June 2016 ~ Prescott (ON) Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market

June 2016

My first month at the market (not even a full month – only 3 Saturdays) was a success so I looked forward to June 2016 and what it would bring.

June 4 – our first outing with the tent we had to buy after the previous weekend when the one corner jammed… Back-up Blue I call this one. Not nearly as sturdy as “Wonderful White” but at least all 4 legs work and this one has a side panel.

June 2016

June 2016

I love the spots on this side of the market where you can drive through. The vehicle is handy and all of the totes I cart stuff to and fro in can be stowed in the trunk and out of sight rather than have them on the pavement under the table.

When the panel is on the back side of the tent, I have to lock the car because I can’t see it, but I keep my keys on one of the hooks on my bag tree so if needs must, I can get into the car as and when.

So on this Saturday, I sold 1 copy of Tim’s Magic Christmas, 1 copy of The Secret of Hillcrest House and 2 copies of A Shadow in the Past.

June 11 – This Saturday was an exercise in creative ways to keep dry. It was cloudy when we unloaded and set up (you’ll notice the panel is on the side not the back this week).

June 2016

Unfortunately, about an hour later, the rains came down.

Tables pulled further into the tent. Plastic drop sheet over the tables and books.

Then the rain stopped so the drop cloth came off – wet and dirty around the edges. If the rain didn’t start up again shortly after that. Well, I couldn’t put a wet, dirty drop cloth over the books so I moved all of them to one end of the table and hung the drop cloth from the canopy leaving a “doorway” into the tent so people could still come in and browse. It kept the books dry which was the main thing.

June 2016

Because of the bad weather there weren’t many people out and about. I had also said that I wouldn’t be there if it rained but when it wasn’t when we left the house and didn’t start until later, I was committed. At least the rain stopped when it was time to tear down and call it a day.

I sold 1 copy of The Secret of Hillcrest House but like I said, no one was out and about. Even the vendors were few and far between.

June 18 – Wonderful White was back in service this week. The parts we ordered had come in and she was reassembled. The drive-through spots were few and far between thanks to construction in the parking lot but, I managed to get a spot on the side I like. It meant unloading then moving the car and backing into the spot behind the tent but that’s a minor detail in the grand scheme of things.

I used the side panel from “Backup Blue” and put it silver side in and tried a different layout with my tables. Still an L shape but a more inviting one … I think so anyway.

June 2016 IMG_1945 1280x1479

I didn’t have my hat this week so tried to stay under the canopy where it was shaded rather than out and about in the sun. My story is the bear wouldn’t give it back to me. She’s my hat rack, you see … LOL!

June 2016

When the day was over, I sold 1 copy of Tim’s Magic Christmas, 1 copy of The Secret of Hillcrest House and 1 copy of A Shadow in the Past.

June 25 – This week there was some big ‘do’ going on in the parking lot for the town of Prescott so it was a bit crowded. Still got my drive through parking space but the back end of the car shared space under the canopy. The back half of the parking lot was roped off, a huge marquis set up and stacks and stacks of tables and chairs.

There were even two porta-potties and a hand wash station but they weren’t there for the benefit of the market vendors. They were brought in for the party later. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t use them.

June 2016

Table still laid out in the inverted L this week and the panel up on the side. I brought my poster board for Hillcrest House with the cut out windows and lights but ended up having to take it down because it was just windy enough that the foam core board kept blowing over.

June 2016

Even while the market was still going on, the volunteers had arrived and started setting up tables. One by one as the vendors left, their stalls were filled with tables!

Being a stubborn sort (I hear you gasp in surprise), I decided when it was time to tear down, I was going to go as slooooooowly as possible. And so I did. Tables, chairs and another tent were set up around my stall. When everything was packed and loaded, I had to back under the tent they had set up in front of the centre court to get out of the parking lot.

When all was said and done, I sold 1 copy of The Consequences Collection, 1 copy of The Secret of Hillcrest House and 1 copy of A Shadow in the Past.

In the seven weeks that I’ve been going to the Prescott Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market, these are my results…

  • 4 copies of The Consequences Collection
  • 1 copy of Tim’s Magic Christmas
  • 6 copies of The Secret of Hillcrest House

and

  • 6 copies of A Shadow in the Past

I’m looking forward to July and August to see what they will bring!

 

STORM CHILD by Sharon Sant #YA #fantasy #Excerpt #giveaway

storm child

Storm Child

by

Sharon Sant

storm child

Genre: YA FANTASY

Release Date: 21ST April 2016

Publisher: Lightfoot Press

In a Victorian era where the industrial revolution has been replaced by superstition and magic, Britain is a place where wolves roam freely and children with magic are snatched from the streets. This is home for thirteen-year-old witch, Annie and her baby sister, Georgina. When their mother dies, Annie and Georgina find themselves saved from the workhouse by the mysterious Ernesto Black. But Black’s motives are far from pure and soon Annie faces new, even more dangerous threats. What does Ernesto want from Georgina? And can Annie trust the other teenagers living with Ernesto: Polly, who has her eye fixed firmly on inheriting Ernesto’s fortune and will do anything to make sure she gets it, and the charming Isaac, who would do anything to win Polly’s affections – legal or not.

Fearing for Georgina’s safety, Annie is faced with a terrible choice: she can try to guard her sister from the ever-present threat of Ernesto, or she can leave the child out in the wilds of the New Forest in the hope she’ll be found and taken in by a new family, ignorant of her powers. Annie chooses to leave Georgina’s future to chance and steals her away from Ernesto’s house in the dead of night.

