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.




Doubting abbey Blog:


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 : Guest Author Jill Steeples

I’m delighted to be welcoming Jill Steeples to Jera’s Jamboree today.

Jill Steeples

Jill Steeples lives in a small market town in Bedfordshire with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, baking cakes, eating them and drinking wine.

Her love of reading was borne when she discovered, as a teenager, the deliciously romantic novels of Jilly Cooper.  From that moment on she always fantasised about writing a romance novel of her own, but never really believed it would come to anything.

Her writing career took off after attending a creative writing class and her tutor encouraged her to start with short stories.  She was lucky enough to find a brilliantly supportive online writing group and soon began selling her stories to the popular women’s magazines.  Her work has appeared in publications around the world and in a number of charity anthologies.

Her first novel ‘Desperately Seeking Heaven’ a romantic comedy featuring a gorgeous ghost was published in 2012.  Her second  novel, ‘Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off’ is out now with Carina UK.

You can find out more about Jill from her blog, or on Facebook or on twitter @jillesteeples


It’s around this time of year that I usually have to admit defeat and come to terms with the fact that my well-intentioned New Year Resolutions have come to nothing again, and all within the space of a week as well.  But not this year!  That’s not because I’m more determined this time around, but purely for the reason that I didn’t actually make any resolutions for 2014.

The passing of another year is a great time to reflect on what’s happened in the previous 12 months and to consider what changes you’d like to make happen for the coming months, but I’ve come to the conclusion that, for me at least, January 1st is the worst possible date to implement those changes.

Lose half a stone in weight’ – Had I made any resolutions, that one would have been right at the top of the list. It’s the one resolution that crops up for me (and a lot of other people I would suspect) every January 1st, although with my previous lack of success on the dieting front I should probably update that to ‘lose two stone!’  But is it any wonder that I’m doomed to failure when the house is overflowing with boxes of chocolates, tubs of peanuts, bottles of wine and all sorts of other foodie goodies.    No, I definitely need to munch my way through all those treats before embarking on a new health regime.  ‘Waste not, want not’ is another maxim I shall be adhering to in 2014!

Any new health regime would definitely need to include more daily exercise because at the moment my fitness routine consists of wandering from the laptop to the kitchen to flick on the kettle and I’m beginning to think it’s not the most effective of aerobic activities.  But with my husband not yet back at work and the kids still at home, it doesn’t seem the best time to don my leotard and start leaping around the living room.

I’m not making excuses (honestly!) but I’ve come to realise that if I’m going to be making any lifestyle changes then it’s probably better to do it at a ‘later date.’   And small changes made over a period of time are more likely to stick rather than trying to make several big changes at once; lose weight, do more exercise, up my writing output, be a nicer person, do some housework occasionally.   I reckon it’s an impossibility for one woman, well this woman anyway, to do all those things at the same time.

These sorts of changes, positive change that we want to make for ourselves, can come at any time of the year.  It doesn’t matter if, like me, your resolutions have gone pear-shaped before the end of the first week of the year is out.  Simply have another go at making those changes, but maybe pace yourself, tackle one thing at a time.   That’s exactly what I intend to do this year, just as soon as I’ve finished off the rest of those chocolates…

So, dare I ask, how are your resolutions going?  Are you managing to stick to them or have they been thrown out with the Christmas cards and the chocolate wrappers?

Definitely agree with Jill – positive changes can come at any time of the year can’t they!

Personally, I prefer the word ‘intentions’ rather than ‘resolutions.’  The word has a whole different association and it means that whatever you want to achieve is approached with your best intentions 🙂

20311195Reasons why you should never, ever, read your best friend’s diary (even if it has fallen to the floor, pages open oh-so temptingly…):

– It’s morally indefensible.

– She would never trust you again.

– You probably know it all anyway…

So what harm could the tiniest peek do…? Answer: Lots! The best reason for never reading your best friend’s diary:

– You might just find out something you really didn’t want to know!

Learning her fiancé, Ed – the guy she’s supposed to marry this weekend! – is having an affair with her best friend, is a devastating bombshell for bride-to-be Anna. Confused, hurt and absolutely livid, she hops on the first train to anywhere-but-here in need of some serious soul searching.

Can she ever forgive Ed? Who is Anna ‘sans Ed’? And more importantly, should she go through with the wedding or should she just call the whole thing off?

 ‘Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off’ is available to download from Amazon