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  1. It's time for my Monday Meet Up again, and the fab blogger I'm interviewing this week is Sue Featherstone. Sue runs the blog https://bookloversbooklist.wordpress.com/ with Susan Pape.

    Sue 2

    Welcome, Sue. Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed on my blog. You're obviously an avid reader and have read hundreds of books. What is your favourite book of all time?

    Hard to choose just one because I’m a compulsive re-reader of books I’ve loved and enjoyed. However, if I have to pick one book it would be Dear Daddy by Philippe Dupasquier, which I enjoyed reading with both my daughters when they were small.

    How many books, on average, do you read a month?

    I try to be quite disciplined about reading because I could spend my whole life with my nose stuck in a book. So, unless I’m on holiday or on a train I don’t read during the day, which means my monthly average is probably only four or five books a month.

    I know what you mean, Sue. I could sit and read books all day long. 

    Have you ever sat up all night because you were desperate to finish reading a book? If yes, what book was it?

    I can only remember doing this once: a colleague at Sheffield Hallam University asked me to read a draft copy of her first novel. The colleague was Marina Lewcyka and the novel was A Short History of Tractors in Ukraine, which was later short-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2005. It was an absolute page-turner and I couldn’t bear to put it down, only putting the light out at about 3am because I was teaching in the morning and I needed to sleep in order to function in front of my students.

    Do you ever cheat and skip to the end of a book?

    Goodness me, yes. Used to do it all the time when I read proper books because I couldn’t bear the suspense. Now that most of my reading is on a kindle, it’s much harder to flick through the pages so I do it less often.

    What sort of plots do you dislike reading? 

    Ones were the outcome is so predictable you can see the ending coming a mile off. Heroine meets bloke, they’re initially mutually antagonistic, then find common ground, misunderstanding occurs, gets resolved and all ends happily ever after. Ugh! Sadly an awful lot of popular fiction falls into this category.

    What sort of things would you like to see in a novel?

    I don’t think I can really pin it down. I was going to say ‘good writing’ but then I’d have to define good writing and I don’t think I can provide an adequate definition except to say I like a novel that I can enjoy reading as much the eleventy millionth time as I did the first.

    What is the most unusual place you’ve ever read a book?

    I’d love to have a really unique answer to this one but I don’t because on the rare occasions I’ve done anything in the least bit unusual – night trekking with the Territorial Army, flying in a helicopter, driving an old-fashioned double-decker bus – I haven’t really been in a position to read.

    What author would you most like to have a cup of coffee with? Why? 

    It’s some time since I last spoke to Marina so I’d love to have a catch-up with her. We’d be drinking tea though – and sharing a single teabag. We shared an office at Sheffield Hallam for many years and because I like my tea weak and black Marina always insisted on re-using my teabag to make her cuppa.

    Do you have any other hobbies?

    I’m lucky enough to live about four miles from the fabulous Yorkshire Sculpture Park so like to go up there for a walk most weekends. I also have a beautiful pink bicycle that doesn’t get as many outings as it should. I’ve always enjoyed swimming and recently discovered the joys of aqua fit at my local gym. It’s great fun – and really good exercise. I love meeting up with my book club friends to discuss our latest read. We probably don’t spend as much time as we should talking about the novel of the month but we have a great laugh together. Best bit of the week though is Saturday morning when I knit and natter with another group of friends.

    Do you write? If so, what sort of things do you write. If not, would you like to be an author?

    I’m a former journalist-cum-PR practitioner-cum-journalism lecturer so I’ve spent my whole career writing or teaching other people how to write. About ten years-or-so ago I co-authored two journalism textbooks with my friend and former PR job-share partner Susan Pape and we’ve now written two novels together. The first, A Falling Friend, was published spring 2016 and the next, still untitled, will hopefully come out spring 2017. One reviewer described A Falling Friend as chick-lit with attitude. I rather like that.

    That's great, Sue.  Congratulations. I'm posting a pic of the cover, blurb and buy link here so my readers can check it out.

