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.


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.

|  Amazon Paperback  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |


TurningTheTide:Layout 1

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 …

|  Amazon Paperback  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |


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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Good luck!

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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!


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?





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?

|  Amazon Paperback  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |


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.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

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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 on Twitter at @RobertBryndza

On Amazon and Facebook

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


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.


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.


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.

Consequences Tour Banner

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 : Giveaway ~ Discovery of Witches/Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

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If you’re ‘friends’ with me on my personal Facebook, you would have seen how excited I was to be invited to the pre-launch party for the final book in the All Souls trilogy, The Book of Life.

invite to book of life pre launch

And I can GO!  Hotel is booked and plans are being made 🙂 I can’t wait for 4th July!

This is such an awesome trilogy and one that I just happened to start my blog with … my first ever blog post was my review of A Discovery of Witches!  Every time I think about The Book of Life my pulse rate goes up … but I’m also sad that this will be the end of the All Souls trilogy.


Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew once more in the stunning climax to their epic tale, following A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES and SHADOW OF NIGHT. 

A world of witches, daemons and vampires. A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future. Diana and Matthew – the forbidden love at the heart of it.

After travelling through time in SHADOW OF NIGHT, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchant­ing series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home in France they reunite with their families – with one heart-breaking exception. But the real threat to their future is yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on a terrifying urgency. Using ancient knowl­edge and modern science, from the palaces of Venice and beyond, Diana and Matthew will finally learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.


® 2014 Scarlett Freund

® 2014 Scarlett Freund

Deborah Harkness is a historian of science and a professor of history at the University of Southern California. She spent several years in Oxford doing research (and really did once find a missing manuscript in the Bodleian Library!). She has written THE JEWEL HOUSE: ELIZABETHAN LONDON AND THE SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION as well as the three novels in the internationally bestselling ALL SOULS trilogy, A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, SHADOW OF NIGHT and THE BOOK OF LIFE.


Twitter @DebHarkness

Facebook Author Page

To celebrate the upcoming launch of The Book of Life, I’m fortunate enough to be able to offer my blog readers the chance to grab a paperback copy of the first two books:

To enter the UK giveaway, click on the Rafflecopter link below:

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Good Luck!

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Cherry M

Happy reading!

Jera’s Jamboree : Did those fairy tale princesses have their HEA? ~ Laura Kenyon

JJ is delighted to welcome Laura Kenyon today.

Laura Kenyon headshot

Laura Kenyon is an award-winning journalist and graduate of Boston College. Her stories

and articles have appeared in Kiwi Magazine, Westchester Magazine, Just Labs, Serendipity, The Improper Bostonian, InD’tale Magazine, and Westchester/Hudson Valley Weddings, as well as in myriad newspapers and at She lives in Connecticut with her husband and their silver Labrador retriever. DESPERATELY EVER AFTER is her first novel.

She loves connecting with readers on her blog (, Twitter (, Facebook (, and Goodreads (

Representation: Michelle Brower

Folio Literary Management


What happened after those fairy tale princesses marched down the aisle? 

Shaz, it’s so great to be here, and to be gearing up for my Fiction Addiction blog tour! Thanks so much for having me.

2014 has been quite an interesting year, to say the least. Long ago, I vowed to publish my first book before my first child was born. Well, I only made it by a couple months, but goal accomplished!

In many ways though, Desperately Ever After is my first “baby.” Only rather than nine months, I carried it for several years. Rather than having to refuse alcohol, there were times when things progressed even better with a goblet of pinot noir or a cosmopolitan. And while both landed me in tears more than a few times, the book is proving far less painful in the end!

But before I start ranting about the “joys” of pregnancy (why some people call it the best time of your life is beyond me—that’s like saying airport security is the best part of a vacation), I should talk a bit about my book.

Desperately Ever After takes some of our most celebrated fairy tale princesses and asks what happened after their march down the aisle. How many kids would Cinderella have ten years down the road? Would her iconic ball gown still fit? Would she feel suffocated by responsibility? Would “true love” endure?

And what about Beauty? After all, her husband was quite a jerk before he became a monster. Too hung up on looks to let a little old fairy in from the rain! Once his curse broke, how long would it take for “Beast” to go right back to his old ways? When would he realize there were a million other “beauties” in the sea … and it’s good to be the King.

These are just some of questions I wanted to answer, but in a way that had never been done before. I didn’t want to create another modern retelling—where “Prince Charming” owns a Fortune 500 company, for example, and “Cinderella” works in the mail room and has two evil roommates. Instead, I wanted to continue the “original” tales where they left off (within reason—Cinderella’s stepsisters don’t get their eyes plucked out).

