I thought I’d give you a slightly different blog post and share in a pictorial way a little about the story of Sunny Days at the Beach. These images are still shots from a small video I made about the book.
If you haven’t read this book yet, I hope you might give it a go and if you do please leave me a review. It is also available as an eBook and audiobook.
This week I’m joined by Eva Glyn to talk about what she loves about her garden. Eva Glyn is a pen name of my friend and fellow Apricot Plotter, Jane Cable. She is celebrating the publication of The Missing Pieces of Us by the One More Chapter imprint of publisher Harper Collins. Over to Eva …
Writing about my garden for Morton’s blog seemed such a great idea. Robin, one of my main characters in Eva Glyn’s The Missing Pieces of Us is a gardener so the link seemed perfect. More perfect in fact than my actual garden.
Let me explain. Four years ago my husband and I moved to Cornwall. We wanted somewhere we could lock up and leave to travel, so a garden wasn’t a major consideration, although there is a small north-facing one behind our flat. And here is it, looking at its best packed with our friends. But not much to write home about otherwise.
But actually, we don’t need a big garden, because everywhere we go we are surrounded by beautiful plants. Truro has the most amazing parks department and we always do well in the Britain in Bloom competitions. Nearby there are many gardens to visit, at National Trust and private properties, and as we discovered during our lockdown walks, nature itself gives many gifts.
So I have pulled together a virtual garden from the photos I have taken since we’ve lived here. All of them are in public spaces so if you visit Cornwall at the right time of year, you can see them too.
Let’s start with the shrubs…
A garden always needs structure and shrubs and small trees give rolling year around colour too. The beautiful frosted camelia was snapped in Truro’s Victoria Gardens one February morning, and both the dogwood and hydrangea are from Trelissick. Trelissick is one of Cornwall’s great houses, built (or in this case extended) with money from its mines in the early nineteenth century. The Poldarks dine at Trelissick in The Black Moon, and I have used it as one of the central locations for my dual timeline, The Forgotten Maid.
Filling the borders agapanthus and lampranthus always make me think of Cornwall. Liz Fenwick (a fellow Cornish author) grows spectacular ‘aggies’ in her garden, but this photo was taken at Trebah. It’s one of my favourite places, a beautiful valley just filled with plants, made all the more poignant by the fact troops left for D-Day from the tiny cove at its seaward end. We see lampranthus taking advantage of any sunny wall and this particular one is outside Truro School. The californian poppies and daisies have been borrowed from the Eden Project.
Something for the bees …
So important, isn’t it, and it’s wonderful to see so many more of them around. There’s a big emphasis on encouraging them in Cornwall by leaving verges uncut but the wildflowers were in Truro’s Boscawen Park last summer when the whole planting scheme focused on wildlife and sustainability, including using vegetables in the displays. My husband snapped the bee feeding on a thistle on one of our lockdown walks, so it must have been taken within a few miles of our front door.
In nature’s gift …
Incredibly this apple tree is on a footpath along the edge of the Rive Fal between Tresillian and St Clement, one of our favourite walks. The poppies are on another tributary, next to Boscawen Park, below the point where Truro’s three rivers (and Truro means three rivers) meet. The heather was photographed on the cliffs just above the coastal village of Porthtowan, another setting for The Forgotten Maid.
About Eva Glyn
Jane Cable writes emotional women’s fiction as Eva Glyn for One More Chapter and haunting romances for Sapere Books under her own name. Find out more at www.janecable.com.
The Missing Pieces of Us by Eva Glyn (published 21st July 2021) tells the story of Robin and Izzie who meet again twenty years after their brief affair only to discover their memories of it are completely different.
The Forgotten Maid by Jane Cable (published 3rd August 2021) is set in Cornwall in 1815 and 2015 when two very different women arrive in the county and across the years their searches for acceptance become dangerously intertwined.
To keep in touch you can use the following social media links:-
An emotional and page-turning family saga perfect for fans of Barbara O’Neal, Amanda Prowse, and Susanne O’Leary!
‘Full of mystery and magic’ Heidi Swain
There are three versions of the past – hers, his, and the truth.
When Robin Vail walks back into widow Isobel O’Briain’s life decades after he abruptly left it, the dark days since her husband’s unexpected passing finally know light. Robin has fallen on hard times but Izzie and her teenage daughter Claire quickly remind him what it’s like to have family…and hope.
But Robin and Izzie are no longer those twenty-something lovers, and as they grow closer once more the missing pieces of their past weigh heavy. Now, to stop history repeating, Izzie and Robin must face facts and right wrongs…no matter how painful.
Thank you for your lovely colourful post Eva/Jane. Mx
Below is Morton‘s review of the book:-
An emotional rollercoaster. I loved Robin and was rooting for him throughout the book. The fairy tree plays a big part in the story and is almost a character in itself.
At one point when I closed my Kindle, I found myself unconsciously kissing the cover because of the loveliness of the section I had just read – I’ve never done that before!
