Posted in ARCHIVE, Author Promotion, Music, TUESDAY TALK, Writing





How far would you go if someone took your wife?

Especially, if you buried her a week ago.

When Jason Wells is faced with this scenario, he is confronted with the prospect of committing a crime that will have far-reaching consequences.

Can young DC Sally Poynter get through to him before he crosses that line, or does a desperate husband prove to be the case she won’t ever forget?

A prequel novella, set before Shallow Waters, the first in the DI Hannah Robbins series.

For fans of James Patterson’s Book Shots.

Three Weeks Dead – a taster



The grave had been dug out. There had been a strong frost for the last couple of days and the ground had been hard. Difficult to penetrate. Cold and unforgiving.
There was a chill in the air and a light breeze shimmied through the branches of the autumnal trees that surrounded the space, making the leaves whisper their secrets for a moment.
The four people on the ground would have liked to have known those secrets, but they stood there in a respectful silence.
Not many people knew about today. Her husband wasn’t here. He’d had the choice. The group had advised against it.
They’d strongly recommended that he stay away, and he’d listened to their counsel.
It was causing more trouble than anyone thought possible. Unusual, to say the least.
She shivered. A feeling that shook her body from the top of her head down to her feet. It gave her the chills – to be here. To see this. She looked at the other three. She was out of her depth, she knew it, but she wouldn’t allow it to show. She could do this. She had to do this. It was her life now.
A bird flew overhead, screaming down at them. The sky a heavy grey blanket.
The woman on her right spoke. ‘Okay, you can do it.’ She pulled the scarf tighter around her neck to try to keep some warmth in. This was about to get a whole lot creepier.
The man picked up his tool from the ground and inserted it under the lip of the lid, then stopped and stared at them, a look in his eye she didn’t like.
DC Sally Poynter hadn’t yet been on Nottingham’s Major Crime Unit for a month, and this was the first new case that had come in. As the man responsible for unsealing the coffin they were stood over looked panicked, she wished she were somewhere else other than here, this cold grey morning.
‘It’s already been opened.’
‘Lift it up then, let’s see,’ said her DI, Hannah Robbins.
The lid was raised and they all stood there and stared down into the empty coffin of Lisa Wells.


profile-photoRebecca Bradley is a retired police detective and lives in Nottinghamshire with her family and two cockapoo’s Alfie and Lola, who keep her company while she writes. Rebecca needs to drink copious amounts of tea to function throughout the day and if she could, she would survive on a diet of tea and cake while committing murder on a regular basis.




PURCHASE LINKS: This link will take the reader to whichever country of origin Amazon s/he needs to be in.

Posted in Writing

Today Tuesday Talk is with Norfolk based author Maggie Cammiss talking about writing and desert island ‘must haves’

maggie-cammiss1Good morning Maggie and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Good morning Jo, and thank you for inviting me. I was born in Yorkshire but moved to London where the first years of my working life were spent very happily in public libraries. I had a spell designing and producing my own knitwear then it was back to a different sort of library. I joined Sky News when it first launched and helped develop the channel’s news footage archive. They were exciting times but working in 24 hour rolling news is a bit like being in stuck in a revolving door and after seventeen years I left London with my partner (now husband) to see what life outside the M25 had to offer. We settled in Norfolk and never looked back.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? How did that journey begin?

To start with I was more of a reader than a writer. I only thought about writing myself when I started to question what I was reading and wondered if I could do any better. Like a lot of people who tell you they would write a novel if only they had the time (!), I had this naïve notion that, because I was a keen and critical reader, writing a novel wouldn’t be too difficult. Hah! I was soon disabused of that notion; writing convincing dialogue is hard, I discovered. But I was determined. I went on an Arvon novel-writing course, collected a no-news-is-good-news1library of how-to books and joined a local writing group. My first published writing success was a short memoir about my time spent working in a liquorice factory in Pontefract in the 1960s.

Can you tell us something about your current WIP?

After writing two novels set in a television newsroom (write about what you know, they said), I needed a change of scenery and I also wanted to write about the experiences of women my own age. The current novel, working title, Serendipity, explores the relationships between four women, the secrets they keep from each other and the consequences of their silence. My new characters are older and hopefully wiser, and have their individual ways of dealing with some universal problems. There’s conflict and drama, a hint of romance and some wry comedy in the mix.

What does your ‘average’ day look like?

In an ideal world I’d write in the mornings as this is the best time for my brain, but we have my mum in law living with us now and she has Alzheimer’s, so the first part of the day is taken up with her personal care and maybe slotting in some social media. Fitting my writing around the demands of Mum’s condition can be quite a challenge but now I’m retired I can be more flexible with my time. These days I write mainly in the afternoons and keep evenings free for other stuff. Years ago I began waking up very early in the morning, and I haven’t managed to break the habit, so I snuggle down in bed and catch up on my reading, with a mug of tea, of course. And I have a notebook beside the bed for making notes in the dead of night.

Do you have a special place for writing?

I’m very lucky; I have a study where I can shut myself away and type straight onto the screen. But I quite like writing longhand too, and I can do this anywhere – in front of the television, at the kitchen table, in the car (not when I’m driving!), on the beach, in the garden, in bed….

What destination is top of your bucket list and why?

I lived in Boston, Massachusetts for a year when I was 21 and loved it. I’ve been back to the States several times since but apart from a brief visit to the Grand Canyon during a road trip on a Greyhound bus, I haven’t really explored the Wild West. I watched lots of Westerns when I was a child, so I’d like to go back with my husband and take a more leisurely tour of this magnificent wilderness.

You’re taking a sabbatical on a desert island. What four ‘must haves’ would you take with you and why?

