Posted in Contemporary Romance, Cornwall, Costal Romance, Devon, Lost Lights, Norfolk, Walking, work in progress, Writing

January Update…

Well here we are, 1st of Feb already. One whole month of 2021 gone.

Like most people, we had a quiet Christmas. Taking down the decorations on 12th Night, it left me wondering what it was all about.  Our usual trip to do some of our Christmas present shopping in either Salisbury or Winchester was postponed, everything bought on line instead. Our pre-Christmas meets with friends for lunch or a drink; our New Year’s Eve plans, cooking for friends at home. All of this cancelled. We didn’t even get the bubbly out while Jools Holland’s Hootenanny welcomed in the New Year with excerpts of past programmes. In fact during the Christmas period I kept looking at the decorations and the cards and feeling everything was somehow out of kilter. As if I had made a mistake and decorated at the wrong time of year. This wasn’t Christmas; it didn’t feel like Christmas. It was like decorating a room for a party that no one was going to turn up to.

One thing I have noticed on our walks during January is that some people have decided to keep their Christmas garden lights going. I think this is a great idea, providing a bit of cheer during the month, which has mostly been dull and wet. I have to say even under normal circumstances, for me it’s the worst thirty one days of the year and I can’t wait to see it gone.

When the decorations were eventually packed back into their boxes, one question still remained. Where was the new set of lights we’d bought last year? In October 2019  we bought a new set of lights. We used them to illuminate the inside of a large lantern in the lounge. During Christmas 2019 we moved them onto the mantlepiece. When the decorations came down, I remember putting them back into the lantern. That meant they didn’t get packed away in the loft.  In February 2020 I bought a large candle for the lantern,  took the lights out and re-boxed them. Our house is obviously in some sort of UK Bermuda Triangle, because we turned every drawer and cupboard out pre-Christmas 2020 and could not find any trace of them.  We still have hopes we’ll discover them, probably in the last place we ever thought of looking.

The one thing I have missed most during all three of our lockdowns is people, as I am sure most of you have. Social media is great but it is in no way a great substitute for actually being with people. Last summer, some weekends we spent time in friend’s gardens (and our own) for a socially distanced drink. It was allowed then, although not indoors. I’m hoping when they begin relaxing the rules that we will be able to do that again. It may be baby steps back to normality, but spending time with friends and family is so important.

Holidays too, are in limbo at the moment. We have a break in Norfolk booked for mid-May. It’s roll over booking from last year when Covid and the first lockdown scuppered our vacation plans. Not sure whether we’ll lose it second time around. Currently it’s all in the lap of the gods –  and whatever decisions Boris decides to make.  In the meantime, where possible, we have been continuing our daily walks for exercise and fresh air.  It’s all about keeping going, making the best of things and staying positive.

 

 

 

BOOK NEWS

I have just reached 53,000 words. As a writer of larger books (120,000 – 135,000 words) there still seems a long way to go. Certainly as far as the plot is concerned, the journey is no where near its end.  So at this moment in time I’m not even attempting to predict the final word count.  At the very beginning there was a slow start when I reused part of an already written manuscript. A bit like unpicking knitting; time consuming and laborious, but looking at the story so far, I know I made the right decision to re-use it. Currently I’m in completely new territory where the writing is averaging 1500 words a day and the word count is mounting up very quickly.  I’m working towards (fingers crossed) a publication date some time in June.

 

Well that’s all for this month. I will be  back again at the end of February.  I hope by the time I post again, there will be a glimmer of light at the end of this very long tunnel.  In the meantime, take care and stay safe everyone.

 

Jo x

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Cornwall, Cornwall, Costal Romance, Writing, Writing Journey

NOVEMBER UPDATE

How did we get to 30th November so fast? It’s a really strange phenomenon that during 2020 it’s been a quieter year for me and yet I seem to have more to do.  The arrival of this month saw the annual clock change in late October. For a while we had lighter mornings, but for a good part of last week waking up to fog and unable to see across the valley, has made it feel as if we’re getting up in the middle of the night.  I remember when I was working, that the last week in January was the time when I walked home from the bus stop in dusk rather than dark.  So I measure the beginning of a move back to lighter evenings by that time.