But Annie’s troubles are far from over as her actions set in motion a chain of events that will take her and Georgina into danger she could never imagine. This danger drags country girl, Charlotte Harding into the fray and threatens every one of the teenagers, and it leads them right into the heart of the powerful organisation responsible for the assassination of Queen Victoria, an organisation that wants only one thing: Hell on Earth – quite literally…

FROM THE BEST SELLING AUTHOR OF THE MEMORY GAME AND THE SKY SONG TRILOGY, STORM CHILD IS BOOK ONE OF THE STORM CHILD TRILOGY.

Excerpt

The basket the girl carried was almost as large as her and she gasped as she stumbled, nearly dropping it.  It had been dragged on a stolen handcart along dark, silent roads until she reached the edge of the heath. The cart was useless on the dense undergrowth here and now she walked with her precious cargo, crooning to it as she laboured under its weight.

Biting back tears, she took one last look around.  Her gaze returned to the lights of the tiny house.  Was this close enough?  Would the basket be found?  What would happen if it wasn’t?  But the girl had no choice.  The alternative was a fate far, far worse.

She opened her mouth and clear, high notes rang out across the darkened terrain.  A few moments passed, the girl singing in the darkness, until a shadow appeared on the horizon and crept towards her.  The wolf approached and bowed its head.

‘Thank you,’ the girl said.  ‘You will protect her until she is claimed.  After that, your will is your own again.’

The wolf stared at the girl, as if in a trance.  Then it sat next to the basket and turned its eyes to the heath.

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ABOUT SHARON SANT

storm child

Sharon Sant was born in Dorset but now lives in Staffordshire. Aged eight she wrote a poem about ET, which received the ultimate praise of being pinned onto the classroom wall, and from that moment on she knew she’d never stop writing. She graduated from Staffordshire University in 2009 with a degree in English and creative writing. She currently works part time as a freelance editor and continues to write her own stories. An avid reader with eclectic tastes across many genres, when not busy trying in vain to be a domestic goddess, she can often be found lurking in local coffee shops with her head in a book. Sometimes she pretends to be clever but really loves nothing more than watching geeky TV and eating Pringles.

Young adult novels Sky Song, The Young Moon and Not of Our Sky (the Sky Song trilogy), The Memory Game and Runners were all released in 2013 to glowing reviews. Dead Girl Walking followed in 2015 and she has a new trilogy planned for 2016, the first book of which, Storm Child, is due for release in April.

Sharon also writes children’s fiction under the name of Summer Hopkiss.
To find out more you can follow her on twitter where she’s always happy to chat: @sharonsant or find her on facebook. You can also go to her website: www.sharonsant.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sharonjsant/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SharonSant

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6888220.Sharon_Sant

Blog: www.sharonsant.com

Website: www.sharonsant.com

 

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ONCE AND FUTURE WIFE by David Burnett #guestpost #giveaway

future wife

Once and Future Wife

by

David Burnett

 

future wife

Genre: Romance

Release Date: June 1 (May 1 in paperback)

Jennie Bateman has again fallen in love with Thomas, her former husband. However, Tasha, one of his children, is determined to destroy their relationship. Jennie had done that herself a number of years earlier. In the midst of a manic episode, she had deserted Thomas and their two daughters, choosing, instead, a life of shameless debauchery.

Perhaps she was shocked when Thomas filed for a divorce. Perhaps it was the influence of a preacher who took an interest in her. Perhaps she simply cycled back toward normal. Whatever the cause, years later, when she again made contact with her family, she was a different person. Even so, they wanted nothing to do with her.

But time moves on. Circumstances change.

Thomas’s second wife has died, leaving him a single parent with four adult daughters and a new-born. In Jennie’s eyes, he is the same good-looking, kind, loving person she had fallen for when they were in college.

In Once and Future Wife we follow Jennie as she goes a second round with her demons, hoping to find a way to stop them from destroying the possibility of a second marriage and the love and happiness that finally seem to be within her reach.

 

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**********

GUEST POST

Elements of a Story

Many elements come together to make a successful story. To me, four stand out as being of great importance.

Conception

“Where did you get the idea for your book?”

It has been said that every story is a variation on one of no more than thirty-six unique plot lines. This might well be true, but I know my stories do not begin with a perusal of the options!

I find this question to be a tough one, because I seldom can give an exact answer as to what gave rise to my particular variation on one of those plots. My stories do not begin with a plot but with my life experiences, with events that I hear about from others, with stories I see in the newspaper or on television. I’ve never taken a story directly from any of these, although my life experiences and other real events often appear in my books.

For example, I have read that one of my ancestors, Sarah Proctor, arrived in the US on board a ship that sailed from Belfast. It cast anchor in Charleston harbor on Christmas Eve, seventeen sixty-six. Sarah and her family were given land in the colony, tools, seed, and transportation to their new home because they had arrived under a program designed for “poor Protestant immigrants.”

If I were going to write a story, I would begin by imagining what might have happened to her. I know that , several years later, Sarah married George Adams. How might she have met her future husband? Why did they fall in love? Did they fall in love? What complications might have arisen to complicate their relationship?

Maybe instead of a story of how the two fell in love, it would be one of how their love survived some traumatic event, the American Revolution, perhaps.

As I would consider Sarah, various possible stories would emerge. As I begin to write, I need not know the entire story. In fact, I don’t want to know all of it. Creativity does not stop when writing begins, and I want to be able to incorporate new characters, new twists in the story that are triggered as the story takes shape.