A book about the twists and turns of life and how some life defining moments can have a big impact and alter your life path. The book also reflects how strangers can be unexpectedly supportive just when you need it.
Eva Glyn’s writing is easy to read and flows beautifully.
Delighted to welcome back fellow Apricot Plotter, Vicki Beeby as she celebrates the release of her third Ops Room Girls novel this week. I’ve started reading an advance copy of Victory for the Ops Room Girls published by Canelo and it is wonderful to sink back into the comfort blanket of characters I love already.
If you haven’t started this series yet, I can thoroughly recommend the books. Vicki is talking about what she envies about the heroines of her books – fascinating! Over to Vicki …
When I wrote THE OPS ROOM GIRLS, the first book in my Women’s Auxiliary Air Force series, I created three heroines: Evie, Jess and May. Evie and May both share similarities with me. Evie loves maths and enjoys proving trigonometric identities in her spare time. Well, so do I, and I’m not going to apologise for it.
May is very shy and again, I’ve got to put up my hand and confess that May’s shyness and inability to assert herself comes from me. In fact, one reason I enjoy writing so much is that it’s a bit like therapy – it gives me the opportunity to delve into aspects of my character and see how I might react in certain circumstances, and even explore areas of my life where I need to challenge myself. All in the non-threatening environment of a work of fiction.
Jess, however, is different. Jess is the anti-me. In many ways, Jess is the person I wanted to be when I was growing up, before I made peace with being a shy geek. Readers of THE OPS ROOM GIRLS and CHRISTMAS WITH THE OPS ROOM GIRLS will already be familiar with her. She’s the confident one who enjoys being the centre of attention. She can twist most men around her little finger and turns heads whenever she enters a room. I don’t particularly envy these characteristics now; I’m fairly content with who I am. However, there is one thing I do seriously envy about Jess, and that’s her unfailing ability to have a snappy quip ready at any time and in any circumstances.
As a writer, people often seem to expect me to have the right words ready at any occasion. In fact, the opposite is true. I never know what to say. And as for the appropriate words to write, I’m that person who, when signing one of those group cards that always seem to do the rounds at work, invariably ends up writing: ‘Best wishes from Vicki,’ when everyone else has written reams of flowing witty/sympathetic/heartfelt prose.
‘But you’re a writer,’ I hear you say. ‘Surely you can come up with something more original.’
To which the answer is: yes, but give me six months. That’s the advantage of being an author – I can write about characters making snappy retorts because I get a long time to come up with them. If you could read an early draft of VICTORY FOR THE OPS ROOM GIRLS, you would find several places where I’ve written something like: “Jess gave him a withering look and said, ‘[INSERT WITTY RETORT HERE]’.” It’s then taken months of agonising to work out what Jess would actually say. However, in real life I can’t say to someone, ‘Give me six months, and I’ll have the perfect riposte for you.’
So there you have it – I really wish I had Jess’s ability to come up with the right words at a moment’s notice.
Now I need the perfect line to round off this post. Give me six months, and I know I’ll have it.
So interesting! Isn’t it lovely to be able to allow our characters to either reflect us or to be the opposite of us? Thank you for the post Vicki and best of luck with the new book. Mx
About Vicki Beeby
Vicki Beeby writes historical fiction about the friendships and loves of service women brought together by the Second World War.
Her first job was as a civil engineer on a sewage treatment project, so things could only improve from there. Since then, she has worked as a maths teacher and education consultant before turning freelance to give herself more time to write.
In her free time, when she can drag herself away from reading, she enjoys walking and travelling to far-off places by train. She lives in Shropshire in a house that doesn’t contain nearly enough bookshelves.
The final instalment in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force series is here…
With Jess newly promoted to Filterer Officer at RAF Fighter Command HQ, she is delighted to be reunited with Evie and May. However, now that they can enjoy socialising in London, Jess fears her friends will discover the secret she keeps there.
When Jess bumps into Milan unexpectedly, sparks are reignited – did she make a mistake, finishing with him in Amberton? But matters are complicated when a film company arrives at Bentley Priory to make a morale-boosting movie about the RAF. The lead actor is none other than Leonard Steele, a man from Jess’s past who could ruin everything she has worked so hard to build…
Jess is about to fight her biggest battle just as the war nears its end. As her past and present collide, will she find the strength to fight for her future?
A gripping and emotional wartime saga ideal for fans of Daisy Styles, Kate Thompson and Rosie Clarke.
Mind provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
What a lovely cover!
Here are a few details of the book which will initially be a Kindle download and hopefully soon a paperback:-
Treat yourself this summer …
You’ve had Cosy Christmas Treats, now try our summer selection! This collection of sunny short stories is perfect reading whether you’re living it up at the beach, sunning yourself in the garden or sheltering indoors from the Great British summertime.
