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  1. We're off to Barbados for my Friday Read this week, where The Turtle Run by Marie Evelyn is set. The book is written by a mother and daughter team (Marie Gameson and Margot Gameson nee Evelyn) who are originally from the Caribbean but now based in the UK. 

     

    The Turtle Run cover

    Cover Blurb

    She went in search of history and found her own future. Becky has lost her job and her direction in life so is thrilled when she gets the chance to go to Barbados and research the exiled Monmouth rebels. But the Caribbean paradise isn't all that it seems. The old plantation house is beautiful but lonely, and the locals are unhelpful. As her research becomes an obsession, one of the rebel descendants, who still works the same land as his ancestors, begins to get a hold on her mind. Is she living in a fantasy, or is this really an island of long memories? She soon finds that she is not the only one being led by the past.

     Want to read more?

    You can buy the book here:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Turtle-Run-Marie-Evelyn/dp/1783753277

      

    About Marie Evelyn

      

    Marie Gameson photo

     

    Author Bio

    Margot (the mother) has been published previously as Mary Evelyn and Marie was longlisted for The Bridport First Novel Prize in 2015. The Turtle Run is their first novel together and is based on their firsthand experiences of growing up in Barbados, showing a side of the island probably unknown to most visitors.

    A former journalist Margot in particular has seen the island go through a lot of changes, especially in the lead up to independence – Barbados celebrates its 50th anniversary as an independent nation this year. However The Turtle Run shows there are still resonances of its lesser known history on the island today.

    The family moved to the UK in the 1970s and eventually settled in the area where many of the Monmouth rebels originally came from.  Margot is now retired and Marie works in IT.

     

    I asked Marie to tell us a bit more about themselves. As Margot is in her eighties Marie is answering for both of them.

    Have you always wanted to be a novelist?

    My mother says emphatically ‘Yes!’ but I was more interested in writing songs when I was young. I didn’t get interested in writing books until I was well into my forties.

    Has any author inspired you?

    My mother likes Ivan Bunin for the wonderful simplicity of his prose that suddenly throws in a fresh adjective. I prefer Sebastian Faulks and Justin Cartwright’s writing style, but nothing can match the absorbing world which Susan Cooper created in The Dark Is Rising (and which I still think seems real…)

    What do you like writing most?

    I like something with a sense of mystery, and where the present can only be understood by learning about the past. I would say the same about life; for instance, I’m surprised that in the endless Brexit discussions I haven’t heard anyone mention the turmoil of the Reformation. It seems to me that there are clear parallels.

    Do you have a special place for writing?

    I can write anywhere, so long as my laptop battery lasts.

    Are you a pantster or a plotter?

    We’re both plotters. I tried my hand at writing film scripts when I was younger and still plot stories as if I were plotting a film. In particular, I follow John Truby’s 22 steps – it provides a great structure for novels.

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

    The Turtle Run was inspired by something my mother witnessed in Barbados (described in the book). She came across barefooted, blue-eyed, fair-haired children struggling to carry buckets of water from a standpipe to their chattel house and learned that they were the descendants of the Monmouth rebels, who were exiled from England to Barbados in 1685.

    What are you writing at the moment?

    I’ve just finished a ‘quirky’ novel about Chinese ancestor worship. My mother is working on short stories based on the memoirs my father wrote in the last four years of his life. He has left us with some wonderful accounts of pre-apartheid South Africa where he was born.

    What inspired you to write this book?

    The scene my mother witnessed in Barbados encouraged her to study more about the Monmouth rebellion, led by Charles II’s illegitimate son, the Duke of Monmouth. Although the book has a strong romantic element, the theme is about how people’s lives are influenced by the fate of their ancestors. Certainly the miserable situation of many ‘Redlegs’ (to give them their politically incorrect name) was the legacy of their exiled forebears.

    What time of the day do you write best?

    We both prefer early mornings, but I find it impossible to fit into my timetable, so it’s more about writing when I have the time. If I had listened to the “you can’t be a writer unless you write every day” mantra, I’d have given up long ago.

    What are your hobbies?

    We both find languages interesting. My mother loves improving her Spanish and French, whereas I speak Chinese very badly and have started learning Welsh, which is just a wonderful language for its own sake.

    What advice would you give to other writers?

    I would say to listen to that irritating inner voice. If it’s saying: “I hope the publisher/agent will read through to chapter 3, because that’s when my story takes off”, then something needs revisiting in chapters 1 and 2.

    Author Links:

     https://www.facebook.com/Marie-Evelyn-920546144697589/

     https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28330185-the-turtle-run

     Thanks for dropping by, Marie. Wishing you both lots of success with your book.