In other posts I have explained the process of designing a story with a passage from the Second Chance Café.

The author writes of a young woman who weaves beautiful scarves. They sell in upscale stores around the country and are often seen wrapped around the bodies of movie stars and celebrities. Each scarf is unique. How does she decide on the colors, the pattern, for a new scarf?

“I don’t know how you do that,” her father said, looking at the collection (of yarn) she held and shaking his head.

Honestly, neither did she. To this day, she could not explain how the colors came together in her mind. How one flowed into another as she sat at her loom. How the different strands of story became a whole. “I just see it. I don’t know where it comes from. Any of it. It’s just there.”

This is how it is with writing. The author doesn’t know where the specific events come from. Any of them. The author begins to write − and they’re just there.

Commencement

We often use the word commencement to mean graduation and we think in terms completing school. Commencement also means the beginning, and it is in this sense that I’m using it here.

The inciting incident is not always the first event in the story. It is the event that sends the hero in search of what he wants. It is the event that sets up the crisis.

In Once and Future Wife, the book opens when Jennie learns that her daughter’s stepmother has died. While her death opens the possibility that Jennie might reconnect with Thomas, her former husband, it does not cause her to do so. It does not propel her in that direction.

After she attends the funeral, Jennie could have returned home, seldom thinking of him again. In most cases, that’s exactly what would happen. The inciting incident occurs when Thomas reaches out to Jennie, asking her to babysit his newborn child, and she agrees to do so. On that day, the crisis is set in motion.

If I were writing about my ancestor, the story might begin on the cold, clear night on which her ship reached the harbor. She might have gone on deck and looked up at the stars. She might have gazed at the lights of Charleston, wondering what her future held.

The inciting event though, would likely come later, perhaps when she and George Adams meet for the first time. Maybe their land grants are adjacent. They meet, but and the boundary is disputed. They take an instant dislike for each other, but the dispute guarantees they will continue to have contact.

Conflict

In The Ninety Day Novel, Alan Watt indicates that conflict is central to our stories. He tells his readers – aspiring writers – to put their characters in relationships with other characters and see what will happen. Conflict, he writes, will ensue.

Conflict can be external or internal. We generally identify four types of external conflict: Person against Person, Person against Nature, Person against Society, and Person against God. In each case, something outside of our hero thwarts his attempt to obtain what he wants. In Once and Future Wife, Jennie has fallen in love, again, with her former husband, but one of his children is determined to prevent them from marrying again. The conflict is person against person.

In an internal conflict, the hero prevents himself from attaining his goal. Again, In Once and Future Wife, Jennie’s bipolar disorder drives her behavior in such a way as to threaten her opportunity to find happiness.

If I were writing about my ancestor, it may be that Sarah finds George Adams to be handsome and kind and good. She begins to fall in love with him. But he is the man who she believes is trying to steal her land! He comes by the small cabin she has built and she meets him with a loaded musket, ready to defend herself and her property. That is conflict.

Conclusion

The writer should know the conclusion to his story as he begins to write. If he doesn’t, then his story will lack direction, go off on tangents, and never have an acceptable ending.

We see this phenomenon, we think, in several television shows we’ve been following this year (Castle and Black List, for those are familiar with the shows.). The writers have gone to quite a bit of trouble to develop likeable characters, set up a storyline, and to introduce a crisis, but they do not appear to be able to ever reach a conclusion.

New twists emerge in the plot. The characters are quite busy chasing the bad guys, but, as the end of the season approaches, the crisis has not been resolved. One has the feeling that the writers set things in motion with no clear idea, perhaps no idea at all, of where how they were supposed to end. As a result, they have gone nowhere, and we feel sure that the season finale will not be satisfactory at all.

Books can suffer from these same problems. A conclusion should not be simply the last word written on the page. It should not simply be a cliffhanger designed to lead the reader into the sequel. At its conclusion, the reader may not be happy with the outcome, but she should be satisfied. The outcome should make sense in terms of the story and the hero, the main character, should have found what she needs.

If I know that Susannah and George will marry at the end, then this knowledge guides my writing. In spite of which roadblocks appear, I must leave a way over them or around them. It may appear that their relationship is doomed. Perhaps Susannah decides to marry someone else. Perhaps she wants to move to the city. Maybe she decides to sail home. Any of these can occur, but in the end, the two must marry.

**********

ABOUT DAVID BURNETT

future wife

I live near Charleston, South Carolina, with my wife and Bonnie, our blue-eyed cat. I enjoy traveling, photography, baking bread, and the Carolina beaches.

We have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During one trip to Scotland, we visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen.

My photographic subjects have been as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, and a Native American powwow. I went to school for longer than he wants to admit and has graduate degrees in psychology and education. I was formerly director of research for our state’s department of education.

Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/DavidBurnett.Author

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/DavdBurnett

Goodreads Author Page:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6579272.David_Burnett

Blog:

http://davidburnett.yolasite.com

Website:

http://davidburnett.yolasite.com

Amazon Author Page:

http://amazon.com/author/davidburnett

**********

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LOVE ON THE NILE by Ellie Gray #excerpt #giveaway

Nile

Love on the Nile

by

Ellie Gray

 

Nile

Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 15th June 2016

Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing

Natasha embarks upon the holiday of a lifetime with her brother, looking forward to exploring the ancient sites Egypt has to offer. What she hasn’t bargained for is spending her holiday cruising along the Nile with Kyle Richardson, a handsome but moody archaeologist. Despite taking an instant dislike to Kyle, Natasha finds herself increasingly drawn to the man, particularly as his interactions with her brother reveal a gentler, more caring side to his character.

