Posted in Music, Writing

Life Playlists is returning…

After a summer’s break I’m relaunching Life Playlists where invited guests choose five tracks which mean something to them and share the reasons why.  If you’re a writer it’s also an opportunity to promote your work.

In between this I’ll have my own music feature and for this first post the guitar is definitely the star as I choose five of my favourite tracks…

Soft rock group Bread with lead singer David Gates were rarely out of the music charts in the late sixties/early seventies. The Guitar Man, the title track from their 1972 album was a departure from their normal love songs and reached No 16 in September 1972

I first heard Alone Again Or… in the late sixties when it was released by a band called Love featuring Arthur Lee. It was covered in 1987 by The Damned.  However I still think this, the original version, is still the best.


Cream, Blind Faith, the Yardbirds and Derek and the Dominos are just a few of the bands Eric Clapton has played with. He’s also worked with artists like J J Cale and B B King.  And of course, he’s had a solo career.  This from the 1990s is one of my favourite tracks.

American traditional rock band Boston were around in the 1970s and 80s.  I bought their 1978 album Don’t Look Back. Love this track although I think More than a Feeling is probably the one everyone knows best…

Another 1970s band.  Remember being in the car on the way home when this came on the radio.  It marked the arrival of another great guitar band.


And finally, from 1972 Paul Rodgers and Free.  We were about to move house and remember being in the middle of helping pack boxes and hearing this track.  Paul went on to work as lead singer with Queen for a while following Freddie Mercury’s death.

Posted in General, Life Playlists, Life Soundtracks, Music, Writing

Life Playlists: this week I’m hosting blogger Joanne Baird of Portobello Book Blog – who is choosing her five special tracks…

The Voyage – Christy Moore

This was the first dance at our wedding so it has to be included. I don’t think many of the wedding guests had a clue what the song was! We both really like Christy Moore’s music and have been to see him several times in concert. The words of this are particularly appropriate, describing the journey of a relationship.

Zanzibar – Billy Joel

Billy Joel is my all time favourite singer/musician and I’ve been lucky enough to see him three times. I like so many of his songs but have picked this one to show there’s more to his music than Uptown Girl! It has a brilliant trumpet solo in it.

Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen

Surely the ultimate feel-good start of the weekend song? I’m a big fan of Queen and wish I could have seen them live. Freddie Mercury was such a huge talent, a real performer.

Morningtown Ride – The Seekers

This is a song which takes me back to my childhood. Now it came out several years before I was born so I must either have heard it on the radio or maybe my mum sang it to me. I used to sing it to my girls when they were little as a bedtime song and I sing it now to my much younger nieces when they come to stay.

She – Elvis Costello

This is such a beautiful song. I like the particular version because when it’s used near the end of the film Notting Hill, it’s at a part which always makes me smile – any maybe cry a little. It’s also a song which I can play on my flute as part of a small music group and I get a wee solo bit.

About Me

Joanne Baird

I can’t remember not being a reader and always have at least one book on the go. I started my blog, Portobello Book Blog, in April 2015 to share my love of the books I was reading and it’s been great fun. I’m a busy wife and mum to two lovely girls, an avid book reader of course, a nature watcher, a keen cook and baker, always on the go and I love living by the sea.

Twitter Handle – @portybelle

Facebook –

Instagram – @portybelle


Posted in Life Soundtracks, Music, Writing

Life Soundtracks…

Just before Christmas I decided to call it a day with my regular Tuesday Talk blog feature.  It had run for several years with some wonderful guests dropping in to chat, but I felt it was time to do something different.

As I know a lot of fellow writers who love music, I wondered whether this could be the basis for a new promotion feature.  Invited guests would be given the opportunity to promote their latest book or showcase their blog and at the same time choose five music  tracks.  All of their choices had to have some connection to them. It could be a special birthday, first date, wedding day, the birth of a child or even just a moment in their life that particular song reminded them of.  It could even had a connection to their writing – something on a play list, or like me, a song used as a book title. Along with those five tracks they would need to give me the reason behind their choice.  I would be wide open to any particular type of music – Rock, country, folk, classical, the choice would be entirely with them.

Having rustled up enough interest to kick start this feature, today I’m launching it with me as the first ‘guest’.  If anyone with any connection to writing would like to come along to promote their work and share their music I would love to host you. Simply e-mail me at and head your e-mail Life Soundtracks.   Now let’s get down to the music…




As someone who has always loved music and used song titles for many of my books it’s been a really difficult choice.  So many decades, so many brilliant and memorable songs which mean something to me but in the end I managed to whittle it down to these five:

Days – the Kinks

I’d always been close to my maternal grandfather.  On the day of his funeral, in the car, on the way to the church, this came on the radio.  The lyrics said everything.  I still miss him…


Nights in White Satin – The Moody Blues

Justin Hayward was my very first rock star crush. I have been a fan of The Moodies for years and Nights in White Satin still remains one of my all time favourite love songs.


