saw the name ‘Wrath’ right at the top, I knew this would be the setting of my story.

Like by magic I started to write and the characters took a life of their own – Rose Saintclair, the Desert Rose sailing from her hot, sunny Algeria and shipwrecked in a winter storm, and Bruce McGunn, Laird of Wrath, haunted by the fear of madness and dark memories of his time in the Punjab wars…

Captured by a Scottish Lord is the third novel featuring a member of the Saintclair family. Rose is a wonderful, warm and fun character, and she comes up with the most outrageous and inappropriate comments – some of them I borrowed from my own mother, who, like Rose, grew up in Algeria. I must say that Rose made me laugh a lot when I was writing! The first time he sees her Bruce compares her to a ray of sunshine and a summer morning filled with light and life, with the scent of wild flowers, and the promise of sweetness, life and love. And the man really does need love and sunshine…

ABOUT THE BOOK

Can a Desert Rose survive a Scottish winter?

 The wild Scottish landscape is a far cry from Rose Saintclair’s Saharan oasis, although she’ll endure it for Lord Cameron McRae, the man she married after a whirlwind romance in Algiers. But when stormy weather leads to Rose’s Scotland-bound ship docking on Cape Wrath – the land of Cameron’s enemy, Bruce McGunn – could her new life already be in jeopardy? 

Lord McGunn was a fearless soldier, but his experiences have made him as unforgiving as the land he presides over. He knows McRae won’t rest until he owns Wrath, and the man is willing to use brutal tactics. Bruce decides that he’ll play McRae at his own game, take the ship and its precious occupant, and hold them hostage. Rose is determined to escape, but whilst captured she learns that there’s another side to her new husband – and could her supposedly cold and ruthless kidnapper also be concealing hidden depths?

Captured by a Scottish Lord is available on Amazon and Kobo and other platforms.

About the author


Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in Lancashire and writes historical and contemporary romance. Best-selling Little Pink Taxi was her debut romantic comedy novel with Choc Lit. A Paris Fairy Tale was published in July 2019, followed by Bluebell’s Christmas Magic in November 2019 and bestselling romantic suspense Escape to the Little Chateau which was shortlisted for the 2021 RNA Jackie Collins Romantic Suspense Award. Marie’s historical romances, Angel of the Lost Treasure, Queen of the Desert and Captured by a Scottish Lord, all feature members of the Saintclair family and her short stories are published in the bestselling Miss Moonshine anthologies. Marie is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors, and her novels are available as paperbacks, ebooks and audiobooks on AMAZON and various other platforms.

Follow Marie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarieLaval1 

Like Marie’s page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marielavalauthor

ReleaseDayPost HOPE, MISTLETOE AND A CHRISTMAS PROMISE by JULIET ARCHER #guestpost @ChocLituk @julietarcher

It always a delight to host a guest post on a publication day, so it’s fabulous to share with you today a post by JULIET ARCHER  to celebrate Publication Day for the fabulous HOPE, MISTLETOE AND A CHRISTMAS PROMISE!!

Over to you Juliet….

🎄🎄🎄

RELEASE DAY POST: Hope Mistletoe and a Christmas Promise by Juliet Archer

It’s wonderful to be here on publication day – thank you for inviting me, Karen!

My new novel, Hope, Mistletoe and a Christmas Promise, has a few firsts going for it. It’s my first ever Christmas book, my first story with Hong Kong as a setting, and the first time a little girl features as one of my main characters. How are these firsts connected? Just read on to find out!

Have you ever made a Christmas promise – or compromise? Because Christmas is the time of year when many of us do what we feel is expected of us, willingly or unwillingly. That can become more challenging if our situation changes. When I started writing Pip and Ryan’s story, I thought about the sort of Christmas they were each facing because of their altered circumstances.

For a long time now, I’ve wanted to set a story in Hong Kong. My husband spent the first eleven years of his life in Kowloon, and I felt as though I knew the place – or his version of it – even before we went there in 2018 and 2019. For me, Hong Kong embodies the ultimate East-West culture clash – an idea that inspired Pip and Ryan’s first meeting at the airport.

Finally, to unsettle our romantic leads even more, I decided to introduce a child’s view of Christmas – which brings us back to promises and compromises, doesn’t it?

At its heart, this is a story about two people discovering the real meaning of Christmas, aided and abetted by a six-year-old.

I hope you enjoy it – and Happy Christmas to you all!

🎄🎄🎄

Buying links: 

Kindle: http://bit.ly/3TpUntD

 Kobo: http://bit.ly/3DZdoO2 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3U9gXYI 

Nook: https://bit.ly/3T5NYnn

When a Christmas promise becomes hard to keep …

Pip Smith knows she owes it to her family to hold on to the festive traditions that have been a comfort since the year everything changed – but this Christmas she’s going to need a miracle to keep everyone in her life happy.

After she’s dumped by her fiancé, an invitation to visit a friend in Hong Kong in the run-up to the festive season seems to offer Pip the perfect escape – and she’ll be home for Christmas, of course. Except her escape ends up becoming far more complex than she intended, when she becomes involved with arrogant American Ryan Hawke and his niece, Shelby – a little girl whose most heartfelt Christmas wish is for a proper family.

Will Pip keep her Christmas promise – or will it be more of a compromise, with the help of a little hope and mistletoe?

🎄🎄🎄

About the Author:

Juliet Archer writes award-winning romantic comedy for Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction. She has been known to spend many happy hours matching irresistible heroes with their equally irresistible chocolate counterparts – watch out for the dark nutty ones!

Her debut novel, The Importance of Being Emma, won the Big Red Read Book of the Year 2011 Fiction Award and was shortlisted for the 2009 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance. Her second novel, Persuade Me, was shortlisted for the 2011 Festival of Romance Best Romantic Read Award.

Juliet was born and bred in North-East England and now lives in Hertfordshire. Her non-writing career has spanned IT, acquisitions analysis, copy editing, marketing and project management, providing plenty of first-hand research for her novels.

https://www.julietarcher.com/

PublicationDay FLORA’S CHRISTMAS OF NEW BEGINNINGS by KIRSTY FERRY #BookExtract @ChocLituk @kirsty_ferry

Greetings!! Happy Tuesday one and all!! And I have a real treat for you today, with an exclusive extract to share from FLORA’S CHRISTMAS OF NEW BEGINNINGS by the lovely KIRSTY FERRY, which is celebrating PUBLICATION DAY today!!!  Go grab your copy now!!!

