Posted in Writing

Tuesday Talk catches up with author Jennifer Alderson to talk about her travels, writing and some interesting dinner guests…

jennifersalderson_authorphoto2Good morning Jennifer and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Thanks for having me, Jo! I’m a long-time expat, an American who’s been living in the Netherlands since 2004, and the author of two novels, Down and Out in Kathmandu: Adventures in Backpacking and The Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery.
In America I worked as a journalist and multimedia developer until massive burnout lead me to quit my job, buy a backpack and head off to Nepal as a volunteer English teacher for three months. As cliché as it might sound, this trip ended up being a life-changing experience.
After several years on the road, I moved to the Netherlands. I ended up here by pure chance. After a 24 hour layover in Rome turned into a two-month tour of Europe, I arrived in Amsterdam on Queen’s Day and immediately feel in love with the city, country, culture and people. Several months of paperwork later, I returned to Amsterdam to study art history and never left!
After completing degrees in art history and museum studies, I worked for several museums before the economy crashed and the cultural sector imploded.
While apply for jobs, I wrote my first novel as a way of keeping my mind occupied. Writing about my adventures in Nepal and Thailand also helped curtail my wanderlust! I finished it between contracts, but never pursued publication.
After my son was born, I had the luxury of staying home to raise him. Writing became a way to connect with ‘grownup’ life, and gave me an excuse to visit several museums and archives I’d always wanted to check out. The Lover’s Portrait was so well-received by everyone who read it, I decided to publish both of my books and see what happened. I’ve been absolutely blown away by the overwhelmingly positive reception so far!

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

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, though in my younger years I focused ondownoutkathmandu_571x913 poetry and short stories. One of my favorite childhood memories is of my father and me thinking up storylines together. During college I majored in journalism and worked as a columnist, investigative journalist and newspaper editor before life took me in other directions.

Have you a favorite place to write?

There are a few small cafes in Amsterdam I love to go to when I get the chance. I’m not sure if it’s the friendly personnel, beautiful views of the canals or great background music, but I always find it easy to write when I’m there.

Can you tell us something about your current WIP?

I have two upcoming releases I’d like to share.
In January I’ll be releasing a travelogue about my real journey to Nepal and Thailand, Notes of a Naive Traveler: Adventures in Nepal and Thailand. Since Down and Out in Kathmandu’s publication, I’ve been surprised by the number of readers who want to know which of the events described in my debut novel really took place. Very few, I’m afraid! Now everyone will have a chance to read about my actual journey and experiences gained while volunteer in, and traveling around Nepal and Thailand. I’ve also included several photos of places I’d visited, many of which were destroyed in the massive earthquake that rocked Nepal in 2015.
Last week I finished the first draft of my third fiction novel, an art-related mystery set in Amsterdam and Papua New Guinea about bispoles (religious objects akin to totem poles), American anthropologists, and Dutch missionaries. I’m planning on releasing it in the summer of 2017.

You’ve done a lot of travelling. Is there any one place which has been really memorable for you?

theloversportraitcover_571x913It’s true; I’m addicted to traveling and love learning about other countries and cultures. I’ve spent a total of seven years living out of a backpack while traveling through more than thirty lands.
Nepal was the first country I visited, aside from day trips to border towns in Canada and Mexico. It couldn’t have been more different than Seattle. The amazing people, cultures, and religions made it so memorable; Nepal will always have a special place in my heart. Simply thinking back on all of the wonderful people I met – their resilience, kindness, love of life and ability to be truly happy when they possess so little – is humbling and constantly reminds me to enjoy what I have.

And lastly, if you were able to invite four guests to dinner, who would they be and why?

Amelia Earhart is someone I’ve always admired because she dared to follow her dreams and live the life she wanted, despite society’s expectations of women at the time. I imagine it would be fascinating to talk with her about her journeys.
A guilty pleasure is watching a clips show called Ridiculousness. I’m a huge fan; it’s my favorite way of turning off my brain and completely relaxing before going to bed. The host, Rob Dydrek, is the kind of guy who’s met and partied with pretty much everybody; I bet he would have some great stories to tell.
Herman Koch, a Dutch comic and author of The Dinner (Het Diner), always comes across as an interesting, funny and well-read man in interviews. I expect it would be a stimulating conversation.
Alex Garland, author of The Beach, would also be high on my list. His debut novel blew my mind, and those of many of my generation. Thanks to books like his, I dared to write Down and Out in Kathmandu. I bet we could have fun swapping travel stories.











