Posted in Writing


Hi Catherine and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Hi, Jo and thank you for the invitation to Tuesday Talk. I am Irish and live in Dublin. In the past I have worked in the Irish and New Zealand public services and in the private sector. I am now retired and grateful that I can enjoy all the ‘good things’ of life such as food and wine, travel, music, especially opera, and theatre. My favourite countries to visit are France and Greece. I am never without a book to read or a notebook to scribble in.

Who are your favourite writers and have they influenced your own writing in any way?

Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen pointed me towards the Regency, J R R Tolkien is a wonderful story-teller and P D James and Reginald Hill showed me that so-called ‘popular’ ‘genre’ fiction can include great novels.

What inspired you to set your stories during the Regency period?

I was introduced to the Regency while I was in my teens, not only through Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, but also through the romantic poets such as Wordsworth, Shelly and Keats, and essayists such as Charles Lamb and William Hazlitt.
The first quarter of the nineteenth century was one of the most significant periods of European and American history whose events still resonate after two hundred years. The Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland of 1800, the Anglo-American war of 1812 and the final defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 all still shape our modern world. The aristocracy-led society that drove these events was already under attack from those who saw the need for social and political reform, while the industrial revolution saw the beginning of the transfer of wealth and ultimately power to those who knew how to exploit the new technologies.
It was still a patriarchal world where women had few or no rights but they lived and loved and died, making the best lives they could for themselves and their families, often with their husbands away for years with the army or at sea. And they began to raise their voices, demanding equality and emancipation.
I love the challenge of evoking this fascinating era with characters who behave authentically in their period while making their actions and decisions plausible and sympathetic to a modern reader.

What makes a great hero?

Strength, courage and loyalty. Strength and courage to bear his burdens, confront his demons, do his duty, question received wisdom and shibboleths. Loyalty to his principles, his family, his duty, whether professional or personal. These are general attributes that might apply to anyone. In terms of fiction, and especially in terms of a romantic interest, there must be an initial spark between the couple even if at first it is unrecognised or ignored. There must also be a certain compatibility of mind and interests, mutual respect and a strong sexual attraction. And, of course, a true hero’s strength, courage and loyalty will always be at the service of his other half.

Beach or City? Where are you the happiest?

Here I just have to say, ‘both’. I live ten minutes on foot from the sea and a ten minutes’ journey from the city centre. I love to walk on the beach and also love the buzz of the city. On holidays, I like to find accommodation near the beach, preferably with a sea view, but to use the day for sight-seeing, followed by an evening walk and a sundowner by the sea. One of my favourite places is Chania in Crete. The sunsets by the harbour are spectacular and there are so many places to visit during the day.

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

I am completing the final edits for my new novel A Suggestion of Scandal that will be published at the end of July. Here is the blurb.
If only he could find a lady who was tall enough to meet his eyes, intelligent enough not to bore him and had that certain something that meant he could imagine spending the rest of his life with her.
It is high time Sir Julian Loring married, but he certainly does not expect to discover ‘that lady’ in his half-sister Chloe’s governess. When he first met Rosa Fancourt, the orphaned daughter of a naval officer, she was a gawky girl fresh from a Bath Academy, when he returns to his father’s home for a house-party, somehow she sparks his interest. Then, just as he begins to get to know her better, she disappears—in very dubious circumstances. Julian cannot bring himself to believe the worst of Rosa, but if she is innocent, the real truth is even more shocking. Despite this, he is determined to find her and to ensure justice for her.
This has repercussions for his own family, not least for Chloe. And how is he to pursue his courtship of Rosa when she has taken refuge with her cousins? Driven by her concern for Chloe, Rosa accepts an invitation to spend some weeks at Castle Swanmere. But Julian’s cousin, the widowed Meg Overton, has also been invited and she is determined not to let such an eligible match as Julian slip through her fingers again. When a ghost from Rosa’s past rises to haunt her and Mrs Overton discredits Rosa publicly, Julian must decide where his loyalties lie.

You have been chosen to take part in I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Choose four candidates you would like to share the jungle with and give your reasons for choosing them.

I don’t think I am a suitable candidate for I’m a Celebrity. I would be voted out very quickly if I had not already been medically evacuated due to my allergies. Instead, I have picked four people with whom I would like to be snowed in. They must not only be good company, but also willing to turn a hand to keeping the household going.
Captain Frederick Wentworth (Jane Austen’s Persuasion). As a sailor, he would be used to all weathers, he is kind and practical, and would have the drive cleared of snow in no time.
Jamie Fraser and Clare Randall (Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander). Even if the power went, they would ensure we would have food and heat and Clare would be useful for any medical emergencies.
And now I must decide. Do I allow Captain Wentworth to bring his Anne, who would be a cheerful companion, or do I opt for my own husband of almost forty-five years? I think I must have both. This will give us a nicely balanced house-party of six, all of whom would have no difficulty in coping without electricity or access to modern media. And everyone will have their partner to snuggle up with during the cold nights.