Furthermore, I wanted the characters to actually BE those princesses—not some symbolic rendition of them. And I wanted them to all live in the same time and be the best of friends—like the women of Desperate Housewives or Sex and the City.

So when it comes down to it, Desperately Ever After is about a group of women coming to terms with how their lives have turned out. They may be dealing with infidelity, temptation, aging, stress, PREGNANCY, or the constant need to sacrifice their own dreams for the benefit of others. They may pretend they feel one way because they think it protects them, when really they feel the complete opposite. They may ignore problems that are right in front of their faces, or they may fabricate problems that don’t exist at all. Either way, it’s about real life and friendship and how one could never work without the other.

Originally, I intended for Desperately Ever After to be a single book with the option, far in the future, of a sequel. But just like the little bundle inside of me, once things got going, the characters took on a life of their own. They became as real to me as any flesh-and-blood friends, and I couldn’t justify smashing all of their stories into one book. Dawn (a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty), for example, has one of my favorite storylines, but I couldn’t do it justice while Belle and Cinderella and Rapunzel were trying to hog the stage! So she gets to share the spotlight in the sequel, Damsels in Distress, which will come out this summer.

Thank you for sharing your inspiration with my blog readers today Laura.

Kenyon - Desperately Ever After coverOne part Sex and the City. Two parts Desperate Housewives.

Three parts Brothers Grimm.

Imagine what might happen if our most beloved fairy tale princesses were the best of friends and had the dreams, dilemmas, and libidos of the modern woman. How would their stories unfold after the wedding bells stopped ringing?

Set in a fictional realm based on New York City, DESPERATELY EVER AFTER sprinkles women’s fiction with elements of fantasy, and encourages readers to rethink everything they know about happy endings.

Years after turning her husband from beast back to man and becoming his queen, Belle finds out she’s finally going to have a child. But before she can announce the wondrous news, she catches him cheating and watches her “happily ever after” go up in flames.

Turning to her friends for the strength to land with grace, she realizes she’s not the only one at a crossroads:

  • Cinderella, a mother of four drowning in royal duties, is facing her 30th birthday and questioning everything she’s done (or hasn’t) with her life.
  • Rapunzel, a sex-crazed socialite and one-woman powerhouse, is on a self-destructive quest to make up for 20 years locked away in a tower.
  • Penelopea, an outsider with a mother-in-law from hell, is harboring a secret that could ruin everything at any moment.

With the wit of authors like Jennifer Weiner and the vision of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, the women of DESPERATELY EVER AFTER rescue each other from life’s trials with laughter, wine, and a scandalous new take on happily ever after.

DESPERATELY EVER AFTER is available in both print and as an e-book at and Amazon UK

The sequel, DAMSELS IN DISTRESS, is due out in August.

Desperately Ever After is going on tour!

Desperately Ever After Tour Banner

Date Tour Host
3rd June Books are my life
  Chicklit Club Connect
4th June Lost in Chick Lit
5th June Chicklit vs Fantasy
6th June trips down imagination road
9th June Rachel Brimble Romance
11th June Have Book, Will Read
13th June M’s Bookshelf
16th June A Novel Review
17th June jgrwriter
19th June Tea Party Princess
23rd June @jaustenrulesok
24th June Fiction Dreams
  Inheritance Books with Rhoda Baxter
25th June The YA’s Nightstand
26th June Compelling Reads
30th June Tracy Riva Books and Reviews
  Deal Sharing Aunt

Every tour host will be offering an ecopy giveaway so make sure you check out their posts!

We hope you’ll join in the fun.

Jera’s Jamboree : Interview Emma Calin plus Giveaway

Welcome to Emma!

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Emma at work in her shed Photo courtesy of author

Emma Calin was born in London in 1962. She currently lives in France and the UK.

She has been writing since childhood and has won numerous local, national and international prizes for poetry and short stories.

‘KNOCKOUT! A Passionate Police Romance’ is a love story set against a backdrop of international gambling corruption and deception. Interpol cop Anna Leyton finds herself torn between love and duty when her professional and private life intersects. 2 video teasers for this book are available in the right hand column of this author page, below the blog. This book is now available in both paperback and Kindle formats.

The ‘LOVE IN A HOPELESS PLACE COLLECTION’ – a complete ‘boxed set’ of 5 gritty hard-hitting novelettes and short stories which explore the human quest for love, compassion and survival. Available in July 2013 in print, digital e-book and audiobook formats.