When Tomorrow Comes – The Eurythmics

When Tomorrow Comes was the title of my first published novel back in 2008.  Using song titles for my work seemed to work and everything I’ve written since (with the exception of my second book Love Lies and Promises) can be connected to a music track. It works for me…


Home  – Jack Savoretti

I’ve chosen Jack  simply because I love his music.  His voice is amazing. The older I get the less enthusiastic I’ve become about new music.  But as soon as I heard ‘Home‘ I knew I’d discovered an artist I wanted to hear more of.


I Saw Her Standing There – The Stereophonics

And the fifth and last song.   I really had a tough time making up my mind about this – so many tracks so much choice.  In the end I chose a bit of a mix. It’s rock (which I love), it’s a Beatles song (and they’ve had a huge impact on music over the years) and it’s performed by another of my favourite bands the Stereophonics.  So three for the price of one!  This was taken from a BBC 4 documentary where a collection of artists were brought together at Abbey Road studios to record their versions of tracks from the Beatles’ Please Please Me album.




Wicked Game Cover MEDIUM WEB

Fashion designer Thérèse D’Alesandro has recently moved into Westhead Manor with daughter Felicia and stepson Marco. Joining forces with neighbour Ella Benedict, she is about to open a bridal boutique at Ella’s exclusive wedding venue Lawns at Little Court.

Marco has both the looks and charm to guarantee him any woman.  Any woman, that is, except the one he wants: Ella’s niece Charlotte.  Marco knows he should walk away as not only is she the most exasperating female he has ever encountered she’s currently in a relationship with rock star Christian Rosetti. But the chemistry between them is undeniable and sensing trouble brewing between Charlotte and the egotistical singer he is prepared to wait.

Charlotte’s cousin Lucy has a score to settle with Christian. Determined to get even with the arrogant star, she sets in motion a chain of events which eventually brings Marco and Charlotte together.

Rossana Caravello is due to inherit the one of Italy’s premier vineyards on her twenty first birthday in September. She is invited to stay with the D’Alesandros while her grandfather undergoes heart surgery. Aware the vineyard would make an excellent addition to her husband’s international business portfolio, Thérèse plots to push the young heiress and her stepson together. Rossana is already besotted with Marco, but if her plan is to have any chance of success she needs to get rid of Charlotte…

From rural West Somerset to the glorious rolling landscape of Tuscany and the Italian Lakes, Wicked Game is a story of love, betrayal and deception.


US –

Read on Kindle Unlimited for $0.00

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Jo Lambert lives on the eastern edge of Bath with her husband, one small grey feline called Mollie and a green MGB GT. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors.  She has been writing since 2008. Her first five books, a set of linked romantic sagas following the lives of several families in West Somerset, was followed in 2015 by Summer Moved On, a contemporary romance set in South Devon. A sequel, Watercolours in the Rain followed in 2017,

In June 2018 Jo signed to Choc Lit and her eighth novel, The Boys of Summer, set in North Cornwall will be published in 2019. Jo is currently working on another coastal romance, this time set in South Cornwall.

When she isn’t writing she reads and reviews. She also has an active blog.  Jo loves travel, red wine and rock music and she often takes the odd photograph or two.

Posted in ARCHIVE, Author Promotion, Music, TUESDAY TALK, Writing





How far would you go if someone took your wife?

Especially, if you buried her a week ago.

When Jason Wells is faced with this scenario, he is confronted with the prospect of committing a crime that will have far-reaching consequences.

Can young DC Sally Poynter get through to him before he crosses that line, or does a desperate husband prove to be the case she won’t ever forget?

A prequel novella, set before Shallow Waters, the first in the DI Hannah Robbins series.

For fans of James Patterson’s Book Shots.

Three Weeks Dead – a taster



The grave had been dug out. There had been a strong frost for the last couple of days and the ground had been hard. Difficult to penetrate. Cold and unforgiving.
There was a chill in the air and a light breeze shimmied through the branches of the autumnal trees that surrounded the space, making the leaves whisper their secrets for a moment.
The four people on the ground would have liked to have known those secrets, but they stood there in a respectful silence.
Not many people knew about today. Her husband wasn’t here. He’d had the choice. The group had advised against it.
They’d strongly recommended that he stay away, and he’d listened to their counsel.
It was causing more trouble than anyone thought possible. Unusual, to say the least.
She shivered. A feeling that shook her body from the top of her head down to her feet. It gave her the chills – to be here. To see this. She looked at the other three. She was out of her depth, she knew it, but she wouldn’t allow it to show. She could do this. She had to do this. It was her life now.
A bird flew overhead, screaming down at them. The sky a heavy grey blanket.
The woman on her right spoke. ‘Okay, you can do it.’ She pulled the scarf tighter around her neck to try to keep some warmth in. This was about to get a whole lot creepier.
The man picked up his tool from the ground and inserted it under the lip of the lid, then stopped and stared at them, a look in his eye she didn’t like.
DC Sally Poynter hadn’t yet been on Nottingham’s Major Crime Unit for a month, and this was the first new case that had come in. As the man responsible for unsealing the coffin they were stood over looked panicked, she wished she were somewhere else other than here, this cold grey morning.
‘It’s already been opened.’
‘Lift it up then, let’s see,’ said her DI, Hannah Robbins.
The lid was raised and they all stood there and stared down into the empty coffin of Lisa Wells.


