Jera’s Jamboree : (Life in the fun lane) From Paris with Love by Samantha Tonge

JJ is delighted to be welcoming Sam today.

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Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family, and two cats who think they are dogs. When not writing, she spends her days cycling and willing cakes to rise. She has sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, came out in November 2013.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SamTongeWriter

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

Website: http://samanthatonge.co.uk/

Doubting abbey Blog: http://doubtingabbey.blogspot.co.uk/

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Life in the Fun Lane

The tagline on my Facebook author page and Twitter profile is “Samantha Tonge – writing about life in the fun lane”. And that’s what I hope I do. My main goal with novel writing has ALWAYS been to entertain and put a smile on someone’s face. With my debut Doubting Abbey I was lucky enough to receive a good number of lovely reviews, and the ones that really made me glow inside, said how the book made them giggle. If I can help make someone’s bad day a bit more bearable, then I have done my job. And I hope I achieve this too, with the standalone sequel, From Paris with Love, a story that revolves around romance, food, a mystery guy called Joe Bloggs (yes really!) and Blade, a hot French rockstar.

So, does this mean I’m a fun person? Am I anything like my main character bonkers Gemma? Er… It’s possible! In my youth. I always seemed to be getting myself into embarrassing scrapes – like the time I hadn’t noticed my wraparound skirt had fallen off, or when I nearly got caught skinny-dipping by a deep sea diver! Plus I had lots of fun times in various jobs, including working in the Christmas decorations department of Harrods and a riotous few months employed by Disneyland Paris. And out with friends, or people I don’t know, I laugh a lot. People would probably call me outgoing. I like to see the humorous side of life and encourage funny banter with anyone who’ll participate, be that a cashier, bartender or person standing behind me in a queue.

I remember my grandfather – who often larked around – saying “if you can’t laugh, what’s the point?” I guess that has stuck with me, ever since he passed on. Of course, as I’ve matured – like Gemma now is, in From Paris with Love – I’ve taken life more seriously. I now have responsibilities like a mortgage and kids to look after. I’ve faced illness myself, and lost dear relatives. And yet… perhaps it’s that ‘Britishness’ people have talked about since the war, or just human nature, but humour, albeit dark at times, has always played an important part in me coping with life’s trials.

As time passes, I truly believe, more than ever, in my grandfather’s words. You need to be able to laugh at life, because if not, at times you really would feel like giving up. I may be older and wiser but lots of element of life – even the ageing process! – still hold the fun-factor for me. And the day that changes, is the day I’ll stop putting finger to keyboard.

Laughter is universal isn’t it!  No matter the language we speak, we all understand what laughter means (in all its different shades).

Thank you for sharing Sam.

From Paris With Love coverEvery girl dreams of hearing those four magical words Will you marry me? But no-one tells you what’s supposed to happen next…

Fun-loving Gemma Goodwin knows she should be revelling in her happy-ever-after. Except when her boyfriend Lord Edward popped the question, after a whirlwind romance, although she didn’t say no….she didn’t exactly say yes either!

A month-long cookery course in Paris could be just the place to make sure her heart and her head are on the same page… And however disenchanted with romance Gemma is feeling, the City of Love has plenty to keep her busy; the champagne is decadently quaffable, the croissants almost too delicious, and shopping is a national past-time! In fact, everything in Paris makes her want to say Je t’aime… Except Edward!

But whilst Paris might offer plenty of distractions from wedding planning – including her new friends, mysterious Joe and hot French rockstar Blade – there’s no reason she couldn’t just try one or two couture dresses is there? Just for fun…

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Jera’s Jamboree : Characters and Settings ~ Follow a Star by Christine Stovell plus Giveaway

JJ is delighted to be welcoming Christine today.

Find out what surprised Christine about her hero … and carry on reading for a giveaway.

Christine Stovell

Winning a tin of chocolate in a national essay competition at primary school inspired Christine Stovell to become a writer! After graduating from the University of East Anglia, she took various jobs in the public sector writing research papers and policy notes by day and filling up her spare drawers with embryonic novels by night.  Losing her dad to cancer made her realise that if she was ever going to get a novel published she had to put her writing first. Setting off, with her husband, from a sleepy seaside resort on the east coast in a vintage wooden boat to sail halfway round Britain provided the inspiration for her debut novel Turning the Tide and Follow a Star. Turning the Tide was a top 100 Bestseller with Amazon Kindle and spent months in the Top 10 Chart for Adult Contemporary Romance. Christine has also published numerous short stories and articles. Christine lives in Wales. Her novels include: Turning the Tide, Move Over Darling and Follow a Star. She also has a novella published with Choc Lit Lite called Only True in Fairy Tales.

www.twitter.com/chrisstovell

www.facebook.com/christinestovellauthor

www.christinestovell.com

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Hello! It’s lovely to be here, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to talk about a book that was a joy to write.

You’re very welcome Christine. 

Follow a Star is set in the present and begins with my heroine, May Starling, running away to sea in a vintage wooden boat bound for Little Spitmarsh, the location for my novel, Turning the Tide.  Little Spitmarsh is a fictitious seaside town, an amalgam of the faded coastal resorts and harbours I visited with my husband when we sailed halfway round Britain, but its inhabitants are very real to me. I missed the place and the people when I left it behind so I couldn’t resist returning to see how some of the familiar characters were doing. That said, you don’t have to have read Turning the Tide to read Follow a Star as both May and the book’s hero, Bill, are completely new characters

My first mental image of May was of her hoofing it down a lonely road with a rucksack slung over her shoulder, but I had no idea what she was running away from until I was a third of the way through the first draft.  I liked May from the start, she’s funny and self-deprecating, but she’s certainly got some baggage and felt that I wanted to give her a hug before the emotional journey ahead.  The biggest surprise to me though was when my hero, Bill, stepped out in front of May and I saw his flame-coloured hair! I never expected to be writing about a red-haired hero, let alone fall for him in such a big way. Sure he can be bit quick to pass judgement at times, but he’s got a lot on his plate worrying about his uncle, who’s very ill, and trying to keep his building business afloat so I think that’s understandable. He works hard, he’s kind, very loyal and has, erm, some attractive hidden assets.