Having lost everyone he has ever loved, Kyle is a loner, believing himself to be cursed. He now spends his life moving around Egypt, ensuring he never lingers anywhere long enough to form meaningful attachments. Despite his better judgement, he finds himself drawn to this feisty young woman, but is afraid of the deeper feelings she stirs in him.

Can his feelings for Natasha convince him that it’s worth taking a risk on love?

Excerpt

“Natasha, darling!” The rather stout woman levered herself from the chair and swiftly crossed the room to throw her arms around her niece.

Breathing in the familiar perfume and leaning into the protective embrace of her aunt, Natasha’s irritation dissipated as quickly as it had appeared, and she closed her eyes against the sudden and unexpected tears of relief at having finally arrived at their destination. “Oh, Aunt Lucy, it’s so good to see you.” Her voice was muffled against Lucy’s shoulder and she took a deep breath before stepping back and smiling. “It’s been so long. I can’t believe we’re actually here at last.”

“It’s wonderful to see you, Natasha. I’ve missed you both so much.” Lucy lifted a hand to cup her niece’s face before turning to Nicky, hands on her ample hips as she scrutinised him critically.

“Oh, you always were like two peas in a pod. And, Nicky, you have grown into a very handsome young man. You have no idea how happy I am that you came.”

“Hello, Aunty Lucy, how are you?” Nicky briefly returned his aunt’s embrace before securing the baseball cap a little tighter on his head and asking the question foremost in his mind. “Can I have something to eat?”

Lucy shook her head with a smile and glanced at the man, who had so far remained silent throughout. “Kyle, this is my nephew Nicky, and my niece Natasha. I’m pleased to see that at least one thing never changes, and that is Nicky’s appetite.”

She caught Nicky’s arm and led him off to the far side of the room. “Come on, I’ve got some of your favourite biscuits over here in this cupboard.”

Natasha could see Kyle watching her younger brother, his eyes narrowed, and she felt the familiar churning in the pit of her stomach, trying to anticipate at what point he would realise Nicky had learning difficulties. Automatically, she tried to deflect that scrutiny, moving further into the room and feeling a sense of relief as Kyle’s gaze immediately swung towards her.

“Natasha Morgan,” she introduced herself, and held out her hand.

“So I gather.” His face was unsmiling and Natasha was uncomfortably aware of her earlier, rather waspish response to what was probably quite a reasonable conversation he had been having with her aunt. He pushed himself out of the chair to tower above her, his hair shining blue-black in the pale moonlight which streamed through the open window. Tall as she was, Natasha had to tilt her head back to meet his startlingly blue eyes. He was younger than she had initially thought, probably in his mid-thirties — just a few years older than herself.

There was a pause before he replied. “Kyle Richardson.”

He took her hand briefly, offering a firm cool handshake, before returning to his chair, long legs stretched out before him and crossed at the ankles.

“I’m sorry you overheard our conversation; I had no idea you were there.”

His voice was deep and husky, and his gaze once again followed her movements as she sank into the seat Lucy had recently vacated.

She nodded and spread her hands expressively, shrugging her slim shoulders. “I’m sorry if I sounded… irritated. It’s been a really long day and I hadn’t expected Aunt Lucy to arrange a personal guide for us. Please, it’s not a problem, we don’t want… we don’t need a guide, and I’m sure you have better things to do with your time.”

Kyle’s mouth twitched as if in amusement at the inadvertent slip of the tongue, but whatever he was about to say was lost as Lucy and Nicky returned, the latter clutching a packet of chocolate-covered biscuits.

“Oh, you’ve introduced yourselves. Excellent.” Lucy beamed at them, clapping her hands together. “I’m sure we’re all going to have a wonderful time together.”

“I was just explaining that Nicky and I are quite happy to find our own way around Egypt,” Natasha cut in quickly. “There is no need for Mr. Richardson to trouble himself.”

“Nonsense,” cried Lucy, fixing Kyle with a rather piercing gaze. “I’m not letting you wriggle out of this one, Kyle. You owe me rather a lot of favours and I am now calling one of them in. Heavens, man, I haven’t seen you in close to two years, and I happen to know for a fact that you haven’t taken a break for longer than that. It’s high time you did.”

Natasha observed this outburst with some surprise, having hardly ever heard her aunt speak so sharply. She risked a glance towards Kyle and saw that he was still reclined in his chair, arms folded over his chest, and a somewhat amused gleam in his blue eyes. He remained silent, obviously expecting Lucy to continue her reprimand.

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ABOUT ELLIE GRAY

Nile

Ellie is a contemporary romance author and lives in the beautiful East Riding of Yorkshire with her partner, David, and two children, Joe and Abbie.

Love on the Nile will be her second novel published with the lovely Tirgearr Publishing – her debut novel, Beauty and the Recluse was released in February 2016.

A proud member of the Romantic Novelist Association, Ellie currently works full-time in public services and is studying for an MSc in Public Management, although she hopes one day to be able to write full time.

A few random pieces of information about Ellie:

  • Favourite TV shows – The Walking Dead, The X-Files, Nashville, Dr. Who, The Great British Bake-off!
  • Favourite Music – I’m an 80’s girl!, country, sixties, Elvis, classical (when I’m writing)
  • Favourite Food – Indian, tapas, crisps, cheese
  • Favourite Drink – black coffee – copious amounts when I’m writing, Sauvignon blanc when I’m not.

