Posted in Writing


The Last Campaign of Marianne Tambour 1ABOUT THE BOOK:

1815 – On the bloody fields of Waterloo, a battle-weary canteen mistress of Bonaparte’s Imperial Guard battalions must fight to free her daughter from all the perils that war will hurl against them – before this last campaign can kill them both.

“Superb! David Ebsworth has really brought these dramatic events to life. His description of the fighting is particularly vivid and compelling.”  (Andrew W. Field, author of Waterloo: The French Perspective and its companion volume, Prelude to Waterloo: Quatre Bras)

A novel of action and intrigue based on the real-life exploits of two women who fought, in their own right, within Napoleon’s army.

Includes a Battlefield Tour Guide for those wanting to follow the route taken by the story’s main characters or to visit the sites of the 1815 Waterloo Campaign.


This is a complete departure from my normal reads and proved an interesting journey.  We are drawn into the world of a fictional French battalion with canteen mistress Marianne, her partner Fronsac and daughter Florisette (Poppy). Marianne’s main need is to protect Poppy, the only surviving child of three, and somehow accumulate enough money to provide her with a new life away from the war. Then she meets Liberte or Hawk Face as she is known and saves her life whilst at the same time getting rid of a rival for her job who has been trying to kill her! The two women are in the war on the French side – Liberte is a Gentleman Trooper who has been decorated by Napoleon. Both have in their own ways experienced hardship in the army.  This story is exceptionally well told with great care and description – a departure from other fictional novels about Waterloo as it is told from both a French and a female viewpoint. There is a depth that draws you in and makes you feel you are actually there, living alongside both women, in the midst of a brutal war.  I think David Ebsworth has done a fantastic job; his meticulous research has produced a story that is both deep and detailed.

I would like to thank the author for sending me a complimentary copy of this book in return for an unbiased review.



Ebsworth1David Ebsworth is the pen name of writer, Dave McCall, a former negotiator and Regional Secretary for Britain’s Transport & General Workers’ Union. He was born in Liverpool (UK) but has lived for the past thirty years in Wrexham, North Wales, with his wife, Ann. Following his retirement, Dave began to write seriously in 2009.



The Last Campaign of Marianne Tambour 1




For a chance to win a copy of The Last Campaign of Marianne Tambour click on the link below and register.


Posted in Writing


Sorting through old photographs recently I came upon some of the cars we had owned over the years.  My OH is particularly fond of his four wheeled friends.  Not only does he love driving them, they are looked after like babies.  When trading in on one occasion, the dealer told him the car was in better condition than when he had sold it to him.  A tongue in cheek comment, of course,  but it does indicate the TLC which each of these vehicles receives while in his possession.

img001When I first met him in 1981 he was driving a soft top Triumph Spitfire.  Great for those Thelma and Louise moments, letting the wind whip through your hair as with accelerator to the floor you bomb along the open road.  I’ll rewind that comment – great if you have long hair, not so good if like me, your hair is short, fine and difficult to manage.  The sort of hair that involves a lot of work getting just right before you go out.   The sort of hair that had me looking as if I had spent half an hour in a wind tunnel after even a short journey in this car.

When the next car change was due we both agreed it might be better to have something with a fixed roof.  Bring on the Ford img003Fiesta XR2. Actually it was a Fiesta Sport, slightly different from the XR2  -please don’t ask me how as I have no idea! It was red and fast, the only downside being the sunroof was fixed.  No manual wind back or electrics to open it completely – it had to be  removed.  No problems unless that unexpected shower of rain arrived. It was then a case of pulling over and slotting it back into place – very quickly.

img004Car changes in our house are every two years and the next purchase was a Ford Escort XR3i. This was a great car and XR3i’s were extremely popular in the 1980s when Ford could do no wrong and Audi and BMW did not have the broad market share in the UK they do today.  He liked the car so much that two years on he replaced it with another, newer version.  Sadly, however, this did not live up to its predecessor and left him rather disappointed.img005

By the late 1980s he left Ford and entered his Citreon phase.  The Citreon AX was a small hot hatch and in the passenger door there was a slot for a wine bottle. This meant en route to friends for img006dinner the accompanying plonk could be stored safely – those French think of everything!  The love affair with Citroen continued into the early 1990s with the purchase of the slightly larger ZX which became a favourite of both of ours – a lovely car to drive.  citroen_zx_1991_wallpapers_1

The Citroen dealership closed in 1993 and reopened selling Fiat.  The ZX was traded in for a Fiat Punto.  Even though we purchased the GT version I always felt this a bit of a lacklustre car, we both hated driving it and it only stayed with us for 12 months.  It was replaced by its larger sister, a Fiat Brava – which made us revise our opinion of Fiats.  A great car to drive. However the arrival of the Focus in 1998 found us back with Ford again.

