Life is Changing

By the time my blog readers read this post we will be empty nesters, having dropped our youngest son at university. This will be the first time I have no childminding duties since 1988!!!

Having said that, I still have the dog, lol.

While this feels like a huge change in my life, I’m hoping I can find more time for me in the coming months and more time for writing. I’m just putting the finishing touches to my seventh Borteen book for Choc Lit. Then maybe it’s time for something new?

Meanwhile my sixth Borteen Book, Summer at Lucerne Lodge is on sale for kindle at the moment at 99p, so grab a bargain here.

Normal blog service will be resumed next week. We have posts from Caroline James, Mick Arnold, Lisa Hill, Evonne Wareham and Jenni Keer to look forward to soon.

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.

International Bestseller Summer at Lucerne Lodge was published as an eBook on 20 April 2021 and now available as a paperback and audio download too – Amazon Check on my Choc Lit author page for other purchasing options here 

International Bestseller Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe published as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and Choc Lit for other options.

Bestseller Sunny Days at the Beach is now available as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and at Choc Lit for other options.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon KindleAudioApple iBooksKobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

The Truth Lies Buried is available from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKoboApple iBooks and also as a paperback and audiobook.

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

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Jan Baynham’s Garden

I’m joined this week by Jan Baynham, author of Her Nanny’s Secret for Ruby Fiction as she shares her Welsh garden with my blog readers …

Thank you, Morton, for inviting me onto your blog to talk about our garden. I have a confession to make. It’s all my husband’s handiwork apart from a small contribution from me where each year I fill the raised bed around one of the patios with bedding plants, usually bedding begonias. He is a very keen gardener and it’s been such a pleasure to see the very sparsely planted plot we inherited in 1979 evolve into the mature garden it is today.

We are very fortunate not to be overlooked and across the valley we can see the iconic Castell Coch nestling in trees on a hillside. There are very few straight lines in the garden apart from the edge of an area of hard landscaping that leads down to the greenhouse. The beds are full of plants and shrubs so that in the height of summer there is very little soil to see.

The garden cannot now be viewed in its entirety from one spot and invites you to wander to different areas- the wooded area, the shrubs around the conservatory, the herbaceous bed that looks so different at various times of the year.

As well as the flowers and shrubs, there is nothing better that eating the freshly picked tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and chillies grown in the greenhouse. This year there has been a glut of courgettes and my husband has made courgette relish, courgette soup and even courgette bread which was delicious. A herb garden by the kitchen door is also well used.

Although I cannot take any credit for it, I do love the fact that we have a lovely spacious garden. Whenever the weather is warm enough, we try to eat all our meals outside and certainly that happened during 2020 when we were in lockdown. I appreciated more than ever that we could be outside in the fresh air.

At the height of the pandemic, we celebrated the publication of my debut novel in the garden in hot sunshine just like the climate on the fictional Greek island where Her Mother’s Secret is set. We ate a meal of Greek salad and moussaka, followed by stewed plums like the ones we had from my aunt’s garden in Greece with natural Greek yogurt. We retired to our sunbeds for a strong black coffee and an ouzo.

Over the years, the garden has seen many family celebrations, annual Easter egg hunts, our daughter’s and my July birthdays, milestone anniversaries, afternoon teas and lots of barbecues.

Some of the flowers bring back memories. On old fashioned rambling deep pink rose that came from my husband’s gran’s garden still tumbles over the arched seat, geraniums with lemon scented leaves came from my Greek cousin and white agapanthus that flowered well this year remind us of holidays in Madeira. The sweet smell of summer jasmine climbing over a wooden archway is reminiscent of balmy evenings walking up from the Dapia in Spetses. One very special David Austin rose, aptly called Olivia Rose, was planted in memory of our little twin granddaughter, Olivia, whom we never met.

In Her Nanny’s Secret, Ted Beynon is a keen gardener – “When her father was worried or upset, she always knew where to find him. It was as if tending to his vegetable plot in the garden gave him solace. At this time of year, he was getting the soil ready for later in the year and sowing seeds. None of his beautiful flowers now. All the beds had been turned over to growing veg on the instructions of Mr Churchill.”

*****

About HER NANNY’S SECRET:

How far would you go to save the person you loved the most?

It’s 1941, and Annie Beynon has just become the first stable girl for the most powerful family in her Welsh village. Whilst her gift for working with horses is clear, there are some who are willing to make her life very difficult on the Pryce estate, simply for being a girl.

There are other – secret – ways Annie is defying conventions, too. As the war rages, and when Edmund, the heir to the Pryce fortune, leaves to join the RAF, it seems that it’s only a matter of time before Annie’s secret is exposed. That is, until she makes a shocking decision.

It’s 1963 before Annie is able to face up to the secret she chose to keep over twenty years before. Justifying that decision takes her to Normandy in France, and an outcome she could never have expected …

Buying Links for Her Nanny’s Secret:

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/search?query=Her+Nanny%27s+Secret+Jan+baynham

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/her-nannys-secret-jan-baynham/1139955323?ean=2940162201946

About Jan Baynham

After retiring from a career in teaching and advisory education, Jan joined a small writing group in a local library where she wrote her first piece of fiction and from then on, she was hooked! She soon went on to take a writing class at the local university and began to submit short stories for publication to a wider audience.