 

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Isabella of Angoulême by Erica Lainé #excerpt #giveaway

Isabella

 

Isabella of Angoulême

by

Erica Lainé

 

Isabella

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: October 2015

Publisher:  SilverWood Books

Set in the thirteenth century, the kingdoms of England and France are struggling over territory as the powerful Angevins threaten the French king. In regions far from Paris local fiefdoms disregard all authority.

The Tangled Queen is the story of the little known and very young Isabella of Angoulême who was abducted by King John in 1200. She became his second wife and queen consort, aged 12. He was the most reviled king in English history and his lust for her led to the loss of Normandy and the destruction of the Plantagenet Empire, which then brought about the Magna Carta.

Isabella came of age in England, but was denied her place in court. Her story is full of thwarted ambition, passion, pride and cruelty. She longed for power of her own and returned to France after the death of John to live a life of treachery and intrigue…

 

EXCERPT

Excerpt from Isabella of Angoulême: The Tangled Queen Part 1.

Isabella smiled and yawned – it was time these chattering girls left. She dismissed them, haughty and impatient. Away they sped, some calling back to Isabella, jokes and remarks full of innuendo for her future. She frowned; this was not the way to treat a future queen.

‘Agnes, help prepare me for bed.’

Agnes closed the chamber door, unlacing the back of Isabella’s dress, folding the glorious red and gold silk into the large chest. Tomorrow Isabella would wear the blue gown, the splendid blue and silver fabric showing wealth and also loyalty. If red and gold had shown the power and wealth of the Taillefers, then the blue would mark their obedience and fealty.

Early the next morning Agnes was busy preparing a scented bath. Precious rose oil, drop by drop, turned the hot water cloudy. And then she was busy mixing the rosemary wash for Isabella’s hair. She would wear her hair loose today, and her small gold guirland.

Isabella woke up and saw Agnes looking at her, long and thoughtful, ready to make her stir, but she was already throwing back the covers and standing and stretching. Agnes nodded and together they moved to the bath, and Isabella slipped into the milky, perfumed water and rubbed the rosemary wash into her hair. She felt the water running down her back and shivered. Then she was being briskly dried by Agnes, who was determined to treat Isabella to the most thorough of preparations.

Her mother Alice entered the room and the three of them unfolded the wedding gown and dressed Isabella. Her chemise was soft and light, the dress heavy and cumbersome. Arranged within it, held within it as if caged, her face pale but proud, she moved to the window and looked down onto a courtyard full of people, horses, carts and wagons. A procession was moving through the crowd, with a stately canon and an even more stately bishop in the centre. The clergy were intent on their walk to the cathedral. Isabella clutched Agnes in a sudden fear. Then she rested her head on the window and took a deep breath. It was her wedding day.

 

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About Erica Lainé

Isabella

I was was born in 1943 in Southampton and originally studied for the theatre.  I moved with my family to Hong Kong in 1977 and worked and lived there for 20 years, writing English language textbooks for Chinese primary schools and managing large educational projects for the British Council.

Since living in S W France I have been very involved with a local history society and have researched many topics, the history of gardens and fashion being favourites.

Isabella of Angoulême began in 2011 at a writing workshop run by Philippa Pride, the Book Doctor.  The story of this young queen was fascinating and although she appears as a character in some other historical novels I wanted to concentrate on her entire life and her importance to the English and the French and the role she played in the politics of power. Part Two is being written now and my head is more or less permanently in the thirteenth century.

 

Facebook:

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LEARNING TO LOVE by Sheryl Browne #guestpost #ChocLit #excerpt

Sheryl Browne

Learning to Love

by

Sheryl Browne

 

Sometimes help comes from the most unlikely places …

Living in a small village like Hibberton, it’s expected that your neighbours help you in a time of need. But when Andrea Kelly’s house burns down, taking all her earthly possessions with it, it’s the distant and aloof Doctor David Adams – the person she would least expect – who opens his door not just to her, but to her three kids and slightly dotty elderly mother as well.