Author Bio and Purchase Links

Catherine Kullmann 4 MBCatherine Kullmann was born and educated in Dublin. Following a three-year courtship conducted mostly by letter, she moved to Germany where she lived for twenty-six years before returning to Ireland. She has worked in the Irish and New Zealand public services and in the private sector. After taking early retirement Catherine was finally able to fulfil her life-long ambition to write. Her novels are set in England during the extended Regency period—that fascinating period between the demise of hoops and the invention of crinolines- the end of the Georgian era but before the stultifying age of Victoria.
Her debut novel, The Murmur of Masks, published in 2016, is a warm and engaging story of a young woman’s struggle to survive and find love in an era of violence and uncertainty. It takes us from the ballrooms of the Regency to the battlefield of Waterloo.
In Perception & Illusion, published in March 2017, Lallie Grey, cast out by her father for refusing the suitor of his choice, accepts Hugo Tamrisk’s proposal, confident that he loves her as she loves him. But Hugo’s past throws long shadows as does his recent liaison with Sabina Albright. All too soon, Lallie must question Hugo’s reasons for marriage and wonder what he really wants of his bride.
Her third novel, A Suggestion of Scandal, will be published in July 2018.

Social Media Links
Amazon Author Page

Posted in Writing


Can't Get You Out of My Head artwork by Sue Shepherd 120318


A moving and funny story about sisters, secrets and second chances.

Twin sisters Beth and Lisa do everything together, so what will happen now they both want a life of their own?
Beth has a secret she’s kept from everyone except her sister. But it’s time to get on with her life. Could a seductive Italian, a smooth-talking charmer or backpacking around Australia be the answer?
Lisa feels she’s always lived in her sister’s shadow. Maybe now it’s her turn for some fun, whatever the consequences. But will her drunken antics land Beth in trouble?
And when it comes to the crunch, will one sister have to give up what she wants so the other can have what she needs?
Another entertaining page-turner from the No.1 bestselling author of Doesn’t Everyone Have a Secret? – where things, and people, are not always as they first appear!

Purchase link



Beth was getting out of her car when she heard a familiar voice behind her. ‘Beth Campbell, are you stalking me?’
She spun round, a smile already on her face. ‘Charlie Morris, you wally!’ He held his arms open and she ran to him. ‘When did you get back?’
‘Just over a week ago. Thought I’d come and see you, and, um … and … catch up with Michelle.’
‘You were away for ages.’
‘Yeah. I’ve been gone so long my face ought to be on milk cartons.’ He grinned, then added, ‘Don’t say it …’
‘That my face ought to be on bog rolls!’
‘I would never say such a thing.’ Beth gave his chin a stroke. ‘Your bum fluff hasn’t improved much.’
‘Nonsense. This is a brilliant beard,’ Charlie snorted.
She’d missed his laugh. ‘Michelle doesn’t live in Tennison Avenue any more. She moved out of her mum’s house.’
‘No one can blame her for that.’ He shuddered. ‘Bloody hell. Her mother. Meddling cow!’
‘Absolutely. Michelle’s not far though. She rents a flat with Ricky.’
‘OK. Cool.’
‘Do you want to go for a drink or something? You know, to catch up.’
He gave a casual shrug. ‘Yeah, sure.’
‘I’ll just need to pop in and tell them I’m going out, they were expecting me for dinner.’ Beth gestured towards her parents’ house. ‘Fancy coming in, to see them?’
Again, he was casual. ‘Uh huh.’
She opened the front door and called out, ‘Look who I found loitering outside the house.’
Pat and Don appeared at the kitchen doorway. Don blanched and dropped the tea towel he’d been holding. ‘Oh, Christ.’
‘Is that little Charlie Morris?’ Pat had a closer look.
‘Yep, it’s me. All grown up.’
‘You’re not wrong. How are you?’ She was staring up at him, amazed at his size.
‘I’m good, thanks. Just back from Singapore for a while.’ Charlie held out his hand to Don. ‘Hello.’ With a slightly nervous cough, he added, ‘I’m OK, honest I am.’
Realising he’d been staring, with his mouth open, Don apologised and shook the hand he’d been offered. ‘Sorry, son, it’s just, you know. I can’t help remembering …’
At this point, Nanna came down the stairs. ‘Who’s this, then?’ Examining Charlie’s face, she grabbed the bull by the horns and said, ‘It’s the boy who nearly died. Blimey, you didn’t get like that eating salad, did you?’ Turning to Pat she remarked, ‘You’d never be able to pick him up out of that paddling pool now, would you?’
Charlie grinned. ‘Hello, Nanna. It’s good to see you again.’
‘We’re going to pop out for a drink to catch up. Don’t worry about me for dinner, Mum, I’ll get something whilst we’re out.’ Beth grabbed her handbag and made her way over to the hall mirror. Applying an extra coat of mascara and some fresh lipstick, she then set about adding some cover up to the scars on her chin, a constant reminder not to listen to Lisa’s advice.
‘OK. Just the two of you, is it?’ Pat asked.
Beth looked at Charlie. ‘Um … Charlie wants to catch up with Michelle too.’
‘Well, we don’t have to … I just …’
‘He had no intention of catching up with her, you idiot. Can’t you tell when someone wants to be alone with you?’ Lisa asked.
‘He mentioned her first. I’m just going along with his plan.’
Beth gave Nanna a hug. ‘See you later.’
‘Have fun with the big fella.’
‘You know something, Nanna?’ Charlie said. ‘You haven’t changed a bit.’
Nanna tilted her head. ‘Nonsense, I’ve aged like a sausage in the sun, but thank you anyway.’

