Posted in Writing

My Ten (actually 12) Favourite Books of 2017…

Recently I’ve seen a few of my blogging contemporaries post lists of their favourite books of 2017. So this year I thought as I hit my target of 60 book on Goodreads I would compile my own list.   These choices are not set out in any particular order, I loved them all.


Pam Howes Mersey Trilogy 

Three books – one choice – they were so good I had to have them all! Oh and tissues definitely required!


Vill Rosso med

Linn B Halton Secrets of the Villa Rosso – a beautifully written bitter-sweet story


The Sewing Machine

The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie – a great debut novel and oh! that cover


girl in the castle

 Girl in the Castle by Lizzie Lamb – Lizzie always delivers great romances and the hottest of heroes


white lies

White Lies by Ellie Holmes –  A well woven tale of love, betrayal and deceit


man in the needlecord jacket

The Man in the Needlecord Jacket by Linda MacDonald –   Manipulative, dissolute Coll (the man of the title) was a love to hate character who made this a totally compelling read.

the birthday girl

The Birthday Girl by Sue Fortin – gripping from start to finish and probably her best so far

Deadly Intent

Deadly Intent by Sheryl Browne – Sheryl’s novels just keep getting better and better

only one woman

Only One Woman by Christina Jones and Jane Risdon – One guy, two girls and a wannabe rock band – a great sixties nostalgia trip written by two ladies who know the music business well

The Path Keeper

The Path Keeper by N J Simmonds –  another debut novel. A YA read and yet much, much more.  Absolutely loved it!





Posted in Writing

It’s publication day for Jane Lark’s new novel The Nevada Escapists’ Club and I’ve managed to catch her for a chat…

The Nevada Escapists Club final

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

I live near Bath in the UK; in a small cottage on the village green. We have no idea exactly how old our cottage is but we think it was built in the 16th Century. Beyond writing I like gardening and I have a passion for classical statues and old trees. I don’t feel quite so odd talking about an obsession with old tress since Judy Dench came out 😉

How did your writing journey begin?

I was told by a teacher in primary school that I had a talent for writing and then when I left school my secondary teacher was surprised that I hadn’t gone straight into writing for a career. But I am a person who suffers with a lack of self-belief and no one had given me the confidence to write professionally when I was younger. But when I turned 30 I had grown into my confidence and put on my to do before I am 40 list that I wanted to write that novel I had always talked about.

Your books cover several very different genres – historical romance, new adult, contemporary. Which do you enjoy writing the most?

I enjoy writing in all the genres because I become involved with the people in the story. I always say that for the reader who is drawn into the story for a couple of days, imagine being the writer drawn into it for 6 months – it becomes incredibly real. But then imagine, if you love period drama, I become absorbed in a period drama like Poldark or Victoria for months not just one hour a week.

When carrying out research for a novel, do you ever travel to where you have set your story to get a feel for the location?

I nearly always travel to settings, even it if I am writing a historical book and the area is entirely different now. I think going there means you have a sense of atmosphere that draws into the story. But my first New Adult that I set in New York was when I hadn’t been to New York and then I used Earth on Google maps to search areas and streets. I also used trip advisor comments to find out about what areas were like. But there was one key error I discovered when I went to America, that the streetlights there were always white and I had described the light as yellow in the first scene 😀 It didn’t seem to ruin anyone’s enjoyment of the story, though, from the reviews.

Describe a typical writing day.

I am still doing a day job so I never get a writing day. If you follow me on social media that is why I am often very quite. My working day ends between five and six then I have an hour’s drive home. I eat and then I sit down and start working on books at about eight in the evening and write for two to three hours, sitting on the sofa with the TV on, and so I listen to that as I write.

I know many people can’t believe I can write like that but fortunately I am a quick writer and it is utterly relaxing. It’s like reading a book in the evening.

What inspired you to write The Nevada Escapists’ Club?

I can’t share all my inspirations as it would give away the twists in the storyline but the first inspiration came from a visit to the Grand Canyon when I sat on the edge and watched others walking on to a narrow needle like stretch of rock.

And lastly, a fun question: you are planning a dinner party. If you were able to invite four famous guests (living or dead) who would you choose and why?

My guests are all dead because they are people I have read diaries and letters of to immerse myself in the real life of the period I write my historical books in. The first would be Harriette Wilson an 18th Century Courtesan who inspired the whole of the Marlow Intrigues series, her memoirs were published and they fascinated me. Lady Caroline Lamb another larger than life Regency character. Lord Byron because the tales of his life are extraordinary and lastly Mary Shelley because her life with Shelley was also fascinatingly unusual. (All four of them are writers of course. Yes, Caroline Lamb wrote too, she published a novel).