Posted in Writing

Book Promotion: The Beauty Shop by Suzy Henderson



Book Blurb: The Beauty Shop by Suzy Henderson

England, 1942. After three years of WWII, Britain is showing the scars. But in this darkest of days, three lives intertwine, changing their destinies and those of many more.

Dr Archibald McIndoe, a New Zealand plastic surgeon with unorthodox methods, is on a mission to treat and rehabilitate badly burned airmen – their bodies and souls. With the camaraderie and support of the Guinea Pig Club, his boys battle to overcome disfigurement, pain, and prejudice to learn to live again.

John ‘Mac’ Mackenzie of the US Air Force is aware of the odds. He has one chance in five of surviving the war. Flying bombing missions through hell and back, he’s fighting more than the Luftwaffe. Fear and doubt stalk him on the ground and in the air, and he’s torn between his duty and his conscience.

Shy, decent and sensible Stella Charlton’s future seems certain until war breaks out. As a new recruit to the WAAF, she meets an American pilot on New Year’s Eve. After just one dance, she falls head over heels for the handsome airman. But when he survives a crash, she realises her own battle has only just begun.

Based on a true story, “The Beauty Shop” is a moving tale of love, compassion, and determination against a backdrop of wartime tragedy. – see below for an excerpt

The universal link is:


The Beauty Shop by Suzy Henderson – an Excerpt

Target: Saint-Nazaire. November, 1942


What do ten men sound like when they’re burning? Nothing, unless you listen in on the group radio. That’s when you hear it, etched into their yells and cries. Terror.

Lieutenant John ‘Mac’ Mackenzie glanced at the B-17 Flying Fortress on his port side. That had been Bill’s slot a couple of weeks back, waving Mac a thumbs up from the co-pilot’s window. Seconds later, flames had leapt from the engines, danced across the wings, licked the cockpit and engulfed the fuselage. A whole Fort powdered. Their luck ran out when that Focke-Wulf sneaked in from out of the sun’s glare, rolled over and came in head-on, gun ports blinking silver flashes. Then, in an instant, a bright glow and a bloody wound opened as chunks of flaming, twisted metal and tears of flame fell through the sky along with men blown to bits, caught in the slipstream.

Bill had lost his cross and chain that morning before take-off. He’d always worn it when flying missions. Mac’s gloved fingers reached for the St. Christopher around his neck. There. He sucked in a deep breath, exhaling slowly into his mask. The muffled thunderous roar of the four Cyclone engines cut in, the background thrum of four propellers spinning, constant and reassuring. He glanced again at the B-17 on his left. A rookie crew had that slot today. He didn’t know their names. He didn’t want to.

They had taken off from Bassingbourn at dawn, soaring into a veil of cumulus. Mist draped across the Channel, but above the cloud at twenty thousand feet, the blood-orange sun peeked over the horizon, bleeding hues of amber into a cornflower sky. Sure is beautiful, Mac thought. As they approached the French coast at Longues-sur-Mer, the blue void gave way to brown-black puffs of smoke which hung in the air like shrouds. He pulled the oxygen mask off his face for a few seconds and embraced the rush of the cockpit’s icy chill over his nose and mouth. He wondered if he’d ever adjust to the stench of rubber as he wiped beads of sweat from his brow. The mission, their tenth, bombing the U-boat pens at Saint-Nazaire, was hotting up fast.

‘Looks like they’re throwing everything they’ve got at us today.’ Mac glanced at his co-pilot, Dennis Wilson.

‘Can’t see a darn thing down there. It’s all closed in,’ Wilson said as he gazed out of the side window.

A flash of red caught Mac’s eye and their B-17, the Texas Rose, shook as a hail of flak peppered the fuselage. That was just the warm-up. They’d get the full greeting soon enough. He wrestled with the control wheel as he struggled to stay in formation, keeping his eyes focused on the bomber in front. He rapidly sucked in oxygen, and his pulse pounded as the Texas Rose bobbed around like a sailboat on a rough sea, but he held her tight, maintaining their place in the formation. ‘Pilot to crew. Keep sharp out there and remember to check your masks for ice. Spit freezes.’ Anoxia was a silent killer and up here at twenty-seven thousand feet, oxygen was the crew’s lifeline.

As they neared Saint-Nazaire, the brown-black puffs sprung up once more. ‘Pilot to navigator. How long to the IP?’ Mac pictured William Stewart, hunched over his desk down in the nose behind the bombardier, plotting their course.

‘Navigator to pilot. Bomb run in five minutes.’

‘Bogey, nine o’clock!’ Bud, the waist gunner, yelled into the interphone.

