Five Things You Would Never Guess About Author Angela Britnell

This week my visitor is Angela Britnell, as she shares five things you would never guess about her. Angela‘s latest novel Christmas in Little Penhaven is released by Choc Lit on 26 November 2019 and is available for pre-order now. Over to Angela

NUMBER 1

At our wedding the vicar announced to the whole church that he’d seen me in a wedding dress before. Luckily, before everyone started to speculate too vividly he went on to explain the rest of the story. His youngest daughter was my best friend and we often played together. At the vicarage they had a wonderful trunk full of clothes we were allowed to dress up in, including his wife’s wedding dress. He had seen me wearing it along with badly fitting high heels and tottering down the road between our 2 houses.

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NUMBER 2

When I was pregnant with our first son I lived on the side of an active volcano (Mt. Etna) with no telephone, no internet, no family nearby and a husband who routinely worked 12 hour shifts that turned into closer to 14 hours away allowing for travel time to and from the naval base. Late in the pregnancy we bought walkie-talkies so I could check in with a friend who lived nearby when Richard was at work. Miraculously all went well and after giving birth at the US Naval Hospital in Naples we flew home with our four day old son. I relied on baby books, advice from friends and a weekly brief phone calls to both sets of our parents and Stephen survived!

NUMBER 3

I joined the WRNS (the female side of the British Royal Navy in the olden days! Think skirts, high heels and no going to sea) when I was eighteen and after several different jobs ended up as the only British female stationed at a small NATO headquarters in Denmark, LCO Viborg (again no longer in existence!). My senior WRNS officer was safely up in Norway which left me free to chase after the particular American naval aviator I ended up marrying.

NUMBER 4

My recent obsession with the new Poldark TV series and Aidan Turner are hardly a secret but the fact that my Poldark obsession truly started many years ago might be. When the first series aired in the mid-70s the television room in WRNS quarters would be packed every Sunday evening when it was on and we all swooned over Robin Ellis as Ross Poldark. I fulfilled the dream of meeting him a couple of years ago when he was signing copies of his latest cookery book in Truro. In case you’re interested he’s still extremely handsome and utterly charming. Now I only need to meet Aidan to make life complete…

 

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NUMBER 5

Despite the fact I haven’t lived there for forty plus years when I return to the small village where I grew up in Cornwall there are still people who refer to me as “Mr. Golley’s daughter from up the post office.” I was actually born in the house that then served as the post office and while my mother was in labour (2 days as she’s been reminding me all these years) my father had to deal with answering the same question from a constant stream of customers about whether I was here yet!

About Angela Britnell

Angela RONA Award Pub Photo

Angela grew up in Cornwall, England and returns frequently from her new home in Nashville, Tennessee to visit family and friends, drink tea and eat far too many Cornish pasties!

A lifelong love of reading turned into a passion for writing contemporary romance and her novels are usually set in the many places she’s visited or lived on her extensive travels. Thanks to over three decades of marriage to her wonderful American husband she’s a huge fan of transatlantic romance and always makes sure her characters get their own happy-ever-after.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Romance Writers of America and the Music City Romance Writers. Her first novel ‘Truth and Consequence’ was published in 2006 and she’s now had over 25 novels published internationally and several short stories in women’s magazines.

If you’d like to find out more of what Angela gets up to (Advance warning: this may include references to wine, dark chocolate, Poldark and the hunky Aidan Turner) check out www.angelabritnellromance.com or follow her on www.facebook.com/angelabritnell, www.twitter.com/angelabritnell and on Instagram as Angela Golley Britnell.

Angela‘s Christmas novel, Christmas in Little Penhaven will be released by Choc Lit on 26 November 2019 and is available for pre-order right now.

About Christmas in Little Penhaven

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Have yourself a little Cornish Christmas …

Wannabe author Jane Solomon is expecting an uneventful Christmas in her Cornish village of Little Penhaven.

But then super fit American gym owner Hal Muir comes to town, and suddenly the holiday season looks set to be far more interesting. Hal is keen on embracing every British tradition on offer, from mince pies to Christmas pub quizzes – and perhaps some festive romance too …

To pre-order Christmas in Little Penhaven you can use the following link amzn.to/2VmckwI

You can also check out Angela‘s page on the Choc Lit website for details of her other books here

 

Thank you for joining me this week, Angela. Off to pre-order – I like the sound of your new book! 😄

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks. It is also available as a paperback and audiobook.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

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Five Things You Would Never Guess About Author Berni Stevens

This week I’m joined by fellow Choc Lit author, Berni Stevens, as she reveals five things you probably wouldn’t guess about her. Berni’s latest book, Izzy’s Christmas Star is published on 2 December 2019 and available for pre-order now.

