My Writing Journey by Ian Wilfred

I’m pleased to welcome another new guest to my blog this week. Ian Wilfred is one of the most supportive writers of other authors I know. He is so generous with his retweets and sharing.

Also, we share a love of little white dogs! Here is Ian‘s Lottie and my Lily (right).

Ian is here this week to tell us about his poignant writing journey and his new novel One Summer In Spain. Over to Ian

Hi Morton. Thank you for inviting me over for a chat about how and when I started writing. Well, it all happened overnight really, over a few days in January 2011.

My father was living with me and my other half. He needed 24/7 care and I gave up work to nurse him. He slept a lot and also, I was up quite a bit in the night with him, so there were many spare hours when I needed to do something. I’m not one for a lot of television, but I did read a lot. I thought – this is my time to put pen to paper or actual fingers to the keyboard and this led to my first book – Putting Right The Past. This is a romcom set on the island of Tenerife, which was first published in 2013.

After my father died, we moved from the Midlands to Norfolk and time just flew by with very little writing. Then in 2107, I published – The Little Terrace Of Friendships – which was set in London and on Martha’s Vineyard.

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Moving on from that one, I’ve published books set on the fictional quay side town of Saltmarsh here on the Norfolk coast, but my love of Greece kicked in and my next two books were set on a fictional Greek island called Holkamos. I loved writing these with the island and the characters. I had planned a third on the island, which would have come out this year, but for some strange reason the setting changed when I was writing the book.

The story wouldn’t have been right on that Greek island, but I moved it to Spain and that’s the book that’s just come out – One Summer In Spain. It tells the story of Gemma, who becomes the housekeeper to two retired best friends and the three of them head off to a villa on the Spanish coast. There is a lot more humour in this book and of course Gemma has to have a romance. However, the big question is what happens to the three of them when the summer is over?

So, mine was not your normal start to writing a book. Strange circumstances, but as well as writing the first novel, which was very enjoyable, it was also a special time for us as a family.

Thank you for letting me talk about my writing journey.

About Ian Wilfred

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Ian Wilfred’s debut novel ‘Putting Right The Past’ is set on the island of Tenerife and was published in 2013. Since then he has gone on to publish other books set in his beloved Norfolk, the Greek islands and Martha’s Vineyard.

In 2020 Ian has chosen a new location for his next feel good read; he’s heading off to sunny Spain.

Ian lives on the Norfolk coast with his husband and west highland terrier. He is a member of the Romantic Novelist Association.

You can follow Ian onTwitter @Ianwilfred39

About One Summer in Spain

IMG_7267Twenty-five year old Gemma is still unsure where her life is leading. Her parents are exasperated at the way in which she flits from one thing to another. A chance encounter helping Dulcie, an elderly lady who has had a fall in the street, leads to Gemma becoming housekeeper to Dulcie and her friend, Rupert.

Following a lottery win, Dulcie and Rupert rent a Spanish villa for six months and Gemma goes with them for a working holiday. It’s all one long adventure for the three of them, filled with fun days out, nights in the best restaurants and plenty of laughter.

Dario, the local taxi driver becomes fond of Gemma. Likewise, she thinks a lot of him too, but he harbours a secret.

Jamie, Dulcie’s grandson, pops over to Spain to check on his grandmother. but she’s not his only reason for visiting.

Craig, an old friend of Gemma’s, is also an acquaintance of Dulcie and Rupert. When he visits from England, Gemma’s life becomes a little uncomfortable.

How can ONE SUMMER IN SPAIN change everyone’s life? Will it be for the good, and how do their lives pan out after the six month holiday is over?

To buy One Summer in Spain you can use this link Amazon.co.uk/dp/B089NYW4PQ

You can find Ian‘s other books on this link Amazon.co.uk/Ian-Wilfred/e/B06XWC2FDM

 

Thank you for joining me, Ian and sharing your story. I hope that you sell lots of copies of One Summer in Spain.

 

 

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.

 

Exciting News New Book Sunny Days at the Beach coming soon!!!

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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.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple 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 Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

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Gina Hollands – From Reader to Writer

Gina Hollands joins me this week to talk about her personal journey from being a reader to becoming a writer. Gina‘s novel Little Village of Second Chances was published by Choc Lit on 23 June 2020. Over to Gina …

Although I was over 30 by the time I decided to write a novel, I think in the back of my mind I always knew I would – I was just waiting to become patient enough! From the moment I learned how to read, I was hooked and became a huge bookworm. I don’t think, when I was young, my family got a lot of conversation out of me because I usually had my head stuck in a book. I vividly remember sitting in my school uniform at the kitchen table, eating breakfast and refusing to look up from the page. This happened every day. It was probably a bit rude, when I think about it now, but my pleas of “Just let me get to the end of this chapter” were usually heeded by parents who thankfully encouraged my reading hobby – or should I say ‘addiction’, and were keen readers themselves.