My first-hand experience of the tensions that can arise in the confined space of a small boat, made it the perfect place to put two people who don’t need any further complications in their lives.  By the time May and Bill tie up at Watling’s, the old boatyard in Little Spitmarsh (which gave me another good reason to revisit some favourite characters from Turning the Tide) the heat between them is almost boiling over.  But unfortunately for them, reaching dry land means their troubles have only just begun and they’ve both got some choppy waters to negotiate before they can find safe harbour.  As for me? My second trip to Little Spitmarsh wasn’t the end of the journey either – somehow I just know I’ll be back!

Love the sound of the heat between May and Bill 🙂

Wishing you success with all your writing projects Christine.

FAS AppleSometimes your heart’s the only navigator you need

May Starling’s had enough of her demanding career and even more demanding ex. Responding to a ‘crew-wanted’ ad, she follows her dreams of escape only to find herself at sea with red-haired Bill Blythe.

Bill warns May that close-quartered living can create a boiling pot of emotions, but even May is surprised by the heat building up inside the vintage wooden boat. And when May and Bill tie up at Watling’s Boatyard in Little Spitmarsh, May’s determined to test her new-found feelings on dry land.

But May’s dream of escaping her former life is in danger of being swept away when several unwelcome blasts from the past follow her ashore, all seemingly hell-bent on reminding her it’s never that easy to clear the decks.

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All’s fair in love and war? Depends on who’s making the rules. Harry Watling has spent the past five years keeping her father s boat yard afloat, despite its dying clientele. Now all she wants to do is enjoy the peace and quiet of her sleepy backwater. So when property developer Matthew Corrigan wants to turn the boat yard into an upmarket housing complex for his exotic new restaurant, it s like declaring war. And the odds seem to be stacked in Matthew’s favour. He s got the colourful locals on board, his hard-to-please girlfriend is warming to the idea and he has the means to force Harry s hand. Meanwhile, Harry has to fight not just his plans but also her feelings for the man himself. Then a family secret from the past creates heartbreak for Harry, and neither of them is prepared for what happens next …

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Publishers Choc Lit are generously sponsoring a giveway.

One lucky blog reader in the UK could be reading a paperback copy of Follow a Star.

Easy entry via the Rafflecopter link below.

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Jera’s Jamboree : Guest Author Celia Kennedy ~ How Charlotte’s Restrained came to be…

JJ is delighted to be welcoming Celia Kennedy today

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Celia Kennedy was born in Wurzburg, Germany on an American military base. Her parents’ penchant for traveling the world, via a Volkswagen Minibus with a Porsche engine, sparked her imagination. Staring out the window, sometimes through fog and rain, at other times at sunny blue skies, she began to make up stories for the places and spaces they passed by. The in-between time, the most fascinating to her.

The imagined world has always fascinated Celia. She has studied Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Interior Design, and pretty much every other subject matter. Like her childhood, it was the ride that was the most entertaining, arrival at a degree, not anywhere as important.

Mark Twain said, “Write what you know.” When combining this concept with her unusual life experiences (working at a nuclear submarine base when Chernobyl blew, testing software Bill Gates kept close tabs on, travelling extensively while quite broke, or falling in love with her boyfriend’s close friend) thinking of what to write about isn’t challenging; there just needs to be more hours in the day.

Celia published Charlottes Restrained in December of 2012 and Venus Rising in August of 2013. Look for Kathleen’s Undressed, a companion novel to Charlottes Restrained, to be published in 2014.

Currently she lives in Washington State with the loves of her life.

website – www.celiakennedy.weebly.com

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6965584.Celia_Kennedy

 Twitter – https://twitter.com/KennedyCelia

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How Charlotte’s Restrained came to be…

Late in the summer of 2008 my husband and I were watching an episode of Inside the Actors Studio. Host James Lipton was interviewing Clint Eastwood. This multi-talented man fascinated us. After the interview was over, we chatted about how amazing it would be to invite him over for dinner and get to know him. The obvious problem: how to contact Clint Eastwood? Next obvious problem: if we could call him on the phone, what would compel him to want to have dinner with complete strangers? Sidestepping these crucial issues, it didn’t take long for the plan to evolve. It also didn’t take long to realize that it would be preferable to go to his house for dinner. After all, he lived in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California and likely had a better cook than me.

At the same time, I spent the first week my kids were back in school perfecting my domestic goddess-ness and realized I was as good at it as I wanted to get. There was something else I wanted to do more – write. I fired up my laptop and started writing. I didn’t have a strategy, hadn’t jotted down an outline or done any research. I also had zero contacts and resources. All I had was plain old-fashion gumption. Honest to Betsy, it never occurred to me that I couldn’t write a book.

It was also completely obvious to me to borrow from reality and write a book about encountering a long admired celebrity. Mirroring real life, there would have to be plenty of twists and turns. However, in the fantasy world, we can make incredible things happen. I needed people, loads of interesting and entertaining people who could make such a feat happen!

Let’s face it, we want it all. We want romance. We want to be a part of a group of friends who grew up and grow old together. We want to travel. We want to eat good food and drink great wine. We want to wear fabulous clothes! So, how to get it all in one book?

Charlotte, her BFF’s, a celebrity, and a handsome Irishman!