As always, I love this feature. Over to Berni for her five things …

1. I presented Rod Stewart with a portrait I’d drawn of him.

Please bear in mind I was very young at the time, so this was way before I went to art college. Actually, looking back at the portrait, I’m surprised they let me in to art college at all!

Berni and Rod!

It was back in the days of the Faces, when Ronnie Wood (an acclaimed artist himself) was in the band. He joked that I should have made Rod’s nose much larger (talk about pot, kettle and black). He also patted me on the head, and said, ‘Isn’t she sweet?’ And there was me thinking I looked cool and trendy in my Stewart tartan – don’t laugh – it was a thing.

I think it was possibly the quietest I’ve ever been. Starstruck doesn’t quite cover it. Rod was charming and friendly. He admired the fact that a “lot of work” had gone into the portrait, and then asked if he could keep it. Of course I said yes, but what I’d really wanted was for him to sign it for me.

The photo shows me looking like the proverbial rabbit in headlights, Rod looking lovely, his PR guy looking like … a PR guy, and a Magnum PI lookalike (not the ice cream, the detective).

I was invited to the after show party too, and actually managed to chat to Ronnie Lane for a few minutes, and Dee Harrington, a model, who was Rod’s girlfriend at the time. The first in a long line of leggy blondes!

This photo is one of my most treasured possessions, and I still think Rod is a genuinely nice guy. The evening also gave me an idea for a scene in my new book . . . but that really is another story.

2. I’m on the committee and book panel of the Dracula Society.

My favourite book ever is Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Most people who know me, know this. I first read it when I was around thirteen or fourteen, and it was so very different from anything else I’d ever read. It fired up my imagination, and I read it over and over again. I’d never read anything told from so many different POVs. Well to be fair, I didn’t know what POVs were then. But the way the book is written, is I think to this day, so fresh and captivating. The different journals, papers and newspapers in chronological order – how brilliant an idea was that? And even more unusual, was an intelligent woman who features as one of the heroes. Resourceful, brave and clever – there weren’t too many female characters like that written in the late 1800s.

I always thought I knew a lot about the book, and the subsequent films and plays – then I discovered The Dracula Society. Formed in the early 1970s by two actors, who initially saw it as a way of getting visas to visit Romania – which they did, many times. I joined the Society in 1996, and was totally blown away by the knowledge the more senior members have on the subject. So – I don’t know much at all by comparison!

The Society is a literary society for people who love Gothic literature, films and theatre, and we have quite a few famous members. (Mark Gatiss, Reece Shearsmith and Sir Christopher Frayling, to name drop a few.) One of our Honorary Life Members is Dacre Stoker – Bram’s Great Grand Nephew no less. He lectures all over the world on the book, Dracula, and on his famous relative, and he’ll be Guest of Honour at our Bram Stoker Dinner on the 9thNovember.

I’ve been an officer on the Committee for eleven years now, and I design the quarterly newsletter. It was my turn to think of somewhere for the summer outing this year, and I chose Manningtree and Mistley in Essex which was the home of the Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins.

3. I’m a qualified Zumba Instructor.

I’ve always danced – from around the age of seven – I went the traditional ballet, tap and modern route that a lot of people do. When I left art college and moved to London, I joined the Pineapple Dance Studios in Covent Garden. I was a member there for more than thirty years, although my only claim to fame is treading on Arlene Phillips’ foot and meeting Duncan from Blue. When Zumba erupted onto the scene about fifteen years ago, I thought I’d give that a go too, and loved it.

One thing I noticed about the local Zumba instructors is that they didn’t seem to be very reliable. Last Christmas for example there were many times we were all sitting around without an instructor because nobody had turned up. One of the ladies said, ‘Why don’t you do the training?’ And I thought, ‘Why not?’ So I did, in March this year. It was only one day – an exceptionally long day – but I loved it. The atmosphere was amazing. Now I have my own class, and I get to cover other classes sometimes too. Come along some time! We’re doing a Children in Need Zumbathon in a couple of weeks . . .

4. I have an addiction to the American South-West desert.

My husband and I hike canyons in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, visiting ancient Indian ruins and rock art. We’ve been doing it for twenty-three years.

We met our closest friends out there, and their son is the same age as ours. Both boys were seven when we all first met, and their daughter was five.

We’ve had a lot of adventures too, not least getting trapped by a flash flood at the bottom of a canyon overnight. We managed to get the jeeps to higher ground, built a campfire and … had no food with us at all, apart from a very large water melon, which was duly divided up and eaten. The stars were incredible that night, I’ve never seen anything like it. When we were trying to get to sleep later, first one coyote howled, then another and another, and I remember thinking, ‘I’ve seen that movie and it didn’t end well.’ The next morning, the raging torrent had thankfully died down, but the desert sand was almost like quicksand and there was no traction for tyres. So we did a bit of road building, and collected brush to put under the tyres. You may not know this, but Utah sand is red. Very red. When it’s wet, it’s even redder! We were covered, and by this time really very hungry. It took us quite a few hours to get back to the main road. First stop was the nearest diner, where we left lovely red footprints on the carpet. We looked a sight. But we got lots of food and hot coffee, and it all tasted so good. We have a lot of the evening and the morning afterwards on video too. You can hear the loud cheers as both cars made it out of that canyon!

