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  1. The Friday Read this week is The Chocolatier's Secret by Helen J Rolfe, which will be released 28 June. Helen writes contemporary women's fiction with an emphasis on relationships and love.  She enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and characters who face challenges and fight to overcome them. Some of her stories deal with serious issues, but they usually have happy ending too. Her debut novel, The Friendship Tree, was published in February 2015, closely followed by Handle Me with Care in June 2015, and then What Rosie Found Next, the first book in the Magnolia Creek Series. The Chocolatier’s Secret is book two of the series – although it can be read as a standalone novel.

     

    The Chocolatiers Secret- KDP version

    Blurb

     

    Will one mistake ruin everything? 

    Andrew Bennett has an idyllic life in Magnolia Creek, Australia. He runs a chocolate business he adores, is married to Gemma, the love of his life, and has a close relationship with his father, Louis. But when Andrew receives a message from his high school sweetheart, it sends his world into a spiral, and the relationships he holds dear will never be the same again. 

    Molly Ramsey is looking for answers. After her last attempt, she believes the only way to get them this time is to face her past head-on. But to do this, she has to fly to the other side of the world – and she’s afraid of flying. Her search for answers lands her in an emotional tangle, not only with her past but also with a man very much in her present. 

    Family is everything to Gemma Bennett and she longs to have a house full of kids, but it just isn’t happening. And when Andrew’s past makes an explosive impact on the family, Gemma must decide whether she can accept the truth and open her heart in a way she never thought possible. 

    In this story of love, family ties and forgiveness, will past mistakes be the obstacle to a Happy Ever After? 

     

     Buy link to pre-order The Chocolatier's Secret

     Amazon

     

    Meet Helen

    authorpic1

    I asked Helen to tell us a bit more about herself

    Have you always wanted to be a writer?

    When I was a teenager it was the only career I was interested in, but life has a funny way of leading you in different directions and I ended up going into I.T. as a computer programmer. This career took me to Australia and in 2011 the fiction bug bit and I started writing novels.

    Has any author inspired you?

    There are too many to mention! It’s a challenging job and I have such admiration for authors in the genre I read. When I read a book and am left feeling uplifted or thinking about the characters long after I finish, that’s when I know they’ve done a fantastic job.

    What are your hobbies?

    Reading, watching movies, walking, pilates and yoga.

    What advice would you give to other writers?

    To never give up – your writing dreams will happen with enough determination and hard work. And also learn the art of saying no! Sometimes friends or family may assume that ‘writing’ is your little hobby, but if you want to make it a career it has to be treated like any other job. Which means sitting down regularly and getting on with it! (even when you don’t want to J  )

    What do you like writing most?

    I like writing women’s fiction. I enjoy reading it and for the moment, can’t imagine writing anything else.

    Do you have a special place for writing?

    I write in the top room of our house, away from everyone else. But sometimes I find a change of scene works wonders…even if it’s just moving my laptop to another room.

    Are you a pantster or a plotter?

    I’m a bit of both. I think it’s important to have a plan at the start, to give you direction, but I also think it’s important to let your characters evolve which means staying flexible. Often I find my story taking on a new direction and it’s quite exciting!

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

    Of course. What goes on around me, the people I’ve met and the places I’ve been, all inspire my stories.

    What are you writing at the moment?

    I’m working on a Christmas novel which I’m hoping to have out towards the end of the year! It’s set in an entirely new location so stay tuned…

    What inspired you to write this book?

    I have set my stories in Australia so far and I will continue to do so, but I love exploring new settings and new worlds. I’ve always been inquisitive about different places – probably why I moved to Australia in 2000 – so for me it’s part of the adventure in a new work of fiction.

    What time of the day do you write best?

    Whenever it’s quiet!

     

    Author Links

    Amazon Author Page

    Facebook

    Twitter

    Website

     

  2. My 'Friday Read' this week is Jack and Jill went Downhill by Richard Gould. Richard is a rare breed, a male romance writer. Jack and Jill went Downhill is his third book. His  first book, A Street Café Named Desire, published by Accent Press, was short-listed for the Romantic Novelists’ Association 2016 Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Award. The Engagement Party is his second Accent Press publication.