I guess the one big event during November was the arrival of my new computer.  My old one had given me just over ten years of good use, albeit with several changes of keyboard and monitors.  A bit like Trigger’s broom on Only Fools and Horses with 17 new heads and 14 new handles!  I looked at all in ones and was tempted, but eventually opted for another, smaller tower, new 24″ monitor and a good quality keyboard. As a touch typist I’ve got through a load of these in ten years. Usually the I went first, then the E, S and L.  It seems to me that keyboards aren’t meant to last. During my working life the letters on the office computer kreyboards I used were more robust and didn’t wear off after a few months use as they do today. Yes, I know, maybe I should have splashed out a bit more money, but even the more expensive keyboard I’m now using doesn’t feel as if it will be any more durable. I guess only time will tell.  Oh, and almost forgot, I also have a camera, where previously I had to use my husband’s laptop in order to use Skype to catch up with friends and relatives.  All in all, three weeks into the use of this new computer set up, and I’m really pleased with my purchase. 

On the 3rd of November we had our last Tuesday lunch out before Lockdown No 2.  We had been eating out since early July when we came out of the first lockdown, keeping out of the city and visiting pubs in the surrounding villages instead.  All the pubs we’ve been to have observed strict hygiene rules and we never once felt compromised.  Some of the those we used to visit still have yet to reopen, opting for a takeaway service instead. Coming out of lockdown No 2 this week, we will be in a Tier 2 area instead of 1, as we were previously.  This has seen us having to cancel a planned lunch out with friends. Christmas certainly is going to be different this year!

I hope having to  make these sacrifices will get us all safely to the time when the vaccine becomes available and life gets back to some form of normality.  It’s easy to tell yourself that you don’t know of anyone who has had Covid and to query whether it’s actually as bad as everyone says. Or whether, as some believe, it’s only people in towns and cities who get it. Hand on heart I’d only heard of cases through friends of friends. And then two weeks ago my best friend called me to say her son had a temperature and was self-isolating. His Covid test came back positive but thankfully he has come through the whole episode safely.  It certainly goes to bring home the fact that it is out there and you can become infected when you least expect it.

And finally where am I with my writing? Well everything is going well at the moment. Happy to say writing mojo has made a reappearance. At the moment I’m trying to balance working on book 10 with reading and reviewing, which I’ve been doing throughout the year. I have to say there have been some amazing new titles during 2020 and I’ve currently earned my ‘100’ badge from Netgalley.  However, despite having a huge appetite for other authors’ work, I haven’t lost sight of the fact that my own writing is as important.  I’m hoping for a late spring publication with this, the second part of the Cornish Estuary trilogy. Currently working hard and pushing forward with it. Wish me luck.

And so, that’s about it for the month. See you all at the end of December when I’ll be looking back at the year and my memories of 2020.

Best wishes

Jo xx

 

WEST COUNTRY ROMANTIC SUSPENSE AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

 

Posted in Contemporary Romance, Cornwall, Costal Romance, Muder, Mystery, Romance, Writing

An Italian Affair…

As a holiday destination Italy always been one of my favourite countries to visit.  The people, the history, the food,  the pace of life, the weather, and so many amazing places to explore.

I have a close affinity with water and boats – Dartmouth and Fowey being two of my favourite UK holiday destinations.  So it’s not surprising when I arrived in Garda in 2001 for a week’s holiday, I was totally smitten.  I’ve been back twice since then.  Another stay in Garda and then across the water to Desenzano, the biggest town on the lake with its rail link to Milan and main ferry terminal.

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Hotel Villa Rosa, Desenzano

When I began to develop the plot for A Cornish Affair, I needed my heroine Cat’s father Ruan to have two long term friends who would become key players in this story. So I created Gareth Hunter who like Ruan had been born and raised in Carrenporth and Étienne Di Marco. Étienne and Ruan had met at university.  Both from hotel owning families, they became good friends and over the years kept in touch.  Half French-half Italian, Étienne now owned the Casa D’Oro hotel group and was based at their flagship hotel Fiore Del Lago on Lake Garda.  The creation of this character and his hotel was helped by the fact we had recently stayed in Desenzano at the Hotel Villa Rosa and I was so taken with this beautiful hotel, I  used it as inspiration for Fiore Del Lago.

But it wasn’t only the hotel. The lake is one of the most relaxing and atmospheric places I’ve visited so taking Cat there to work for Étienne was like going on holiday without leaving home!