We still go back out to Utah every year, and each time we see or experience something else unbelievable. I don’t think I will ever tire of the scenery – the vast blue skies and the majestic red rock. (And don’t forget the red dirt!)

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5. I’m addicted to rock concerts

You might have guessed this last one because of the Rod Stewart post. But there is something about a live gig that I love. The apprehension before the concert, the atmosphere, the lighting, and of course the music itself. And don’t forget the musicians either. I think the term ‘rock god’ was made up for my two favourite musicians – David Bowie and Robert Plant. I don’t think there were any real rock gods before them. I saw Bowie at least seven times and was never disappointed. He could hold an audience in the palm of his hand. Charismatic and mesmerizing, and so sadly missed. But as someone wrote after he died, ‘How lucky we were, to be on the planet at the same time as him.’

Freddie Mercury was another charismatic front man, his performance at Live Aid was breathtaking. And the legendary Mr Plant is still wowing audiences along with his Sensational Space Shifters, and more recently with Saving Grace. I think his voice is even better now than his Led Zep days, but I know a lot of American fans wouldn’t agree. They are always going on about a Led Zeppelin reunion – give it up guys, it’s never going to happen. Without Bonzo there is no Led Zeppelin, not for Robert anyway. I like what he’s doing now, and long may he continue to tour.

Wow, Berni, those are fascinating! Mx

About Izzy’s Christmas Star

18E8CF56-0DE2-4F6C-8B38-745F706B46B9_4_5005_cYou don’t only find stars on top of the Christmas tree …

Student and Zumba instructor Izzy Grant leads a pretty normal life, but in the run-up to Christmas an unusual encounter with a friendly Santa paves the way for the most wonderful and star-studded Christmas she’s ever experienced.

Because at almost exactly the same time, Izzy also meets Seth Roberts – as in the Seth Roberts, bona fide rock star and lead singer of Scarlet Gryphon. As their connection grows, Izzy’s Christmas countdown becomes a glittering whirlwind of after-show parties and classy restaurants – and does she have her mystery Santa to thank?

Out on 2 December, you can pre-order Izzy’s Christmas Star UK here and US here

About Berni Stevens

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Berni Stevens lives in a four-hundred-year-old cottage in Hertfordshire, England, with her husband, son and black cat. She trained in graphic design and has worked as a book cover designer for more than twenty years.

Books and art remain her passion, and her love of the paranormal began when she first read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, aged fourteen. She is now on both the committee and the book panel of the Dracula Society, a society for fans of gothic literature and film.

To keep in touch with Berni, you can use the following links:-

Twitter

Facebook Author Page

Choc Lit Author Page – where you can also see details of Berni‘s other novels.

Thank you for joining me, Berni and for writing such an amazing post.

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks. It is also available as a paperback and audiobook.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

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Lynda Stacey Returns to the Spotlight

Returning the spotlight this week to Lynda Stacey – she has just released Keeper of Secrets with Ruby Fiction.

Lynda has appeared on my blog several times over the years, so this time I thought I would ask her some different questions:-

  1. What is your favourite holiday destination?

Now then, for me this is a really difficult question because I’m very fortunate and I’ve travelled a lot. I have many favourites, I got married at Shaw Park Beach Hotel in Jamaica (before it was commercial), I spent a lot of years traveling back and forth to Egypt as a Scuba Diving instructor and a new find is the Mitsis Lindos Memories hotel in Rhodes, it’s amazing. It’s small and friendly and they really look after you.

But, if I had to choose one, I’d say that I loved Koomando in Maldives the most. It was like being Robinson Crusoe with a bar and a chef. We went with a group of people, ten of us in total and during the fortnight I put on almost a stone in weight … yes … the food was that good, plus we spent hours as a group chatting while eating.

  1. Which of your heroines can you imagine being in her shoes most easily?

Again, difficult. I’m a little in love with all my characters and they all have just a little of me in them.

Okay, okay, choose one…

I’d have to say Cassie Hunt in Keeper of Secrets. Probably because she’s my newest heroine, she’s also had a tough life, grew up in a mining village like I did and wished that she could be anyone else in the world… so long as it wasn’t Cassie Hunt. I have to admit, in my younger days I often wished this. But now as an adult I’m quite pleased that my wish didn’t come true… now that I’m older, I quite like being me.