I like to think of myself as mostly normal, so I feel comfortable representing all women, when I say that we know we’ve found a real friend when we don’t worry about the state of our house when they stop by. We are really good friends if we’ll change our clothes in front of each other. We know we are Besties if when we really mess up, the other person may be really angry, but needs our own special brand of crazy in order to feel like life is do-able. Oh! And the most important factor: laughter. All of us want someone we can belly laugh with.

Charlotte, Hillary, Tiziana, Kathleen and Marian are such a village. These five women have history, have bled for each other, talked each other in and out of bad and good situations. Let each other be real. Fortunately for us these vivacious women are scattered around the globe, giving us the opportunity to travel to exciting places, where they meet up, drink up, and get into a little trouble.

We also have Des Bannerman, the King of Romantic Comedies in Charlotte’s Restrained. Des Bannerman is my vision of a mega star. A decade into his career he is riding the wave of major-motion picture success. He’s the go to man for chick flicks. Des Bannerman started out with a really big dream, but has become a little jaded by all the glitz and glory, and lives a life surrounded by people he trusts, but doesn’t really get to meet new people, because how does he meet them and who can he trust?

Pivotal to the story, is Liam Molloy, the Irishman who steals Charlotte’s heart. Liam has many things going for him; he’s gorgeous (of course), he’s the source of envy (providing many opportunities for the ladies to banter about men and “love”), and he has a great sense of humor. To be honest, I borrowed from reality again, the banter between Charlotte and Liam is much like mine and my husbands.

What makes a compelling story?

Beneath it all, I believe that we thrive when we know we are a part of a village. No one person can give us everything we need, BUT when we have a village we have everything! Friends, lovers, pets, children, frenemies, co-workers, all provide us with opportunities to grow and love. The most successful tales take place in the village concept.

To make the village happen in Charlotte’s Restrained, we are blessed with the opportunity to travel to London, Rome, New York, Dublin, and Saint Tropez. Amongst the many benefits of all this travel is that we get to see and feel the tempo of life in different parts of the world – we eat and drink foods that may be new and unique, we walk down streets ladened with history and float on oceans that are azure blue.

Me!

I love getting to know authors, most of those that I’ve reached out have been amazingly accessible and supportive. You can learn as much about me as you can stomach at www.celiakennedy.weebly.com or on Twitter (@KennedyCelia), Facebook (Celia Kennedy, Author). On my website there are links to my blog WomanReinventsSelf. That’s where you read the good, the bad and the ugly!

If you look for me on Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/celiakennedy) you will find boards that I have created for Charlotte’s Restrained, Venus Rising, and my current work-in-progress, Kathleen’s Undressed (a sequel to Charlotte’s Restrained).

It’s great where an idea/inspiration can take the imagination Celia 🙂

Wishing you success with all your writing projects.

Charlotte’s Restrained is going on tour!

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Date Tour Host
4th August Tome Tender
5th August Chicklit Club Connect
6th August Books are my life
7th August Brook Cottage Books
12th August Tracy Riva Books and Reviews
13th August allthingsbookie

Giveaway on tour is a signed copy of Charlotte’s Restrained plus Amazon GC.

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We hope you’ll check out the posts and enter the giveaway!

Jera’s Jamboree : A Debut is a Very Special Thing ~ Kathryn Freeman Guest Post plus #giveaway

JJ is delighted to welcome Kathryn.

Kathryn is sharing with us her feelings about her debut paperback.

Keep reading after the guest post to enter the giveaway!

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Kathryn was born in Wallingford, England but has spent most of her life living in a village near Windsor. After studying pharmacy in Brighton she began her working life as a retail pharmacist. She quickly realised that trying to decipher doctors’ handwriting wasn’t for her and left to join the pharmaceutical industry where she spent twenty happy years working in medical communications. In 2011, backed by her family, she left the world of pharmaceutical science to begin life as a self-employed writer, juggling the two disciplines of medical writing and romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero …

With two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to bother buying a card again this year (yes, he does) the romance in her life is all in her head. Then again, her husband’s unstinting support of her career change goes to prove that love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes can come in many disguises.

Kathryn’s novels include: Too Charming and Do Opposites Attract?

Website:  http://kathrynfreeman.co.uk

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KathrynFreeman1

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Firstly, a big thank you for kindly having me on your blog to discuss my debut paperback, Do Opposites Attract?

A debut book is a very special thing. Now I know why sportsmen are moved to kiss the trophy they win. When I opened a parcel from Choc Lit to find a copy of Do Opposites Attract?, I instinctively went to kiss it. I might not have won a championship, but there was plenty of sweat behind that final book – and buckets of pride on my achievement.

I couldn’t have been more delighted when I saw the cover for the very first time (a huge thank you to the talented Berni Stevens who designs covers for Choc Lit).

My first thought was – it’s pink. I’m a total sucker for all things pink. The walls of my study are pink, my handbag is pink, ninety percent of my wardrobe is pink. Maybe it’s because I live in a male dominated household – or maybe it’s because pink is such a vibrant, happy, romantic colour.

Coming down from my pink high, I took in the fabulous contrast of elegant stilettos and pearls next to clumpy workman boots and a stethoscope. That’s it, I remember thinking. She’s caught the very essence of the book.

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Do Opposites Attract? features Mitch McBride and Brianna Worthington – two people from totally different backgrounds who meet in the harsh and emotionally charged environment of a refugee camp. They couldn’t be more opposite. Think tough versus genteel, rough compared to elegant, gruff and distant as opposed to warm and friendly. Mitch McBride grew up on the wrong side of the tracks but now works as a doctor for a medical charity. It’s a place where his background doesn’t matter – until the patron’s daughter comes to visit, that is. Brianna Worthington with her class, her wealth and her supreme self-confidence, rubs at an unhealed wound. She’s a sharp reminder of the bleakness of his own roots. He’ll do as he’s promised, show her what the charity does, but he’s going to keep his distance. No matter how beautiful she is.