Her stories and flash fiction pieces have been longlisted and shortlisted in competitions and several appear in anthologies both online and in print. In October 2019, her first collection of stories was published. Her stories started getting longer and longer so that, following a novel writing course, she began to write her first full-length novel. She loves being able to explore her characters in further depth and delve into their stories.

Originally from mid-Wales, Jan lives in Cardiff with her husband. They have three grown up children and four grandchildren, with another little one expected in the summer. Having joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association in 2016, she values the friendship and support from other members and regularly attends conferences, workshops, talks and get togethers. She is co-organiser of her local RNA Chapter.

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

Twitter: @JanBaynham https://twitter.com/JanBaynham

Facebook: Jan Baynham Writer https://www.facebook.com/JanBayLit

Blog: Jan’s Journey into Writing https://janbaynham.blogspot.com

Thank you for the lovely post, Jan and I wish you great success with Her Nanny’s Secret. Mx

News from Morton Gray

I’m featured this week on a blog post for Paula Williams about my writing inspiration, to read it click the link here. Paula has also kindly featured me in an article in the writing magazine Writers’ Forum.

My latest novel Summer at Lucerne Lodge is currently only 99p, so if you haven’t read it then grab a bargain before the end of September. Buying links – Amazon Check on my Choc Lit author page for other purchasing options here 

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.

International Bestseller Summer at Lucerne Lodge was published as an eBook on 20 April 2021 and now available as a paperback and audio download too – Amazon Check on my Choc Lit author page for other purchasing options here 

International Bestseller Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe published as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and Choc Lit for other options.

Bestseller Sunny Days at the Beach is now available as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and at Choc Lit for other options.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon KindleAudioApple iBooksKobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

The Truth Lies Buried is available from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKoboApple iBooks and also as a paperback and audiobook.

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

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Three Little Known Facts About Author Ella Cook

This week fellow Choc Lit / Ruby Fiction author Ella Cook is joining me to reveal three little known facts about herself. Ella has just released Summer’s Christmas. Over to Ella

One – I’m a big supporter of mental wellbeing

I was diagnosed with bipolar when I was a teenager. It was one hell of a diagnosis to be given – at a point in life when most people’s biggest concerns are getting to lectures on time and not looking too hungover! – and it could have been the end of my career long before I’d even started. But I got really lucky: My parents – and especially my Mum – were incredibly pragmatic: asking me how I wanted to handle things, and what I wanted to do about it. And for me, giving me back that control when everything could have spiralled, was incredibly powerful and motivating.

I did get the degree, and part of my job now includes helping develop and get funding for emotional health and wellbeing services for young people. It’s really nice for everything to come full circle.

Two – I’m really creative

As well as writing, I’m quite crafty and am learning to enjoy upcycling and DIY – which happens when you buy a 1950s house. With the help of the two men in my life (hubby and Daddy) we’ve turned an old, damaged dressing table into an impressionist-style writing desk, re-worked an old sofa to fit the conservatory when we moved house, and more recently a set of rainbow drawers for all those odds and ends that otherwise end up floating around the house. 

Our most recent project has been in the garden, where we’ve turned an unloved corner of the garden into a reading nook. It needs a bit more time for mother nature to work her magic and for the plants to cover it further. 

Three – My house is ruled by 4 oz of feathers

Their names are Sammy and Bluey.

Sammy is an 11-year-old Fischer’s lovebird who we have had since he was a few weeks old. Bluey is a 10-year-old English budgie who we inherited from my Nan. While they have their own cages and space, they get on really well and like to play, racing around the living room and using ‘their humans’ as climbing frames.

Bluey talks up a storm and likes to sit on the top of my screen, chasing the cursor and mouse back and forth as I write, while Sammy prefers to sit on my shoulder, or snuggle up with us. Or try and steal the letters from my keyboard!

They have playstands that often sit on my desk, or the sofa, or conservatory, or wherever else I’m writing that day. 

About Ella Cook

Ella describes herself as a bid writer by day, and author by night. She’s been obsessed with books since before she could walk (apparently books in her crib were the only way her parents could ensure they got a decent night’s sleep).

Her newest novel Summer’s Christmas (Choc Lit, 31 Aug 2021) Is a unique and moving summer/Christmas romance which brings the magic of the festive season to a summer’s day – hoping to provide a Christmas miracle for a little girl.

You can contact Ella on

Twitter @Ellacookwrites

Or find out more about her on her website/blog: here

About Summer’s Christmas

This is what is says on the back of the book:

“Summer by name and summer by nature – that’s how people describe Evelyn’s happy, outgoing daughter. Even if her favourite time of year is actually Christmas!

But Summer has gone through more than any eight-year-old ever should, and that’s part of the reason Evelyn is leaving everything behind to return to her childhood home in the village of Broclington; just her, Summer and Summer’s best friend – a Shiba Inu dog called Tilly. Unsurprisingly, Evelyn is hesitant to let anyone else in, although local vet Jake Macpearson seems intent on winning her trust.

When Evelyn receives the news that every mother dreads, it’s Jake who comes to the rescue. With the help of the Broclington community, could he be the man to bring festive magic to August, and make all of Evelyn and Summer’s Christmases come at once?”