Oh, that’s a tough one. I suppose it depends on how long I’ll be away. The first one is easy – an unlimited supply of tea; I can’t function without it. Also, being one of those people who panic if there’s nothing to read, even cereal packets, a selection of books is also a must. Something improving, like all the classics I still haven’t read, and some easy reading to distract me from my predicament. If I can’t take my husband with me, then a photograph of him will have to do, because I’ll miss him so much. To make proper use of all that time a supply of writing paper and something to scribble with would be useful. Oh, and chocolate. But that’s five. Maybe I could manage without the chocolate if I’m only going for a week…


About Maggie Cammiss

It might be a cliché, but writing about what you know certainly worked for me. Seventeen years spent in the hectic environment of a 24-hour rolling news channel provided me with masses of background material and my first two novels are set in a television newsroom. My debut novel, No News is Good News was published by Accent Press in December 2014 and Breaking News by new imprint Octavo Books in August 2016. Recently married to my long-term partner, I was thrilled to be able to put author in the ‘profession’ column of my new marriage certificate. I’m a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and when I’m not writing, I’m on the beach, walking in the beautiful countryside, or (more usually) reading a crime novel.

Breaking News blurb

breaking-news-1-updated-centredTelevision producer Sara Cassidy has her life all mapped out. She loves her job making weekly feature programmes for TV news channel UK24, and is looking forward to furthering her ambitions in the media. She is devastated when her fiancé makes a shattering confession but she hardly has time to come to terms with the betrayal when her closest friend is involved in a freak accident and Sara’s world is turned upside down once again.
As Sara struggles to maintain a professional perspective she finds solace in a new interest and a blossoming romance. But she has to be careful who she trusts in the cut-throat world of television news. Just as she is finding her feet again the career that means so much reveals its murkier side.
When she suddenly finds herself at the other end of the camera lens, Sara discovers that in the struggle for ratings, loyalty is in short supply.

Social Media Links


Book Links

1. No News is Good News:
2. Breaking News:

Posted in Writing

Author Promotion: Today I’m pleased to welcome Alice May with her Debut Novel Accidental Damage



About Accidental Damage:

If you think the normal school run on a Monday is entertaining you should try doing it from a tent in your back garden surrounded by the jumbled up contents of your entire home. It is vastly more diverting.

Our heroine has survived the sudden collapse of her home – or has she?

Certain events two and a half years ago led her to deliberately destroy an important piece of herself, hiding away all remaining evidence that it ever existed. What happens when she decides to go looking for it?

Does she really deserve to be whole again?

Inspired by a true story, this is an account of one woman’s secret guilt and her journey in search of forgiveness!

Purchase links

Accidental Damage by Alice May is available in kindle and paperback format from


Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00022]

Chapter 1: Compulsion

Definition: an irresistible impulse to act.

Present day….

It was late in the evening on a seriously scary, stormy night when I finally had to admit to myself that I was a wreck.

A well-known pop diva was letting rip at full volume from the radio in the corner (a vain attempt on my part to drown out the noise from outside). Yet, I was still jumping with fright at each new flash of lightning and then again for the subsequent growling thunder.

As the aforementioned diva vociferously queried the whereabouts of all the more admirable gentlemen in the world, a small part of my brain was muttering, resentfully, that they were all probably comfortably ensconced in the lounge, watching the football with a tinny, like my Beloved Husband, and having a fine old time without us both.

Nevertheless, as the wind howled and the rain pulverised the ground (and the diva continued to lament at length), there I was, a fully grown woman, cowering in the kitchen. I really couldn’t pretend anymore. I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that it was high time I sorted myself out and in order to do that I needed to find something, or, more accurately, a box of somethings.

This sudden compulsion to take action was unexpectedly and entirely overwhelming. It was so all-consuming that it made the noises of the storm, and even the deafening diva, fade into insignificance.

Incapable of preventing myself, I left the kitchen at speed and dived headfirst into the dark and dangerous space that constituted the under-stairs cupboard in a desperate attempt to excavate long buried treasures. Things that had once been so important to a previous ‘me’, things that I had since told myself I wanted nothing more to do with. Ever!

 In spite of my dogged assertion that I was done with them, these gems had somehow been spared the destructive fires of two years previously, when so much of the old ‘me’ was deliberately and systematically obliterated. I had stood in the darkness back then, completely devoid of all emotion, watching as so many things I had loved were engulfed in the heat and crackle of dancing flames.

Yet, secretly packaged away in the deepest darkest space I could find, these select items had been purposefully forgotten.

A line had been drawn. A door closed.

That part of my life was over.

Well, until now obviously!

The urge to be reunited with them immediately was so strong that I was heedless of the potential threat from the enormous eight legged occupants, the presence of which usually prevented me from venturing very far into this uncharted territory.

Out came old sleeping bags, wellies of assorted sizes and a plethora of ancient coats and shoes that I vaguely recognised as having been worn at some point by one or other of the smaller humans that roam through the house from time to time in search of food and electronic entertainment.

Right at the back was the box.  I dragged it out eagerly, notwithstanding the unwieldy size and sheer weight of it, and pulled it right across the hall into the little study, oblivious to the trail of abandoned detritus that I was leaving in my wake.

At last I had them.

Nothing else mattered.

Opening the box, I released my treasures, carefully extracting one thing after another. Each item unearthed generated a tingle down my spine, a spark of recognition, a brief flash of the person I used to be, as I cautiously arranged them on the desk by the window.

Time passed. I was so utterly enthralled that I did not notice when the storm outside had blown itself out. I did not even register that the radio had been switched off. Wave after wave of memories hit me as each item was excavated, examined and set down. This was what I had been missing. How could I possibly have thought I could survive without them?

What on earth had I been thinking?

No matter!

We were reunited at last.

A tentative shuffling and a quiet, yet deliberate clearing of the throat broke into my bubble of contentment.

Beloved Husband was leaning against the door jam, the radio, now silent, in his hands. There was a carefully neutral expression on his face as he surveyed the room. (The football must be over. The storm certainly was.)

“So,” he said cautiously, “it’s starting again.”

A statement.

Not a question.

I looked guiltily at the mess I had generated in the hall behind him and then at the pile of things on the table beside me.

“It does rather look as though it might be,” I agreed.

I couldn’t deny how happy the sight of my easel, brushes, pallet knives and sponges made me. Not to mention the way the sheer range of brightly coloured paints before me lifted my spirits.

My old friends were back!

Was that a hint of fear behind the carefully non-judgemental expression on Beloved Husband’s face? Quite possibly!

Thinking back I can’t really blame him. He was no doubt remembering what life was like when I painted before.  Wet canvasses littering every surface in the house, my obsession with painting invading everything, the forgotten meals, the late nights and early mornings spent throwing colours at canvasses because little things like food and sleep just weren’t as important as capturing a particular image in paint.