‘SUB-PRIME’ is a prize-winning hard hitting short story about courage, exploitation and love. It is a raw and brutal exposé of life at the bottom in the aftermath of recession. Available in e-book formats for Kindle and Kindle Reader Apps. This is the first in Emma Calin’s novelette and short story series and is available as a single title or in the ‘LOVE IN A HOPELESS PLACE COLLECTION’.

‘THE CHOSEN’ – the second publication in the ‘LOVE IN A HOPELESS PLACE COLLECTION’ – is a short story set in modern times where working people struggle to keep their dreams alive. A world where the promise of love motivates desperate measures. Available as a single title in e-book format for Kindle and Kindle Reader Apps, or as part of the collection.

‘ESCAPE TO LOVE’ is a novelette set in an urban landscape, the third in Emma’s ‘LOVE IN A HOPELESS PLACE COLLECTION’. A mother and her autistic daughter are trying to start a new life. They have escaped an abusive relationship only to now find themselves tangled in further drama and controversy. Can she trust her instincts and make the right choices for her child? Their future depends on it. Available as a single title in e-book format for Kindle and Kindle Reader Apps.

‘ANGELA’ is a very short story of a late night taxi ride where the final passenger may not be all that she seems. The fourth story in the ‘LOVE IN A HOPELESS PLACE COLLECTION’.

‘LOVE IN A HOPELESS PLACE’ is a novelette which is the fifth and final book in Emma’s ‘boxed set’ and gives the name to the anthology – THE LOVE IN A HOPELESS PLACE COLLECTION. A mature woman finds the truth of herself. She cannot go back even though physical and emotional violence erupt around her. Dare she give in to love? Will sexual passion and fear overwhelm her stable life? Who can she trust to love her for herself? Available as a single title or as part of the collection.
Emma Calin is a featured author and editor on and Venture Galleries Authors Collection.

Twitter @EmmaCalin



Hi Emma,

Please summarise Shannon’s Law in 20 words or less.

Tough girl cop is new to green suburbs. Encounters sexy Earl and sets to work on love and unexpected crimes.

Did you do any research for your book?  What resources did you use? 

Shannon’s Law took a lot of research. It’s a hard crime story with a passionate romance. I research the love and passion at home ;-p! I travelled to stately homes to soak up history and ambiance. I get the inside track on police from befriended cops and read widely on forensic investigation techniques. I had to get the feel of what post-mortem examinations entail. It was fascinating but gruesome.

Do you have a most creative time of day?

Yes – I just wish I knew when it was! The truth is that it’s tough most of the time. Love scenes go better after a decent wine and not too much food.

How do your characters come into existence?  Do they have a bio?

In the first sentence there is the atmosphere someone there, someone I don’t really know that well. I need their name down on the page almost straightaway unless I’m writing in the first person.  In the case of main characters I have to get to know them. Generally I start to feel them when they speak.  Sub characters are generally people I’ve met. Then they grow together. The danger is that many of them are different incarnations of me. Being a writer is to be a multi layered fantasist. It is a bizarre state of mind. If I didn’t have the excuse of being “creative” they’d be calling the doctor.  There comes a magic day in the development of a book when the character rather than me starts to write. In the case of Shannon’s Law it was early on. She was there and she was real. She had already lived the events. All I had to do was keep up with her and write it down. This may sound fanciful, but being a writer is an odd place to be mentally. If these guys aren’t real to me, they sure won’t convince a reader. At the end of the book I do kinda have a bereavement because I want to be with them. It lasts until that moment in the next story when they start to write themselves. My big fear is that one day this metamorphosis won’t happen and I’ll be like Puff the magic dragon – just a woman sitting at a keyboard with no magic, thinking about gas bills and what’s on TV.

Are you a panster or a plotter?

Definitely a panster. Writing a book is the same process as reading a book. Imagine you are setting out on a journey by train. There will be stops and changes of faces around you. You may study another passenger. The view from the window will alter. You could see a man running to catch the train. Maybe he succeeds or not. In fifty years that train caught or missed may still be affecting the shape of lives or indeed the world. You can plan to go on a train journey and take a taxi from the station on arrival. Maybe there will be a waiting taxi or maybe not. A stranger offers you a lift perhaps or you could wait for a bus and get a coffee. The waiter looks familiar….like maybe a  boy from your street who ran away a couple of  years ago. Gossip suggested the father abused him and the family split up.  You think about whether or not to check his name badge or leave it alone….. (love this!)

