Victoria Cornwall – An Ornament I Love

This week I’m joined by friend and fellow Choc Lit author Victoria Cornwall. Vickie is going to tell us about an ornament she loves…

I don’t have a lot of ornaments, but the ones I do have hold some meaning or history behind them. The one I have chosen to share is one of my favourites, its beautiful, romantic, sentimental and has a… cheeky side to it.

I was 17 when I first met my husband and we have been together ever since. We graduated from our teens together, learnt how to be adults together and somehow managed to successfully bring up two children without losing or killing them. We are now in our autumn years… you know that stage when you compare aches and pains, middle age spread and greying hairs as if they are side effects from some pesky curse cast on you while you weren’t looking. However, we have that inbuilt reassurance that we are tackling this phase of our lives together and, although the world doesn’t know it, inside we are still the same 17 years olds who met all those years ago.

One day, whilst visiting the Cornish town of Looe, we spied a mini statue in a shop window. We stopped to admire it and both concluded that it reminded us of… well us (when we were in our prime, of course).  It was quite expensive and not something we would usually buy, but we were feeling romantic, frivolous and daring so we did.

It was only when the shopkeeper was wrapping it for us, did I question if I was really up to the task of displaying it in all its full glory…

You see, when the statue is displayed to its best profile the woman’s bottom is naked. Now I am not a prude, but I must admit it does feel rather strange to display a semi naked statue that looks like me. Despite this, I love it and it takes pride of place on our sideboard for all my visitors to see. However, I must confess that I am selective as to how I display it. When my parents visit, the statue’s bottom is turned to the wall to hide it, and if close friends visit the perky cheeks are facing outwards for all to admire. Now does this say more about me or more about what I believe my visitors can handle? Only me and my statue knows the answer to that question and, fortunately, the young couple are too busy kissing to tell!

About Victoria Cornwall

Victoria Cornwall can trace her Cornish roots as far back as the 18th century. This background and heritage have given her an understanding of the Cornish way of life which is the inspiration for her Cornish Tales Series.

Victoria has twice nominated for the RONE Indie and Small Published Book Awards in the U.S.A., was short-listed for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romantic Fiction and has been a finalist in the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award.

She is married, has two grown up children and continues to live in Cornwall, the county of her birth. 

Links to Victoria Cornwall’s social media

Website: www.victoriacornwall.com

Twitter: @VickieCornwall

Facebook: www.facebook.com/victoriacornwall.author

Instagram: www.instagram.com/victoria_cornwallx

Pinterest: uk.pinterest.com/vickiecornwall

Books written by Victoria Cornwall

The Cornish Tales series are stand-alone novels set in Cornwall, linked by family, with a strong background story and the unmistakable emotion, passion – and even pain – of loving someone. 

You can buy the books here

Thank you for your post Vickie – it made me smile! 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.

New Book for Christmas 2020 – Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe published as an eBook on 17 November 2020 – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKobo

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

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

Hip Hip Hooray – It’s Out Today!

My fifth novel for Choc Lit Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe is out on 17 November 2020. Thank you to those who have pre-ordered the book as it means so much that you believe in me.

What it says on the back of the book:-

Run away to the little beach café this Christmas …

Five years ago at Christmas, solicitor Justin Sadler made the decision to leave his comfortable existence behind and move to the coast. Since then, he’s tried his best to ignore the festive season and, as he sits in the little beach café and reflects on that fateful night when his life was turned upside down, he expects his fifth Christmas alone to be no different to any of the others since he made his escape.

But when he encounters a mystery woman on the beach, he soon realises he may have found a fellow runaway and kindred spirit. Could Justin finally be ready to move on and let Christmas into his life again?

Watch out for Ryan the seagull!

To order you can use the following links or refer to the Choc Lit page for other options. Please review Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe if you read the book and like it 😄

Amazon link here

Kobo link here

Apple iBooks link here

Choc Lit links to other retailers here

I’m on lots of blogs this week and will be posting again myself, so watch out for me and please buy the book. 😄😄😄😄😄

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

New Book for Christmas 2020 – Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe published as an eBook on 17 November 2020 – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo

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

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

Marie Laval – Ornaments I Love.

