My Favourite Things – 3

I’m just back from a two week holiday in Dublin with my family. Looking at the photographs, I decided that I can add skies as one of my favourite things! Just a short post this week while I catch up with washing, etc. My edits for Book 3 have arrived too. I’ll leave you with a few Dublin skies…

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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, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazonKoboiBooks

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Morton S. Gray Out and About

July flew past – I can’t believe its August already!

At the beginning of July, I went back to the writing class run by Sue Johnson which I attended for many years, but this time as a speaker. It felt a little surreal and almost like a graduation for me as a published author.

I attended the Romantic Novelists’ Association annual conference. This year it was in Leeds and started with a road trip with Janice Preston and Lynn Forth – always a treat. The conference, as usual, was superbly organised by Jan Jones and her helpers. I arrived on Thursday and so was able to help with greeting new arrivals on Friday morning. It is always interesting to put real life faces to the names you follow on Facebook and Twitter.

The most memorable workshops I attended were:-

  • Sue Moorcroft talking with her agent about becoming a bestselling author
  • Alison May giving invaluable tips about editing your manuscript
  • Nicola Cornick in conversation with one of my author heroines, Barbara Erskine
  • Liam Livings and Virginia Heath in a hilarious, but very useful look at writing sex scenes.

The social time at conference is fun and I was particularly happy to socialise with the Choc Lit and Ruby girls and to meet for the first time, Caroline James, Carol Thomas, Angela Barton and Marie Laval. In another first – I was able to see one of my books on the conference book sales table.

I’d hardly caught up on sleep when I was speaking at Coombs Wood Book Club in Old Hill, Staffordshire about my debut novel “The Girl on the Beach” which, in a first for me, they had kindly set for one of their monthly reads.

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Coombs Wood Book Club

The book club leader had made contact from my Facebook author page and in a spooky turn of fate, they meet in the same road where my three times great grandfather was living when he died in 1870. A unique opener to the talk!

I will admit to being a little apprehensive, but they all appeared to have enjoyed the book, some even surprised to have done so and were interested in why I wrote it, how it got to be published and what I am doing in the future. The question that touched my heart was when one gentleman asked if I would be writing any more about Nick Crossten, one of my teenage characters, an artist in “The Girl on the Beach”. I was happy to report that Nick is one of the main characters in Book 4 which I’m just finishing.

Also in July, I did a talk and book signing at The Chocolate Deli in Worcester. Thank you to owner Lisa, who has been a great supporter of my writing. Little son came along to carry the bags and help me which was much appreciated.

Maybe this is an appropriate time to mention that my third book, currently titled “Christmas in Borteen Bay” will be published in November 2018. I’m working on the publisher edits for this novella right now.

 

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, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazonKoboiBooks

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My Favourite Things – 2

Continuing with my occasional blog series detailing my favourite things, this week I’m talking about learning new crafts.

My nan taught me to knit and crotchet when I was seven. In fact she was always experimenting with craft work and I think she gave me the bug.

At one point in my life, I was painting glass and silk to sell at craft fairs. I’ve also dabbled in pottery, art, bead jewellery making, ribbon Christmas decorations, quilting, dough craft and rag rugs.

My latest craft ventures have been lino cut pictures, glass bead making and silver clay jewellery. I think it is safe to say that craftwork is another thing that defines who I am and you will definitely find some of these crafts appearing in my books.

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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, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazonKoboiBooks

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Returning the Spotlight to Author Victoria Cornwall

My Choc Lit colleague, Victoria Cornwall has a new book out, her third book in her Cornish Tales series! The Daughter of River Valley was published on 17 July 2018. I took the opportunity to ask her some questions.

What led you to write The Daughter of River Valley?

It was inspired by a beautiful valley in Cornwall which is owned by the National Trust, and a head injury I sustained as a teenager, where I temporarily lost my sight and memory. (Wow) Thankfully they both quickly returned, but while I was watching a documentary on amnesia, I recalled the incident and wanted to incorporate a man losing his memory into a novel.