To buy the book you can use the following links:

Amazon or for other buying options Choc Lit

To read more reviews check out Goodreads

Thank you for visiting my blog Ella. I found your facts fascinating and I have owned many budgerigars over the years too. I hope you have great success with Summer’s Christmas. Mx

And don’t forget the Choc Lit / Ruby Fiction authors’ summer charity anthology Sunny Summer Treats which contains stories from both Ella and myself. Purchase link here

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.

International Bestseller Summer at Lucerne Lodge was published as an eBook on 20 April 2021 and now available as a paperback and audio download too – Amazon Check on my Choc Lit author page for other purchasing options here 

International Bestseller Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe published as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and Choc Lit for other options.

Bestseller Sunny Days at the Beach is now available as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and at Choc Lit for other options.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon KindleAudioApple iBooksKobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

The Truth Lies Buried is available from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKoboApple iBooks and also as a paperback and audiobook.

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

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Caroline Roberts – What I Love About My Garden

A new guest on my blog this week as Caroline Roberts author of The Seaside Cocktail Campervan for One More Chapter joins us from one of my favourite parts of the country – Northumberland. Over to Caroline

Hello, I’m Caroline Roberts, author of ten novels set in the North East of England, and I’m extremely lucky to have a gorgeous garden that ends in an old stone wall overlooking the beautiful Northumberland countryside. In fact, the inspiration for my last series ‘Rachel’s Pudding Pantry’ is right there on my doorstep, with the sheep grazing in the rolling farmland hills and a barn just ripe for conversion.

The view is calming to write with as a backdrop. In fact, all my early books were written in the conservatory that overlooks the back garden to make the most of that vista.

It’s a place to work – gardening takes me away from my often-hectic life and gives me a bit of therapeutic hands-on time out. It’s amazing what plot lines and characters can appear like magic in your head when you are doing something else entirely. 

It’s a place to relax – with lots of fresh air and tranquil space. It’s Jarvis’s (my cocker spaniel’s) favourite place to play. And, it’s somewhere I can spend precious time with friends and family. I appreciated it even more during the pandemic lockdowns, when we could finally meet up in small groups outside. 

My garden has also been a place for celebrations. I toasted my first-ever published book out there. We’ve had birthday parties, pre-wedding drinks, afternoon teas and lots more (any excuse really!), whiling away a sunny afternoon out on the patio, or looking out over the hills leaning against the stone wall with a glass of bubbly or a G&T. This makes me think of some of the parties that appear in my new book ‘The Seaside Cocktail Campervan’. In fact, I’d love for Jack and Lucy to turn up here with the cocktail van loaded and pizzas galore in the horsebox, and park up in my drive, ready for a good old get together with all my friends and family!

So, that’s what I love about my garden, and I feel very thankful to have it.

Cheers,

Caroline x

Thank you for the lovely post, Caroline. I have had many happy holidays in Northumberland and it would be one of the areas of the country I think I’d happily move to. Mx

About Caroline Roberts

Caroline lives in the wonderful Northumberland countryside with her husband, and has two children and a cocker spaniel. She credits the sandy beaches, castles and rolling hills around her as inspiration for her novels. She enjoys writing about relationships; stories of friendship, love, loss and family, that explore how beautiful and sometimes complex love can be. 

She believes in striving for your dreams, which after many years of writing led her to a publishing deal (yippee!) with her heart-wrenching novel The Desperate Wife and The Cosy Teashop in the Castle, a romantic comedy which became a Kindle bestseller, followed by the Rachel’s Pudding Pantry series, set on a farm in beautiful rural Northumberland, and now The Seaside Cocktail Campervan with its celebrations with cocktails, cakes and pizza galore.

A glass of bubbly, slice of cake and a cup of tea, would make her day – preferably served with friends!

If you’d like to find out more about Caroline, visit her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. She’d love to hear from you!

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/CarolineRobertsAuthor

Instagram@carolinerobertsauthor

Twitter@_caroroberts

About The Seaside Cocktail Campervan

Bringing love, laughter and friendship from coast to coast…

*The new heartwarming and cosy romance from Caroline Roberts – the only seaside escape you need this summer!*

Next stop: seaside, sunshine and romance!

When Lucy isn’t in her cosy cottage by the sea, she’s winding through the Northumberland coast with her loveable Dachsund Daisy, cooking up a storm at the local village celebrations. Inspired by her Italian Poppa, Lucy’s chasing a new dream with her pizza van business. And at one particular party she meets Jack, the brooding but gorgeous owner of the Cocktail Campervan.

Wary of repeating mistakes of the past, Lucy and Jack keep it strictly business. But as the summer drifts by in a swirl of garden parties, fun and fizz, and as the cocktail campervan creates the community they so desperately need, romance starts to blossom – one stop at a time…

Amazon Buying Link

The Seaside Cocktail Campervanhttps://t.co/Yr2bUmXti2?amp=1

Other Books by Caroline Roberts

I’m actually half way through reading The Seaside Cocktail Campervan and loving it. I already know that I’m going to be giving it a five star review. 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.

International Bestseller Summer at Lucerne Lodge was published as an eBook on 20 April 2021 and now available as a paperback and audio download too – Amazon Check on my Choc Lit author page for other purchasing options here 

International Bestseller Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe published as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and Choc Lit for other options.