profile-photoRebecca Bradley is a retired police detective and lives in Nottinghamshire with her family and two cockapoo’s Alfie and Lola, who keep her company while she writes. Rebecca needs to drink copious amounts of tea to function throughout the day and if she could, she would survive on a diet of tea and cake while committing murder on a regular basis.




PURCHASE LINKS: This link will take the reader to whichever country of origin Amazon s/he needs to be in.

Posted in Food, John Lennon, Music, Pink Floyd, RNA New Writer's Scheme, Stephen Fry, Stephen King, Writing


DSC01450Welcome to Tuesday Talk Les, first can you tell us a little bit about you…

 Hello Jo, thank you for the invite. I’m pleased to be here. I studied Geography as part of my B.Ed and qualified as a teacher. I’m also a qualified RGN (nurse), but had to leave both behind after having two 13 hour heart operations in a 5 month stay in St.Thomas’ in 2008. After a couple of years of recuperation I decided to give writing a go. I have attended a few retreats in England, France and Italy and slowly picked up the basics of how to approach writing a novel. I’m on the second draft of that as well as editing a flash fiction piece for a competition in November.

I was an avid traveller, having ben to New Zealand three times, Australia and Japan twice and numerous countries in Europe, especially the Nordic countries. I could quite happily live in Finland. I still like travelling but my partner is bored with it and she no longer wishes to, so I go off on my own.

You’re part of the RNA’s New Writer’s Scheme, what made you join and what does this involve?

I attended the Festival of Romance awards weekends in 2012 and 2013, meeting lots of faces to names from Facebook, making a lot of good friends some of whom suggested I apply to the NWS, which I duly did and got on. I have received a lot of good advice, but due to circumstance did not send in my work, so hopefully I will get on next year and will have something ready to send earlier.

Who are your favourite authors and what do you like most about their work?

Favourites include Emily Barr, Haruki Murakami, Donna Tartt, Nick Hornby, Peter James, Lisa Jewell, Matt Dunn and Stephen King. Their ability to continue to write page turners never ceases to amaze me.

You’re a huge Arsenal fan.  Has that been a long term thing?  Have you ever played football yourself?

thFOWH78AL Yes, I have supported Arsenal all my life, it runs in the family. My mother and I were season ticket holders at Highbury in the 70’s and I am now a silver member which enables me to get match day tickets if I so wish and can afford, which is not often. I did play football to the age of 16 when I dislocated my kneecap which put paid to that. I had a trial with Southampton when I was 14.

You’re obviously a great foodie. What are your favourite dishes.  Do you cook at home?

Food plays a big part in my life. My mother was a trained chef and I learnt from her at an early age. I do all the cooking, I find it relaxing and see it as an artform, something to be created.  I love cooking any chicken dish and attempting all kinds of fish dishes. I also love baking, making all our bread and cakes for residents meetings.

Like me you’re a music lover.  Who are your favourite artists? Did you ever play in a band?

2e7985cc610dc9c95798db7884e401d1 Music lover is an understatement. Having been taken to see The Beatles twice by my parents I have loved music ever thDUKXYGJ5since. I have a collection of well over 40K and love to keep bang up to date with the continual changing trends in music. Amongst staunch favourites are The Smiths, Pink Floyd, Laura Marling, The Beatles, John Grant, Bombay Bicycle Cub, Tom Waits, Sigur Ros, Roxy Music and Coldplay.

I never played in a band but learnt the piano as a youngster.

And lastly, you are having a dinner party for four celebs.  What would be on the menu and who would you invite?

Starter of tomatoes and avocado with a lemon dressing;  main would be Sea Bass with samphire, Jersey royals and green beans or ratatouille for vegetarians. Desert (not my forte) a fresh fruit salad with ice-cream or cream. A selection of good thG79KZ4YJwine, mineral water and fruit juice for non-drinkers.

Invitations go to Sylvia Plath, John Lennon, Alan Bennett and Stephen Fry. Should make for an interesting evening.

You can catch up with Les on Facebook (Les Moriarty) and Twitter (@lesLondon).  His website, he tells me, is currently a WIP.