Francine Beaton. This week’s Top Author!

I’m so happy to introduce this week’s TOP AUTHOR, Francine Beaton, on my blog. She’s such an inspiring lady and she has enough energy to power a town! I’m always waiting to find out what she is working on next, as she is a prolific writer and she still finds time to pop to my book group for a chat and to support other authors.

From Francine:

When I embarked on a holiday to New York in July 2016, I never expected coming back as an aspiring author. However, a chance meeting on a 4th of July cruise with a young rugby player, reading a rugby romance on the return flight to Johannesburg that left me dissatisfied, all contributed to my belief I could do better. Of course, I couldn’t, but it didn’t stop me. By the time the flight arrived at OR Tambo airport, I not only planned and plotted a story – I plotted a whole series of five books called Playing for Glory. It took me 18 months of constant writing, however, finishing six or seven books, before I showed it to anyone. It was only after a Romance Masterclass that I believed I could do it. After a 3-month mentorship, I submitted my first manuscript to publishers. I got rejections and plenty of them, but only two months later I signed my first publishing contract for three books.

I soon realized that the traditional publishing process is too slow for me, and self-published Taste for Coffee. Just as well as I did as the publishing house closed its doors before it even published the second book and I could get my rights back. Since then, I’ve published sixteen books in English, spread over six different series, as well as re-publishing ten of those in Afrikaans, my home language.

My latest story formed part of an anthology, Sweet Songs of Summer, published by the Romance Writers Organization of South Africa, with a selection of sweet romances by published and unpublished authors. My story, Chances, is a shortened version of what would be the second book in the On the Sidelines series and will be re-published in September 2021.

A Ray of Hope, the first book in the Hope series, was published in December 2021.

BLURB: A RAY OF HOPE (THE HOPE SERIES)

What you lose in the fire, you’ll find in the ashes

Stuart Mackenzie has a mission to save the world, one fire at a time. When he arrives in the small seaside town of Groenbosbaai on South Africa’s Garden Route, he doesn’t realise how true the saying will be.

Stuart has dedicated years of his life to the International Fire Rescue Team. He has little time for love or relationships. A life-changing meeting with the local town doctor has more significant consequences than Stuart could ever imagine, reminding him of things he buried in the past.

Hayley Evans has given up on love. She doesn’t want to experience another heartache. After all, she’s already lost her husband to cancer. So she buries herself in her studies and her work, but her return to Groenbosbaai to join the family practice brings more than she expected. She finds herself and the peace she so desperately needs.

Can their meeting offer more than a ray of hope for Stuart and Hayley?

 

BUYING LINKS:

https://amzn.to/3n4e8Yo

https://books2read.com/u/mdnR1l

BIO:

Born in South Africa, romance author Francine Beaton now lives in Glasgow with her Scottish-born husband and daughter. When she is not reading or writing about love and Happy Ever After, she’s most likely busy painting or taking photos of everything that catches her eye. It’s easy to figure out why her debut novel, Eye on the Ball, as well as the series, Playing for Glory, has rugby as a theme. During rugby season, you’ll find her either next to the pitch or in front of the television, following her favourite teams.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Website: https://www.francinebeaton.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/francinebeaton

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

Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/BeatonFrancine

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomfrancinebeaton

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Francine-Beaton/e/B07BJH92HR

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/francine-beaton

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/beatonfrancine/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrfWDZ8HDx1xMf_elYxFbXA

Linktree: https://linktr.ee/francinebeaton

BingeBooks: https://bingebooks.com/author/francine-beaton



Introducing Donna Siggers. Top Author of the week.

Hello everyone. This week’s Top Author, is Donna Siggers. I met Donna at my AuthorsAt book signing event. She was one of the authors I invited to join me on the day, as she was also based in Essex. I’m so glad she decided to join the event. She’s such an inspiring lady and I’m thrilled to be sharing news of her work here. If you haven’t already read one of her books, you won’t be disappointed when you do. They are very moving and well written.

From Donna:

Completing my debt novel, Broken, was a personal victory under extreme circumstances. To have pulled off a crime trilogy and also succeeded to write my recovery story in four years while recovering from severe brain trauma quite something. I’d feared for my life after a severe assault and collapsed a few days later. After a hospital stay, my memory was non-existent—writing went a long way in helping me regain that and also my quality of life. Broken propelled me onto the global stage when it won an award in America in 2018. For me this validated who I’d become after such a turbulent fight for survival. It was at this point I decided to turn my recovery journal into something publishable and this became my book, Lost Soul: Broken Soul to Soul on Fire.