Bestseller Sunny Days at the Beach is now available as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and at Choc Lit for other options.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon KindleAudioApple iBooksKobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

The Truth Lies Buried is available from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKoboApple iBooks and also as a paperback and audiobook.

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

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A Tree For Inspiration by Angela Barton

I’m joined by fellow Choc Lit author and Apricot Plotter, Angela Barton this week, as she tells us about the inspiration for her novel Magnolia House, which has just been released in paperback format. Over to Angela

Thank you very much for hosting me on your blog today, Morton.

Where do authors find inspiration for their next story? We get them through doing and thinking, from feeling and imagination, from experiences and dreams. Ideas can be convoluted or very simple. Inspiration is everywhere and my storyline for Magnolia House came from something as simple as a tree.

Five years ago, I went to The London Book Fair and while I was walking back to my hotel, I passed a long terrace of Georgian townhouses. Although they looked identical, one of them stood out from the rest because it had a large magnolia tree in full bloom growing in the small front garden. I wondered who lived there, whether they were happy and what dramas had played out behind their front door? Who were their friends and what had made them buy that house? What did they do for a living and were they happy in their jobs and relationships? (Writers are generally nosey, people-watchers!)

And so, I invented a married couple and created their backstory with wider family and friends, old and new. It’s strange how something as simple as a magnolia tree can inspire a book full of characters.

There needed to be conflict in this story, because without it the storyline wouldn’t be authentic or interesting; after all, no one’s life escapes without a little drama now and again. People aren’t perfect either. In Magnolia House, my characters display jealousy, secret desire, betrayal, obsessive compulsive behaviour, anger and grief. Of course there is plenty of romance and passion too, but love doesn’t always come easily. That would be too convenient.

One of my favourite characters is Mason (Ace). Ace is a very witty gay man who becomes best friends with my protagonist, Rowan Forrester. Reading my reviews it seems that my readers love Ace too, because he makes them laugh out loud and balances out the more challenging subjects in Magnolia House.

I was born in Clapham, South London, but moved to Nottingham when I was young. The setting was a nod to my early years. Some scenes take place on Clapham Common, which is where my earliest memories were formed. I dedicated this book to my dad who we lost in 2012. He was born and raised in the capital and it always remained close to his heart.

I learned a lot from my characters. They helped me find answers to their individual problems and walked me through the process of moving forwards each day. I miss the characters from Magnolia House as they found a way into my heart, especially James. You know you’ve created a hero when you miss him five years on!

Yes that does sound like a hero! I can relate fully to all that you have said, having had my own strange inspiring experiences. Thank you for your lovely blog post. Mx

About Magnolia House

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 Housesmarturl.it/fttfc2

Some reviews by readers 

This is emotional, beautifully written, heart-breaking and heart-warming story. I love how realistic the plot is. Rowan’s personal story could happen to anyone, the reader can really relate to her. All the character’s are beautifully created and very likeable, even the secondary character’s such as Tom’s sister Libby who goes through her own issues. Magnolia House is a story that is full of hope, love and compassion, highly recommended!” ★★★★★

“This book is outstanding. I finished it in 24hours, and was totally gripped by it. I was actually moved to tears in some sections due to the magical descriptions by the author that allowed me to play out the whole story in my head.” ★★★★★

“Oh wow, what a rollercoaster of a book! Angela has captured so many emotions in this story. There is love, hatred, disbelief, astonishment, compulsion and then honesty.” ★★★★★

“Magnolia House was a wonderful emotional read. I cried along with Rowan at the beginning but also found myself laughing at some of the situations Rowan ends up in and I loved the intrigue and mystery behind the letters Rowan received. For me this was a perfect novel full of heartbreak, romance and mystery. Angela Barton really brought Magnolia House to life and I loved it.” ★★★★★

“Magnolia House is much more than a romance, the characters have depth and sensitive issues are dealt with compassion and understanding.” ★★★★★

Morton’s Review5.0 out of 5 stars A Thoroughly Enjoyable Read

I loved Magnolia House. This is the first book by Angela Barton I have read and I will now be investigating other titles by this author. Interesting characters with lots of intrigue and secrets, which is just how I like my novels. Great read – thank you!

Angela Barton’s Books Buying Links: 

Arlette’s Story: amzn.to/2lAyIlb

Magnolia House: smarturl.it/fttfc2

You’ve Got My Number: http://amzn.to/35Q19jB

About Angela Barton

Angela Barton was born in London and grew up in Nottingham. She is married with three grown up children and adorable seven-year-old twin granddaughters. She is passionate about writing both contemporary and historical fiction and loves time spent researching for her novels. In 2018 Angela signed publishing contracts for three of her completed novels with Ruby Fiction and Choc Lit.

In addition to writing, Angela also relaxes by making landscapes using free motion sewing on a machine. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a reader for their New Writers’ Scheme. Angela is also a member of Nottingham Writers’ Studio, the Society of Authors and Ellipses and Ampersands’ fiction critique group.

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

Websitehttps://angelabarton.net

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/angebarton

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/authorangela.barton.3

Morton Gray News – My sixth novel, Summer at Lucerne Lodge is currently on eBook offer at 99p/c internationally. Buying Link for Amazon here or check Choc Lit here for other options.

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.

Summer at Lucerne Lodge was published as an eBook on 20 April 2021 and now available as a paperback and audio download too – Amazon Check on my Choc Lit author page for other purchasing options here 

International Bestseller Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe published as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and Choc Lit for other options.