     

    Jack&JillcoverFRONT(Amazon)_RGB

     Blurb

    Jack and Jill Went Downhill is a June 2016 release. The couple meet on Freshers Big Party Night at university and for both of them it’s love at first sight. It’s not quite as comfortable when their studies are over and they start work. Way back when they first met, they’d shared the joke that their names were those of the nursery rhyme. Down the line, they fail to recognise that their lives are matching the plot.

    It sounds fun, Richard. Love the pun on the nursery rhyme! If you'd like to read the book you can purchase it here:

     Amazon

    Here's a bit about Richard's first book,  A Street Café called Desire.

     A Streed Cafe named Desire

     Blurb

    In A Street Café Named Desire David meets Bridget at a twenty-five year school reunion and develops a teenagesque passion for her. Things haven’t been going well for him recently – his wife has moved in with his ex-best friend, he has temporary custody of a stroppy teenage daughter, and he is constantly berated by a tyrannical boss. All he wants in life is to be in a relationship with Bridget and to pack in accountancy and open an arts café – surely that’s not too much to ask.

    Buy Links

    Amazon

    Meet Richard

    rjgould author march 2016

     

    I asked Richard to tell us a bit more about himself.

    How did you get started writing?

     Although I’d written many factual articles about education, I’ve always had a fascination for exploring the diversity and foibles of individuals through fiction. When you think how much your own mood can swing, how different you are even to those closest to you, you can appreciate that every single person sitting on the train opposite you or at the restaurant next to you has a wealth of story potential. I started jotting down ideas ten or so years ago and the characters I built up developed into the protagonists in my novels. My writing is humorous, in part because I like humour, but equally based on the fact that it’s possible (and probably healthy) to laugh at things to do with relationships that were pretty serious at the time.

    Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?

    I’m male. This in itself is not a fun fact except that I’m placed in the Romance genre and there are very few male novelists in the group. I didn’t set out to write Romance, I just got put there when writing about a mix of highly eccentric or plain ordinary men and women, trying to make the most of their lives while carrying heaps of baggage. I think one distinction between Romance and some other genres is the focus on character rather than plot. That’s not to say that plot isn’t important, but it’s the people who make the story. And why do I use ‘R J’ instead of ‘Richard’? This is my cowardly compromise after agents suggested I use a pseudonym.

    What was your favourite book as a child?

    Most of my memories of childhood favourites are the ones I read to my own children. The Ahlberg’s Peepo and Mrs Wobble the Waitress are high on the list and I love Dahl books because of the way they can be appreciated at several levels.

    What’s your top writing tip for new writers?

    There are no rules, instead a whole set of options about how to write. Having said that, a course or two is valuable to give an insight into the range of alternatives available for you to select from. Then it’s up to you to develop an individual, original and exciting voice.

    Great advice, Richard!


    You can find out more about R J/Richard here:

    Website:          http://www.rjgould.info

    Twitter:           https://twitter.com/RJGould_author

    Email:           rgould130@gmail.com

    Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/richard.gould.14418

     

    Thanks for dropping by, Richard.

     

  3. I'm starting a Friday Reads blog to let you know about some fantastic new releases, just right for your weekend read. Today I'm introducing you to Another Glass of Champagne by Jenny Kane. Following on from the bestselling novel, Another Cup of Coffee, and the seasonal Christmas novella’s Another Cup of Christmas, Christmas in the Cotswolds, and Christmas at the Castle, Jenny Kane brings you the final instalment in the Pickwicks Coffee House adventures.

     

    AGOC

    Blurb

    A warm-hearted, contemporary tale about a group of friends living in a small corner of busy London, by bestselling author Jenny Kane.

    Fortysomething Amy is shocked and delighted to discover she's expecting a baby not to mention terrified! Amy wants best friend Jack to be godfather, but he hasn’t been heard from in months. When Jack finally reappears, he's full of good intentions but his new business plan could spell disaster for the beloved Pickwicks Coffee Shop, and ruin a number of old friendships...

    Meanwhile his love life is as complicated as ever and yet when he swears off men for good, Jack meets someone who makes him rethink his priorities...but is it too late for a fresh start?

     Author Kit has problems of her own: just when her career has started to take off, she finds herself unable to write and there's a deadline looming, plus two headstrong kids to see through their difficult teenage years...will she be able to cope?