The staccato sound of machine-gun fire from Tex, the flight engineer in the top turret, drilled through the cockpit. The flash of a black swastika flicked past their port side, and Mac’s stomach lurched as the Messerschmitt scythed through the group.

‘Tail, you got him?’ Bud’s voice, high with excitement.

‘I got him.’ Birdie’s smooth, laid-back tone.

More machine-gun fire arced across the sky and with a flash of yellow and silver-grey, the Messerschmitt peeled away swift as a minnow, diving through the formation. As they approached the target, a blend of hazy yellow, brown and black smoke stretched out across the sky. Anti-aircraft shells exploded all around, some of it mighty close with a glow of orange. Red flak.

‘Here comes the coffin run.’ Wilson’s tense voice as they reached the bomb run. He eased back on the throttles, and the engines slowed in response. ‘Flak bursts ahead, heavy.’

‘Yeah, it’s flak city all right.’ Mac gripped onto the control wheel. The rookie pilot on his port side drifted a little too close for comfort and was bobbing all over the place, probably riding through prop wash. ‘Get on the ball, rookie. You’ve got to stay in there.’ He gestured to the co-pilot peering back at him and got the thumbs up. Within a minute, the rookies had hauled their Fortress into line and Mac puffed out a breath.

‘Bombardier to pilot – bomb bay doors open,’ Danny drawled.


Posted in Writing


author-pic-1Welcome Lynette. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself and your writing career to date?

Hi Jo, thanks for inviting me to your blog. I’ve been a writer from as far back as I can remember—I’d either be busy scribbling down a story or plotting one in my head. Then when I got to the age of fourteen, one of my English teachers at school started reading my stories out to the class. I suppose I must have shown some talent back then but took it all for granted.
At the age of forty, I decided to take my writing seriously and joined a creative writing group at a local library. I began to send off short stories and non-fiction articles to magazines and websites, achieving a little success. I remember one day receiving a copy of an Australian magazine [with a cheque] in the post for my first published article. It came out of the blue more than eighteen months after I’d submitted it to them. It was a great thrill to see my work in print and for payment too!
I carried on doing this alongside my job as a counsellor. Then I wrote my first novel and thought it might be a good idea to donate the royalties to the cancer charity I worked for at the time. I thought I’d do it quietly, maybe without fuss, but the charity had other ideas and I ended up having my first book launch at a local castle, coincidentally, the castle which was my old school. The launch itself was held in a room which was just yards away from where my English teacher had read out my stories to the class all those years ago! It was a phenomenal day. The mayor and press were in attendance along with family, friends and charity members. All books sold out, there wasn’t even one left for the mayor! We had to order more.
Nowadays, I write practically full-time apart from the occasions when I babysit my grandchildren. Although I’ve made some money from book sales over the years, it wasn’t until this month, November 2016, sales really took off for one of my books. I don’t know why or how it happened, but I’m thrilled nevertheless! That book, The Workhouse Waif, which is a Victorian Historical Romance, moved up the Amazon Kindle chart very quickly and became an Amazon bestseller. While I was writing that book, I thought maybe I should pack it all in as although I have dedicated fans of my books, they only sold in small quantities, maybe a few at most a day. I thought I’d make it my last book and concentrate on other things. But then following publication, sales rocketed and it’s been in and out of the top 3 for Victorian Historical Romance ever since! So it goes to show that maybe the time we’re about to give up something or other as we feel we’re not getting anywhere, is the very time we SHOULD carry on!

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

I don’t remember actually deciding to write but I do recall even as a child writing my own stories. I was an avid Enid Blyton fan and used to make my own little books. I have a memory of penning a story for a children’s writing competition. My grandfather typed it up using one finger on my brother’s toy typewriter and posted it off for me. It didn’t win anything but maybe it gave me the ‘writing for submission’ bug!


You are an author of both historical and contemporary fiction. Which do you enjoy writing the most?

I also write crime fiction under the name ‘Lyn Harman’. I enjoy whatever I’m writing at the time, it almost as if I have some sort of split personality when I write in different genres. I think though if I could only write in one genre, it would be historical fiction as I enjoy the research almost as much as actually writing the novel itself. I’m passionate about local and family history.

Are there any authors who inspire you?