Bestseller Sunny Days at the Beach is now available as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and at Choc Lit for other options.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon KindleAudioApple iBooksKobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

The Truth Lies Buried is available from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKoboApple iBooks and also as a paperback and audiobook.

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

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Childhood Memories by Carol Thomas

Regular contributor, Carol Thomas joins me this week to talk childhood memories and her latest novel for Choc LitA Summer of Second Chances. Over to Carol

Living within easy driving distance of several National Trust properties, I spent many happy days with my mum, dad and sister visiting stately homes as a child. While we sometimes went for steam rallies held within the grounds (my dad liked to engage with attending farmers about his “smallholding” – something he didn’t actually have but we never let on), we often went simply to soak up the history of the houses themselves.

Whether Petworth, Parham, Goodwood, Longleat or Upppark, each had its own unique story, both past and present, and held a fascination for us. We learnt about reluctant Dukes, the love between a dairymaid and master of the house, visiting royalty, and more.

Those days filled my head with stories and fed my childhood imagination. They were special times spent with our parents. Picnicking in the sunshine, in the long grasses of the pleasure grounds, was always an added treat. We enjoyed spotting dear, or evidence of them, and viewing the rolling English landscapes within which these houses sit. How my sister and I longed to ride horses across the grounds in our bridesmaids’ dresses – perhaps our imaginations were getting a little carried away (for which we blame watching Pride and Prejudice too many times), especially as neither of us could actually ride!

As I got older and briefly studied art history, I reflected on the paintings I had seen: Gainsborough, Blake, Reynolds, Constable, to name but a few, and knew how fortunate I had been. I later learnt about the work of Capability Brown and the fact that Petworth pleasure grounds are one of the finest surviving and unspoilt examples of his work. I’d walked in them and enjoyed them before knowing their history.

I am hugely grateful to my parents for taking me to visit these houses and steeping us in cultural heritage, albeit that we didn’t know that is what they were doing at the time. For us, these days were an adventure, but they provided opportunities that stayed with me and informed later experiences. And now I get to enjoy these places with my own children and grandchildren.

And they are still inspiring my imagination. My latest novel, A Summer of Second Chances, is set in the fictional village of Dapplebury, where the stately home, Dapplebury House, is inherited by a reluctant Lord. I loved writing this story, not least because I had a wonderful day out with my daughter at Petworth and my dad at Uppark House on research trips.

Dapplebury house represents a little of each of my favourite stately homes. And just like those I visited, it has past secrets to reveal and an unfolding story of survival in the present.

About A Summer of Second Chances

Blurb:

A heart-warming romance full of love, friendship and four legged friends!

Does first love deserve a second chance?

Ava Flynn sometimes feels like the clothes donated to her charity shop have seen more life than her, but ‘maximum dedication for a minimal wage’ is what it takes to keep her mother’s beloved wildlife charity, All Critters Great and Small, running especially in the village of Dapplebury, where business is certainly not booming.

But when Ava’s first love, Henry Bramlington, returns to the village, suddenly life becomes a little too eventful. Henry escaped Dapplebury many years before, but now he has the power to make or break the village he left behind All Critters Great and Small included. Can Ava trust the boy who ran away to give both her and her charity a second chance?

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Published by: Choc Lit

Buying Links:

Amazon: http://getbook.at/SOSCAmazon

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/a-summer-of-second-chances-1

Choc Lit: https://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/a-summer-of-second-chances/

Maybe Baby: http://getbook.at/MBAmazon

The Purrfect Pet Sitter: http://getbook.at/TPPSAmazon

Crazy Over You: http://getbook.at/COYAmazon

About Carol Thomas:

Carol Thomas lives on the south coast of England with her husband, four children and lively Labrador. She has been a primary school teacher for over twenty years and has a passion for reading, writing and people watching. When she is not in school, chasing after her children, or stopping her dog from eating things he shouldn’t, she can be found loitering in cafes drinking too much tea and working on her next book.

Website and Social Media Links: 

Website – http://carol-thomas.co.uk

Facebook Author Page – http://facebook.com/carolthomasauthor

Twitter – http://twitter.com/carol_thomas2

Pinterest –

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/carol_thomas2/

Thank you, Carol. I share my review of a A Summer of Second Chances below:

5 stars – I Loved Everything About This Book

This novel took me through a whole range of emotions from laughter to tears. It is so much more than a romance. I want to live in Dapplebury, work at the charity shop and go to the pub event evenings! I’m in love with hero, Henry and the lovely dogs in the story. I think I might have completely fallen out with best friend, Mary if I was heroine Ava though. Loved the journey the book took me on and would love a sequel.

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.

Summer at Lucerne Lodge was published as an eBook on 20 April 2021 and now available as a paperback and audio download too – Amazon Check on my Choc Lit author page for other purchasing options here 

International Bestseller Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe published as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and Choc Lit for other options.

Bestseller Sunny Days at the Beach is now available as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and at Choc Lit for other options.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon KindleAudioApple iBooksKobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

The Truth Lies Buried is available from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKoboApple iBooks and also as a paperback and audiobook.

