Posted in Writing





The Forgotten Family of Liverpool
Pam Howes

The fighting has finished – but are their troubles just beginning?

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It’s 1951 and rationing is finally coming to an end. But while Liverpool is recovering from the ferocity of war, a family is about to be torn apart…

Dora Rodgers is settling into a new life with her daughters Carol and Jackie, moving on from the betrayal of her husband. But then an unexpected knock at the door rips her family in two. Carol is taken away by a welfare officer to live with Dora’s estranged husband Joe.

Dora is determined to fight for her child, but she struggles to cope when a tragic accident leaves her mother in hospital, and shocking news from Joe breaks her heart once more.

With her family in pieces and her marriage over for good, will Dora ever manage to get her daughter Carol home where she belongs?

The Forgotten Family of Liverpool is a brave and tear-jerking story of one woman’s quest to protect her family. Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries, Annie Murray and Kitty Neale. Discover Pam’s Mersey Trilogy today.


Red dress profile pix 003Pam is a retired interior designer, mum to three daughters, grandma to seven assorted grandchildren and roadie to her musician partner.
The inspiration for Pam’s first novel came from her teenage years, working in a record store, and hanging around with musicians who frequented the business. The first novel evolved into a series about a fictional band The Raiders. She is a fan of sixties music and it’s this love that compelled her to begin writing.




I’ve been eagerly awaiting Pam Howes’ sequel to Lost Daughter of Liverpool.  Having really enjoyed the exciting start to the trilogy in February, I wondered what was in store for Dora, Joe and the totally awful Ivy.

It’s now 1951 and Dora is living with her two young daughters Carol and Jackie.  Despite wanting her back, Joe is learning that his one night stand with Ivy has cost him dearly.  But it’s not only being unable to cope with his infidelity that’s holding Dora back.  After the trauma of losing her baby, she can’t face getting pregnant again and won’t entertain having a hysterectomy.  It seems, therefore, things have reached a stalemate.  For his part, Joe has kept Ivy at a distance, accepting her friendship but nothing else.  Ivy, however, has other ideas.

Dora is a tough heroine. Times are hard and she hits a lot of bumps on her journey to keep her little family together. Joe is lovely but just a little naïve. There were moments when I wanted to take him by the shoulders and shake him. Why couldn’t he see what Ivy was doing? And Ivy, well she’s an absolute masterpiece. A complete bitch.  I absolutely hated her and am hoping when we reach book three she will get her comeuppance.

Pam has written a fabulous sequel which I simply couldn’t put down.  The only criticism I have is that I now have to wait for the third book in the series to see how the story ends.

I would like to thank NetGalley for an ARC of The Forgotten Family of Liverpool and say I loved every minute of it.

Many thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for inviting me to be part of Pam’s book tour.

Forgotten Family of Liverpool Blog Tour

Posted in Writing



B-Format Paperback Original

Book 6 in the Detective Kubu Series

ISBN: 978-1-910633-762-2

LAUNCHING 30 JULY 2017 – £8.99

The sixth mystery in the beloved and critically acclaimed Detective Kubu series. Kubu and his colleague Samantha Khama track a killer through the wilds of Botswana on their most dangerous case yet.


When the body of a Bushman is discovered near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the death is written off as an accident. But all is not as it seems. An autopsy reveals that, although he’s clearly very old, his internal organs are puzzlingly young. What’s more, an old bullet is lodged in one of his muscles… but where is the entry wound? When the body is stolen from the morgue and a local witch doctor is reported missing, Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu gets involved. But did the witch doctor take the body to use as part of a ritual? Or was it the American anthropologist who’d befriended the old Bushman? As Kubu and his brilliant young colleague, Detective Samantha Khama, follow the twisting trail through a confusion of rhino-horn smugglers, foreign gangsters and drugs manufacturers, the wider and more dangerous the case seems to grow. A fresh, new slice of ‘Sunshine Noir’, Dying to Live is a classic tale of greed, corruption and ruthless thuggery, set in one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, and featuring one of crime fiction’s most endearing and humane detectives.