Yes. Apart from mentioning Enid Blyton earlier, there are lots. At the moment, I’m inspired by Mary Wood and Dilly Court. Mary, because I know her online and she’s generous and helpful to other authors. She’s had an amazing writing journey herself and is a wonderful writer. Dilly Court, because she writes the sort of stories I’d love to write myself. Can you imagine the thrill I’ve had lately to have my book in the charts side-by-side with some of Dilly Courts! I had to pinch myself as I never thought in a million years that would happen. Jackie Collins has also been a huge inspiration to me. Though the first adult book I remember reading was, ‘Girl With Green Eyes’ by Edna O’Brien, and that story wowed me!

Can you tell us something about your latest WIP?

Yes, it’s a follow up to ‘Murder by Midnight’, a crime fiction novel set in my hometown of Merthyr Tydfil. It’s called, ‘What Lies Ahead’. A serial killer story with a twist. This time, it’s the work of two people, one, who is the leading force behind the murders, the other is an accomplice. There’s also a link with a secret organisation called, ‘The Inner Sanctum’ in this story which several characters are involved with, which complicates the police investigation. Ruth Carter, who was the female detective in the first book, features in this one too with her partner, Vince. Vince is middle-aged and very ‘old school’ when it comes to policing, he can be quite brusque with people but Ruth knows he has a softer side to him, particularly when it comes to her. A young nurse disappears and it’s a race against time for the duo to track down her whereabouts before she’s killed. The abductor begins to taunt the police with messages he places in the personal ads of a local newspaper.

And lastly, if you were able to invite four guests to dinner, who would they be and why?

If I’m allowed to invite people who are no longer with us, I’d choose Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, Roald Dahl and Jackie Collins. The reason I’d invite them is because I’d love to ask how they wrote such great stories that entertained so many people. Jackie, in particular, has been an idol of mine for years. I also think she’d be great company as she’d feed me all the Hollywood gossip as we chatted over a few glasses of champagne and she’d shock the other three with her Glamour Wood Tales!


Facebook author page:




Eleven-year-old, Megan Hopkins, is an inmate at Merthyr Tydfil Union Workhouse.

Megan’s family has fallen on hard times. Her hardworking collier father was killed in a mining accident at Castle Pit Troedyrhiw, and her mother has six mouths to feed, besides her own, so they all find themselves interned at the local workhouse.

One day, Megan has been asked by the matron to fetch some shopping as there’s a Board of Guardians meeting that afternoon, she is skipping past the Temperance Hall holding a wicker basket in her hand, when she’s stopped in her tracks by the most melodious voice she has ever heard in her life. It’s the voice of an angel, called, Kathleen O’Hara.

Megan doesn’t realise it, but their paths are about to cross and maybe a little magic is about to occur…

BUY LINKS: The Workhouse Waif:

Posted in Writing

Tuesday Talk catches up with Helen Leuschel about her writing journey and desert island ‘must haves’…

photo-helene-2Good morning Helene and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Good morning and thank you for having me on your blog this week.
I was born in Brussels of German parents and grew up with two brothers and a twin sister. It was fun being exposed to many different languages and cultures from an early age because I now appreciate the fact that it is a great way to step outside the idea of a common national identity and its many restrictions. Brussels is a fascinating example for a multi-cultural society that at its base has three official languages and yet is such a small place compared to its neighbouring bigger nations.
After finishing University in Brussels, I worked and lived in London and later also in Edinburgh. I was lucky that my job as a reporter and producer allowed me to travel extensively worldwide … until I met the love of my life and thought it was time to settle down. We moved to Belgium for a few years, then decided to take our two children to live in Southern Portugal where life is so much simpler, healthier and laid back than in a big city. I learnt Portuguese and when both children started attending school, I found more time again to write, pick up the study of philosophy and eventually created my first work of fiction. I’ve loved the written word ever since I started reading as a child, devouring Enid Blyton’s books, writing poems, stories and filling many notebooks and diaries.

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

As I already mentioned briefly, I have always enjoyed writing as a child, carrying a notebook or a diary around with me so that I could jot ideas and thoughts down. As a teenager, I contributed to the school’s monthly journal and loved creative writing in my spare time. By the time I reached the end of school, I decided that I was either going to study journalism or philosophy because both would involve writing as well as reading a lot. I opted for the journalism degree which I very much enjoyed and led me into writing features for magazines, then radio reporting and further television production.
I was in my early forties, when my children were both in school and I had more time again to think about what to do with myself next. I always had a passion for philosophy and after some research found out about the MA in Philosophy course at the OU. Their distance learning programme was my best option and it was indeed a wonderful journey. It sparked my keen interest for psychology through research in the philosophy of mind and more specifically the human capacity for empathy.
Personal tragic circumstances (a close relative has been the victim of psychological abuse for almost two decades) and the completion of a couple of creative writing courses with the OU and Oxford University have eventually made me pick up a pen and transfer my ideas into the writing of my first anthology of novellas.
Manipulators are everywhere and to some extent we all do use manipulative tools to reach our goals. It is a survival skill but one that if present in a narcissistic and perverted individual who lacks the capacity for empathy is dangerous for all those who get in contact with them. I found that once I’d started writing, I couldn’t stop.