This week I’m joined by fellow Choc Lit author, Marie Laval for yet another post that made me cry when I was preparing it! Marie has recently released Escape to the Little Chateau. Over to Marie

Thank you very much Morton for inviting me on your blog today. I loved the idea of writing about an object special to me, but I was wondering if I could be cheeky and write about two instead of one…

My mother died when she was about the age I am now, and not a day goes by when I don’t think about her. She was a vibrant, funny and selfless woman who had experienced the trauma of having to leave her family home in North Africa when Algeria’s war of Independence started, and arrived in France with not even a toothbrush to her name. She found work, got used to the cold and coped with French people’s hostility towards her and ‘the Africans’ who were arriving in their thousands with whatever possessions they had been able to bundle before boarding a ship in Algiers.

She came from a large family – a family with lots of characters, lots of drama and secrets, and fantastic stories. Like the one about the abandoned castle near Turin which belonged to her mother’s family and which they fled in the dead of night back in 1870; the feud over a stolen jewellery casket (I know, it sounds like a novel, doesn’t it?); the silver ladle which was the only family heirloom left and which they used to unblock the outside toilet (yuk!); and so many more…

My mum was often nostalgic about her childhood, even though it wasn’t always an easy one. They may have had plenty of sunshine but there wasn’t much money around, and as the youngest and the cutest, she was often sent to the corner shop to get food and ask for it to be put on the tab… Sometimes all she would eat for several days would be oranges and slices of bread rubbed with olive oil and garlic.

She was so very brave when she was diagnosed with cancer, and when she died the sunshine really did go out of our lives… She inspired me to work hard and never give up on my dream to become an author.

When I told her I was pregnant with my eldest son, she gave me this statue of a mother and child and said then that there was no greater joy than holding your child in your arms…As you can see, it is quite battered now but I have treasured it to this day.

Sadly my mother died not long after my first son was born, and she never knew my two other children – another boy and a girl, but I think she would be very proud of them. For my birthday in August, my very trendy twenty-one year old son and his fifteen year old sister gave me a piece of embroidery that they made themselves, and my heart melted when they told me how they ordered the kit from the internet and spent hours doing the needlework whilst pretending they were playing video games…

What a lovely post, Marie and I did shed a tear as I prepared the blog. Mx

About Marie Laval

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in Lancashire and writes historical and contemporary romance. Best-selling LITTLE PINK TAXI was her debut romantic comedy novel with Choc Lit. A PARIS FAIRY TALE was published in July 2019, followed by BLUEBELL’S CHRISTMAS MAGIC in November 2019. ESCAPE TO THE LITTLE CHATEAU is her latest contemporary romantic suspense and was released by Choc Lit in October 2020. She also writes short stories for the bestselling Miss Moonshine anthologies, and is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors.

Her novels are available as ebooks and audiobooks on Amazon and various other platforms.

About ESCAPE TO THE LITTLE CHATEAU

Will Amy’s dreams of a Provençal escape come true?

There are many reasons Amy Carter is determined to make Bellefontaine, her farmhouse hotel in the French countryside, a success. Of course, there’s the time and money she’s put in to making it beautiful, but she also has something to prove – particularly to people like Fabien Coste.

Fabien is the owner of the nearby château, and he might just be the most arrogant, patronising man Amy has ever met … unfortunately, he’s also the most handsome.
But as rumours circulate in the local community and secrets about the old farmhouse begin to reveal themselves, Amy quickly sees the less idyllic side of life at Bellefontaine.

Could Fabien be the man to help prevent her Provençal dream from turning into a nightmare?

This was previously published as A Spell in Provence by Accent Press in 2015. This is a revised, edited and updated version. Published October 2020 by Choc Lit.

Escape to the Little Chateau is available from Amazon ukkobo, and various other platforms.

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.

New Book for Christmas 2020 – Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe available for pre-order as an eBook now and published on 17 November 2020 – Amazon Kindle

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

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 | 7 Comments

Jan Baynham – When I Decided I Wanted To Write And Why

This week I’m joined by Ruby Fiction author Jan Baynham as she tells us about when she decided to write and why. Over to Jan

I was a late starter when it came to writing fiction. Having spent years as a teacher teaching, and I hope inspiring, children to write and then at the end of my career advising and supporting teachers about the craft of writing, it wasn’t until I retired and had more time that I wrote my first piece of fiction. I joined a small writing group in a local library and I was hooked! Each week we were given a title or writing prompt for a short story to write and encouraged to read it out the following week to the group. I knew then that was what I wanted to do and set about learning as much as I could to become a better writer. I had a lot of time to make up! 