Tell us something about the research you had to do.

I have a background in nursing and have experienced amnesia myself, so had quite a bit of knowledge on the subject already. However, I also used my artistic license, which strayed from the reality of amnesia, so his experience, memory loss and flashbacks fitted well into the plot and helped move the story forward in the way that would make it readable and, hopefully, compelling.

My main research was linked with the hero’s past and his background. I won’t disclose the subject of the research as I do not wish to spoil the novel for potential readers, but a museum dedicated to the topic, history books and an author of a very informative book on the subject, was very helpful. We exchanged many emails and he read the parts I wrote on the subject so it was historically accurate. I hope my research brings the hero’s past experience to life for the reader and they come away learning something on the subject through the storytelling.

Is this new novel linked to The Thief’s Daughter and The Captain’s Daughter?

Although all the books in the Cornish Tales series are stand-alone novels about women who overcome obstacles they face that are very much part of the era they live in, the main characters are linked by a family tree.

What is your favourite thing about living in Cornwall?

Oh, there are so many things I like about living in Cornwall. I only live a 25 minute car journey from a beach, the majority of my close and extended family live in the county which gives me a sense of belonging. I have always lived in Cornwall and still meet up with old school friends for a coffee and a natter, which is great. The weather is very changeable and the landscape varied and although the county is relatively small, and it has a lot of history connected to it. Some are based in fact, whilst there are many based on myth and legend. Cornwall remains a popular tourist destination, so I am very happy to live in such a beautiful place with my family and friends not far away.

What can we expect from you next?

Just like you, I have a Christmas novella out in November. Writing a novella was a new experience for me, as I believe it was for you. It was also my first Christmas themed book, so it made a lovely change and was very enjoyable to write. However, what made writing this next book a particularly nice experience was that we wrote our novellas at the same time, egging each other on across the internet. Despite our long distance support of one another, we both gave little away and know next to nothing about each other’s stories. I look forward to reading yours when it is published, as I hope you are looking forward to reading mine.

Thank you for having me on your blog this week, Morton. I can’t believe how quickly the interview flew by!

And, thank you for answering my questions. I enjoy our internet chats and our mutual support too. I’ve just started reading The Daughter of River Valley. What a gorgeous cover – I’ve included it full sized so that readers can have a good look.

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About The Daughter of River Valley

Can you trust a man with no name?

Cornwall, 1861

Beth Jago appears to have the idyllic life, she has a trade to earn a living and a cottage of her own in Cornwall’s beautiful River Valley. Yet appearances can be deceptive …

Beth has a secret. Since inheriting her isolated cottage she’s been receiving threats, so when she finds a man in her home she acts on her instincts. One frying pan to the head and she has robbed the handsome stranger of his memory and almost killed him. 

Fearful he may die, she reluctantly nurses the intruder back to health. Yet can she trust the man with no name who has entered her life, or is he as dangerous as his nightmares suggest? As they learn to trust one another, the outside threats worsen. Are they linked to the man with no past? Or is the real danger still outside waiting … and watching them both?

Purchasing Links for The Daughter of River Valley

Ebook https://books2read.com/u/boZaNV

Audio https://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Daughter-of-River-Valley/dp/B07FM9JSGC/

About Victoria Cornwall

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Victoria Cornwall grew up on a farm in Cornwall. She can trace her Cornish roots as far back as the 18th century and it is this background and heritage which is the inspiration for her Cornish based novels.

Following a fulfilling twenty-five year career as a nurse, a change in profession finally allowed her the time to write. Since then, Victoria’s writing has been shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romantic Fiction and twice nominated for the RONÉ “Best Indie or Small Published book” Award. In 2017, her novel, The Thief’s Daughter, was a finalist for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award.

Victoria is married and has two grown up children. She likes to read and write historical fiction with a strong background story, but at its heart is the unmistakable emotion, even pain, of loving someone.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Historical Novel Society.