What inspired you to write your debut novel, Manipulated Lives?

When I found out what a deceptive and narcissistic manipulator had done to someone I lives-high-resolutionlove, behind closed doors, I was determined to somehow make her voice heard. There are many excellent self-help books on the market giving advice on how to deal with controlling and manipulative individuals but I felt most comfortable taking the idea into fictional territory. By opening up to people about this topic during the initial stages of plotting my ideas, I was stunned to hear that everyone had a story of their own. This was the reason why I decided to explore the impact of psychological manipulation on people of different ages and backgrounds. The five novellas can be read separately yet each aims to take the reader to question the fact that as an outsider, nothing is ever what it seems at first sight and that toxic manipulation happens in a wide variety of human interactions.

Can you tell us something about your current WIP?

I am currently writing my second book – a novel this time. One of the main underlying themes running through the story is what impact your childhood experiences can have on your behaviour and how lasting memories can shape your personality and outlook on life.

Describe your writing room. Do you prefer to write in silence or with background music? If the latter, have you any favourites?

I write anywhere and at any time …but a favourite is sitting at my laptop at home in our lounge because every time I look up, I have a splendid view of the Atlantic Ocean.
If I was to let in any background music, it would be songs by Norah Jones. She adds a soothing atmosphere to any situation and always helps me drift into another world.

And lastly, if you were preparing to spend a year on a desert island, what four ‘must haves’ would you take with you and why?

If the practicalities allowed it, I’d take my close family, Diane Meur’s ‘Les Vivants et les Ombres’, a thick notebook and a pen. The first is because my husband and two children make my heart tick and are the reason I get up in the morning, the second because it’s over 700 pages and is a book I could read again and again. Lastly a notebook and pen so that I can continue writing.

Helene’s Social Media Links:



Helene Andrea Leuschel was born and raised in Belgium to German parents.  She gained a Licentiate in Journalism, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. Helene moved to the Algarve in 2009 with her husband and two children, working as a freelance TV producer and teaching yoga.  She recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. Manipulated Lives is Helene’s first work of fiction.

Manipulated Lives – Amazon Book Purchase Link

Posted in Writing


img_0031Good morning Susan and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself.

Hi Jo, and thank you for inviting me to your blog. I love to read and write (of course) swim, dance and patronize beachside restaurants. I also like to paint when I can find the time. I live in Canada for half the year and Mexico for the other half. In both places I live close to water.

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

Hmmm. If I ever made a conscious decision to write professionally it must have been when I wrote my first book at the age of 17. I need hardly add it was pretty awful. Almost 20 years later I got it right and was offered a publishing contract.

How do you undertake research for your novels?

The Internet is the writer’s best friend. I order books, either paper or electronic, for the facts and then I go to the Internet for other information such as locales, fashion, lesser characters, anything that might be relevant.

You currently write historical fiction. Is there any other genre that appeals to you as a writer?

A simple answer here – No.

Can you tell us something about your current WIP?

Presently I am writing about Isabella of France, the wife of Edward II of England. She is one of the queens who has been maligned throughout the centuries, probably because she did the unthinkable by being instrumental in the deposition of her husband and ruling herself. I hope to present a more sympathetic portrait of her while remaining true to the historical record and without whitewashing her.

Are you a beach or city girl? Name your favourite holiday destination.

As you might have guessed from my answer above, I am a beach girl. I love being on, in or beside water and I particularly like frolicking in the sea. My favourite destination is Mexico where we are about 2 blocks from the beach.

And lastly, if you were able to invite four celebrities to dinner who would they be and why?
Stephen Hawking for his mind. Aidan Turner for his drop-dead-gorgeous looks. Sharon Kay Penman for the book talk. Jamie Oliver to do the cooking.


Author page Amazon U.S

Amazon U.K.
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Twitter account:


Posted in Writing

Tuesday Talk welcomes Teacher and Sci-Fi author Pamela Schloesser Canepa , chatting about her writing and her desert island choices…

pam1sept-16-85450895f163Good morning Pam and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

I am in my forties, mother to an awesome young man. As of this year, I’ve had two sci-fi novellas published on Amazon Kindle, and another, shorter novelette. I also teach English to middle-schoolers, and I love my dog.