Could he be recalling the time he came home from work one day to find that a moment of inattention on my part had allowed our youngest offspring, dressed only in a nappy, to express his artistic side with an entire tube of Alizarin Crimson oil paint all over himself and our brand new conservatory?

Perhaps he is remembering the moment when we stood side by side staring in paralyzed horror at what we initially thought was the scene of a bloodbath (Alizarin Crimson really does resemble that most red of bodily fluids.) before we realised that the semi-naked two year old, writhing on the floor at our feet was not suffering a terrible death, but was in fact enjoying himself immensely.

It is sad to say that the split second of intense parental relief that he was unharmed was swiftly followed by our homeowners’ instinctive urge to inflict bodily harm on the little vandal. This impulse was thankfully quickly superseded, primarily by Beloved Husband’s compulsion to rescue the conservatory and secondly by my guilty need to extract the miniature criminal from the scene and clean him.

I rather think Beloved Husband got the easier job because at least the conservatory didn’t wriggle around and protest vociferously at the liberal application of appropriate cleaning products.

Given our youngest child’s total aversion to bath time on any given occasion, the extended period of cleaning time it took to remove all traces of crimson oil paint from every nook and cranny of his person was probably punishment enough.

For both of us!

Thank goodness the little ruffian’s older sister was around to help hold him still. Wet two year olds are slippery little critters.

Then to add insult to injury I had to clean the bathroom and myself afterwards. Fortunately his sister was old enough to clean herself.

It was my own fault really, for taking my eyes off him. This particular child was exceptionally good at getting into mischief.

Thank heaven oil paint takes such a long time to dry.

An extended telephone call to the GP followed as we tried to decide whether the offender had actually consumed any paint and might therefore require some form of medical attention. The conclusion was that, as he appeared entirely unaltered from his customary destructive self (apart from an unusual degree of cleanliness), it would be kinder to spare the casualty department and the doctor politely suggested that we keep a close eye on him at home.

Beloved Husband was remarkably restrained under the circumstances and did not point out that I should have been doing that in the first place.

That particular event rather marked an important moment in my painting career as I locked the oil paints away and invested in water colours and acrylics, which are altogether less toxic and less permanent.

Now they were back!

All of them.

Watercolours, acrylics and oils, all jostling for space on the study table!

Beloved Husband could be forgiven for being somewhat concerned at such a development.

“I’ll be careful,” I said earnestly.

There was a moment of silence before he shook his head, rolled his eyes to the heavens and said with a wry smile “Of course you will!” He walked over and placed the radio carefully down on the windowsill switching it back on at a more moderate volume than before.

Then he turned to go, shoving the pile of discarded items back into the under-stairs cupboard and wedging the door closed as he went past.

Looking back at my old friends on the desk, I couldn’t wait to get started. Within minutes there was a canvas clamped to the easel and my fingers itched to get hold of a paintbrush as I rummaged through tubes of colours.

It crossed my mind to wonder how on earth I had survived without doing this for so long. Painting had always been my comfort, so perhaps now, with all my materials around me, I stood a chance of working out how to feel better about myself.

With absolutely no idea what I was going to paint I simply picked up a brush, selected a pot of paint at random and set to work.


About the Author

author-plus-book-photoAt 45 years old, I am a multi-tasking mother with four not-so-small children and I am fortunate enough to be married to (probably) the most patient man on the planet.  We live in, what used to be, a ramshackle old cottage in the country.

My conservatory is always festooned with wet washing and my kitchen full of cake.

Following several years exhibiting as a mixed media artist, I decided that 2016 was the year I would start writing. Inspired by true-life events and fuelled by some really frantic painting sessions ‘Accidental Damage’ wouldn’t leave me alone until it was written. I really hope you enjoy it.

If you have any comments about ‘Accidental Damage’ please send them to:

Social Media



P.S. Please note that no Barbarians were harmed during the writing of my book.





Posted in Writing

TUESDAY TALK is with Irish Historical Author Pam Lecky today, discussing writers who have inspired her and some interesting dinner guests

Good morning Pam and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Hi Jo and thank you for inviting me along for a chat. I am an Irish Indie author of historical fiction. I’m married with three children and work part-time, so my spare time is very precious. As a result, independent publishing has been wonderful as it suits my hectic life down to a tee. My debut novel, The Bowes Inheritancedsc_0144-3, was published in 2015. Early on, I joined the Historical Novel Society whose members, I have to say, are some of the most supportive people I have had the pleasure to meet. One of my first reviews was from the HNS and to my astonishment my book was made Editor’s Choice and longlisted for the HNS Indie Award 2016. Recently, the book has been shortlisted for The Carousel Aware Prize 2016 in the novel category. The award will be announced on 25th October. (I have everything crossed!)

When did you first decide you wanted to write and how did you begin that journey?

There were a lot of influences in my childhood and the earliest one that I can remember was television. Historical dramas in particular caught my attention, even though at that young age I didn’t really understand the stories. Ah but the costumes, the architecture and the way people behaved – something clicked. My father was a great reader and encouraged me to be as well; as a child and a teen I devoured books and I mean devoured. Then Dad bought me the complete works of Jane Austen and a foundation was laid. For those familiar with the 19th century world, I think I actually became a bluestocking! I munched my way through classics, dined on crime and mystery (Dorothy L Sayers my absolute favourite – what a fantastically twisty mind that woman had), and supped at the feet of Georgette Heyer’s heroes and heroines.

The urge to write has always been strong. As a teen I wrote a lot of angst-ridden poetry that, thankfully, will never see the light of day; dabbled in some newsletter journalism and then life kind of took over for a while. It was only when my third child was born, and I took a career break, that the notion of writing a novel popped into my head. It was a challenge – could I finish one? I did and enjoyed it so much that I continued to write. But for myself. Three years ago I started a new story. It had a beginning, a middle and an end (always a good thing), but there was no flesh to its bones. I knew I wanted it to have an Irish flavour, but with a new angle perhaps. I have always been fascinated by the complex relationship between the Irish Ascendency and their British counterparts and that, and a wrangle over land, seemed a good place to start. It was only as I started to research, that the story took on a life of its own. Sub-plots popped up, often influenced by real events that I read about from old newspapers, books and on-line blogs. What started out primarily as a love story became tangled up in Irish history, Fenians and the Lake District! The Bowes Inheritance was born.