Publication Day Extract: Flora’s Christmas of New Beginnings by Kirsty Ferry

To celebrate the release of Kirsty Ferry’s fun and festive Christmas novel, Flora’s Christmas of New Beginnings, here is an exclusive extract from the book!

In this short excerpt, we join Flora for ‘her Christmas that Never Was’ – but is Flora destined for bad Christmases forever more? Hopefully not! Have a read and see …

🎄🎄🎄

Last Christmas

(Which was horrible and turned into the Christmas that Never Was)

I hated January!

I hated London!

And I definitely hated Carter “dump-your-girlfriend-at-Christmas” Hayton-Smith.

Because, dear reader, I was that girlfriend.

Carter “dump-your-girlfriend-at-Christmas” Hayton-Smith (okay, let’s just call him Carter from now on) did the deed on Christmas Eve.

Bloody Christmas Eve.

I had wondered, I must say, as the days wore on, where my Christmas present was. I’d given him his so it wasn’t like I was being selfish; more just curious, as we’d originally intended to exchange them at the same time.

I started thinking that perhaps he just wasn’t as super-organised as I was, on the basis that, for days after I’d given him his gift, he kept saying stuff like, ‘Oh Flora, I’ll get around to it. I’ve just been … busy.’ Then he’d smile at me and try to distract me by snogging me or similar.

We’d arranged to spend Christmas together and everything. He’d booked lunch at a restaurant in Mayfair (he said), and apparently the destination was going to be a big surprise. I’d always had my Christmas lunch at home, or with my parents, and, if I was very honest

with myself, I didn’t feel I was really a “Hotel Christmas Lunch” sort of person. But he made it sound really exciting and fun and easy, so I agreed.

Due to this plan, my parents decided to have Christmas at the other end of the country – my sister Beth lives in a tiny village in the Lake District with her partner and two small children – and they checked and double-checked that it was okay to go.

‘Beth said she’ll come to us,’ Mum had said, looking super-concerned, ‘but if you’re definitely going to have Christmas with Carter, we’ll go there. It’s better for the children if they think Santa is coming to their own house. Routine and all that.’ Mum was a great one for “routine”, and it had obviously ingrained itself into her daughters. I worked in events management at Bloomsbury Bright’s in, well, Bloomsbury, obviously, and that involved a lot of organisation and planning; and Beth was a teacher, so she spent weekdays herding small children, and evenings and weekends herding even smaller children. I didn’t know how she managed. Her house ran like clockwork and I was sure that Trixie and Tabitha would have been perfectly compliant if Beth and Tony had decided to drive to Pinner and ensure Santa showed up there instead.

I’d always failed to see why she’d given her children the same names as the cats we’d had when we were kids though.

But, anyway, off to the Lakes they went on the 23rd, and I promised I’d send them a photo of my lovely Christmas lunch.

Then on the morning of Christmas Eve, I woke up to a text from Carter:

Babes. Been thinking. Getting too serious for me, y’all know I’m scared of commitment lol lol lol. Christmas Day together, man, just seems kinda – intense. You know? Gonna cut you loose, so you can have fun with the fam-a-lam tomoz instead. Don’t feel bad about it, we had fun, yeah? The swimming and the waxworks. Oh and the theatre. Awesome.

So yeah. Not you, it’s me lol lol. Cancelled lunch, so don’t stress over it. Love n light n peace. Thanks for the last few months. Been fun. Xxx

‘What the … what the absolute …!’ I screamed into the empty bedroom. Three mentions of “fun” in one bloody text and I was currently failing to see what had been “fun” at all, in retrospect. Yes, we’d been to the water park at London Royal Docks and he’d zoomed off swimming and left me trailing behind. Yes, we’d done Madame Tussaud’s and I’d been scared witless in the Chamber of Horrors, but he’d “had to get up early the next day” so wouldn’t stay over and I spent the night a gibbering wreck with the lights on in the lounge binge-watching comedy movies. And he’d fallen asleep in Les Mis, which was certainly a talent few can claim to own.

I was aware that he had a very punchy sort of job in finance; I’d always known he would be working long hours and that was fine. He constantly seemed to move at a million miles per hour and treated everything as a joke, just a bit of light relief. We’d only been together six months and I thought it seemed a bit wild arranging something so, well, intimate for Christmas Day. But I was happy to go along with it, all caught up in the new relationship and thinking that it was one day we wouldn’t have to rush through for once; that we could enjoy a lazy morning and a lovely lunch and a cosy afternoon.

But I was wrong.

By then, Mum and Dad were at Beth’s – I had told Carter that was happening, which made his text even more thoughtless – and even as I phoned Mum in desperation, thinking I could maybe drive all the way up there, deep down I knew it wasn’t going to happen.

‘Oh darling,’ said Mum. ‘We’ve got blizzards up here, and they’ve got a weather warning up for today and tonight. We’re basically snowed in and being advised not to drive. It’s supposed to ease off tomorrow…?’ There was a little note of hope in her voice, a tiny query in the word “tomorrow”, but I was already shaking my head, tears dripping off the end

of my nose by that point. I realised I’d have to speak eventually because we were on the phone and she couldn’t see me. But that was maybe a good thing because I’d always been an ugly crier.

‘No, Mum. It’s okay,’ I managed. ‘I’m sure it’ll be fine. It’s only one day.’

‘Sweetheart. Are there any friends you can spend it with? I’m so sorry we’re up here.’

‘I’ll find someone. It’s fine.’

‘If you’re sure.’

‘I’m sure.’

But obviously it wasn’t fine, and I didn’t even try to call any friends. Most of them were spending Christmas Day with their families and, of course, I didn’t want to gate-crash.

In the end, I lied. I told Mum I’d spent the day with my colleague Claudia, because her partner, Dieter, was a doctor and had to work, so she’d be on her own too. Claudia was a person far enough removed that they were highly unlikely to meet her, they weren’t friends with her parents, and they basically didn’t know her at all. After Christmas, I told Claudia to uphold that lie if they ever did end up meeting her and explained why. I knew she would do it, bless her.

In reality, that Christmas Day was the most pox-worthy, crappy day I have ever spent in my entire life. It may only have been one day, but the TV adverts don’t let you think that. They always fill the screen with happy people and families around a massive turkey on a table. I cried every time an advert came on with a mum and a dad and a child. Which is stupid because I’m twenty-eight!

I had a going-out-of-date microwave chicken curry for lunch which I’d bought at the corner shop on Christmas Eve, ate an entire Christmas pudding for tea and drank a bottle of prosecco for supper, just to try and make myself sleep.