Christmas Day on Bondi Beach…Author Post by Sue Shepherd

‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ is a romantic comedy. It’s a moving and funny story about sisters, secrets and second chances.

Part of the book is set abroad. After a traumatic event when the twins are aged seventeen, they decide to embark on an overseas adventure to Australia. That part of the story was influenced by my own experience. Although my trip took place long before the twins went there, I did find looking through my old diaries very helpful.

One of the things I had in common with the twins was that I also spent Christmas Day on Bondi Beach. I was there in 1990. It was a mixed day. I thought I’d tell you about it.

We awoke on Christmas morning to discover that the sun was shining. No surprises there. It shone every day. I think the first thing that really hit me was the lack of family. By this point, I’d been away from England for three months and I was used to not seeing my mum, dad and sister, but never before had I woken up on Christmas Day without them. I was staying in a hostel, sharing a room with a couple of girls I’d known for about two months. Let me just confirm, that’s a very long friendship when you’re backpacking. Some friendships last a day, before you go your separate ways.

Now, I look at photos of me that day, and I am flabbergasted. I’m slim, I’m young, I have very short funky hair. I know I’m saying it myself, but, damn, I was gorgeous. Why didn’t I realise it then? I’m old enough now to look back at that young girl as if I’m looking at a child of my own and be very proud of her. Not just because she looks good, but because she’s fearless. She’s just woken up halfway around the world on Christmas morning, and, to all intents and purposes, she’s alone in Australia!

We were staying in Coogee, but we’d heard that Bondi was the place to spend Christmas Day. We were a fairly large group from the hostel. It may surprise you to know that, even though this was 27 years ago, I’m still in touch with two people from that group. *Sue waves to Irene and Gerry.* As in the Christmas Day scene in ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’, there were artificial Christmas trees sticking out of the sand everywhere, and people had written on their bodies in fluorescent sunblock. The atmosphere was strange, a combination of amazement that we were all there in that iconic place on such an important day, mixed with a little sadness that we weren’t with our families. I remember thinking often, ‘What would I be doing if I was at home now?’

We took beer onto the beach. Great big slabs full of little stubby beers. And there we sat, in the blistering heat, and drank those bad boys, like there was no tomorrow. When you’re young, you have this overwhelming need to turn every situation into a party. Back then, Bondi Beach at Christmas was synonymous with backpackers and beer.

In a slight drunken stupor, I decided to go for a lone paddle. As I wandered into the sea, I realised that the current was strong. Within seconds my feet were taken from me. Just for a moment, I was under the water, unsure which way was up, and which was down. I had to keep my eyes tightly shut because I was wearing contacts. Thank goodness I kept my mouth tightly shut too! I waited, what was, in reality, a mere second, but felt like forever, for my head to break through the waves and for my body to become upright once again. As soon as it did, I opened my eyes and my feet scrabbled around, frantic to get purchase on the seabed. As quickly as the horrific incident had started, it was over. In a daze, I made my way back onto the beach. I’d probably been gone no longer than five minutes. Blinking, I located my group of friends, not easy when everyone is covered in the same colourful lettering and each group is sitting around identical small trees. Thank goodness for Gerry’s bright green beach shirt, which I used to guide me home.

Not long after I’d made it back from my summersaulting incident in the waves, an ambulance pulled up at the beach, and two paramedics ran down to the sea. A man from another group, possibly more drunk than me, had also decided to cool off and had ventured into the sea. Sadly, he was not as lucky as I had been, and we later heard that he’d died.