     

    A Falling Friend cover

    Blurb

    This "witty and pacy" character-driven masterpiece is "reminiscent of Bridget Jones" and proves that there really are two sides to every story.

    After spending her twenties sailing the globe, making love on fine white sand, and thinking only of today, Teri Meyer returns to Yorkshire – and to studying. That’s when she discovers John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester, and poet of all things depraved. What she doesn’t realise is even beyond his grave, his influence over her is extraordinary. To hell with the consequences.

    Having gone out on a limb to get old friend Teri a job at the university at which she teaches, it doesn’t take long for Lee Harper to recognise a pattern. Wherever Teri goes, whatever she does, every selfish choice she makes, it’s all setting her up for a nasty fall. But Teri’s not the sort to heed a warning, so Lee has no choice but to stand by and watch. And besides, she has her own life to straighten out.

    Sounds intriguing, doesn't it? You can buy the book here:

    Amazon

    Lovely to interview you, Sue. :)

     

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    Bring a little sunshine into your life!   

     

    Sassy, feel good romance by Karen King. Just right to cosy up with on cold winter nights. Published by Accent Press

    Threebooks

     

  2. My Friday Read this week is Watercolours in the Rain, a 'drama driven romance' set in beautiful Devon, written by popular author and blogger Jo Lambert. It is the second book in the South Devon Duo.

     

    Watercolours in the Rain Cover MEDIUM WEB

    Blurb

    What happens to the future when past and present collide?

    JESS:  Six years ago Jess’s relationship with Talún Hansen was torn apart by one night of deception. He disappeared from Lynbrook village and she headed for university vowing never to let anyone break her heart again. Currently teaching in Oxford, Jess returns from holiday to an unexpected phone call and life changing news which eventually sees her returning home.

    Talún: Six years on Talún Hawkeswood, as he is now known, is heir to his grandfather’s Norfolk farming empire. When he hears of trouble in the village due to Lynbrook Hall being put up for sale, going back is the last thing on his mind. But staying away is not an option either, not when someone he owes so much to is about to lose their home and their livelihood.

    LILY: Splitting with her husband after her son Josh’s birth, Lily now works as part of an estate agency sales team.  She has always held onto her dream of finding a wealthy husband and a life of self-indulgence. When the sale of an important property brings her face to face with Talún, she realises despite the risks involved, the night they spent together six years ago could be the key to making those dreams come true.

    As Jess, Talún and Lily return to Lynbrook and the truth about what happened that summer is gradually revealed, Talún finds himself in an impossible situation. Still in love with Jess he is tied into a trade off with Lily: his name and the lifestyle she craves in exchange for his son. And when a child is involved there is only one choice he can make…

    WATERCOLOURS IN THE RAIN PURCHASE LINKS

    AMAZON.CO.UK Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LX4GRE5

     AMAZON.COM   Link:http://a.co/fjQMEo6

     

     About Jo

    author pic

     

    Born and raised in rural Wiltshire, Jo Lambert grew up with a love of books and a vivid imagination. As a child she enjoyed creating her own adventure stories similar to Enid Blyton's Famous Five. Writing always stayed with her, but college, work and eventually marriage found it was kept very much in the background. However in 2009 she finally had her first novel - When Tomorrow Comes - published. Three other connected books - Love Lies and Promises, The Ghost of You and Me and Between Today and Yesterday followed. They became collectively known as the Little Court Series. 

    In 2013 she decided to give up full time work to concentrate fully on her writing. Two other books have been written since - The Other Side of Morning which is the final book of the Little Court Series and Summer Moved On, a love story set in South Devon. Jo is about to publish, Watercolours in the Rain, and plans to begin work on her new book in early November 2016. She describes her writing style as drama driven romance.

    Jo is married and lives in a village on the eastern edge of Bath with her husband, one small grey feline called Mollie and a green MGB GT.  She loves travel, red wine, rock music and has a passion for dark chocolate…

    I asked Jo to tell us a bit more about herself 

    Have you always wanted to be a writer?