I told Mum I’d “forgotten” my phone when I went to Claudia’s, so that was why I had no photos of the lunch or the super-fun day we’d had playing Pictionary and singing along to musicals on TV, etc, and that was also why I only FaceTimed them at 8 p.m.

She held the phone up to the window of Beth’s house so I could see the thick covering of snow, almost like she thought I might not believe her about the weather, but the worst part was seeing my dad with his paper hat on and Tabitha curled up asleep in the crook of his arm.

I so wanted to be there with them.

And thus Christmas Day passed, eventually, and thankfully I went to bed, fell asleep and shut the door on that awful day.

It was a crying shame because I loved Christmas, normally – but that one went down in my memory bank as the “Christmas that Never Was”.

And then we were into January, which I always hated anyway, because it’s grey and miserable – and who’s a size four, to grab bargains in the sales?

So now you can probably understand why I particularly hated last January. I was still getting over the awful Christmas; still getting over – and getting enraged on a regular basis about – Carter.

But when I met Paul Tanner at an event the following month, I thought that at least it had to mean that February was going to be much better than January!

🎄🎄🎄

About the author:

Kirsty Ferry is from the North East of England and lives there with her husband and son. She won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition and has had articles and short stories published in various magazines. Her work also appears in several anthologies, incorporating such diverse themes as vampires, crime, angels and more.

Kirsty loves writing ghostly mysteries and interweaving fact and fiction. The research is almost as much fun as writing the book itself, and if she can add a wonderful setting and a dollop of history, that’s even better.

Her day job involves sharing a building with an eclectic collection of ghosts, which can often prove rather interesting.

FOLLOW THE AUTHOR……

www.twitter.com/kirsty_ferry 

https://www.facebook.com/kirsty.ferry.author/

 Kirsty’s website: www.rosethornpress.co.uk

 Kirsty’s blog: www.rosethornramblings.wordpress.com

About the book:


It was meant to be a romantic Christmas getaway …

Except Flora’s boyfriend Paul is more interested in whether there’s WiFi in their holiday cottage than he is in the pretty village of Padcock where it’s located. It seems he’s incapable of taking time out from his work for gossip mag darling Maxine Marling – or Maxine Marmoset as Flora not so secretly calls her (well, she does look like a marmoset!) – to spend time with his actual girlfriend.

But as Flora discovers the friendly and festive community of Padcock with its eccentric but lovable locals – including dreamy musician Geraint Davies – she begins to question her London life and lots more besides. Especially as a certain marmoset becomes ever more present on her Christmas break for two …

But luckily Padcock is a village where fresh starts happen – and maybe Flora is in line for her own Christmas of new beginnings.

 Buying links: 

Kindle: https://amzn.to/3VFmG9P

 Kobo: https://bit.ly/3CFI4mI 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3P58DWu

 Nook: https://bit.ly/3vGxOaW

#GuestPost SUMMER AT SEASPRAY COTTAGE by ANGELA BRITNELL #Extract #PublicationDay @ChocLituk @AngelaBritnell

Hello and welcome to Books and Me! Today I have the pleasure of handing over the Blog to the lovely ANGELA BRITNELL as she shares an extract with you to help celebrate publication day for the fabulous SUMMER AT SEASPRAY COTTAGE

Over to you Angela…

🌞🌞🌞

RELEASE DAY POST: Summer at Seaspray Cottage by Angela Britnell

It’s lovely to be here again, Karen and thank you so much for inviting me to stop by on publication day my new release – Summer at Seaspray Cottage. The story is set primarily in my home county of Cornwall and Chough Cove is inspired by Mevagissey, the small fishing village where my mother grew up. I thought your readers might enjoy a small taste of the book so have picked out an extract for them. To set up the story: Thea Armitage has inherited her aunt’s cottage in Chough Cove and returned to Cornwall for the first time since she was a teenager. Harry Venton has also landed back in Chough Cove and this time he’s determined not to be driven out by either public opinion or the father he hasn’t spoken to in twenty years. Much to the dismay of many villagers he’s building a house and is there to stay. To say he’s shocked to come literally face to face again with the woman he’s never been able to forget – no matter how hard he’s tried – is an understatement of massive proportions ………………

‘Mr H, are you going to sign for this or stare into space all day?’ Jacko poked Harry’s arm and pointed at the waiting delivery driver.

Harry grabbed the tablet and used his finger to scrawl something resembling his name on the screen. Maybe he was a dinosaur but he preferred a pen and paper over these techy gadgets that made everyone look illiterate. ‘Cheers.’ He strolled away to check out the long planks of wood stacked up on the ground.

‘Bit dark aren’t they?’ Jacko came to stand by him, frowning.

‘They’re exactly what I wanted. They’re perfect.’ He stroked the weathered grey cedar. ‘Doesn’t it remind you of the ocean on a winter’s day?’

‘I suppose.’ The builder smirked. ‘Bloody freezing and blowing a gale you mean?’

Harry gave up trying to explain his vision for the house he’d been planning for years now.

‘I’ll get the lads to help me shift it all tomorrow.’ Jacko pulled out his car keys. ‘You coming for a pint? The wife’s got her book club meeting at our place so I’m staying out ’til they’re gone.’ He chuckled. ‘They’ll talk the hind legs off a donkey and none of it about the book.’

‘Cheers but not right now. There’s a few things I want to wrap up here. I might stop by later.’ It would sound rude to say all he wanted was to be left alone. Harry loved nothing better than seizing the chance to walk around his new property when no one else was about. These quiet times gave him the chance to study the progress they’d made and decide where he might want to make any changes.

Jacko tipped him a nod and ambled over to his dilapidated white van. Harry kept his fingers crossed this wouldn’t be one of the many days when the ancient van refused to start but it rumbled to life and drove off belching diesel fumes.

As it often did his gaze drifted to the row of old terraced houses on the opposite side of Polmorva Road and picked out the one on the far left with its fresh yellow paint where he grew up with his father. There were few fond childhood memories associated with the place. Georgie Venton had hated his son. Day after day, year after year he made Harry pay for causing his beloved wife’s death in childbirth. With the benefit of maturity, Harry had tried to understand the mind of a man maddened by grief but couldn’t yet find it in him to forgive. Since they started building he frequently spotted his father’s stooped figure standing by the door but he wasn’t there today. He felt a satisfaction deep in his gut at forcing Georgie to see how successful his son had become despite his tough beginnings.