When I was writing about my characters going to Australia in ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’, I wondered whether I should allow them to drink alcohol on the beach. Given my experience, it seemed irresponsible as a writer. However, the decision was made for me. In the story, they go to Australia a decade after I was there. So, I decided to Google whether alcohol would still be allowed on Bondi Beach on Christmas Day, and I’m glad to see that it’s been outlawed since 1995, and the area is now strictly patrolled.

I think it would still have been an amazing experience for the characters in my book, and I’m glad I didn’t have to rely on my own moral compass to make the decision.

I’ve spent every Christmas Day since then in England. That time on Bondi remains, to this day, my strangest Christmas. I still feel sorry for the family of the man who lost his life due to over indulgence and silliness, he was no doubt just young and crazy, like we were. I’m also forever grateful that my own tumble in the sea proved to be far less dangerous.


Sue Shepherd author photoBorn in Harrow, Sue went on to spend several years living in Hertfordshire before selling up and taking a leap of faith across The Solent. She now resides on the picturesque Isle of Wight with her husband, two sons and a standard poodle. Her passions in life are: her family, writing, the seaside and all the beautiful purple things her sons have bought her over the years. Happiest when hunched over her laptop with a cup of tea on the go, Sue loves to create stories with plenty of heart and laughs, but she makes sure to include a bit of naughtiness too. Ask Sue to plan too far in advance and you’ll give her the heebie-jeebies and she’d prefer you not to mention Christmas until at least November!

Sue’s links:

Sue Shepherd Blog Tour

Posted in Writing



Robert Finlay seems to have finally left his SAS past behind him and is settled into his new career as a detective. But when the girlfriend of his former SAS colleague and close friend Kevin Jones is murdered, it’s clear that Finlay’s troubles are far from over. Jones is arrested for the killing, but soon escapes from jail, and Finlay is held responsible for the breakout.
Suspended from duty and sure he’s being framed too, our hero teams up with MI5 agent Toni Fellowes to find out who’s behind the conspiracy. Their quest soon reveals a plot that goes to the very heart of the UK’s security services. End Game, the final part in the critically acclaimed Robert Finlay trilogy, sees our hero in an intricately plotted and terrifyingly fast-paced race to uncover the truth and escape those who’d sooner have him dead than be exposed.





First can I say I’m really pleased to be part of this tour courtesy of Orenda Books and Anne Cater.  Many thanks for invitation and the ARC copy for review.

Thrillers aren’t my normal choice but the ones I have read in the past I’ve enjoyed. End Game is no exception. Although the final instalment of a trilogy it is easily read as a stand alone novel.  From the moment I began this, the whole story pulled me in. It’s well written, and the pace never slacks, delivering an exciting read which keeps you on course, not wanting to put it down until that final page has been read.  A great plot with twists and turns aplenty. Intense and nail biting, having to set it aside for more domestic aspects of life at times left me quite frustrated.  A great book which left me thinking  I really ought to check up on Matt Johnson’s previous two novels –  WICKED GAME and DEADLY GAME.





Posted in Writing

Thoughts on Life After Nine to Five…


For a good percentage of my working life I managed people. As part of that job I was responsible, when any of my staff left, for arranging collections, buying and wrapping gifts and organising presentations and leaving parties. Very often the person involved wouldn’t be leaving for a new job, or to have a baby, they would be saying goodbye to work for good. As I wished them good luck and a happy retirement it often crossed my mind ‘What will happen when it’s my turn to leave work behind? What will I do? How will I feel about saying goodbye to everyone and losing that day-to-day connection with other people?’ During those moments I realised I almost dreaded that day arriving. I loved work and it seemed impossible to even contemplate not being there.

From junior school to my college days I had always written, even successfully completing a full length novel (which I believe still lives somewhere in the attic). Eventually my desire to become an author fell by the wayside as full time work and then marriage took over. However the need to create stories and characters living in a parallel universe never quite went away. I’m still not sure where the inspiration came for the Little Court Series but suddenly in the early 2000s there I was, writing again. Managing to juggle home life and a full time job, by 2010 I had written and published a trilogy – a saga, for want of a better word, about the lives of four young women growing up during the 1960s/1970s.

I had always thought I would miss work when I eventually gave up. That there would be something of a void in my life. Kick starting my writing again came at the perfect time for me.  It made me refocus on what I really wanted to do. For years I had been on someone else’s payroll and now I very much wanted to take control of my life; be my own boss.  Of course it wasn’t something I achieved overnight. Two and a half years before I eventually left the workplace I opted to reduce my hours, moving to a two and a half day a week job share. Then in the summer of 2013 I knew the time had come for me to leave and become a full time writer. On reflection the choices I made – reducing hours before setting myself a leaving date – were absolutely right for me. After years of full time work to simply decide on a date and then leave would have been a huge culture shock, like being thrown into an ice-cold bath of water. It needed to be a gradual process to guide me gently towards this new direction I had decided embark on.

