Today it’s my pleasure to introduce you to popular author, Sandra Danby. Sandra now writes fiction full-time. Her short stories and flash fiction have been published online and in anthologies. Sandra is now writing ‘Sweet Joy’, third in the ‘Identity Detective’ series, set in London during The Blitz. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association ‘New Writers Scheme’.
I’m originally from East Yorkshire and, though I’ve lived in and around London for a long time now, my heart belongs to my seaside home. In fact I feel the call to return becoming stronger and stronger as I grow older. My family still lives in the same place and my oldest friend too, so I visit often. The black-and-white photograph is from a booth at Butlins Filey, taken on a Sunday School outing when I was ten. This was a big deal as our usual outings were to educational places such as Castle Howard. I’d been longing to go to Butlins as I’d heard about the dodgems. Note, this photo was taken in August but I’m wearing an Aran sweater, knitted for me by my mum.
Being a Northerner is deeply ingrained. I drink [very] strong tea, gallons of it every day. When it gets colder, I put on a jumper. The central heating is never turned above 18°C by me, but when I’m out my husband zaps it up to 23°C which feels tropical to me! And I make great meals from leftovers. Given all of this, it was no surprise to my family that Yorkshire features so strongly in my second book, Connectedness.
And so does my second spiritual home… Spain. For the last ten years, we’ve lived part of the time in Southern Spain near Málaga. Once I’d decided that the heroine of Connectedness should be an artist it seemed logical to make her a Yorkshire woman. And as Pablo Picasso was born in Málaga, it was quick hop and a step to take Justine to art college there.
TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, ARTIST JUSTINE TREE HAS IT ALL… BUT SHE ALWAYS HAS A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY EVERYTHING
Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When her mother dies, she returns to her childhood home in Yorkshire where she decides to confront her past. She asks journalist Rose Haldane to find the baby she gave away when she was an art student, but only when Rose starts to ask difficult questions does Justine truly understand what she must face.
Is Justine strong enough to admit the secrets and lies of her past? To speak aloud the deeds she has hidden for 27 years, the real inspiration for her work that sells for millions of pounds. Could the truth trash her artistic reputation? Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her art? And what will she do if her daughter hates her?
This tale of art, adoption, romance and loss moves between now and the Eighties, from London’s art world to the bleak isolated cliffs of East Yorkshire and the hot orange blossom streets of Málaga, Spain.
A family mystery for fans of Maggie O’Farrell, Lucinda Riley, Tracy Rees and Rachel Hore.
About the ‘Identity Detective’ series
Rose Haldane reunites the people lost through adoption. The stories you don’t see on television shows. The difficult cases. The people who cannot be found, who are thought lost forever. Each book in the ‘Identity Detective’ series considers the viewpoint of one person trapped in this horrible dilemma. In the first book of the series, Ignoring Gravity, it is Rose’s experience we follow as an adult discovering she was adopted as a baby. Connectednessis the story of a birth mother and her longing to see her baby again. Sweet Joy, the third novel, will tell the story of a baby abandoned during The Blitz.
Today I am happy to introduce you to such a lovely lady and talented author, Arabella Sheen. I met Arabella through the Romantic Novelists’ Association and it has been a pleasure to learn more about her work. Today she will be sharing the news about her latest sweet Regency release…Westbury.
Chit-Chat from Arabella Sheen…
Lizzie has asked me to tell her readers a little bit about me…so here goes.
Before, in a previous life, I left school with a few GCSE’s and trained as a nurse. Having qualified as a General Nurse, I then specialized in theatre nursing and moved to Holland in the Netherlands, where, for nearly twenty years, I lived, worked and breathed hospitals. I loved it. The work, the people, the place…everything. It was a brilliant life experience and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. The challenge of solving health problems whilst helping sick people at the same time was amazing. Although hard work, nursing is a rewarding job and one that I would recommend to anyone. Sadly, due to personal health reasons and the need for family support, I returned to England and my career track changed completely.
By day, I’m now employed as a chef in a busy international hotel and by night, I’m pounding the keys on the laptop, working on my latest work-in-progress.