How could I deny myself all those possibilities by restricting myself to a plan. Once I have that character in my mind he or she is calling the shots anyway. Writing fiction is the legitimisation of a fantastic and wonderful mental illness. I often wonder how such an aspect of consciousness can have arisen from an evolutionary process. Clearly imagination confers a greater fitness to survive. The fact that fiction is so powerful in providing meaning perhaps says something about the nature of time and existence. (Maybe the terms real and true are not as fixed as we think?) I always allow my characters to free-style all manner of philosophies both established and anarchic. It would be impossible to plan.

If your book is part of a series, what is in the future?

“Shannon’s Law”  is my second girl cop “Passion Patrol” novel following on from “Knockout”. There will be at least one more to follow. Each book is entirely separate but shares the “Scotland Yard” background. The ethos is of women who get the job done. They are tough enough to take on the crooks. They are tough enough to fall in love and be women. Risking love is  as tough as it gets out there.

Which authors have influenced your writing?

Obviously there are the greats.  George Orwell, Thomas Hardy, the Brontes, Wordsworth, Jane Austen and even Shakespeare. Then there are the likes of Saul Bellow, John Updike, WH Auden, Robert Frost and Seamus Heaney. There’s a sub group such Virginia Wolf and Evelyn Waugh. Somewhere I’m sure there’s bits of Martin Amis and Tom Sharp. Then there are the big hitters who are  story tellers. This is the real metal end of the hammer. These are the life changers. Jack London, Joseph Conrad, Jeffrey Archer, Jackie Collins, John Grisham. Charles Dickens, Neville Shute, Victor Hugo, Dan Brown. Some of these are great great writers. A few are not. They tell the tale, they sew in the hooks. You believe!

Do you have a favourite book? Why?  What is it about that book?

It was the first book I read as a kid. It made me realise what a book/story is. It completely carried me with it. It was called “Missing From Home” by Geoffrey Trease. Looking back it was something of a socialist propaganda work. Somehow in packing up a couple of homes and moving I lost it. It was my most valued possession and I have searched high and low for a copy for years. This book gave me an insight in how to write. I never wanted to be a posh writer. I want to get a reader turning pages. I do get a bit soggy and overindulgent at times but I’m always aware of what I have to do. If anyone has a copy or knows where I can steal one …….. (just had a search on Abe Books – no luck)

Do you think movie adaptations do books justice?  Do you have a favourite?

Of course they never do. Our individual imaginations could cross this universe in a second. Even Hollywood cannot do that. No doubt about my favourite adaptation though. Roman Polanski’s version of Thomas Hardy’s Tess Of The D’Urbevilles is a total masterpiece.

What do you think a short story gives to the reader that a full-length novel doesn’t? Do you think the changes in the publishing world have affected the short story market?

The highest kind of writing for me is poetry. The next is the short story.  Both of these forms contain elements of concealed meaning and revelation. I won’t bang on about poetry but this it remains the bedrock of my writing process.  A sentence must balance. No one will notice except to say that your book was “easy to read” or something similar.  The short story needs to get the maximum bounce out of every ball. You need to use the weather, the season, the colour of clothing, the design of car etc etc. The good short is in fact a shorthand yet written in bold lettering. As all fiction, it relies on a partial deception. You lead the reader to believe that this person or that place exist. In the case of the short, you enhance that  deception process to lead them away deliberately from the place where the narrative is headed. Then – bang! Or booh! You jump out.

I like my reader to feel they’re on the same quest as my characters. We all find something out together. In the short we kinda kick ourselves for not having spotted something that was so obvious once the surprise was sprung.  This is merely my own way of writing shorts. They are hard to write and can take as long as a novel.  These stories are a fix like a double espresso. By comparison, a novel is a tea party and very likely, not everything gets eaten.

Short attention spans are a feature of the multi media flish-flash world. You would think that shorts would be more popular these days. My experience is to the contrary. My own collection “Love In A Hopeless Place” gets good reviews but no sales. My sense is that the novella is the coming form. No one thinks that “Animal Farm” or “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” are too short.  Many novels are too long and just appear daunting.

What has been the worst part of your writing journey so far?

The realisation that I will never write that line I want to write. Out there in the ether of possibility, there is something to be said – probably in the form of poetry. It will take language and use it in a combination to construct an accessible understanding of what consciousness and the human experience  is.  We live in an age where we believe that explanation of phenomena equates to scientific analysis.  We use mathematics to do a job once attempted by poetry. We deny ourselves the joy of intuition because it will not yield to scientific insight.

Of course, if one did ever write that line, it would probably attract a spiteful Amazon one star review as being too poetic.

Each last moment of writing is the worst – unless it fully and absolutely captured what you wanted it to say. And for sure – it did not. You just can’t do it can you!!!!

What tips do you have for aspiring writers?