With a smile he turned back to the half-completed building. Venton House. Perhaps it was vain to put his name on his new home but he’d earned his money the hard way so why shouldn’t he indulge himself for once? He pushed away a niggle of misgiving and studied the curved iron

framework sweeping across the front of the house, ready for installation of the floor to ceiling glass highlighted in thin strips of black wood that would front his kitchen and living space. The expansive view over the harbour and on out to sea would be second to none.

The boards that arrived today were destined for shingling the outside of the house so it would blend seamlessly with the environment around, picking up colour from the granite cliffs beneath and on stormy days the steel-grey skies and choppy waters. He’d steered as far as possible away from the jaunty nautical look beloved of so many coastal homes with their fake anchors and cheerful blue and white soft furnishings. Venton House’s design was deliberately stripped down and elemental. Harry quirked a smile. An ex-girlfriend once described him in a similar albeit less polite way.

Harry’s stomach growled and he struggled to remember if he’d eaten today. Jacko had offered him one of the mountain of doorstep sandwiches his wife packed him off with every morning but he’d been too impatient to stop working. Perhaps he should go for a pint with the builder after all and grab something to eat at the pub.

The stiff breeze whipping in off the sea made him shiver in his T-shirt and shorts. Although it was the beginning of June and summer in Chough Cove the difference between the sheltered harbour and up here on the exposed cliff was often night and day. In the middle of winter when there was no hiding from the worst of the weather his house would need every bit of its expensive underfloor heating system.

Harry bestowed one last quiet, satisfied smile on the half-finished building and strode off down the road. A few people nodded as he passed them by but no one stopped to speak. He told himself their reticence didn’t bother him because if his hard upbringing taught him one thing it was patience. Once they recognised he was here to stay and wanted to do his part to benefit the community he hoped they’d come around.

Strings of coloured lights twinkled against the external whitewashed walls of The Dolphin and the door stood open, allowing a constant stream of people to go in and out. The throbbing music and loud laughter drifting out set him on edge and he changed his mind about joining Jacko. He leaned on the harbour wall instead and rested his arms on the rough, uneven stones. The tide was creeping back in so the orderly lines of fishing and pleasure boats bobbed around like corks.

A peal of raucous laughter rang out behind him.

‘The fish and chips are gonna be my treat. Don’t argue.’

A woman’s drawling American accent made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.

‘God you always were a bossy cow!’

The second voice he’d recognise anywhere. Kelsey Nancarrow. His oldest friend in the village who now avoided him whenever possible, only exchanging a polite nod if their paths unavoidably crossed. Her late grandmother, Vera, had been the Ventons’ next-door neighbour in Polmorva Terrace and took care of both Harry and Kelsey when they were young and their parents were all at work. They remained close as they got older until they were sixteen. It’d never occurred to him that Kelsey saw him as anything more than a good friend but apparently he’d been wrong and his rejection struck her hard.

‘Watch where you’re going,’ Kelsey yelled.

Harry jerked around as a woman barrelled into him and he automatically clamped his hands on her arms so she wouldn’t knock them both over. Her head flew up and the wide silver-green eyes with their fringe of soot-black lashes that’d haunted his dreams for years flared with shock. Thea Armitage stared at him as though she’d seen a ghost.

🌞🌞🌞

So what happens next? Should they give each other a second chance or let the proverbial sleeping dogs lie? You’ll have to read the rest of the book to find out…

Thank you again for being such a wonderful supporter of my trans-Atlantic romances and I look forward to returning for a chat when my next book is released – a Christmas story involving a pantomime that is still a work in progress at the moment!

About the Book:

What would you do if you inherited a Cornish cottage by the sea?

If you’re Thea Armitage, sell it as soon as possible. Whilst there’s no denying that Seaspray Cottage has its charm, it just holds too many bad memories for Thea to consider keeping it – although at least spending the summer preparing it for sale gives her a distraction from troubles back home in Tennessee.

What Thea didn’t count on was her worst Cornish memory moving in right next door. Local bad boy Harry Venton played no small part in Thea’s decision never to return to Cornwall twenty years before – and now he’s her neighbour! Could things get any worse?

Except Harry isn’t the boy he was, and as Thea comes to realise that her opinion of him was built on lies and misunderstandings, perhaps things will start looking up for her summer at Seaspray Cottage …

Buying links: 

Kindle: https://amzn.to/3uqkiry 

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3bNvGar

 Apple Books: https://apple.co/3QbBfz9 

Nook: https://bit.ly/3QeSW0H

🌞🌞🌞

About the Author:

Angela was born in St. Stephen, Cornwall, England. After completing her A-Levels she worked as a Naval Secretary. She met her husband, a US Naval Flight Officer, while being based at a small NATO Headquarters on the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark. They lived together in Denmark, Sicily, California, southern Maryland and London before settling in Franklin, Tennessee.

Angela took a creative writing course in 2000 and loved it so much that she has barely put her pen down since. She has had short stories and novels published in the US. Her novel Sugar & Spice, won Choc Lit’s Search for an American Star competition and was her UK debut.

Follow Angela on Twitter: @AngelaBritnell

 Like Angela on Facebook: Angela Britnell

#GuestPost RECIPE FOR MR SUPER by ANNI ROSE @ChocLituk @AnniRoseAuthor #PublicationDay

Delighted to be with you today to help celebrate release day for the fabulous RECIPE FOR MR SUPER by ANNI ROSE.   So I’m handing over the Blog today so she can share some thoughts on her inspiration!

Over to you Anni…..

🐴🐴🐴

Release Day Post: Recipe for Mr Super by Anni Rose 

Born and raised in Berkshire, I emigrated to Wiltshire seven years ago, where I now live with my husband, sister, two dogs and Midge, the grey speckled hen. 

As a child, I loved writing fiction, producing reams of stories, thankfully lost over the years, although recently when we cleared my mother’s house out, ‘The attack of the Killer Tomatoes’ did resurface. 

On leaving school, the need to earn a living sort of got in the way of any creative ambitions and I became an accountant where my only published work apart from regular financial reports was the employees’ handbook. 

A local writing course and an encouraging group of writing friends re-ignited the fiction flame many years later and I went on to win or be short listed in several writing competitions. I had short stories published in Writers Forum, My Weekly and Sophie King’s ‘How to Write your Life Story’.