And now? Well my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. I still keep in touch with people I used to work with, even meet up with some of them occasionally for a drink or a meal. And as for missing the workplace, well actually I still have one. The virtual friends on Facebook and Twitter (some of whom I’ve actually met) have more than compensated for those I’ve left behind. I can now look back and say confidently it was the right decision, I love my life as a writer – in fact I couldn’t be happier.



Posted in Writing


author new picHi Fiona and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Hello, lovely to be here. My name is Fiona Hogan and I’m a writer, blogger, editor and mother of five living in the beautiful midlands of Ireland. I’m an Indie author with four books currently on Amazon. I’m a Tolkien obsessive and zombie freak.

Who are your favourite writers and have they influenced your own writing in any way?

I discovered the joy of Tolkien as a child and am reminded of the Shire in the lovely fey countryside around where I live – I am constantly delighted and in awe of the huge scope of world building and complexity of characters in The Lord of the Rings and if I could ever write anything half as good I would be happy indeed. I also grew up on a diet of gothic horror and this has heavily influenced my own horror writing (my favourite genre), I owe a lot to H P Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe.

As a writer you don’t restrict yourself to a single genre. Once you have completed a novel, how do you decide what comes next?

I’m always writing short stories – horror or contemporary fiction so there is usually a horror collection around Hallowe’en. I have a romantic comedy in with a publisher and I recently started a sequel.
I have notebooks filled with story ideas and character snippets and often wake up at night to write ideas down in the notebook by the bed. I’m very lucky that I am never stuck for a story idea.

What prompted your decision to become an editor?

It was an organic process. When I finished my first book, I knew that although I had done my best with editing, it needed a pair of professional and fresh eyes to give it a clean sweep. I have been through the Independent Publishing route and know that there are so many things needing outsourcing – cover design, editing and often formatting. So, I began to take proofreading and editing courses and get as much experience as possible. I love it, I love being involved in the writing process and helping writers’ work to become as good as it possibly can.

Beach or city? What’s your favourite holiday location?

Beach – Moving to the sea is a huge part of my masterplan. Although recently I have been on some amazing city breaks in winter, with my girls – Brussels, London and Paris.

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

I am currently working on a short horror piece, the sequel to my novel Martha’s Cottage (with publisher), a horror novel and a screenplay.

You are about to hold a dinner party and can invite four famous celebrity guests (dead or alive). Who would you invite and why?

Tolkien obviously – he could sit at the head of the table. I’d have Neil Gaiman so I could pick his brains. I always wanted to play a zombie in one of his films – so, George A Romero. My last guest would be Anne Rice – she deserves a place, having written one of my favourite characters – Lestat de Lioncourt.


Fiona Hogan is a writer,blogger and editor living in rural Ireland. An Indie author, she has four books on Amazon – The Lights Went Out and Other Stories and What Happened in Dingle as Fiona Cooke Hogan ,and Death Comes Calling and The Nightmare under the name F. B. Hogan. Her latest novel – Martha’s Cottage is in the process of being published. A horror enthusiast, Fiona is addicted to horror short films and anything of the zombie genre. She is obsessed with Tolkien and likes a bit of Neil Gaiman.

Amazon Author Page
Fiona’s website – Unusual Fiction
Author Facebook Page
The Editing Hub Website
The Editing Hub Facebook Page

Book Links
The Lights Went Out and Other Stories
What Happened in Dingle
Death Comes Calling
The Nightmare

Posted in Writing

Are e-books stupid? Should e-books be classed as ‘real books’? Director of @BloodHoundBook @BetsyReavley is in the hot seat with #TWG

The Writing Garnet

E-book or not to e-book?
Last month, the head of one of the world’s biggest publishers, spoke to the media about e-books. Whilst I would usually celebrate anything from the book world making the media, I remember being quite flabbergasted by what I had read in said article. I am sure a lot of people read the article in question – it had quite a lot of shares on social media at the time! The comment which left a lot of people, including myself, reeling, was the quote ‘e-books are stupid’. Pardon? I am fully aware that people prefer one format over another, after all, we cannot all like the same things. Some readers may prefer to read hardbacks or paperbacks instead of reading e-books, or visa versa. Personally, I don’t see the problem with that, I am just thankful that we actually have a choice. Think about it – many years ago, the only…

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Posted in Writing



A fabulously funny read from Caroline James. Think The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel but in the Lake District!