A writer is a person who writes. Do you know what to do today or do you want me to say that again? OK – I know about the dog show, the concert, the theme park vomit fest for Billy’s birthday  and the Smith’s dinner invite……A writer is a selfish cranky hermit who writes.  They have to invent people cos they don’t deserve real ones…..

A very interesting interview Emma.  Thank you for being in my hot seat!

shannons law

A sexy aristocrat. A wild-child inner city cop. A crime wave of passion.

A steamy romance novel introducing a sassy female police officer who locks up criminals and always gets her man.

Moved out from the city after one-too-many maverick missions, Shannon discovers there’s more going on in the sleepy country village than meets the eye. The son of a local aristocrat arouses suspicion of drug crime activity… but his widower father arouses more animal instincts!

Could she really mix with the British royal family? Can she risk her heart and career on yet another high risk unauthorised investigation? Can she get justice for an innocent boy? Dare a kid from the gutter dream of being a countess?

Wild child inner city cop Shannon Aguerri walks a dangerous line between her methods and justice. When the bosses lose their nerve, she is transferred to green pastures to play out the role of a routine village cop. In Fleetworth-Green she encounters signs of people and drug trafficking and homes in on serious millionaire criminals.

As a loner she has attracted men but nothing has stuck. When she meets Spencer, the hunky and widowed Earl of Bloxington,
there is an immediate rapport between them. Their social differences mean nothing to their passion and need. Already in the mix is an upper class female rival who has long plotted her way into the Earl’s bed. The jealousy is an evil shade of green and the anger is a violent scarlet.

Often inhibited by a sense of duty and honour, Spencer is slow to reveal his feelings. When Shannon confronts him with the need
to choose between her word and that of her rival, he does not immediately support her.

All the same, when they are forced together to carry out a desperate rescue mission, their love is stronger than everything ranged against them.

Please note: This book contains joyful explicit sex between adults in a consenting relationship. There is also strong language in high-stress police confrontations with criminals.



Have you read any short stories/anthologies/a novella or poetry books lately?

If you have, what did you enjoy?

If you haven’t, would you try one now after reading Emma’s interview?

Comment below to enter the giveaway of an ecopy of Shannon’s Law and companion cook book Cop’s Kitchen.

Open Internationally.  Giveaway closes 18th April 2014.

 Good Luck

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Jera’s Jamboree : Readers have taken the Nightingale girls to their hearts says Donna Douglas

I’m delighted to be welcoming Donna Douglas to JJ.

Donna Douglas

Donna Douglas has always loved stories. As a child, she looked forward to her weekly fix of the Bunty comic, with its dramatic tales of girls achieving their dreams against the odds. Donna wanted to be a writer, but like her favourite fictional heroines, her dream seemed to be out of reach. Girls from the back streets of south London didn’t do that kind of thing.

But like those Bunty girls before her, Donna was determined. When she was 19, she landed her dream job, writing photo love stories for a teenage magazine. She went on to train as a ‘proper’ journalist, and worked on several women’s magazines. But the longing to tell stories never left her, and when she was 40 years old she published her first novel, Waiting in the Wings, which won the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers Award.

Her first novel in the Nightingales series, The Nightingale Girls, was published in 2012. Since then there have been two more, The Nightingale Sisters and The Nightingale Nurses. The next novel in the series, Nightingales On Call, is published in April 2014. Set in a 1930s East End hospital, The Nightingale novels are heartwarming, emotional stories of girls battling against the odds – just like those Bunty heroines of old.

Donna now lives in York with her husband.  They have a grown up daughter. When she isn’t writing, she likes walking, reading and watching Pointless on TV.

Author links


Twitter – @donnahay1

Facebook Author Page

Buy link to Nightingales On Call


When I first put fingers to keyboard to write a book about nurses in an East End hospital in the 1930s, I had no idea it would prove so popular – or that three years later I would be about to publish the fourth in the series!

But it seems readers have really taken the Nightingale girls to their hearts. I regularly get emails and comments on my Facebook page from people wanting to know what happens next to Dora, Helen and the other nurses. One reader even said it was like catching up with a group of friends, which is exactly how I feel, too!

Now you can catch up with them again, as Nightingales On Call is published at the end of this month. But don’t worry if you haven’t read the previous three books – I try to write each story so it can be read and enjoyed on its own!