Andrea needs all the help she can get, dealing with aftermath of the fire and the suspicious absence of her husband, Jonathan. But, as she gets to know David and his troubled son, Jake, she begins to realise that maybe they need her help as much as she needs theirs …

~~~

You may have gathered, Learning to Love is here! Could it have ever found a more perfect home than with Choc Lit, where heroes are like Chocolate: irresistible? Could it have ever found a more beautiful cover?

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Andrea laughed as the two women made precarious progress onwards, Eva all sweetness and light, Dee her usual rude self. ‘Honestly, what would you do with them?’

‘Well, maybe not put them out to grass, just yet,’ David suggested, not very diplomatically probably, but he couldn’t help himself.

‘No.’ Obviously getting his meaning, Andrea glanced away. ‘I adore the furnishings,’ she said, walking across to trail her hand over the back of the sofa. ‘And the décor. I can’t think how you knew I was about to decorate my lounge in this colour, before the fire, obviously.’

‘Ryan, he put me right on a few things,’ David said. ‘Andrea?’

‘Hmm?’ Andrea was now admiring the blinds.

‘Where did the bruise come from?’

David watched, keeping a tight rein on his anger, as Andrea glanced immediately down, visibly debating whether to drop that bastard Eden in it?

‘I … fell,’ she eventually mumbled, her shoulders deflating.

‘Right.’ David nodded slowly. ‘And was Jonathan in the vicinity when you fell, by any chance?’

‘No, I … Yes. It …’ Andrea turned around and leant wearily against the edge of the dining table. ‘It wasn’t what you’re thinking, David. It was an accident.’

‘I see.’ David nodded again and counted silently to five. ‘Andrea,’ he glanced at the ceiling, ‘if you knew how many times I’d heard that.’

‘David, it wasn’t … He didn’t—’

‘How many times I’ve had people, women mostly, come into my surgery with bruises, broken bones, smashed in faces—’

‘David, don’t!’ Andrea pushed herself away from the table.

‘They all trip or fall, Andrea! Or walk into doors. I’ve heard every conceivable excuse there is for a bruise that was more probably caused by a fist!’

‘It was not!’ Andrea stood her ground adamantly, but glanced away again under his questioning gaze.

David closed his eyes, furious inside. He didn’t want to upset her. He didn’t want to frighten her, and he possibly was, but he most definitely wanted the truth. ‘Did you argue?’ he asked more quietly.

Andrea deliberated. David waited.

She nodded, finally. ‘The bruise was an accident, but, yes, we did argue.’

And that, as far as David was concerned, was enough. An argument that resulted in a person sustaining physical injury meant it was a violent one. ‘And did you resolve anything?’ he asked, his throat tight. As in, did Eden admit he was a thieving piece of scum?

Sheryl Browne

Tempted? Even I am, having read some of the gorgeous pre-release reviews.

You can grab your copy here: Amazon

Thank you so much, Melanie, for featuring me on your lovely blog. Thank you too to all those readers and book bloggers for your wonderful support. The road to publication can sometimes be a little bit bumpy. Without you, I might still be languishing down the potholes.

For anyone kind enough to purchase the book, I would love your feedback. Because, at the end of the day, the fate of Doctor Adams is in the hands of the reader.

Keep safe all!

About Sheryl Browne

Sheryl Browne

Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, Sheryl Browne brings you sassy, sexy, heart-wrenching fiction. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for the Best Romantic e-book Love Stories Award 2015, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing.

Recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer, Sheryl’s contemporary fiction comes to you from award winning Choc Lit.

CHOC LIT

Author Links

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Amazon US | Pinterest

Loveahappyending Lifestyle

Choc Lit | Romantic Novelists’ Association

 

 

THE FLOWER SELLER by Ellie Holmes #Excerpt #Giveaway

flower

The Flower Seller

by

Ellie Holmes

 

flower

Genre: Commercial Romantic Fiction

Release Date: 2nd June 2016

All she wanted was a love she could BELIEVE IN.

Jessie Martin believes that when it comes to love there are three types of people: the skimmers, the bottom dwellers and the ones who dive for pearls.  Jessie is a pearl diver. She had thought her husband William was a pearl diver too. But when William leaves her for a younger woman, it’s not just Jessie’s heart that is broken, her ability to trust is shattered too.

Refusing to retire from the battlefield of life, Jessie resolves to put her heartache behind her. She doesn’t want to be that woman who was too scared to love again. There has to be another pearl diver out there; all she has to do is find him.

When fate brings handsome flower seller Owen Phillips into her life, Jessie believes he may be the one but is her fragile trust about to be shattered all over again?

The Flower Seller is a warm, engaging read about love, deceit, betrayal and hope.

BUY LINK

http://goo.gl/UrHYRb

 

EXCERPT

It had been her daughter Hannah’s idea to put an advert in the Abbeyleigh Gazette. ‘It’s time to take yourself out of your comfort zone, Mum. Why don’t you get Anne to give you a hand with the ad?’

Sucked into the vortex of her daughter’s enthusiasm, Jessie had agreed before she could talk herself out of it.

‘So, what have you got so far?’ Anne had asked over margaritas in Spike’s Bar.

‘Newly single brunette, slim, attractive, early forties, non-smoker, good sense of humour, would like to meet man thirties/forties for friendship and maybe more,’ Jessie read aloud.

Anne pretended to fall asleep and Jessie slapped her arm.

‘Bit dull, sweetie!’ Anne said with a smile. ‘For starters, you should put early thirties. Everyone knocks a few years off. And do you really want to say slim? It’s practically shorthand for flat-chested and you’re not. How about “great figure” instead?’

‘That’s a bit conceited, isn’t it?’

Anne threw her a look. ‘It’s an advert, Jessie. You’re meant to be selling yourself.’

‘Blimey! I’ll just get some fishnets and a red light, shall I?’

‘You know what I mean. You should put something in there about being outgoing. That usually leads to some interesting propositions.’

‘But I’m not outgoing,’ Jessie said.

‘For goodness’ sake, outgoing just means you’re up for a bit of fun. I’m not suggesting for a moment that you put “open-minded”. Now that would lead to some replies that would make your hair stand on end. And obviously your WLTM has to be a man in his late twenties or early thirties.’

‘Has to be? This is my advert, remember? Not yours!’

Anne smirked. ‘So you’d prefer “Recently dumped flat-chested brunette, early forties, lives life with the handbrake on, would like to meet man forties/fifties for visits to the library”?’