From breath-taking boat rides on beautiful Greek islands to going on the run through the streets of Paris, from ‘best ever ice cream’ to pasteis de nata in pretty Portuguese cafes, these stories celebrate everything there is to love about summer, home and abroad – including, of course, a bit of holiday romance!
There are stories from the following authors:
Morton S. Gray
Thanks to Lu from Choc Lit for pulling this collection of stories together!
This week I’m joined by fellow Choc Lit author, Sue McDonagh to talk about childhood holidays. We had great fun behind the scenes preparing this post as my childhood holiday photographs are very similar to hers. Sue has recently released her fourth book for Choc Lit Summer of Hopes and Dreams, which has a gorgeous cover that Sue herself painted!!!
Over to Sue …
I regularly plunder my bulging stash of life experiences for my novels, and my book 4, Summer of Hopes and Dreamsis no exception. Rosie’s adventures at the outdoor pursuits course are inspired by my own, and I believe that my willingness to throw myself into outdoor adventures stems from childhood holidays in the sixties.
Covid has forced us to appreciate our own beautiful local land and sea-scapes, and with prices for hotels and guest houses rocketing, more and more people are flocking to beauty spots in tents, caravans and motorhomes. Even in term time, it’s impossible to book a week in a camp site near the Welsh coast right now. But camping today, with all its wonderful mod cons of air tents and double skins, air beds and double gas burners, is a far cry from my first camping expedition, aged about four.
We didn’t even have a tent. My little brother and I slept in the front seats of our tiny Ford van while Mum and Dad slept in the back on our first foray into the wilds of Cheddar Gorge, after arriving in the dark. The following morning, I heard Dad exclaim that we were on the edge of a massive drop into the gorge… just a few feet more would have meant no novels written by me! What if I’d accidentally released the handbrake? Ah, sigh, the days before the Nanny State kicked in.
We’d upped our game a few years later, acquiring a vast ex-army canvas ridge tent, camp-beds with minds of their own, and a dog, Lucy. We headed west, to Cornwall, land of cream teas and bewildering accents. There was no motorway, and the journey from Essex took twelve hours.
Dad had a list of town names tucked under his sun visor that still sound romantic to me now: Taunton, Exeter, Okehampton, Launceston, Bodmin, and finally St Austell. He’d pull into a layby for a nap about two thirds of the way, and I remember dozing, feeling the car swaying with each passing lorry. No motorways also meant no services, but schools and community centres used to open, manned by the WI, dispensing tea and sandwiches to tired drivers and their families on the annual pilgrimage to the sea.
The huge tent took Mum and Dad hours to erect, whilst my brother and I explored and made nuisances of ourselves. For some inexplicable reason, we later all went for a shower, leaving the dog tied to the central pole of the tent. Our return was memorable by the sight of the flattened tent, and Lucy wagging her tail in the wreckage, still attached to the centre pole.
The musty scent of stored canvas is enough to bring those childhood memories flooding back. We learned to surf in Porthtowan, on curved wooden belly boards, we were burned scarlet every year and our skin hung in tatters like a badge of honour. The only suntan lotion was factor 0 Ambre Solaire oil, another scent from my childhood.
We were outside on the fresh air as soon as the sun rose and stayed out with the bats as they flew out of the trees at dusk. When it rained, which it did often, we’d drive around the ghostly narrow lanes to the opposite side of the peninsula and emerge into the sunshine again. And if that failed, we’d go to the little shop at St Agnes, buy sweeties, puzzle books and paperbacks and cocoon ourselves into our snuggly sleeping bags to read and wait it out.
I adored choosing my paperback – the smell of the pages, the cover design, the blurb on the back to help me decide whether it was going to transport me to another time. I immersed myself in Poldark and Jamaica Inn, and everything Daphne du Maurier.
Cornwall was a land of romance and mystery to me then, and still is. When I first visited Wales, many years before I ever thought I would live there, it reminded me so much of Cornwall, that I felt instantly at home. I’m delighted to be able to set my novels there now.
About Sue McDonagh
My career as a policewoman in the Essex Police was interrupted when I was twenty four by ovarian cancer. A year of surgery and chemotherapy meant a successful recovery, which led to a convalescent year in the Essex Police Press Office. This suited me as I’d always fancied being a journalist, and meant that I could play with joined up writing and stationary.
When I moved to Wales to marry a man widowed by cancer and became instant mum to his two little boys, I used my Press Office skills and wrote press releases and eventually, blog posts for the various clubs and organisations I was involved with.
Art evolved into a full time occupation and I made a living teaching and sketching portraits on the spot at agricultural and seaside shows, moving into more considered work as time went on and appearing on Sky TV in 2014 in the regional finals of the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year.
I now work almost exclusively to commission, but also give demonstrations and talks to art societies and other groups, which I enjoy.
In 1982, following chemotherapy, I cycled from John O’Groats to Land’s End in ten days, fundraising over £8000 towards a cancer scanner for St Bartholomew’s Hospital, where I was treated.