Criminology and psychology are two subjects close to my heart, so what better genres for me to be creative with! My fiction shares a mixture of true life, lived experience and imagination that will have you squirming on the edge of your seat, turning pages, and wanting more. Tragedy and trauma that is raw, edgy, nail-biting, and explosive is the only way I know how to story-tell. The other side of me is to help heal and so I’ve also a mental health self-help book, Free Spirit. History is also a huge passion, which is conveyed through the blog I run with my partner, Dave that is attached to my website.

Click here to check out Donna’s Amazon author page.

www.donnasiggers.com

https://www.facebook.com/DonnaSiggersWrites

https://www.instagram.com/donnasiggers72/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/donnasiggers/

 

Thank you for joining us Donna and have a great week everyone! From Lizzie.



Carol Cooper. Top Author of the Week.

This week’s Top Author, is Carol Cooper.  Carol has always aimed high. As a child, she hoped to become an astronaut. When that didn’t work out, she studied medicine. But her mother was a writer and she suspects that the creative urge was there inside her all along too. Alongside seeing patients as a family doctor, Carol wrote a huge number of magazine and newspaper articles, as well as books on child health. Eventually she turned to writing the kind of novels that she most enjoys reading.

Carol Cooper is a doctor, journalist, and author.

Born in London, she was only a few months old when her cosmopolitan family took her to live in Egypt. She returned to the UK at eighteen and went to Cambridge University where she studied medicine and her fellow students.

Following a string of popular health books as well as an award-winning medical textbook, Carol turned to writing fiction. Her first two novels are contemporary tales set in London. Ever a believer in writing what you know, she mined the rich material of her childhood for The Girls from Alexandria.

Carol lives with her husband in Cambridge and Hampstead. She has three grown-up sons and three stepchildren.

Book  links 

Kindle edition https://www.amazon.co.uk/Girls-Alexandria-someone-believes-missing-ebook/dp/B08PFYN6CX

Paperback https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-girls-from-alexandria/carol-cooper/9781913099701

Audiobook https://www.audiobooks.co.uk/audiobook/the-girls-from-alexandria/493598

 

Book blurb: 

The Girls from Alexandria: How do you find someone when no one believes they’re missing?

Nadia needs help. Help getting out of her hospital bed. Help taking her pills. One thing she doesn’t need help with is remembering her sister. But she does need help finding her.

Alone and abandoned in a London hospital, 70-year-old Nadia is facing the rest of her life spent in a care home unless she can contact her sister Simone… who’s been missing for 50 years.

Despite being told she’s ‘confused’ and not quite understanding how wi-fi works, Nadia is determined to find Simone. So with only cryptic postcards and her own jumbled memories to go on, Nadia must race against her own fading faculties and find her sister before she herself is forgotten.

Set against the lush and glamorous backdrop of 20th century Alexandria, Carol Cooper’s third novel is equal parts contemporary mystery and historical fiction: a re-coming of age story about family, identity, and homeland.

 

 



Chris and Lizzie’s book marketing adventure!

Hello everyone. Today’s post is a bit different. I’m now working with fellow romance author, Christine Penhall and we are documenting our adventures into book marketing.  Our very first meet up to provide a professional showcase of ideas we have about writing, did not exactly go to plan…

 

Here are our initial thoughts on what happened that day and we hope you find them as ridiculous and amusing as we did. I don’t think i’ve belly laughed that much in a long time and seeing the photos still makes me smile.  For a start there was a sign saying nuisances were in the area,  and all signals seemed to lead to us!

.

From Chris:  Writing can be very solitary really. Even if you’re sitting in a café working on your latest masterpiece, you’re still alone with your own imagination, because, basically, you have to be to create the world you’re putting on the page.

So, its lovely to hang out with other writers and chat about what we do and how our brains work! I’m fairly new to this world – 8 years of working on my first book, The House That Alice Built, before it got published. Now I’ve written two more , I’m finally becoming part of this wonderful writing community.

 

So, when Lizzie and I chatted about getting together to not only talk about writing, but to post about it too, I jumped at the idea. And this is the result of our first ‘formal’ project, or as I like to call it, Lizzie and Chris and the Blustery Day (Big fan of Winnie the Pooh!)

  

We met at a café on Southend sea front in May, armed with notepads, two microphones and our mobile phones. What was recorded on the microphones was a lot of dramatic windswept noise. Really, that’s all you can hear! What we were actually talking about was how when you’re writing, you may start with one idea, then it will evolve into something else, because our best laid plans of what we were going to do were disrupted by the weather, so we had to be imaginative and do it a different way.