To contact Victoria use the following links:-

Personal blog https://victoriacornwall.com/news-blog-2/

Blog contributor link https://novelpointsofview.blogspot.com/

Website: www.victoriacornwall.com

Twitter: @VickieCornwall

Facebook: www.facebook.com/victoriacornwall.author

Instagram: www.instagram.com/victoria_cornwallx

Pinterest: uk.pinterest.com/vickiecornwall

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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, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazonKoboiBooks

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Spotlight on Guest Author Angela Britnell

This week I’m joined by Angel Britnell. Her novella Here Comes the Best Man was published by Choc Lit last week on 10 July 2018.

I asked Angela some questions:-

Your new book Here Comes the Best Man features the preparations for a wedding, can you tell us about your own wedding?

We married over 35 years ago which means I need to dust off the cobwebs from my brain! You need a few details first for any of this to make sense. I grew up in a small Cornish village. My husband grew up in a small town in Tennessee. We met in Denmark. Have I lost you all yet? Thank the US Navy (in his case) and the Royal Navy (in mine) for bringing us together.

Because we wanted to get married in my home church in Cornwall most of our wedding planning was done long distance from Denmark and obviously very few of Richard’s family were able attend. The nine who did wanted to get it right and I sent detailed explanations back and forth about English wedding etiquette. Things like the bride comes in first followed by the bridesmaids not the other way around, lady guests usually wear hats, the church service is significantly longer than a typical American one, black cat charms are often handed to the bride (they’re bad luck in America), not to be too surprised by the iced fruit cake unlike anything seen in America, and a chimney sweep kissing the bride isn’t mimicking My Fair Lady.

In the end everything went off well, we seated some of my friends on his side of the church to balance things out, the weather was typical April showers and sunshine and Richard’s five year old nephew announced he was happy Uncle Richard and Aunt Angela were married and could we please have a five year old boy soon for him to play with!

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Your hero, Josh is a musician, do you play an instrument yourself?

At my primary school it was compulsory to murder the recorder, I mean learn to play it, as part of our music education. This returned to haunt me when we lived in London for 3 years and our oldest son inflicted the same punishment on us as I’d done on my poor parents.

As a child I learned to play the piano for several years and stumbled though several exams without very much in the way of natural talent – it didn’t help I was too fond of my long fingernails and hated to practice regularly. To this day I envy people who can sit down and play completely by ear.

How do you visualise your characters when you are writing?

Because I’m not a plotter most of my characters ‘grow’ on me. Josh and Louise only had minor roles in The Wedding Reject Table which meant I knew very little about them when I started to write the sequel. There was something about Josh that nagged at me after the first book finished and he became very insistent on having his story told. I knew he was an older, world-weary version of his brother and as I wrote the first chapter he came clearly into focus. Louise was trickier because she’s a very private person and therefore took longer to reveal herself but it was worth the wait.

What would be the theme song of your book?

I’d have to pick Ring of Fire, Josh’s favourite song by his idol Johnny Cash as the book’s theme song or maybe one Josh wrote himself with an army buddy that becomes important to the story.

What can we look forward to from you next?

I’m always working on something and have several projects in hand at the moment. I have a contract on another full length Choc Lit novel but no release date as yet. I also write pocket novels for People’s Friend and have a Christmas one ready to submit.

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About Here Comes the Best Man

Being the best man is a lot to live up to …

When troubled army veteran and musician Josh Robertson returns home to Nashville to be the best man at his younger brother Chad’s wedding he’s just sure that he’s going to mess it all up somehow.

But when it becomes clear that the wedding might not be going to plan, it’s up to Josh and fellow guest Louise Giles to make sure that Chad and his wife-to-be Maggie get their perfect day.

Can Josh be the best man his brother needs? And is there somebody else who is beginning to realise that Josh could be her ‘best man’ too?

Buying Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Choc Lit

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.