I knew the shelves of the village library like the back of my hand. When I was a young teenager, the section for ‘young adults’ was fairly limited, and I think I must have read every book they had. In the case of the Point Horror novels, more than once!

Pocket money was spent on books, as was birthday money, and my best friend and I owned row upon row of Sweet Valley High books by Francine Pascal. We adored them and desperately wanted to be Jessica and Elizabeth – the main characters in the series. Oh, to live in California, be beautiful and popular and have hunky boyfriends who adored us – our first foray into escapism, and a million miles from our own school days in rainy Britain where every day we’d trudge to school in our ghastly uniforms.

My love of reading never waned, even when I went to university and after graduating. The only years I read very little were when my son was very young.. There wasn’t a lot of time for luxuries like reading in those days! As he’s got older, however, I’ve picked the books back up and now share the joy of reading with him as we work our way through the Harry Potter series, which he’s loving. My husband, who has never voluntarily read a book in his life, can’t understand how I can remember all the different voices for all the different characters, or how you can tell so quickly who’s saying what. Ha ha! It’s practice, I tell him – a lifetime of it.

Funny, though, that even having read countless novels, when it came to writing my own, I didn’t initially pass the all-important hurdle of having it accepted by a publisher. Several attempts later, an offer came in from the US-based publisher, The Wild Rose Press. When I think back now to my poor editor who had to deal with this novice writer – me – I can’t believe how patient she was. I was making all the classic errors – head-hopping, not delving deep enough into my characters’ emotions, and even changing their eye colour halfway through!

Now when I read – which I do all the time – I do it as not just a reader but as a writer too, and I’ve found the experience entirely different but also enjoyable. It’s like I’m learning to read all over again. I pick up tips on how to use linguistic devices and often marvel at the way an author has cleverly used their words to evoke their readers’ emotions. I’m racing through a page-turner of a crime novel at the moment by Peter James and have mentally banked several ways in which he has (I’m assuming, deliberately) chosen words and phrases because they lend so much to the narrative.

I have not known one author who is not also a lover of reading. I can’t imagine my life without reading, and these days I can’t imagine it without writing. The jump from reader to writer is huge but rewarding, and the great thing about it is that there’s always something new to discover.

Thank you, Gina. I can’t believe how much you sound like me – I could have written this article about myself! Mx

About Gina Hollands

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Originally from Yorkshire, Gina now lives by the sea in West Sussex with her husband and son. When she’s not working in her job in marketing and PR, or writing her latest book, Gina can be found dancing everything from lindy hop to salsa, shopping (she loves clothes far too much for her own good), eating out (she hates cooking far too much for her own good), or relaxing, which generally involves reading a book someone else has written or indulging in her new hobby of learning to play the piano. She has a sneaky suspicion she may be a musical genius in the making, but isn’t about to give up the day job just yet.

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

Twitter: @ginaholls
Gina’s blog: ginahollands.com

 

About Little Village of Second Chances

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Surely everyone deserves a second chance?
Ex-fireman and edible flower farmer Shay McGillen has plenty of reasons not to give Sarah Pickering even one chance when she turns up in his small Yorkshire village. After all, she is only there to try and convince him and his fellow villagers to sell up so her company can build a bypass. If Sarah thinks she can make Shay give up his farmhouse and his business, she has another thing coming!

 

To buy the novel use the link here

Thank you for joining me Gina and for inviting me to join you on your blog soon. 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.

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.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple 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 Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

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Claire Sheldon – The Day That Changed My Life

I’m joined by Ruby Fiction author, Claire Sheldon, as she tells us about the changes in her life since she encouraged her husband to follow his dream on 1 January 2017. Over to Claire

January 1st 2017 I encouraged my husband (Andrew) to fill out an application form to become a retained fire fighter for Nottinghamshire fire and rescue. Little did I know that, that year was going to become one hell of a roller coaster ride as my husband started his training. My work holidays that year were now days when he was at training, mostly Fridays and Mondays and then a full week in August when he did some intense BA (Breathing Apparatus) training.