One of the characters I’m always asked about is Dora Doyle. The warm hearted, feisty East End girl seems to be a real favourite with readers – and with me, too. We’re all rooting for her to achieve her ambition to become a nurse, and end up with gorgeous Nick Riley. And in Nightingales On Call, it seems as if both her dreams might be about to come true. She’s just a few months away from her State Final exams, and it looks as if she and Nick are finally going to be together. Only one thing stands in the way of their happiness – he’s still married to scheming Ruby. He and Dora have to keep their love a secret until he can get a divorce: if Matron found out one of her nurses was seeing a married man, her career would be over before it began. As their relationship begins to crack under the strain, it looks as if Dora may have to choose between her head and her heart…

As if that wasn’t enough, she also finds herself sharing a room with her arch enemy, Lucy Lane. Snobbish Lucy has made Dora’s life a misery ever since they started training, and being stuck with her day and night doesn’t exactly help their relationship. But when Lucy finds herself thrown into a family crisis, she starts to realise that her worst enemy could actually turn out to be her best friend…

And she’s not the only one forming an unlikely bond.  New girl Jess Jago has taken a job as a maid at the Nightingale Hospital to escape her notorious East End family.  As a lowly servant, she’s not supposed to mix with the student nurses, but she finds a friend in new girl Effie O’Hara. Effie has come over from Ireland to follow in the footsteps of her older sisters, all of them Nightingale trained nurses. But she’s more interested in exploring the bright lights of London than tending the sick.  It’s down to streetwise Jess to save the naïve country girl from disaster. But the tables are turned when Jess’ past catches up with her…

Nightingales On Call has lots of drama and romance, but it’s also a story about friendship and family, and the lengths we’ll go to protect the people we care about. I really hope you enjoy it – please get it touch and let me know what you think!.

Happy reading!


Nightingales on Call is going on tour!


Date Tour Information
24th April @jaustenrulesok guest on Jera’s Jamboree
24th April Deal Sharing Aunt
25th April A Novel Thought
28th April Brook Cottage Books
28th April Cometbabesbooks
30th April Shaz’s Book Blog
1st May Books with Wine and Chocolate
1st May Victoria’s Pages of Romance
2nd May Tracy Riva Books and Reviews
5th May DizzyC’s Little Book Blog
5th May Reviews By Molly
6th May A Chick Who Reads
7th May Compelling Reads

We hope you’ll join in the fun and enter the giveaway for your chance to grab one of three paperback copies of Nightingales on Call.

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Arrow (an imprint of Random House)

The spring of 1937 sees a new intake of student nurses at the Nightingale hospital in East London. Among them is Effie O’Hara, a fun-loving country girl. She’s looking forward to experiencing the bright lights of London.  But with her older sisters watching over her, how can she escape the confines of hospital life?

She finds an unlikely ally in Jess Jago, the new maid at the nurses’ home. Like Effie, Jess is looking for a new start. But it isn’t long before her past catches up with her…

Meanwhile, East End girl Dora Doyle once again finds herself at odds with spoilt fellow student Lucy Lane. But as the girls face dark times, they begin to realise their worst enemy can also be their best friend…

Jera’s Jamboree : Interview plus Giveaway Theresa Rizzo

I’m delighted to welcome Theresa to JJ today.

Theresa Tree Close 2013_0279

Theresa Rizzo is an award-winning author who writes emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and families through real-life trials. 

Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her husband of thirty years. She’s raised four wonderful children who are now scattered across the country.

Theresa’s debut book, He Belongs to Me was a finalist in the General Fiction Category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards!  Her second book, Just Destiny, will be released March 31, 2014.

Find Theresa on the web at, or connect with her on Facebooktwitter @Theresa_Rizzo or Goodreads.



Hi Theresa,

How do your characters come into existence?  Do they have a bio?

I think about the plot first and then decide what type of character I need to make the plot work.  I do develop bios for each character, but that’s just a loose guideline that always evolves and gets refined through each draft and I get to know the characters better.

Do you have a most creative time of day?

I don’t actually have a favorite time of day to work. I write in the mornings most often, but when I’m really deeply involved in the story, I seem to write constantly.

Do you have a favourite place  you go to for inspiration or a favourite activity?

I usually am inspired by newspaper articles or chatting with people. I don’t necessarily have a favorite inspiring place, though I do love going on writer retreats in Crested Butte Colorado.  Deep in the mountains is so dang peaceful!  I’ll go there and write all morning, break for lunch and then take the dog –or a writer friend –for a walk and then get back to writing in the afternoon.

Do you have a theme for your book covers?  Who designs them?

Kim Killion of The Killion Group has designed my beautiful covers. They don’t have a consistent theme, but we do use the same font and she has put my name along the bottom.

Deep in the mountains on a writers retreat sounds idyllic!