After my first hip replacement sixteen years ago, I and three friends took part in the Four Inns Challenge and walked 45 miles across the Peak District in 16 hours, raising £10,000 for MacMillan Cancer Support.
When my second hip needed replacing, I thought about commemorating it with a further bonkers fundraising idea, but to everyone’s relief, found my excitement in writing.
Twelve years ago I learned to ride a motorbike, and now help to run Curvy Riders, a national, women only, motorbike club. Learning to ride inspired my first novel, which took me four years to write. I was delighted that ChocLit believed in me as so many publishers had turned the book down as they didn’t like the motorbike theme. Many women have since written to me to tell me that they’ve felt empowered to learn to ride themselves.
I’m lucky enough to live a scant mile from the sea, and I swim in it most days with a group of wonderful women, no wetsuit required, and I also cycle regularly with another group of friends. I also knit socks and crochet blankets, very slowly!
My novels, Summer at the Art Café, Meet Me at the Art Café and Escape to the Art Café have been published as digital, audio and paperbacks, and also published in The Netherlands, and have all reached BestSeller orange flags.
Can “Dozy Rosie” spice up her life and prove she’s not boring?
Rosie Bunting has spent her life caring for others, often at the expense of her own hopes and dreams. But when she overhears somebody describing her as “boring”, she decides it’s time for a change. Little does she realise that the outdoor pursuits weekend brochure handed to her at the local Art Café will kick start a summer that will see her abseiling down a Welsh cliff face in “eye watering” leggings, rediscovering her artistic side and unexpectedly inheriting an old fire engine. It also involves meeting hunky outdoor instructor, Gareth Merwyn-Jones – although of course he’d never be interested in Dozy Rosie Bunting … would he? One thing’s for certain: Rosie’s path to achieving her hopes and dreams might not be smooth, but it’s definitely not boring.
I have read and enjoyed all of Victoria Cornwall’s novels published by Choc Lit. We got chatting the other day about our favourite parts of being a writer and I think top of both of our lists was that moment when you hold a paperback of your novel for the first time.
On Saturday 26 June 2021 Victoria’s novel Daughter of the House became available as a paperback for the first time and she got to hold a copy, smell a copy, stroke a copy and no doubt hug it too. Can you tell I’ve been there too? Nothing beats this feeling.
Daughter of the House is the story of Evelyn Pendragon, a lonely girl, who is ignored by her parents whose focus is on her brother, the expected heir to the family’s Cornish estate. Evelyn befriends Drake Vennor, an apprentice gardener on the estate. But when tragedy strikes, she may have to turn her back on their friendship.
Talking to Victoria, she told me that her setting was inspired by fantastic gardens in Cornwall – The Lost Gardens of Heligan, near St Austell, the formal gardens of Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park, Torpoint. The gardens in the book are obviously important as Drake, the hero, is an apprentice gardener. Sounds like a recipe for some lovely days out for the author and maybe for you! You can have a better look at these gardens on their websites, but I have included a few images to tempt you.
Daughter of the House is Victoria’s fourth book in the Cornish Tales series of standalone stories and has attracted lovely four and five star reviews including my own five star review:-
Escape to Cornwall for a great historical read!
A fabulous book from an author rapidly becoming one of my favourites for historical reads. I loved Victoria Cornwall’s characters Evie and Drake. The book evoked many emotions as I was reading, in particular indignation related to how women were treated in the past. Can’t wait for Victoria Cornwall’s next book.
If you would like to grab a copy of this lovely book you can get your own on the link here.
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.
In 2021, her novel Daniel’s Daughter became a finalist in the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Goldsboro Books Historical Romantic Novel Award. 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.
Evelyn Pendragon is spirited but lonely, and largely ignored by her parents whose attentions are taken up with her brother, Nicholas: the expected heir to the family’s Cornish estate and the one who will carry on the Pendragon name.
Stifled by her aristocratic existence, Evelyn finds companionship in an unlikely place when she befriends Drake Vennor, an apprentice gardener on the estate. But When Evelyn’s life is thrown into turmoil by a tragedy, she realises just how much she has come to rely on Drake. Will family expectations and the burden of the Pendragon name mean she must turn her back on him when she needs him the most?
This week I’m joined by a regular visitor to my blog – Marie Laval. Marie‘s latest book, HAPPY DREAMS AT MERMAID COVE published by Choc Lit on 22 June 2021 looks and sounds such fun. For this blog post she is going to share with us her memories of a very special holiday. Over to Marie …
These are memories from a road trip I took with my partner, Robert, who tragically passed away last April. It was the first time Robert was coming over to see me and I wanted the holiday to be special, so I planned an itinerary that would take us from my village near Lyon to Les Saintes Maries de la Mer, in Camargue, in the South of France.