These days I would describe my writing as modern romantic stories with a healthy dollop of humour thrown in. I’m a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and was delighted to have been signed by Choc Lit Publishing in 2021. Recipe for Mr Super is the third in my ‘Recipes for Life’ series and follows hot on the heels of Recipe for Mr Perfect and Recipe for Mr Right, both published last year. 

Away from the garden and writing I can usually be found behind a camera, walking the dogs, enjoying one of my husband’s curries or my sister’s bakery treats. 

The ‘Recipes for Life’ Series are all set in my fictional town of Redford. They are stand-alone novels although I have to admit some of the characters may have written themselves into more than one book. 

Recipe for Mr Super was inspired by the four years spent working as an heir hunter and my love of horses. Having been lucky enough to ride and/or own some amazing horses over the years this is my tribute both to them and the lovely people I have met through riding over the years and to one amazing Shetland Pony who had a thing about Wellington boots! 

Find out more about Anni here: 

Twitter: @AnniRoseAuthor  

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AnniRoseAuthor  

Website: https://anniroseauthor.co.uk 

Instagram: anniroseauthor 

🐴🐴🐴

About the book: 

Where’s a hero when you need him? 
 

In Autumn Rigden’s case, enjoying semi-celebrity status on the other side of the world. Although Nick Flynn is no superman – talented horse rider and Super Sportstar of the Year he might be, but he has a habit of leaving Autumn in the lurch when she needs him most. 
 

Anyway, Autumn is too busy with her new career to care about Nick. Okay, so she’s had to give up her OIympic dressage dream, her childhood home and beloved Shetland pony – and all to the benefit of Gordon, Nick’s money-grabbing father. But Autumn’s new ambition is to become an heir hunter extraordinaire, and with a promising commission and only a few weirdos demanding she prove they’re related to royalty, she’s all set. 
 

But when Mr Super returns, will Autumn find that forgetting about horses and the Flynns is harder than she could have ever imagined? 

Buying links: 

Kindle: https://amzn.to/3nAdsMg  


Kobo: https://bit.ly/3bIokFb

 
Apple Books: https://apple.co/3MbMRih  


Nook: https://bit.ly/3t9RB1g  

#GuestPost THE HOUSE ON THE HILL by CHRIS PENHALL #PublicationDay @ChocLituk @ChrisPenhall

An absolute delight to be having company on the Blog today to help celebrate the publication day of the wonderful THE HOUSE ON THE HILL by CHRIS PENHALL!!  Links to buy are below so go grab your copy and get that Summer feeling on!!

Over to you Chris…..

🌞🌞🌞

Release Day post: The House on the Hill by Chris Penhall

The House on the Hill – A Summer in the Algarve is the story of Layla Garcia, the apparently serene, successful, well-organised owner of a yoga and mindfulness studio called – yes, you’ve guessed it – The House on the Hill. The story follows her through the summer months of one memorable year, and it transpires that under that calm exterior is a swan with legs paddling faster and faster like a wind-up toy as time goes on in order to just keep things under control and the business running smoothly.

But that proves harder than she thinks, especially when a reminder of a past she’d rather not deal with moves in next door in the form of writer, Luke Mackie. He accidentally brings a spot of unwelcome, but – I’m going to be honest here – much-needed chaos to her life. And just to make things even more difficult for herself Layla decides not to tell him that their paths have already crossed. And voila – she manages to create another problem. For her. Not for him. He has no idea they have any kind of common history at all.

All of this is set against the backdrop of Lagos in the western Algarve – a place I love very much, and where I go often to relax, replenish and have quite a lot of fun.

There is a hill behind the long, beautiful stretch of sand that is Meia Praia and I decided that it was a perfect place for Layla’s studios where she can hide out, driving down to the beach or into the city when she needed to, but able to return and gaze at it all from a distance whenever she wants.

She can open the door onto the balcony outside her bedroom and listen to the birdsong and distant lapping of the waves after the daily morning yoga session before she faces the world. To the west, the white-washed buildings of Lagos, to the east, the lagoon separating Meia Praia and Alvor and Portimao, where elegant yachts pause for a while before gliding gracefully out to sea.

For me, this encapsulates Lagos, with its vibrance on one hand, and its serenity on the other. I can experience both within a 20-minute walk! In the summer, the streets are filled with life and music, whether it’s of buskers on street corners or guitarists in bars and restaurants across the city. And yet you can get away from the crowds simply by sitting on the sand of Praia de Batata next to the fort at the end of the Avenida as the sun goes down, where all is quiet, or pad around the narrow, cobbled back streets in the shadows of the city walls, and to the accompaniment of your footsteps and the occasional hum of conversation.

All of that is Layla’s world. She just needs to be careful the House on the Hill doesn’t really turn into her Fortress on the Hill.

🌞🌞🌞

About the Book:

Layla is calm, in control and is definitely not about to lose her serenity for the man next door!

Surely it can’t be hard to stay peaceful at one of the oldest yoga and mindfulness retreats in the Algarve, surrounded by sea, sun and serenity? Mostly, owner Layla Garcia manages it – with the help of meditation and plenty of camomile tea, of course.

But keeping her grandparents’ legacy alive is stressful, and Layla has become so shackled to the work that, for her, The House on the Hill is fast becoming ‘The Fortress on the Hill’.

Then writer Luke Mackie moves to the villa next door, bringing with him a healthy dose of chaos to disrupt Layla’s plans, plus a painful reminder of a time when she was less-than-serene. But could his influence be just what Layla needs to ‘dance like no-one’s watching’ and have the fun she’s been missing?

Buying links: 

Kindle: https://amzn.to/3ygCc26 

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3xPS0HJ 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/38AH8oO 

Nook: https://bit.ly/3PqObAO

About the Author:

Chris is a freelance writer and radio producer. 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.

Chris debut novel, The House That Alice Built won Choc Lit’s Search for a Star competition sponsored by Your Cat Magazine.

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisPenhall 

Like Chris on Facebook: Chris Penhall Author 

Visit Chris’s blog here: https://www.chrispenhall.co.uk/

🌞🌞🌞

#GuestPost A VACANCY FOR A VILLAGE VET by JOANNE BODEN #Extract #PublicationDay @ChocLituk @JoBodenAuthor

Hello!! Welcome to Books and Me!  And today I have the pleasure of sharing an exclusive extract with you to help celebrate Publication Day for the fabulous A VACANCY FOR A VILLAGE VET by JOANNE BODEN.   The link to grab your copy is posted below too so treat yourself!! You won’t regret it!!