‘I’d prefer not to be doing it at all.’

Anne squeezed her hand. ‘I know, sweetie. And you can stick another pin in your effigy of William when you get home but right now we need to get you back out there before life passes you by.’

flower

ABOUT ELLIE HOLMES

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Paula Guyver

Ellie Holmes writes commercial women’s fiction and romantic suspense. She takes her inspiration from the beautiful Essex countryside and the sublime Cornish coast. The Flower Seller is Ellie’s first full-length novel.  Ellie is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.  To find out more please visit www.ellieholmesauthor.com

AUTHOR LINKS

https://www.facebook.com/EllieHWriter

https://www.twitter.com/EllieHWriter

https://pinterest.com/EllieHWriter

 https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15076107.Ellie_Holmes

GIVEAWAY

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Our 41st Wedding Anniversary

Happy Anniversary

to my wonderful husband!

 

wedding day photo
June 7, 1975

The wedding photo above was on the front of the invitations I made for our 25th anniversary that we celebrated in Scotland where we renewed our vows in the church at Quarriers Village (the orphanage where my father was raised).

anniversary
Mt. Zion Church in Quarriers Village

We’re headed out tonight for a meal to celebrate. Not sure where yet, but we’re both leaning towards Indian food. And the restaurant where we’ll go for that is well within walking distance of our house.

 

 

THE SAFE WORD by Karen Long #giveaway #guestpost

safe

The Safe Word

by

Karen Long

 

safe

Published January 14th 2014

Genre: Mystery / thriller / crime

Eleanor Raven Series: Book 1

There are rules that every player of every game must abide by, no matter how dangerous the sport.

Toronto has become the backdrop to a macabre set of artistic installations: women kidnapped, tortured and horrifically displayed by a killer with a vision.

Only someone capable of understanding the killer’s creative desire will be able to stop the murders and D I Eleanor Raven is uniquely qualified. Driven by a complex personality she pursues only the facts, only the things she can see, but never casts a judgement.

But she also has a dark and dangerous secret – one that will threaten her very survival.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

B & N

PRAISE FOR THE SAFE WORD

Just read The Safe Word by Karen Long – an unputdownable serial killer tale. James Purefoy

For DS Eleanor Raven It’s not so much who, what or when but ‘why’ that leads this powerful read to its conclusion and Karen Long reminds us that a brutal, vicious and destructive act is not something inherently ‘Evil’ or derived from Satan but is a rational choice made by a human being. The quirky, offbeat and endearing relationship between Eleanor and her partner Laurence Whitefoot shines a light on this dark compelling world of sexual intrigue and mystery. My imagination was certainly held captive! Robson Green

Most fictional detectives these days have to have a ‘thing’ to set them apart from the others, and Raven’s is one of the most original for a long time. The plot moves in some unexpected directions, and builds to a genuinely exciting climax. The Safe Word is an impressive, confident debut. Convincing characters and some nice twists make for a compelling, satisfying thriller, and I look forward to seeing what’s next for Eleanor Raven. Killing Time

Karen’s top five recommended reads for crime writers.

I love to read about forensic science. It is the backbone of modern crime fiction and your audience is knowledgeable and critical of duff science. That is not to say that you can’t manipulate time factors to push on a narrative but not understanding the physical world and modern techniques of evidence collection means you are writing science fiction not crime fiction.

The books listed below have enabled me to acquire a solid grounding in how a crime scene is worked, how to kill someone, how to cover your tracks and why that is so difficult in the light of modern forensics.

The Forensic Casebook: N.E. Genge

This is my favourite book on the subject of, well pretty much every aspect of forensics. It begins by defining what the differences are between the ‘scene of crime’ and the ‘crime scene’, a seemingly dry semantic debate. However, Genge’s style is pithy and well illustrated, using television, film and real life cases to expand and clarify concepts. The presentation is varied and invites a ‘dip in’ approach to reading. Bullet points, different fonts and highlighted sections break the material down into appetising segments. I loved the incidental job adverts and the well-edited interviews with crime scene workers.

Severed: A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found by Frances Larson

Frances Larson works as a curator at the wonderful Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, where there is an extensive shrunken head display. The book focuses on the human head as a trophy, an object of morbid curiosity and as an artistic expression. I found it particularly useful, while writing the third book in the Eleanor Raven series, as it covers the psychological foundation of taking body parts as trophies during military conflicts. Difficult subject matter, deftly analysed.

Forensic Entomology: Dorothy E. Gennard

I wouldn’t say this was an easy, or accessible read…at all. It is a serious, well-documented degree level textbook. There are some photographs but nowhere near enough for the lay reader. If I’m going to dip in, this is not a linear read by the way, I either access images on the internet or have an identifier open. I find insects astonishingly beautiful and alien, their life cycles and behaviour, which when combined with temperature, can pinpoint the time of death, is something I am particularly interested in.

Postmortem: Dr Steven A. Koehler and Dr. Cyril H. Wecht

This book has lots of glossy photographs and thoughtfully presented diagrams. The material is compact but it’s designed as a quick introduction to the study of forensics and, as such, is a great writer’s help. The photographs don’t pull their punches and the case notes are relevant, if a little rushed. There is an excellent chart on p75, which measures the visual changes of different bruises over a time period of 15 days. If it’s an exciting introduction to the discipline you’re after, then this book is the one for you.

Molecules of Murder: John Emsley

I am happy to recommend any of John Emsley’s books. They are well written, well researched and don’t skimp on the science. Each chapter has selected a poison and exemplifies its usage in numerous crimes both historical and contemporary. There is a helpful glossary, which gives further information on highlighted words. I confess to being particularly intrigued by the use of poisons and loved the way that Emsley’s conversational and enthusiastic style jumps out of the narrative, on occasion, and sweeps the reader off on an anecdotal journey.