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

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Three Lesser Known Facts About Author Kirsty Ferry

This week I’m joined by fellow Choc Lit author, Kirsty Ferry. Kirsty’s latest book is Summer’s Secret Marigold, but today she is here to share some secrets of her own …

Fact One

I am going back to school in September.

If you know me at all, you’ll most likely be aware that I ceaselessly raim on about how I failed my art exam at school. I was too lazy and it’s a long story but if you know, you know! Anyway, during the dreaded 2020 I picked up my art stuff again and started learning a bit more about techniques and mixed media, and eventually managed to join a Watercolour Course run by our local Council. It was taught online for the first term, and was blended learning for the second, and the third term is due to start in September.

However, we are going to embark on a two-year qualification in September, which will be the equivalent of a GCSE. And, to make it even more exciting, I’m going back to my old comprehensive school to do it! I had visions of strutting back to that old art room and sitting down in my old seat – but I’ve been reliably informed by my friend’s son that that part of the school has now been demolished, and we are in a new-build. Still, I am looking forward to it immensely!

Fact Two

My worst drunk purchase was a chocolate fountain.

As drunk purchases go, that’s not bad, really. It was very disappointing, though, to unpack it sober and realise that what made the chocolate ‘foutainey’ was a mahoosive amount of cooking oil. Bleurgh! I prefer my chocolate not messed with, and the thought of adding a ridiculous amount of oil to my perfectly acceptable Dairy Milk was untenable – and probably even worse for me health wise than eating the chocolate in bar form. We tried it, just to say we had done so – and that was it. It got cleaned up, packed away and ended up at the charity shop. Just don’t do it, that’s my advice to you on chocolate fountains!

Fact Three

I have a ‘cloutie tree’ in my garden.

Well, it’s really a magnolia, but it’s now decorated with lots of colourful ribbons. I decided that once these awful lockdowns were over and I could start to welcome people back into my home, I’d ask my friends and family to tie a ribbon to the tree on their first visit back, so it would be a little reminder about how important we all are to one another.

Everybody has loved the idea and added a little bow or a flowing ribbon to it, and I love catching a glimpse of the tree and seeing the ribbons hanging there. A ‘cloutie’ is a bit of ribbon or a rag, and the Celts used to tie them to trees, especially trees near springs or sacred wells, as a little bit of a ritual and to hang a wish or a prayer on the tree. It just felt like a nice thing to do and as I say it’s awfully pretty to look at.

(Aww, how lovely! I want one too. Mx)

About Kirsty Ferry

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 in 2009 and has had articles and short stories published in various magazinesHer 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.

For more information on Kirsty visit:

Twitterwww.twitter.com/kirsty_ferry

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

About Summer’s Secret Marigold

Can a summer secret from the past allow a new future to bloom?

For two people who run competing arts centres in Cornwall, Sybill Helyer and Coren Penhaligon get on rather well. So well in fact that Sybill often wishes the owner of Pencradoc Arts Centre would look up from his spreadsheets for a minute and notice her. Unfortunately, even that’s too much to ask from workaholic Coren.

However, when the pair join forces to run an exhibition on the wild and wonderful life of Elsie Pencradoc, a talented artist who lived at Coren’s estate in the early twentieth century, they’re in for a surprise. How will a secret sketchbook and an exquisite gothic dress from a long-ago midsummer costume ball lead them to the scandalous truth about Elsie – and perhaps encourage them to reveal a few long-kept secrets of their own?

Buying links

Kirsty Ferry (choc-lit.com)

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.

Summer at Lucerne Lodge was published as an eBook on 20 April 2021 and now available as a paperback and audio download too – Amazon Check on my Choc Lit author page for other purchasing options here 

International Bestseller Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe published as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and Choc Lit for other options.

Bestseller Sunny Days at the Beach is now available as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and at Choc Lit for other options.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon KindleAudioApple iBooksKobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

The Truth Lies Buried is available from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKoboApple iBooks and also as a paperback and audiobook.

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

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Sunny Days at the Beach in Paperback

The trade paperback of Sunny Days at the Beach my fourth novel for Choc Lit is published this week. If you spot it out and about please send me a shelfie!

I thought I’d give you a slightly different blog post and share in a pictorial way a little about the story of Sunny Days at the Beach. These images are still shots from a small video I made about the book.

If you haven’t read this book yet, I hope you might give it a go and if you do please leave me a review. It is also available as an eBook and audiobook.

Buying links for Sunny Days at the Beach

Amazon http://getbook.at/PaperbackSunnyDays

Choc Lit for other retailers https://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/sunny-days-at-the-beach/

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.

Summer at Lucerne Lodge was published as an eBook on 20 April 2021 and now available as a paperback and audio download too – Amazon Check on my Choc Lit author page for other purchasing options here 

International Bestseller Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe published as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and Choc Lit for other options.

Bestseller Sunny Days at the Beach is now available as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and at Choc Lit for other options.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon KindleAudioApple iBooksKobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

The Truth Lies Buried is available from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKoboApple iBooks and also as a paperback and audiobook.

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

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT MY GARDEN… IT ISN’T MINE! By Eva Glyn

This week I’m joined by Eva Glyn to talk about what she loves about her garden. Eva Glyn is a pen name of my friend and fellow Apricot Plotter, Jane Cable. She is celebrating the publication of The Missing Pieces of Us by the One More Chapter imprint of publisher Harper Collins. Over to Eva

Writing about my garden for Morton’s blog seemed such a great idea. Robin, one of my main characters in Eva Glyn’s The Missing Pieces of Us is a gardener so the link seemed perfect. More perfect in fact than my actual garden.