Release Day Extract: A Vacancy for a Village Vet by Joanne Boden 

A Vacancy for a Village Vet is a cosy new contemporary romance from Joanne Boden – a book about second chances, making peace with your past and plenty of pets, of course! To celebrate publication day, we thought we’d share an exclusive extract from the very beginning of the book – kindly hosted by Karen on her blog – where everything is about to change for Daniel and Hannah … 

‘You’ll come back, won’t you?’  

Daniel pulled Hannah towards him and closed his eyes. He couldn’t look at her, couldn’t bear to look into those smokey grey eyes and see nothing but sadness and hurt. He inhaled her strawberry shampoo, felt her breath on his neck. She couldn’t see his face. He wouldn’t cause her pain by allowing her to see the lie that lay beneath the surface.  

‘I’ll be back,’ he said, unable now to stop those words, his throat tight and dry. He stroked her flyaway blonde waves that could never be tamed and rested his hand on the back of her head.  

‘And you’ll write to me every day?’ she asked.  

He heard the uncertainty in the shaking of her words. Her hands now clung to his , nails digging into his skin. 

He wanted to slow time. To stay in this moment forever. They’d agreed to write proper letters, not quick texts or emails, although of course they could. “Handwritten letters are much more romantic” she said. They reminded her of the olden days. Of “Elizabeth and Mr Darcy”.  

‘I’ll write to you,’ he said. His fingers twisted in her hair. 

He wanted to believe that he would. 

A car horn sounded. His mother popped her head out of the half-lowered window, followed by a plume of cigarette smoke. ‘Daniel,’ she hollered, ‘we need to get going.’  

He exhaled slowly, felt Hannah’s shoulders relax slip away from him as she stepped back. She swiped a finger across her eyes. A smear of black mascara followed in its wake. She gave him a slow, sad smile. 

He reclosed the gap between them and hisis fingers traced her cheekbones as he dipped his head to give her one last, tender kiss on the lips.  

Eyes were on them. He wished with every breath in his body that they were alone. 

“You’re only kids”, his mum had told him, when she announced she’d be moving to London with her shiny new husband, although none of this was David Brewer’s fault. Daniel liked him. He hadn’t pretended to be a substitute father. After all, he had a grandfather for that. David had made that perfectly clear.  

But they were all wrong. Yes, he was only fifteen, nearly sixteen, but he knew his own mind and heart, knew what he felt in his bones and blood and muscles. And he loved Hannah. His mother had laughed when he shared that bit of news with her, his cheeks flaming and his heart pounding with this shared intimacy. “You’ll fall in love a dozen times – it’s part of growing up.” And then more forcefully when he’d told her Hannah was important to him – “You don’t know what love is at your age!” when he’d told her Hannah was important to him.  

She told him with a faraway look in her eyes that she had fallen in love at sixteen, and look where that had landed her – almost as an afterthought she’d quickly added she wouldn’t have changed having him for the world. But he’d seen the stark truth in those words. She’d have changed things in a heartbeat. Back then at least, maybe not now. That boy she had loved was long gone, married twice since then, and with four kids to his name, not including Daniel. He had never been a part of his life. 

“Stay or go” his mother told him, giving him a choice. The decision was his, and his alone. Go to London, or stay here in Middlefern with Gerald. “It’s up to you. You’re nearly sixteen, old enough to make up your own mind”. But apparently not old enough to know if he was in love with a girl he had loved all of his short life. 

There was no choice. There had never been a choice. 

He couldn’t stay in Middlefern, not under the same roof as Gerald. He’d briefly toyed with the idea of asking Kathy, Hannah’s mum, if he could stay with them, but that, he knew, would only lead to more questions, none of which he could answer. The main one being, why couldn’t he stay with Gerald? 

If he left he knew he could never come back, not while Gerald lived and worked in the village. He could never return.  

So he did what he had to do. He lied and told Hannah he would do all of those things. His final act of kindness before breaking her heart. 

‘It’s time to go, son.’ Gerald stood on the threshold to his veterinary practice, arms folded across his broad chest, a slight sneer spread across his face. Daniel’s hands curled into tight fists. He refused to turn around. He would not look at him. He’d never have to look at him again.  

Gerald sauntered past them and stopped at the side of the car. He peered in through the passenger window. ‘You got everything, Samantha?’ he asked. 

She nodded. ‘Yes, and thank you, for everything.’ 

‘Take care of yourself, and phone me when you get there.’ 

Gerald opened the passenger door. ‘Time to go now, son,’ he shouted in Daniel’s direction. 

Daniel’s jaw tensed as he reached for Hannah’s hand. ‘I’ll write soon,’ he said. Another lie. 

‘Promise.’ 

‘Promise.’ He very nearly choked on the word. His final act of betrayal. 

He turned to go, but she grabbed his arm and pressed something cold and hard into the palm of his hand.  

‘Don’t look now,’ she whispered. ‘Look later, in the car.’ 

He nodded, unable to formulate any words.  

He turned towards the car, averting his eyes so he wouldn’t see Gerald. 

Kathy placed her arm around her daughter’s shoulder. The two of them like statues, silently watching him go.  

‘Bye, son,’ Gerald said as he grabbed Daniel’s arm, forcing him to stop. 

Daniel looked at his shoes, taking solace in this small victory. 

‘Look after your mum for me,’ Gerald growled. 

Daniel shook his arm free and unfolded his long, lean body into the car. He shut the door without turning to face the old man. Instead he looked at his mother. 

‘Ready love?’ she asked. 

‘Yeah.’ 

‘She’ll be okay, you know. So will you.’ 

‘I hope so,’ he said. He had a chance at a brand new start. Away from Middlefern and away from him. He just wished Hannah could be a part of that new start. Maybe in time she could join him. Travel to London. She could go to university there, as they’d planned. Maybe they could buy a flat. Move in together. It was possible. Anything was possible, wasn’t it? 

But even as he had these fleeting thoughts he knew it was a fantasy.  

This was the end. 

Time to move on.  

He would forget and so would she. Given time. 

The car pulled away from the kerbside. 

Hannah lifted a hand to wave, but it slowly dropped as she hugged her arms around her body. He saw Kathy raise her hand to stroke her daughter’s hair. The image became smaller and smaller in the rear-view mirror. He observed the whispering of words that he could not hear. 

His fingers unfurled and in his palm he found half a heart. A locket made of sterling silver. He turned it over. There was no engraving, just smooth metal, the size of a ten pence piece. It took several seconds before it hit him like a punch to the gut. He had half, Hannah the other. Two halves of one heart, forever broken. 