About Jane Lark

6884602Jane has been shortlisted for several industry and reader awards. She is a Kindle bestselling author and a writer of authentic, passionate, and emotional stories, and she’s a sucker for a love story. “I love the feeling of falling in love and it’s wonderful to be able to do it time and time again in fiction.” She loves writing intense relationships and she is thrilled to be giving her characters life in others’ imaginations.

Purchase links for Jane’s books:

The Nevada Escapists Club final

The Nevada Escapists’ Club

Zac senses the connection he has with the single stranger within minutes of their meeting. She, like him, needs a place to escape.

Ali falls into a holiday affair. But what happens when the Las Vegas fantasy is over and her sunglasses tinted view of the world returns to reality? She is supposed to forget everything… It was meant to stop there.


The Nevada Escapists Club is only available from Amazon


A series that will keep you curled up on the sofa in front of the log fire all

The Marlow Intrigues Historical Series Amazon purchase links

The Lost Love of a Soldier

The Illicit Love of a Courtesan

The Passionate Love of a Rake

The Scandalous Love of a Duke

The Dangerous Love of a Rogue

The Jealous Love of a Scoundrel

The Secret Love of a Gentleman

The Reckless Love of an Heir

Tainted Love of a Captain










Posted in Writing

A Writer’s Journey wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Closing down for Christmas…




To everyone who either follows or reads A Writer’s Journey, I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Thank you for all your support during 2017.

Tuesday Talk will be taking a well earned break until 9th January when I will be back chatting to Choc Lit author Kathryn Freeman.

 In the mean time have a fabulous Christmas and a very Happy New Year. See you in 2108!

JO xx



Posted in Writing


L (1) copyGood morning Lynda and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Hi there, and thank you so much for hosting me.
There’s not much to say about me, I’m a very normal person. I’m a wife, a step mother and a grand-mother. I get up daily and go to my job as the Sales Director of a stationery and office furniture company, and I tend to come home, make tea and then on the nights when I have just a little energy left, I tend to write. On my weekends I have housework to do, I hate doing ironing and use my writing as an excuse to get out of it, which means I normally always have a huge ironing pile.

How big a part has the RNA played in your writing career?

I’d say that being a member of the RNA played a huge part in my career. It was through going to the RNA Conference each year that during a 1-2-1, I met my publisher. I really believe in ‘people buy people’ first and without meeting a publisher face to face, you’re just another manuscript on their desk, of which they get thousands.

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

My favourite authors, wow, I have so many.
Both Lesley Pearce and Jill Mansell were my ‘go to holiday reads; for years. I’d always head for the book shop on the airport and treat myself before flying out. I loved both authors and knew that I wouldn’t be disappointed in what I’d chosen. As for inspiration, I could write a list a mile long, so many authors inspire me in different ways.

Of all the characters you have created so far, have you a favourite?

Ohhh that’s like asking if I have a favourite child. But if I were pushed, I’d probably say Nomsa. I dearly love the Caribbean people, I’ve spent many holidays in that part of the world and created Nomsa in House of Secrets as a fun loving, warm Caribbean lady. She’s literally the heart of the house and spends her days cooking and baking for everyone. I’d love to have a Nomsa in my life, she’s amazing and whatever happens, good or bad, she puts the kettle on and makes the tea. Albeit, if she were in my kitchen daily, I’d need a whole new wardrobe of bigger sized dresses.

Would you ever consider writing something other than romantic fiction? If so what would that be?

I tend to write romantic suspense. I have no idea why I’m drawn in that direction. I honestly don’t think that everyone has an easy life. My life certainly wasn’t easy, but saying that I wasn’t stalked by a serial killer either.
So, I guess the answer is no… not sure I could write in a different genre, even if I wanted to.

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

Yes, of course. My next novel is a story of obsession.
The story begins with my heroine, Ella Gray lying in a field, clinging onto life while she watches the minutes tick by on her watch, that lays in the field beside her. She has no idea what happened, all she remembers is going out on a date with Rick Greaves, but she can’t remember how she got there. All she does remember is the violent attack that left her broken and unable to move. She vows that if she survives, she’ll do everything she can to find out who did this to her, and is determined that whatever it takes, she’ll put Rick Greaves behind bars.

And lastly, you are planning a dinner party. If you were able to invite four famous guests (living or dead) who would you choose and why?