Sometimes it’s great to step outside the box and read something completely different. Crime isn’t my usual choice,  but when the opportunity arose to be part of this tour, I jumped at it – and it has to be said, Dying to Live proved to be an amazing read.

The sixth in the Detective Kubu series, it is set in Botswana. When a bushman is found dead, the post-mortem sets his age at well over 100. So how is it possible his internal organs are those of a much younger man? As they search for his murderer Detective Kubu and his team find more questions than answers. Is there is a connection between the disappearance of local witch doctor Kgosi Ramala and American university researcher Christopher Collins? Were they both involved with the dead man, who reportedly had knowledge of an anti-ageing plant? And are there more sinister forces at work here?

The story deals not only with the investigation but also takes the reader into Detective Kubu’s private life and some dramatic family issues he has to deal with.  It was also a rare treat to glimpse Botswana’s culture and scenery which acted as a great backdrop to the work of this crime solving team. Right from the first page I was completely hooked and would thoroughly recommend.


Michael-Stanley-photo-300x201Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip.  Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business.  On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. It gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department.  It was a finalist for five awards, including the CWA Debut Dagger.  The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of a Mantis, won the Barry Award and was the finalist for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was finalist for an International Thriller Writers’ award, and book 5, A Death in the Family, was an international bestseller.

dying to live blog tour poster

Posted in Writing

Tuesday Talk is back and catching up with author Anna Mansell as she discusses dinner guests and what’s next on her writing agenda…

IMG_0979Good morning Anna and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Morning! Thanks for having me. So, what can I tell you? I’m a northerner living in Cornwall. My life is largely dictated by our rescue Greyhound, Olive Dog. And when she’s not demanding attention, it’s one of the kids. Apparently I have a husband too, the poor bloke rarely gets a look in. We live in a little house on a dairy and thank our lucky stars every single day!

How did your writing journey begin?

Well, it began with a story called the Owl at Home when I was about 6 and ¾’s. A book I still have. But in truth, whilst the Owl was a pretty strong character there was little story arc and the illustrations were not exactly Oliver Jeffers. So from then on, I didn’t write much. Or so I thought, it wasn’t until I moved to Cornwall that I realised I was shoehorning the opportunity to write in to my day job. Reports, strategies, editorial, copy… it was all an excuse to write! When we moved here, back in 2009, I started thinking about characters, stories, little ideas that I wanted to explore. I started many things, finished none of them, until I decided to do what, at the time, Mhairi McFarlane expressly advised aspiring authors NOT to do… I left my job to become a writer. That first morning, I dropped the kids off, I made a cup of tea, and I sat in my chair and I wrote. That first novel will obvs never see the light of day, but the second one – after some HEAVY rewriting and editing, will be my second novel out at the end of July. It took me four years of day in day out graft to get a deal. There was a lot of rejection. There were a few tears. And there was a lot of happy dancing in the frozen aisle at my local Asda when I finally got a contract offer!

Have you ever been tempted to change direction with your writing, say to YA or perhaps children’s books?

As it goes, I started out with children’s books. Several characters including Flame Red Ben, who might make an appearance one day, and a monster in the cupboard who made inexplicable sounds in the night…. Loosely based on my mother and my children and their fear of her health induced snoring. (Sorry Mum!) I soon realised that children’s books were not as easy as their word count would have you believe! I think for now, I’m settled into the books that I write, I’ve loads more stories yet. But who knows, in the future, I’d love to write a radio play one day…

Where do you get your inspiration for your characters from?

They just arrive, somehow. Often from a real-life situation that inspires a train of thought. My books tend to explore themes: grief, survival, self-acceptance, forgiveness, that sort of thing, so there is inspiration all around me. Only once has a character come totally out of the blue, fully formed. In my latest work in progress, there’s a man called James. He has appeared in every one of my novels for the last five years and it’s taken four books before I found his home!

Beach or city? Which location attracts you the most and have you any favourite destination?

If I have to choose from these two, it would be beach, but beach in the winter, when it’s empty! We have some of the most beautiful beaches all around us, and in the winter, we can walk with Olive Dog and stare out to sea. I like the feeling of peace and introspection you get from standing on the shoreline. Cities terrify me. Too many people. Too much noise. Too much… everything. I like little seaside towns, I like fields, I like to avoid the hustle and bustle.