     

    A follow-up to the runaway success Another Cup of Coffee.

     

    Buy Links

    Amazon

    Amazon.com

      

    Extract

    ‘My goodness, woman, you look like the proverbial beached whale!’ Amy grinned at the teasing smile on her former boss’s face.

    ‘Thanks, Peggy. I know I can rely on you to be ready with a huge compliment!’

    ‘Huge is the word, and you are more than welcome!’ Taking advantage of a lull in custom, Peggy followed Amy to where Kit was working, and pulled out a chair for her friend before sitting down herself. ‘So how long have you got to go now?’

    ‘Only two months, which is nothing like as long as I need to get ready, or even get my head around what's happening to me! I have far too much to do before the baby comes, although we’ve almost finished decorating the nursery at last. I haven’t even managed to find anyone to cover my job at Home Hunters yet.’ 

    Amy thanked Megan, Pickwicks’ chief waitress, as she delivered a tray of drinks and half a huge carrot cake for the three friends, before asking Kit, ‘I don’t suppose that lovely husband of yours fancies coming back to the business while I’m on maternity leave?’

    Kit shook her head. ‘Not a hope. It did cross my mind after Phil gave up running Home Hunters that he might have withdrawal symptoms and want to go back, but he took to running the bookshop like a duck to water. I can’t see him ever going back. And he wouldn’t have the time, to be honest. Did I tell you that they’re so busy now, he and Rob have employed a guy to help them with their new educational courses at Kew?’

    Amy beamed. ‘No, you didn’t. That’s fantastic! I bet Jack would be thrilled for them if he was here.’ Suddenly pensive, she picked up her cup, ‘I don’t suppose either of you have heard from Jack?’

    Peggy shook her head as Kit said, ‘Not a word. I thought he’d keep in touch with you though, Amy, even if he went quiet on the rest of us.’

    ‘Paul says he’ll turn up eventually, but I’d rather like to be able to tell Jack about this bundle,’ Amy patted her stomach, ‘before he or she stops being just a bump in my jumper. I might ask him if he wants to be godfather.’

    Kit nodded. ‘Jack is godfather to the twins, and although he’s a dreadful role model on the morals front, both Thomas and Helena have always found him great fun, and say that having a gay godfather is, and I quote, “Well cool”.’

    Peggy had never understood the loyalty Jack’s two ex-girlfriends felt for him considering how appallingly he’d treated them both. She certainly wouldn’t want anyone who’d stood her up on her wedding day – albeit only in the role of usher – to be a godparent to her child, but she simply asked, ‘How long has he been AWOL for?’

    Amy frowned. ‘It must be more or less four years since I last saw him, and about twelve months since I last spoke to him. It’s not so much being AWOL as missing in action. How about you, Kit?’

    Peggy and Amy exchanged glances as they saw Kit staring blankly into her soup bowl-sized cup of black coffee.  ‘Kit? You with us?’

    ‘What? Oh, sorry, guys. I didn’t get much sleep last night, I phased out for a minute. What was the question?’

    Peggy had noticed how distracted Kit had been lately, although instinct told her that she shouldn’t ask her friend about it yet. ‘When did you last hear from Jack, honey?’

    ‘I’m not sure, must be at least a year. That is very Jack though, isn’t it. I bet he’d get a kick out of the fact that we’re all back here wondering where he is and if he’s OK.’

    Amy, who’d had similar thoughts herself, grimaced. ‘I wouldn’t be surprised – although I’d like to think that at his age he’s finally grown out of playing those games.’

    Kit and Peggy laughed in unison. ‘No chance!’ ‘I assume he’s either still travelling around the world – or working in someone’s garden, using that horticultural qualification he got after Paul and I got married.’

    ‘Sounds possible, and of course,’ Kit let her inner storyteller go in a way she wished she could on paper, ‘if Jack has spent all the inheritance his grandfather left him, he could have got a job in the grounds of some posh house, had a torrid affair with the heir to the manor, and be in the middle of a society scandal.’

    Amy smiled as Peggy divided the carrot cake into mountainous slices. ‘That sounds entirely possible, and I sort of hope it’s true! The boyfriend bit, I mean, rather than the scandal bit.’