Let me explain. Four years ago my husband and I moved to Cornwall. We wanted somewhere we could lock up and leave to travel, so a garden wasn’t a major consideration, although there is a small north-facing one behind our flat. And here is it, looking at its best packed with our friends. But not much to write home about otherwise.

But actually, we don’t need a big garden, because everywhere we go we are surrounded by beautiful plants. Truro has the most amazing parks department and we always do well in the Britain in Bloom competitions. Nearby there are many gardens to visit, at National Trust and private properties, and as we discovered during our lockdown walks, nature itself gives many gifts.

So I have pulled together a virtual garden from the photos I have taken since we’ve lived here. All of them are in public spaces so if you visit Cornwall at the right time of year, you can see them too.

Let’s start with the shrubs…

A garden always needs structure and shrubs and small trees give rolling year around colour too. The beautiful frosted camelia was snapped in Truro’s Victoria Gardens one February morning, and both the dogwood and hydrangea are from Trelissick. Trelissick is one of Cornwall’s great houses, built (or in this case extended) with money from its mines in the early nineteenth century. The Poldarks dine at Trelissick in The Black Moon, and I have used it as one of the central locations for my dual timeline, The Forgotten Maid.

Filling the borders agapanthus and lampranthus always make me think of Cornwall. Liz Fenwick (a fellow Cornish author) grows spectacular ‘aggies’ in her garden, but this photo was taken at Trebah. It’s one of my favourite places, a beautiful valley just filled with plants, made all the more poignant by the fact troops left for D-Day from the tiny cove at its seaward end. We see lampranthus taking advantage of any sunny wall and this particular one is outside Truro School. The californian poppies and daisies have been borrowed from the Eden Project.

Something for the bees …

So important, isn’t it, and it’s wonderful to see so many more of them around. There’s a big emphasis on encouraging them in Cornwall by leaving verges uncut but the wildflowers were in Truro’s Boscawen Park last summer when the whole planting scheme focused on wildlife and sustainability, including using vegetables in the displays. My husband snapped the bee feeding on a thistle on one of our lockdown walks, so it must have been taken within a few miles of our front door.

In nature’s gift …

Incredibly this apple tree is on a footpath along the edge of the Rive Fal between Tresillian and St Clement, one of our favourite walks. The poppies are on another tributary, next to Boscawen Park, below the point where Truro’s three rivers (and Truro means three rivers) meet. The heather was photographed on the cliffs just above the coastal village of Porthtowan, another setting for The Forgotten Maid.

About Eva Glyn

Jane Cable writes emotional women’s fiction as Eva Glyn for One More Chapter and haunting romances for Sapere Books under her own name. Find out more at www.janecable.com.

The Missing Pieces of Us by Eva Glyn (published 21st July 2021) tells the story of Robin and Izzie who meet again twenty years after their brief affair only to discover their memories of it are completely different.

The Forgotten Maid by Jane Cable (published 3rd August 2021) is set in Cornwall in 1815 and 2015 when two very different women arrive in the county and across the years their searches for acceptance become dangerously intertwined.

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

Facebook @EvaGlynAuthor

Instagram @EvaGlynAuthor

Bookbub @EvaGlyn

Twitter @JaneCable

About The Missing Pieces of Us

An emotional and page-turning family saga perfect for fans of Barbara O’Neal, Amanda Prowse, and Susanne O’Leary!

‘Full of mystery and magic’ Heidi Swain

There are three versions of the past – hers, his, and the truth.

When Robin Vail walks back into widow Isobel O’Briain’s life decades after he abruptly left it, the dark days since her husband’s unexpected passing finally know light. Robin has fallen on hard times but Izzie and her teenage daughter Claire quickly remind him what it’s like to have family…and hope.

But Robin and Izzie are no longer those twenty-something lovers, and as they grow closer once more the missing pieces of their past weigh heavy. Now, to stop history repeating, Izzie and Robin must face facts and right wrongs…no matter how painful.

To buy the book have a look on the following link and if you are quick you might get a bargain – https://harpercollins.co.uk/products/the-missing-pieces-of-us-eva-glyn

Thank you for your lovely colourful post Eva/Jane. Mx

Below is Morton‘s review of the book:-

An emotional rollercoaster. I loved Robin and was rooting for him throughout the book. The fairy tree plays a big part in the story and is almost a character in itself.

At one point when I closed my Kindle, I found myself unconsciously kissing the cover because of the loveliness of the section I had just read – I’ve never done that before!

A book about the twists and turns of life and how some life defining moments can have a big impact and alter your life path. The book also reflects how strangers can be unexpectedly supportive just when you need it.

Eva Glyn’s writing is easy to read and flows beautifully.

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.

Summer at Lucerne Lodge was published as an eBook on 20 April 2021 and now available as a paperback and audio download too – Amazon Check on my Choc Lit author page for other purchasing options here 

International Bestseller Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe published as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and Choc Lit for other options.

Bestseller Sunny Days at the Beach is now available as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and at Choc Lit for other options.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon KindleAudioApple iBooksKobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

The Truth Lies Buried is available from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKoboApple iBooks and also as a paperback and audiobook.