TheresaRizzo_JustDestiny_800pxPaperback: 374 pages
ISBN-10: 0989045021
ISBN-13: 978-0989045025

What would you do if your whole world fell apart?

Jenny Harrison made some poor choices in the past, but marrying Gabe was the best thing she’d ever done. They had the perfect marriage, until a tragic accident leaves Gabe brain dead and her world in ruins. Devastated by grief, she decides to preserve the best of their love by conceiving his child, but Gabe’s family is adamantly opposed, even willing to chance exposing long-held family secrets to stop her.

Caught in a web of twisted motives and contentious legal issues, Jenny turns to best friend and attorney, Steve Grant. Steve wants to help Jenny, but he has reservations and secrets of his own. When something so private and simple turns public and complicated, will Jenny relent? What is Steve willing to sacrifice to help Jenny?

Purchase Just Destiny at Amazon,  Barnes, NobleiBookstore & Smashwords.


Theresa Rizzo is generously offering a giveaway of Just Destiny.

Easy entry via the link below:


Enter the giveaway

Good luck!

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Jera’s Jamboree : Pain and Pleasure of milestone birthdays : Sarah Dale

I’m delighted to be welcoming Sarah Dale to Jera’s Jamboree today.

Dale 190

Sarah is a practising occupational psychologist and accredited coach. She designed the structured coaching programme, Creating Focus®, and is the author of Keeping Your Spirits Up, a guide to facing the challenges of modern life. She lives in Nottingham with her husband, two daughters and step-son. Her moments of leisure are spent Nordic walking, reading fiction and frequenting coffee shops, the more independent the better. She secretly loves a good jigsaw.

You can find out more about Sarah Dale on her website, or by following her on twitter (@creatingfocus) or on Facebook (Sarah Dale – author).


Forty? Fifty? The mixed pleasures of milestone birthdays

I am delighted to be asked to write this guest post as part of my book blog tour. I’m new to the whole concept of blog tours so this is an adventure for me, being ably guided by a very patient Shaz!

A birthday cake from my daughters – for my 48th (They won’t be reading this but I’m hoping for another one at 50…)

A birthday cake from my daughters – for my 48th (They won’t be reading this but I’m hoping for another one at 50…)

I was born in November 1964. This means the big Five-O is looming – fast. For a couple of years now, I have been increasingly aware of its approach, and I recognise the pattern of events from previous decades now.

Some of my friends get there first. I watch from the side-lines, and enthusiastically accept all party invitations. My parents’ significant wedding anniversaries signal an eighteen month countdown. I marvel at the fact that I can remember helping the same people to celebrate their twentieth, thirtieth and fortieth birthdays and anniversaries. People start asking how I’m going to celebrate mine (answer: I don’t know!). There’s a sense of being about to face another dizzying drop on life’s rollercoaster. It’s exciting – and scary.

Milestone birthdays often provoke mixed feelings. They are a public mark of time passing, and – more than birthdays usually do – can invite some reflection about what the past years have been about. There can be fears around time passing quickly and about what the future holds. There can be relief to get past difficult times. There might be a sense of achievement or a sense of feeling stuck. Sometimes people go into denial, refusing to celebrate or acknowledge their stage of life, and sometimes people go flat out to party till dawn. More than once.

Some of my friends were struggling with the whole notion of turning fifty, some embraced it whole-heartedly. I realised I didn’t really know how I felt about it. I had an underlying optimism that my best working years are still ahead of me (and I’m lucky to enjoy my work), but fears that this might be unrealistic. I started wondering how it had been for other women, and it occurred to me that there were few role models for most of us. It hasn’t been for very long, in historical terms, that women have had much choice about how they live in mid-life and beyond. We are increasingly hearing about celebrities who are reaching their sixties and beyond but what about women like us?

And this was what sparked my ideas for Bolder and Wiser. I set out to find twenty women who were at least ten years older than me, to ask them “what matters?” and “what doesn’t?” as they look back. They came from a wide range of backgrounds. The conversations were candid and fascinating. The women offered opinions on work, marriage, money, creativity, motherhood, domesticity, health, appearance and adventure. My assumptions were challenged. My optimism was boosted. I was shown a resilience that comes with age, and which is surely to be celebrated and shared.

The lessons are relevant to us at any age I think, although I wonder whether we are more receptive to them in that strangely turbulent time around a milestone birthday. As an aside, I’ve been surprised – and pleased – by how many men seem to be keen to read it too (some readers’ husbands and partners have snuck off with it apparently).