I enrolled on a short story class taken by a published author at the local university and began to submit short stories for publication to a wider audience. Many of those early pieces were worked on and improved to become competition entries and, learning from critiques and feedback, soon began appearing in online and print short story anthologies. I started taking a notebook on holiday and soon new locations became the settings for my stories. Plots and characters were created from people watching and scenarios arose from me asking ‘what if?’ a lot. My stories started getting longer and longer so that, following a novel writing course, I began to write my first full-length novel. I loved being able to explore my characters in further depth and delve into their stories. Learning never stops and I try to take every opportunity to hone my craft. At present, as well as a fortnightly writing workshop, I am also enjoying ‘Further Adventures in Crime Fiction’ at Cardiff university run by a successful crime writer. I’m not thinking of switching from writing about families and their secrets, but all my stories include some crime and much of what we are learning can apply to other genres of writing too.

The underground cave in Kefalonia that inspired the Choc Lit Treat ‘The Phantom Boatman

So why do I write? Around the same time as I joined the writing group, I wrote a book for my little grandson entitled ‘Tom’s Secret Friend’ and had copies printed for family and friends. The story was about him and an invisible, imaginary dragon friend called Dewi and the mischief they got up to together. One chapter is about a visit to Castell Coch, a castle not far from us, and tells of the tricks Dewi played there. When we took Tom there, he asked us all to leave him in the dungeon as he needed to talk to Dewi! Seeing his enjoyment of all the incidents in the book and having to read it to him over and over is one of the reasons I love to write.

That was the start of it. Now, receiving messages from readers who have enjoyed my writing, either in the collection of short stories, published in 2019, or my two novels in 2020 is one of the best feelings. Reading has always been one of my passions and to know that your own words have created worlds for your readers to enjoy is wonderful. This has been particularly satisfying this year when readers have described how my novels have allowed them to escape from the awful events of COVID 19 for a few hours. 

About Her Sister’s Secret

How far would you travel to find the truth? 

It’s 1965 and Jennifer Howells is a young woman with the world at her feet, just on the cusp of leaving her Welsh village for an exciting life in the city. 

Then the contents of an inconspicuous brown envelope turn Jennifer’s world upside down. The discovery leaves her spiralling, unsure who she is. Overnight, Miss Goody Two Shoes is replaced by a mini-skirted wild child who lives for parties and rock’n’roll.

But Jennifer’s experience with the excesses of sixties’ culture leaves her no closer to her true identity. She soon realises she’ll have to travel further – first to Cardiff, then across the ocean to Sicily – if she wants to find out who she really is …

About Jan Baynham

Originally from mid-Wales, Jan lives in Cardiff with her husband. They have three grown up children and five grandchildren, ranging in age from fifteen to three months. 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, Cariad. When she is not writing, she enjoys Pilates, family history and long walks. She is a member of the Eddie Stobart Club, having her own spotters’ handbook for long car journeys, and has her own truck named after her, Janet Eleanor. An avid reader, she doesn’t have enough hours in the day to read all the books in her TBR pile and immersing herself in worlds other authors have created.    

PURCHASE LINKS 

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/search?query=her+sisters+secret+jan+baynham

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/her-sisters-secret-jan-baynham/1137428123?ean=2940162698852

AUTHOR 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 telling us your story Jan and I wish you every success with your novels. 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.

New Book for Christmas 2020 – Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe available for pre-order as an eBook now and published on 17 August – Amazon Kindle

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

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 | 6 Comments

Thank you for the … Zoom

I think it’s fair to say we have all been through the mill this year with all of the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic! There have been several groups that have kept me sane during this time and I thought it might be nice to focus on one of those groups this week in order to say thank you.

The group of friends and writers I’m having a shout out for this week are my local coffee writers. Up until lockdown we used to meet in a coffee shop once a month to support each other with chat, book news and writing advice.

So, what happened when lockdown started? Well, one of these writers, Lynn Forth, valiantly rallied us for a weekly Zoom. We can’t always all make it, but if anything we have become a closer knit group and have supported each other through this difficult period. A bonus has been that Georgia Hill, who a little while ago moved away from the area and hasn’t often been able to make our physical coffee meeting, has been able to take part once again.

I won’t divulge the subjects we have been discussing in our Zoom meetings, but needless to say there has been a lot of laughter, great advice and sharing of knowledge. I don’t think I will ever forget Lynn Forth‘s signalling system for when we are running out of time either, lol.