Writing has always held a fascination for me. I have drawers, shelves, cupboards, and bookcases, all filled and covered with books. Anywhere and everywhere a book can be stored, you’ll find one. And it was simply a step from the longing to read romance novels, that the urge to write books evolved. The creation of stories has always captivated me.
I was fortunate enough to have been born and raised in Clifton, Bristol, England, (where I now live), and grew up surrounded by beautiful classical Georgian architecture. The romance of the Regency era has always held me spellbound and my imagination runs riot whenever I think about what could have happened behind some of the doors and in some of the buildings I walk by on a daily basis.
But, it was while travelling to a RNA Chapter meeting which was being held with fellow authors in Lacock, a historical village in the heart of Wiltshire, England, (where Cranford, Pride and Prejudice, Downton Abby, not to mention Harry Potter, were filmed), that the urge to write Westbury evolved.
Can Miss Georgina Morton surrender her independence and accept the Duke’s love?
Miss Georgina Morton, at the age of four-and-twenty, with a modest annual income of four hundred pounds, believes she has no need of a husband and can manage quite nicely without one. Yet within a matter of weeks, she’s betrothed to Giles Glentworth, the Sixth Duke of Westbury, and bound for Regency London.
Set in rural Wiltshire and elegant, fast-paced London…a runaway ward, a shooting at mid-night, and a visit to fashionable Almack’s, are only a few of the adventures Georgina enjoys while falling for the Corinthian charms of the Duke.
The Marquis was a fine figure of a man. Handsome enough, with a crop of thick, raven-black hair swept back from his brow in the style known as a Brutus. His features, although not rugged, were strong and compelling. And his penetrating eyes, by startling contrast, were of a cool steely grey that was mesmerising. But his good looksand manly attractiveness did not sway her from the fact that his gentleman-likebehaviour wasn’t up to scratch or that he was shouting, giving her a dressing down in public.
Flustered and on the point of apologising for her hasty action, Georgina remained silent. When she heard his angry words and the tone of voice in which he spoke, she pointedly ignored his outburst and concentrated solely on straightening her lopsided bonnet. But when his horses moved, restlessly shaking their manes for attention, her bonnet, which had by now fallen from her head and dangled by its ribbons down her back, was completely forgotten.
Drawing near to where the high-perch phaetonstood, and with total disregard for her safety, she’d gone to the front of the carriage, taken the horses’ bridles in her gloved hands, and tried to calm them. Stroking their forelocks, she’d spoken soothing words before fixing a steely glare of disdain upon their owner.
Never before had she been more thankful for all the hours she’d spent in her bedchamber as a young girl, standing in front of the mirror, practising and perfecting the art of delivering the harshest of stares imaginable. Any lesser man than the Marquis would have baulked at herglower, but her unflinching look seemed not to affect him.
Hello everyone. It’s a bank holiday weekend and I’m looking forward to relaxing with a good book! I hope you are too.
I don’t think we take enough time to sit back and rejuvenate after a long week of work and we are somehow conditioned to believe that if we are sitting still, that we are wasting time. Drinking a coffee and reading a magazine or book by a great view and having a little time off of work, not only makes me come back to my desk invigorated (not just by the coffee), but means I’m not too exhausted to begin work again.
I’m not sure how we can start to be a bit kinder to ourselves and to understand we are worth the fun and relaxation of taking time out and not looking at our phones or keyboards for a few hours. How we feel inside should offer as much validation as social media likes and praise, but somehow it feels like there is an imbalance. Our mental health is sometimes overlooked and grabbing a great book is a wonderful way to take time for yourself, jump into different dimensions and to basically have a good laugh. I’m going to try and read at least one book every couple of weeks this year and I’m sure I’ll enjoy every minute.
That’s a question many authors get. It makes me think there must be a little shop somewhere, hidden away down a dark alley, that sells ideas. Or an online shop that only those in the know have the web address for. Hang on, there’s a story developing here, isn’t there? About a magical shop…? I wonder what else it sells beside ideas…? And who owns it and why…?