img007After the Focus came a Saab 9000i and a BMW series 1. The latter, being rear wheel drive, made it almost impossible to get out of our hillside road when we had snow causing OH to spit feathers and declare he would never buy this model again.  And then came something very special – the Alpha Romeo 147 -his ‘Italian Job’ and one he still talks about today and says he misses. It was a fabulous car both in looks and performance.  A brown and silver Mini Clubman followed two years later – a great car apart Mini Club 003 (1)from the strange little half door on the driver’s side to enable rear seat passengers to shoehorn themselves in and out of the car. Unfortunately  even with the driver’s seat tilted and pushed forward, the gap was incredibly small.

And finally we come to the current love of his life – yes despite his declaration he would never buy another one, we have a BMW Series 1 which has been with us justDSCF2090 (640x480) over 18 months now. It’s is his first car with an automatic gearbox too, something he says he wishes he’d gone over to years ago as it makes driving a much more enjoyable experience.

For years OH had thought about building a car and I trekked around the UK to a lot of kit car shows with him as he tried to make his mind up exactly what his project would be.  By the time we reached the mid-nineties, the thought of having to dispose of unwanted bits of  donor car plus having the garage piled up with parts and a chassis pushed him into what he saw as a better alternative: buying an older car to restore.  His first purchase was Ruby, a red Mini 30 bought from an octogenarian whose daughter felt he was no longer safe behind the wheel. I remember it havingMini30 09-2010 002 a resident spider complete with web in the back window and a new offside wing (badly sprayed) where he’d collided with something he couldn’t quite remember.  Over the next few years an extraordinary amount of time and money was lavished on this car.  Not only was it brought back to its ‘as new’ state but additions like cloth fold back sunroof and walnut dashboard were added. And then as with a lot of love affairs, the interest waned and he decided he wanted a new project.  Ruby was sold on Christmas Eve 2012 to a young guy back in the UK on festive season holiday break from his job in Germany.  I was sorry to see her go.  Although I find the original Mini ride is a bit like driving with your backside on the road, this was such Midget Topless '07-2012 003an iconic little car.  Now, we’re back to another soft top – an MG Midget – which I’ve yet to belt myself into despite a pop up mesh wind shield being fitted.  So will I take the plunge?  Well after all the trouble and expense my OH has gone to for me it would be mean not to wouldn’t it?  Watch this space!

Posted in Writing


Misadventures of PH - Cover


The fun and games continue as Pann Haggerty travels around America with her ‘average’ Joe on their way to Las Vegas.  This time, Joe thinks he’s the one in charge, and able to handle his beloved quirky English rose.

Apparently not.  Surprises, secrets and wedding bells are in store.  Has Pann given Joe the answer to his big question? Read on in the second MisAdventure of Pann Haggerty.

Laugh at Pann’s antics, thrill to the romance, indulge in copious mugs of tea and try out the delicious recipes! Above all…enjoy.


“You know, Pann, this hand would look so much nicer with…”

“Don’t go down that route, Joe,” Pann scolded him. “I said I would give you an answer when I knew what it was. Why, are you feeling insecure, Joe?”

The waitress came back, pouring Joe his thick, syrup-like coffee and placing a tall frosted glass of pink milkshake, topped with whipped cream and a fresh strawberry, on the table.

Pann chuckled. What was this, a drink or dessert?

“Yes, I am,” Joe replied eventually, after taking a sip from his mug. “You are the only woman I’ve asked to marry me, and you won’t give me a definite yes or no. It feels like I’m being led around by the short and curlies.”

“Joe,” Pann admonished through gritted teeth. He sounded rather like her, and one certainly did not mention pubic hair in a dining establishment.

“Well what do you expect, Pann? I love you, and you say you love me. I can’t understand why you are dragging this on.”

“Dragging this on?” Her lips thinned with annoyance. “Joel. We are at a diner surrounded by others eating. This isn’t really the place to have this conversation.” She was trying to no avail to keep her voice calm.

“Shall we go back to the van and talk there?” Joe suggested. “I’ll make tea?”

“Sounds better than shivering in the sunshine, I guess.”

As they walked toward the van, Joe placed his arm around her shoulders. Instinctively she snuggled into his warmth, breathing in his fragrant masculine scent.  Pann placed her arm around his waist, and on impulse, her hand covered his jean clad bottom.  As she squeezed it, Pann smiled an impish grin.