I believe that books make books. You read, absorb and mold information into narratives. Fact, however seemingly dry and inconsequential, is the basis of all crime fiction. Without a working knowledge of how forensics is applied in a contemporary, or even an historic setting, there will be gaps in your plot, or opportunities missed. I am not advocating that fiction should be determined solely by fact, you are not writing a textbook but to omit or fudge modern criminalistics is to deny richness and depth to your story.

ABOUT KAREN LONG

safe

Karen Long was born and raised in the English midlands, educated at Bangor University and taught English and Drama for fifteen years. During her teaching years she studied biology and neurology with the Open University and this interest in medicine, forensics and forensic psychology is reflected in her writing. She is an enthusiastic traveller and has spent time in Toronto, which became the backdrop and inspiration for The Safe Word.

She is a keen amateur naturalist with a deep and abiding love for the crow family. She has dedicated time, love and several fingers in an effort to rehabilitate crows, magpies, rooks and ravens.

Karen is happy to correspond with readers and can be contacted through her website KarenLongWriter.com, where she posts regular blogs.

The Safe Word is Karen’s first novel and was an Amazon bestseller, soon to be joined by the second in the Eleanor Raven series, The Vault. Karen is working on the third novel in the series.

AUTHOR LINKS

FACEBOOK

WEBSITE

BLOG

TWITTER

GOODREADS

All author or review enquires please contact Karen Long’s Personal Assistant J.B. Johnston – brookbooks@hotmail.co.uk

Check out Book 2 – The Vault – http://amzn.to/1WSnlDn

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Did you know that Eleanor Raven is also online?

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http://twitter.com/RavenEleanor

https://www.facebook.com/TheEleanorRaven/

GIVEAWAY

1ST PRIZE – SIGNED PAPERBACK OF THE SAFE WORD – OPEN INTERNATIONALLY

2ND PRIZE – ECOPY OF THE SAFE WORD – OPEN INTERNATIONALLY

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May 2016 at the Prescott Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market

After only having done the market once in 2015 (invited by a friend for Christmas in July), and having fun at the event, I decided to contact the “head honcho”, “grand poobah”, “big cheese” about becoming a regular this year for at least the Saturdays when I’m not already committed elsewhere or it’s not raining. Even with a canopy, books and rain don’t mix.

The first Saturday I went was the grand opening of the market for the season – May 14th.

I swear my car is like Mary Poppins’s carpet bag. You pop the trunk and more and more stuff keeps coming out – plastic totes of books and accessories, weights for the canopy legs, tables. And then there’s the canopy that rides cross-ways in the back seat along with the chairs. See why I refer to my car as a magic carpet bag?

May 14, 2016

May 14, 2016The tartan cover on the table to the left is the one hubby scored in the silent auction at the Friendly Circle Showcase in Long Sault on May 7th. It’s very pretty and if a body had to wrap up in it on a chilly morning, it would be lovely and warm. One small problem tho’ when it’s on the table and there are books and what-not on it… I’ve not quite mastered yanking a table covering out from under what’s on the surface without disturbing things… LOL!

So, on my first outing I sold 1 copy of The Secret of Hillcrest House. I only sold a single book at Christmas in July the previous year so I wasn’t disappointed. It’s fun. It’s social and selling books is a bonus. Mind you, I’d be happy making back the 2016 registration fee.

Things picked up the following Saturday – May 21st.

May 21, 2016

May 21, 2016

I didn’t get the same drive-through stall as the previous week but got the one next to it. I love these spots! They’re so handy for unloading and setting up… and tearing down at the end of the day.

People seemed glad to see I was back (and not just a flash in the pan). And more asked if I would be there all summer. By the time this event came around, I had my bluetooth debit/credit card reader. I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of times I’ve heard ‘if you only took debit’. I have a Square but here in Canada it’s only credit card transactions – and it saved me a few otherwise lost sales over the years.

So this second week at the market, I sold 1 copy of The Secret of Hillcrest House, 1 copy of The Consequences Collection, and 1 copy of Tim’s Magic Christmas.

In the first two weeks of being a regular vendor, I made back the cost of the annual registration. Happy girl!!!

Moving along to the last Saturday in May – May 28th.

Construction work on the light standards in the parking lot meant the loss of a minimum of 4 stalls. But as they’re on a first-come, first-serve basis, I still managed to get one of my drive-through ones.

By now the banner I had created at Vistaprint (a cross between my website header and my business card), my new bookmarks (more like the website in that my picture is on them) and my matching tartan tablecloths had arrived.

May 28, 2016

May 28, 2016

This was a good day, albeit a scorcher. My boots almost match the tablecloths. I wearing the vest bought along with the long one (mid to lower calf length) that I wore at the Long Sault event.

Sales were event better on this day. I sold 2 copies of The Consequences Collection and 2 copies of A Shadow in the Past. So I made my registration fee twice over now! Woot! And I’ve still not used my debit/credit card reader.

The only downer on the day was when we attempted to take down the canopy, the left front corner wouldn’t come down for love nor money. But with help from the vendor next to us, a screwdriver and hammer from another across the way and a Swiss army stocking stuffer, we managed to get the blasted thing down and packed into the car. Now to source just the parts we need for it. Only used 6 times and the plastic centre post cap is twisted as are some of the plastic parts in the roof braces.

Bought another one the following day – less money and comes with a side curtain. We’ll see how much better (if any) it performs. Surely, we’ll get six uses out it. The old one is currently relegated to home use where it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t want to fold down – everything we need is at hand.

Fingers crossed that all the Saturdays in June give us good weather even though we need rain desperately. Overnight and Monday to Friday are my choices, although I don’t have a lot of say in the matter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Scottish roots and writing by Melanie Robertson-King