  1. The most romantic thing that’s happened to you?

I got married on a beach in the Caribbean. We’d both been married before and decided that this time, our wedding would be just for us… and it was.

  1. A life defining moment?

I was in a huge car accident in 2009. Actually, if I’m totally honest, I was in TWO car accidents in less than 20 mins. My car had come to a standstill on the motorway, a van hurtled towards me and the driver was too busy chatting to his passenger to see me. Being very independent, I managed to get my car off of the motorway and to the top of the slip-road, where a 2nd vehicle ran into the back of me. (😱 Mx)

This accident not only damaged my shoulders to a point where I had to sell my scuba diving school, it was also the moment when I realised that I would no longer lead the active life that I had. I was bored. I couldn’t simply watch television every evening and that was the defining moment when I decided to write…!!

  1. What aspect of the writing process do you enjoy most?

I love discovering my characters. Giving them a life, a family, a personality, and a history. It’s exciting, like meeting someone for the very first time and like when you meet new people, you learn a little more about them every time you meet them and their personality gets stronger with every page.

  1. Which would you choose?
  • Coffee or tea?

Definitely tea.!! You can’t beat that first cup in a morning.

  • Seaside or countryside?

I love the sea. I’ve spent many hours, days and weeks on boats and love to see what’s below the waves. Although, I do choose to live in the countryside. Am I allowed to answer BOTH??

  • Shopping or a walk?

A walk… I’m not a shopper.

  • Sweet or savoury food?

Sweet. I love puddings of every description which is why I will never be a size 8 ever again.

  • Fashionable or comfortable shoes?

At one time I’d have said fashion rules. I’ve totally lost count of the times I’ve walked to a taxi after a night out in bare feet because my feet are in agony. But now, now I’m more of a person that loves her comfort.

  • Morning or evening person?

Morning for sure. I’m always the one that’s up first and enjoy that hour before the world starts spinning around me.

  1. If you had to give advice to a wannabe author, what would it be?

Never give up. Write. Write. Write. Get the words down on the page and get to the end of the story. There is nothing like writing the words, THE END..!

About Lynda Stacey

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Hi, I’m Lynda.

I’m the Sales Director for a stationery and office supplies company in Doncaster. I’ve also been a nurse, an emergency first response instructor and a PADI Staff Instructor (which is a Scuba diving instructor who can teach people to be instructors themselves) and now, I’m proud to say that I’m an author.

I’ve always loved to read and at a very early age I decided that one day I’d be an author. I left school at 15, but before I left I went to my careers advice officer and he asked me what I’d like to do. When I said that I’d like to write or become a journalist, he shook his head and asked me which university I’d be going to. It was 1984, there was a miner’s strike and I was a miner’s daughter. There was no way we could afford university and after telling my careers officer this, he suggested that I might apply for a job at Boots, working on the make-up counter. My dream of becoming an author diminished and I carried on with life.

In 2008, I was involved in a car accident that damaged all the nerves in my shoulder. I couldn’t dive, or teach anymore and was left with many hours on my hands. It was then that I once again turned to my love of writing and found that I naturally steered towards creating stories of romantic suspense.

My own life story, along with varied career choices helps me create both unique heroes and heroines. I like to give them challenging back stories and unpredictable plots .

 

To keep in touch with Lynda you can use the following social media links:

Twitter: @Lyndastacey

Facebook: Lynda Stacey Author

Website: www.Lyndastacey.co.uk

Newsletter: Due to data protection laws, please email on Lyndastaceyuk@gmail.com to give permission if you would like to receive her quarterly newsletter.

About Keeper of Secrets

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Should some secrets stay buried?

For as long as Cassie Hunt can remember her Aunt Aggie has spoken about the forgotten world that exists just below their feet, in the tunnels and catacombs of the Sand House. The story is what inspired Cassie to become an archaeologist. 

But Aggie has a secret that she’s buried as deep as the tunnels and when excavation work begins on the site, Cassie is the only one who can help her keep it. With the assistance of her old university friend, Noah Flanagan, she puts into action a plan to honour Aggie’s wishes. 

It seems the deeper Noah and Cassie dig, the more shocking the secrets uncovered – and danger is never far away, both above and below the ground …

Buying Links

Kindle: https://smarturl.it/7v75yy

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2pLIiXC

iBooks: https://apple.co/2pNhUNb

Google Books: https://bit.ly/2PfHWDb

Nook: https://bit.ly/2N9N5dj

Audible: https://adbl.co/2PhM1a6

Maybe check out some of Lynda‘s other titles:-

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Thank you for joining me, Lynda Mx

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks. It is also available as a paperback and audiobook.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

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Spotlight on Guest Author Margaret James

This week I’m joined by Margaret James who writes for Ruby Fiction.

Hello Morton – thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest on your blog today!