“Wrong pocket, Pann.”

“I beg your pardon?” She tilted her head back to look at Joe.

“If you are after my wallet, it’s in the other pocket,” Joe quipped.



Pandora Haggerty, sorry…Harper sat in the back of the ambulance in a wheelchair all forlorn and feeling decidedly sorry for herself. Her plastered right leg was elevated, and despite Joe’s hand resting on hers comforting her, Pann’s spirits were low. She was jostled several times, wincing as the vehicle rode over several mountains in the road. Perhaps the pain medication was wearing off. Avoiding looking out the window, Pann kept her gaze on Joe’s steadfast one and the gleaming rings of gold that adorned her left hand. Beside her on the floor lay several packages, and from what she could make out, there was a Zimmer frame ready to be constructed.

“A zimmer frame, my arse,” Pann grumbled.

“What was that, darlin’?”

“Just talking out loud,” she murmured.

“Are you in any pain, honey?”

Pann shook her head. “Actually I’m starting to feel like a total prat,” she told him bluntly. “I cannot believe I managed to break my sodding ankle, and now I’m totally reliant on someone else to help me do everything. And I am not using a sodding Zimmer frame. What do they think I am, an elderly geriatric?” Then, turning her head…she noticed a chair behind her.

“That’s not a commode is it?” She asked incredulously in a high squeak. Joe nodded.

“You have to be taking the royal piss,” she exclaimed.

“No, that’s what the commode is for. So that you can—” Joe’s voice broke off.

“No chuffing way am I using a commode.”

“The doctor said you had to stay off that leg. This way you can use the toilet by simply lifting yourself from one chair to another,” he said soothingly.

Pann’s temper finally got the better of her. Humiliation, frustration and that nagging ache from her leg took over her usually sane-ish temperament. She squeezed Joe’s hand digging her nails in, almost breaking the skin. At this point, she really didn’t care if she hurt him or not. She was hurting. Why couldn’t he sympathize? It really wasn’t fair.

Pann sat complacently as Joe wheeled her into the now widened doorway of their motorhome. A strange smell assailed her nostrils. What on earth…could she smell?

“There’s a cat in here,” Pann announced, her eyes darting around the kitchen area. It had been widened for accessibility. As Joe closed the door, she caught a glimpse of a tray.

“What makes you think that?” Joe murmured, putting the brake on. He busied himself by putting the kettle on and preparing a drink for them.

“The litter tray behind me, and the two bowls on a mat just over there,” Pann pointed out. “You do know I still have a cat back in England, even if it is living with Mum now.” She sniffed again, wafting her hand in front of her nose. Several pots of fragrant violets lined the middle of the dining table. She hoped Joe had secured them with Velcro strips.

“Interesting and beautiful flowers, but no matter how many pots of violets you use, there is no cure for the niff of a farting feline,” she told him with a grin, using as many English terms as she could fit in. It was ridiculous, but in a way Joe had diffused her temper by diverting her attention onto something else. “So where is it?”

Joe put two steaming mugs on the table, fetched a plate of digestive biscuits and sat down next to her on the seat.

“Look up,” he suggested.

Pann’s head tilted back. On what had been her bed, two white fluffy paws and a nose with two black splotches were all she could see. All those awful feel sorry for herself feelings disappeared. Joe handed her the tea mug.

“So how did we end up with whats-his-face up there?”

“I have no idea. I picked up the van yesterday after the refit, and well, there he was,” Joe explained.


Joe nodded. “I took him to the vet with every intention of handing him to a rescue center, but, I don’t know. There was something about him. It turns out he is a pedigree Ragdoll.”

Pann melted. “The ones that go limp in your arms. They are so soft and fluffy…Oh, Joe. Look at the splotches on his cute little nosey. Bloody hell. Is that the cat?” Her nose wrinkled. “Oh God, that’s foul,” she breathed.

“There is nothing wrong with that cat’s stomach. Apparently, some cats are prone to gas and this is one of them I’m afraid.” Joe chuckled. “So are we gonna keep him? I had him vaccinated, micro chipped and everything.”

“What have you called him?”

“I thought I’d let you name him,” Joe replied with a smile. “It’s taken you out of your bad mood hasn’t it?”

“Yes, you rat, it has.” Pann couldn’t take her eyes off the two fluffy paws and now emerging face over the edge of what had been her bed. “I’m still not using that commode, you know.”