    Pulling her cake plate closer, Kit shrugged. ‘I’m not sure he’d risk another relationship, not after Toby hurt him like that. I suspect he’s reverted to full-on sleeping around mode.’ Realising she had sounded rather curt, she added, ‘I’d like to be wrong though. If he settled down a bit, he might come home...’

     About Jenny

     

    Jen and Abis House 1

    Your book sounds fun, Jenny. I believe the series was inspired by your student friends at university?

    The entire Another Cup of...series has been inspired by my student friends from university. We are all still friends, and I asked their permission to embellish their lives in fiction before the first novel in the collection, Another Cup of Coffee, was published.

    Now, five years after Another Cup of Coffee was published, the last in the series, Another Glass of Champagne, has been published. This final novel in the collection brings you up to date with what my real life friends might be doing if we’d all made slightly different decisions in our real lives!

    Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

     Have you always wanted to be a writer?

    When I was at school I disliked English with a passion. I disliked being told what I was supposed to think about particular novels. Nor did I like being told how to write my stories. Not that I would have said anything, I was far too shy!

    I was in my thirties before the idea of picking up a pen to do more than fill in a crossword or compose a letter ever crossed my mind.  On that fateful day, not long after my 33rd birthday, I was sat alone in a cafe in Scotland, day dreaming out of the window, when an idea came to me for a story. The form was so strong in my head that I had no choice but to write it down. I’ve been writing ever since. 

    Has any author inspired you?

     I adore the writing of Kate Griffin and Colin Dexter- neither of them waste a single word in their novels. Every single sentence needs to be there. I strive to do the same- although not always successfully!

     What do you like writing most?

    That’s a really difficult question as I write four different genres and I adore them all! As Kay Jaybee I write erotica, and as Jenny Kane I write children’s picture books, contemporary women’s fiction, and (most recently), medieval historical crime.

    I enjoy all of them; it would be impossible to pick a favourite.

    Do you have a special place for writing?

    I do indeed. Every day I can be found at my corner table in my local Costa. I am there so often I have a special desk for my laptop, and a plaque on the wall declaring the spot to be Jenny Kane’s Corner!

    I should stress I didn’t put the plaque up myself- it was a surprise for me on the launch of my very first JK book a few years ago.

     Jennys Corner Costa

     

    Are you a pantster or a plotter?

    Definitely a fly by the seat of my pants girl.

    What are you writing at the moment?

    I am currently in the finishing stages of two novellas.  One is an erotica story called Wednesday, under my Kay Jaybee pen name, the other is going to be called The Outlaw’s Ransom, and will be published this coming Christmas by Accent Press.

    The Outlaws’ Ransom first saw life as part of my novel, Romancing Robin Hood. Now it is to be available as a standalone mini novel- my very first medieval murder mystery.

    What inspired you to write this book?

     My love of Robin Hood- I’m a little bit obsessed!

     What time of the day do you write best?

     First thing in the morning; from 7am until about 11am

     What are your hobbies?

     I live to write.

     What advice would you give to other writers?

     Only write because you love to write – and edit a lot!

     

     Bio

     Jenny spends a large part of her time in the cafe’s of Mid Devon, where she creates her stories, including the novels Another Glass of Champagne, (Accent Press, 2016), Abi’s House (Accent Press, June 2015), Romancing Robin Hood (Accent Press, 2014), the best selling contemporary romance Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013), and the novella length sequels Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013), Christmas in the Cotswolds, (Accent Press, 2014), and Christmas at the Castle, (Accent Press, 2015).

    Her next full length novel, Abi’s Neighbour, will be published by Accent Press in Summer 2017. She is also working on a short historical novel called The Outlaw’s Ransom, which will be published in November 2016.

    Jenny Kane is also the author of quirky children’s picture books There’s a Cow in the Flat (Hushpuppy, 2014) and Ben’s Biscuit Tin (Hushpuppy, 2015). You can read about them here.

     

    Keep your eye on Jenny’s blog at www.jennykane.co.uk for more details.

    Twitter- @JennyKaneAuthor

    Facebook -https://www.facebook.com/JennyKaneRomance?ref=hl  

     

    Thank you ever so much for inviting me over to chat today Karen.

    It's been a pleasure talking to you Jenny. :)