Who are your favourite authors and have any of them inspired your writing in any way?

Without a doubt, Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. Why? Because their skill in creating characters, and the worlds they live in, is unsurpassed. Crime writers, such as PD James, Ruth Rendell and Dorothy L. Sayers have also had an impact in that I always write multi-layered stories, with an element of crime or mystery.

How much research goes into your books?

I absolutely love research so it does take up quite a lot of time but I feel it is worth it. I don’t write about actual characters from history but I do write about authentic worlds. You can only do that by absorbing vast quantities of information on life in that period. I write predominantly late Victorian and pre WW1 so luckily there is a rich source of reference material such as photos, books, (some fantastic blogs such as Mimi Matthews’) and even film that still exists. Even my own family research has influenced some of my writing.

If you didn’t write historical novels would there be any other genre that would interest you?

I hope someday to attempt a contemporary novel and I also fancy doing something very self-indulgent and rather gothic!

Are you able to tell us a little about what you are working on at the moment?

I am working on two novels – as if life wasn’t busy enough.
Kashmir Velvet is a mystery set in Yorkshire in the 1880s. It is about a young woman who is falsely accused of stealing a family heirloom. While she is fighting to clear her name, her father’s less than salubrious past catches up with her too. I can’t really say any more other than it involves some missing Kashmir sapphires!
The other book, The Button Girls, is based very loosely on my grandmother who lived through some very turbulent moments of Irish history – literally outside her front door (the 1913 Lock-out that brought Dublin to its knees and the Easter Rising of 1916). This book is predominantly a romance set against the mayhem of the time.

And lastly, if you could invite five celebrities to dinner, who would they be and why?

Firstly, it would be best if I didn’t cook – you would be looking at 5 ill or possibly dead celebs! I’m going to cheat a bit and include some deceased ones anyway. My first guest would be Cary Grant – not really sure why I would have to explain that one but he was the essence of sophistication. My next would be Alfred Hitchcock because I love his films and would be intrigued to know how his mind worked. Next would be Helen Mirren and Judi Dench – both fantastic actresses with long careers but mostly because I think they would have very interesting stories to tell. Lastly, it would be toss-up between Dara O’Briain or Lee Mack – either would be very entertaining.

Catch up with Pam on her Social Media sites:




Autumn 1882: Louisa Campbell, living in genteel poverty in Dublin, is surprised to learn she is the new owner of the Bowes Estate. When she arrives in England, she discovers her nearest neighbour, Nicholas Maxwell, wishes to continue a vicious feud over her land and the uncle she inherited from was not what he seemed. When a Fenian bombing campaign comes close to home, Louisa finds herself a prime suspect and must do all she can to protect herself and her younger sister. But who is really orchestrating the Fenians’ activities? Will Louisa have the courage to solve the mysteries that Bowes Farm holds? And most importantly of all, will she ever be able to trust and love the man who is surely her sworn enemy?



Posted in Writing


Having finished my Devon Duo and now planning a move to North Cornwall for my next book, The Boys of Summer, I thought it might be an opportunity to make people aware that I’m not just a two book author.  There has, in fact, been another series of books prior to this. All are linked; the first three really do need to be read together as one story but the sequels can be read independently. Set in the late 1960s, When Tomorrow Comes begins the series, where we meet Ella, Jenny, Issy and Rachel and the five young men in their lives – Mick, Niall, Andy, Matt and Nick.  The final book, The Other Side of Morning, ends in 1991 when the next generation, Charlotte, Lucy and Cayte are the focus of the story.  Although the girls are 18 when the story begins, this is definitely not a YA read.