My mother very kindly lent me her old Renault Five, and off we went…
Then, like now, I didn’t like driving on the motorway so we took the infamous Nationale 7, which is the A road that runs all the way from Paris to the border with Italy, and often gets very jammed with holiday traffic. Our first stop was the beautiful town of Avignon where my uncle and auntie were putting us up for a couple of nights. To Robert’s credit, he didn’t pull a face or make any comment when I parked the car in front of my uncle’s house. He could have…
My uncle Roger was my mother’s eldest brother and what you could call an eccentric (he called himself a ‘poet’). Not only had he built his own house with a few friends (and you could tell!), but he had a complete menagerie living in the field surrounding the house – pigeons, turkeys, chicken, geese, not to forget two parrots named Marco and Polo who lived in a big tree during the day and squawked, whistled and called if any visitors arrived. My uncle had a house removal business and bought a lot of useless stuff at auctions. The whole ground floor of his house was filled with typewriters, dentist chairs, chipped dinner services and rusty cutlery, old paintings and pots and lots and lots of bunches of keys. When I was little it was my idea of a treasure trove…
My uncle had even dug what he called his swimming pool, which was in fact a hole in the ground where geese, ducks and humans could enjoy a splash in the murky water. We used to swim in there as children and I’ve always wondered how on earth we never caught any disease!
I was a bit worried that Robert would find my relatives weird, but he got along really well with them, despite them not knowing a word of English and him not speaking much French!
After Avignon, we travelled to Les Baux de Provence, a stunning medieval village perching on top of a rocky outcrop. Les Baux is a very touristic place but if you can, it’s well worth stopping over for the night because once the tourists have left the atmosphere changes completely. I remember it was very quiet and very eerie when we sat near the ruined castle and admired the sunset over the Provence plains.
After Les Baux we went to Pont du Gard and Arles, stopping in picturesque villages or market towns on the way, and finally to Les Saintes Maries de la Mer. To cut a long story short, the Camargue is an incredible place, full of marshes, with flamingos, wild horses and black bulls, and gardians – horse-riding herdsmen who look a lot like cowboys. During our first evening there we sat at the terrace of a café to eat a seafood platter and drink rosé wine, when suddenly half a dozen gardians arrived and started singing and playing the guitar. I don’t know if you remember the Gypsy Kings, but it was exactly like that and everybody was clapping and singing.
It was a marvellous holiday, filled with sunshine, romance… and mosquitoes who ate us alive, but we were happy anyway.
Sounds blissful, thank you for sharing this with us. So sorry about Robert, but it sounds as if you have wonderful memories to cling to. Good luck with your new novel – love the yellow library van! Mx 💕
About Marie Laval
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in the Rossendale Valley in Lancashire. She writes both contemporary and historical romance. Her novels include best selling contemporary romantic suspense novels LITTLE PINK TAXI and ESCAPE TO THE LITTLE CHATEAU, which was shortlisted for the 2021 RNA Jackie Collins Romantic Suspense Award, as well as A PARIS FAIRY TALE and BLUEBELL’S CHRISTMAS MAGIC. Her historical novel, ANGEL OF THE LOST TREASURE, was published in February 2021, and HAPPY DREAMS AT MERMAID COVE is her latest contemporary romance. Marie also contributes to the best selling Miss Moonshine’s Emporium anthologies together with eight author friends from Authors on the Edge.
From the big city to a little yellow mobile library on the Isle of Skye …
When Jenna Palmer agrees to the new position of mobile librarian on the tiny Arrandale peninsular of the Isle of Skye, she knows she’s signing up for difficult working conditions and mediocre wages. But Jenna needs to get away, and a little yellow mobile library called Buttercup could be her escape to happier dreams …
However, whilst Jenna can get to grips with foggy island roads, local mermaid legends and even big purple monsters, she never expected to have to contend with a boss as grumpy as Daniel McGregor, or a young book lover as enthusiastic as his niece, Katrina.
Arrandale might represent Jenna’s safe port in a storm, but could she and Buttercup also become a beacon of hope to Daniel, Katrina and the entire island community?
HAPPY DREAMS AT MERMAID COVE is available as an ebook on Amazon and Kobo.
Someone new to my blog this week as Bettina Hunt author of High Heels on the Beachshares three little known facts about herself. Over to Bettina …
I am half Persian and lived in Tehran, the capital of Iran, for the first three years of my life. In fact I only spoke Persian when I came to England. I absolutely love all things relating to Iran, from listening to the music, watching documentaries about the country and reading books set in Iran. I like to devour it all. I’ve just started watching The Bold Type and I was surprised and delighted to see an Iranian character featured with one of the main cast members. What We Do In The Shadows is an amusing series about Vampires, one of whom is an Iranian. Great fun.
I’m really proud of the fact that I am Anglo Iranian and although I haven’t yet brought it into my writing I am thinking I probably should 🙂
I LOVE the food, and I mean really love it. If I ate nothing else ever again I wouldn’t mind at all. It’s my absolute favourite cuisine as it’s full of flavour but not spicy. And the sweet treats, well if it has rosewater, I am there! On Pinterest I’ve dedicated a board to my favourite Persian food and pinned all the delicious food.