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My oldest, Alex was in school full time and my youngest Melanie was in nursery and I would be lying if I say it wasn’t a challenge! I will freely admit that I am not the most patient person in the world but I was now at home when I wasn’t working with two kids, long weekend stints when I didn’t know when Andrew would be coming home. I remember one time him coming home and finding me crying on the sofa, having spent the day watching TV because the kids had wound me up so much. I had put my daughter on my computer and my son was on his and neither of them cared about me. I also couldn’t partake in Parkruns anymore. ☹

Andrew would get stressed about revision he needed to do for the exams, or when he had done something wrong on the course. For instance, once when they were doing a ladder drill, he forgot to put his foot on the ladder which meant he had failed that section. Who knew how important a foot on the bottom of the ladder would be.

Andrew had always said he wanted to be a fire fighter but had been put off at a younger age because he had asthma, but now he was “living the dream.”

He passed out with his cohort, including his now friend Gavin, who he had been training with and would go on to work with at Stapleford Fire station. On a cold wet November evening in front of me and the kids and no doubt others who were looking down on him as pleased and as proud as I was.

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But the fun didn’t stop there, as once you’ve done basic (!!???) training there is now on-the-job training. Out all day and all night at the bonfire display Stapleford fire station were part of. Then someone set fire to Nottingham train station!

It was a Monday in January and I remember it being dark when the pager went off! Once the kids were at school and I made it to work slightly more panicked than normal. I then spent the day searching the local newspaper website wanting to know Andrew was okay and what was happening, as I hadn’t heard anything from him since he told me it was happening. Then a picture of him came up queuing for food so I knew there was no need to worry.

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Being married to a retained fire fighter has been endless fun… Especially when that bloody pager goes off in the middle of the night or some other inconvenient time! Living life around him maybe having to go out so I need to take one child with me because she isn’t old enough to stay on her own. Having to return home from work early to pick the kids up because he is out at some incident and then spending the rest of the evening trying to do what I had left earlier at work.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way! Andrew has supported me through so much and continues to this day. So the fact he is now doing something that he has always wanted to do it my way of giving back…

About Claire Sheldon

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Claire lives in Nottingham with her family, a cat called Whiskers and a dog called Podrick. She suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and as a result of the disease had to reduce her hours working in insurance for an Insolvency Insurer. This spare time enabled her to study a creative writing course which inspired her to write her debut, Perfect Lie.

When Claire isn’t working she enjoys reading crime novels and listening to music – the band Jimmy Eat World is her biggest muse! Claire is also an avid reader and book blogger. The inspiration for her novels comes from the hours spent watching The Bill with her grandparents and auntie; then later, Spooks and other detective programmes like Morse, A Touch of Frost and Midsummer Murders.

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

Twitter@ClaireEESheldon

Facebook Author Pagehttps://www.facebook.com/clairesheldonauthor

About Perfect Lie

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What is ‘perfect’ trying to hide?

Jen Garner tries her best to be ‘wife and mother of the year’. She helps organise school plays and accompanies her husband to company dinners, all with a big smile on her face.

But Jen has started to receive strange gifts in the post … first flowers, then a sympathy card.

It could just be a joke; that’s what she tells herself. But then the final ‘gift’ arrives, and Jen has to question why somebody is so intent on shattering her life into pieces …

To buy Perfect Lie you can use the following links:-

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2XdiWyM.

Kobo: https://bit.ly/36T7mO0

Ibooks: https://apple.co/2TVYvpj

Google Play: https://bit.ly/3dj40WZ

Barnes Noble: https://bit.ly/3gAeT8V

 

 

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Claire. I hope that your debut novel for Ruby Fiction is very successful. 😄

 

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.

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.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple 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 Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

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Eleanor Harkstead – An Ornament I Love

This week I’m joined by Eleanor Harkstead as she talks about an ornament she loves. Eleanor writes alongside Catherine Curzon and their latest novel is The Colour of Mermaids published by Totally Bound. Over to Eleanor

A seaside souvenir

I’m sure most people’s favourite ornaments are antiques handed down through the family, or a keepsake given by a loved one. I’m slightly embarrassed to say that my favourite ornament isn’t like that at all. It’s someone else’s souvenir that I bought in a charity shop, a plastic model of the Isle of Wight filled with coloured sand. The sand might come from Alum Bay, the dramatically streaked yellow, pink and brown cliffs near the Needles. Then again, it’s more likely someone has taken some ordinary sand and dyed it.isle-of-wight1The ornament must’ve found its way to a charity shop after a Brummie went on holiday to the Isle of Wight, or a friend did and thought that their life wouldn’t be complete without it. I lived on the Isle of Wight when I was a teenager and I felt a connection with it, this rather out of place souvenir. I used to see ornaments just like it in the tourist shops on Union Street in Ryde, along with sticks of rock and buckets and spades.