What he doesn’t reckon on though, is Brianna’s determination to get what she wants. Surprisingly, she finds herself wanting Mitch. First she has to prove to him, and herself, that she isn’t a spoilt little rich girl but a strong woman with compassion and purpose. Of course it would help if she didn’t feel so totally out of her depth in the refugee camp. And if for once, just once, she could do something useful instead of getting in the way.

Do Opposites Attract? Well, they do in this story. But will the attraction last? Sorry, I’m not telling 🙂

Thank you so much for having me. If you want to find out more about the story, it’s available on Amazon.

 Wishing you success with Do Opposites Attract? Kathryn and all your writing projects.

DOA_front smallThere’s no such thing as a class divide – until you’re on separate sides.

Brianna Worthington has beauty, privilege and a very healthy trust fund. The only hardship she’s ever witnessed has been on the television. Yet when she’s invited to see how her mother’s charity, Medic SOS, is dealing with the aftermath of a tornado in South America, even Brianna is surprised when she accepts.

Mitch McBride, Chief Medical Officer, doesn’t need the patron’s daughter disrupting his work. He’s from the wrong side of the tracks and has led life on the edge, but he’s not about to risk losing his job for a pretty face.

Poles apart, dynamite together, but can Brianna and Mitch ever bridge the gap separating them?

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Publishers Choc Lit are generously sponsoring  a giveaway.  

One lucky blog reader in the UK could be reading a paperback copy of Do Opposites Attract?

Easy entry via the Rafflecopter link below.

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Good Luck!

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ANNE C

Jera’s Jamboree : Writing about best friends ~ Angeline Bishop ~ SOUTH BEACH

Today, JJ is delighted to be welcoming Angeline to the blog.  Angeline is sharing her thoughts on friendship.

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Angeline Bishop writes contemporary romance fiction and has a growing fan base.  Angeline’s novels are thought-provoking, refreshingly entertaining, fast paced, and with a strong romantic elements. She was born in Washington, D. C., but lived most of her life in New Jersey and considers the ‘Garden State’ her home. Her childhood passion for writing led to a degree in English Literature and a membership in Romance Writers of America.

Aside from writing her own novels and blogging, Angeline is the Vice President of the Cultural, Interracial, and Multicultural Special Interest Chapter of Romance Writers of America and enjoys helping authors strengthen their craft.  She co-hosts the AMB Talk Radio podcasts each Fall with her pop-culture loving, college-aged daughter. And she’s the founder of the AMB Ovation Awards (The Angie) which provides honor and recognition of authors’ outstanding achievements in the multicultural romance literary profession.

South Beach, the second novel in the Sheridan Series, will soon be following by Wild West and Big East. Angeline also looks forward to launching the Jacmuir Series, a multicultural New Adult series inspired by her college-reader fan base.

Website

Facebook

Twitter @ambishop1

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Writing About Best Friends: The Power of Sisterhood By Choice

I have a confession; I’m very selective when I make a shift from acquaintance to friend with new people. Past circumstances taught me a true friendship requires an enormous amount of vulnerability, honesty, and reciprocity so I select the members of my inner circle guardedly. As an author and blogger in the Facebook age, I’ve noticed how people blur the distinctions between acquaintances and friends repeatedly. That’s why I used the platform of my second novel, SOUTH BEACH, to remind women of the definition of friendship and how to cherish their women friends.

As women move away from marriages in their early twenties and begin to work hard in their careers, you may have noticed best friends are playing a strong role that rests somewhere between constant companion and therapist. Now, an acquaintance may know surface things about you due to their regular interactions, like your colleagues at work or your neighbor next door but real friends know essence of you.  Your values coincide with theirs and they won’t hesitate to stand beside you when others walk away. They know what upsets in public and how you hide behind a mask of indifference until you can shed your tears in private.

Today’s reality shows want to make the public believe women can’t be authentic friends to each other, that sisterly bonds have been dismissed for the quest of wealth and notoriety.  What a poor message to send to our young girls. It’s not true! That’s why my novel SOUTH BEACH highlights the intimate bond between close friends.

When we were younger, back in grade school, we seem to have no shortage of people we called our “best friends.” As we mature, however, the selection process of our friendships changed. Our best friends become the people that are accepting of our flaws and don’t expect perfection. If you’re having a bad day, such a friend would ask if they can help or leave you alone for a day or two if that’s what you need.

They are also loyal. Loyalty is a rare commodity but it’s an absolute requirement in true and abiding friendships. One key to being loyal is keeping a tight rein on our tongues. If we’re loyal, we won’t tear a friend down behind her back or share her personal story without her permission. As positive women, we strive to build someone up, not tear someone down.

Now on the flip side, women friends can have heated disagreements but they work hard to give each other the benefit of the doubt and understanding of each other’s mood swings. Best friends will applaud your major triumphs and join you on your couch when you feel like shutting out the world.  And they never care when you cry your eyes out during a chick flick because they are busy crying right beside you.

I love to write about female friendships but I keep three key points in mind to make them relatable and realistic:

Best Friends Should Have Shared History and Common Interests. Nothing ties people together better than having gone through the same difficult experience and to have a few shared interests. For the ladies in SOUTH BEACH, they were roommates at the same college, have had difficulties with men, and love have chick flicks marathons.

Best Friends Are a Good Influence and Committed to Each Other’s Happiness. A true friend is willing to put your happiness before the friendship but they won’t refrain from telling you something you don’t want to hear because it may ever fracture the friendship. (Example: The way Marina confronts Sofìa in SOUTH BEACH.) A best friend also won’t ask you to compromise your principles in the name of your friendship or anything else. Ever.

Best Friends Are Thoughtful and Reliable. Being able to see someone else’s needs and doing what you can to fulfill those needs helps to bond people quickly. And to know you can call on a friend to bail you out of a jam 24/7, will make you feel secure and increases your confidence in your bond.