Oh, what a great question, but so hard to just pick four… okay, here we go..!
Firstly, I’d love to invite author Milly Johnson, she’s a good friend, a great laugh and she’d most probably help do the pots after dinner.
My second guest would have to be Spike Milligan, I mean, come on who wouldn’t want to spend an evening listening to this man. His dry sense of humour was amazing and just being in the same room would have you laughing right from the first minute.
My third guest would be Freddie Mercury, he was an amazing person, and his music was totally ahead of its time. It would also be fantastic if we could get him playing the piano and singing. How perfect would that be for after dinner entertainment?
And finally, … I’d have to say, Dawn French. She has a fantastic sense of humour, she’s absolutely on my wave length and I just know she’d be great fun to be around.


HOCS1 copy

This year we’re just going to have a nice, normal Christmas… 
Last year’s Christmas at Wrea Head Hall didn’t quite go to plan which is why Jess Croft is determined this festive season will be the one to remember, for the right reasons. And she has plenty of reasons to be hopeful, she’s going to marry the man of her dreams, Jack Stone, seven days after New Year’s Eve.

However, as family secrets are revealed in hidden letters and two unexpected guests turn up on the doorstep, Jess is left wondering whether her life will ever be the same again.

Can Jess and Jack still experience a peaceful festive season that they had imagined or are there some problems that e



Ebook at:


Twitter  @Lyndastacey





Posted in Writing

Tuesday Talk welcomes author Silvia Forrester chatting about her writing influences, current project and favourite holiday destinations…

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

Thank you, Jo, I’m delighted to be a guest on your fabulous blog. Well, I’m a daughter and a mum and a step-mum, and a sister and a wife and a granddaughter, and a grandma and an auntie and a friend. This must be why I find female relationships so fascinating. Men do get a look in, too, of course, especially when I’m writing a romantic comedy. Oh, and I live in Canterbury, in Kent, a city I love. I moved here to study for a degree twenty-seven years ago, and forgot to leave.

What inspired you to write Your Move?

The idea of creating two very different characters, both searching for love (whether they’re aware of it or not!), and bringing them into each other’s social circles, as well as following their various romantic entanglements.

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

Reading is a great source of escapism and pleasure. And if a book can make you laugh, that’s a bonus. My favourite authors are Sophie Kinsella (shopaholic series), Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones) and the late, great Sue Townsend (creator of Adrian Mole). These authors find humour in everyday situations we can all relate to; that’s what I aim to do in my books, too.

Would you ever consider writing something other than romantic comedy? If so what would that be?

Yes, my agent (Caroline Montgomery at Rupert Crew Ltd) is currently trying to place another book I’ve written called Gina’s Therapy. It follows Gina through her diagnosis of ovarian cancer, her surgery, treatment and out the other side. Although Gina is quirky and funny, and the book includes romance, it also focuses on Gina’s relationships with her daughter, granddaughter, mother and best friend, and how having cancer affects these. It’s women’s fiction, but with a little more punch than your typical rom com. I think it would be a great novel for book groups because there are so many issues to discuss; we just have to find a publisher who agrees…

Beach or city girl? Where are your favourite holiday destinations and why?

Ooooh, I’d love to go on holiday just about anywhere warm, as I’m currently huddled next to the radiator in my home office, wearing fingerless gloves as I type! Cities are obviously great for exploring and entertainment, whereas a beach is pure relaxation. I have to say I think the beach holiday is winning. One of my favourite destinations is Lake Garda in northern Italy. My family used to visit when I was young and it’s wonderful to go back there: stunning scenery, delicious food, history, sightseeing, boat trips on the lake, swimming … just perfect, and very romantic. That said, many parts of Britain are also beautiful: the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District, most of Wales. It’s just that *typing while teeth are chattering* the British weather has a habit of going on holiday with you.

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

It’s a novel called Pure Magic and one of the central characters is Kiki, a sprightly eighty-three-year old, and also a white witch. She’s estranged from her son, who has cut her off completely, resentful at his unconventional upbringing. However, Kiki is secretly in contact with her son’s wife and her grandchildren. This creates problems when her son begins to suspect his wife is having an affair, rather than sneaking off to see her mother-in-law. The book explores the sometimes difficult relationships between parents and children, across the generations. Kiki is the linchpin that holds the novel together – she’s wise, generous and always tries her best to help but, if that fails, she’ll throw in a sprinkling of magic, too.

And lastly, you are planning a dinner party. If you were able to invite four famous guests (living or dead) who would you choose and why?