     Yes I guess I have. As a small child, once I learnt to read I always had my nose in a book and that love of the written word expanded into making up my own stories. By twelve I’d attempted my first novel – about a girl, her pony and their adventures.  Teenage years, college, marriage, job, divorce conspired to throw me off course.  However I was determined to achieve my goal and in 2009 eventually published my first book When Tomorrow Comes.

    Has any author inspired you?

    It has to be Lesley Pearse.  I’ve always loved her books, particularly her earlier ones, and actually got to have lunch with her once.  She was a great dining companion, talking not only about the inspiration for her books but her life as well.  An unforgettable experience.

    What do you like writing most?

     I write romantic fiction but, of course, that’s a very wide brief.  During my early publishing days one of my reviewers labelled my books ‘Drama Driven Romance’.  It’s a very accurate description and I’ve used it ever since.   For me as well as the emotional entanglement, there has to be plenty of conflict.  That means I usually give my central characters a bit of a roller coaster ride before they reach their happy ever after.

    Do you have a special place for writing?

    I have an office which has views across the valley from where we live.  It’s a very calm and inspirational place to write. Years ago I used to be able to write anywhere, but now find I need my own space, usually with music, coffee and the obligatory bar of chocolate…

    Are you a pantster or a plotter? 

    I used to be a pantster but it’s a balance between the two now.   I used to have a beginning and end and a vague idea of what happened between the two and off I would go.  I’d write scenes as they came into my head – not necessarily in chronological order – and then gradually bring everything together into a first draft.  Now I do a bit more planning.  I tend to let ideas marinate for a while, make notes and then write – in the right order, no more going off piste!

    Is your writing ever inspired by your family or real life incidents?

    I have on occasions used real events in my writing and even characters I’ve known in the past. One memorable example was in my fourth novel Between Today and Yesterday. One of my main characters, Orlando Flynn lived in Spain and had a sidekick called Elvira.  He was asked how they met and explained he’d employed him after seeing him on the streets of Seville moving industrial wheelie bins. He was freeing up parking spaces which drivers were paying him for.  I actually saw this happening during a trip to the city and it seemed like something I could use for the book rather than simply saying Elvira was begging.  He was obviously down and out but at the same time resourceful.

    What are you writing at the moment?

    I’ve just begun a new novel set in North Cornwall.  Although I like to keep the romance and drama central, I do like each of my books to be slightly different and this time there’s a mystery involved.

    What time of the day do you write best? 

    Each morning I open up the computer, drop into social media for a while, check e-mails and then make a decision on what happens next.  In the morning I’m definitely fresher, but after lunch I can get a longer run of writing in.  What I usually do (unless I’ve woken up with something specific I have to write before I lose that spark of inspiration), is to reserve the morning for the non-writing stuff.  I  blog and review as well as write and so there’s a need to sort out interview questions and write reviews for books I’ve recently completed.  That will then leave the afternoon free to concentrate on my WIP.  I usually slot in some reading during the evening.   

    What are your hobbies? 

    Travel – I do love the Italian Lakes. Photography – my camera goes everywhere with me.  I love the cinema too …and good company. We have a great group of friends and when they’re not cooking for us, I like to spend time trying out new recipes for them.

    You can find out more about Jo here: 

     Author Links 

    Facebook.com/jolambert185
     

    Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your book, Jo!

     

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    Bring a little sunshine into your life!   

     

    Sassy, feel good romance by Karen King. Just right to cosy up with on cold winter nights. Published by Accent Press

    Threebooks

     

     

     

  3. A warm welcome to Rebecca Burnton, my guest for this Monday's 'Meet the Blogger 'post. Rebecca blogs at www.ifonlyicouldreadfaster.com Great blog title, Rebecca, and one I totally emphasise with - I've a stack of books waiting to be read!

    me2

    Hi Rebecca, Thank you for agreeing to guest on my blog.  First, can you tell us a bit about yourself, why you blog, what inspired your love of books, what sort of books you like reading.