From: A Vacancy for a Village Vet by Joanne Boden 

© Joanne Boden 

About the Book: 

From big city high-flyer to little village vet … 

Hannah and Daniel were teenage sweethearts, but then Daniel left their sleepy village of Middlefern and his grandfather’s veterinary practice behind for the bright lights of London. 

Now, fifteen years later, the prodigal grandson has returned to temporarily take over the village practice with a veterinary qualification and his dog, Sammy, in tow. Daniel is ready for rabbits with tummy aches, guinea pigs who’ve lost their squeak, plenty of cow complaints and a whole lot of memories – both good and bad. But is he ready to see Hannah again? 

Of course, a high-flying city vet like Daniel was never planning to stay in Middlefern for good – especially given his history with the place. But could another, even more important, vacancy convince him to change his mind?

Buying links: 


Kindle: https://amzn.to/3xTZ2eT  

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3tH4Wyv 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3vqlJqF  

Nook: https://bit.ly/3y2bM4O  

About the Author: 



Joanne lives in Lancashire with her husband and their two sons. When she is not busy writing, she likes to take her boys to the local museums, cafes and for walks in the countryside. Joanne has published 4 non-fiction works aimed at parenting children on the Autistic spectrum, based upon her experiences as a mother of an autistic son.  

Joanne also writes contemporary romances with gorgeous heroes. 

Find out more about Joanne here: 

https://www.facebook.com/JoBodenAuthor

#BlogTour ACTS OF LOVE AND WAR by MAGGIE BROOKES #publicationdaypost @marielouisespp @centurybooksuk @Maggie__Brookes

Delighted to be with you today to tell you about a wonderful book out today!! I’m currently reading this, and loving every single page, so hope to share my thoughts in a review in the days to come!!

ABOUT THE BOOK

1936. Civil war in Spain. A world on the brink of chaos . . .

21-year-old Lucy feels content with her life in Hertfordshire – not least because she lives next door to Tom and Jamie, two very different brothers for whom she has equally great affection.

But her comfortable life is turned upside down when Tom decides he must travel to Spain to fight for the Democratic party in the bloody Spanish Civil War. He is quickly followed by Jamie who, much to Lucy’s despair, is supporting General Franco and his Fascist party.

To the dismay of her irascible father, Lucy decides that the only way to bring her boys back safely is to travel to Spain herself to persuade them to come home.

Yet when she sees the horrific effects of the war, she quickly becomes immersed in the lifesaving work the Quakers are doing to help the civilian population, many of whom are refugees.

As the war progresses and the situation becomes increasingly perilous, Lucy realises that the challenge going forward is not so much which brother she will end up with, but whether any of them will survive the carnage long enough to decide . .

.PUBLISHED BY CENTURY

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon


Blackwell’s

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maggie Brookes is a British ex-journalist and BBC television producer turned poet and novelist.


The Prisoner’s Wife is based on an extraordinary true story of love and courage, told to her by an ex-WW2 prisoner of war. Maggie visited the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany as part of her research for the book, learning largely forgotten aspects of the war.
The Prisoner’s Wife is due to be published by imprints of Penguin Random House in the UK and in the US in May 2020. Publication in other countries, including Holland, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic will follow.


As well as being a writer, Maggie is an advisory fellow for the Royal Literary Fund and also an Associate Professor at Middlesex University, London, England, where she has taught creative writing since 1990. She lives in London and Whitstable, Kent and is married, with two grown-up daughters.


She has published five poetry collections in the UK under her married name of Maggie Butt. Poetry website: www.maggiebutt.co.uk

#GuestPost Edie’s Summer of New Beginnings by Kirsty Ferry @ChocLituk @kirsty_ferry #Excerpt #PublicationDay

Excited to be with you today to share an exclusive excerpt from the fabulous Kirsty Ferry, to help celebrate Publication Day for EDIE’S SUMMER OF NEW BEGINNINGS!! Go grab your copy ASAP!!

🌞🌞🌞

Release Day Extract: Edie’s Summer of New Beginnings by Kirsty Ferry

Edie’s Summer of New Beginnings is the wonderful and quirky new romcom from Kirsty Ferry – a book that’s bound to put a smile on your face this summer! To celebrate publication day, we thought we’d introduce you to Edie and her world on Karen’s blog this morning. But who is Ninian Chambers, and how is he about to shake up Edie’s idyllic village existence?………..

The village I lived in was quite a small one. In a small village, of course, your business is everybody’s business. And that was why everyone in Padcock’s tiny corner shop stopped and went ‘Ooooh!’ when Sally announced a certain piece of staggering information …

‘A film crew is coming to Padcock Court in the summer!’

‘Oooh,’ I said, joining in and edging closer to the counter to listen a little better as Lilian commented, ‘Ooooh. But however will Mrs Pom-pom stand that? Won’t she set her hounds on them?’

Mrs Pom-pom wore hats that looked like tea cosies all year round and shouted at a people a lot. She especially liked shouting at people who walked past her gate too closely, and definitely liked shouting at cars. Her real name was Mrs Pomeroy, but, well, her hat choices informed her nickname.

Mrs Pom-pom’s hounds were two great big Labradors, who always stared at her and drooled whilst she shouted.

‘Get them! Get them, boys!’ she’d screeched when my friend Cerys and I had rolled back from the pub one evening and had the audacity to do snorty giggles when we passed Padcock Court.

‘Arf!’ went Arfur, and lay down.

‘Umph!’ went Umbert, and also lay down.

Fortunately, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Cerys and I survived the attack.

‘I don’t know,’ said Sally, back on the subject of the film crew. ‘Perhaps she’ll be a bit more flexible if it’s going to make them some money.’

Everyone nodded sagely. Money was definitely something Mrs Pom-pom needed in shedloads. Padcock Court looked impressive – an ancient familial manor house in our picture-perfect village – but beyond the white plaster and dark wood beams, roofs dripped, ceilings were bowed and windows rattled as the wind came rushing down the lea to hit the back of the house.

I knew this because when I was little, and my granny still lived in Padcock – before I inherited her house – she had been quite friendly with Mrs Pom-pom, who wasn’t quite so shouty in those days. Although even back then she’d owned a series of impressive tea cosy hats.

I’d always spent most of my life shuttling back and forth between Padcock and wherever I found myself next. My mum, Bridget, had me when she was very young and sent me to boarding school as soon as she could. She was never hands on, and my gran basically brought me up.