If you’d like to find out more of what Angela gets up to (Advance warning: this may include references to wine, 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.

 

Thank you for joining me on my blog, Angela and here’s to many sales for Here Comes the Best Man!

 

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, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazonKoboiBooks

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Spotlight on Guest Author Angela Barton

This week I’m joined by Ruby Fiction author, Angela Barton. Her novel Arlette’s Story was published on 26 June 2018. I asked her some questions:-

Hello Morton and thank you very much for inviting me to be a guest on your blog.

What lead to you writing this novel?

Prior to writing Arlette’s Story, I had completed two contemporary women’s fiction novels but before starting a third, my husband and I went on holiday to France. While there we visited the museum and martyred village of Oradour-sur-Glane, seven decades after two hundred Nazis drove into the square on 10thJune 1944 and destroyed everything. Charles de Gaulle had declared that the ruins must stay as a permanent national monument to the townspeople’s suffering, so I found Oradour just as it had been left on the day of the genocide; frozen in time. I was shocked by the village’s unembellished rawness. It was as if I was entering a sacred place where everyone spoke in hushed whispers.

In my own very small way, I felt compelled to help keep the memory of that day alive. I was desperate to tell the story from a survivor’s viewpoint. I had to create a protagonist and lead her through her family’s war years, so I chose a twenty-year-old farm girl named Arlette. I placed her in a farm setting because I wanted her to be just an ordinary person who faces extraordinary circumstances. Arlette’s Story isn’t solely a story about war. For four years Arlette feels the reverberations of war but she also builds friendships, laughs, falls in love, enjoys family life, experiences adventures and lives her life positively despite challenges being placed in her way.

How easy was it to change genres?

In my mind I thought it would be easy, but in practice it was more challenging. Firstly, my literary agent in London wasn’t keen on the idea. I had imagined she would have been supportive, but she was less than enthused. She said I had a talent for contemporary fiction and although she hadn’t found a publisher for my earlier novel yet, she was hopeful that she would. I now faced a dilemma. Either end my hard fought contract with an agent and the possibility of becoming published, or write what I felt passionate about. I decided to end my relationship with my agent but instead of feeling lost, I felt free. Free to write Arlette’s Story.

How much research did you have to do for this book?

I did mountains of research for Arlette’s Story. I visited the National War Museum in London because I wanted to see German uniforms, insignias, weapons and vehicles for myself. It was important to me to describe them accurately. I read endless factual books about WW2 in France, visited Oradour’s martyred village three more times, spoke to museum staff there, trawled the internet, read too many war novels to count, listened to talks by ex-servicemen, scoured newspaper articles, contacted historians on Twitter and watched war films.

As you can imagine, I felt a weight of responsibility in writing about a fictional character living through a real atrocity, and rightly so. I wanted to honour the villagers’ last hours with respect and honesty and it was essential that I chose the right words and didn’t glamourize this horrendous crime. It made for tough and emotional research sometimes, but the thought of what those brave villagers faced seventy-four years earlier, kept me determined to write a book and dedicate it to them.

You have just begun a new adventure of your own – would you share a little about it?

Earlier this year, my husband and I moved to France to live. For the past ten years our dream has been to live a simpler, quieter, stress-free life in the French countryside, doing what we love doing and not what needs doing in order to pay the bills. Paul had been ill some years earlier and was diagnosed with a brain tumour. It was successfully operated on but a life-threatening illness makes people reassess what they’re doing with their lives. We decided that as life is short – why not follow our dream? So when the children left home and were all in secure jobs and relationships, we decided that the time was right. We moved to France earlier this year where we’ve found a slower and less stressful way of life.

In 2016 we bought a field with a barn attached and in 2017 we cultivated our field and planted over 3,000 lavender plants in long rows. This year we sold our house in England and moved to Charente in the southwest of the country.