I’ve really enjoyed answering your questions.

When did you first start writing fiction?

I’ve always been a day-dreamer who made up stories and enjoyed living other lives, at least in my imagination. I made my first serious attempts to become a published author when my younger daughter started school and I had a bit of spare time at home.

My first published work was short stories and serials for women’s magazines. I remember that back in those days everything was sent and received by snail mail, and my children soon learned that a small white envelope was good news because it would contain a cheque, whereas a big brown envelope was bad news because it would mean a story had been turned down. Much to their delight, my children sometimes learned a new bad word on brown envelope days!

I started writing my first novel A Touch of Earth in 1985 and it was published in 1988. What a long time ago! I have since written fifteen more published novels and probably as many first drafts which are lurking in a range folders and files, maybe never to see the light of day.

I still have a copy of the issue of Woman’s Weekly in which my first short story for that magazine appeared. It has sentimental value because when it was published my mother was so proud of me!

What kinds of novels do you write?

I’ve always been interested in why and how people fall in love and what happens when they do. Of course, falling in love is not always a happy experience, and although I’ve written several light-hearted romantic comedies in which my lovers get their perfect happy-ever-after, I’ve written novels in which people marry the wrong person as well.

I understand you’re a journalist and co-author of a series of non-fiction books, too?

Yes, I’ve been a journalist on Writing Magazine for many years. I write the monthly Fiction Focus articles, which discuss various aspects of fiction and often feature advice and soundbites from a wide range of writers. I commission a column called I Wish I’d Known in which authors tell me what they wish they’d known right at the start of their writing careers, and I interview authors for profiles in the magazine. This means I get to read all kinds of novels, and that proof copies of new novels come through my letterbox all the time.

I’ve written three how-to-write guides with my CreativeWritingMatters www.creativewritingmatters.co.uk partner Cathie Hartigan – one general guide, one guide to writing short stories, and one to writing novels.

Your first crime novel for Ruby Fiction is The Final Reckoning. Please tell us about it and share an excerpt?

TFR Final 

A crime and mystery story, The Final Reckoning is set in Herefordshire, where I was born and grew up.

My heroine Lindsay Ellis has to go home to Herefordshire from Oxford in order to sort out her late mother’s affairs. She both hopes and fears she might meet her former boyfriend Simon Dyer. But Simon was once tried for a brutal murder and, although he was found not guilty, plenty of people still believe he did kill his own father. So maybe Lindsay shouldn’t go anywhere near him?

Here’s an excerpt from the novel:

I had half expected to see that he’d grown prematurely old – haggard, I suppose, with guilt perhaps, and with regret. But Simon’s looks had actually improved. The pretty face was much more angular, and the slight teenager’s body had filled out, had hardened, so the boy was these days a fine-looking man.

‘Time for a coffee?’ he asked pleasantly.

‘I’d love one,’ I replied.

I needed to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Somehow, I appeared to be having a normal conversation with this man, and he in turn looked almost pleased to see me.

I could not deceive myself. As soon as I’d set eyes on him again, I knew that I was still in love with Simon Dyer.

But as I followed him into the damp, dark house, my other self was asking if this was such a great plan after all. Spiders of memory crawled along my spine and, as Simon led me into the kitchen where a range of rusting pans and other mediaeval-looking implements dangled from rusty hooks, I began to wonder if I’d faint. Or be sick, at any rate, for over there, that was where Louis had—

No. I wouldn’t think of Louis Dyer, and instead I commented to myself on the state of the kitchen, where the walls were running with damp, and great black spots of mould had spread to form whole islands on the flaking plaster.

‘Shall I take your coat?’ asked Simon.

‘No!’ Alarmed, I crossed my arms against my chest protectively. But then I forced another smile. ‘I mean, it’s rather cold in here. I don’t suppose you notice, living here all the time.’

‘It’s cold because the Rayburn’s on the blink,’ said Simon calmly. ‘I keep meaning to get Nathan or Dan Casson round to have a look at it.’

He filled the kettle and put it on the hob of a new calor gas stove that was very grubby. Grease and bits of food clogged all four burners.

He rooted in a cupboard, found a jar of instant coffee, poked a spoon inside, and managed to dislodge some powdery grains. ‘It gets so damp in here,’ he muttered, as the kettle boiled.

He made two mugs of scummy broth. ‘I might have some milk,’ he said looking towards the fridge. ‘But I suspect it might be off.’

‘It doesn’t matter. I prefer it black.’

‘So do I,’ said Simon. ‘I was very sorry to hear about your mother,’ he added, kindly.

‘Thank you.’

‘It must have been an awful shock for you, but you’ll get over it.’

‘Perhaps.’

‘You will. You got over that other business, didn’t you?’

‘I can’t forget what happened, obviously. But I don’t have nightmares any more. Or not so often, anyway.’