1967: When eighteen-year-old Ella Kendrick moves to the Somerset town of Abbotsbridge to live with her mother Melissa and stepfather Liam she is looking forward to getting to know someone who has been absent from her life for eleven years. Ella is intrigued by this glamorous, fashionable woman and hopes she holds the key to many unanswered questions about her childhood. However, living in the Carpenter household does not turn out to be the idyllic experience Mel has promised her daughter. Scheming and manipulative she has specific plans for Ella. Plans which do not include boyfriend Niall O’Farrell left behind in the village where she grew up with her grandparents, or the university place she hopes for.
After Ella loses Niall to her best friend and her career aspirations have been trimmed to a college course, ambitious Mel puts her main plan into action – finding her daughter a wealthy boyfriend. In doing this, she is looking for a marriage which will give her the right connections and help her own social advancement in the town.
But Mel’s plan stalls when on a cold January evening, local nightclub owner’s son Matt Benedict unexpectedly walks into Ella’s life.
Ella knows she will have a fight on her hands, but it is not just Mel she is up against. Matt’s mother Faye has her own reasons for parting them as does Andy Macayne, the rich, self-indulgent young man Mel hopes her daughter will eventually marry. The biggest obstacle to Ella’s happiness however is Matt himself, hopelessly in love with her but too afraid to reveal his true feelings.
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1968: Ella Kendrick has been looking forward to the return of Matt Benedict and his band the Attitude from their UK tour. Before he left he asked her to wait for him and Ella has taken this as an indication that although he has not actually said so, the quiet young songwriter is in love with her. She hopes to use their Christmas Eve reunion as an opportunity to declare her own feelings. Unfortunately, at the last minute, the band is asked to perform in Switzerland over the festive season, keeping Matt out of the country until the New Year.
Because of other commitments and the Attitude’s European tour, it is late Spring before the two eventually meet up. But hopes of finding love with Matt are shattered when he makes it clear friendship is all that he has to offer. The reason for this, she discovers later, is that he is planning to marry someone he has met in London, where he now lives.
Her dream finally over, Ella tries to put the hurt and disappointment behind her. She throws herself into finishing college and starting her business, unaware that behind the scenes her devious mother Mel now feels free to finalise her plans, pushing her towards a match with Andy Macayne, a wealthy, capricious young man with dark Mediterranean good looks.
A year later Ella believes she has it all – a handsome husband who loves her, a beautiful home and a thriving business. With all of this she finds it easy to forget the past and move on. But when “happy ever after” goes wrong and Ella returns to the village where she grew up looking for support from family and friends she has no idea her past is about to come back – with devastating consequences.
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1972: A year has gone by since Ella’s ill-fated encounter with Matt in Meridan Cross. Now back with Andy she hopes baby Lucy’s arrival will calm their troubled marriage. Everything appears to be going well until he learns that Nina Taylor – his ex-girlfriend and the original cause of their problems – is about to marry. Still obsessed with her, he sets in motion a chain of events destined to go much farther than merely disrupting her wedding.
1973: Matt Benedict, now living and working in New York, arrives to open Zefferellis, his father’s latest club and tour the UK with his new singing sensation Marcie Maguire. On the opening night Matt and Ella meet unexpectedly – a raw and painful encounter re-opening old wounds. But later that evening Ella meets someone from their past who reveals the truth behind Matt’s sudden disappearance that June morning two years ago.
Realising it is too late for them to ever go back to how they were, Ella still feels the need for them to part as friends. Her efforts to see Matt and settle their differences before he leaves are, however, frustrated by Marcie. In love with him herself and aware that the ghost of his and Ella’s love affair still haunts him she is determined to keep them apart.
As Marcie and Matt leave for Scotland and the start of her UK tour, Ella puts thoughts of him to the back of her mind and concentrates on confronting the power of the Macaynes and a battle she cannot afford to lose.
With the tour finally over, Matt returns home to dramatic news. Despite an ultimatum from Marcie that they return to New York immediately he knows he has to stay and find Ella.
For Mel everything has gone wrong; her schemes have failed and she has been abandoned by those she thought she could depend on. Mad with rage and blaming her daughter for all her problems she is about to take horrific revenge – unless Matt can reach Ella first.
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1989: The village of Meridan Cross is in mourning. Laura Kendrick, owner of Little Court Manor, is dead The family she leave behind find themselves not only trying to come to terms with their loss but also deal with their own individual problems.
Nick Kendrick is a bitter, resentful head teacher whose career ambitions have not been fulfilled and whose mental state is on a serious downward spiral. Jenny his patient and understanding wife has become a target for his frustrations. His daughter Charlotte, a bright and clever pupil at his school has also become a victim of his unpleasant mind games.
Ella, Nick’s sister, beautiful and successful, has a much-envied marriage to ex-rock star turned record producer, Matt Benedict. Matt is currently in Spain with partner Baz Young recording an album with Rosetti, their star act. Newspaper reports coming out of Marbella concerning Matt and one of his former protégés are giving Ella serious cause for concern.
Baz Young and the band’s front man Christian Rosetti are unhappy. They should be in New York but Matt suddenly switched the venue to Spain instead without any explanation. Could it be the fact that Marcie Maguire, a woman whose career Matt helped launch nearly twenty years ago is performing here. And if that is the reason, why?
When Ella and Jenny find themselves flying out to Spain to help an old acquaintance, they join Matt, Baz and the band in their luxury villa in the hills above Marbella. Reunited with Matt, Ella now hopes she will be able to scotch the rumours and show the world her relationship with her husband is rock solid. But when Jenny receives an urgent call to return home to sort out a serious domestic crisis involving Nick, Ella finds herself alone and facing a woman who not only appears to be very firmly in Matt’s life, but also hell bent on destroying their marriage.
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1991: Fashion designer Therese D’Alesandro has recently moved into Higher Padbury Manor with daughter Felica and stepson Marco. Joining forces with Ella Benedict’s exclusive functions venue Lawns at Little Court, she is about to open a bridal boutique.
Working in London where he manages his father’s European restaurant chain, Marco has both the looks and the charm to guarantee him any woman – any woman, that is, except the one he wants: Ella’s niece Charlotte. Marco knows he should walk away as she is already involved with rock star Christian Rosetti and is the most rude and argumentative female he has ever encountered, but Charlotte has sparked strong feelings within him; feelings which despite her attitude, he senses she is also experiencing.
Recently returned from abroad and working for her father’s record company, Lucy Benedict has discovered Christian’s guilty secrets – ones he has been keeping safely hidden from her cousin Charlotte. Determined to cause mischief and at the same time settle her own score with the arrogant star, she sets in motion a chain of events which sees Charlotte beginning a relationship with Marco.
Rossana Caravello, the D’Alesandro’s newly-arrived house guest, is due to inherit one of Italy’s premier vineyards on her eighteenth birthday. Aware they would make an excellent addition to her husband Gianlucca’s international business portfolio and eager to bring them into his possession, Therese sets about engineering a match between Rossana and Marco, determined nothing will stand in her way…including Charlotte.
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Posted in Writing





by Sue Watson
out on
14th October


Heart-warming and hilarious, a story that will make you laugh, cry and bring a smile to your face. Get ready for another deliciously amazing Christmas treat from Sue Watson….

As the Prosecco chills and Bing Crosby croons, Jen Barker just knows that her long-term boyfriend is about to propose. But instead of a diamond ring nestled in her champagne flute, Jen finds cold flat rejection. Her once perfect life and dreams of a husband and family seem even further from reach.

A working holiday to the Swiss Alps with her younger sister Jody might not be the Christmas Jen had it mind, but it offers her the chance to recharge her batteries and recover from heartbreak.

When Jen meets handsome ski instructor Jon Zutter her hopes for a happy-ever-after seem within her grasp again. Jon is kind and gorgeous and as they bond over Sachetorte at the picturesque Cake Café, Jen thinks he might just be her perfect man. But a relationship with him comes with a catch – and there are some things even cake can’t fix.

As the snow falls and Christmas approaches, could this be the place that restores Jen Barker’s faith in love?



The Christmas Proposal

It was Christmas Eve, the champagne was cold and sparkly, the tree was twinkling, and Bing Crosby was tinkling across the restaurant, filling the air with festive warmth and glitter. It was also the eve of my fortieth birthday, so it was extra special, and I was feeling particularly emotional looking at Tim across the table. The time was right. At last. He looked gorgeous. Not only was the candlelight warming his face, softening his big brown eyes, it was also rekindling our love. Despite the sparkle of the season I had to admit we’d been a little lacklustre on the love front recently.