Living in a seaside resort all year round was rather strange. Big chunks of Ryde, the town that I lived in, were designed for inducing glee in tourists. In summer, a lot of town was too busy to visit myself (and you risked being run down by the Dotto Train that travelled up and down the prom as well), then in winter the weather was so awful, sometimes with massive waves breaking over the sea walls along with buckets of heavy rain, that I mainly stayed indoors. Out of holiday season, our school bus was an open-topped bus used in the summer for touring visitors around the island’s beauty spots. We’d deliberately sit on the top deck and get blustered about and rained on.

When Catherine and I decided to set our novel The Colour of Mermaids in Brighton, I drew on my memories of living in a seaside town as well as on my own visits to Brighton. Not that there are any schoolkids travelling on open-topped buses in the story, but when you live on the coast – in fact, when you live on an island that’s twenty-three miles long and thirteen miles wide – you become attuned to being so close to the sea. It’s always there, the waves drawing back and forth on the beaches like a pulse, and it’s partly why I love the novel’s cover because it emphasises the presence of the sea.

The humble souvenir of someone else’s holiday reminds me of where I’ve been in life. And it’s quite a fun thing, really, a memory of someone’s happy time that somehow ended up in a charity shop, and now lives on my shelf.

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About Eleanor Harkstead and Catherine Curzon

 

Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead began writing together in the spring of 2017 and swiftly discovered a shared love of sauce, well-dressed gents and a uniquely British sort of romance. They drink gallons of tea, spend hours discussing the importance of good tailoring and are never at a loss for a double entendre.

They are the authors of numerous  short stories and two novel series, the de Chastelaine Chronicles, and the Captivating Captains, published by Totally Bound and Pride. Their novel The Ghost Garden has been shortlisted for the 2020 Romantic Novel Awards.

Find out more at www.curzonharkstead.co.uk

Follow Eleanor at: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Bookbub.

Follow Catherine at: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Bookbub

Sign up to their newsletter and receive a free, exclusive short story “Brighton Beaux”.https://curzonharkstead.co.uk/newsletter

About The Colour of Mermaids

 

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When artist Eva Catesby is invited to an exhibition in honour of art world enfant terrible Daniel Scott, she’s expected to follow the crowd and sing his praises. Instead she tells him what she really thinks and sparks fly. As they plunge headlong into a wild affair, Eva becomes the target of unwanted attention from an unseen enemy.

Daniel Scott is famous for his paintings. Filled with darkness and tormented imagery, his canvases are as mysterious as his background. Until he meets Eva, Daniel is a stranger to criticism and doesn’t know what it means to fall in love.

Can Eva help Daniel overcome his childhood demons or will a fatal secret from the past destroy their future?

Published 24 March 2020 by Totally Bound. Available in ebook and paperback.

To buy – Amazon: https://mybook.to/thecolourofmermaids

 

Thank you for joining me, Eleanor. I loved the story about the school bus and that, like me, you find great pleasure in things found by accident in charity shops. Good luck with your latest novel – I’m just off to sign up for your newsletter!

 

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.

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.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple 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 Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

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Book News from Morton S. Gray

I did it! I signed a book deal with Choc Lit on 1 June for three more novels set in my fictional seaside town of Borteen!

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Some people know that I have had a period of ill health, where I suffered almost constant migraines and strange allergies, so I’d begun to think that I would never have another book published, because I couldn’t even sit at my computer for any length of time. Fingers crossed that horrible phase of my life is in the past, and whereas I suffer occasional “bad head” days, I feel so much better following the advice of my health consultants.

I’m so excited that readers will get to visit Borteen again and find out more about some familiar and new characters living in the town. Thank you to Choc Lit and I can’t wait to add three more covers to the three below!

 

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.

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.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple 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 Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

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Wendy Clarke – The Day That Changed My Life

I’m joined by Wendy Clarke, author of The Bride, to tell us about the day that changed her life. Over to Wendy

The Day that Changed My Life

I’d love to say I’m one of those writers who was born with a pen in their hand, but it wouldn’t be true. In fact, I took up writing quite late in life. Despite loving creative writing at school, it had never occurred to me that I might one day make it my career.