It’s my dream to be able to go back to Iran as an adult and see all the sights and culture and appreciate my background and heritage. I want to see the delights of Shiraz and Isfahan. I am not sure it will ever happen. Although, I haven’t stopped dreaming that I will make it back there one day to visit
We lost our dad in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.
We were having the best time. I was so excited to be there. I loved meeting the characters, going into Minnie Mouse’s house and opening the fridge door was a particular highlight, I have to say. In fact, I would say that I was more excited than my younger siblings to be in The Magic Kingdom.
All day we had our eyes on the gigantic knickerbocker glory type ice creams and my dad promised us that at the end of the day he would treat us to them. We chose one final ride to go on and left my dad sitting on a bench. The queue took forever, and a few times the ride broke down or something or other but each time the ride would restart so we stuck it out. When we emerged it was dusk, we must have been hours and when we reached the bench he was gone!
We looked everywhere, called out his name, we even reported ourselves missing! He on the other hand never reported us missing, if he had we might have been reunited sooner!
Then the Big Parade came past and we made the decision to stop searching for my dad and watch it as who knew if we would ever see it again. A kind shop owner gave us bottles of water and chocolate and we even had seats! Once it ended we knew we had to get back to the car park to get the last coach back to our hotel. And then the heavens opened, torrential rain and thunder and lightning rain belted down. The monorail was being stopped, everyone was rushing to the ferry. We HAD to get it. We weaved through the crowds and finally we sighed with relief. We’d made it aboard.
With the coach in sight and no sign of our dad we decided that as we had no money, and he obviously did, we would take the coach back to the hotel and then decide on the next plan of action. By now it was pitch black and very late. We boarded the coach and to our utter relief who did we find sitting right at the front? You’ve guessed it, dad!
It turns out he’d made his way to the entrance of the park and watched the entire show from its starting point, whereas we had been sat the whole time where it ended. He had it all on video because he wanted to show us. Awww.
We never did get those gigantic ice creams!
A reader and her family took my wedding themed book Without A Hitch on their holiday to Disney and I was over the moon when she sent me back these shots 🙂
Will Smith won me a holiday when I was 17.
I was at home feeling sorry for myself because I’d dislocated my knee at school and was going to be in plaster for the whole of the summer holidays. My dad called me and said Capital FM Radio are doing competitions every hour where you have to identify a song clip, why don’t you enter and cheer yourself up?
Well, the prize that Saturday was a Summer goodie bag packed with a holiday beach read, designer sunglasses, beach towel, sun lotion and more. I really wanted to win it and when a clip came on of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince Summertime I called in. I left my details and was so shocked when they called me back and said I was going to be on the radio. I was so shocked in fact that when I went on air my mind went blank and I forgot what the song was. Luckily I regained my composure and remembered just in time!
Off air the producer of the show asked me if I was going to be free the next day. He quickly clarified he wasn’t asking me out on a date (oh how we laughed) – I was in the draw now for the chance to win a holiday but I HAD to answer the phone at 4pm when they called or they would draw someone else. The pressure was on.
The next day my family were eating Sunday lunch when the phone rang…. well you have never seen anyone with their leg in plaster leap up quicker to get it! But it wasn’t Capital FM it was my brother using his mobile to play a trick on me. But the joke was on him, as seconds later the phone rang again and this time he swore it wasn’t him. It really was Capital FM, I’d won!!!
So when the plaster came off 6 weeks later, I was lucky enough to jet off for a luxury holiday to Crete 🙂 And that goodybag, well it came in handy with all the Summer holiday essentials it contained.
So that’s it, those were my three facts. I hope you enjoyed reading them and thank you once again to Morton for having me on your blog.
Thank you, Bettina and what fun facts!
About Bettina Hunt
Bettina Hunt lives in Essex England with her husband and two sons. She writes romantic comedies and contemporary women’s fiction. She enjoys beauty and afternoon tea and has previously blogged about these subjects over on beautyswot.com. Being a huge fan of cocktails and dining out, naturally food features a lot in her books. Bettina is a great believer in the idea of a happy ever after and thus her books are uplifting and full of hope sprinkled with lots of fun along the way. A natural entertainer, totally unintentionally … you’ll see! She also loves to talk and can be found on twitter most days, she’d love to see you there 😊
To keep in touch with Bettina, you can use the following links:-
Decision shy Becca is used to her best friend making decisions for her, but after a disastrous 30th birthday, London living Becca realises she needs to stop relying on others and take control of her own destiny.
With her life plans in tatters, she’s forced to return home to the quiet seaside town of Sunny Bay and the family’s B&B, where the bedrooms are covered in chintz and her mother is still serving up culinary delights from the 1970s. Adamant that she’s not staying, Becca embarks on a soul-searching trip to Europe.