‘That’s good to know. Lindsay, you remember, don’t you, Dad said he was going to change his will? He wanted to leave everything to Jael?’

‘I remember.’

‘So I had a motive, didn’t I?’

‘But nobody in the village thinks you killed him.’

Or not everybody thinks you killed him, I added to myself.

‘The police thought it was me.’

‘Simon, we were in the barn for the whole afternoon. Thirty minutes, you’d have had, an hour at most, to find your father, to attack him, do that other thing, clean yourself up again. You were drunk and stoned, and I can’t see how on earth you—’

‘Who else had a reason to want him dead?’

What’s next up for you, writing-wise?  

I’m planning a new mystery novel also set in Herefordshire, but for the rest of 2019 I’ll be busy reading entries for the Exeter Story Prize and Trisha Ashley Award: http://www.creativewritingmatters.co.uk/competitions.html and catching up with my work for Writing Magazine. I’m also reading short story entries for the Exeter Story Prize right now, and writing some reports.

When and where do you write?

I tend to write non-fiction in the morning and fiction in the afternoon. I know I’m more creative after lunch! I do my best work at home, where it’s quiet. I’ve never understood how people can write in cafés! I’d find all the other customers much too interesting and distracting. I’ve never been on a writing retreat. I know I wouldn’t do any writing!

Links to buy the books:

TFR Final

The Final Reckoning: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Final-Reckoning-compelling-thriller-winter-ebook/dp/B07KFH2GYD/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=margaret+james&qid=1568908592&sr=8-1

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The Creative Writing Student’s Handbook: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Creative-Writing-Students-Handbook-CreativeWritingMatters-ebook/dp/B00JS5LQ4M/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Link up with Margaret:

 

Margaret James 1A

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/margaret.james.5268

Twitter: https://twitter.com/majanovelist

Blog: https://margaretjamesblog.blogspot.com/

Thank you so much for joining me this week, Margaret. Mx

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks. It is also available as a paperback and audiobook.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

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Spotlight on Guest Author Chris Penhall

This week I’m joined by Chris Penhall who writes for Ruby Fiction. I asked Chris some questions so that we can get to know her …

  1. Why did you start writing?

I started writing because when I was a child I always wrote, scribbling little stories, or writing poems. Then for many years, it was all about writing essays for exams or writing reports and documents for work, so that storytelling element ebbed away really. But I always had this dream to be a published author, and when we moved to Portugal in the mid 1990’s and the children were at school and nursery, I finally started to put pen to paper. At last I had the time and the space in my mind to do it!

Previously I had tried to start things, but for some reason I felt it had to be perfect from the first word, so I put myself off doing anything about it. So, once I realised I just needed to actually write things down, my big, long learning curve began, and I wrote all sorts of things that needed a lot of improvement.  But at least I wrote, and all the ideas I had accumulated and imagined started to be processed into tangible words.

  1. If you had to cast the film off your book, who would you choose?

My dream casting for the film of the book would be …

Actually, before I start – Tom Hanks if you are reading this, I’d love you to produce it, and there’s a tiny cameo role towards the end of the book that either you or Keanu Reeves could play. Just putting it out there….!

I love Lily James, so if she’s interested in playing Alice that would be great? I think when I was writing the part, I had Kylie Minogue in my head for some reason. I’d love Alice to blossom into the kind of Kylie like gorgeous creature by the end of the book. Mainly for her, but partly to annoy Adam.

When I started writing the role of Luis, I had Antonio Banderas or Javier Bardem in mind, but that was nearly ten years ago, and so I’ve given it a lot of thought and I think that now Poldark has finished Aiden Turner could pass for Portuguese/Australian. I think he’d be perfect.

  1. Where do you write?

I was a great fan of Sex and the City back in the day, so have occasionally attempted to write draped over my laptop whilst sitting on my bed a la Carrie Bradshaw. However, this hurts my back, so it’s a dining table, desk, kitchen table, and occasionally sofa for me. I have every intention of writing in coffee shops too, once I get myself properly organised. I do, however, have a pair of sandals with feathers on should I wish to continue the Sex and the City theme.

  1. What gives you inspiration for a story?

My inspirations for stories come from everywhere. I’m very visual, so sometimes it will come from a place I’ve been to that leaves an imprint on my mind. It could come from overheard words, a news story, things that have happened to me that trigger an idea, or even a song.

Basically, my ideas come from everywhere, and once I’ve got a theme for a story, they ping into my brain, and get incorporated into the writing. My inspiration for The House That Alice Built came from my experience of living in Portugal and the way my outlook changed when I lived there.