  

And as we walked along the sea front, we not only noted how the weather was affecting the sea and the sky, but we both described what we saw in slightly different ways.

   

So, here is our photo/film story of that day. Apologies for the hair….

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*****

From Lizzie:  Hello everyone. When I spoke to Chris about trying some fun marketing ideas, we weren’t sure what we would end up doing. We decided to meet, (which may or may not have included a huge cooked breakfast) and to record our chats about writing and marketing. We thought we’d include what worked and what didn’t. A seaside stroll seemed a great way to begin and what followed was a comedy of errors.

 

The wind was so feisty that we could barely hear ourselves speak and the video I took of Chris describing the sea was hilarious, as you can’t actually hear a word she says! This could be seen as an epic fail, but to look at it another way, the video was funny and the photos that we thought would be glamorous (the seafront) and professional (us) were so ridiculous that we decided to post them anyway. Even the photo of Chris with the microphone managed to end up looking like I had a weird hair bobble or antenna!

  

The content though, could still connect us with our readers and hopefully make them smile, which is what we look to do in our books. We both write women’s fiction. Like Chris, it took me a long time to publish my first book, as I hid it in a cupboard for five years while I battled imposter syndrome. Today, I love writing novels, talking to readers and I find marketing an interesting challenge. Connecting with people isn’t always about doing things the expected way and although our meeting didn’t go the way we thought, I don’t think I’ve laughed so much all year and I’m now excited to see what our next monthly instalment brings.

Find out more about Lizzie’s romance books that are full of sizzling romance, beautiful settings and second chances at love. All of Lizzie’s books are available from Amazon and her latest book, Shh… It’s our secret, is available in bookshops worldwide and in audio.

 

The House That Alice Built is book one in the Portuguese Paradise series. The sequel, New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun is also available on all major platforms in e-book and audio

Click on the links to find out more about Chris and her books:

Amazon: https://smarturl.it/0svgbm

Ruby Fiction

https://www.rubyfiction.com/dd-product/the-house-that-alice-built/

 



Ben Trebilcook. Top Author of the week!

This week’s TOP AUTHOR is a talented writer and  a friend who has an exciting  career! Ben Trebilcook is a screenwriter and producer.

Hello. I’m Ben Trebilcook. I’m an author, screenwriter and producer based in Southend-on-Sea. I grew up in southeast London and Kent. My mum was a district nurse and dad served in the City of London Police and intelligence services. As well as my folks, we have close friends and family in similar roles around the world, so it seemed natural for me to centre my writing amongst it all.

When I was young I wrote and acted in sketches and short films, which progressed to writing features. One launch pad had me writing a first draft of Mission: Impossible 3 for Tom Cruise back in 2001 based on an original screenplay of mine. I predominantly write action thrillers, having written an acclaimed Die Hard six script, based on a my novel Old Habits and a female driven spy movie called Daisy Scarlett, which I am producing with my friend, producing legend Mario Kassar, (Basic Instinct, Total Recall, First Blood, Terminator 2).

 

I balanced my writing by teaching and counseling disadvantaged children, deemed the most challenging in south London. I did this for twenty years in Greenwich. My first novel, the thriller ‘My name is not Jacob Ramsay’, focused on this and a particular time when I was there. From girl soldiers hailing from Somalia to young boys fleeing Afghanistan travelling for a year in lorries through country after country to the most hardened gang members in south London, I’ve taught hundreds upon hundreds.

So far I have written four novels. Book world is very different to film world and I am still finding my way. My books are available through me directly or via Amazon and Kobo. I’m a single father to my four year-old boy Finn and probably should be writing books for him!

Twitter

www.twitter.com/BenTrebilcook

  LinkedIn

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ben-trebilcook-0634026/

 Amazon book link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=ben+trebilcook&ref=nb_sb_noss

 Kobo book link

https://www.kobo.com/ie/en/search?query=ben%20trebilcook&fcsearchfield=Author

 

Isabella May. This week’s Top Author!

I’m thrilled to be showcasing the work of fellow romance author, Isabella May today. Isabella writes magical stories full of love and family.  She has a new ebook out on the 1st of July, but you can buy the paperback already, if you can’t wait that long. I have my copy and it’s next on my reading list!

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalusia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the mountains and the sea. 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, as well as a Pranic Healer.