I’d invite Sue Townsend – she appeared to be such a stoic character, who suffered chronic health problems, but who never lost her sense of humour. I’d ask Fay Weldon, another novelist I respect and admire. I think Kenneth Williams would be a brilliant guest, and Jonathan Ross would definitely get the party going. I’m sure that would be an evening to remember!


your_move (6)




DSC_0128Silvia writes short stories and novels. She has an MA in Creative Writing and teaches at the Open University. Silvia was brought up in a seaside town on the south coast of England by her mother and grandmother; she now lives in Kent. Silvia has two daughters, two stepdaughters and three granddaughters. With an abundance of women and girls in her life, it’s not surprising that female relationships, family and friendship are frequently the focus of Silvia’s writing.







Posted in Writing


I am so pleased once again to be involved in another of Pam’s tours.  This time it’s for The Liverpool Girls, a dramatic conclusion to her Mersey Trilogy.

liverpool girls cover

The Liverpool Girls by Pam Howes – out on November 30th

Will tragedy tear them apart – once and for all?

It’s 1966 and in Liverpool two sisters are about to have their lives turned upside down…

Sisters Carol and Jackie haven’t had the easiest of childhoods, but as they grow up and begin their own lives both hope for happier times ahead. Stylish Carol works in Lewis’s department store, while Jackie dreams of drama school, and a career on the stage.

But the sisters are heartbroken when they discover they have been dating the same man, and an unexpected pregnancy causes a rift between them. Parents Dora and Joe must overcome their past hurts and help their daughters, despite the meddling of Joe’s second wife Ivy.

As the sisters’ troubles spiral and difficult decisions must be made, can the family pull together – or will Jackie and Carol’s sisterly bond be destroyed forever?

The Liverpool Girls is a heart-breaking and compelling story of family, loss and love. Perfect for fans of Annie Groves, Anne Baker and Kitty Neale.


UK 🇬🇧
US 🇺🇸


The Liverpool Girls is the final instalment of Pam’s three part family saga.  It’s now 1966 and Joe and Dora’s teenage daughters currently  live apart. Carol with Joe and his second wife Ivy and Jackie with Dora.  Joe and Ivy have a new centrally heated home. Joe now works for the Ford Motor Company but Ivy has turned into a lazy stay at home wife with a long string of excuses as to why she can’t get a job.

Carol currently works in Lewis’s Department store and lives with her father as it’s easier to get to work from where he lives. Her boyfriend, Alex who she pursued relentlessly before they got together, is beginning to lose interest.  Desperate to keep him Carol does the unthinkable, not realising how far the consequences of her action will reach.

Jackie, about to turn sixteen, is in love with young artist Sandy and has hopes of studying at drama school. When Carol turns up to the family gathering for Jackie’s birthday she is shocked to discover Alex is in fact Sandy and they have been dating the same man.  Not only that, Carol is now pregnant. Sandy is horrified to discover he has been dating two sisters. He thought he and Carol were finished. He’s in love with Jackie but with the news of a baby, what happens next?

The scene is set for an emotional roller coaster of a ride. Hooray for Joe finally finding the courage to stand up to Ivy. It was a long time coming although I have to say I think she got off lightly!  I’m not giving any more of the plot away, as it wouldn’t be fair.  All I will say is that Pam’s writing delivers an unforgettable finale.  And a word of warning –  you’ll need those tissues again!


Pam PicPam Howes was born in Cheshire. She is a retired Interior Designer who began writing seriously in the mid nineties. The idea for her first novel, set in the sixties, was inspired by her time as a teenager, working in a local record store and hanging around with musicians who frequented the business. That first novel evolved into a series set in the fictional town of Pickford, based on her home town of Stockport. Three Steps to Heaven; ‘Til I Kissed You; Always On My Mind; Not Fade Away, and That’ll Be The Day, follow the lives and loves through the decades of fictional Rock’n’Roll band The Raiders. Pam is a big fan of sixties music and it’s this love that compelled her to write the series. A stand-alone true-life romance, Fast Movin’ Train, set in the nineties, was published in early 2012. A new series of Fairground Romances, set in the sixties, begins with Cathy’s Clown, to be followed by Ruby Tuesday early 2016. Pam is mum to three adult daughters, grandma to seven assorted grandchildren, and roadie to one musician partner. She still lives in Cheshire and is currently involved in raising awareness of her home-town’s musical heritage with campaigns to have Blue Plaques erected on the walls of local clubs, The Manor Lounge and The Sinking Ship, where the likes of The Walker Brother’s, The Who and Jimi Hendrix played; now closed, but still firmly in the hearts of Stockport’s recycled teenagers. All books are available in Kindle format, paperback, and Fast Movin’ Train is also available as an audio book.

Follow Pam on Facebook:
and Twitter @PamHowes1

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