Are you currently working on a new book? If so, can you tell us something about it?
I am! There is a very rough first draft that has lots of things like ‘write more here’ and ‘expand this bit’ in it, so I really need to get my head down and finish it but I confess, I’ve struggled to manage my time of late. By September, I shall focus on getting it finished. It’s a story about love. About the challenges of marriage. The truths behind what makes a successful marriage. It features two couples, one in their early nineties, and another in their late thirties. And James. James is in this one! 😉

And lastly, you are holding a dinner party and are planning to invite four famous guests (either living or dead). Who would you choose and why?

Thora Hird, because I adored her and I love Alan Bennett so she could talk to me about her work with him. Victoria Wood because… god, let me count the ways! She was magical and generous and just down right glorious… what a writer! The Dalai Llama for his wicked sense of humour and all round peace and love, and finally, Grayson Perry because I’m inspired by how his mind works, how he explores and unpicks society through his work, his writing, and lately, the TV he’s done. I think that’s a group that could inspire much fascinating conversation!



The Lost Wife cover

When Ellie Moran passes away, she leaves her newborn son and husband Ed behind her. Their marriage was perfect, their lives everything they had hoped for. So why was Ellie keeping secrets from Ed?

Knowing he can never ask his wife the truth, Ed is struggling to cope. When the secrets threaten to tear his whole family apart, Ed turns to Rachel, the one person who sees him as more than just Ellie’s widower.

But then Rachel discovers something Ellie was hiding, something that would break Ed’s heart. Can Rachel help Ed to find peace without the wife he lost – and a second chance at happiness?

Fans of Sheila O’Flanagan, Amanda Prowse and Kelly Rimmer will love The Lost Wife, the compelling story of a woman’s deepest secrets, and the friends and family who must learn to live without her.


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Read what everyone is saying about The Lost Wife:

‘A story written beautifully… Words are chosen with love and the story just flows seamlessly.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘This book just blew me away… An incredibly emotional read… Highly recommended.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘A lovely story of loss, love and trust… Oh goodness, it was heart-wrenching. This book made me laugh and a little tearful… Well-rounded and developed characters.’ Goodreads reviewer, 4 stars

‘An incredible, beautiful story of loss, love, forgiveness, moving on, overcoming grief, redemption and above all, hope.’ Renita D’Silva

Also by Anna…

How to Mend a Broken Heart

A compelling, heartbreaking tale that will make you laugh, cry and believe in the kindness of strangers. Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes, Lucy Dillon and Miranda Dickinson.

When Rhys is called to the hospital to meet Susan, a woman he barely knows, he is compelled to help her. Still grieving the loss of his brother months earlier, Rhys knows all too well the feeling of loneliness.

There are years between them, but Rhys is the only person Susan will respond to, and when she asks him to bring her her most treasured possession, a book of fairytales, he is intrigued.

Hidden in the book is a clue to Susan’s past, and the painful regrets she carries with her. And as Rhys starts to unearth Susan’s secrets, he finds that his own grief begins to heal too…

Together, Susan and Rhys must learn to live again. Can they help each other to find happiness and finally mend their broken hearts?

How to Mend a Broken Heart is a heart-wrenching and absorbing story about second chances, forgiveness, and making every second count.




Posted in Writing


Many writers have a signature, that is they are well known for writing particular types of  book. It may be romance, chick lit, psychological thrillers, YA or crime. Then there are those who have a geographical signature – setting their stories in a particular country.  In the UK it could be anywhere from Cornwall to the Scottish Highlands, Liverpool to London.

When I began writing I didn’t realise  I too would develop a signature.  It happened quite accidentally but when working out my plots it seemed my stories always worked well if the person causing all the trouble was female.  In fact, to date, I don’t think there has ever been a bad male character in any of my books.  The inspiration for this kind of woman probably stemmed from watching too many episodes of Dynasty in the 1980s.  Joan Collins as Alexis Carrington really cornered the market where bitchy, devious women were concerned and wore the role magnificently.