    Thank you for having me! I’m 40 and single mum to twins who are six. I started to blog because I had come to see how important reviews were for authors and I wanted to help them in any way that I could. I also had a lot of friends who would ask me for book recommendations and so I thought that if I had a blog I could just tell them to read that and see what they fancied, I didn’t really think that anyone else would bother reading it so it feels pretty amazing that people actually do read it!

    I think that escapism inspired me to love books like I do, as a teenager I could lose myself in a book and forget about everything else that was going on. I still love a book that draws me into a new world and takes me out of reality for a bit.

    I used to love reading horror books but now I have absolutely no desire to be scared witless so I avoid horror! I’m also not keen on fantasy. My favourite genres would have to be psychological thrillers and crime books. I also like young adult books and I read the odd chick lit book but I’m not a big fan of them.

    What is your favourite book of all time?

    Almost impossible to answer this! I think I’m going to have to go with Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes. I found this book incredible and it really ignited my passion for psychological thrillers and changed my reading in so many ways. From that book I found crime books and so so many wonderful books that I have loved.

    How many books, on average, do you read a month?

    Being dyslexic means that I am not a fast reader, I’d so love to be able to read faster so that I could read more books but I think that I need to accept that isn’t going to happen! I tend to read just over a book a week so in a month I’d probably read five books.

    Have you ever sat up all night because you were desperate to finish reading a book? If yes, what book was it?

    Yes I have. I have insomnia so sometimes I have sat up all night and finished a book but not because it was so good. I know that a couple of Angela Marsons’ Kim Stone books have kept me up a lot later than I’d planned! Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is another.

    Do you ever cheat and skip to the end of a book?

    Nooooooooo. I can’t imagine ever doing that. Even if I give up on a book I don’t do that.

    What sort of plots do you dislike reading?

    Really predictable ones I guess, where in the first chapter you know where the story will go and how it will end. It makes for a boring read, I like to be kept guessing.

    What sort of things would you like to see in a novel?

    I think that a novel is a great way to reach people and change people’s understanding of subjects. I particularly like mental health being portrayed positively in a book. Nina is not OK by Shappi Khorsandi is a great example, I am sure that many who read it will view addiction differently to how they did before they started reading it.

    What is the most unusual place you’ve ever read a book?

    Um, I think it would have to be at the Grand Canyon in Arizona. I was reading a really good book so at the top of the canyon with the most incredible view in front of me, I’m there sitting on a rock with my nose in a book. I couldn’t tell you what book it was but the Grand Canyon was stunning.

    What author would you most like to have a cup of coffee with? Why?

    Good question! It would have to be James Patterson. I’ve seen a short section of his masterclass on writing and it was so interesting, I’d love to talk to him some more about his writing and get some tips.

    Do you have any other hobbies?

    I have two children, can they be my hobby?! I also love animals and I’m so pleased that my son especially shares that love so we often read nature books or watch nature programmes together.

    Do you write? If so, what sort of things do you write. If not, would you like to be an author?

    I do write. Last November I started to write my first book as part of NaNoWriMo where you write 50,000 words in a month. It’s pretty intense and I didn’t think that I would finish it but I did. Now I’m trying to keep myself motivated to finish the book though! Which isn’t so easy. I’m hoping that it will end up being a psychological thriller.

    Thanks so much for having me, it has been fun!

    Thank you, Rebecca. It's been great talking to you. :)

    Rebecca's blog can be found at

    www.ifonlyicouldreadfaster.com

    www.facebook.com/ifonlyicouldreadfaster

    www.twitter.com/ifonlyread

      

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    Bring a little sunshine into your life!   

    Sassy, feel good romance by Karen King. Just right to cosy up with on cold winter nights. Published by Accent Press

    Threebooks

     

  4. I'm delighted to welcome Morton S Gray to my blog today. Winner of Choc Lit Publishing’s Search for a Star 2016, she's dropped by to tell us about her debut contemporary romantic suspense novel, “The Girl on the Beach” which is published on 24 January 2017. Congratulations, Morton!

    IMG_2666

    Blurb

    Who is Harry Dixon?