That’s the answer really. Not the shop, but the question. Ideas can come from absolutely anywhere. It just takes one innocent sentence, thought or question and I’m off into a new world looking for the story. I’ve got an early and part written draft of another book which came out of a comment on social media. Someone said they were a sucker for any book cover which included a winged man. So, an angel? What might an angel really look like? I headed for some of the descriptions in the Bible. Hmm, three sets of wings? Why would they want threepairs of wings? How many Archangels are there really? What’s the difference between Archangels (capital A) and archangels (little a)? Somehow, twenty thousand words got written almost before I stopped for breath. But that story will have to wait until the full Choices and Consequences series is published.
As for the idea for Choices and Consequences, that started with a dream. If you haven’t read book 1, Strand of Faith, this is a Spoiler Alert. I dreamt the scene at the end of Strand of Faith where Prospero wraps his cloak around Leonie and proposes to her. (No, I have no idea what that says about my unconscious mind!) It was very intense in my dream and I needed to find out what happened to lead up to it, and what would happen next. Slowly, I started to ask questions, find answers and fit the pieces together. As I did so, other things in the world around me influenced what those answers and pieces were.
Surprisingly, one of those influences was a hymn. I am absolutely tone deaf. If I start singing, those around me wince. My only defence is that the Bible says make a joyfulnoise, not make a tunefulnoise. I can do joyful. Despite being tone deaf, I enjoy listening to music, but because I’m tone deaf, the influences are more about the lyrics than the tune.
Underlying the whole foundation and world building of Choices and Consequences, and particularly House St Peter (where the first two books are set) and House Tennant is Graham Kendrick’s Beauty for Brokenness, also sometimes known as God of the Poor. It was written in 1993 for the 25thanniversary of the charity Tearfund. It was influenced by a visit that Graham Kendrick made to India in 1992 and his perception of the contrast between Indian poverty and Western affluence. I wanted to build a world that tried to live up to those lyrics.
I can identify any number of other influences. Certainly my hobbies and interests affect my characters. Leonie loves reading and chocolate chip cookies because I do. Prospero is very musical because I’m not. Herbs are used extensively in medicine and cooking because I enjoy growing them. Most of those are just details, fleshing out the world and the characters. As far as the plot goes, well, we live in Lancashire, but our eldest was born in Yorkshire. I’ve always been fascinated by the War of the Roses, which at the time was known more as the Cousins’ War. And I’m involved at our local Youth Theatre which was putting on a version of Romeo and Juliet. But you’ll have to read the full series to find out just how both of those impact on the story!
Find out more about Rachel’s books:
Thread Of Hope
The enthralling sequel to the compelling Strand of Faith.
What if your secrets are so dangerous they could destroy the one you love?
Is honesty always the best policy?
Leonie may have run away but Prosperowill find her. He loves her and he wants a future with her by his side whatever the consequences. Only when he does find her, he ought to tell her who he really is, outside the monastery. That’ll make her run again. Dare he risk it? But if he doesn’t tell her, someone else may…
Marriage to Prospero is what Leonie wants most and the one thing she knows she can’t have. If he found out what she was really like, what she’d been, what she’d done, he’d despise her and she couldn’t bear that. Better to leave now than live a lie – but it’s harder than she expected. If only…
Gabriel is starting to discover the secrets inherent in Leonie, secrets that not even she knows, secrets that will tear the world apart. And the secrets he is keeping are tearing him apart. How can sacrificing those he loves possibly achieve peace when everything he discovers risks the death of millions?
During the book tour Strand of Faith will be at 99p, Thread of Hope is priced at £2.99.
Strand of Faith details…
A girl. A monk. An unthinkable sacrifice. When the choice is between love and life, how can anyone decide?
In a post-apocalyptic future, a girl and a monk, both with extraordinary mental powers, have compelling reasons not to fall in love. But their choices will have consequences for the rest of the world.
After the troubles of his youth, Brother Prospero has found comfort and fulfilment in the monastery. Then he discovers something that forces him to reconsider his whole vocation. How can it possibly be right to leave a life of worship and service for human desire? And if he does leave, will the pressures from his past destroy him?