It was eight years ago, just after the February half term holidays, when my life changed. I remember it as though it was yesterday. I had just been told that the small primary school, where I taught English, was closing and all the staff were to be made redundant. I felt numb but it didn’t really sink in until the following Monday when, instead of going into class to teach, I remained at home contemplating an uncertain future.

As luck would have it, my brother had just completed an online creative writing course which he thought I might enjoy. With nothing better to do, I took his advice and enrolled. I hadn’t expected to enjoy it so much, and when it ended, I felt bereft. That was when I knew I’d caught the writing bug.

It was my course tutor who suggested I try writing stories for one of the women’s magazines. Missing the challenge of writing, I decided to give it a go. At first, I had the expected rejections, but I didn’t let it put me off. I carried on writing and submitting and my patience paid off when, three months later, I had a letter from the People’s Friend saying they liked one of my stories. Hurray! This was quickly followed by sales to Take a Break Fiction Feast and Woman’s Weekly. It was becoming clear that what had started as a hobby was turning into a new career.

That was seven years ago. Since then, I’ve become a regular writer for The People’s Friend and have had around three hundred stories published in magazines along with two serials. I also write articles for Writing Magazine and have been a judge for several short story competitions. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe it!6DEAD8E2-5D65-425E-B03C-9BBD02DD433A_1_201_a

A few years ago, my writing changed direction again. With the magazine market for short stories shrinking, I turned my thoughts to writing a novel. My first attempt was a romantic mystery which bagged me an agent, but what they really wanted me to write was a suspense. Did I think I could do it? My degree was in psychology and I’d always had an interest in how the human mind can affect behaviour, so I decided it might be interesting to explore a darker side to my writing. A year later, I’d written What She Saw, a psychological thriller set in the Lake District.

It didn’t work out with the agent, but my novel went on to win first prize in a competition and was picked up by digital publisher Bookouture in a two-book deal. What She Saw was published the following year along with my second, We Were Sisters, and just two weeks ago, I celebrated the launch of my third psychological thriller The Bride.

Eight years ago, through adversity, my life took a new direction. I didn’t find it, it found me, and I’m proof that it’s never too late to follow a different path.

I would agree with you, Wendy. I’ve changed direction several times in my own life and truly believe that it’s never too late. Mx

About Wendy Clarke

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Wendy Clarke started her career writing short fiction and serials for national women’s magazines. With over three hundred stories published, she’s often asked to judge short story competitions. Wendy has had three psychological thrillers published by Bookouture – What She Saw, which won the Flash500 Novel Competition, We Were Sisters and The Bride which was published on May 20th. Wendy lives with her husband and step-dog in Sussex and when not writing is usually dancing, singing or watching any programme that involves food!

Wendy can be found on:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wendyclarke99

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WendyClarkeAuthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wendyclarke99/

Her website is http://www.wendyclarke.uk

You can buy Wendy’s novels here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Clarke/e/B00OW7Z7UU

About The Bride

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When Alice receives an invitation from her best friend, Joanna, to meet her fiancé, she has the terrible feeling something’s wrong. Despite telling her everything, Alice has never even heard of Mark. After only a month together, can Joanna really be sure he’s the man with whom she wants to spend the rest of her life? Alice travels to Joanna’s London apartment with the intention of telling her to slow down but when she arrives, only Mark is there to greet her. He tells her Joanna is missing and Alice’s world comes crashing down.  She thought she’d found her happy ending. She was wrong.

To buy the novel follow the link here

 

Thank you for joining me this week, Wendy. I think this post gives a wonderful message that it is never too late to change your life. x

 

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.

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.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple 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 Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

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Inspirational Finds aka Searching for Mermaids by Adrienne Vaughan

This week I’m joined by Adrienne Vaughan for a fascinating insight into the world of an author.

Being an author is definitely one of the best jobs in the world!

Why?

Because we just sit at our desks making things up. Great, when ideas flow and the muse rests serenely on your shoulder, fingers flying across the keyboard as the screen fills with lyrical prose, scintillating dialogue and the best side-splitting gags ever written. Happens all the time, every day without fail, it’s so easy!

Of course, that’s a big fat fib! Which is why, as soon as a story starts formulating in whichever part my scrambled brain that miracle occurs, I start collecting things. Things, that when I first started on this journey, I didn’t realise were remotely related to what I was doing at all.