She’s barely stepped foot abroad before a family crisis sees her back in Sunny Bay and in charge of the B&B. Coming face to face with old flames and adversaries, Becca’s reminded why she left and is determined to get back to her old life in London.
But when the mysterious Madame DoTell, fortune teller to the stars, insists that home is where the heart is, Becca begins to wonder if she should listen…
If home is where the heart is, where is home?
High Heels on the Beach is a light-hearted and fun packed Summer tale perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Lindsey Kelk
So exciting to support author, Anni Rose in the week when she publishes her debut novel Recipe for Mr Rightwith Choc Lit Publishing! I asked Anni to talk about her garden and it sounds so idyllic that I think I might apply to move in with her family.
Thank you so much, Morton, for inviting me on to your blog to talk about my garden. I have to say, when I told my family what I was going to be talking to you about, they laughed. I’m no gardener; but I do love my garden. I should warn you though, this is no show garden, that’s really not something that’s practical with two dogs running about and who love nothing better than to chase one another through the flower beds.
I am writing this sitting on the patio this morning, in the sun, having just eaten a bowlful of strawberries picked this morning from the greenhouse for my breakfast – one of the reasons I love the garden.
There are no stripes on the lawn. Actually, it’s more meadow than lawn, but that’s fine with me. I could happily live with a wildflower meadow – I love the colours and scents of flowers.
We are regularly visited by many types of wildlife. Sadly, our regular house martins haven’t made an appearance this year. Oh, and we are on one of the flight paths into RAF Fairford, so when the wind’s in the right direction you might catch sight of the odd B-52 or U2.
The flower beds are jammed full of colour. It’s an all-year-round garden, from snowdrops and crocuses in early spring which are closely followed by a riot of wallflowers in the front. At the moment the lupins, aquilegia and peonies are blooming lovely, and the front of the house is draped in white wisteria. Last year we scattered an enormous number of poppy seeds. Poppy plants are emerging now, in another month they should look amazing. I can’t wait to see the variety and colours. Then it will be time to start picking the tomatoes. In August, the fruit trees come into their own. Last year we had a bumper harvest of plums, even after giving jars away to just about everyone we knew, we still have a shelf-full of jam (or jum as it is known in our house after we had help with the labels!).
At the back of the garden is our vegetable plot. This year we ate our first home-grown asparagus. Not as exciting as having a debut novel published but a milestone nevertheless and a tasty one at that.
The garden is a great place. We eat out, weather permitting as much as we can, but it can be incredibly distracting, which as a writer is not always a good thing. And sitting here writing this, I have become aware that the elderflower has a pleasing number of blooms, so you’ll have to excuse me, I’m pretty sure I have citric acid and sugar in the larder. I’m off to check and I think I’ll make cordial.
About Anni Rose
Born and raised in Berkshire, I emigrated to Wiltshire five years ago, where I live with my husband, sister, two dogs, a cat and Midge, the grey speckled hen.
As a child, I loved writing fiction, producing reams of stories, thankfully lost over the years, although recently when we cleared my mother’s house out, ‘The attack of the Killer Tomatoes’ did resurface.
On leaving school, the need to earn a living sort of got in the way of any creative ambitions and I became an accountant where my only published works apart from regular financial reports was the employees’ handbook.
A local writing course and an encouraging group of writing friends re-ignited the fiction flame many years later and I went on to win or be short listed in a number of writing competitions and had short stories published in Writers Forum, My Weekly and Sophie King’s ‘How to Write your Life Story’.
These days I would describe my writing as modern romantic stories with a healthy dollop of humour thrown in. I’m a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and was delighted to have been signed by Choc Lit. Recipe for Mr Right is my debut novel, with my second due to be published in September.
Away from the garden and writing I can usually be found behind a camera, walking the dogs, enjoying one of my husband’s curries or sister’s bakery treats.
To keep in touch with Anni Rose you can use the following links:
Ruby Brooks is a little sceptical when her horoscope say she’s going to have a fabulous year – especially when she loses a boyfriend and a job in quick succession. Plus, a rogue kitchen fitter has run off and taken everything, including the kitchen sink!
So, Ruby takes luck and fate into her own hands with an unusual resolution – she’ll enter ten competitions a day, whether they’re for her dream Japanese holiday or a year’s supply of dog food (she doesn’t have a dog), and win her way to happiness.
But when a Valentine’s Day prize from a local restaurant results in chef Adam Finder (and his dog, Brutus) appearing in her life, is that luck or fate? And will Ruby ultimately find out that true happiness doesn’t need to be won?
This week I’m joined by Angela Petch who has written a series of books set in Tuscany for Bookouture. Her latest release is The Tuscan House. Angela is talking to us today about her garden in Tuscany which looks absolutely gorgeous. Over to Angela …
Our Tuscan garden started from a field. And most of the top soil had been washed away by the river gushing over its banks in a freak flood from the river Marecchia that runs alongside our land. Over the past twenty years we have slowly created a (wild) garden from what we were left with.