    When Ellie Golden meets Harry Dixon, she can’t help but feel she recognises him from somewhere. But when she finally realises who he is, she can’t believe it – because the man she met on the beach all those years before wasn’t called Harry Dixon. And, what’s more, that man is dead.

    For a woman trying to outrun her troubled past and protect her son, Harry’s presence is deeply unsettling – and even more disconcerting than coming face to face with a dead man, is the fact that Harry seems to have no recollection of ever having met Ellie before. At least that’s what he says …

    But perhaps Harry isn’t the person Ellie should be worried about. Because there’s a far more dangerous figure from the past lurking just outside of the new life she has built for herself, biding his time, just waiting to strike.

     Intrigued? If you want to buy more you can purchase the book here:

    http://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/the-girl-on-the-beach/

    Meet Morton

    morton orange

     Author bio

    Morton S. Gray lives with her husband, sons and Lily, the tiny 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, the plot of which closely resembled an Errol Flynn film. As with many authors, life got in the way of writing for many years until she won a short story competition in 2006 and the spark was well and truly reignited.

    I asked Morton to tell us a bit more abour herself:

    Has any author inspired you?

    I have always loved books. We used to visit the library each week as a family and come home with our weekly reading. As a teenager, I progressed from Enid Blyton to Jane Austen, Alistair Mclean, Walter Scott and Thomas Hardy.

    When I began writing seriously in more recent years, it was a book by Sue Moorcroft, “Starting Over” that struck a chord for me. I wanted to write like Sue, I’ve read all her books and attended some of her courses. It makes it very special that she has kindly read my debut novel “The Girl on the Beach” and given me a quote for it. Not only that, I’m being published by the publisher that produced “Starting Over”, Choc Lit, having won their Search for a Star competition in 2016.

    I'm a big fan of Sue's work too, Morton. And massive congratulations on your success.

    Are you a pantster or a plotter?

    Now that is an interesting question. If you knew me, you would probably predict that I was a plotter, but I find novels don’t work for me if I try to over-plan. I start with a character with an interesting background and the story just seems to unfold before my pen.

    The heroine in “The Girl on the Beach”, Ellie Golden, was born from a combination of factors, a couple of news headlines and a friend who owns an art gallery running an art competition at my son’s school.

    What time of the day do you write best?

    As early as possible. My son goes to school on the train and there is nothing I love better than calling into Costa on my way back home and indulging in a skinny flat white and brown toast, while I write long hand in a notebook. I can be settled in the café by 7.30 a.m. The baristas know me so well that my coffee is often prepared when I walk through the door if they spot me walking across the carpark! If I go straight home, I get distracted by household stuff.

    What are your hobbies?

    Since I began to take my writing more seriously, I seem to have had less time for my hobbies. I love nothing better than starting a new family tree for a friend, or adding some branches to my own. My other pastimes usually involve crafts, silk painting, lino cutting, crotchet, knitting, patchwork or painting. Let’s put it this way – I am never bored!

    What advice would you give to other writers?

    Write lots, attend courses, find a writing support network online and if possible in real life. I think it is important to experiment, so that you can find your own particular genre and voice.

    My friend and I started the writing journey together. We had great fun writing flash fiction, short stories, poems, plays, memoirs and novels. After a while, I realised that novels were my way ahead and she went off to explore poetry in more depth. It doesn’t really matter, as long as you are enjoying what you are writing.

    I totally agree, Morton, write what you enjoy.


    Author Links

    Website: www.mortonsgray.com

    Facebook Page – Morton S. Gray Author - https://www.facebook.com/mortonsgray/

    Twitter - @MortonSGray

     Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your book, Morton. Wishing you lots of success with it!

     

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    Bring a little sunshine into your life!   