Authors have a great platform to change the way people recognize the distinctions between acquaintances and friends. We may write drama between best friends but if we let the readers get a closer look at the depths of friendship so all of our lives can be enriched.

A  reminder of the power of the pen Angeline!  Thank you for sharing today.

SouthBeach_4webLgIn SOUTH BEACH, Laila Sheridan, a successful fashionista who attracts male interest with an effortless strut of her stiletto heels, has ended a rocky relationship with Malcolm Khalid, a captivating lothario with a passion for shirking adult responsibilities. She believes partying in glamorous South Beach with her former college roommates is the prescription for getting her swagger back.

When her vacation becomes a media circus that draws Malcolm back into her life and her handsome Psyche marketing colleague, Gray Ryley, arrives on the scene to tame her antics, Laila is determined make the men play by her rules. Gray finds himself torn between anguish and ecstasy when another Lalia-sitting assignment is placed in his hands; he’s asked to hinder Malcolm’s advances and subdue the paparazzi, while wrestling with his smouldering desire to get Laila in his bed.

Will this assignment cause him to disclose feelings that may sever their friendship and jeopardize his career?

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South Beach is touring with Fiction Addiction!

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Tour Date Tour Host
29th July Shaz’s Book Blog
29th July Chicklit Club Connect
30th July Books are my life
31st July Inheritance Books with Rhoda Baxter
1st August Books With Wine And Chocolate
4th August Rachel Brimble Romance
4th August Authors & Readers Book Corner
5th August MissBookworm Reviews
6th August Jennyinneverland
6th August Tracy Riva Books and Reviews
7th August Sue Cover Reveals & Book Promotions
8th August Fiction Dreams

The overall tour giveaway is paperback/ebook copies of Book 1 and 2 of the Sheridan Series (North Star and South Beach) plus a $100 Amazon’s gift card.  Enter on hosts posts on the day.

We hope you’ll join in the fun!

Jera’s Jamboree : Guest Author Robert Bryndza ~ a tough goodbye

JJ is delighted to be welcoming Robert today.

Robert Bryndza

Robert Bryndza was born in the UK and lived in America and Canada before settling in Slovakia with his Slovak husband Ján. His debut novel ‘The Not So Secret Emails of Coco Pinchard’ became an Amazon bestseller and two sequels have followed, ‘Coco Pinchard’s Big Fat Tipsy Wedding’ and ‘Coco Pinchard, The Consequences of Love and Sex’.

When he’s not writing Rob is learning Slovak, trying to train two crazy dogs, or watching Grand Designs – all in the hope that he’ll be able to understand his mother-in-law, build his dream house, and get the dogs to listen.

You can find out more about Robert at www.robertbryndza.com on Twitter at @RobertBryndza

On Amazon and Facebook facebook.com/bryndzarobert

Or, for a far more interesting option, you can now follow Coco Pinchard on Twitter at @CocoPinchard

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So you’re an author… Where do you get your ideas? 

The one question I’ve been asked the most as an author is, Where do you get your ideas from?  It’s always a tricky one to answer. Sometimes things will just pop into my head from nowhere, often an idea will develop slowly and I’ll have to take a few wrong turns to get it right, and sometimes I’ll fall in love with a place or an experience I’ve had and I think I just HAVE to put that in a book!

I’m British and I live in Slovakia. The first time I came here I was blown away by the beauty of the country, and the gentle pace of life. I stayed in my sister-in-laws country house which she bought a few years ago as a crumbling wreck. A tree grew out of a hole on one side the roof, and the garden had grown up and over the other. Only recently Google Earth updated its entry, showing the results of four years hard work.

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The house is now beautiful, and cosy, with a garden full of sweet smelling flowers. It’s part of a tiny Hamlet of five cottages tucked away in a crease in the fields. Over the road is a stream with a crumbling water mill. To one side wetlands glitter in the sunshine, and to the other, fields of sunflowers sway lazily in the breeze. And they’ve got a famous neighbour, the guitarist in one of the biggest rock bands in Slovakia.

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I’m not name dropping here, I just thought you may have heard of this place before. I used it as a location in one of my books, The Not So Secret Emails Of Coco Pinchard. Over the years, the fictional version has become confused by the events in the book. My husband Ján says that whenever he sees the garden, he thinks of the party which is thrown for Coco Pinchard’s birthday, of Coco having a drunken one night stand in the field by the mill… with the guitarist of a famous rock band.

My sister-in-law said they recently saw their neighbour, the famous guitarist, on who the character is based. He had poked his head over the wall to say how much he was enjoying the Slovak language edition of The Not So Secret Emails Of Coco Pinchard. 

This woman isn’t real, is she?” he asked nervously. “Did she come and stay with you?” They could see him, mentally running through the wild parties he’d thrown in the past.

She assured him it was a work of fiction.

Sadly, the house is about to be sold. So we’ve come here to stay one last time, and it’s going to be tough to say goodbye.

You have immortalised your sister-in-law’s home Robert 🙂

Keep those memories alive!

Coco3_Kindle_Cover copySince Coco Pinchard found first husband Daniel in bed with another woman, she hasn’t just picked up the pieces: she’s now a best-selling author married to her hunky soul-mate Adam. She feels stronger and wiser and surely the second time round she’ll have learnt from her mistakes?

But things aren’t going quite according to plan… Adam has lost his job, Coco’s grown-up son Rosencrantz seems to have derailed his life in spectacular fashion, and ex-mother-in-law Ethel keeps letting herself into the house thanks to an endless supply of spare keys. When literary agent Angie takes on Coco’s arch rival, the indomitable Regina Battenberg, it looks as though things can’t get any worse. And then Coco discovers she’s pregnant; at 44.