     

     

  2. My Friday Read this week is All That The Heart Desires by June Moonbridge.  June started to write in high school and was criticised by her teacher. Stubborn as she is, that didn't stop her. Under different pen names, she had stories published in magazines, and then went on to publish three books. All That The Heart Desires is her latest book.

    All That the Heart Desires

    Blurb

     At twenty-five, Desire Hart has experienced enough grief for a lifetime.

    Changing everything in her life - her identity, her hometown and her country of residence, Desire is determined that nothing will prevent her achieving from finding her missing son. Not even love.

    On a spring evening, she meets the golden boy of F1 racing, Lorcan Shore, and finds herself falling for him. Struggling to suppress her feelings, she realises he could help her get closer to the child she believes is her long lost son.

    But nothing goes according to plan. Her identity is revealed by the press, Lorcan has a terrifying accident, and the trail to her son finishes in another dead end. So Desire does what she does best - she runs away.

    Set against the glamorous backdrops of Monaco, Paris and Nice, ‘All That the Heart Desires’ mixes romance and mystery as Desire struggles to come to terms with her past.

    Will she allow herself to accept love into her life again?

     

    Here's an extract to whet your appetite.

    …It took most of my strength to get out of bed. Although I spotted my shoes by the bed, I stayed barefooted. While still feeling dizzy, the previous evening came back slowly to me. I started to count how many glasses of champagne I’d had, but it was just too much for me to remember.

    Looking around the room again, I tried to think where I was. How had I got here? Who’d undressed me? My eyes stopped on the bed I’d slept in. It was messy, but not only on the side where I slept, but on the other too.

    A name finally surfaced from my heavy head. Lorcan. I’d left the Crest Charity Ball with him. The next question that came to my mind was: Where the hell is Harry? Why didn’t he come to get me? He knew who accompanied me when I left.

    Seeing myself in the mirror made me grimace. I tried to get my hair sorted at least, and I started to comb it with my hands but it was far too knotty. So I picked up a ribbon that I’d had in my hair the previous night and made myself a firm knot at the base of my neck. I felt a little better, but the taste in my mouth was awful and I was still unaware of where I was or what time it was.

    I could hear someone talking on the other side of the door: Harry and Lorcan. How much conversation I’d missed I didn’t know.

    “I don’t understand,” I heard Harry say. Lorcan answered him with a question.

    “What?”

    “I don’t understand how she fell asleep in the car. She drank two, maybe three glasses of champagne … Alright, there was that glass of brandy in the car…”

    “What? How much?”

    “She drank a glass of brandy in the car and those two glasses at the table…” Harry’s voice was a little broken. And then silence again. I wondered myself how much I’d drunk and was unable to recollect, but was pretty sure I drank a lot more than Harry said. The painful throbbing in my head was proof of that.

    “From the moment I arrived, she drank at least six glasses of champagne. How much she had drunk before—I’m not sure. The last one…”

    “What did you say?”

    I could just imagine the astonished expression on Harry’s face. I sighed. The men didn’t know I was awake or that I was listening to their conversation.

    “You heard me. It looks like she’s not accustomed to heavy drinking. So what made her drink?” Lorcan’s voice was calm.

    Silence again. I started to wonder if Harry would tell him what was going on in our life to make me behave the way I did. So much was going on, not least Lorcan Shore!

    “I’m not the one to tell you. She’ll have to tell you herself. If she wants to.” I had a hard job hearing Harry’s quietly spoken voice. “What I think is … and don’t misunderstand me … but getting involved with you doesn’t help her at all. We’ll solve her problems alone.”

    I realised we were on a slippery slope. I had to stop myself from entering the sitting room.

    “What problems?” The tone of Lorcan’s voice changed. I didn’t like it. No one liked to hear that someone had problems…

     Want to read more? You can buy the book from:

    Amazon USA

    Amazon UK

    Meet June

    J.Moonbridge aka P.Rovere

    June was born in June and she always loved the moon. She comes from Slovenia, a country which got its independence almost three decades ago.

    She studied economics, and quickly realised she hated it. Afterwards, she found herself working in a mainly male-dominated businesses; at first in automotive and later steel products. She can choose the best steel for your project, but don't, please don't, ask her which lipstick brand you should use.

    After having two children, and learning that her second child has autism, she married their father and carried on working. Work and family life left her with little free time. But the desire to write didn't die. When life somehow sorted itself out, she decided to write a novel in English and her first submissions were rejected... Luckily, she didn't give up.