As a thank you, I thought it might be nice to talk about these authors and their writing, so here goes …

Lyn Forth

You can find Lyn’s Amazon author page here. She can be contacted at lynnforthauthor.wordpress.com. Twitter: @lynnforth or her Facebook page.

Lynn Forth went to live in Accrington when she was 11 and still has the accent to prove it. She now lives with her family in Worcestershire. A lifelong fascination with words and people, led to her studying English and Psychology at University and, as a lecturer at the local College, she tried to pass on her enthusiasm to students of all ages.

An avid reader, she runs two book clubs and, as a bit of a movie buff, she enjoys the discussions at a local Film Club. Although not a big exercise fan, she enthusiastically participates in the fun and music at her Zumba sessions and at home encourages a riotous array of flowers in her garden.

She now writes romantic comedies full of sparky dialogue set in sunny foreign climes, which, of course, she has to visit for the sake of research.

Her debut novel, Love in La La Land, combines this love of films, humour as her heroine Jane encounters the glamour and glitz of Hollywood. Her second novel, Love, Lies and Café au Lait, was inspired by a visit to Nice and evokes Accrington Annie’s delight in living in such a sophisticated city, although, perhaps, all is not quite as perfect as it seems. Her third novel, The Girl Who used To Be Me, features her much-loved character Reen on her home ground in Marbella where Kate meets not only Reen’s family but also her fabulous pink plastic flamingos. 

Georgia Hill

You can find Georgia‘s Amazon author page here

Find her at www.georgiahill.co.uk, Twitter @georgiawrites and at her Facebook page.

Georgia Hill writes warm-hearted and up-lifting contemporary and timeslip romances about love, the power and joy in being an eccentric oldie and finding yourself and your community. There’s always a dog. It’s usually a naughty spaniel of which, unfortunately, she has had much experience. Her books are firmly rooted in seaside towns similar to the one she lives in and she loves history especially when it insists on rearing up and battering at the present.

As a child she had an invisible friend called Gonky who inhabited the third stair from the bottom. As an adult her invisible friends live in her head and refuse to leave until she commits them to paper. Readers of her books can escape into a warm bath of words and, no matter what challenges her characters face they will, ultimately, have a happy ending.

Alison May

You can find Alison‘s Amazon author page here. She also co-writes as Juliet Bell here. Find out more about Alison at www.alison-may.co.uk, on Twitter @MsAlisonMay and her Facebook page.

Alison May was born and raised in North Yorkshire, but now lives in Worcester with one husband, no kids and no pets. There were goldfish once. That ended badly.
Alison has studied History and Creative Writing, and has worked as a waitress, a shop assistant, a learning adviser, an advice centre manager, and a freelance trainer, before settling on ‘making up stories’ as an entirely acceptable grown-up career plan.

Alison is a member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and won the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy in 2012. She was shortlisted in the Love Stories Awards, 2015, and for the RoNA Rose, 2016. Alison’s latest novel, All That Was Lost, is a gripping story about lies, love and loss.

Janice Preston

You can find Jan‘s Amazon author page here. For more info go to: www.janicepreston.co.uk, Twitter @JaniceGPreston or Facebook

Janice Preston writes emotional and sensual historical romance. Although all her novels are standalone reads, she loves to write stories set in the same Regency world, and many of her books include book-hopping characters.

When Janice isn’t writing she enjoys reading, swimming, pottering about the garden when the sun is shining, and travelling whenever she can. She fuels her imagination with endless cups of coffee, is far too keen on unhealthy food, and is an expert procrastinator.

Liz Hanbury

You can find Liz‘s Amazon author page here. Visit her website at www.elizabethhanbury.com to find out more, or link up on Twitter @Liz_Hanbury or Facebook.

Elizabeth Hanbury is a best selling author of warm and witty Regency romance for UK and US publishers.

A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Society of Authors, Elizabeth drinks too much tea and is addicted to cake, long walks and anything that makes her laugh. She lives in a village in the heart of England and writes whenever she can sneak away to her desk.

Nell Dixon

You can find Nell‘s Amazon author page here. Nell enjoys hearing from readers and you can read her news and contact her via her website at http://www.nelldixon.com visit her blog at http://www.nelldixonrw.blogspot.com, find her on Twitter @NellDixon and friend her on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nell-Dixon/228642037151856

Helena Dixon splits her time between the Black Country and Devon. Married to the same man for over thirty five years she has three daughters, a cactus called Spike, a crazy cockapoo and a tank of tropical fish. She is allergic to adhesives, apples, tinsel and housework. Her addictions of choice are coffee and reality TV. She was winner of The Romance Prize in 2007 and Love Story of the Year 2010 as Nell Dixon. She now writes historical 1930’s set cozy crime.