‘This is just what we need,’ I sighed. ‘I know things haven’t been easy for us – you’ve been working so hard I’ve hardly seen you – but I’m glad we made this time for each other, Tim.’

‘Yes, I wanted us to spend tonight together,’ he said. ‘It’s been ten years now, and I think it’s time we talked about the future.’

A frisson of excitement bubbled up in my chest – though it may have been the champagne.

‘Yes, ten wonderful years,’ I said, smiling, gazing into his eyes and thinking of the good times. It had taken a while, and there’d been doubts along the way. It hadn’t been a bed of roses, and Tim had a tendency to put work before our relationship, coming home and burying his head in the computer, and often forgetting our anniversaries because he was so busy. But here, by the glittering light of candles, it seemed Tim was finally ready to put us first. He knew Christmas was my favourite time of year, and I’d often talked of a wedding in December, so perhaps we could organise it in time for next year? It was my childhood dream to be a winter bride, dressed in icy white, crystals and fur. I’d imagined being delivered to my soul mate by horse and carriage, cutting through a white landscape of snowy mountains and shimmering fir trees. And it looked like that dream was just about to come true, so I sat back and waited for the confetti to fall.

Tim lifted the champagne bottle from the ice bucket, tutting slightly at the drips on the table. I wiped them away with my napkin then folded it again, pushing the creases with my fingers, desperately trying to make it smooth.

‘The waitress should have brought a cloth,’ he sighed. ‘I wasn’t sure about buying this fizz anyway… it’s an inferior brand.’ He scrutinised the label then screwed up his face in that way he often did.

I smiled indulgently. How like Tim to want everything about the ‘surprise proposal’ to be perfect. We were quite alike really – both wanted a nice home, clean, tidy with a perfectly manicured lawn and a kitchen stuffed with high-end white goods. My friend Storm said we were in a rut, but as I pointed out to her, one girl’s rut was another girl’s life of domestic bliss. We both knew where we were and what the other was doing at any given time, nothing wrong with that – and we were both in bed by 9.30 p.m. every night, asleep by 9.35 p.m. I was happy; I felt safe with Tim. He wasn’t what you’d call spontaneous, but if spontaneity meant he’d run off with the first good-looking woman he saw, then give me predictable. Given our routine and the fact I knew him inside out, the proposal wasn’t going to be a surprise because I’d seen all the signs. There was mistletoe above the table, champagne in the ice bucket and deliberately vague references to it being time to ‘talk about our future’.

He’d also insisted I meet him at 6.30 p.m., which meant I had to miss taking part in the annual carol service at the hospital. My half-sister Jody was a nurse there, and I’d felt really torn about backing out – and Jody hadn’t helped with her emotional blackmail. ‘Don’t worry about the hospital charity, Jen. I mean if Tim wants an early dinner then sick patients will have to come second,’ she’d said sarcastically. For God’s sake, this was my Christmas proposal. It was everything I’d ever wanted and still she didn’t get it. I put Jody and her anger from my mind. It was my birthday tomorrow, and I was having a special Christmas Eve birthday dinner with my future husband. I looked round at the glittery lights, the mistletoe, the sparkling champagne and the man with twinkly blue eyes. I was a lucky girl.

As Tim lifted the bottle to pour our drinks, I discreetly checked the bottom of my glass flute to see if he’d popped the engagement ring in when I wasn’t looking. Tim wasn’t really a romantic – he always said grand gestures were just a desperate attempt for attention, or a cover-up for infidelity. I suppose that’s why he never bought me flowers and didn’t want to get engaged, until now. If I ever made vague suggestions about getting married (which I did, sometimes once a week) he’d always reject them quite strenuously: ‘Isn’t it enough that I come back to our shared home every evening?’ he’d say. But I knew if I waited long enough it would happen. And here we were, champagne on the table, Bing Crosby in the air – my moment had arrived.

‘So… to us,’ I said, raising my glass, looking into his eyes, offering him the moment. ‘And to love,’ I added, for good measure.

‘Whatever love is,’ he said in his best Prince Charles voice, which stung a little, but now wasn’t the time to compare our love to that of the doomed prince and princess, so I pushed forward.

‘I wonder what our future holds?’ I said, with a questioning but coquettish look, along with another rather blatant cue.

‘I don’t know.’

‘Oh.’ I put down my glass, still smiling. Was he teasing me? It wasn’t like Tim to tease – he was usually very serious.

‘I’ve been thinking a lot lately and tonight I want to share my thoughts with you,’ he started.

I shimmered with excitement and, taking another gulp, I waited as he took a sip of his champagne. Now would be good, I thought – this would be the perfect memory with the candles and the musical accompaniment. Bing was reaching a climax – a few more festive lyrics and he’d be gone, leaving only cutlery clatter and murmured conversations. The Christmas proposal had to have a backdrop of good Christmas music, and I was worried about what would be piped through next, because I didn’t want this moment drowned by a shrieking Mariah Carey wailing about what she wanted for Christmas. I felt like a film director, longing to shout ‘Action!’ so it would all fall into place here and now – everything perfect, even the timing. You had to grab these perfectly framed moments so you could hold on to them forever.

And then he spoke. ‘We’ve had ten good years together… and the thing is… tonight I wanted to say… thank you…’

‘You’re welcome.’

‘But… but I think we’ve reached the end of the road.’

And my Christmas world stood still. Baubles stopped sparkling, candles went out – and Bing Crosby left abruptly, taking his white Christmas with him.

This wasn’t in the script. Tim was now supposed to be on one knee placing the ring on my finger as the restaurant erupted around us in applause. My mouth was suddenly very dry, and I took a large gulp of champagne before asking, ‘What do you mean?’

‘I’m not happy.’

‘Happy? Not happy?’

‘No… I don’t want this life… with you.’

My throat closed up and I couldn’t speak, breathe or swallow – my whole world had crashed, taking my past and future with it. No sparkly ring in my glass, no flower-framed wedding photos of the two of us smiling, my bouquet thrown in the air, my life fused with his.

I looked into his cold eyes, a tiny cell in my body still hoping against hope this might be an elaborate joke. But Tim didn’t do jokes.