    Author links

     www.junemoonbridge.com

     

     

    I asked June to tell us more about herself

    Have you always wanted to be a writer?

    I always hoped to be one. Now I hope that someday (soon) I’ll be able to say ‘good-bye’ to my day job … before I retire… ;)

    Has any author inspired you?

    More or less I was inspired by each and every author I read novels from. Some showed me how I want to write (and I hope I do) and some showed me how I don’t want to write.

    Do you have a special place for writing?

    Being a full time working mother there are not many chances for me to be ‘alone’. My so called ‘me time’ I have five days per week – in my car, driving to work and back home and it takes an hour each way. So, unintentionally my ‘favourite place’ for inspiration is behind the wheel of my car. I can say almost all new ideas starts right there – where I cannot write them down…

    Are you a pantster or a plotter?

    Definitely I am Pantser - all the way. I hear a song/music – bam, there is a story. I see (gosh) almost anything – bam, there is a story. I hear a conversation – bam, yes you know the drill. Sometimes this things get connected and only one story comes out, sometimes not.

    I rarely write down anything about the story and many times I must look back to see what I have written; the descriptions, names… and I think this is something that gives my editor grey hairs…

    What are you writing at the moment? 

    My ‘NEW’ WIP is a contemporary romantic story where my two main protagonists are trying to break the circles in their life. ‘NEW’ is because my second novel with the ‘working title’ “Caught between two Worlds” is already finished and is currently under submission. Waiting…

    What time of the day do you write best?

    Nights are the part of the day that I can write. It is right after my family falls to sleep and the house is still. Only then I can sit down and re-connect with my characters.

     What advice would you give to other writers?

     I have only one advice: Do it in your own pace and style.

     Great advice, June.Thanks for dropping by and good luck with your new book!

     

     

     

  3. For my Friday Read this week is The Giants Look Down, by Sonja Price, published by Robert Hale. “The Giants Look Down” has been shortlisted by the Romantic Novelists’ Association for this year’s Joan Hessayon New Writers' Scheme Award.

    Congratulations, Sonja!

    Isn't the cover beautiful?

     

    The Giants Look Down cover

    Blurb

    Jaya is a Kashmiri girl torn between her dream of becoming a doctor just like her father and her mother’s traditional expectations of her. In the late 1960s her family enjoys an idyllic life in the Vale of Kashmir, despite the area being riddled with conflict and poverty. After a devastating earthquake wipes out her entire family, Jaya is in the care of relatives in Delhi, who attempt to marry her off and keep the possibility that her youngest brother, Tahir, has survived the earthquake from her. After escaping her arranged marriage thanks to her father’s generous friends, Jaya is put through school and medical training in Scotland as she always dreamed of. But as she negotiates a different culture from her own, where women are allowed opportunities, she also negotiates the realms of her own heart as she develops feelings for her foster family’s older son, Alastair, who happens to be engaged to someone else.

    Can she return to Kashmir and fulfil her dream of building a clinic in the mountains and be truly happy?

    Extract:

    Kashmir 1967

    When I was ten, I found out what I wanted to be. In fact, I can remember the very day I decided to become a healer. On that late summer’s morning, I could still see my breath when I climbed up into our battered old Land Rover. You know what those kinds of vehicles are like. I was up high and I felt so much bigger anyway, because I was in the front next to Pa. If I shut my eyes and concentrate, I can still smell his pipe smoke lingering on the leather seats. The radio was on that morning because Pa, being such a huge cricket fan, had started listening to the Ashes long before the sun cut the peaks of the Nun Kun. In India you hear talk of three things on every village corner: cricket, movies and politics and the Vale of Kashmir was no exception.

    The tiny red figure of Lord Vishnu, the protector, bobbed about under the rear view mirror as I scanned the skies for golden eagles. We had a good chance of seeing them at that time of the year when they had hungry chicks to feed. I spotted one, riding the winds, soaring and circling before dropping hundreds of feet to pluck a groundhog from the mountain slopes. All around us, tiny mauve and yellow flowers danced in the breeze as the snowy summits of Pir Panjal meditated in the early morning sun. Beneath them, rocks gave way to forests, emerald green valleys and the glint of the Jhelum River. In the far distance Wular Lake slumbered peacefully under its blanket of mist. Above us the Thajiwas glacier sparkled ice blue beside the cone-like peak of Gwash Brari where settlements hugged its foothills. All Pa’s territory, because he was the only doctor for miles.