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

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

What I Envy About My Heroines – Vicki Beeby

Delighted to welcome back fellow Apricot Plotter, Vicki Beeby as she celebrates the release of her third Ops Room Girls novel this week. I’ve started reading an advance copy of Victory for the Ops Room Girls published by Canelo and it is wonderful to sink back into the comfort blanket of characters I love already.

If you haven’t started this series yet, I can thoroughly recommend the books. Vicki is talking about what she envies about the heroines of her books – fascinating! Over to Vicki

When I wrote THE OPS ROOM GIRLS, the first book in my Women’s Auxiliary Air Force series, I created three heroines: Evie, Jess and May. Evie and May both share similarities with me. Evie loves maths and enjoys proving trigonometric identities in her spare time. Well, so do I, and I’m not going to apologise for it.

May is very shy and again, I’ve got to put up my hand and confess that May’s shyness and inability to assert herself comes from me. In fact, one reason I enjoy writing so much is that it’s a bit like therapy – it gives me the opportunity to delve into aspects of my character and see how I might react in certain circumstances, and even explore areas of my life where I need to challenge myself. All in the non-threatening environment of a work of fiction.

Jess, however, is different. Jess is the anti-me. In many ways, Jess is the person I wanted to be when I was growing up, before I made peace with being a shy geek. Readers of THE OPS ROOM GIRLS and CHRISTMAS WITH THE OPS ROOM GIRLS will already be familiar with her. She’s the confident one who enjoys being the centre of attention. She can twist most men around her little finger and turns heads whenever she enters a room. I don’t particularly envy these characteristics now; I’m fairly content with who I am. However, there is one thing I do seriously envy about Jess, and that’s her unfailing ability to have a snappy quip ready at any time and in any circumstances.

As a writer, people often seem to expect me to have the right words ready at any occasion. In fact, the opposite is true. I never know what to say. And as for the appropriate words to write, I’m that person who, when signing one of those group cards that always seem to do the rounds at work, invariably ends up writing: ‘Best wishes from Vicki,’ when everyone else has written reams of flowing witty/sympathetic/heartfelt prose.

‘But you’re a writer,’ I hear you say. ‘Surely you can come up with something more original.’

To which the answer is: yes, but give me six months. That’s the advantage of being an author – I can write about characters making snappy retorts because I get a long time to come up with them. If you could read an early draft of VICTORY FOR THE OPS ROOM GIRLS, you would find several places where I’ve written something like: “Jess gave him a withering look and said, ‘[INSERT WITTY RETORT HERE]’.” It’s then taken months of agonising to work out what Jess would actually say. However, in real life I can’t say to someone, ‘Give me six months, and I’ll have the perfect riposte for you.’

So there you have it – I really wish I had Jess’s ability to come up with the right words at a moment’s notice.

Now I need the perfect line to round off this post. Give me six months, and I know I’ll have it.

So interesting! Isn’t it lovely to be able to allow our characters to either reflect us or to be the opposite of us? Thank you for the post Vicki and best of luck with the new book. Mx

About Vicki Beeby

Vicki Beeby writes historical fiction about the friendships and loves of service women brought together by the Second World War.

Her first job was as a civil engineer on a sewage treatment project, so things could only improve from there. Since then, she has worked as a maths teacher and education consultant before turning freelance to give herself more time to write.

In her free time, when she can drag herself away from reading, she enjoys walking and travelling to far-off places by train. She lives in Shropshire in a house that doesn’t contain nearly enough bookshelves.

Twitter: @VickiBeeby

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/VickiBeebyAuthor

About Victory for the Ops Room Girls

The final instalment in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force series is here… 

With Jess newly promoted to Filterer Officer at RAF Fighter Command HQ, she is delighted to be reunited with Evie and May. However, now that they can enjoy socialising in London, Jess fears her friends will discover the secret she keeps there.

When Jess bumps into Milan unexpectedly, sparks are reignited – did she make a mistake, finishing with him in Amberton? But matters are complicated when a film company arrives at Bentley Priory to make a morale-boosting movie about the RAF. The lead actor is none other than Leonard Steele, a man from Jess’s past who could ruin everything she has worked so hard to build… 

Jess is about to fight her biggest battle just as the war nears its end. As her past and present collide, will she find the strength to fight for her future?

A gripping and emotional wartime saga ideal for fans of Daisy Styles, Kate Thompson and Rosie Clarke.

e-Book links

Amazon: mybook.to/VictoryOps

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/gb/book/victory-for-the-ops-room-girls/id1550515300

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/victory-for-the-ops-room-girls

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=W_UqEAAAQBAJ

Paperback books:

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/9781800322059

Hive: https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Vicki-Beeby/Victory-for-the-Ops-Room-Girls–The-heartwarming-conclusi/25813753

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.

Summer at Lucerne Lodge was published as an eBook on 20 April 2021 and now available as a paperback and audio download too – Amazon Check on my Choc Lit author page for other purchasing options here 

International Bestseller Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe published as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and Choc Lit for other options.

Bestseller Sunny Days at the Beach is now available as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and at Choc Lit for other options.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon KindleAudioApple iBooksKobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

The Truth Lies Buried is available from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKoboApple iBooks and also as a paperback and audiobook.

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

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments