Introducing Val Penny.

Today I have an author who writes crime novels that will make you have to keep turning the page to see what happens next. Introducing Val Penny.
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From Val:
I took early retirement when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. While I was being treated I had little energy to take part in my usual interests, swimming, yoga and travel. However, I did have energy to read and began my book review blog Val Penny’s Book Reviews . I then took the further step of beginning to write my first novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’. It took me a long time to write, largely because I was so ill, but I had a great sense of achievement when I completed the work and had it published by Crooked Cat Books.
Since then, I have been keen to repay some of the kindness and support my husband and I received from Macmillan Cancer during my recovery. I have arranged annual charity dinner dances in our village with two of my friends and we have raised money for the charity. The photo I have included is of one of these events. on that occasion our guest of honour who handed out the raffle prizes was Miss Teen Scotland.

 

Author contact details

www.authorvalpenny.com

www.facebook.com/valerie.penny.739

www.facebook.com/groups/296295777444303

https://twitter.com/valeriepenny

Book buy links

myBook.to/HuntersChase

myBook.to/HuntersRevenge

Sharing is caring.

Lizzie Chantree blog

 

Hello everyone. I hope you had an amazing weekend. Today’s Monday Marketing is about how shareable your blog posts are. I find it really frustrating when I find a great blog to read and want to share it with my 60.4k real twitter followers. I love tweeting about topics that interest me and hope my Twitter followers enjoy them to. I read a lot of articles and often add them to my social media timelines. If there is no way to share an article, I leave it and sometimes don’t return to that site.

Tip 1.

Add social media sharing buttons to each article. Most websites and blogs have plugins you can add to easily share to Twitter Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and more. It might be worth taking the time to call to whoever is hosting you site to ask how to add these buttons, but with WordPress, you simply click the plugin tab, find the ones for social sharing and then click install. They then appear at the end of every post you add to your site.

Tip 2.

Visuals. Always add visuals or photographs to your blog posts, Tweets and Facebook pages. Tweet images get on average 150% more RT’s than tweets without an image and on Facebook, posts with photos or images get approx. 87% more interaction. The images often catch the eye and engage the reader of the tweet or post.

Tip 3.

It’s often a good idea to add your Twitter timeline and Facebook details to your blog page or website at the side of the front page. This updates as often as you send out a new post, so your site has fresh content and it encourages readers to visit your other social media sites. You can do this by adding a widget to the sidebar on your blog post. Once again, a quick telephone call to your site provider will be the quickest way to understand how to do this. Most blogs and websites have a social sharing section in the plugins or widget sidebar in the menu, where you just have to say where you want it to go on your site and then click install.

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Don’t forget to join me for #CreativeBizHour on Twitter tonight @Lizzie_Chantree for an hour of creative chat and networking. Just add the hashtag to tweets and replies to chat to join in.

The Pretender by Katie Ward.

The Pretender

Introducing Katie Ward:

It’s my pleasure to introduce you to author Katie Ward. Today, Katie has stopped by to tell us about her latest book, The Pretender. Over to Katie… 

Author Bio

Katie Ward always knew she wanted to write for a living. However, she was told by her careers advisor that “it might be more appropriate for you to work in a shop”. When Katie didn’t get the grades she needed to get into college, she negotiated a three month trial. After successfully completing the course she secured a place at her first choice university to study Journalism.

After realising she wanted to be an author, Katie moved to Dublin where she worked her way up from receptionist to Executive Assistant at Merrill Lynch. Katie continued to write in her spare time, submitting her short story into the “Do the Write Thing” competition being run by Irish TV show ‘Seoige and O’Shea’. This story was originally written when Katie was 14 after she was inspired by an article in her favourite teen magazine. Katie was the only non-Irish author selected to have her story published in an anthology of the same name which reached 19 in the Irish Best sellers List. Katie was also shortlisted for a competition judged by MAN Booker Prize winning author Roddy Doyle which was run by Metro Eireann newspaper.

The Pretender Cover

Book blurb: The Pretender

France 2000: Two babies are born on the same day just two hours apart – but to very different lives. Isabella is a Princess and heir to the French throne, while Sophia is born into a life of poverty and abuse at the hands of her father. At the age of 18, Sophia runs away from home. That same night, Isabella is also fleeing from the burden of her royal life when she finds Sophia slumped at the palace gates. Amazed by how alike they look, Isabella proposes a daring plot – to exchange their lives for one week.
‘The Pretender’ is an emotionally intense and compelling story of friendship, love and the strange power of destiny.

Purchase from Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pretender-Katie-Ward-ebook/dp/B07GDTD2VH/

 

From Katie: 

I remember the moment I realised I wanted to be an author. I was 22 years old and working as a reporter for a local newspaper. I’d always thought I wanted to be a journalist but sitting there, typing away, it hit me…I wanted to be an author.

I quickly came up with the idea for my first novel, as well as deciding to move to New Zealand.

I’d like to say that I had a plan in place but as an eternal optimist they’ve never been mandatory! I’ve always preferred to just go with the flow and see where life takes me. However, no amount of optimism could change the fact that I needed a lot of money to move to New Zealand and I just didn’t have it.

Dejected and defeated I took a trip to Dublin, exploring the city in the sunshine, drinking in the array of bars and meeting new people. We had such a great time my friend was resolute that she was staying in Dublin to live. Every time she told anyone they would turn to me, asking whether I was staying too. My reply was always the same “No way, I’ve got a life to go home for.” Dublin was never on the cards for me. I had my sights set on New Zealand…eventually!

When it came to leave, I left alone with my friend opting to stay behind and move in to a house share.

Returning home, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should go to Dublin. Dismissing it, I held on to the reasons I had to stay. However, every excuse I’d had melted away like ice in the desert.

Should I stay or should I go? I had no money, I had no permanent job and this seemed the worst time to even consider it. But, what did I have to lose?

“Ok, I’ve got an idea” I said to my friend on her brief return home “I’m £30 over my overdraft; I shouldn’t be able to buy anything on this card. Let’s leave this to fate, if I’m destined to go to Dublin then let this airfare go through on this card and if I’m not then let it decline.”

Nervously tapping into the computer, I entered my card details. My friend and I huddled around the computer as I clicked the payment button. A few seconds later, the confirmation flashed upon the screen…I was going to Dublin.

Fact they say is a lot stranger than fiction and if that wasn’t true, I’d have been on the first flight home a week later. But I wasn’t. It turned out to be the best move I ever made. I quickly realised the long and vibrant literary history Dublin has. As I walked down the streets, I was enthused by the knowledge that years before me, the likes of Oscar Wilde, James Joyce and Bram Stoker had walked these same streets.

It was their treasured homeland where I too developed my writing skills, taking a course at the Dublin Writer’s Centre. My first writing break came in Dublin after I entered a competition on national Irish TV called ‘Do the Write Thing’ run by the RTE day time show ‘Seoige and O’Shea’. My short story selected out of hundreds of entries to be one of 14 authors published in an anthology of the same name. Shortly after this, I was shortlisted for a competition run by national newspaper Metro Eireann and judged by MAN Booker Prize Winner Roddy Doyle.

Seeing my work in print reaffirmed that this really was what I wanted to do. It gave me the confidence to follow my dreams. On the days where it all seemed pointless and never ending, it gave me the hope to carry on and strive to be in the place I am today, preparing to publish my own novel. Perhaps most importantly, it helped me see the value in taking calculated risks and if I hadn’t had that experience I would never have been where I am today. Never could I have even contemplated publishing my own novel but this whole situation helped me realise just what my capabilities truly are. In that way, everything I have is owed to my Irish experience, without it I could never be the writer I am today. That’s why I hold Dublin so close to my heart and why I always will.

Twitter – https://twitter.com/KatieWWriter

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

Website – https://katiewardwriter.com/

GIVEAWAY TIME: 

Giveaway – Win a signed original illustration from Emma Haines (Open Internationally) To enter the prize draw, follow the giveaway link.

Giveaway Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494134/

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

 

Don’t forget to visit other stops on this blog tour!

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Monday Marketing. 3 Quick tips.

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Hello everyone. I’ve been travelling in Spain and around the U.K. for the last few weeks and have been writing a new book. When I write I am inspired by views and the hustle and bustle of people around me, but I also like quiet writing time in my own studio, where I don’t have any noise other than the tapping of the computer keys while I type.

I have been working on social media and branding too and am trying a new app, Visme. I was offered a professional account to try and see what I thought of the software and so far so good. The basic software is ok, but once you log into the premium settings, there is so much to explore. I will write a blog post about it when I have found out exactly what the best features are. For now, check out https://www.visme.co to decide for yourself.

Some tips on discovering your own author brand:

  1. Define your brand. What is your purpose? How do you communicate your message and make an impact? For me this is letting my readers know what my ethos is, my writing style and why they might like my books. Take a look through my blog page and social media sites. They all have the same branding and hopefully tell my readers that I write romance novels.
  2. Do you have a professional headshot that you use across all social media platforms. It’s worth getting a proper photos taken or asking a friend to take one for you.
  3. Do you have a digital media kit? This is a marketing package that states what genre your books are, prices, page length, release dates etc.  This makes it easy for journalists to upload relevant information without hours of research. Check out my media kit page here for some tips.

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Introducing… Sarahlyn Bruck

Today it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Sarahlyn Bruck, who writes contemporary women’s fiction and lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. She is the author of DESIGNER YOU, published by Crooked Cat Books on August 31, 2018. She has an MA in English from Cal State Los Angeles and teaches writing and literature as an associate professor at a local community college. She also coaches writers for Author Accelerator.
DESIGNER YOU is Sarahlyn’s debut novel, and she is hard at work on her next book.
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SARAHLYN BRUCK

 

Author of Designer You
Crooked Cat Books, August 31, 2018

Book buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DH6B38H

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Introducing… Heidi Catherine.

I can’t wait to introduce you to the wonderful lady who is joining me on my introducing page today, author of the Soulweaver series of books, Heidi Catherine. I must also say that this is my favourite author photo so far!

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Hello, my name is Heidi Catherine and I’m the author of The Soulweaver series. When Lizzie Chantree asked me to find a photo of myself that hasn’t appeared anywhere else and tells you something about my personality, I knew exactly which one to dig up. This is me back in 1998 when I was a bit younger and whole lot crazier! I was in Cairns in Far North Queensland, Australia, and decided to conquer my fears by jumping off a bridge. Totally normal, right? It may look like I’m smiling in this photo, but that’s actually me gripped with terror. I’ve always liked this photo as conquering fears is something that I think is really important in life. Whether it’s getting up in front of a large group to speak, going to a party where I don’t know anybody or writing a book and sharing it with the world, I’ll give most things a go at least once if I think I can learn something from the experience. My debut novel, The Soulweaver, was published earlier this year and was quickly followed by the second and third books in the series. It’s a fantasy romance about loving the same souls over many lifetimes. Having these books published has been a thrilling ride (far preferable to bungy jumping!). I live in Melbourne with my husband, two sons and two furry daughters and can be found lurking on all the usual social media channels. Please stop past and say hello!
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The Blurb for the first book is:

She’s loved and lost him a hundred times across a thousand years. She can’t bear to lose him again.

Lin’s dreams are haunted by faces of people she’s never met. Unable to shake the feeling she’s lived before, she’s drawn to Reinier—a stranger whose soul is heartbreakingly familiar from a time gone by.

Reinier helps Lin unravel the mystery of her past life as Hannah, a girl who sacrificed herself for her true love, Matthew. As Lin falls hopelessly in love with Reinier, her memories of her life as Hannah sharpen and she finds herself unable to let go of Matthew.

With her heart torn in two, Lin must decide whether she should stand by Reinier’s side or track down Matthew and fight for his love. What she doesn’t know is that her decision will ripple across our troubled planet, affecting far more lives than just her own.

Winner of Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Pro award, The Soulweaver is a story that will change the way you see the world.

Links:

Introducing… Awen Thornber

Today I am welcoming author and poet Awen Thornber onto my introducing blog. Awen has had rave reviews for her work and I can’t wait for you to find out more about her.

Meet Awen

Awen Thornber

Awen is formerly a textile artist and design consultant for a craft company, she produced craft projects and articles for magazines, and had a regular craft column in the UK magazine ‘Northern Life’. She is always looking for inspiration to spark her creative mind and currently devotes her time to writing novels. Born and bred in Lancashire, England, Awen also loves walking, painting, ballroom and ballet dancing.

Foxtrot in Freshby, book blurb:  (My note: I have just read and reviewed this book and it’s fabulous!) 

When dance teacher Gina Pendleton throws her cheating boyfriend out of her house, she must find a way of earning extra money to pay the bills. The obvious answer is to offer dance classes at her home, even though she knows this will incur the wrath of the owner of the local well-established dance school.

Her life becomes even more fraught when she is targeted by vandals and intruders.

After she meets Chris Jackson, it doesn’t take her long to realise that he is the man of her dreams, especially as he’s also a wonderful dancing partner.

But can she really trust him when it appears that he is hiding something from her?

 

Threads of Awen, book blurb:

This anthology is a collection of supernatural, uncanny or mysterious short stories and both comic and serious poems, all interspersed with short flashes of fiction.

Threads of Awen showcases the author as storyteller and entertainer.

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Introducing… Alice castle.

My guest today is a wonderful author and fellow CC author, Alice Castle!
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Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, set in Brussels and London, was a European hit and sold out in two weeks.

Death in Dulwich was published in September 2017 and has been a number one best-seller in the UK, US, Canada, France, Spain and Germany. A sequel, The Girl in the Gallery was published in December 2017 to critical acclaim. Calamity in Camberwell, the third book in the London Murder Mystery series, will be published this summer, with Homicide in Herne Hill due to follow in early 2019.  Alice is currently working on the fifth London Murder Mystery adventure. Once again, it will feature Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.

Alice lives in south London and is married with two children, two step-children and two cats.

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Calamity in Camberwell – blurb

Beth Haldane, SE21’s answer to Miss Marple, worries she is losing a kindred spirit when her friend Jen, the only other single mum in the playground, suddenly gets married and moves to Camberwell.

Soon Beth has to face much more pressing fears. Has something gone horribly wrong with Jen’s marriage? What is her husband really up to? Why is her daughter leading Beth’s son astray? And where on earth IS Jen anyway?

As Beth’s friends push her to start dating again, Beth turns to Met Police DI Harry York for help. But will they solve the mystery in time, or will it turn out that in south east London, not everyone gets to live happily ever after?

 

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Alice is also a mummy blogger and book reviewer via her website: https://www.alicecastleauthor.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DDsDiary?lang=en

Links to buy books: http://www.MyBook.to/GirlintheGallery

http://www.myBook.to/1DeathinDulwich,

http://www.myBook.to/HotChocolate

BookLove.

There has been so much in the news recently about reviews, if they are genuine, if they are necessary, if they are too time consuming to bother with! From the point of view of an avid reader and author, I love reviews. As a reader, I check reviews out to see what others have thought of a book before I buy it. As an author, if someone takes the time to tell me that they love my work and that my words have made them feel such emotion that they have either laughed so much that they almost forgot to put their baby to bed, or cried as they were touched by what a character has gone through, then that brings tears of happiness to my eyes and makes the hard work of bringing a book to publication worth all of the effort involved.

Here are some of my favourite reads from my kindle at the moment. I have read and reviewed all of them. Click the book covers to go to their Amazon pages.

Forest Dancer - Susan Roebuck  The Alternative BOOK COVER PERFECT AND READY TO GO.  23795601_10155733805585761_2671210338236614755_n

Microsoft Word - Natalie Ducey..docx  Awen 2  All This Time by Kim Cox

 

Here are a few of the reviews for my books recently:

If you love me, I’m yours.

‘Nobody writes like Lizzie Chantree. If You Love Me, I’m Yours is another total triumph. The author effortlessly pulls together a colourful, eclectic and unforgettable cast, frames them in the exciting world of art, and weaves another wonderful story. A brilliant example of contemporary romance packed with depth, edge – and life lessons.’

—–

‘I was attracted to the book by the description of three friends with issues to address and the pretty cover – and I’m not a lover of the colour pink normally!

What a lovely, well-written, funny, romantic tale about the life-changing decisions each character needs to make to bring happiness and fulfilment. Reading about Maud’s parents lack of encouragement for what she really wanted to do in life, struck a chord with me. I felt rather sad for her, as she must have been crushed as a child, and continued to be controlled by her mother, who dictated everything from how she must dress to what type of man she should date, and who was still constantly disappointed that Maud was not ‘perfect’. Is it any wonder she has low self-esteem and does not believe in her own ability?

I loved the quirky Dot, whose need to fit in with her own family, makes her present herself in an over-the-top, ridiculous way. The polar opposite of Maud. These two needed each other’s friendship to instil confidence and find balance, in order to reveal their true selves. And of course a little romance doesn’t hurt. Bring on the men, who also have issues to overcome before they can be truly happy.’

I really enjoyed reading this book, and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a contemporary romance.’

 

Ninja School Mum:

‘Lizzie Chantree’s books are like fine wines – they just keep on getting better! As always the main characters fizz and entrance, with underdogs and divas, harassed hunks and devilishly attractive but flawed rogues… The espionage aspect helps the seemingly workaday schoolyard environment along famously with catty cliques and beastly little brats, as well as adorable, yet still edgy kids.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading one of Lizzie’s books yet – treat yourself! She gives Jilly Cooper a run for your money in the racey stakes, coupled with the knowing charm of Jane Austen, in hilarious settings with characters that show contemporary chick-lit romances can hold their own when it comes to ballsy, brash behaviour!’

—–

‘Now I will fully admit I don’t usually read a book unless it contains a vampire, shifter or the fay. Well I loved this book it is beautifully written and you really feel an insight into the lives of these women. It is well paced and a great read xxx loved it xx’

—–

‘I LOVED this book!!

It was brilliant, so well written and heaps of fun! The plot is great and I nearly woke the baby up laughing when I was reading it in bed – such a brilliant pick me up for when you are feeing down. Skye is a brilliant character!

It has ups and downs and takes you through a wide range of emotions to give an excellent all round story – no hesitation in giving it 5 stars!!’

 

 

 

 

 

Costa Del Churros.

Introducing, COSTA DEL CHURROS by Isabella May.

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Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. Having grown up on Glastonbury’s ley lines however, she’s unable to completely shake off her spiritual inner child, and is a Law of Attraction fanatic.

Cake, cocktail, and travel obsessed, she also loves nothing more than to (quietly) break life’s ‘rules’.

Costa del Churros is her third novel.

Muchas gracias for hosting me on your blog today to talk about my brand new novel with Crooked Cat Books! COSTA DEL CHURROS will launch on September 19th and is another romantic comedy which fuses all things foodie, travel and spirituality. I’m keeping my fingers (and paws!) crossed that it’ll have as good a reception as its predecessors…

 

Why write about Spain?

My first two books, Oh! What a Pavlova and The Cocktail Bar centred much of their activity around the quirky and mystical town of Glastonbury, UK.  But in actual fact I live in Spain nowadays and much as I relished the opportunity to write about the place where I spent my childhood through to late twenties, it was high time for a change of scene – as well as to prove to myself that I am not a One Trick Pony. Or should that be Cat?

 

Is Costa del Churros based on a fictional or real part of Spain?

Yes, Costa del Churros refers to the Costa del Sol, here in the gigantic province of Andalusia, where I live. I have traveled all over the country, but nowhere seems to make, eat or embrace churros (fried donut strips, often eaten dipped in a thick, velvety chocolate sauce and/or sprinkled liberally with sugar) with the aplomb of the people in this region. The churros play a central role throughout the book, used as a code word that brings four – very different – women together for flamenco lessons with their highly exuberant teacher, Carmen.

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Here’s the blurb:

The rain in Spain doesn’t mainly fall on the plain…

Brits abroad Belinda, Julia, Laura and Georgina need more than the sweetness of churros with chocolate dipping sauce to save them from their unsavoury states of affairs.

Cue Carmen Maria Abril de la Fuente Ferrera, the town’s flamboyant flamenco teacher! But can she really be the answer to their prayers?

One thing’s for sure: the Costa del Sol will never be the same again.

 

Are these four women based on people you know?

Not per se!
But Belinda, Julia, Laura and Georgina are definitely a beautiful fusion of some of the kaleidoscopically colourful characters I have met here over the past seven years. I wanted to paint a truthful picture of expat life in Spain (and quite possibly this will extend to other areas of The Mediterranean too). It’s all too easy to assume that a life in the sun is all soaking up its rays, sand, sea and sangria, but in actual fact, we take ourselves wherever we go! There’s absolutely no running away from your problems when you are home from home, be they romantic, financial, self-esteem based, or all of the above. Often, as soon as the novelty of the new lifestyle wears off, those issues are only exacerbated…
I thought it would make for an interesting (and comical) read to throw four women from four completely different backgrounds together, to add a little magic (a la Carmen) and to watch the fireworks – from a very safe distance.

 

Tell us a bit about Carmen Maria Abril de la Fuente Ferrera…

Well, she was a joy to write.
And I think all of us could do with a Carmen in our lives. Not only is she a talented flamenco teacher, but she has watched the way Franco’s repression of the female has gnawed away at her mother, and at the lives of countless women around her. So Carmen’s mission is one of empowerment. And she’s particularly passionate about encouraging women to have their cake and eat it. Truly, I’d love for nothing more than to click my fingers and magic her up every time I witness a female friend or family member declare in a café/restaurant/gelateria ‘Oh! I really shouldn’t indulge… I’ll start the diet again next week!’
For Carmen is the antidote to any and all of that prescribed female behaviour, an advocate for positive body image on beaches and sun-loungers the length of the coast. She’s a breath of fresh air injecting a much-needed confidence boost to all four of the main characters in the story.

If your tummy has started to rumble… here’s that all important Universal Amazon buying link: mybook.to/costadelchurros

You can find out about Isabella May’s other books, and follow her quirky cake and cocktail posts at these places:

www.isabellamayauthor.com

Twitter – @IsabellaMayBks

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMayAuthor/

Instagram – @isabella_may_author