For instance, my debut novel The Hollow Heart (bit.ly/HollowAV) is set on a remote Irish isle and one of the characters is a wonderfully eccentric postmistress called Miss Kathleen MacReady. In her head, Kathleen lives in a far more glamourous era and is a true romantic. Before long I had gathered MacReady evening gloves, brocade shoes studded with rhinestones and a decapitated head which now sits on my dressing table modelling my favourite hat. I just had to gaze at her belongings and whatever she wanted to say next popped into my head. (Ooo I wish you’d given me a photo of those! Mx)

Fast forward to my latest novel, That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel (amzn.to/2rP6nxb) and I’m now the proud owner of herds of seahorses in all sorts of guises plus I can swan about in a vintage Japanese red kimono, identical to the one found on the secret staircase in the book! It’s fascinating how having these little prompts scattered about help keep me focused on my story while walking and talking with the characters in my head.

My new novel is more challenging. It’s called The Shell Sisters and luckily my sister Reta and I are avid shell collectors, so I have lots to inspire me. And as the story touches on one of our most sacred myths − Mermaids − there are plenty to be found to add to my collection, from jolly little fun ones to some very grandiose artistic interpretations indeed.  

Just part of my collection includes this divine Little Mermaid bronze who magically appeared in a local charity shop recently, Mary the Mermaid swam over from Ireland the Christmas before last, (hadn’t even started writing the book then) and the beautiful mermaid doll was caught peering at me from behind a bookcase in a nearby antique centre. She now plays a big part in the new novel, and why not, just fabulous, isn’t she? (Lovely. Mx)

But it’s the real thing I’m having a problem with. Google all you like, they’re so difficult to track down and then I worry, when I do acquire a fully grown, live mermaid, will she be happy in the bath, the dogs’ paddling pool or do we need a special tank? (😱 Mx)

You see, even if an author has everything to hand to write that perfect scene, a reason to procrastinate can be weaved out of thin air, or mermaid hair, if only I could find one!

About That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel

Seahorse Cover - thumbnail

Mia Flanagan has never been told who her father is and aged ten, stopped asking.

Haunted by this, she remains a dutiful daughter who would never do anything to bring scandal or shame on her beautiful and famously single mother.

So when Archie Fitzgerald, one of Hollywood’s favourite actors, decides to leave Mia his Irish estate, she asks herself – is he her father after all?

That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel is a tale of passion, jealousy and betrayal – and the ghost of a secret love that binds this colourful cast yet still threatens, after all these years, to tear each of them apart.

To buy the book you can use the following links:-

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2rP6nxb

Amazon US http://amzn.to/2GudjTH

(And I don’t know about you but I’m itching to buy the book having read this post! Mx)

About Adrienne Vaughan

Adrienne Vaughan - Looking for mermaids

Adrienne Vaughan is a journalist and author. A writer from an early age, it was no surprise she grew up to be a journalist and after studying at the Dublin College of Journalism dived headfirst into her career. She has worked in magazines and newspapers for many years.

To date, she has written four highly acclaimed novels, the latest That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel published by The Paris Press, together with an award-winning collection of poetry and short stories, Fur Coat & No Knickers. Her short story Dodo’s Portrait was short-listed for the Colm Toibin Award at the Wexford Literary Festival in 2018.

A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, she edited the membership magazine Romance Matters for seven years and launched the RNA Industry Awards which are hosted annually in London.

A member of the Chartered Institute of Journalism and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, Adrienne also has a degree in business leadership and management.

Currently working on her latest novel, which her agent is expecting next month, she divides her time between Ireland and rural Leicestershire where she lives with her husband, two cocker spaniels and a rescue cat called Agatha Christie – ‘So named because we never know who she’s going to kill next!’ 

Although being a writer is the day job, Adrienne freely admits she still harbours a burning ambition to be a Bond girl.

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

Twitter: @adrienneauthor

Email: adrienne@adriennevaughan.com

Website: www.adriennevaughan.com

Thank you for such an interesting insight, Adrienne. I can really see you as a Bond girl 😄💕 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.

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.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks. This will be available 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 Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

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Henriette Gyland – An Ornament I Love

I’m joined this week by author, Henriette Gyland as she tells us about an ornament she loves…

ONE ORNAMENT FROM MY HOME AND WHY I LOVE IT

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Some might argue that this old swing handle sewing machine isn’t an ornament as such, but it has been my steadfast companion since I was in my late teens.