    The crowd roared and the man on the radio was getting terribly excited when a posh voice cut in: ‘News has just reached us that a suicide attack in Indian-administered Kashmir has killed three people, including the bomber, and injured more than seventeen. The explosion occurred in the Nowgam area on the outskirts of Srinagar, the region's summer capital. A Pakistan-based Islamic militant group has claimed responsibility for the explosion in a telephone call to local news agency Current News Service.’

    Pa switched off the radio. ‘Madmen! Outsiders! Trying to turn us against each other! Sufi, Hindu, Sikh, what does it matter? We’ve been smoking beedi together in the teahouses of Dal Lake for centuries. Long before the British came. Long before Partition. Now they make us play the Great Game and fight like cockerels. Should I not attend to Mrs Durrani simply because she is a Muslim? And what about Kaliq? Should we throw our beloved servant out? How could the gods tolerate bloodshed in our beautiful vale?’

    I certainly didn’t understand. How could grown-ups fight and kill each other when we children were always being told to be nice to each other? Diwali, our festival of light, includes their Muslim god Ali, and Ramadan includes our Lord Ram, so how were we so different? It didn’t make any sense.

    Buy Links:

    Amazon

     Meet Sonja

    Sonja (3)

    Sonja commutes between Glastonbury and Weimar Germany, where she teaches English at University. Sonja thinks that writing is such a wonder because you can have fun wherever you put pen to paper!

    I asked Sonja to tell us a bit more about herself

    Do you have a special place for writing?

    I need a study, a room to take myself and my writing seriously- which doesn’t mean that I don’t grab my laptop and write elsewhere when the mood takes me. But usually a calm descends on me when I sit down at my desk that tells me it’s writing time! When I wrote my Kashmiri saga, I put an Indian cloth over my desk, which seemed to do the trick.

    Have you always wanted to be a writer?

    It was something deep inside me that I didn’t recognise for a long time. That’s probably why I went on to study English literature - as if I didn’t dare, unless I had a solid background, which is so ridiculous. It did let me do the other thing I love though: reading. Anyway, as soon as that was in the bag together with a job, I started writing whatever I wanted. I can remember being at a party and telling an artist my guilty secret. She asked me if anyone had ever read my work and when I shook my head, she said, ‘Why ever not?’  I think I’ll be eternally grateful to her for getting me thinking. So I sent my short stories out and they got published. My ambition though, was always to write a novel.  I’m so happy I did!

    Are you a pantster or a plotter?

    To my dismay, I’m a pantster. I try to plot beforehand but it just doesn’t work for me- it kills all inspiration. Perhaps it’s because in my day job where I do a lot of academic writing, I need to plan and keep to a prescribed formula. So I sit there and stare at my screen, which is basically like crawling up a rock face without a safety rope, feeling for the next scene or event with my one free hand. It’s such a silly way to go about writing but the only way forward for me.

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

    Yes, The Giants Look Down was inspired by the Great Earthquake of 2005 in Kashmir.

    What are you writing at the moment?

    A story about a widow trying to solve the mystery surrounding her husband’s death in the Alaskan wilderness.

    What inspired you to write this book?

    The landscape caught my inner eye. My stories are almost always set in unfamiliar places where I let my imagination loose. Like a lot of writers I just pen my daydreams, but I have got a  picture book open at a breath-taking photo of a snow-covered mountain next to my keyboard right now…

    What time of the day do you write best?

    Mornings, but I also need my sleep so I don’t get up at the crack of dawn. I find it good to go for a run or swim beforehand - nothing too strenuous: I swam in the local outdoor pool for half an hour today  to banish restlessness and help me concentrate better.

    What advice would you give to other writers?

    Whatever works for you is good. All that matters is getting those words on paper.

     Good tip!

    Author links

    Website:  sonja-price.com

    Twitter handle: @PriceSonja

    Goodreads: Sonja Price

    Thanks for dropping by, Sonja. 

  4. My Friday Read this week is my very own romance novel, The Millionaire Plan, which is being rereleased today by Accent Press, with a gorgous new cover. Perfect for a holiday read!

     

    The Millionaire Plan

     

    Blurb

    Love or money, what would you marry for?

    Amber Wynters is on a mission to find a millionaire to marry - and fast. Her parents are nearly bankrupt and being forced to sell their family home, a beautiful Tudor house that has been in the family for generations, thanks to Amber's ex-fiance persuading them to invest in his dodgy shares. Armed with a self-help book and a ten-point plan, she sets off to hook herself a rich husband. On a millionaire's yacht, she meets the drop-dead gorgeous Jed Curtess. The attraction between them is sizzling. It's a shame that he is only a hired hand. Can Amber ignore her heart and follow her plan?