Morton Gray

You can find Morton‘s Amazon author page here. You can catch up with Morton on her website www.mortonsgray.com, on Twitter @MortonSGray, her Facebook page.

Morton lives with her husband, two sons and Lily, the tiny white dog, in Worcestershire, U.K. She has been reading and writing fiction for as long as she can remember, penning her first attempt at a novel aged fourteen. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors.

Her debut novel The Girl on the Beach was published after she won Choc Lit Publishing Search for a Star competition. Her Christmas 2020, Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe is her fifth title for Choc Lit.

You can see from our book photographs that we all write very different things and really I love this as it means we are never short of things to discuss. We laugh, we help each other with brainstorming and support. I’m proud to belong to this group and I hope that we continue to meet virtually and physically for many years to come. Looking forward to our next Zoom already …

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.

New Book for Christmas 2020 – Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe available for pre-order as an eBook now – Amazon Kindle

Bestseller Sunny Days at the Beach is now available as an eBook and audio download – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and at Choc Lit.

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

Kirsty Ferry – The Day That Changed My Life

This week I’m joined by fellow Choc Lit author, Kirsty Ferry, as she tells us about the day that changed her life. Kirsty has a new book out for Christmas – Holly’s Christmas Secret and you can find details of that below. Over to Kirsty

I suppose it’s one of the things that any author could claim as the day that changed their life, when they refer to the day they signed their first contract or had their first success in writing.

I could say that this moment came when I signed my first contract for Choc Lit (well remembered – it was during my lunch hour at day job, clutching my pink and white spotty laptop case, signing my contract in a local Costa over a latte and a black forest chocolate cake), or a bit further back, when I had my first successful magazine short story, or my first article printed, or my first story in an anthology, or plucked up the courage to set my first self-published novel free into the world. Or the fact I seemed to be one of the main contributors to the newsletter at work when I worked at a bank and I literally had to make the best of it!

But, if I’m going to talk about my first success at writing, I think I have to go back to primary school, of all places. I’ve always loved writing. It’s never felt like work or a big deal to me. It was the homework I always did first, and the subject of my MA. I’ve always found if I enjoyed a subject, I did better in it. I got two A’s in my GCSEs, and English language was one of them. French was the other, and I swear that was only because I told the examiner I loved Tom Cruise which was the main reason j’adored le cinema. Ironically, I also loved art, but I failed that one as I was too lazy and too complacent in it, so maybe I enjoyed kicking back in that lesson a little too much!

However, even in primary school, writing was my ‘thing’. Even at the age of five, I wrote a poem called “The Circus Elephant”. The beginning of it went like this: “The circus elephant is big and fat, he wears a funny little hat… ”. As I moved up the years and changed school, I was fortunate that I gained an absolutely fantastic teacher in Mrs McGee, and she encouraged me to do more with my stories. She asked me to write a story for the ‘little ones’ and considering I was only about ten myself, I knew she meant the really little ones! So I wrote and illustrated a story about a naughty kitten who hid underneath a pile of laundry, and punched holes in it and tied it together with some ribbon. Mrs McGee laminated the pages, and that book went into the reading box for the little ones and apparently it was very popular.

Anyway, I left school and started working in the aforementioned bank. One day, I was sitting behind the counter, bored out of my tiny mind, and Mrs McGee came in. We had a lovely catch up and I was so pleased to see her. She started talking about my kitten book and asked had I continued with my writing. The next week, she came back in, and she actually brought the book in for me. She’d retired, and kept the book and that meant so much to me. Before she handed it over to me, she made me promise that I would pick up my writing again more seriously; and now I feel I’ve justified that promise to her. She’s been in and out of my life for years, as her granddaughter went to the same primary as my son  – which happened to be my old school as well, and the place she had taught for so long.

I think this just goes to show that teachers can have an incredible influence on people – Mrs McGee, Mrs Cain, Mrs Arthur, Mrs Wallace, Mr Parkinson, Mr Falcus, Mr Sanderson, Mr Thompson, Ms McCusker, Mrs Cassidy, Mr Forbes, Mr Leigh, Mr Lee, Mrs Bell and my very first teacher Mrs Sawyer – whose surname I borrowed for the historical heroine in Holly’s Christmas Secret – I salute you all, and thank you all for your inspiration and for many, many days that would help to ultimately change my life and help me become the person I am today. A writer. And a person who ditched the bank and got a better day job at a University instead, because you all gave me a lifelong interest in education and I’d absolutely hate to think I was letting any of you down!