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

I started writing as a kid, making up stories when we went on road trips. I wrote poetry as a teen, keeping it to myself. Then, I entered a poetry contest and they published it in a book. We had to buy the book, though. I’ve really taken it up again since my son has grown out of his teens and my time is my own.

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

Stephen King, Phillip K. Dick, James Patterson, Laurie Notaro, Carl Hiaasen, Dean Koontz, 51ojonmt6fl-jpbedlamtoben4starsand Joyce Carol Oates. I am sure they have inspired my writing, especially James Patterson. I love the way he can write through a woman’s or a man’s perspective. I love how Stephen King makes his main characters realistic, but can’t attribute any of my traits to his writing.

Have you a favourite place to write?

My room is quiet and private, but the living room couch is comfy if I’m using pen and paper.

What’s your ‘average’ day – if there is one!

My days rotate. On certain days I go to work, get home, make dinner, and get myself off to yoga class. Other days, I get home from work and attend church meetings or fellowship dinner. And there are the nights that a story is stirring in my mind and I have to get on the computer right after dinner.

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

pamelascanepa_coverI am in the editing process, getting help from a few others on a time travel novel. I plan to work on a sci-fi novel during NANOWRIMO, but I can’t give the details away yet.

And lastly, if you had to spend a year on a desert island, what four ‘must haves would you take with you?

A 1,000 page Stephen King book, a pen and fat notebook, madeformeamazon14355063_1792595520983377_1452181044562190654_nand I don’t know what else. It’s hard to narrow it down in a serious matter. Maybe a soccer ball like Tom Hanks had in that one movie? Gotta talk to something, right? Well, if it could be living, it would be my dog. He’s quiet, but very good company. I think we’d look out for each other. Can you tell I love my dog?


Made for Me, sci-fi romance:
Seeing Through Sampson’s Eyes, sci-fi coming of age:
From Bedlam to Ben, sci-fi, young adult:


Social media links:
and Goodreads:
Amazon author site:

Posted in Writing





Local journalist Cassie is getting married to hot-shot lawyer, reliable Timothy, and his mother Sylvia, who Cassie has nicknamed ‘Monster-in-Law’, wants to plan the entire wedding. When Sylvia books the exclusive ID Images to take photographs of the extravagant do, Cassie has no idea what she’s walking into.

The elusive JM, ID Images’ newest photographer, just so happens to be Jared, Cassie’s first love and ex-fiancé, who broke off their engagement to travel and take photos of far-reaching wonders. He’s back to pay for his next wild adventure.

Cassie decides it’s best to pretend not to know him, but when she’s asked to write an article for her newspaper, she’s tasked with a column surrounding all things wedding related. When Cassie jokingly writes a column meant for herself depicting her situation, a co-worker submits it in place of the real article and it’s soon making headlines, with readers asking the age old question – Who Will She Choose?


