Liz Harris – When I Decided I Wanted to Write

This week I’m joined by Liz Harris, who I’ve known for quite a few years now. Her latest novel is The Flame Within and you can find details about this book further down the post.

Today, Liz is going to tell us about when she made the decision to be a writer and why. Over to Liz

I frequently read articles and blogs where authors talk about having known since day one that they were going to be authors, and having written their first novels at primary school. That wasn’t me. I didn’t know for a long time that I was going to be an author. 

I did, however, always know that I wanted to write. I’ve known that since day one, and from the age of five, I haven’t stopped writing. It was a number of years, though, before my writing was to take the shape of a novel.

I can best describe my writing in terms of three phases.

Phase One was at school and university. I always enjoyed writing essays, from ‘Imagine you’re a donkey in the Sahara’ to university essays. When I did my English finals, I was laughing so much as I wrote an essay about Chaucer, who had humour down to a fine art, that the invigilator had to come over and ask me to stop!

Phase Two was in California and then back in England, in the first years of marriage and parenthood. During those years, I wrote countless letters. When in California, I kept in touch with all my friends, writing in miniature on the blue one-sheet airletters that I sent home, and when back in England after six years away, and was married with two small sons, I continued writing to my friends. Without the constraints of airmail, however, each letter was like a mini book. Looking back, I feel sorry for my friends, who had to plough through the minutiae of my life on a regular basis.

It was one of those long-suffering friends who, in palpable desperation one day, suggested I write a novel. 

Phase Three, the years of being an author, started at that moment. I began to write a novel, and then I wrote another. Seven and a half writing-years later, The Road Back was accepted for publication.

Given that I loved writing, it was probably inevitable that at some stage I’d turn to writing books myself because, from the minute I learnt to read, I’ve never stopped reading. By the end of my teens, I’d read all of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Mickey Spillane, Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie, Earl Stanley Gardner, Elizabeth Gaskell, the major Russian authors, etc. You can’t beat a good book.

There is no greater preparation for being an author than to read as widely as possible – it stimulates the imagination, takes the reader to places they’d never have thought of going, develops an understanding of people and how they act and think, and builds up a vocabulary. So while I was writing essays and letters, and reading voraciously, I was getting closer to the path I think I was always destined to take, but didn’t know it for a long time.

Many thanks for inviting me to be your guest, Morton. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed talking to you.

Thank you for joining me Liz and your book covers are lovely! Mx

About Liz Harris

Liz is the author of the historical novels The Road Back (US Coffee Time and Romance Book of the Year), A Bargain Struck (RoNA shortlisted for the Best Historical Novel), The Lost Girl and the novella, A Western Heart. Her almost-contemporary novels are Evie Undercover and The Art of Deception.

Liz’s latest two novels, The Dark Horizon and The Flame Withinare the first two books in the Linford Saga, which is set between the wars. The third in the series, The Lengthening Shadow, will be published in March 2021.

A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Historical Novel Society, Liz gives talks and workshops at conferences and literary festivals, and speaks regularly to WI and book groups.

You can find out more about her using the following links:-

Find her books http://www.lizharrisauthor.com

Website: www.lizharrisauthor.com

Twitter: @lizharrisauthor

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

Instagram:  liz.harris.52206

About The Flame Within

London, 1923.

Alice Linford stands on the pavement and stares up at the large Victorian house set back from the road—the house that is to be her new home.

But it isn’t her house. It belongs to someone else—to a Mrs Violet Osborne. A woman who was no more than a name at the end of an advertisement for a companion that had caught her eye three weeks earlier.

More precisely, it wasn’t Mrs Osborne’s name that had caught her eye—it was seeing that Mrs Osborne lived in Belsize Park, a short distance only from Kentish Town. Kentish Town, the place where Alice had lived when she’d been Mrs Thomas Linford.

Thomas Linford—the man she still loves, but through her own stupidity, has lost. The man for whom she’s left the small Lancashire town in which she was born to come down to London again. The man she’s determined to fight for.

The Flame Within is perfect for readers of The Thorn Birds and the Cazalet Chronicles, and the novels of Fiona Valpy and Santa Montefiore.

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, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and Choc Lit for other options.

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

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

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

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

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Thanks and Exciting News About Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe

Thank you to everyone who has shared the news of my Christmas book – Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe on blog posts, reviews, Facebook and Twitter – the support has been amazing!

Well the big news is that Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe is available as a paperback now and audio from 8 December! There is nothing like having a paperback of my work to add to those already on my bookshelves. I will admit to getting slightly embarrassed when I get carried away listening to the audio version of my own book! It’s a lovely adaptation of Justin’s story narrated by Karen Cass.

I won’t hide the fact that publication time for a new book is always an anxious time for me. You are never quite sure how the work will be received by readers. This was my fifth time of doing this, but it was no different to the other times. Publication day passed by in a complete blur of trying to say thank you every time someone mentioned Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe. After a while it becomes impossible to thank everyone individually, but I want you to know that I appreciate every single mention.

Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe is dedicated to a friend who died just as I was completing the outline of the novella and as I had already written a legal secretary into the story, I changed the name of this character to my late friend’s name, Sandra, in tribute to her, as she worked as a legal secretary for a while. We hadn’t seen each other for many years, but we always wrote at Christmas and on our birthdays.

Here is what the Dedication and Acknowledgements of Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe say:

Dedication

In memory of Sandra Hadley (neé Hanson) 1958 – 2019
RIP

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements and thanks are often more difficult to write than the actual book, as I am always worried about forgetting someone who has helped me with the story.

This Christmas novella is dedicated to one of my earliest friends, Sandra, who sadly lost her battle with cancer just as I was finishing the first draft of this book. We parted after junior school as we went to different secondary schools, but we always kept in touch for birthdays and Christmas. I still have some of her long letters on my bookshelves. As she worked as a legal secretary for some of her working life, it seemed fitting to change the legal secretary’s name in the book to Sandra in tribute.

Kate Field, author of one of my favourite books, The Magic of Ramblings, helped me to understand the training and characteristics of a solicitor, even right down to the type of books my hero, Justin, would have on his bookshelves, what legal information is now referenced online and the typical cases a small town solicitor would handle.

Champions for moral support are my Apricot Plots and local coffee group authors, together with many more from the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Thanks as always to my long-suffering family, who have to put up with the ups and downs of me being a writer! I’m happy when the words and ideas are flowing, grumpy when my plot won’t behave and I should be made to live in the shed when my publisher’s edits arrive.

Thanks to my editor for helping to mould this book, the Choc Lit team and the members of their Tasting Panel, without whom this book would not have been published: Alma Hough, Mel Appleyard, Melanie Russell, Jenny Mitchell, Julie Lilly, Cordy Swinton, Janice Butler, Deborah Warren, Luise Pirie, Gill Leivers and Sharon Walsh.

I do hope that many more of you will read and enjoy Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe. I’ve included the description of the story below in case it might tempt you to give the book a try. I’ve just finished writing the first draft of my 2021 Christmas book, again set in my fictional seaside town of Borteen, so I’ve been enjoying the Christmas traditions of the town all over again. I hope to share that story with you next year. Meanwhile, here is what Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe is all about…

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, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKobo, Nook Books, Google Play and Choc Lit for other options.

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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

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