‘How long have you felt like this?’ I asked.


‘Years? YEARS?’

‘Yes… don’t shout, Jennifer.’ He looked over at the couple on the next table, giving them an embarrassed smile.

‘Oh I’m sorry, you’ve just thrown a bomb into my life, forgive me if I embarrass you by shouting,’ I snapped. ‘Tim, what the hell…?’

‘I’m sorry. I just haven’t felt… love… for you for a while now.’

This was a final stab to the heart. ‘But it’s Christmas… and it’s my birthday…’ I said, desperately searching for reasons for him not to do this, like it was illegal to dump someone at Christmas or on their birthday.

‘Why this… now?’ I asked, gesturing towards the champagne, the glittering candles, the perfect bloody setting for a perfect bloody proposal.

‘It’s your birthday. We always go out for your birthday. I wanted it to be pleasant…’

‘Pleasant? PLEASANT?’ I raised my voice again.

‘Ssshhh, you’re making a scene,’ he said, looking round furtively.

‘A scene? A SCENE? I yelled, aware I was simply repeating key words and saying them more loudly, but it was involuntary. ‘You dump me after ten years… my best years… We were on the cusp of marriage.’ He was shaking his head, but I wasn’t taking this on.

‘You’ve taken my youth, my fertile years – I wanted a baby, Tim.’

‘I’m sure you’ll meet someone…’ he started.

‘I WON’T. No one will want me. You’ve had the best years, the childbearing…’

‘Please stop shouting about fertility and childbearing in here.’ He was hissing, more concerned about how we looked to the rest of the diners than the fact my heart was splattered all over the table.

‘You’ve taken away my future, you bastard!’ I shouted this and in my rising fury picked up the bottle of champagne and hurled the rest of the contents at him. He yelped like a dog, and then the manager came over and asked if he could help.

‘Yes, kick him in the balls for me,’ I shouted, and grabbing my bag, I rushed out in a flurry of tears and heartbreak – just as Bing Crosby suggested we have ourselves a merry little Christmas.


About the Author

sue-watson-author-pic-400x400pxSue Watson was a journalist on women’s magazines and national newspapers before leaving it all behind for a career in TV. As a producer with the BBC she worked on garden makeovers, kitchen takeovers and daytime sofas – all the time making copious notes so that one day she might escape to the country and turn it all into a book.
After much deliberation and copious consumption of cake, Sue eventually left her life in TV to write. After a very successful debut novel, Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes Sue signed a three book deal with Bookouture.


Posted in Writing


Yes I know I’m in the middle of a blog tour but since the publication of Watercolours in the Rain I’ve had more time to actually  breathe.  And during those moments of my new and wonderful freedom from my writing routine, I thought it was about time I turned my attention to my Writer’s Journey blog.  So here I am, planning to jot down a few thoughts about this year’s warmer months.

The summer of 2016 has been one of the weirdest to say the least.  It spent most of its time between late May and early September trying to decide whether it wanted to join us. Unlike 1976 when the UK basked in temperatures of 33 degrees for months, standpipes were introduced, we were encouraged to take baths together (!) and I resorted to doing the ironing in my underwear, the summer 2016 has been a bit of a shy season.  It did eventually, albeit somewhat reluctantly, make an appearance, but rather too late to be of much benefit.

Our weather experiences began in February.  We’d taken ourselves off to Sidmouth for a few days to celebrate OH’s birthday with friends. February/March is never a time of year when you can predict the weather – although on a ‘way back when’ occasion in 2008 in Devon , we actually got to sit in the garden of our rented house and eat lunch.  This year, however, there were only three words to describe our experience – cold, damp and windy.  Looking back now this was obviously an omen of things to come, but at the time we shrugged it off. It’s early in the year, we said. It’s bound to get better.

We may have had the daffodils but the weather was generally yuk!

In March we took a trip up to London to visit Greenwich and the Maritime Museum. Once more cold wind and its best friend, rain, greeted us. However returning to the Capital in  April to see Kew (where we glimpsed David Attenborough filming) and Hampton Court Gardens (which were absolutely fabulous) we fared a little better with a few teasing glimpses of sunshine. That cold wind, however,  was still reluctant to leave.

Grey skies over Canary Wharf in March but more spring-like in Richmond in April

We always go away for my birthday in May and this year I wanted a return trip to Fowey in Cornwall. Anywhere with boats and water has always appealed as it’s so atmospheric and relaxing. We’d been there the year before and fallen in love with it all over again, remembering it had been a regular holiday destination in the late 1990s. The house we stayed in was gorgeous with a great view of the estuary. Unfortunately it became a case of breaking out the wet weather gear again – although we did have ONE WHOLE DAY of hot, sunny weather.  We were so pleased to see sunshine it actually fooled us into thinking we’d at last closed the door on the awful spring weather we’d been experiencing; that ahead there were warm, bright days to look forward to. But the next day the grey skies and sea mist were back once more.I guess the only saving grace during that week were the flowers, especially the rhododendrons – such a fabulous array of colours in contrast to those dull troubled skies.

A mix and match: Grey clouds, mist and sunshine but always the flowers

As June approached we felt by this time we really should be getting some sunshine…or maybe not.  We rented an apartment in Salcombe during the second week of June and I remember the morning of a planned trip to Dartmouth.  I drew the curtains to find sea mist  completely obscuring everything beyond the balcony outside.  It felt as if we were in an updated version of the 1980s film The Fog.  All that was missing was the ghostly pirate ship with its demonic crew waving cutlasses as it crept into Salcombe shrouded by the gloom of the estuary. However, like Fowey there was ONE whole day – Wednesday – when we walked down to South Beach. I remember glorious wall-to-wall sunshine and sitting outside the Salcombe Harbour hotel eating lunch and telling myself the weather really was on the change. Of course it was – back to grey and rainy the next day as you can see from the shot of Burgh Island below.


The changing moods of South Hams, Devon

During July we went north to Liverpool for a few days. It’s an amazing place and if anyone reading this hasn’t already made it there, it should be a definite addition to their list of British cities to visit.  I absolutely loved the place…and the people. On our first evening we found a restaurant which pulled in Monday night diners by offering a bottle of wine EACH when you ordered two or more courses. Needless to say this was far too much alcohol for even us to manage. As the restaurant didn’t allow the bottles to leave the premises, we added it to the wine collection of a large table of people celebrating a birthday.