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.

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

Twitter – www.twitter.com/kirsty_ferry

Facebook Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/kirsty.ferry.author/

About Holly’s Christmas Secret

Once upon a Cornish Christmas …

It’s almost Christmas at the Pencradoc estate in Cornwall which means that, as usual, tea room owner Sorcha Davies is baking up a festive storm. And this year Sorcha is hoping her mince pies will be going down a treat at ‘The Spirit of Christmas Past’ exhibition being organised at the house by new local antiques dealer, Locryn Dyer.

But as Locryn and Sorcha spend more time together, they begin to uncover a very special story of Christmas past that played out at Pencradoc more than a century before, involving a certain ‘Lady’ Holly Sawyer, a festive dinner party and a magical secret encounter with a handsome author …

To buy the book use the following link – https://smile.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08GSM8519?pf_rd_r=XBCX2EV8BNK826WBSNND&pf_rd_p=e632fea2-678f-4848-9a97-bcecda59cb4e

To see Kirsty’s other books check out her Choc Lit author page here.

Thank you for joining me this week, Kirsty. Lovely shout out for our teachers and a reminder of the importance of their influence in children’s lives.

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.

New Book for Christmas 2020 – Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe available for pre-order as an eBook now – Amazon Kindle

Bestseller Sunny Days at the Beach is now available as an eBook and audio download – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and at Choc Lit.

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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New Release – My Christmas 2020 Book

Excited to be blogging about my fifth book for Choc Lit, a Christmas title called – Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe. The cover is revealed today and the book is up for pre-order, before publication day on 17 November 2020.

When I won Choc Lit‘s Search for a Star competition with The Girl on the Beach published in 2017, I was thrilled to be publishing one novel and now I’m launching my fifth title for them!

So, let me tell you a little about the new book. This is what the description of Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe says:-

Run away to the little beach café this Christmas …

Five years ago at Christmas, solicitor Justin Sadler made the decision to leave his comfortable existence behind and move to the coast. Since then, he’s tried his best to ignore the festive season and, as he sits in the little beach café and reflects on that fateful night when his life was turned upside down, he expects his fifth Christmas alone to be no different to any of the others since he made his escape. 

But when he encounters a mystery woman on the beach, he soon realises he may have found a fellow runaway and kindred spirit. Could Justin finally be ready to move on and let Christmas into his life again?

The book can be pre-ordered here

I do hope you enjoy this new book set in my fictional seaside town of Borteen.

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.

New Book for Christmas 2020 – Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe available for pre-order as an eBook now – Amazon Kindle

Bestseller Sunny Days at the Beach is now available as an eBook and audio download – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and at Choc Lit.

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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Evonne Wareham – An Ornament I Love

These blog posts where I ask an author to talk about their favourite ornaments are very popular, but once again I found myself in tears preparing this one! This week we have Evonne Wareham talking about her mother’s dressmaking shears … Continue reading

Gallery | 9 Comments

Being a Friend at Christmas by Carol Thomas

Something a little different this week as regular blog visitor and Apricot Plotter, Carol Thomas joins me to talk about her new Christmas Book for children, Being a Friend at Christmas, which sounds absolutely delightful.

Thank you for having me back on your blog Morton to talk about the release of my latest children’s book, Being a Friend at Christmas, and how it connects to another charity close to my heart.

Recently, I stopped by to talk about volunteering with Cancer Research UK, but I am also a keen supporter of animal charities. And it will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me to learn I have a particular soft spot for dog-related charities.

I am a regular supporter of The Dogs Trust, and I am very proud of the fact that my first children’s book, Finding a Friend, was picked up and used to raise awareness of dogs in shelters by PAWS dog shelter in Paphos, Cyprus. As the story is about a little pup hoping to find his forever home, the charity put copies in schools and libraries, as well as selling them in their shop. They hoped that in raising awareness and educating children, they might make a positive change for the future.

And so when it came to writing my second book in the Little Pup series, I was mindful of continuing that theme of awareness. In this newly released book, Little Pup is looking forward to his first Christmas in his new home. But he also remembers the dogs he left behind in the shelter and wants them to have a happy Christmas too. Little Pup has an idea, but he needs Father Christmas’ help to make his wish come true.