Let the shenanigans begin at the Best Boomerville Hotel …
Jo Docherty and Hattie Contaldo have a vision – a holiday retreat in the heart of the Lake District exclusively for guests of ‘a certain age’ wishing to stimulate both mind and body with new creative experiences. One hotel refurbishment later and the Best Boomerville Hotel is open for business!

Perhaps not surprisingly Boomerville attracts more than its fair share of eccentric clientele: there’s fun-loving Sir Henry Mulberry and his brother Hugo; Lucinda Brown, an impoverished artist with more ego than talent; Andy Mack, a charming Porsche-driving James Bond lookalike, as well as Kate Simmons, a woman who made her fortune from an internet dating agency but still hasn’t found ‘the One’ herself.

With such an array of colourful individuals there’s bound to be laughs aplenty, but could there be tears and heartbreak too and will the residents get more than they bargained for at Boomerville?


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Well, what a wonderful way for Choc Lit to launch their Ruby fiction imprint. The Best Boomerville Hotel kept me entertained from the very first page to the last.
After her husband’s death Jo Docherty closed their hotel, the Kirkton House for a year. But now she’s back and with the help of her friend, the larger than life Hattie Contraldo, has reopened as The Boomerville Hotel. The object of their new business is, and I quote, ‘for midlife singles to learn new things and take up fresh challenges’. The hotel offers everything, from spa treats and yoga, to more cerebrally challenging things like creative writing, cookery and art courses. There’s something for everyone, together with a resident fortune teller and shaman.
As Jo opens for business and guests arrive, the reader is introduced to a great group of very different people. One of the central characters is Kate, someone who has spent a good part of her time bringing couples together with her on line dating business. But after selling her company it’s now an opportunity for some ‘me’ time and maybe finding Mr Right? He appears early on as the Porsche driving affluent Andy Mack who Jo and Hattie are quick to nickname James Bond. Could there be romance in the air? Could The Boomerville actually be responsible for two people finding happy ever after?
This is such an entertaining read. OK there are quite a few characters to get your head around but they’re introduced in such a way you have no problem distinguishing who’s who. The story dips in and out of their lives giving a great mixture of drama and comedy during their stay. Caroline keeps the pot boiling so the reader is constantly wondering what’s going to happen next. A first class read, I absolutely loved it!



Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that features in her novels. She is based in the UK but has a great fondness for travel and escapes whenever she can. A public speaker, consultant and food writer, Caroline is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association and writes articles and short stories and contributes to many publications. In her spare time, Caroline can be found trekking up a mountain or relaxing with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.



Posted in Writing


ViennaColour250x250Hi Miriam and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

Hi Jo and thank you very much for having me on your blog. I was born and brought up in the UK, but have lived for over forty years in Israel, where I married and had three children, now all grown up. I began my working life as a computer programmer, transferred to technical writing and am now an author and an editor.

The other thing I should say, because it comes up below, is that I developed social anxiety as a child, mostly because of the way I was treated at school, and have lived with it ever since.

What made you decide to move from writing fiction to producing a non-fiction book?

It only seems as if that’s what I did. Actually, I wrote the non-fiction book on social anxiety in 2004 before I wrote any fiction. When I tried to get it published, I began to realise how difficult it is to become a published author and put the book aside. In the meantime, I started to write fiction and eventually got some short stories published in anthologies before being picked up by my publisher, Crooked Cat Books. When Crooked Cat ventured into non-fiction, they accepted my book from 2004, which I enhanced, and which was published in 2017.

Have you any plans to return to fictional work?

Definitely. I’m working on one work of fiction at the moment and have plans for others.

If money were no object where in the world would you love to travel to?

My husband and I have done a lot of travelling in recent years, including exotic places like India, Ethiopia and the Far East. But I’ve never crossed the equator and would love to visit anywhere in the southern hemisphere. I’d probably start with Australia and New Zealand, two places with plenty to discover and no language barrier.

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

I’m looking forward to getting back to writing when I return home from my current trip to the UK, during which, apart from visiting several lovely friends, I have given a talk on social anxiety and am about to co-lead a workshop.

In the novel I hope to finish shortly, a man who’s been socially isolated is sent to Japan to represent his company. The business trip is only short, but it has a major effect on his life.

And lastly, you are planning life on a desert island for a year. What four things would you take with you and why?

The thing that springs to mind first is the means for writing. I’m hoping that by wording it in this way, you will regard it as one thing, although it sounds like two: paper and pens. And in sufficient quantities to keep me going all year, please. That’ll keep me busy and happy.

Turning to more practical matters, I’d like a big crate of tinned and other food and drink that’ll last, to keep me alive.