  1. If you had to give a piece of advice to a wannabe author, what would it be?

My advice to anyone who wants to be an author would be to get things written down in the first instance and not worry about the quality – once you’ve got something onto the page you have something to work on, or something to throw away, but at least you’ve started to get the words out. I did an online course to help me along, and then I got a mentor, too, but if that’s not possible, there are lots of online groups and forums full of people who love writing. Or you could join a local writing group. Being around other people who love to read books and write make you feel less isolated in your dreams and can push you along a bit.

  1. What can we expect from you next?

I wrote The House That Alice Built as an individual book with no thought of writing a sequel. However, now the book is out there, I think that I want to know what happens to Alice next. Life never runs smoothly does it, and there are many bumps in the road to happiness, so I’m working on a sequel. It also gives me yet another excuse to head to Portugal. Research you know….

Thank you, Chris. It’s lovely to find out more about you. Mx

About Chris Penhall

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Chris Penhall is the winner of the Choc-Lit Search for a Star competition 2019, for her debut novel, The House That Alice Built. She is a freelance writer, radio producer, and occasional broadcaster for BBC Essex, as well as an Associate Producer for the Richard and Judy Book Club podcast.

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.

To keep in touch with Chris you can use the following links

Twitter: @ChrisPenhall

Facebook: @ChrisPenhallBroadcasterWriter

Instagram: christinepenhall

Website: www.chrispenhall.co.uk

About The House That Alice Built

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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.

You can get all the links to buying the e-book or audio by visiting www.chrispenhall.co.uk

Or the Ruby Fiction website: https://www.rubyfiction.com/dd-product/the-house-that-alice-built/

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks. It is also available as a paperback and audiobook.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

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Five Things You Would Never Guess About Author Angela Barton

This week I’ve asked Angela Barton who writes for both Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction to reveal five things about herself that you probably wouldn’t guess. Over to Angela

  1. I was taken at gunpoint to an investigation room at a Saudi Arabian airport. I was there to work at a military hospital in Riyadh, but there were some visa discrepancies. Thankfully, they were sorted after half an hour and I was free to travel to my new home in Riyadh. (😳 Mx)
  1. When I was thirteen, I ran away from home to find Marc Bolan!
  1. I used to take ballet lessons when I was younger. (Me too! Mx)
  1. I have a phobia about spiders. I literally hyperventilate if I spot a big one – in fact any spider unless they’re tiny!
  1. I have a tattoo of my children’s names, Rose, Luke and Jack, on the inside of my right wrist.

 

About Angela Barton

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Angela Barton was born in London and grew up in Nottingham. She is married with three grown up children and two spoilt spaniels she calls her ‘hairy daughters.’ Passionate about writing both contemporary and historical fiction, Angela has won and also been shortlisted for several writing competitions.

She reads avidly, makes book-related jewellery and loves a nice cup of tea. Having recently planted a field of lavender with her husband in south-west France, she is looking forward to spending more time writing in Charente and watching their lavender grow.

Angela is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Nottingham Writers’ Studio.

Angela writes for both Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction.

To keep in touch with Angela you can use the following links:

Website angelabarton.net

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/angela.barton3

Twitter https://twitter.com/angebarton

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.co.uk/abarton3862/

 

About Magnolia House

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When you open up your home and your heart …

Rowan Forrester has it all – the happy marriage, the adorable dog, the good friends, the promising business and even the dream home after she and her husband Tom win a stunning but slightly dilapidated Georgian townhouse in London at auction.

But in the blink of an eye, Rowan’s picture-perfect life comes crashing down around her and she is faced with the prospect of having to start again.

To make ends meet she begins a search for housemates, and in doing so opens the door to new friends and new beginnings. But could she be opening the door to new heartbreak too.

Buying Link – Magnolia House: smarturl.it/fttfc2

 

About Arlette’s Story

For online use

One woman’s struggle to fight back against the enemy in order to protect the ones she loves.

When Arlette Blaise sees a German plane fly over the family farm in 1940, she’s comforted by the fact that the occupying forces are far away in the north of the country. Surely the war will not reach her family in the idyllic French countryside near to the small town of Oradour-sur-Glane?

But then Saul Epstein, a young Jewish man driven from his home by the Nazis, arrives at the farm and Arlette begins to realise that her peaceful existence might be gone for good …

Buying Link –Arlette’s Story: amzn.to/2lAyIlb

 

Thank you for joining me this week Angela and for sharing your secrets.

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks. It is also available as a paperback and audiobook.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

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Return to the Spotlight – Guest Author Lynn Forth

This week Lynn Forth is back on my blog to celebrate the release of her third novel, The Girl Who Used To Be Me. I’ve just started reading this book with its lovely cover and was immediately transported back to my university days in the first few chapters. I’m looking forward to reading more. I asked Lynn some questions…

Have you always written?