 Manda purple - Pan


Amanda author picAmanda Ward lives in Bedfordshire, England with her husband, three children and two insane cats. The expression ‘What you see is what you get’, sums her up perfectly. She is the author of the novel Without Saying A Word with Books To Go Now and The MisAdventures of Pann Haggerty with Secret Cravings Publishing.  She is a member of the Romance Novelists Association (RNA).  There is always some moment waiting around the corner to be written into a novel. Her interests include a passion for history and the royal families of Europe, romance novels, cooking, and science fiction including Doctor Who.  Of course not forgetting the great and wonderful Doris Day musicals and English costume dramas. A perfect afternoon for Amanda would be a pot of tea, plenty of biscuits with a Doris Day film on the telly. Shared with great friends and her amazingly tolerant mother in law.

Find out more about Amanda and her manic life at

Contact Links:







Posted in Writing


Sally Lunns Tea HouseLaura PicToday I’m really pleased to be able to introduce Laura Huntley who joins me for Tea and Talk at Sally Lunn’s to talk about her new YA novel Black Eyed Boy.

Laura welcome and now we’re settled comfortably can I first ask you to tell us a bit about yourself, where you live, family stuff, hobbies

I am a biased mother of three superstar children and I live in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. As well as writing, I run a writing group at the local library, volunteer my time to help put together a community festival and I make things to sell at craft fairs, mostly cushions, hair accessories and jewellery. I enjoy reading, Tudor history, horror films and I have a thing for high heel shoes.

What made you want to write and what was your route to publication?

I have always been interested in writing, for as long as I can remember. I was an avid reader as a child and I knew that was something I wanted for myself – a book with my name on the cover. At the age of nine, I wrote a fantasy novella, ‘The Odyssey’. I remember feeling tremendously proud of myself. I started taking writing seriously a few years ago and I was extremely fortunate to have several pieces of work accepted for publication almost immediately. Seeing my flash-fiction, short stories and poems within the pages of many anthologies spurred me on to finally achieve my lifelong dream: my first novel.


Black Eyed Boy was written with a young adult audience in mind as it revolves around a teenage character, Emily. It is a story about love, coming of age and deep, dark secrets.

Here is the blurb:

Emily is fifteen. She feels like a ghost in her own home as her parents seem increasingly lost in their own worlds, and only has her best friend, Billy, for company.  Then Emily meets Dylan, the mysterious and gorgeous new stranger in town. With his unusual eyes and irresistible charm, she is soon smitten. But with Billy’s growing jealousy and a series of devastating family tragedies, can they last? Should they?  Dylan is hiding a powerful secret; a secret that could change Emily’s life forever.

Which authors do you enjoy reading?

I do appreciate a good vampire. Dracula by Bram Stoker is my most favourite book of all. With that in mind, I am a huge fan of Anne Rice and her vampire chronicles, the research and thought that seems to go into each sentence is astounding.

If given the opportunity, is there any other genre you would like to write?

This is a very interesting question as I started out as a horror writer. Despite the fact that Black Eyed Boy is a romance, that is still how I view myself. Normally, the characters in my stories are vampires, zombies and witches. Yet, I seem to have stumbled, rather accidentally, into romance writing. I would like to, perhaps, combine genres more. For example, horror and historical. That would be just my cup of tea, actually.

If you could invite four famous people to dinner who would they be and why?

What a fun thought! I would have to invite Johnny Depp. It would be rude not to, I have had a crush on him for the longest time. Smokey Robinson (in the hope that he would sing to me), his voice gives me goose-bumps. Anne Rice, certainly, though I wonder if we would eventually bore our other guests as I am certain that we could discuss vampires all night long. To inject some fun, I would invite Amy Poehler, a very funny woman / actress / comedian.

What advice do you have for budding authors?

Go for it! Write down all your ideas, it is astounding how quickly you can forget things if you don’t. I would also say that you should try not to take rejections too personally. Just because your work wasn’t quite right for that person, it doesn’t mean that the next person won’t see your potential. Pick yourself up. Dust yourself off. Keep trying, you never know what might be around the corner.

Laura, thank you for joining me and good luck with the book.

Thank you so much for having me over, Jo.  I really have enjoyed myself.

For links to Black Eyed Boy and Laura’s other social media, please see below:


Buy Black Eyed Boy:



Online Launch Party:



Author Bio:

Laura has written since childhood, her head has always been constantly filled with story ideas.

Living in Sheffield with her partner and three children, she is a huge fan of the charming and picturesque coastal town of Whitby, a jewel of North Yorkshire.

She runs a writing group at her local library, encouraging like-minded scribblers to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.

Laura’s short stories, flash-fiction and poetry have been widely published in many anthologies. Black Eyed Boy is her first novel. Currently she is writing the sequel, Green Eyed Girl. Emily and Dylan will return.