Music would be nice – a wide variety of it, including songs to dance to. And maybe the playlist could include some Radio 4 programmes. I particularly like Woman’s Hour, Just a Minute and the News Quiz. Even Desert Island Discs.

And, of course, lots of books to read, starting with all those on my ever-growing to-read list.

This is beginning to sound like a welcome prospect. When can I go?

Author BIO

image001Miriam Drori was born and brought up in London and now lives with her husband and one of three grown up children in Jerusalem.

With a degree in Maths and following careers in computer programming and technical writing, Miriam has been writing novels and short stories for fourteen years. After some success with short stories, Miriam turned her hand to longer fictional works, publishing “Neither Here Nor There” and “The Women Friends: Selina” co-written with Emma Rose Millar.

Miriam’s latest publication is non-fiction and explores the common but little-known disorder called social anxiety, which has been her companion for most of her life. It looks at social anxiety from different points of view, with the help of many quotes from ‘sufferers’ who agreed for their words to be used anonymously. The book has been highly recommended by ‘sufferers’ as well as professionals in this field.

When not writing, Miriam enjoys reading, hiking, dancing and travelling.

Miriam Drori can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Wattpad and on her website/blog and social anxiety blog.


Neither Here Nor There, a romance set in Jerusalem.

The Women Friends: Selina, historical fiction based on a painting by Klimt.

Social Anxiety Revealed


Posted in Writing


As a huge fan of Sheryl’s I’m super excited to be joining this blog blitz…


The Babysitter: A gripping psychological thriller with edge of your seat suspense

You trust her with your family. Would you trust her with your life?

Mark and Melissa Cain are thrilled to have found Jade, a babysitter who is brilliant with their young children. Having seen her own house burn to the ground, Jade needs them as much as they need her. Moving Jade into the family home can only be a good thing, can’t it?

As Mark works long hours as a police officer and Melissa struggles with running a business, the family become ever more reliant on their babysitter, who is only too happy to help. And as Melissa begins to slip into depression, it’s Jade who is left picking up the pieces.

But Mark soon notices things aren’t quite as they seem. Things at home feel wrong, and as Mark begins to investigate their seemingly perfect sitter, what he discovers shocks him to his core. He’s met Jade before. And now he suspects he might know what she wants …

Mark is in a race against time to protect his family. But what will he find as he goes back to his family home?

If you loved reading The Girl on the Train, Behind Closed Doors and The Sister, you’ll love the suspense of The Babysitter. This unputdownable read will have you turning the pages until way after dark.


Sheryl Browne has delivered yet another fabulous nail biting read. What is interesting about this story is that unlike her previous thrillers, this time we actually get inside the head of the incredibly evil young woman who owns the title of this book. We learn her motives and see exactly how she means to achieve her goals, acting with an icy callousness common to those with psychopathic tendencies.

She is someone whose actions have been triggered by events experienced as a child long ago. A traumatic event and the first time she met DI Mark Cain. He said he’d always be there for her and she hasn’t forgotten that promise. Now an adult, she has recently moved in opposite Mark and his family.  When her cottage is badly damaged by fire they come to Jade’s aid. As she has no relatives they offer to put her up while the insurance is being sorted.  Jade tells them she is trained in child care and offers to help Mark’s wife Melissa, looking after the children while she works.

On the surface Jade is perfect. She’s pretty, competent; nothing it appears is too much for her to cope with.   Her arrival seems to have come at the right time as Mel suddenly begins to feel unwell, leaving her with the day to day responsibilities for seven year old Poppy and baby Evie. Mark too is affected as Mel’s depression and lack of energy worsens and begins to have an adverse impact on his job.

I was amazed at how cleverly Jade manipulated everyone around her, creating massive cracks in the Cain’s previously idyllic marriage.  Even when things don’t quite go to plan, she’s there, finding ways around the problem to get her back on track.

And poor Mark, like all Sheryl’s previous central male characters he comes under incredible pressure as he battles to save both his marriage and his job. There were times I wondered how or even whether he’d survive.

Jade is a thoroughly nasty character, complex and damaged.  She’s one jump ahead of everyone in her twisted plan to get rid of Mel and have Mark for herself.  She’s on a mission and absolutely nothing is going to stand in her way.

An edge of the seat story, cleverly written with great characters  – Jade was an absolute masterpiece!


unnamed (1)Sheryl Browne brings you powerful psychological thriller and contemporary fiction. SheryI’s latest psychological thriller THE BABYSITTER – the first of a three-book deal – comes to you from fabulous BOOKOUTURE. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association and the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and previously writing for award winning Choc Lit, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing.