Isabella May

Book blurb: Bubblegum and Blazers

When Ali, Blake, Charlotte, and Grant sign contracts to star in a Back to School reality TV show, LOVE is the very last thing on their minds:

Ali flies to the UK from New Zealand, intrigued by the golden opportunity to advance her amateur social media influencer career.

Blake carpe diems the moment with both hands after a constant flurry of bad luck.

Charlotte jumps at the chance to relive her sporting glories of the past – and take a hiatus from her humdrum marriage.

And Grant is just relieved to get away from his failing second-hand music shop.

But once the advances hit their bank accounts, it soon becomes apparent that producer Jock’s Pied Piper-style offer to change their lives is distinctly lacking in sherbet fizz!

In fact, the only sweet thing about this gig for the former students and the rest of their Bubblegum and Blazers competitors, may just be the packet of candy in their pockets.

Re-enacting their past is a roller coaster of revelations, retaliation, and unlikely romance in a goldfish bowl of mayhem where Raphael (agony uncle of the school sweet shop) and his rhubarb and custards reign supreme…

Amazon buy link.

Have a brilliant day everyone!

Jess B Moore. This weeks Top Author!

Today’s guest is a wonderful author who writes beautiful romances.

Jess B. Moore is a romance novel junkie, a slightly-crazy cat lady, and a connoisseur of dark chocolate.  She started writing as self care when her kids were young and rambunctious, and continues to write because she fell in love with telling stories about love.  Those kids of hers are now gigging bluegrass musicians and their lives heavily influenced the characters in her books who nearly all play an instrument.  If you’re into stories of family, small towns, growing up, and falling in love, then you’ll crave a trip to the world Jess has created in her books.
Curious about read order?  For Jess’ Fox River Romance series, you can read each book as a stand alone, or you can start with The Guilt of a Sparrow to read chronologically.
Check out the brand new novelette, by Jess B Moore – out on May 11!
Book blurb: Meant to be?
How many fated run-ins will it take to convince Rosemary she’s found The One?
Rosemary has known Oliver her whole life. He’s her brother’s best friend and has been practically forever. How had she never noticed his epically handsome face? Or his heart of gold? After several accidental meet ups, Rosemary can’t get Oliver out of her mind.
Serendipitous is a stand alone novelette (10,000 words) with
a Happily Ever After ending.

Shh… It’s Our Secret.

It’s my book launch day! I’m excited to be working with a brand new publisher in America to bring you my latest romance read, Shh… It’s Our Secret.

I am thrilled that the launch day is here and I hope you enjoy Violet and Kai’s story. Violet is a very shy woman who has been dealt some blows by life. Kai walks into the cafe bar that she works in and discovers a long held secret that could change the fate of Violet and all of those around her. She has a choice between staying in the shadows and living with her anxieties, or to step into the sunshine and have the chance to support those she loves financially. To do this means taking a leap of faith and digging deep inside to overcome her greatest fears. I hope you enjoy the story!

There will be Shh… It’s Our Secret launch day prizes to be won in Heidi Swain’s Book Club today, as the amazing ladies there are holding a launch party for me. You can win some of my signed books, a beautiful book journal, a Shh… I’m reading, book plaque, a pretty and practical page holder for paperback books and a reading journal where you can record all of your amazing reads in style.  Pop over to the Facebook Group to find out more.

Shh… It’s Our Secret by Lizzie Chantree

Extract: Chapter 1.

Violet had made a terrible mistake. Looking around the buzzing room from her hiding place by the kitchen door, she realised that she should never have shared her secret with the world.

Yes, she loved the fact that this room, the place that had been her world for so long, had turned from a desperate mess into the successful creative hub it was today. And she couldn’t help but raise a smile when she saw Esme and Doris sitting at the bar with Hal, looking so happy and carefree. But resentment still burned in her chest. Why couldn’t she feel that joy herself?

Her shoulders slumped. She was trapped. She couldn’t run away and let these people down. They all depended on her now. They’d relied on her when this place was just a rundown coffee shop and karaoke bar. Now it was a popular music venue, with original breakthrough artists, and she was a big part of its success. It had been her dream to turn the café bar around, but not like this…not at the expense of her own happiness. She tried to brush the selfish thoughts away, but she felt like she’d had a headache for days. She just wanted to hide under the covers in bed and ignore the world outside, but it felt as though there was someone constantly banging on her door and demanding that she wake up.

Esme was perched at the bar on a tall stool and snorted loudly at one of Hal’s jokes, whilst waving her new walking stick at him, almost whacking a woman passing by. She was dressed in a bright yellow top today, and her scarf was swirls of burnt orange. Unlike her old accessories, this was made of silk and draped beautifully across her ample chest.

Hal beamed a wide smile at Esme, and Violet was almost knocked sideways by the glare from his new teeth. She grabbed onto the doorframe for support, hardly believing her eyes. She recalled him proudly telling her that he was getting his broken teeth capped and whitened. She should have called him to see how it had gone, but she hadn’t had a moment. Her phone had been ringing so much that she’d finally thrown it into the bin with such force that there had been a satisfying crack as the screen broke and died.

Hal turned to Esme’s friend, Doris. She was still wearing her favourite stripy jumper, but she now had a beautifully crafted hat perched on her freshly tinted curls and her make-up made her look about ten years younger.

Violet knew they were all enjoying the changes happening in their lives, and she felt a punch of guilt to her stomach that she might be the one to destroy it.

The other people in the bar were a mix of ages and they were all chatting and enjoying the live music. The latest singer was really good, and she hoped that this exposure would help him find a new audience. She wished with all her heart that she could go into the main bar area and join the crowd. She used to enjoy interacting with customers. All she’d ever wanted was to support other singers and to run a place where locals could come together to chase away isolation—and feel like they belonged.

She glanced up and saw Kai standing by the stage. He looked as strong and handsome as ever, but her heart had a wall of ice around it. He spotted her at the same time and his eyes lit up with joy, then he noticed her body language and the fact that she was still hiding, and the smile slipped from his face. He bent and said something to a man standing at the side of the little stage and then headed toward her through the crowds. She knew they had to talk about what had happened, but she felt that her needs had been ignored and she was alone. With no parents to run to and her makeshift family all here in the bar, she wanted to slump on the floor and sleep for a week. A lone tear escaped from her eye and ran down her cheek, but she angrily brushed it away before Kai saw it, and she summoned up enough energy to turn and leave the bar before anyone else saw her and all hell broke loose. She thought back to the start of the year and how repetitive and simple her days had been then, even when she was exhausted. Then she remembered the moment Kai had walked into her life, and how everything had changed.

Book links:

Amazon

Hardcover, Softcover, Ebook

 

Barnes & Noble

Hardcover, Softcover, Ebook

 

Books-A-Million

Hardcover, Softcover, Ebook

 

Waterstones

Hardcover, Softcover, Ebook

 

IndieBound

Hardcover, Softcover

 

Chapters/Indigo

Hardcover, Softcover, Ebook

 

Google Play

Ebook

 

Kobo

Ebook

 

Apple Books

Ebook

Free bestselling romance book today! Finding Gina.

 

 

Hello everyone. I’m so excited about my book launch tomorrow, for Shh… It’s Our Secret. To celebrate, I’m giving away a free ebook copy of my bestselling book, Finding Gina.

Treat yourself to a #free copy of Finding Gina, HERE! 

This is a look at where you can buy my latest book from tomorrow:

 

Barnes & Noble

Hardcover, Softcover, Ebook

Waterstones

Hardcover, Softcover, Ebook

Amazon

Hardcover, Softcover, Ebook

Books-A-Million

Hardcover, Softcover, Ebook

IndieBound

Hardcover, Softcover

Chapters/Indigo

Hardcover, Softcover, Ebook

Google Play

Ebook

Kobo

Ebook

Apple Books

Ebook

One Summer In Cornwall. Blog Tour.

One Summer in Cornwall by Karen King. Blog tour. 

Blurb

Escape to Cornwall this summer…

A gorgeous feel-good read, perfect for fans of CATHY BRAMLEY and PHILLIPA ASHLEY.

When Hattie is made redundant and evicted from her flat in one horrible week, she needs time to rethink. Her Uncle Albert left her and her father each half of Fisherman’s Rest, his home in the Cornish town of Port Medden, so this seems the perfect place to escape to until she can figure things out.

As Hattie stays in the cottage, clearing it out, tidying it up and getting it ready to sell, she starts to find her feet in Port Medden and making a new home here begins to feel right. If only her dad didn’t need a quick sale and things weren’t complicated by her unwelcoming neighbour Marcus . . .

Buy Links

Preorder: https://t.co/cGO6wxrZMN?amp=1

Karen King Bio

Karen King is a multi-published author of both adult and children’s books. She has had eight romantic novels published, one psychological thriller with another one out later this year, 120 children’s books, two young adult novels, and several short stories for women’s magazines. Her romantic novel The Cornish Hotel by the Sea became an international bestseller, reaching the top one hundred in the Kindle charts in both the UK and Australia. Karen is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. Karen now lives in Spain where she loves to spend her non-writing time exploring the quaint local towns with her husband, Dave, when she isn’t sunbathing or swimming in the pool, that is.