 

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If you’d like a trip to the Italian Lakes to join Cat in Desenzano,  A Cornish Affair is one of four books currently on offer as part of an Italian Summer Sale. You can buy on Kobo, Kindle and Apple.  And at just 99p for the e-book version it’s  una grande offerta.  The sale ends midnight on 17th July

Even in your hometown, you can feel like an outsider …

In the close-knit community of Carrenporth in Cornwall everyone knows everyone else’s business. Luke Carrack is only too aware of this. He’s been away for two years but nothing has changed – from the town gossips who can’t see past the scandal of his childhood, to the cold way he is treated by some of his so-called family.
The only person who seems to understand is local hotelier’s daughter Cat Trevelyan, although even Luke’s new friendship with her could set tongues wagging.
But Carrenporth is about to experience far bigger scandals than the return of Luke Carrack – and the secrets unearthed in the process will shake the sleepy seaside town to its core …

📚 https://amzn.to/31EQfMH
🔊 https://amzn.to/2XkRPnA

Posted in Author Promotion, Choc Lit, Contemporary Romance, Cornwall, Cornwall, Costal Romance, Murder, Mystery, Writing, Writing Journey

A Cornish Affair – Meet Emelia Trevelyan

Day three and it’s Great Aunt Em’s turn under the spotlight.

If ever there was a character I loved creating it was Emelia Trevelyan – ‘call me Em’.  On the surface she is a strong willed, cantankerous elderly woman. Rules simply do not apply to her.  As the story begins she is a member of a group of elderly women ‘The Gossip Girls’  from the village who create mayhem wherever they go.  But scratch the surface and you will find a completely different character.  She is incredibly lonely after losing her brother Gerren and his wife Jenna.  A year ago they handed the hotel over to their son, Em’s nephew Ruan, and left for retirement in France.  Em has never married. She spent her early years living at the Tarwin House Hotel and then when her parents died she inherited Caer Gwyn a circular white house set on a small promontory  a quarter of a mile away.  When Gerren told her about their plans to move to France, she hoped she might be a part of it.  Unfortunately she wasn’t.  Realising how much she missed their company, Ruan invited her back to live at the hotel; to be part of his family.  Unfortunately Em couldn’t help interfering in the day to day running of Tarwin House and Ruan was constantly having to speak to her.  Feeling more and more isolated, when Rosalind Myers, self styled leader of the Gossip Girls, offered her the opportunity to join their group, Em was delighted.  Her action in bringing them into the hotel and letting them snoop around the family’s private apartments saw Ruan sending her straight to back Caer Gwyn.

Gradually Em began to recognise how damaging Rosalind and her cronies’ actions were, but breaking away from them was difficult.  Being a part of the group appeared to be the lesser of the two evils. The alternative was a lonely life with her housekeeper and Hamish her West Highland terrier.  Things eventually came to a head one morning outside the town’s small supermarket where she was rescued by Nathan and Cat.  And it was Cat who came up with an idea which would channel Em’s energies in a different direction and give her a new purpose in life.

Em is, of course, pivotal to one of the most important parts of the book, as witness to a murder, but you will have to read A Cornish Affair to discover how she becomes involved…

  

A CORNISH AFFAIR

 

Even in your hometown, you can feel like an outsider …

In the close-knit community of Carrenporth in Cornwall everyone knows everyone else’s business. Luke Carrack is only too aware of this. He’s been away for two years but nothing has changed – from the town gossips who can’t see past the scandal of his childhood, to the cold way he is treated by some of his so-called family.
The only person who seems to understand is local hotelier’s daughter Cat Trevelyan, although even Luke’s new friendship with her could set tongues wagging.
But Carrenporth is about to experience far bigger scandals than the return of Luke Carrack – and the secrets unearthed in the process will shake the sleepy seaside town to its core …

Amazon Buy Links

📚 https://amzn.to/31EQfMH
🔊 https://amzn.to/2XkRPnA

Also available on Amazon : Kobo : Nook: Google Play and Apple iBook Store

Posted in Author Promotion, Choc Lit, Contemporary Romance, Cornwall, Cornwall, Costal Romance, Murder, Mystery, Writing, Writing Journey

A Cornish Affair – Meet Luke Carrack

Day two and it’s Luke’s turn under the spotlight.

It’s hard to imagine that when I began writing this book Luke was set up to be the villain.  After all with his disadvantaged background he definitely has the makings of an anti-hero.  However, right from the start, casting Luke as the bad guy simply didn’t work. So I sat down and did some reworking of the plot and turned him into the book’s hero instead.