Alexis Carrington

My very first commercial novel When Tomorrow Comes saw the creation of Melissa Carpenter.   Mel as a young widow had abandoned her two children Ella and Nick and simply disappeared leaving them to be raised by her parents.  Returning years later as the wife of successful architect Liam Carpenter, she simply waltzes in as if nothing has happened.  She’s manipulative and cold blooded.  It’s all about her.  Glamorous and fashionable she spends a fortune on herself and cares very little for her husband other than his ability to bankroll her spending.  Within months she’s embarking on an affair with one of the wealthiest men in the area.  She also has plans for Ella, wanting to manipulate her daughter into marriage to her lover’s son – all in the name of her own social advancement.  Although Mel is thoroughly unpleasant things do catch up with her eventually and her life starts to unravel. She features in the first three books of the Little Court series and I gave her the sort of  ending she rightly deserved.

My second ‘bad girl’ was Marcie Maguire. She had featured in book three The Ghost of You and Me as a fledgling singer.  Unable to get the man she wanted, despite some devious manoeuvering, she headed back to her home in the States where she carved out a career which rivalled Streisand.  Now in Between Today and Yesterday she’s back and in the mood to cause trouble. By this time Ella is married to Matt Benedict, her long term boyfriend and the man Marcie has in her sights once more.  She almost wrecks their very solid marriage but once again, karma is waiting in the wings as her yacht leaves Puerto Banus.

And last but not least there was Therese D’Alessandro in the final Little Court Novel The Other Side of Morning. Ex-model turned dress designer, she was determined to manipulate her stepson Marco into a marriage of convenience even if that meant interfering in an absolutely awful way to break up his relationship with central female Charlotte.  She was the first of my ‘bad girls’ to escape karma.  I decided I ought to make her demise a little more realistic and less dramatic than the other two.

Moving on to my most recent books, Lily Stephenson was a great antagonist in my South Devon Duo.  In Summer Moved On she was a particularly spiteful creature, but in the sequel, Watercolours in the Rain, I decided to write the three main characters from first person POV and was able to get right under her skin. It was purely experimental but after sending a sample to my editor she suggested I continue.  I have to say I had a great time with Lily – someone with absolutely no moral compass. Despite her dreadful behaviour she too managed to avoid an unpleasant end.  Some readers thought it opened the door to another book which would feature her but for me the story had run its course.

My current WIP doesn’t really feature a main ‘love to hate’ female.  There is Evie Taylor, mother of one of the characters, who deliberately obstructs the course of justice and gets my hero Luke Carrack arrested for something he didn’t do. However, this book is more about love, family loyalties and secrets from the past.

So is this a new period of writing?  Have I ditched my signature and moved on? Well never say never. Currently I’ve almost finished the first draft of my WIP so any thoughts about future projects are on hold for the moment.



After a long-buried secret tears her family apart, Jess Hayden moves to the South Devon village of Lynbrook to live with her uncle.   Rufus owns the village pub, The Black Bull, and having visited before, Jess knows the villagers well…especially one of them.

Talún Hansen has a reputation, making him the kind of man no decent girl should get involved with.  Jess, however, has been under his spell from the moment they first met.  Although they always seem to bring out the worst in each other, there is no denying the attraction that simmers between them – an attraction Jess knows she needs to keep under control after repeated warnings from her uncle.

As she settles into village life she begins to learn more about this wild, dark-haired gypsy with the compelling eyes, and realises their lives hold many similarities.  Despite her uncle’s warnings, she begins to spend time with him.  For Jess, the coming summer holds passion; for Talún the hope that he has at last found someone who truly cares for him.

But as autumn approaches, a dark shadow from Jess’s past returns, bringing far-reaching and unwanted changes for both of them.

Buy Links for Summer Moved On:



JESS:  Six years ago Jess’s relationship with Talún Hansen was torn apart by one night of deception. He disappeared from Lynbrook village and she headed for university vowing never to let anyone break her heart again. Currently teaching in Oxford, Jess returns from holiday to an unexpected phone call and life changing news which eventually sees her returning home.