‘I do?….or do I’ by Karen King


Jared must have seen the panic in her eyes because he quickly composed himself and shook Sylvia’s hand. ‘Delighted to meet you. And this must be the bride-to-be.’ He smiled at Cassie as if he’d never met her before. Never held her in his arms, kissed her, made love to her, promised that he’d love her forever and then walked out on her.
She’d often imagined seeing Jared again, wondered how she’d react. Now it all came flooding back and all she could do was remember how utterly devastated she’d felt when he’d walked out on her.
Get a grip, Cassie told herself. That was years ago. You’re over it now. You’re marrying Timothy. Jared is history.
She was suddenly aware that Jared was holding out his hand to her and Sylvia was watching her curiously. She forced a smile on her face and shook his hand, desperately hoping she showed no sign that his touch still made her tingle.
‘Miss Tyler,’ he said smoothly.
‘Call me Cassie,’ she told him. ‘Sorry I kept you waiting.’
‘Not a problem.’
How she wished she’d arrived on time. Jared used to tease her about being late. He probably thought she was still as ditzy as she was back then. If only she’d put on one of her power suits instead of a maxi dress, then she would have looked sophisticated and professional. Like she’d changed; which she had.
Oh God, she was still holding his hand. What must Sylvia think? She quickly removed her hand, tore her gaze from those big brown eyes, and tried to act as if her body wasn’t zinging at his touch. Just like it always had.
‘Take a seat, ladies, and tell me exactly what sort of photographs you’re looking for.’ He glanced down at his notes. ‘I see that the wedding is only two months away.’
‘Yes, we decided against a long engagement,’ Sylvia replied as if she was the bride. She sat down in one of the plush dark brown chairs and indicated for Cassie to take the other seat. ‘Timothy and Cassandra got engaged on Valentine’s Day and we thought a summer wedding would be lovely. Especially when we managed to secure Hollington Castle,’ she paused to make sure this announcement had the desired effect.
Jared nodded, looking suitably impressed, and Sylvia continued, ‘I know it’s short notice but Daniel assured me you’d be able to fit us in.’ She was letting him know that she was on first name terms with the director of the company.
Jared nodded again. ‘We’ve had a cancellation for that date, so yes, we can accommodate you both.’ His gaze flicked to Cassie then back to Sylvia. ‘Would you like a cup of coffee while we discuss the arrangements?’
‘Thank you. Black with no sugar, please.’
Jared raised an eyebrow questioningly at Cassie. ‘And for you, Cassie?’
‘Black with no sugar for me too, please,’ she replied. That would surprise him. She always used to have white coffee with two sugars. The Cassie he used to know had a sweet tooth. At least that was one thing that had changed. Except it hadn’t, really, she was only drinking black coffee to make sure she could get into her wedding dress. Well, to be honest she was drinking black coffee in front of Timothy and his mother because they would frown and remind her about needing to get into the wedding dress. When they weren’t around she still took her coffee with milk and sugar. She thought longingly of the iced mocha she’d be enjoying with Sam later.
Jared pressed the intercom and asked the receptionist to bring in the coffees, then he leant forward, linked his hands under his chin, and gave Cassie the benefit of his full attention. Devastating. She quickly averted her gaze. ‘Now, tell me about the wedding,’ he said. ‘It’s important that I get a feel of the atmosphere you’re trying to create so I know what tone to set with the photos. We aim to be professional but not intrusive. And please don’t hesitate to ask any questions you might have. We want our clients to be completely happy and relaxed on their special day. We won’t take offence at all if you decide that we aren’t the right photographers for you.’
You’re not! Cassie’s mind was screaming. You’re the very last person I want as my photographer. Ever. For a moment she feared she’d uttered the words aloud, but Sylvia was now talking to Jared, so clearly it was all in her head

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kk-head-and-shouldersA member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists, Karen King writes sassy, contemporary romance just right for reading on the beach. ‘I do – or do I?’ is her first chick-lit for Accent Press and has recently been nominated for the RONA. She has been contracted for two more chick-lit novels. In addition, Accent Press have republished her earlier romance novels, The Millionaire Plan and Never Say Forever.
Karen has also written several short stories for women’s magazine and had 120 children’s books published.
When she isn’t writing, Karen likes travelling, watching the ‘soaps’ and reading. Give her a good book and a box of chocolates and she thinks she’s in Heaven.

Author links

Twitter: @karen_king
Karen King Romance Author Facebook Page
Karen King Children’s Books Facebook Page


The Millionaire Plan and Never Say Forever, Karen’s backlist romance books, previously published under the name of Kay Harborne, have been republished by Accent Press.

The Millionaire Plan

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-fiancé 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?

Buy Links: Amazon

Never Say Forever

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?

Buy Links: Amazon



Posted in Writing


img_20160725_155748Good morning Mel and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Interesting question because my first response is to define myself by what I have (five cats, a husband and a small boy) or where I live (West Cornwall)
I’m 44, I love Jacobean revenge tragedy, I’m a partially trained archivist and I used to read tarot cards for a living.
I’m presently between hair colours, I like bees – medieval symbol for bravery – and I’m old enough to remember the Sisters of Mercy the first time round….

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

I think I always was one, even before I was able to do the writing bit. I remember making up little playlets with my best friend, hours of fun making paper scenery.

The actual writing part – I wrote at school, and until I was about seventeen, and then I sort of stopped, I started expressing my creativity in other ways. (I was a dressmaker and a goth – well, I still am, actually, but when you’re 17 you have some very grandiose ideas about bustles and cleavage.) And quite a lot later on, when I was in my twenties, I moved next door to a ruined manor house, and I started thinking about writing again.
A friend and I were talking about doing bigger and better things (interestingly, Snow Patrol’s “Run” is on the radio as I speak, which was pretty much the theme song for the year I ran away. Light up, light up, as if you have a choice…) and we pretty much got told no. No you can’t be different. Be quiet. Be still. Be like us. He wanted to run a coffee shop, and I wanted to start a small-press magazine- but we weren’t supposed to do that, it wasn’t in the script.
I’m not good at being told that – you’ll never amount to anything, who do you think you are, know your place. So I moved to Cornwall, three cats and a transit van and I forgot to bring a coat, and I’ve been writing like a thing possessed ever since.