Can she really go through it all again? Sleepless nights, stretch marks on top of stretch marks, and poo as a normal topic of conversation?

The third and final book in Robert Bryndza’s bestselling series is a hilarious diary with Coco’s trademark wit and honesty, tracing the raging hormones and extraordinary twists that take her to motherhood for the second time.

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Coco Pinchard, the Consquences of Love and Sex is touring with Fiction Addiction Book Tours.

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Tour Date Tour Host
28th July Fandom Monthly Magazine
29th July Brook Cottage Books
30th July Deal Sharing Aunt
31st July Lost in Chick Lit
1st August M’s Bookshelf
4th August The Book Corner
5th August Books are my life
6th August Katie Oliver
7th August Inheritance Books with Rhoda Baxter
8th August This Chick Reads

 

Tour giveaway is 3 x signed copies of Coco Pinchard, The Consequences of Love and Sex  plus Coco Pinchard bookmarks.  You will be able to enter via tour host posts.

We hope you’ll join in and check out the fun posts as well as reviews.

Jera’s Jamboree : Guest author Julie Ryan ~ Sophia’s Secret

Julie Ryan visits JJ today to talk about her writing journey.

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Julie was born and brought up in a mining village near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. She graduated with a BA (hons) in French Language and Literature from Hull University. Since then she has lived and worked as a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language in France, Greece, Poland and Thailand. She now lives in rural Gloucestershire with her husband, son and a dippy cat with half a tail.  She is so passionate about books that her collection is now threatening to outgrow her house, much to her husband’s annoyance!

“Jenna’s Journey” is her début novel set in Greece, a country to which she has a strong attachment.

Twitter – @julieryan18

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/julieryanauthor

Blog  www.allthingsbookie.com

Jenna’s Journey Amazon

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Welcome Julie!

My writing Journey

One of the first questions most people ask me is ‘ How did ‘Jenna’s Journey’, my first novel, come about?  The second question is  ‘ How long did it take to write?

The inspiration came from the time I spent in Greece as an English teacher in the 1980s. I fell in love with the country, the people, the culture and the beautiful landscape. I didn’t know then that it would be a love affair that would stay with me all my life. Somehow Greece seemed to suck me in and refused to let me go.

As a child I loved writing stories and fancied myself as a second Enid Blyton. Strangely enough, I didn’t write much as an adult, just a few short stories for my own amusement. It wasn’t until thirty years after my sojourn in Greece that a chance encounter with a fellow author led to me dusting off a short story and turning it into ‘Jenna’s journey.’ My lovely friend, Linn B Halton convinced me that I had a novel in me and her own determination served as my inspiration. As I looked out of the window on a cold snowy morning, I started to wonder what my life would have been like if I’d stayed in Greece. That was the starting point for the parallel stories that make up the first book in the Greek Island Mystery series.

I still find it hard to believe that from one short story has evolved a series of books all set on the same Greek Island yet featuring different characters. Of course, some of the characters from the first book get a mention later on as once I’d written it, they just wouldn’t leave me alone! It’s only a few months, back in September 2013, that I self-published ‘Jenna’s Journey’. At the time I thought I’d achieved my goal and could sit back. I hadn’t counted on the pull of writing though as I found I just couldn’t walk away. It took me about 18 months to write the first book although I like to say it had a gestation period of 30 years. It has been such a steep learning curve but I must have gained some knowledge in crafting the Art as the second book, ‘Sophia’s Secret’ only took about eight months. At this rate I’m counting on the third book only taking about six months!! So far it’s just a germ of an idea, provisionally called ‘Pandora’s Prophecy’ but anyone who knows me will be aware that it could change dramatically between now and publication. So far it’s looking very different from the predecessors although it’s still set in my beloved Greece.

All it can take is that one chance meeting 🙂

Thank you for sharing your inspiration Julie.

Sophia's secret

Kat has never understood why she was sent at the age of seven from Greece to live in England with her Aunt Tigi. When she receives an email from her grandmother, the first contact in over twenty years, informing her of her mother’s death, she knows this could be her last chance to find out the truth. Little by little she finds out the shocking facts as her grandmother opens her heart.  It seems everyone has a secret to tell, not only her grandmother, as Manoli, her school friend, also harbours a guilty secret. Then there’s a twenty year old mystery to solve as well as a murder and what happened to the missing Church treasure?

Sophia’s Secret is going on tour!

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Date Tour Host
14th July Books, Reviews, Etc
14th July Brook Cottage Books
15th July Georgina Troy
15th July A Novel Review
16th July Crooks on Books
17th July Chicklit Club Connect
18th July DizzyC’s Little Book Blog
18th July @jaustenrulesok
18th July M’s Bookshelf

Giveaway is UK Ecopy of Sophia’s Secret plus an Amazon Gift Card £5 and US ecopies of Jenna’s Journey and Sophie’s Secret.

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We hope you’ll enjoy the interview, guest post and reviews.

Jera’s Jamboree : Guest Post ~ Return to Love ~ Kathleen Shoop

JJ is delighted to be welcoming Kathleen today.

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Amazon Top-100 Bestselling author, Kathleen Shoop, holds a PhD in reading education and has more than 20 years of experience in the classroom. She writes historical fiction, women’s fiction and romance.

Shoop’s novels have garnered various awards in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, Eric Hoffer Book Awards, Indie Excellence Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the San Francisco Book Festival. Kathleen has been featured in USA Today and the Writer’s Guide to 2013. Her work has appeared in The Tribune-Review, four Chicken Soup for the Soul books and Pittsburgh Parent magazine. She lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

For more information, visit www.kshoop.com. FACEBOOK– KATHLEEN SHOOP https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kathleen-Shoop/359762600734147?focus_composer=true TWITTER– @kathieshoop https://twitter.com/kathieshoop

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Hi Kathleen, 

Welcome!