Talún: Six years on Talún Hawkeswood, as he is now known, is heir to his grandfather’s Norfolk farming empire. When he hears of trouble in the village due to Lynbrook Hall being put up for sale, going back is the last thing on his mind. But staying away is not an option either, not when someone he owes so much to is about to lose their home and their livelihood.

LILY: Splitting with her husband after her son Josh’s birth, Lily now works as part of an estate agency sales team.  She has always held onto her dream of finding a wealthy husband and a life of self-indulgence. When the sale of an important property brings her face to face with Talún, she realises despite the risks involved, the night they spent together six years ago could be the key to making those dreams come true.

As Jess, Talún and Lily return to Lynbrook and the truth about what happened that summer is gradually revealed, Talún finds himself in an impossible situation. Still in love with Jess he is tied into a trade off with Lily: his name and the lifestyle she craves in exchange for his son. And when a child is involved there is only one choice he can make…

Buy Links for Watercolours in the Rain:




Posted in Writing




Trespassing Through Life, by Kat Gabriel

Genre: Literary / Commercial Crossover


In the world of high stakes horse racing among wealthy patrons in the Middle East, Petra Friedland has a demanding and exciting career but feels her personal life is short-changed. Time is ticking away and Petra is haunted by failed relationships and the prospect of a bleak future.

A hot but complicated affair with a younger man awakens a long forgotten passion for life within Petra, compelling her to choose whether to risk the stability she has fought so hard to achieve in order to search for the happy equilibrium she yearns for.

She makes a plan but questions how far is she willing to go – balancing the emotional, material, and physical costs – to achieve happiness and fulfilment.

Will new adventures bring satisfaction or will the past catch up to destroy Petra’s efforts to build a new life?

Trespassing Through Life offers a glimpse into contrasting cultures, illustrated within the exotic and titillating world of equestrianism, thoroughbred racing, and international travel.


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The sun was warm and the sand was soft. Petra shifted her deck chair to the shade of the parasol. At the end of June the tourist season was picking up and every day the beaches became more crowded. Being used to the scorching heat and lukewarm waters of the Emirate, Petra had not yet acclimatized sufficiently to join the swimmers, preferring instead to keep cool in the shade. This is so pleasant, she thought. Just right in fact. Here, she did not have to think about whether her tops had long enough sleeves or if her shorts and skirts were too short. She could openly flirt with passers-by, there was always someone to talk to, and no one looked twice at a woman sitting alone at a table in a café, bar, beach, or restaurant. Yet again, Petra felt sure she had not been wrong about getting out; slightly mad perhaps as what other 50-year- old would do something like this? But she hung onto the thought that great love and great achievements involve great risk. Taking a sip of the ice-cold lime and soda Petra closed her eyes and thought back, not only to her days in the scorching Emirate, and what had triggered her to leave behind such a large and important part of her life.

On her penultimate morning in the Emirate she had slept late, taken a leisurely breakfast, and gone to the Nadi Dar Il Dukhan track. For the season’s final day of racing the Emirate had put its best foot forward. Racing had become big business and held tremendous entertainment value for citizens, expats, and visitors alike. People from all walks of life turned up for the day.

Of the seven races on the race card, Matilda, or Mattie as she was fondly called, was in four of them. Mattie’s yard enjoyed great success that day and at the ensuing party at the yard majlis, Petra spotted Elias arriving with Dr Franco, the race course resident veterinarian.

Elias! The adventure which had landed her on this Maltese beach had started one evening about two years ago.



I’ve lived as an ex-patriate since the age of 15 on four continents and in seven countries. By profession I am a journalist and an equestrian instructor. This is my first completed novel (of several planned) where I’ve put fictional characters, events and places to work illustrating the observations I’ve made regarding the fate, emotional dilemmas and life quandaries within multi-cultural international communities. In the past six years I’ve been in the employ of an Arab Royal family which has given me valuable experience and insight into Islamic culture. Because of the roles I adopt, I’ve decided to write under the name Kat Gabriel, which is an abbreviation of my real name (Katarina Gabriella Lauri).