Orphaned and mistreated, Leonie has found sanctuary and safety at the Abbey. When she comes into contact with Prospero everything spirals out of her control. Everyone she’s ever loved has died. She can’t do that to him. But how can she walk away from the first place she’s truly belonged?
Abbot Gabriel is faced with an impossible choice. He can do nothing and watch the world descend into war. Or he can manipulate events and ensure peace – at the cost of two lives that he is responsible for. Is he strong enough to sacrifice those he loves?
Rachel J Bonner is the author of the four book Choices and Consequences series, the first of which, Strand of Faith, is due out in November 2018.
Getting a degree in engineering, followed by a career in accountancy is probably not a conventional path to becoming an author, particularly in paranormal romance. Rachel says that, although accountancy isn’t anything like as boring as everyone thinks, writing is a lot more fun. When not writing, she can be found walking in the beautiful countryside near where she lives, which has influenced much of the scenery in her books, or shooting things with her local archery club. Target shooting only, honest. Nothing to worry about.
She also enjoys swimming, eating chocolate chip cookies and growing aromatic herbs, especially thyme and rosemary. It’s no coincidence that her heroine likes the same things.
Giveaway to Win Signed copies of both Strand of Faith and Thread of Hope, plus bookmarks and business cards that match each book, and one of the Holding Crosses that the monks and nuns have.(Open INT)*
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. 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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Happy new week everyone. I hope you all had an amazing weekend.
I drove to Norfolk at the weekend, stood in freezing cold field for five hours watching sports and then drove the two hours home again! I tried to find a little corner to sit and write in, but it was so cold outside that there were about ten people in my tent after five minutes. Needless to say I found a little coffee shop and drank about four pints of coffee to keep warm. I also scoffed at least twenty little biscuits after eating a salad, as they were so small, that I felt they didn’t count for calories. 🙂
I’ve now updated my first three books and will have paperbacks going live over the next week. Babe Driven already has a beautiful new paperback version and Finding Gina and Love’s Child will be available in paperback soon. It’s exciting to have all of my books in more than one format. This also now means I can complete my latest work in progress and I can’t wait to write the last pages of this story. The main character is fiery and has a lot to deal with, so I’m happy to be able to bring her tale to a satisfying conclusion.
It’s my pleasure to introduce you to author Ros Rendle today. Ros is a fellow member of the Romantic Novelists Association.
I am Ros Rendle and I tell fibs for a living. Well. . . don’t all writers? It’s the best job there is, living in many different worlds and meeting the people of my dreams, ensuring they do what I want and having happy endings.
I used to be a head teacher, writing policy documents, essays and letters, although also telling the odd story that young children seemed to enjoy. Now, writing for adults, the challenge is more demanding but very satisfying, especially when people give honest and positive reviews, I win awards, and manage to get an Amazon best-seller sticker.
When we moved to live in France, I had time to explore my imagination using many of the local colourful people and situations as stimulus. Support from the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ scheme gave me the impetus I needed to succeed. Sense and French Ability was my first published novel, followed quickly by Peace of Time. My publisher has these two are on a price reduction currently.
A series, about three sisters during times of major 20thcentury conflict, are also on Amazon and gaining good reviews. These are Flowers of Flanders, Flowers of Resistance and a novella, Delphi’s Dilemma. I collect Fumsup lucky charms that were given to soldiers in WW1 for a speedy and safe return. In Flowers for Flandersone sister tells another a malicious lie which will affect the course of all their lives. When Michael goes to war, Rose gives her Fumsup to Michael. To discover whether it works at all and whether he comes back to her or her sister, you will need to read the book.
Hi everyone. This was supposed to be an introducing post for an author, but there was a last minute change of plan. I thought I’d tell you all about my latest book. I have written about 45% of my 7th book and have had to do a bit of juggling as I’m currently also updating the first three books I wrote. I’ve just got one more edit of the third book and all of my books will have shiny new covers and tighter stories.
I visited Spain for a few days and it was wonderful to walk by the sea, catch up on reading some books I’ve been meaning to read for ages and also to relax a little. I took some photos of the books I finished, as I thought the authors might like to see their books travelling abroad. I really enjoy seeing photos of my own books sent in by readers when they travel, so I decided to take some snaps too and let the authors know. They were very happy, which made my day.