Let me start by saying I love, love, love the novel I’ve written called Return to Love. Are you sensing a theme there with all that love…Hahaha. Seriously, the characters, April and Hale Abercrombie are special to me and I hope, if you read the book, will be special to you, too. There is much that fascinates me about this story—I’ve melded the sadness of loss (The book opens with April’s pregnancy having ended badly), with the passion of love and the touching moments that come when true love deepens and friendship is discovered.

Don’t be frightened off by the mention of sadness. This book is of the happily ever after sort, but to me, the best tales must have sadness in order to amplify the joy.  Making this story unique, I’ve decided to expand book one, Home Again, and in doing so, the reader knows April and Hale are already married. A lot of romance novels turn on the developing love of two characters who have never been “together,” before. Although that’s how Home Again, unfolds, these characters were too interesting and too close to my heart not to explore their relationship further.

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Let me give you the setup; Return to Love is set on the shores of the Outer Banks, North Carolina. Hale has been overseas in Vietnam, reporting back to duty after he and April were married in the fall of 1969. April had become pregnant and was enjoying a perfect pregnancy, working on the family home on the water and photographing the Albemarle Sound for a coffee table book.

But as things in life often do, life went awry. A flawless pregnancy ended with a child who would not live. Don’t stop reading! I swear this book is not depressing. Yes, it opens with April lost and grieving, but like all resilient people, April and Hale find humor in their reconnection, they find trust and hope and joy even in the worst moments of their short marriage.

As a writer, I feel like I can offer readers a chance to see a “new” romance with April and Hale with this story. No, they are not recently introduced, just falling in love, but with the a continent and ocean of distance between them, each reunion is fresh and requires that they get to know each other all over again. I hope that readers experience that as they read. But it’s also interesting that readers will witness a deepening of love between the two. First kisses are fabulous, that first touch, the first time in bed…all of it makes for spicy, compelling reading, but I think readers will appreciate the chance to experience all the ways that love can be passionate and exciting even once a pair is wedded.

Yes, there is an exploration of loss and how that changes April. Hale has the chance to attempt to “fix” April and heal her aching heart. But he’s on the clock as his leave only lasts a few weeks. We all know when men attempt to fix a woman—humor ensues.  Like all my favorite novels, Return to Love includes a cast of fun, layered characters beyond the central couple. The plot still centers on April and Hale, but that seasoning that secondary characters bring to the book is a perfect compliment to the main dish.

Why the food analogies? Well, this story also includes a lot of cooking as April has the chance to heal her heart with busy hands. Oysters, spices, home cooking…enjoy a new recipe or two while you join April and Hale on their journey further into love, toward the kind of healing that changes them forever!

Thank you for sharing more about the characters in Return to Love.

Return to Love is going on tour!

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Tour date Tour Host
9th July The Book Corner
10th July A Novel Review
16th July Rachel Brimble Romance
21st July Books, Reviews, Etc
22nd July @jaustenrulesok
23rd July Chicklit Club Connect
24th July Me, Bookshelf and I
25th July Tracy Riva Books and Reviews

Overall tour giveaway is 3 x $15/£10 Amazon Gift Cards plus 1 x recipe book, Renewal “Anytime” 10 Day Detox by Lisa Consiglio Ryan.

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We hope you’ll join in the fun!

Jera’s Jamboree : Guest Author Lisa April Smith ~ Forgotten Tales of China

Today JJ is welcoming Lisa April Smith.

Lisa April Smith

Lisa April Smith lives with her husband, He-who-wishes-to-remain-anonymous, in Eternal Playland, Florida, a delightful spot just off I-95. Ms. Smith describes her hometown as: “a little piece of level heaven with occasional dampness, where the bugs are plentiful but respectful, and even the smallest strip mall contains at least one pizza parlor and a nail salon.”

Before discovering a passion for writing Ms. Smith traded in antiques, taught ballroom dancing and managed projects for IBM. A sought-after teacher and speaker, she has been interviewed on both radio and television, and addressed groups from small intimate gatherings to theater-sized audiences.

For more, visit her website: http://www.LisaAprilSmith.com.  You can Tweet with her @LisaAprilSmith and keep up-to-date on her Author Facebook page.

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What inspired Forgotten Tales of China?

It was while reading Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, written by the eminent scientist and Pulitzer Prize winning author Jared Diamond, that I experienced my eureka moment. I had to set my next book in ancient China. It would be an epic novel with each segment having its own characters and story, similar in format to those written by James Michener and Edward Rutherfurd. I knew it was an incredibly ambitious project that would require extensive research, but the idea of combining my love of storytelling, archaeology, sociology, history, anthropology and China was irresistible.

I set out to do the required research and lost myself in it, never bored, daily revitalized by exciting new finds. After a year my imagination would no longer be contained. Characters and plots filled my days and nights. Ten years after beginning, Forgotten Tales of China, the first in a series, was born.

I did something new. As a reader, I find myself wondering which parts of a historical novel are based on scientific reasoning and evidence, logical deduction or are simply the product of the author’s imagination. If you share my compulsive disorder, or you’re just curious, you’ll find answers in Author’s Notes, found at the end of each segment.

Six segments are set at pivotal points in China’s past with characters who, in their own small way, will alter the path of history.

The first segment, The People of the Cave, takes place 40,000 years ago, shortly after Wise Old Mother fell into a coma and permitted the fire to die. Lacking the knowledge to start fire has caused a crisis. Storm, a young untested leader, has taken four men on a dangerous mission to steal fire from Strangers, leaving behind a desperate hungry and Berry, a nine year old girl.  But Berry, the last to eat and first to be beaten, is determined to rise in rank and will utilize her brilliant mind to do so.