     

    Sassy, feel good romance by Karen King. Just right to cosy up with on cold winter nights. Published by Accent Press

    Threebooks 

     

  5. It's time for 'Monday Meet the Blogger' again, and my guest this week is Jenny O'Brien who blogs at https://jennyobrienwriter.wordpress.com/

    Jenny

    Thank you for agreeing to guest on my blog, Jenny  First, can you tell us a bit about yourself, why you blog, what inspired your love of books, what sort of books you like reading

    Hi Karen and thanks for the invite. I'm a hybrid in that I'm a writer and a blogger. I've always loved reading and it's my main form of relaxation. When shifting into writing I quickly realised the importance of book reviews and I suppose you could say the power of the book blogger. I read assorts but primarily romance. It's funny really but before I had children I would never have read romance but I hit a wall following the birth of my first child in that I couldn't stomach reading books that included any kind of crime against children. It was a deliberate decision to put aside my thrillers, and romance was the obvious choice for me. 

    What is your favourite book of all time?

    An easy one. It's called 'I am David', by Anne Holm. I suppose it's a little like 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas' but for children. I don't know because 'The boy in the Striped Pyjamas' is not a book I'd ever read going back to my previous answer. 'I am David' is a book about a child that is set free from a concentration camp having no experience of the outside world - it's his voyage of discovery. The voyage of discovery for someone that has never seen a flower let alone a blade of grass or blue sky. A wonderful book.

    How many books, on average, do you read a month?

    That varies. I do read more than one book at a time and as a true bibliophile I'm anxious if I don't have a book at hand so I even have a little stash in the car! I also own two Kindles in case one runs out of charge - I know, it's a bit of an obsession. Probably five a week but I have been known to read three in one day. As an aside I don't watch TV, or very rarely so the pages do mount up.  

    Have you ever sat up all night because you were desperate to finish reading a book? If yes, what book was it?

    No, that would be silly. I do need a couple of hours sleep, but 5 am allows for that easily.  :)

    Do you ever cheat and skip to the end of a book?

    Only if I'm not enjoying the story or the writing. I don't finish every book I start but I always give the writer a chance. If they haven't grabbed me by page five I don't continue and I don't review, but I may peek a look at the end. 

    What sort of plots do you dislike reading?

    I don't read any psychological thrillers or murders involving children as I've said before. Also anything to do with animal cruelty is a no no. I'm not particularly squeamish but I just don't see the point. 

    Lots of mothers are like that. I can't read anything squeamish or horrible either.

    What sort of things would you like to see in a novel?

    I think a really good start is a must. You know, that feeling of your heart thumping in your chest when the writer draws you into their world with a bang? I love that feeling. The plot, I don't mind if it's not believable but it needs to be well thought out with no unfinished cliff hangers at the end. I hate being left at the end of a novel with unanswered questions about either the plot, characters or both. As a writer I try to write the kind of book I want to read.

    What is the most unusual place you’ve ever read a book?

    Now that's a difficult one. Probably doing my exercises. I have back problems and have a rack of exercises I have to do each night - they're much easier to do with a book in my hand but I probably look pretty odd doing an impression of a dead beetle with a book held aloft. 

    What author would you most like to have a cup of coffee with? Why?

    Maya Angelou. Some people stroll through life, she exploded leaving a trail of impressive words in her wake. A truly unique writer. 

    Do you have any other hobbies?

    I don't really have the time. Reading and writing takes up most of my spare time.

    Do you write? If so, what sort of things do you write. If not, would you like to be an author?

    I am a writer but I always say that I'm a reader first. Sometimes I think I should just stick to reading as I enjoy it so much but then I get the idea for a plot and off I go. Lee Child's once said that he writes one book a year and reads 300, that's about right. I write romance and I also write for children. 

    Do check out Jenny's blog, there's some interesting articles as well as book reviews on there. And also check out her fab books at:

    Amazon 

    And you can contact her at:

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

    Twitter https://twitter.com/scribblerjb

    Website http://jennyobrienwriter.wixsite.com/mysite

    Thank you, Jenny. It's been great talking to you. :)

     

     

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    Bring a little sunshine into your life!   

    Sassy, feel good romance by Karen King. Just right to cosy up with on cold winter nights. Published by Accent Press

     

    Threebooks