So why does Sheryl write in two genres? Quoting E. L. Doctorow, Sheryl says: “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights…” This she thinks sums up a writer’s journey, you never quite know where you are going until you get there. You might start with an outline, but a strong character will always divert from the plot. If Sheryl’s not sure where a character is going, she simply has to trust him to show her the way. Plus, according to one reviewer, she also has a scary insight into the mind of a psychopath.

Please do find out more about Sheryl at
and Twitter



Posted in Writing

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Skydiving Instructor ANDY GUEST who has just published his autobiography TYPE T.

28577300_10156269217318408_2505589770508304384_nToday I’m chatting to author Andy Guest who has just published his autobiography – Type T.  Quoting from the blurb ‘Type T is a true and compelling account of Andy’s testosterone-fuelled escapades, where not everything goes to plan. It’s a tale of the strength of the human mind when it steps outside the comfort zone.’

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

Good morning, Jo. Thank you for having me. Well, I’m just an average person who at the tender age of eighteen decided I wanted a life of adventures, and who realised in order to make it happen I would have to step outside my comfort zone. I hoped, in doing so, that I would perhaps learn more about myself, which I did. Adventures aside, I’m married to Alison and I’m a father of two sons who have their parents’ genes, so it came as no surprise to see their adventurous and competitive spirits surface. I live in Devon, a stone’s throw from the drop zone at Dunkesewell, where I spend most of my time jumping from aeroplanes as a skydiving instructor.

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

Many years ago my brother was interviewing my father about his experiences as a Malayan police officer fighting in the jungles, with the idea of writing a book about him, but sadly my father passed away before it was completed. It was only after I heard some of the stories that it struck me there was a part of my father I never knew, and my sons would never know. So, by writing my autobiography, future generations of my family will know something about me. I was spurred on by friends who, after hearing about my experiences, found them fascinating and urged me to write about them.

How did you find the writing process? Which parts were the easiest and the most difficult for you?

I’m extremely grateful that I was introduced to an editor who opened my eyes to the writing world and showed me the ropes. Once I got started, writing about most of my experiences was easy… I just viewed the images in my mind and transferred the stories onto paper. One story in particular was extremely difficult to write about, though. I had buried a lot of emotional stuff deep inside me and had put up a barrier as a way of dealing with it. Allowing that barrier to drop and letting those emotions resurface was painful, but the story had to be told as it had such an impact on my life.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about writing their own memoir or autobiography?

There’s no point in writing an autobiography if you’re not going to be honest. People will see through any lies so stick to the facts and remember that none of us are perfect. I wrote my book in the present tense, so the readers will feel they are with me on my journey, and I think it makes the stories come alive on the page. Some things will be difficult to write about but you need to rise up and overcome those difficult moments. Sometimes you may have to step away from the keyboard in order to compose yourself, but it’ll all be worth it in the end. For me, it was actually quite a cathartic process.

Do you have any plans for a second book?

Now I’ve had a taste of writing and enjoyed the experience, I’m certainly toying with the idea and have a few ideas flying around in my head, but I’ll initially take a break and let the ideas grow. While that’s happening I have a lot of marketing to do!

If you were cast away on a desert island, which four things couldn’t you live without?

I’d need an endless supply of tea to help me chill; a fishing line with a hook to entertain and relax me, and to provide food; a pillow (just having that little bit of comfort makes all the difference), and a machete. I’d obviously use it to build things but I could also wave it at an approaching boat and yell,”Get off my land!” if the need arose.

And finally, you are hosting a dinner party and can invite four celebrity guests (dead or alive). Who would you choose and why?

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the explorer, as it be would be fascinating to hear about his adventures. Neil Armstrong, to hear his first hand account of landing on the moon. Douglas Bader, the Spitfire pilot and POW escapee. Wow! What an adventure he had in his life. And finally, Nellie Bly, the American journalist who stepped off the train in New York on 25 January 1890, and into history. She had raced through a “man’s world” in seventy-two days, and it would be fascinating to talk to her.



Join Andy Guest as he reflects on his lust for adventure and recounts the thrilling and often dangerous situations he has faced by living a life on the edge.

Packed with action and sprinkled with humour and emotion, this is an extraordinary story of one man’s quest to understand himself and to release an inner spirit that constantly challenges him.

Andy will take you up – to the clouds, the bridges, the skyscrapers and the mountain tops – in his pursuit of excellence in the world of skydiving and BASE jumping, and lead you from the gruelling Royal Marines training camp in Lympstone to ‘Bandit Country’ in Northern Ireland, and from the horrors of war-torn Afghanistan to the piracy of the open seas.

Type T is a true and compelling account of Andy’s testosterone-fuelled escapades, where not everything goes to plan. It’s a tale of the strength of the human mind when it steps outside the comfort zone.

Amazon :