The second segment, Giants, is set 20,000 years ago during the last ice age – a time when simple survival was an ongoing test of endurance, ingenuity, courage and the willingness to sacrifice for the common good. It’s a story of Watchful Eye, a devoted tribe leader, who believes that the fate of his beleaguered tribe is linked to the fate of his adopted twin sons, one a hunter and the other a fisherman.

Tall, near-sighted Squint, set 9,000 years ago,is limited to tasks typically done by women and children of his nomadic hunting/gathering clan. The agreeable star of this light-hearted third tale, sets out on mission to gain respect and the girl he longs to marry, by trading clan trinkets and pelts for unknown treasures. Will he stay in the wondrous town where he is valued for his size and stamina, or return to his dismissive clansmen with his hard-won tools and knowledge of agriculture? And will the father of a painfully shy maiden with a cleft lip be able to influence his decision?

Perhaps your favorite segment will be Shing’s Daugters, the story of a patient hard-working man with five beautiful daughters, and a wife he cherishes, who is tormented by her ancestors’ prophetic voices?

The Temple of the Goddess, set 5,000 years ago, is the story of a pious young healer, the nobleman obsessed with her and a sadistic serial killer. The renowned archeological Temple of the Goddess is 5,000 year old and was the centerpiece of a major religious site which served a network of Hongshan villages and cities. There, people worshiped a female deity – the first female deity found in China. Wall paintings and pottery figures of parts of the human anatomy, found inside the ruins, indicate supplicants prayed for fertility and restoration to health. Also found were paintings of particular birds, whose migration was believed to be sent by gods to signal the arrival of rain and the planting season. Lacking irrigation, rain was incredibly important for Hongshan survival. The significant site, coupled with a female deity responsible for health produced the character of Lian, a pious young priestess/healer. Throughout time, when women attain power there are always envious resentful men plotting to take it away. And that led to Jiang, a politically ambitious nobleman obsessed with her. The itinerant, sadistic serial killer appeared to me as the story of thwarted desire in a drought plagued land emerged.

3,600 years ago, 1,100 years prior to Greece’s Golden Age, people in China had invented ink, performed craniotomies, constructed massive palaces, created a reliable calendar, and cast bronze tools, containers, musical instruments and weapons. The last segment, The Bronze Worker and the Discarded Concubine, is a blend of fiction, fact and myth. It’s tells about a man struggling to raise his three grandchildren and prevent them from being sold into slavery, and a woman who helped topple the first dynasty.

Forgotten Tales of China

|  Amazon Paperback  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

Sounds fascinating Lisa! 

Thank you for sharing your inspiration with my blog readers.

Wishing you success.

Jera’s Jamboree : Why the Regency Era? ~ A guest post from Julie LeMense

Welcome to Julie LeMense!

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© William Donlin of Studio D, Berwick PA

 

A Georgetown University graduate with a degree in English Literature, I have been a Regency romance addict since I read my first deliciously bad Barbara Cartland novel. These days, I prefer the complex characterizations and plotting of Julie Anne Long, Sherry Thomas and Meredith Duran. A member of the Romance Writers Association of America, I am currently working on my next two novels, as the ghosts who live in my haunted, gilded age-era home try to sneak their way into my stories.

Website

Once Upon A Wager

Facebook

Twitter @julielemense

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Why the Regency Era?

I’ve always loved romance books. In fact, I recall writing an essay on the subject for one of my college applications (and the school let me in, so it was obviously an enlightened institution!) I started with Harlequin romances, which were set in the present day, and invariably fell in love with the hero/ceo/millionaire/philanthropist/movie star/race car driver right along with the heroine.

Somewhere along the way, however, my older sister introduced me to an author named Barbara Cartland. It’s nearly impossible to find her books these days, but back then, she was the rather infamous godmother of Princess Diana. She was also a British aristocrat with more than 700 romance books to her name.

Talk about an adventure! Her heroines were always beautiful, and had a remarkable skill, say fluency in Sanskrit, even though they’d never left their small English village. And of course, the heroes were handsome and titled (usually only a Duke would do). There were kidnappings, explosions and villains in dark capes. Unfortunately, nobody ever kissed until the very end, but the world her characters inhabited seemed so fascinating, with its traditions steeped in history. I was fairly certain, even then, that I’d never get to take a carriage to a fancy dress ball, but I began to imagine what it might be like…to have a white gloved hero ask me to dance; to swirl around a candlelit room, cloaked in satins and silks; to steal a kiss in the moonlight.

And of course, the idea of living in a mansion with 125 rooms was also appealing.

Looking back, Cartland’s novels lacked the depth (and the passion!) that I’m now drawn to, but she was a wonderful introduction to a strange new world, Regency-era England. I’ve been hooked on the genre ever since.

These days, you can’t go wrong with any Regency novel by Sarah MacLean, Meredith Duran, Sherry Thomas or Julie Anne Long. And hopefully, you’ll find time for “Once Upon A Wager” as well, my debut novel from Crimson Romance.

I remember reading my mum’s Barbara Cartland novels at a teen …

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When Lord Alec Carstairs returns from war, hailed as a hero, only Annabelle Layton knows the sort of man he really is. They’d been friends before a passionate kiss changed everything, before a reckless wager left her broken and bloodied, and he abandoned her.
Hardly the actions of a hero.

But shocking lies have distorted the past. Can Alec uncover its painful truths, and still keep his distance? Can he deny his forbidden desire, even as it flares hotter than ever?

Once Upon A Wager is going on tour!

 

 

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Date Tour Host
9th June lil Miss Vix Reads
11th June Brook Cottage Books
12th June Carole’s Book Corner
13th June Imagine a World
16th June A Novel Thought
17th June Curling up with a Good Book
17th June Deal Sharing Aunt
18th June Cometbabesbooks
19th June Book Freak
20th June Compelling Reads

 

We hope you’ll follow the tour!