Gran’s heyday had been in the sixties. She had loads of stories about that time, but had never had a husband. I had no idea who my grandfather was, just as I never knew who my father was. I’m not sure if my mum ever knew either. It probably wasn’t surprising, really, that my personal style was like I’d been spewed out of the sixties and dumped into the twenty-first century, what with Gran’s influence in my life. For some reason, the thought of that era made me feel happy and secure, and I’d clearly absorbed more of Gran’s history than even she thought possible.

It was no wonder I’d started dressing like one of Andy Warhol’s muses in my rebellious teens, when all I was bothered about at my expensive school was bunking off any class that wasn’t art. My style was simple yet effective – black mini skirt, black polo neck, chandelier earrings and boots. My hair, naturally quite a dark brown, was chin length and bleached, and I usually wore it in a ponytail. I got some odd looks in Padcock initially as I grew up and developed my own style, but they soon just accepted me as “That Weird Artist Girl From London”.

I’ve always loved Padcock. Padcock suited my gran and it suited me for the moment – although the village was undoubtedly a bit of a tourist trap. So many films and TV series had been filmed in this sleepy little place in the South Downs, that hearing Mrs Pom-pom had a camera crew coming in shouldn’t have been quite so exciting – but then we could all remember the last time someone had come to film anything. It was a gardening programme, and Mrs Pom-pom had yelled at the celebrity gardener and chased him away with the loppers.

‘Edie.’ Sally suddenly addressed me, bringing me back to the present, even as I found myself wondering just exactly how far Mrs Pom-pom had chased that poor celebrity gardener. ‘You’ll be interested in the programme.’ The swivelling of the collective Padcock eyes towards me was almost audible.

‘What! Why?’ I was a little stunned. I’m as interested as any village local each time a new film crew rocks up. We once had a celebrity bingo thing going on in the pub. Lovely Sam, the barman and owner of the Spatchcock Inn, kept the official list of “things to spot” behind the bar and we’d whisper to him when we heard or saw anything relevant – for example, a film star furtively smoking behind the back of a building, or an actor having a tantrum about something and being ushered away to be soothed by the member of the production team.

‘Because, Edie, this film crew are doing a painting challenge.’ Sally leaned back in her seat behind the counter and folded her arms.

‘And…?’ I failed to make the connection.

‘And you could take part in it.’

‘I could not!’

‘You could. You paint. You draw things. You do art.’

‘Well … yes.’ I felt the colour rise in my cheeks. I would admit that forty per cent of the “local art” in Eclectically Yours – Cerys’ Craft Shop and Organic Tea Room was of my creation. I worked part-time with Cerys … well, Cerys would say I worked for her, but I would strongly disagree. She was technically my manager, but if she ever had to discipline me, I’m sure she’d just say that she was very “disappointed” in me and then I’d cry.

So yes, some of the artwork in her shop was mine, but that definitely didn’t mean I wanted to participate in a televised competition.

‘But that doesn’t mean I want to participate in a televised competition,’ I tried.

That panicky feeling that had become too much a part of me when I thought about doing anything more exciting art-wise than painting pretty little village scenes for the craft shop thumped against my ribcage. I used to do quite a bit of wild avant-garde art when I lived properly in London. I had a studio and everything, not too far from my Camden Town flat. The flat had been in my family since Mum was a baby, and it had become my base when I left Goldsmiths – the same place where Mary Quant studied – when I decided to pursue a career that embraced my creative side.

But the draw of London and the sense of my art being anything expressive and meaningful at all had shrivelled and died when Gran passed away. I couldn’t find the headspace to do it any more. As a result, I was in no doubt that my work now seemed slightly contained and small.

A bit like I felt – now that I was safely cocooned in Padcock, where the real world couldn’t touch me. I dabbled with perfunctory art for Cerys’ shop. That was it. That was what I felt capable of.

‘But I don’t want to do that sort of stuff. I can’t do that sort of stuff. I won’t do that sort of stuff—’

‘But they want local artists to take part. It says in the bumf.’ Sally looked at me with a dangerous, flinty glint in her eye. ‘Nobody more local than you. Your gran talked about you and your London exhibitions all the time. And—’ Again, everyone in the shop – including me, despite my reservations – leaned forward, agog ‘—there’s a celebrity judge.’

‘Ooooh.’ There was another chorus of awed agogness. ‘Who is it?’

‘Ninian Chambers,’ Sally finished proudly.

‘Noooooo!’ I howled.

Everyone swivelled those eyeballs towards me again, clearly horrified that I was looking and sounding so disgusted about the lauded and generally beloved artist Ninian Chambers.

But I couldn’t help it. That squawky denial had absolutely come from me.

What they didn’t know was that me and Ninian bloody Chambers had one hell of a history.

From: Edie’s Summer of New Beginnings by Kirsty Ferry

© Kirsty Ferry

🌞🌞🌞

ABOUT THE BOOK

Can Edie rediscover her artistic mojo and become a ‘Watercolour Wonder’?

Edie Brinkley went from rising star on the London art scene to hiding out at her gran’s cottage in the little village of Padcock after a series of unfortunate circumstances leave her almost too panicky to pick up a paintbrush.

When celebrity artist Ninian Chambers rocks up in the village to film Watercolour Wonders, a new TV art competition, Edie is horrified – especially as he played no small part in her decision to leave London.

But, with the support of the Padcock community, and one very special fellow contestant, could Ninian’s show ultimately offer a fresh start for Edie and her art career? Or will Annabel the sixties’ style stealer, along with make-up artist Tallulah and her ‘Caravan of Hell’, sabotage her summer of new beginnings?

🌞🌞🌞

Buying links: 

Kindle: https://amzn.to/3ly2s16

 Kobo: https://bit.ly/3z1bStQ 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3x75XCB 

Nook: https://bit.ly/37pfQjY

About the Author:

 Kirsty Ferry is from the North East of England and lives there with her husband and son. She won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition and has had articles and short stories published in various magazines. Her work also appears in several anthologies, incorporating such diverse themes as vampires, crime, angels and more. Kirsty loves writing ghostly mysteries and interweaving fact and fiction. The research is almost as much fun as writing the book itself, and if she can add a wonderful setting and a dollop of history, that’s even better. Her day job involves sharing a building with an eclectic collection of ghosts, which can often prove rather interesting. Kirsty writes for both Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction.

Find out more about Kirsty here:

https://www.facebook.com/kirsty.ferry.author

🌞🌞🌞