    Available from Amazon

    And coming soonNever Say Forever. Released on 24 July, now on preorder.

     

    Never Say Forever

    Blurb

    Do you follow your dream or follow your heart?

    That's the decision Kendall McKenzie has to make when she meets hunky businessman Jake Newman. He's as attracted to her as she is to him - but Kendall has vowed never to get married, and it seems that Jake has too. When they are together, sparks fly. It's obvious to everyone except themselves that they're meant to be together. Can Kendall trust Jake enough to give him her heart? And if she does, will she have to give up her dream?

    Amazon

     

     

     

  5. This week I've chosen the debut novel, French Kissing by Lynne Shelby for my Friday Read.  Lynne loves travelling, and is often inspired to write by the many wonderful foreign cities that she’s visited. French Kissing is set partly in Paris and is published by Accent Press.

     

    4

    Blurb

    Anna Mitchel has been writing letters to her French penfriend, Alexandre Tourville, for fifteen years, but hasn’t seen him since they met as children on a school exchange trip.  When Paris-based Alex, now a successful professional photographer, comes to work in London, Anna fails to recognise him.  Instead of the small, geeky boy she remembers, he is tall, broad-shouldered and gorgeous. 

    Anna’s female friends are soon swooning over Alex’s Gallic charm, and Anna’s boyfriend, Nick, is becoming increasingly jealous of their friendship.

    When Alex has to return to Paris to oversee the hanging of his photographs in an exhibition, he invites Anna to accompany him so that he can show her the city he adores …

    Oh, la, la! Sounds fun doesn't it? If you want to read more you can buy it here:

    Amazon

     Meet Lynne

    Lynne Shelby with her debut novel French Kissing

    Lynne Shelby can’t remember a time when she wasn’t writing, and it was always her ambition to be a published author. She writes contemporary romance because that is what she most likes reading. She’s worked in a variety of day jobs from stable girl to legal administrator. Now she can add published author to that list! Congratulations,  Lynne!

    I asked Lynne to tell us a bit more about herself

    Have you always wanted to be a writer?

    I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. I submitted my first ms (an adventure story for teenagers – it would be called YA these days) to a publisher when I was fourteen. They didn’t publish it, but I did get a very kind letter from an editor encouraging me to keep writing. I’m so glad I took their advice.

    What do you like writing most?

    For many years I wrote in different genres such as science fiction or historical, but in every story I wrote, the relationship between the hero and heroine was important to the plot. About six or seven years ago, I ‘discovered’ contemporary romantic fiction, and realised this was what I really wanted to write. 

    Do you have a special place for writing?

    I’m lucky enough to have my own writing room (aka the spare bedroom) with a desk by a window overlooking the garden, so even although I live in a town, I have a view of trees and flowers.  I built the desk myself from a kit, and when it was put together it turned out to be far too high for any writer of human proportions, which is why I now write sitting on a high bar-stool!  Opposite my desk is a large cork notice board covered with pictures that inspire my WIP, such as photos of my story’s locations. As I write, the board gradually becomes covered with post-it notes, as I think of details to add to chapters I’ve already written or make a note of facts I need to check.

    Are you a pantster or a plotter?

    I guess I’m a bit of both. I know the beginning and end of my stories before I start writing, but have only a vague notion of what is going to take place in the middle. I jot down the outline of the plot, and then begin typing, throwing my hero and heroine together, and seeing what happens as they interact. There does seem to be a moment when the characters I’ve created take over and start telling their own version of events, but after I’ve written the first two thirds of a story, I do plan the later chapters to make sure the plot stays on course.

    What are you writing at the moment?

    I’m writing a series of books, contemporary romances, set in the world of showbusiness.

    What inspired you to write this book?

    I’ve always been fascinated by the world of film and theatre, and what goes on behind the scenes. My daughters were child-actors when they were younger, and I used to have great fun as a ‘stage mother’ chaperoning them to pantomime rehearsals or on film sets.  Nowadays, a lot of my family work in the industry, and inspired me to write about it.

    What time of the day do you write best?

    I definitely write best in the morning, but if a story a story is going well, I do sometimes forget to have lunch and keep writing into the afternoon.

    What are your hobbies?

    Reading, theatre-going and travelling. I love exploring a foreign city – with my writer’s notebook in hand.

    What advice would you give to other writers?

    Write every day if you can. This will keep your story vivid in your mind. And you’ll be amazed at how your ms grows, even if you’re only able to write for a few minutes.

    Great advice, Lynne! 

     Author Links

    Website: www.lynneshelby.com

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

    Twitter: @LynneB1

    Thanks for dropping by, Lynne. :)