Many years ago my mother had a machine similar to this one, and I spent my adolescence and teens making clothes, bags, soft furnishings and even dolls clothes. My parents didn’t have much money to spend on teenage fashion, so I had to mend and make do, as they say. I remember revamping one of my father’s old shirts into a top and sewing a skirt from some leftover curtain fabric. A happy, creative phase although, to be honest, I did spend some of that time cursing and swearing because it was a rather temperamental machine …

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When I left for university, my maternal grandmother gave me her old swing handle machine (pictured), and it’s been with me ever since. I carried on sewing throughout uni, mainly by upcycling charity shop finds. Eventually, one by one, the needles that came with the machine broke, and modern needles sadly weren’t compatible so I had to upgrade to an electric sewing machine.

Which has been a god-send for a lover of bargains and the home-made like myself!

Since then the old machine has graced the shelves wherever I’ve lived. It hasn’t always been to everyone’s taste over the years, causing a few eye-rolls in my ex-husband because he found it ugly, but I insisted that it stayed on display. I understand that it may be difficult for some to see the beauty in this slightly scratched and no longer functioning piece of machinery, but for me it’s not so much about aesthetics – instead it’s about the beauty of the memories it holds.

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I’m grateful to my mother for teaching me to sew, and to my grandmother for this extraordinary gift. The skills I have passed on, but the memories are mine to treasure forever.

I love your sewing machine and I too am grateful for the craft skills passed on to me by my nan and mom. Mx

About Henriette Gyland

Author photo, doorway, BW

Henriette Gyland grew up in Northern Denmark but moved to England after she graduated from the University of Copenhagen. She wrote her first book when she was ten, a tale of two orphan sisters running away to Egypt, fortunately to be adopted by a perfect family they meet on the Orient Express.

Between that first literary exploit and now, she has worked in the Danish civil service, for a travel agent, a consultancy company, in banking, hospital administration, and for a county court before setting herself up as a freelance translator and linguist. Henriette recently began to pursue her writing in earnest winning the New Talent Award in 2011 from the Festival of Romance and a Commended from the Yeovil Literary Prize.

Henriette lives in London.

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

Twitter: @henrigyland

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/henriette.gyland

Website: https://henriettegyland.wordpress.com

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Henriette-Gyland/e/B00AVZQQZW?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1589030009&sr=8-1

About Up Close

Up Close - Updated cover

When Dr. Lia Thompson’s grandmother Ivy dies unexpectedly, Lia leaves her life in America and reluctantly returns to Norfolk to handle her estate. The homecoming stirs not only memories of old childhood fears but new suspicions, as well. When Lia discovers that her grandmother was considered a town gossip—and a woman with many secrets—Lia can’t help feeling that there’s more to her death than meets the eye.

Lia finds an ally in her former teenage crush, ex-navy man Aidan Morrell, and a reignited attraction. But the emotionally scarred Aidan has secrets of his own, and his motives for helping Lia may be hidden in a very dark and personal place. In a world of increasing danger, is Aidan someone she can trust to help retrace her grandmother’s final steps? Or is Lia slowly being edged toward the same chilling fate?

To buy Up Close please use the following links:-

mybook.to/UpClose

mybook.to/HenrietteGyland

 

Thank you, Henriette.

Readers don’t forget to check out the Choc Lit online festival over the next two weeks, #ChocLitFestival, which features myself and Victoria Cornwall on Thursday 14 May!

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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.

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.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks. This will be available 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 Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

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On-Line Festival Appearance and VE Day!

I’m late blogging this week 😱 No excuse really, apart from I don’t know where the days are going at the moment.

Two bits of news I’d like to share today.

Look out for the Apricot Plots Facebook and Twitter celebration of VE Day. Carol Thomas has hosted various panels featuring World War Two authors and each video seeks to answer a question about writing in the genre. Check them out on Facebook here and Twitter here.

I will share a vivid memory of VE Day from my mother –

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Next week is Choc Lit Publishing’s online festival #ChocLitFestivalWith lots of book festivals set to be cancelled, they thought the Choc Lit and Ruby authors could bring the festival to you! They will be running #ChocLitFestival from next Monday so get ready for two weeks of author chat, fab books, #competitions, exclusive interviews and more.

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Victoria Cornwall and I are taking over next Thursday 14 May 2020. We’ve been having fun interviewing each other. We have always got on very well and even though she is in Cornwall and I’m in Worcestershire, we message most days. Tune in to our day and I think you will see evidence of our friendship 😄 and you might even be able to win one of the prizes we have on offer.

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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.