Do you take photos of books you read whilst abroad and share them with the authors? It’s a big help for them if they are allowed to use them for publicity and it’s also a lot of fun. Have a great week.
Julie Ryan’s roots are in a small mining village in South Yorkshire. After a degree in French Language and Literature, wanderlust kicked in and she lived and worked in France, Poland, Thailand and Greece. Her spirit enriched, her imagination fired, Julie started a series of mystery romances; thrillers set in the Greek Isles. She has also written a Christmas rom-com and her latest work, Finding Rose, is a contemporary novel with a strong historical element.
A prolific and well-known book review blogger, Julie does her writing and reviewing from rural Gloucestershire, where she lives with her husband, son and rescue cat. She manages to write a book a year although without their help, she would probably write more quickly. She is a book addict and will soon need either a bigger house for her collection or a new husband!
When not writing or reading or eating chocolate, she can be found treading the boards in the local amateur dramatic society – Oh yes she can!
Finding Rose – blurb
When three sisters, Ginny, Sally and Molly are brought together at their father’s hospital bed, they are forced to confront not only the prospect of a future without him but also the secrets of the past that have kept them apart.
Their father, Eddie Matthews, drugged up on morphine, seems to be rambling but could he, in fact, be reliving previous lives as a Tudor monk and as a soldier on the Front in WW1? Struggling to speak he reveals that he has a secret and urges his daughters to ‘Find Rose’. Can the sisters put aside their differences to fulfil his last wish?
Happy new week everyone. What inspires your writing? For me it’s either getting to a point in a new story that I can’t wait to write, or sitting somewhere with a beautiful view. Just taking in the scenery is often enough to lift my mood and make me want to start writing. If you are feeling frustrated with finding time to write, then taking a walk and a notepad can refresh your mojo enough to get back to your work flow when you return.
I carry a notepad everywhere and often jot down characteristics of people I see when I’m wandering around and I like to note clothing, stance, how people use their hands to express themselves and other details like that. It comes in handy when I’m forming characters in my mind. Although they are often jumping up and down and introducing themselves before I’ve finished the previous manuscript, so I have to hold them back and tell them to be patient.
I hope you find some amazing new books to read this week!
Today’s Introducing guest is author and fellow member of the Romantic Novelists Association, Emily Royal. I absolutely love the photos she has sent me for this post, especially the first one where she seems to be being kissed by a snake! I was also interested to learn that Emily used to be an airline pilot. Read on to find out more…
Over to Emily:
Emily lives in rural Scotland with her husband and two teenage daughters, together with their menagerie of pets including hamsters, chickens and 12 snakes. Despite popular opinion, her snakes are all friendly and include Twinkle, an attention-seeking boa constrictor and Burma, an unimaginatively-named Burmese Python, who loves to come out for cuddles. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, currently serving on the committee, and graduated from their New Writers’ Scheme.
Emily’s debut novel The Sins of the Sire, was published by Tirgearr on 13 March 2019 and is a gritty, dark and sexy historical romance set in the Highlands of Scotland – a tale of vengeance and atonement set during William Wallace’s rebellion against Edward I. It’s the first in her Dark Highland Passions series and she’s currently writing the next book in the series. The Sins of the Sire is available as an e-book and is free on Kindle Unlimited.
Her second published book will be a standalone Medieval Romance, published later in the year by Wild Rose Press. Another dark and sexy historical, the book has themes of Outlander, Game of Thrones and The Handmaid’s Tale.
Emily currently works as an actuary after having indulged in a brief dream of becoming an airline pilot almost 30 years ago when she left university. Her job enables her to travel, so she accumulates air miles as a passenger and uses her time waiting around at airports for drafting. She also has the opportunity to be creative with her job which has enabled her to teach and present lectures at various companies and institutions around the world, including a university in Beijing where the students were very interested to learn about romantic fiction, as well as actuarial science!
Emily is a sucker for a dark story, particularly if it contains a tortured hero, and she cites Gollum as her all-time favourite literary character.