Extract:

Chapter One

‘Bloody hell! Who is it?’

Hattie Rowland froze at the voice, her finger poised on the light switch that she had been about to flick on. Someone was already in the cottage! Who could it be? A squatter? A burglar? For a moment she panicked, her breathing quick and shallow as she backed against the wall, wondering whether to run out again. Then she pulled herself together. She had every right to be here – whoever it was, they were trespassing, and she wasn’t going to be intimidated by them. She took a deep, steadying breath and grabbed hold of her motorbike helmet, which she had tucked under her arm, ready to use as a weapon if necessary. The intruder would soon realise that she didn’t scare easily. She pressed down the switch, gripping the helmet tightly, ready to spring into action. As the room lit up, there was a loud screech.

‘Turn it off! Turn it off!’

Buddy! Hattie burst out laughing as she spotted the green parrot, perched on a thick branch in a huge cage tucked into the corner of the living area, just before the open archway into the kitchen. The parrot’s head was turned towards the door, his beady eyes fixed on her as he squawked crossly. Uncle Albert’s beloved parrot. She hadn’t even realised that Buddy was still alive. As the big bird glared at her from his perch, his green feathers ruffled, the yellow ring around his neck clearly visible, she was transported back to her childhood. Hattie remembered stepping into the cottage with her parents to be greeted by Buddy screeching, ‘Bloody hell! Who is it?’ and her mother immediately trying to cover her ears. Uncle Albert, a fisherman, was her father’s much-older brother. He had never married and Buddy was his sole companion. Albert had worshipped the bird – and loved his little cottage by the sea. When he died a couple of months ago, Hattie had been surprised and touched to hear that he had left Fisherman’s Rest jointly to Hattie’s father, Owen, and Hattie. She had fond memories of summer holidays spent here in Port Medden with Uncle Albert when she was younger, and her parents were still together.

‘Hello, Buddy. It’s only me, Hattie. You probably don’t remember me. It’s been years since I last came down here,’ she said softly. She felt guilty about that, but her parents had finally divorced, after years of acrimony, when she was twelve, and then she had barely seen her dad, who had immediately moved to France with his new girlfriend, now wife, Raina and remained there. Obviously, her mum, who now lived in Portugal with her partner Howard, hadn’t wanted to spend summers with her ex-husband’s brother in Cornwall, so Hattie had lost touch with Uncle Albert.

She dropped her saddlebags down onto the old brown sofa; she was sure it was the same one that had been there when she’d last visited – was it sixteen or seventeen years ago? In fact, nothing seemed to have changed, she thought, as she looked around, her mind going back to her childhood holidays. The thick grey curtains were the same, as was the now-threadbare brown patterned carpet on the floor. The TV was a more recent model than she remembered, and the fireplace was now boarded-up with a gas fire in front of it. Not that she’d ever seen the fireplace in use when they’d come down in the summer, but there had always been a basketful of logs beside it, ready for the colder evenings. The old wooden rocking chair was still in the corner by the fire, but there was now a thick cushion on the seat. The dark wooden dresser, full of ornaments and decorative plates, still stood against the wall by the window. Over the fireplace was a stunning painting of fishermen tending their boats in the harbour. She didn’t remember that, but the rest of the downstairs of the cottage was  almost exactly as she remembered, except it no longer looked exciting and welcoming but dusty, faded, old.

Her eyes flitted back to the rocking chair where Uncle Albert had often sat, smoking his pipe and telling them stories of his fishing escapades. He’d been a broad, larger-than-life man, who had always made them welcome, cooking them hearty breakfasts, taking them out on his boat, joining them for a drink at the local pub where everyone had seemed to know him. And now he was gone. And he’d only been in his late seventies, no age nowadays. She felt sad that she had lost touch with him over the years. She wondered if her dad had kept in contact.

She walked over to the cage, which sat on a wooden wheeled trolley. Buddy immediately ruffled his feathers and eyed her warily from his perch. ‘Bugger off!’ he screeched.

‘Sorry to disturb you, Buddy. It’s me, Hattie, I expect you don’t remember me.’ Had the parrot been here on his own ever since Uncle Albert was taken to hospital, over two months ago? she wondered. Uncle Albert had died within a couple of days of being admitted. Surely Buddy hadn’t been here alone all that time?

Contact links

Website

Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Twitter

Bookbub