You write about seventeenth century England and the Civil War. How did you become interested in this particular period of history?

It all began with a copy of Jean Hunnisett’s “Costumes For Stage and Screen”… so I made this extraordinary cantilevered 1660s frock to go clubbing in. And then I moved next door to the manor house, which was just that, a ruin, and then I started getting interested in the local history around it, and it was a slippery slope from there.
It actually makes me very sad and – yeah, it makes me angry, too, because I’m sad like that – how much misinformation and sheer ignorance there is about the period.
So much passion and honour and principle and fire on both sides, dumbed down to the popular level of libertine flouncy poets versus dull, dour devouts…

Are you involved with any of the re-enactment groups?

Wardour Garrison, and Sir Nicholas Devereux’s Regiment of the Roundhead Association. Me, I concentrate on the living history, civilian end of things: extreme embroidery, for the most part.

Can you tell us something about your current WIP?

There are actually three!
One’s a non-fiction book, a biography of John Arundell of Trerice in Cornwall. Very minor character, very niche interest historically, but he was the man who held Pendennis Castle for the King: the last castle in England to hold out for the Royalist cause. And he was 70 years old at the time: 70 years old, written off by most of his peers as old and past it, and the rest of the country had pretty much surrendered…and Arundell held out for six months at Pendennis against pretty much everything the Army of Parliament could throw at him. I think it’s a wonderful human interest story, as well as historically interesting.
And then there’s the second Russell book, An Abiding Fire, which is the usual Russell shenanigans: a disfigured middle-aged ex-intelligencer and his much younger wife at the Restoration, investigating all kinds of things that on the whole he would rather not be dragged into…. This one’s a lot of fun. Hunting down Aphra Behn’s missing fiancé in Bruges, with Thomazine six months pregnant and her husband sulking mightily about having to get involved in intelligence work again after his retirement…I can’t say any more than that without giving the plot away, except that Aphra’s man is not quite what he seems – but then again, neither is Aphra.
And the sixth Uncivil Wars book is out next spring. “Babylon’s Downfall” – Marston Moor, 1644. Possibly the best thing I’ve ever written, and easily the most brutal. I’ve had to kill some of my darlings, and that was really hard. I cried a lot, writing that.

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

Bruges – in the name of research, you understand.
The money being no object bit would come into it in pursuit of lace and chocolate!

And lastly, if you were able to invite four celebrities to dinner, who would they be and why?

Tough one!
Lots of celebrities I admire, but I’m not sure I’d want to talk to!
Dita von Teese, just to look at, I think – to see how much of that porcelain loveliness is a fierce construct.
Julian Sands, to persuade him that he really, really does want to play Thankful Russell in the Hollywood version of the Russell books. (Which there isn’t. But there should be.) After all, can you imagine anyone better to play a weirdly-sexy, disfigured, oddly-wired-up, Puritan intelligencer with PTSD?
And Christopher Eccleston, who’s always been my Hollie Babbitt of choice, to talk about revenge tragedy and Hamlet and being Northern.
S J Haxton, Patricia Finney or Francine Howarth, depending on who was available, to hold up the literary end of the table…


51our1gzmsl-_sy346_Summer 1642

As the simmering feud between Charles I and his Parliament erupts into war, Captain Hollie Babbitt sets foot on English soil for the first time in twenty years…
An erratically-brilliant mercenary career in Europe lost him everything, and now he fights because it’s the only thing he still knows how to do – and in the hope of one day finding peace on the point of another man’s sword.
He needs an idealistic young subaltern who wants to save the world, and a cobbled-together troop of every rebel and horse thief the Army of Parliament doesn’t have a use for, slightly less than he wants a hole in the head.
But as England plunges into the chaos of a war without an enemy, he finds himself cast as unwilling hero to a company of men as damaged and rebellious as he is himself.
And as battle rages around him, Hollie must face and defeat his oldest enemy – his own past.

Red Horse: 1642 has just been re-released through Rosemary Tree Press (today, actually!)


Writer, mad cake lady, re-enactor, historian.
Been slightly potty about the clankier side of Ironside for around 20 years, and lists amongst my heroes in this unworthy world Sir Thomas Fairfax, Elizabeth Cromwell and John Webster (for his sense of humour.)

When not purveying historically-accurate cake to various re-enactment groups across the country, M.J. Logue can usually be discovered practising in her garden with a cavalry backsword.



Twitter: @hollie_babbitt


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