Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The Write Stuff with... Jennifer Joyce

This morning it's my pleasure to hand over the blog to Jennifer Joyce to talk about writing a sequel.

When I self-published my first novel, A Beginner’s Guide To Salad, back in January 2014, it was supposed to be a standalone book. I had Ruth’s story in my head and I’d put it down on paper (or Kindle screen). Once the book was finished, I started to write a brand new book, but Ruth had really got under my skin. In the book, Ruth is invited to her high school reunion and decides to lose weight before she attends. I thought the reunion would be the end of Ruth’s story, but it turns out she had more to tell me. 

I felt like I’d really got to know Ruth while writing A Beginner’s Guide To Salad. She became almost real to me, as insane as that sounds, and I didn’t want to say goodbye. I’d also received some brilliant feedback after I’d published the book and I knew people loved Ruth as much I did. I knew she had more to offer and although I was writing the new, non-Ruth book, I started to think about what would happen to her after the reunion. I wanted Ruth to have a truly happy ending and for Ruth that would mean marrying the man she loves. And so I started to play around and plot A Beginner’s Guide To Saying I Do in my head.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Debut Spotlight: Annabel Fielding

Today it's my pleasure to be shining the debut spotlight on Annabel Fielding whose debut novel A Pearl for My Mistress was published last week.

Annabel Fielding, having graduated from the University of Arts London with an MA in Public Relations, is a PR assistant by day and a novelist by night. Being a self-professed history geek, she dedicates her free time to obscure biographies, solo travel and tea.

She also posts a mix of book reviews and travel photos on her blog at

England, 1934. Hester Blake, an ambitious girl from an industrial Northern town, finds a job as a lady's maid in a small aristocratic household.

Despite their impressive title and glorious past, the Fitzmartins are crumbling under the pressures of the new century. And in the cold isolation of these new surroundings, Hester ends up hopelessly besotted with her young mistress, Lady Lucy.

Accompanying Lucy on her London Season, Hester is plunged into a heady and decadent world. But hushed whispers of another war swirl beneath the capital… and soon, Hester finds herself the keeper of some of society’s most dangerous secrets…

To give you a taster of A Pearl for My Mistress you can read an extract from the Prologue below which is set in London in May 1933.
'You are going to give me the keys to your holiday home?' Charity asked with disbelief in her voice.  Lucy shared her perplexity.
'Why not?' Nora shrugged.  'As I've said, no one is going to live there for some time.  Father and Lady Isabelle are planning to spend this autumn in France.'
Eleanor almost never spoke of anyone with open bitterness.  However, Sir Frederick Palmer's second wife was never a 'mother' or even a 'stepmother' - always 'Lady Isabelle'.
'If you are sure that it will cause you no trouble...' Charity still sounded doubtful.
'Absolutely not!' Nora reached across the table to squeeze her hand. Charity flinched almost imperceptibly.  Lucy could understand that - Nora was charming, but her propensity for touching people like that always came across as a little startling.
'You are an angel.  I only hope the new government won't take offence at my visit.'
'Oh, that's probably the last thing you should worry about.'
'Well, people are telling all sorts of stories.'

Friday, 11 August 2017

Giveaway: Win a copy of Dandy Gilver & A Spot of Toil & Trouble by Catriona McPherson

I can't believe it's the end of another working week, this year seems to be flying by but I need time to slow down so that I can catch up with reading and reviews.  So many 📚 so little ⏲ certainly applies to me at the moment as not enough hours in the day to read all the books I want to!

Today I've decided to host another giveaway for one of the books I've received in the last couple of months that realistically I'm not going to have the time to review so I'd rather it went to someone who could enjoy reading it rather than just sit on my side table.  So if you're a fan of cosy crime, check out Dandy Gilver & A Spot of Toil & Trouble.

Scotland, 1934. 
Aristocratic private detective Dandy Gilver arrives at Castle Bewer, at midsummer, to solve the tangled mystery of a missing man, a lost ruby and a family curse.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Emma's Review: The Wardrobe Mistress by Natalie Meg Evans

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

London 1945. A young war widow steps aboard a train in search of a new life. Clutching the key to a mysterious inheritance, Vanessa Kingcourt can no longer resist the pull of the old Farren Theatre - an enchanted place seeped in memories of her actor father.

Now owned by troubled former captain Alistair Redenhall, The Farren is in need of a Wardrobe Mistress and a new lease of life. With no experience and no budget for supplies, Vanessa must use her intuition to create beautiful costumes from whatever scraps of silk and thread survived the blitz. It's a seemingly impossible task, but a welcome distraction as she struggles to resist her blossoming feelings for Alistair.

What Vanessa discovers could unravel family secrets sewn deep into the very fabric of the London theatre scene . . . but will she repeat the same terrible mistakes her father made? And can she dare to love a man who will never be hers?

Amazon Links: Kindle or Paperback

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Emma's Review: The Other Side of the Wall by Andrea Mara

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

When Sylvia looks out her bedroom window at night and sees a child face down in the pond next door, she races into her neighbour's garden. But the pond is empty, and no-one is answering the door.

Wondering if night feeds and sleep deprivation are getting to her, she hurriedly retreats. Besides, the fact that a local child has gone missing must be preying on her mind. Then, a week later, she hears the sound of a man crying through her bedroom wall.

The man living next door, Sam, has recently moved in. His wife and children are away for the summer and he joins them at weekends. Sylvia finds him friendly and helpful, yet she becomes increasingly uneasy about him.

Then Sylvia's little daughter wakes one night, screaming that there's a man in her room. This is followed by a series of bizarre disturbances in the house.

Sylvia's husband insists it's all in her mind, but she is certain it's not - there's something very wrong on the other side of the wall.

Amazon Links: Kindle or Paperback

The Write Stuff with... Holly Seddon

Today it's my absolute pleasure to hand the reins of the blog over to Holly Seddon, author of Don't Close Your Eyes, with her post for The Write Stuff with... series.

Thank you so much to Sharon for hosting this guest post. I love The Write Stuff series, and have been trying to think about what might be useful to talk about for writers, wannabe writers and curious readers, and I’ve settled on ‘agents’. 

Agents are often seen as gatekeepers, the middlemen and women who stand between an amateur author and a book deal. But this is doing them a huge disservice. It’s no lie to say that my agent changed my life, she is in many ways a partner in what I do, and I couldn’t have achieved any of this without her.

So, what does an agent do?

Literary agents pitch your manuscript to editors at publishing houses. But back up a bit. Before this happens, a good agent will give an author critical notes to help improve their manuscript. Many – like mine – come from an editorial background. In my case, my agent wrote me notes in the form of a wonderful essay when she first took me on. The letter talked about what she liked about my debut manuscript Try Not to Breathe, what could be improved and what needed to be ditched. She was absolutely spot on, by the way.

A good agent will work with you until the manuscript is ready. Not only do they know what works editorially, they also have an excellent knowledge of genres, reader behaviour and the industry. They live and breathe books, and it shows.