The lavender field is a purple haze of loveliness as I type this, but we’re in the process of harvesting it to make soap, candles and bundles of bouquets to sell. I also enjoy making jewellery by sinking dried lavender into resin and creating tiny, half-inch books (with pages and book covers) into earrings. One day I will get round to creating an Etsy page on which to sell them. (Yes please – let me have the link. Mx)

What can we look forward to from you next?

I’m very lucky because Choc Lit’s new imprint, Ruby Fiction, offered me contracts for my first two contemporary novels in addition to my historical debut. I was delighted to sign with them last October so the future holds two more book publications.

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My WIP is another historical novel with a working title of Tomorrow’s Not Promised. It’s also set during WW2 but this time in German occupied Paris. (I think I may need several research trips to the City of Love!) It involves my heroine and her surprising love interest, hiding something in the catacombs beneath Paris’s bustling streets. I’ve already researched a lot about the catacombs and I’m very excited about climbing beneath the city and exploring the dark, skeleton-packed, hidden tunnels!

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About Arlette’s Story

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 links:

Ruby Fiction

Amazon

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. Angela is passionate about writing both contemporary and historical fiction and loves time spent researching facts for her storylines. Having signed publishing contracts for three of her completed novels with Choc Lit’s new imprint, Ruby Fiction, Angela is excited to be working alongside such a lovely and supportive team. She and her husband are now lavender farmers living in south-west France. As well as writing, Angela’s second passion is making dried flower and book-related jewellery. She’s looking forward to completing her fourth novel in the beautiful countryside of Charente. Angela is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Nottingham Writers’ Studio.

Contact links:

Website – https://www.angelabarton.net

Twitter – https://twitter.com/angebarton

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/angela.bartonauthor

Instagram – angelacbarton

Thank you for such an interesting post, Angela. I think readers will join me in being fascinated by your book, the story behind it and your own personal journey. May I wish you well in your new venture. 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, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazonKoboiBooks

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My Favourite Things

I’m going to do a series of blogs about my favourite things and what defines me.

And, there isn’t much in my life that isn’t defined by history – I love learning about the past. Ironic really that I dropped history at school before taking any formal examinations in the subject. My study is full of history books and also the files, which contain the family history of my family, my husband’s family, my ex-husband’s family and those of various friends.

Inevitably family history has found its way into my novels, The Truth Lies Buried in particular, where my heroine has my ideal job working in an archives office and helping people trace their lineage.

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I have traced family trees for years, have a rolling subscription to Ancestry and even taught the subject in adult education classes for a while.

In The Truth Lies Buried, my heroine, Jenny Simpson meets someone researching the ghost they believe is haunting their house. I’ve changed the details, of course, but yes, I did once meet someone doing exactly this.

These days a lot of research, but not all (a common mistake people make) can be done via the internet, but I have fond memories of having day trips to various record offices around the country to wade through dusty original documents and the triumphant feeling I got when I found the right will or baptismal entry.

I’m like a dog with a bone when I have a tricky link to make in a family tree. It can absorb me for hours and I love nothing more.

My latest passion is for the links that DNA analysis can throw up. I still haven’t fully explored this, but it gives a different dimension to my family history, necessitating tracing forwards through the generations to establish links with those who share the same blood. It’s exciting messaging people with these links to me. I’m sure that this will give me great pleasure in the years to come. At least I know I bought the right baby back from the hospital, as my son has recently had his DNA analysis completed too!

Genetics fascinate me. How far back do certain traits stretch, or certain facial features go? Do we inherit family memories that lead us to act in a certain manner or avoid certain things? If I had my time over, I might have become a historian or a geneticist.

I am the family face
flesh perishes, I live on
projecting trait and trace
through times to times anon
and leaping from place to place o’er oblivion
the years-heired feature than can
in curve and voice and eye
despise the human span of durance, that is I
the eternal thing in man
that heeds no call to die.

Thomas Hardy

Meanwhile my love of history, family history and genetics will definitely feature in my future novels.

 

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, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

The Truth Lies Buried is available from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazonKoboiBooks

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