As I said above, Luke came from a disadvantaged background.  His mother Selina, the daughter of a wealthy local family, was a wild child of the 80s who got herself pregnant by one of her father’s employees.  He left the area before he knew her situation and never returned.  Eighteen year old Selina, always the rebel, left home and secretly married Ross Carrick, one of Carrenporth’s fishermen. Ross was ten years older than Selina, but he’d always loved her, even though he felt she was out of reach and all they had was friendship.  When Luke was born he took Ross’s surname.  For a few years his childhood was a happy one, despite being ostracised by his mother’s family and most of Carrenporth.  Then when he was fourteen tragedy struck. Ross’s trawler sank with all hands on board off the Scilly Isles.  Selina, never a strong character could not cope and took refuge in drink.  Within in year she too was dead.  Much to everyone’s surprise Selina’s brother Gareth who now owned the family business, stepped in to give Luke a home and educate him. This angered his social climbing wife Evie who felt Selina’s son had no place in their home, living alongside her own son Jordan.  While Jordan exhibited all the traits of an overindulged layabout, Luke achieved good school grades and worked for Gareth for a while before going on to university.  After successfully completing his degree he left to travel for a couple of years with a promise to come back and work for his uncle.  Now he’s returned to a place that has changed very little since his departure. A large portion of this small minded community still view him as Selina Hunter’s illegitimate son and his aunt still detests him. But Gareth, impressed by his nephew’s work ethic,  is about to reward him. And the job he has in mind is set to stir up even more hate and resentment from Evie and Jordan…

 

A CORNISH AFFAIR

 

Even in your hometown, you can feel like an outsider …

In the close-knit community of Carrenporth in Cornwall everyone knows everyone else’s business. Luke Carrack is only too aware of this. He’s been away for two years but nothing has changed – from the town gossips who can’t see past the scandal of his childhood, to the cold way he is treated by some of his so-called family.
The only person who seems to understand is local hotelier’s daughter Cat Trevelyan, although even Luke’s new friendship with her could set tongues wagging.
But Carrenporth is about to experience far bigger scandals than the return of Luke Carrack – and the secrets unearthed in the process will shake the sleepy seaside town to its core …

Amazon Buy Links

📚 https://amzn.to/31EQfMH
🔊 https://amzn.to/2XkRPnA

Also available on Amazon : Kobo : Nook: Google Play and Apple iBook Store

Posted in Author Promotion, Choc Lit, Contemporary Romance, Cornwall, Cornwall, Costal Romance, Murder, Mystery, Writing, Writing Journey

A Cornish Affair – Meet Cat Trevelyan

As I’m away for a few days, I thought I’d introduce three of the main characters from my current novel.

Today it’s Cat Trevelyan’s turn.  She is the central female character and the story is mainly narrated from her viewpoint.  Together with her twin brother Nathan she is the fourth generation of the Trevelyan family to make a career in the hotel business.

The Tarwin House Hotel sits on the cliffs overlooking the fishing port of Carrenporth on the North Coast of Cornwall just to the south of Newquay.  It was originally built by Cat’s ancestor Jago Menhenick in the 1800s as a monument to his successful businesses in copper and tin.  It remained the family’s home until her great grandfather Edgar decided to open it as a hotel.  Over the years it has been gradually extended and is now run by Cat and Nathan’s father Ruan Trevelyan.

Nathan works as the hotel’s deputy manager and also runs the basement nightclub Ship2Shore while Cat is an events planner in charge of the hotel’s functions suite.  She’s hard working, a bit of a perfectionist and maybe even a little too work focussed at times. Rarely having time for dating, she enjoys her single life, mostly girls’ evenings out with her best friend Jodie Penwarne.  She’s close to her father and has a soft spot for her difficult Great Aunt Emelia.  She can also be a bit prickly at times and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. As Luke tells her during one of their spats ‘…you need to cut yourself some slack when you’re off duty, Cat. Who knows, there might be a real nice girl lurking under all that spit and fur.’

Cat’s first meeting with Luke Carrack does not go well. She sees him as an arrogant know all and tries to avoid him as much as possible.  However he seems to regularly turn up in the most unexpected places, always making her feel irritable and angry. But when things go wrong at a wedding reception where he’s a guest, through his actions she begin to see him in a completely different light.  Of course it would be too easy to let the course of true love run smoothly.  Once they get together are a tremendous amount of obstacles these two have ahead of them….but you’ll have to read the book to discover what happens and whether they get their happy ending.

 

A CORNISH AFFAIR

 

Even in your hometown, you can feel like an outsider …

In the close-knit community of Carrenporth in Cornwall everyone knows everyone else’s business. Luke Carrack is only too aware of this. He’s been away for two years but nothing has changed – from the town gossips who can’t see past the scandal of his childhood, to the cold way he is treated by some of his so-called family.
The only person who seems to understand is local hotelier’s daughter Cat Trevelyan, although even Luke’s new friendship with her could set tongues wagging.
But Carrenporth is about to experience far bigger scandals than the return of Luke Carrack – and the secrets unearthed in the process will shake the sleepy seaside town to its core …

Amazon Buy Links

📚 https://amzn.to/31EQfMH
🔊 https://amzn.to/2XkRPnA

Also available on Amazon : Kobo : Nook: Google Play and Apple iBook Store