It was a lot of fun to write and illustrate – a job not always made easy by my Labrador, Hubble, who thinks he’s a lap dog. Aimed at under 7s, the text is written in rhyme and has bright, colourful pictures to engage its young audience. Having a love of dogs, I enjoyed capturing the Little Pup’s thoughts and feelings in his posture and expressions as I brought the story to life on the page.

While Being a Friend at Christmas is shared and enjoyed this festive season, I hope it will also inspire a conversation and continue to spread awareness, too. As Little Pup says, “All dogs deserve a happy Christmas” and, like Santa in the story, I just have to agree!

Carol’s heartwarming Little Pup books will make ideal gifts for all young dog lovers.

About Being a Friend at Christmas (Little Pup book #2):

Little Pup’s looking forward to Christmas

and he knows just how lucky he’s been

because some dogs are still in shelters,

a warm home and best friend yet a dream.

Hoping a small gift of kindness,

will help them feel loved, not alone,

Little Pup has a wish that might come true,

when Father Christmas visits his home!

“A lovingly illustrated, and beautifully written, Christmas story you’ll want to share again and again!”

View the book trailer: https://youtu.be/q8Yhj7AfwPE

Purchase link: http://getbook.at/BAFAmazon

Also, by Carol Thomas:

Finding a Friend (Little Pup book #1).

When Little Pup finds himself at the shelter,

he doesn’t know quite what to do.

Big dogs all around, feeling lost and alone,

Little Pup needs a friend… but who?

“A delightfully written and wonderfully illustrated picture book, with a heart warming’ tail’ of friendship.”

View the book trailer: https://youtu.be/66ypEpoNTd8

Purchase link: http://getbook.at/FAFAmazon

About the author:

Carol Thomas lives on the south coast of England with her husband, four children, guinea pig, two hamsters and lively Labrador. She has been a playgroup supervisor and has taught in primary schools for just over twenty years – but we don’t mention that as it makes her feel old!

Carol writes for both adults and children. Her children’s books have irresistibly cute, generally furry characters young children can relate to.

To find out more about books by Carol Thomas:

Website : https://carol-thomas.co.uk

Facebook : https://facebook.com/carolthomasauthor

Twitter : https://twitter.com/carol_thomas2

Pinterest : https://www.pinterest.co.uk/carol_thomas2/

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

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.

Bestseller Sunny Days at the Beach is now available as an eBook and audio download – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and at Choc Lit.

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 iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

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Angela Petch – Ornaments I Love

This week I’m joined by fellow Apricot Plotter Angela Petch. Angela writes for Bookouture and she’s talking to us about some rather romantic ornaments …

My Sicilian bells are very special to me. I’ve had them for more than forty-four years and every time I look at them on my Tuscan window ledge, I smile. They are one of the first presents from my husband. Some men give their girlfriends flowers and chocolate, but these unusual gifts are typical of the adventurous life that we’ve enjoyed together. The cowbells were wrapped up and hidden in a Sicilian basket once used to carry goods on a donkey. Around the rim, he had pinned a dozen red roses and there were other gifts inside, including a guitar. He is not a romantic man, so this gesture will forever remain in my heart. (The gift of a steam iron a few years after we married definitely did not match up…) But, just like in a good read, relationships can be beset with ups and downs, twists and turns, surprises and shocks. And, we’re still together.

We met on the island of Sicily in our twenties, working for a Dutch construction company. After marrying, we moved from Amsterdam to Tanzania, where we worked and explored for three years. Now, we live half our year in Tuscany and spend the winter months in West Sussex near our five grandchildren.

I love to travel and to find out about local traditions. A Tuscan Memory, a revised version of my indie-published Now and Then in Tuscany, released again by Bookouture on September 7th, has as its background the transhumance. This is a journey made by shepherds and herdsmen and animals, from high up in the Tuscan Apennines (where we live), down to the coast. For years, since Etruscan times and until the late 1950s, this practice continued from September until May of each year. The leading ewe would wear a bell very similar to mine, maybe slightly smaller. When I discovered from my Italian friends, that the menfolk were away for five long winter months, my ears pricked up, I scribbled down notes and dived into research. 