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.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks. This will be available 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 Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

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My Personal Fight Against Plastic by Author Sue Fortin

Something slightly different this week – I’m joined by Sue Fortin, author of The Dead Wife published by Harper Collins, as she tells us about her personal fight against plastic. This is particularly interesting to me as I’m also trying to reduce the plastic in my life – see my own post here. Over to Sue

Today we’re all very aware of the terrible effect of single use plastic and how much waste is produced as a result. It used to be a case of throw it in the recycling bin and pat yourself on the back because you’re helping save the planet.

In recent years various reports have shown that a vast amount of the plastic isn’t recycled into more plastic or something useful but is, in fact, just shipped somewhere else in the world and it was a case of out of sigh out of mind. Since seeing those reports, I’ve really questioned my consumption of plastic.

At home I’ve tried and tested various different ways to cut down on single use plastic – in some respects it sounds a very easy thing to do but in a modern fast living environment where convenience is queen, it’s proved more challenging.

Below are some of the ways we’ve experimented to cut down on our use of plastic.

Milk Bottles

Milk bottles

Switched to home delivery, glass bottles which are recycled many, many times.

Pros: early delivery. Milk on the doorstep. Bottles recycled

Cons: Expensive – roughly twice the price per pint. Increase in carbon footprint due to single journey made by milkman/woman to deliver to your door.

Bathroom Products

Bathroom products

Pros: Soap and shampoo bars are easy to get hold of and relatively practical to use.

Cons: They are not that cheap so if you are part of a large household, it can work out quite expensive.

I’ve dabbled with making my own but again it is not cost effective, it takes up quite a lot of time and the results are OK, rather than great. Also, the ingredients needed all come in plastic bottles so you’re buying at least three or four other plastic bottles to save one bottle of shop bought body wash/shampoo/etc.

(I’m hooked with making my own soap and shampoo – haven’t perfected conditioner yet. Had to weigh up the packaging issue, but the fact I get so much product out of the ingredients and I enjoy making the products so much won. Mx)

Laundry Products

I bought some soda crystals and added the ingredients to make some nice smelling washing powder.

Pros: Cheap to source. Easy to make.

Cons: Doesn’t smell as strong.

Washing powder usually comes in a cardboard box which can be recycled so it worked out more convenient and cheaper to buy it already made.

Food Wraps

Food wraps

Have switched to wax papers recently and this has been one of the more enduring and useful changes.

Pros: Wax paper can last up to 2 years. Easy to use. Easy to clean. Easy to store.

Cons: Initial cost is a bit pricy. Can’t be used in the oven.

Fruit & Veg

I try to buy as much as I can loose rather than in the plastic wrappers. I’ve found this to be quite easy where the vegetables are concerned, but not so easy to buy soft fruit as these are in punnets to protect them. I’m sure supermarkets could switch the cardboard punnets if they really wanted to.

I’m always on the lookout for ways to cut down on single use plastic but have to admit, at times, I still do buy for convenience, practicality and cost.

About Sue Fortin

Sue Fortin March 2019

Sue Fortin is an award-winning USA Today and an Amazon best-selling author, an international bestseller and has reached #1 in the Amazon UK Kindle chart. Sue writes mystery, suspense and romance, sometimes combining all three.

Sue was born in Hertfordshire but had a nomadic childhood, moving often with her family, before eventually settling in West Sussex where she now lives with her husband and family.

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

Twitter www.twitter.com/suefortin1

Facebook www.facebook.com/suefortinauthor

Instagram www.instagram.com/sue_fortin

About The Dead Wife

TDW UK Cover

SINCLAIR WIFE DEAD! HUSBAND CLEARED!

Police have ruled out suspicious circumstances in the investigation into the death of Elizabeth Sinclair, wife of charismatic entrepreneur Harry Sinclair, found drowned in the lake of the family’s holiday park.

It’s been two years since the Sinclair case closed but when reporter Steph Durham receives a tipoff that could give her the scoop of the year, she’s drawn deeper and deeper into the secretive Sinclair family.

Elizabeth’s death wasn’t a tragic accident. And the truth will come at a deadly price…

Buying Link https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sue-Fortin/e/B00ATEEEB8

 

Thank you for joining me, Sue, very thought provoking. I would love it if readers of this blog include their own tips for reducing plastic in the comments…

I hope everyone is safe in these strange times. I’ve been over on Eleanor Harkstead‘s blog, so if you’d like to read more about me, you can read the article here.

See you next week…

 

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.

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.

The Truth Lies Buried is available now from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKobo, Apple iBooks. This will be available 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 Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

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