All in all we had a wonderful stay, but, oh dear, the weather. There was an afternoon of sunny spells on the open top bus tour but other than that…wind and rain – same old, same old…so disappointing.

Liverpool: In sunshine and in shadow

Finally, our last break – September and one week in Desenzano on Lake Garda.  I have an on-going love affair with Garda (or anywhere Italian for that matter) and we’ve stayed on the lake several times.  As we got off the plane at Verona Airport, on went the shades. I thought yes! Sunshine at last!  It was a fabulous week, especially the meet we had with friends for a drink in Garda on a scorching hot day. However, on the final afternoon coming back on the ferry from a trip to Sirmione just across the bay…you’ve guessed it…an absolute deluge which saw us sheltering in a coffee shop watching the locals running for cover.

Sunshine in Garda, rain in Desenzano

So, here we are, in the last few months of 2016 and I’m wondering what 2017 is going to bring.  What’s in store weather-wise for next year? Shall we wheel out the reliable old seaweed to find out? Or maybe cling to those old country adages, such as red sky at night or rainbows in morning? Perhaps not.  As usual it’s all in the lap of the gods. But I’m hopeful that maybe, just maybe, the jet stream will decided to get its act together and settle somewhere that will bring us the sunshine and the summer we deserve…here’s hoping!

Posted in Writing


katefrostheadshotGood morning Kate and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Morning Jo and thank you. I’m a busy mum of one who squeezes in writing and publishing novels around looking after my wonderfully cheeky and energetic two year-old. Along with my son, husband and our cute Cavalier King Charles Spaniel we live in a Victorian terraced house in Bristol. I grew up in Bristol but spent three years away studying drama at university in Aberystwyth before ending up back in my home town. In 2004-05 I did my MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and then after years of getting close to snagging an agent and a publisher I took the decision in 2013 to self-publish The Butterfly Storm, the novel I wrote during my MA. I haven’t looked back.

When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer and how did you begin that journey?

I was seven years-old when I started writing and although I didn’t consciously know at that age that I wanted to be a writer, I did fall in love with writing and creating stories. I was lucky that following open-heart surgery for a hole-in-my-heart when I was seven (that bit wasn’t so lucky!), I had a fabulous home tutor during the subsequent months I spent off school recovering. The two things I vividly remember her teaching me about were dinosaurs and how to write stories, and I’ve been hooked on writing ever since.

Your first two books, The Butterfly Storm and Beneath the Apple Blossom were both successful adult novels. However, your latest book, Time Shifters into the Past is a children’s novel aimed at the-butterfly-storm-coverfinal300x4509 – 12 year olds. What made you decide on this change of direction?

To be honest it doesn’t really feel like a change of direction for me as I started writing Time Shifters: Into the Past way back in 2004, around the same time I started The Butterfly Storm. I was doing my MA in Creative Writing at the time and decided I’d get more out of the MA by writing a women’s fiction novel than one for children. It’s actually women’s fiction that I feel I’ve fallen into by mistake, and although I love it, I plan to write more action and adventure novels too.

Can you tell us something about your current WIP?

I have two on the go, both of which are sequels. I’m about two-thirds of the way through Time Shifters: A Long Way From Home which takes place just a few months after Into the Past ends. I’ve also started the second book of The Hopeful Years series which continues Connie’s story where it leaves off at the end of Beneath the Apple Blossom. It has the working title of The House of Stone and is set in Tanzania.

Are you a panster or a plotter? What works best for you?

I plot enough to know how the book will start, what the main theme is and who the main characters are and then pretty much take it from there. I often don’t know how a book is going to end and figure it out as the story evolves. Being mostly a panster mixed with a bit of a plotter seems to work fine for me.

If money was no object, where in the world would you choose for a special holiday?

Without a doubt I’d go to New Zealand and take at least four weeks to explore the North and South islands in a (luxury) camper van. It was one of the places we considered going to on our honeymoon but in the end we opted for a two-week beach and safari break in Tanzania and Zanzibar, which was amazing.

And lastly, if you were a castaway on a desert island, what four things couldn’t you live without?kf_tsitp_ebook_small

Oh, now that’s a difficult one! I guess a notebook and pen so I could keep myself entertained and sane writing stories to ward off the loneliness. Sun screen because otherwise I’d be as red as a lobster within an hour and I don’t imagine sun burn on a desert island would be much fun. Lastly I’d take a photo of my family as I’d miss them like crazy, although thinking about it I’d probably get more sleep on a desert island than I do at home with a toddler who wakes us up at 4.30 most mornings wanting to play…




Kate Frost wrote her first novel, a time-travel adventure called London’s Burning, when she was seven years-old during the months she spent at home recovering from open-heart surgery for a hole-in-her-heart. She grew up in the 80s when imagination ruled – no mobiles or PlayStation, and playing out in the street was the norm.
Kate studied BA Drama at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, followed a few years later by a MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University where she also taught Lifewriting to Creative Writing undergraduates. She’s had various jobs over the years including being a bookseller at Waterstones, a team manager at NHS Direct and a Supporting Artist in the films Vanity Fair, King Arthur and The Duchess, but her favourite job is the one she does now – being a mum and a writer.


btab_eb_cov_600-x-378Four women, linked by blood ties, friendship, betrayal, loss and hope, struggle with the choices they’ve made and the hand that life’s dealt them.

All Pippa’s ever wanted is marriage and kids, but at thirty-four and about to embark on IVF, her dream of having a family is far from certain. Her younger sister Georgie has the opposite problem, juggling her career, her lover, a young daughter and a husband who wants baby number two.

Pippa’s best friend Sienna has a successful career in the film world, and despite her boyfriend pressurising her to settle down, a baby is the last thing she wants. Happily married Connie shares the trauma of fertility treatment with Pippa, but underestimates the impact being unable to conceive will have on her and her marriage.

As their lives collide in a way they could never have predicted, will any of them get to see their hopes realised?

Purchase links:

Beneath the Apple Blossom:

The Butterfly Storm:

Time Shifters: Into the Past (preorder):