A Tuscan Memory has been described as a love letter to Italy. I have included romance, traditions, lost family histories as well as old country recipes in this novel. I was delighted with a comment on Goodreads: “It is written with a love of the land and culture oozing from every page.” I hope it will appeal to more readers; it is a little different from my World War Two stories. Fingers crossed. 

What an adventurous life you’ve led, Angela. Thank you for sharing Mx

About Angela Petch

Angela Petch shares her year between the Tuscan Apennines and West Sussex. 

Her love affair with Italy was born at the age of seven when she moved with her family to Rome. Her father worked for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and he made sure his children learned Italian and soaked up the culture. She studied Italian at the University of Kent at Canterbury and afterwards worked in Sicily where she met her husband. His Italian mother and British father met in Urbino in 1944 and married after a wartime romance.

Her first book, Tuscan Roots was written in 2012, for her Italian mother-in-law, Giuseppina, and also to make readers aware of the courage shown by families of her Italian neighbours during WW2. Acquired by Bookouture in 2018, this book was republished as The Tuscan Secret in June 2019. The Tuscan Girl followed in February 2020.

Now and Then in Tuscany, was self-published in April 2017 and features the same family. The background is the transhumance, a practice that started in Etruscan times and continued until the 1950s. Bookouture has since bought the rights, and under a new title, A Tuscan Memory will be released on September 7th 2020. Research for her Tuscan novels is greatly helped by her knowledge of Italian and ability to talk with locals.

Although Italy is a passion, her stories are not always set in this country. Mavis and Dot, published at the end of 2018 and sold in aid of research into a cure for cancer, tells the story of two fun-loving ladies who retire to the Sussex seaside. They forge an unlikely friendship and fall into a variety of adventures. Ingenu/e Magazine describes it as: “Absolutely Fabulous meets Last of the Summer Wine… a gently hilarious feel-good book that will enchant and delight…”. 

A prize-winning author and member of the RNA, she also loves to travel and recently returned to Tanzania, where she lived at the start of her marriage. A keen tennis player and walker, she enjoys spending time with her five grandchildren and inventing stories for their entertainment. 

Her short stories are published by PRIMA and the People’s Friend.

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

Website – www.angelapetchsblogsite.wordpress.com

Fakebook – https://www.facebook.com/AngelaJaneClarePetch

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Angela_Petch

About A Tuscan Memory

In a tiny hamlet nestled in the Tuscan mountains, farmers gather after a hard day in the meadows, and children’s laughter rings across the square: but one little boy does not join in their play. Behind his deep brown eyes, hides a heartbreaking secret…

Ninety years later. When elderly Giselda Chiozzi discovers a lost little boy, curled up asleep in the beech forest outside her grand but empty home, she can’t help but take pity on him. It’s been a long time since she had a visitor. Waking up to her kind smile and the warming smell of Italian hot chocolate, Davide soon blurts out what drove him into the cold Tuscan night: he’s different from everyone else, he’s never belonged anywhere, and now his beloved mother is ill.

With her heart full of sadness for this lost child, Giselda promises to help Davide trace his family history – she knows better than anyone that connecting with your roots can ground you in the present, and hopes it will make Davide realise that home is where he truly belongs.  

Together the unlikely pair discover the story of Davide’s great-grandfather, Giuseppe Starnucci, a young boy who spent his days milking cows, helping with the harvest, and hammering horseshoes in the forge. But after a terrible incident that changed his life forever, Giuseppe also ran away. Forced to become a man before his time, Giuseppe joined the treacherous pilgrimage all Tuscan farmers must make from the mountains to the plains, sacrificing everything to ensure the survival of their families.

Engrossed in the story, Davide is slowly starting to heal when he and Giselda discover a shocking secret which Giuseppe took to his grave – and which now threatens to tear apart Davide’s family for good. Will Davide let the pain of the past determine his future, or can he find the courage, love and loyalty within him to return home… and even if Davide himself finds peace, will it be too late for Giselda?

Inspired by true stories of rural Italian life, this absolutely stunning historical read is perfect for fans of Dinah Jeffries, Rhys Bowen, and anyone who’s ever longed to stroll beneath the cypress trees and taste the fresh mountain air of Tuscany.

Previously published as Now and Then in Tuscany.

Link to buy A Tuscan Memory: https://amzn.to/2ZVOQ5B

Angela‘s other books include:-

The Tuscan Secret

The Tuscan Girl

Mavis and Dot

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.

New Book Sunny Days at the Beach is now available as an eBook – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and at Choc Lit.

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 iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

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