I am finding that it is a book that seems to connect people – me with the women I listened to, and with readers too. I find this to be a huge delight, as well as being humbling. We can all learn so much from each other. If it helps anyone to not only come to terms with, but to fully embrace, their next milestone, I shall feel as if I’ve succeeded!

The hardest milestone birthday for me was 30.  

We have plenty of those milestone moments this year – I’ve had mine, one son has his 21st this year, the other his 18th and it’s my 25th wedding anniversary.  Lots of time for reflection, letting go and moving forward.  Oh yes and celebrating 🙂


Bolder and Wiser - Sarah DaleHit 50 yet? Sarah Dale is about to. This impending event set her wondering about successful ageing, what life looks like for women who have been there and done that, and what adventures are to be had on the other side of 50.

In this fascinating and celebratory book, Sarah talks to 20 inspiring women who have not only made it past 50, but are happy to be there.

These open and honest conversations, punctuated by Sarah’s observations about her own journey, reflect on friendship, work, health, creativity, marriage, motherhood, money – and whether you should stop dyeing your hair.

|  Amazon Kindle  |  Amazon Paperback  |  Goodreads  |

Bolder and Wiser is touring with Fiction Addiction Book Tours



Tour Information

3rd March Fab after Fifty
4th March The Most Happy Reader
5th March Brook Cottage Books
6th March Kim The Bookworm
7th March DizzyC’s Little Book Blog
10th March Books with Wine and Chocolate
11th March The Little Reader Library
12th March Everything Books and Authors
13th March Deal Sharing Aunt
14th March Authors & Readers Book Corner

The International giveaway on tour is 1 x paperback:

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We hope you’ll join us!

Jera’s Jamboree : Book News and Giveaway Hopelessly Devoted by Tilly Tennant

Jera’s Jamboree is delighted to share with you today news of:

Hopelessly Devoted by Tilly Tennant

What are the chances?

Every generation has their pop heartthrobs. As a little child, I remember the bedroom walls of my teenage aunt being plastered with posters of David Essex and the Bay City Rollers.  She used to tell me that one day she would marry Woody and I actually believed she would! When I got a little older, it was my turn to stare at posters of Morten Harket on my wall and dream of the day when he would realise that he was actually in love with a fifteen year old from Staffordshire, he just didn’t know it because he hadn’t met me.  Of course, this is all pie in the sky (unless you’re one of a very select and rare few throughout pop history), but just imagine if it were possible.  What if you did meet your idol, the subject of your floaty daydreams?  And what it he did fancy you back?


To meet her idol is all Bonnie dreams of in Hopelessly Devoted.  The trouble is, she’s in her mid thirties with a teenage daughter of her own, Paige, who also shares the same fantasies of meeting young, gorgeous pop heartthrob, Holden Finn. Bonnie has been let down badly by the men in her life in the past, and pouring all her energies into dreaming of a man she can never have seems a safe bet. After all, Holden will never let her down. Holden will always be the impossible, unreachable image of perfection. So there’s no harm in Bonnie’s little daydreams, surely….

Do I admit to having posters of David Essex on my wall? *cough cough*

Here’s the blurb:

There’s only one man for Bonnie, and that’s Holden Finn. The problem is, Holden Finn a twenty-something pop megastar with his boy band, Every Which Way, who doesn’t even know she exists. Not only that, but half the women of the world want to be Mrs Finn, including Bonnie’s teenage daughter, Paige. But the real men in Bonnie’s life only let her down, and a man you can never have can never let you down… right?  When Paige wins a radio competition to meet Holden and his band, it seems all that is set to change. Bonnie is about to find out that you should be careful what you wish for, and that happiness can come in the most unexpected shape…

About Tilly:

Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset but now lives in Staffordshire with her slightly nutty family. Tilly is married to Mr Tennant (not that one, though a girl can dream). After years of dismal and disastrous jobs, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing (she never could carry a bowl of soup without spilling a bit), she decided to indulge her passion for the written word by enrolling on a degree in English and creative writing. She wrote her first novel in 2007 during her first summer break at university and has not stopped writing since. She also works as a freelance editor, and considers herself very lucky that this enables her to read many wonderful books while getting paid for it.

Tilly Tennant on Twitter:

Tilly’s facebook page:

Follow Tilly’s blog


Hopelessly Devoted  is due for release December 2013 but you can get your hands on a free copy by entering the Hopelessly Devoted blog giveaway. Not only that, but you’ll also win an exclusive unreleased Christmas novella, Mishaps and Mistletoe, which is only available by entering the draw.

For your chance to win one of three e-copies of Hopelessly Devoted PLUS exclusive Christmas novella Mishaps and Mistletoe, enter by clicking the link below.

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Good luck!

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