Yes. I think most novelists have always had the urge to write but very often they haven’t had the opportunity to do anything very sustained with it. English was always my favourite subject and I wrote long stories a child, I think my teachers must have blenched at the long screeds I handed in. But later, as an English lecturer, most of my writing was confined to long comments on work I was marking. Eventually freedom beckoned and I seized it and haven’t stopped writing since.

Where is your favourite place to write and why?

Although I have notebooks filled with novel outlines and ideas, I can only really get down to ‘proper’ writing at my computer on my desk. I have a lovely study upstairs with a wonderful open view over hills and trees and a small lake, It catches the early morning sun …and I love it.

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How important are locations to your novels?

It’s an essential ingredient in each of my stories. All my heroines are northern lasses and I like to take them out of their comfort zones and plonk them somewhere foreign where they have to rely on themselves and, in the process, begin a journey of self-discovery.

My Yorkshire heroine, Jane in Love in La La Land ended up in Hollywood and found her principles compromised by the seedy goings on. I enjoyed evoking the flashy shallow trappings of the film world.

Then I was inspired to write Love, Lies and Café au Lait by my own personal experience of delight when I visited Nice for the first time. I loved the French Riviera, so I was able to really identify with my Accrington Annie when she arrived in that super-sophisticated city and tried to fit in.

I used very local settings at the beginning of my third novel, The Girl Who Used To Be Me. My heroine Kate is located in Birmingham and visits the surrounding countryside with her new boyfriend including the Clent Hills …which I can see from my study window.  (Note : These hills were my view when I was growing up. Mx)

Eventually Kate escapes a difficult relationship by going to the Costa del Sol. Once again this is an area I know well after frequent visits to my parents when they lived there. I was able to visualise the locations for when Kate lives there and empathise with her feelings of joy at the bright colours and the warmth of the sun, captured, I think, by the cover of the book.

So all my books have transported me to these wonderful sunny places …and all from my little desk.

What can we expect from you next?

I am mulling over a story which features a rather fabulous character from my last two books. I don’t want to give too much away but many readers have said how they love the flamboyant character of Reen with her passion for pink plastic flamingos and her rather outrageous taste in décor and clothes. She has a large gruff-voiced husband called Ted and three sons Tyrone, Tarquin and Troy and together they are just crying out for a story of their own. Watch this space.

About Lynn Forth

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Lynn Forth went to live in Accrington when she was 11 and still has the accent to prove it.

She now lives in Worcestershire (where it doesn’t rain as much) with her family and a room with a view to write in.

With a lifelong fascination with words and people, she studied English and Psychology at University and, as a lecturer at the local College, she tried to impart this love of words and teaching to students of all ages.

An avid reader, she runs two book clubs and, as a bit of a movie buff, she loves participating in the discussions at a local Film Club. Although not a big exercise fan, she enjoys the fun and music at her Zumba sessions, singing along enthusiastically to all the tunes. A great lover of colour, she tries to encourage a riotous array of flowers in her garden.

She now writes romantic comedies full of sparky dialogue. set in sunny foreign climes, which, of course, she has to visit for the sake of research. She set her debut novel, Love in La La Land, in Hollywood which combined this love of films, humour and sunny places. Her second novel Love Lies and Cafe au Lait was set in Nice, a city she loves. And her third novel The Girl Who Used To Be Me follows one of her characters, the fabulous Reen, to her home territory of the Costa Del Sol.

To keep in touch with Lynn, you can use the following links:-

Website: lynnforthauthor.wordpress.com.

Twitter: @lynnforth

Facebook Author Page: Lynn Forth Author

About The Girl Who Used To Be Me

(I’m leaving this full size so that you can really see the lovely cover. Mx)

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An uplifting story about longing and belonging.

After a passionate fun-filled affair, Kate is abandoned by Rob, her first love.

Six years later, she is stuck in a dead-end job and trapped in a toxic relationship. She escapes to the Costa del Sol where she meets flamboyant Reen with her bright clothes, her sparkling eyes and a penchant for pink plastic flamingos.

Kate falls for Troy, Reen’s sexy son, and embarks upon a new phase of self-discovery. Is she finally becoming the girl she longs to be?
 
But when Rob comes back into her life unexpectedly, what will she do?

Full of wit and warmth, fun and flamingos.

Perfect for fans of Milly Johnson and Jules Wake

If you would like to buy Lynn‘s books, they are available as both eBooks and paperbacks from Amazon on the following links.

Love in La La land myBook.to/LoveinLaLaLand1

Love Lies and Café au Lait : mybook.to/LoveLiesandCafeauLait

The Girl Who Used To Be Me : mybook.to/TheGirlWhoUsedToBeMe

 

So glad you could join me, Lynn. I hope that your new book sells loads of copies. Mx

 

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks. It is also available as a paperback and audiobook.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available now as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon Kindle, Audio, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

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