There are advantages: part of our garden is a meadow and now wild flowers and orchids bloom on bed rock where once there was a flourishing vegetable garden. Our local Italian friends cannot understand why we do not restore all this, but we love the flowers. One edge of the meadow was safe from the waters and we do grow our aubergines, tomatoes, peppers and other scrumptious veg in that area – aided with plenty of manure from our friendly farmer.
I liken the process our garden has gone through to writing on a blank page. In fact, there are many similarities between gardening and writing. Particularly when the planting and writing are finished and you stand back and realise that there is a gap here, an overload of a particular plant there and that at the end of the season (the end of the first draft), much pruning and removing needs to be carried out to give the best overall effect.
“Probably… the larger part of the labour of an author in composing his work is critical labour; the labour of sifting, combining, constructing, expunging, correcting, testing: this frightful toil is as much critical as creative.” (From Reading Yourself by David Lodge. The Creative Writing Coursebook from the University of East Anglia).
Our garden in Tuscany is a challenge as the temperatures have been known to soar to 40 degrees and plummet to minus 15 degrees. So, plant selection is important. I look around the area to see what thrives. Roses and lilies do well and I mix in wild flowers that I love, collecting seeds and scattering them in my beds in autumn before we leave to return to England for the winter. Field scabious is a favourite and I love the way it sways in the breeze and attracts birds to gather its seeds.
Lavender is another hardy favourite. I love it for its scent and I use it in my laundry cupboard. The bees, butterflies and moths adore it too. It’s a background for wild life study.
All our life we have lived to a strict budget – I think our parents who endured World War Two instilled this need to be careful in both of us. I have friends with whom I swap plants and cuttings. We found a vine on our land growing in a ditch and this, plus a friend’s cutting of a flame-coloured bignogna (campsis radicans) now adorns our pergola, providing us with much needed shade.
I’m an inveterate seed collector when I am out and about. And we recycle a lot and it’s fun to create something out of nothing: an old basket found by the local bins is planted with French marigolds, my daughter’s discarded walking boots house begonias, a wire egg basket from a charity shop is planted with geraniums, an old ladder riddled with woodworm serves as a rose support, the remains of an old chicken house is left as an arch for a rose to clamber over – a rose cutting that my best friend gave me before she died. This pink rose is called perpetue and when I look at it, I think of her.
Our garden is a special place for us. It needs to fend for itself as we are away for six months each winter and it is like discovering it all over again when we return. (A bit like revisiting a favourite book, we find something new each time). We probably would not win any garden design prizes, but we love it.
About Angela Petch
Published by Bookouture, Angela Petch is an award winning writer of fiction – and the occasional poem.
Every summer she moves to Tuscany for six months where she and her husband own a renovated watermill which they let out. When not exploring their unspoilt corner of the Apennines, she disappears to her writing desk at the top of a converted stable. In her Italian handbag or hiking rucksack she always makes sure to store notebook and pen to jot down ideas.
The winter months are spent in Sussex where most of her family live. When Angela’s not helping out with grandchildren, she catches up with writer friends.
Angela’s gripping, WWII, Tuscan novels are published by Bookouture. While her novel, Mavis and Dot, was self-published and tells of the frolics and foibles of two best-friends who live by the seaside. Angela also writes short stories published in Prima and People’s Friend.
To keep in touch with Angela you can use the following links:
Corbello, Italy, 1947. A woman and a little boy stagger into the ruins of an old house deep in the forest, wild roses overwhelming the crumbling terracotta walls. Since the war, nowhere has been safe. But they both freeze in shock when a voice calls out from the shadows…
For young mother Fosca Sentino, accepting refuge from reluctant British war hero Richard – in Tuscany to escape his tragic past – is the only way to keep her little family safe. She once risked everything to spy on Nazi commanders and pass secret information to the resistenza. But after a heartbreaking betrayal, Fosca’s best friend Simonetta disappeared without trace. The whole community was torn apart, and now Fosca and her son are outcasts.
Wary of this handsome stranger at first, Fosca slowly starts to feel safe as she watches him play with her son in the overgrown orchard. But her fragile peace is shattered the moment a silver brooch is found in the garden, and she recognises it as Simonetta’s…
Fosca has always suspected that another member of the resistenza betrayed her. With Richard by her side, she must find out if Simonetta is still alive, and clear her own name. But how did the brooch end up at the house? And with a traitor hiding in the village, willing to do anything to keep this secret buried, has Fosca put herself and her young son in terrible danger?
An absolutely gripping and heartbreaking standalone historical read that explores the incredible courage of ordinary people in extraordinary times. Perfect for fans of Rhys Bowen, The Nightingale, and anyone longing to lose themselves in the mountain landscapes and olive groves of rural Tuscany.