Friday Night Drinks with… Emma Mitchell @emmamitchellfpr #bookbloggers #bookblogging #FridayNightDrinks #FictionCafeWriters #WhenStarsWillShine

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A very welcome guest for Friday Night Drinks tonight, it is blogger and editor….Emma Mitchell

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Thank you for joining me for drinks this evening, Emma. First things first, what are you drinking?

Well, I’ve recently taken a liking to larger and lime, so I have a nice, cold pint of Carling and lime … I’ll be moving on to the vino shortly though.

If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

There’s a lovely pub near me called The Swing Gate. We’d probably have a game of pool before either the karaoke or live band started 😊 either that or we’d be snuggled on my sofa in our PJs as I don’t tend to go out often!

I’m terrible at pool and karaoke, so the latter might be the better option! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

From the literary world it would have to be Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl. Both their books played a massive part in my reading addiction as a child and I would love to get inside their heads and pick their brains about where they got their ideas from.

Great choices. So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

Well, in my day job I’m a freelance fiction editor and I adore it. I’m working with some amazing authors at the moment and there are some wonderful books on their way. I’ve just finished working on the debut by follow book blogger (Chapter in My Life) Sharon Bairden, it’s a gritty psychological thriller and it blew my mind! Sharon has a real talent with words, and I cannot wait to see this on the shelves!

Away from my day job, I have coordinated twenty-three authors to write twenty-four short stories for a charity anthology. We have a mix of genres, but each story is Christmas themed and all the money raised will be donated to Help For Heroes. It’s called When Stars Will Shine and is available now for e-book pre-order and will be released on 9 December with the paperback.

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When Stars Will Shine is a collection of short stories from your favourite authors who have come together to deliver you a Christmas read with a twist.

With true war tales that will break your heart, gritty Christmas crimes that will shake you to your core, and heart-warming tales of love lost and found, this anthology has something for everyone. And, with every penny made being sent to support our troops, you can rest assured that you’re helping our heroes, one page at a time.

From authors such as Louise Jensen, Graham Smith, Malcolm Hollingdrake, Lucy Cameron, Val Portelli, and Alex Kane, you are in for one heck of a ride!

I have this on pr-order and am so excited to read it. I hope it does really well. What has been your proudest moment since you started writing/blogging and what has been your biggest challenge?

I have two moments, if that’s OK? Conrad Jones has been a favourite author of mine for years, then two years ago, I became his editor! That was the most surreal thing ever. And I still get a thrill when another of his books lands in my inbox for me to work my magic on. 

The second was when author Angela Marsons sent me a cheeky screenshot of her then work in progress … with me as a character! I burst into tears and my hubby thought someone had died. I won’t say what I did next as it’s rather embarrassing … but it involved tears and snot for at least an hour! I have adored every single book in her DI Kim Stone series, and Silent Scream, the first one, was the first book I ever reviewed. In fact, I’ll tell you a secret, whenever there’s a new one out, I buy new bedding, have a long soak in the bath, get wine and munch ready, get into bed, and don’t leave until I’ve finished the book (whenever possible!). I also channel my inner Kim Stone when I have to go in the cellar! So to be named in the book, well … my mind was blown!

What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, it’s just us talking after all!

I would LOVE to start my own publishing house.

I’m dipping my toe in the waters with the anthology … with help from three amazing #Queens in the industry. Kate Noble, from Noble Owl Proofreading, Amanda Ni Odhrain from Let’s Get Booked, and Shel Baker from Shell’s Not So Secret Book Blog have all been behind me from day one with this and I adore them for it. 

The whole process, although stressful at times, has been so exhilarating, I’m loving every second, so it may be something I look to do in an official capacity in the future.

Wow, that’s a massive ambition, good luck with it. What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

When Stars Will Shine! 

Also, Sally Rigby, one of my amazing clients, is about to release the fifth book in her Cavendish and Walker series and it is BRILLIANT! A twisty police procedural that really leaves you guessing. She’s a fantastic author so if you’ve yet to read her books, go and check them out!

Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

OK … here goes … I LOVE tomato soup, it’s the only soup I like, tomato sauce is the ONLY sauce I eat … but I HATE tomatoes! I cannot stand to eat actual tomatoes! 

Strangely, two of my sisters are the same! Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

Louise Jensen’s The Sister. I still have a book hangover from that one and am constantly asking Louise to revisit those characters.

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‘I did something terrible Grace. I hope you can forgive me . . .’

Grace hasn’t been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie’s words the last time she saw her, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie’s. It soon becomes clear that there was a lot she didn’t know about her best friend.

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie’s father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan’s home.

But something isn’t right. Things disappear, Dan’s acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace’s mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?

There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie . . . Or was there?

That is a great book. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

So, I’ve already got my hangover PJs ready for the morning … the absolute failsafe is hair of the dog, but I can never seem to bring myself to have a drink until a few hours later, even though I know I’ll feel better for it! Food wise, it has to be Frazzles … bags and bags and bags of Frazzles, then pizza. Ham and pineapple washed down with orange Tango.

I love Frazzles, never tried them as a hangover cure before. Ham and pineapple pizza may prove controversial! After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

Snuggled up reading, or, if the hangover’s that bad I can’t read, I’ll watch some serial killer documentaries on the TV and not move all day!

Sounds marvellous, especially in this appalling weather. Emma, thank you so much for joining me, it’s been a joy and I wish you great luck with the anthology.

Emma is a freelance fiction editor and you can find her business website here, which is full of useful information for authors. Emma also blogs about books over at Emma The Little Bookworm, and you can catch up with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Next week on Friday Night Drinks, I will be joined by blogger Llainy Swanson so make sure you join us.

 

Friday Night Drinks with…. Morton S Gray @MortonSGray @ChocLituk @RNATweets #FridayNightDrinks

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Delighted to be joined for Friday Night Drinks this evening by author and fellow RNA member….Morton S Gray.

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Morton, welcome to the blog and thank you so much for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

I’m rather partial to a Strawberries and Cream Baileys. I like a glass of rose wine, but only usually drink this at home as it turns my face bright red seconds after I’ve had a sip!

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Oh, I haven’t tried that one, sounds delicious. If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

I’m not really a drinker, so I’d take you to my favourite Indian restaurant, Vhujon in Bewdley, Worcestershire. Friendly service and a great menu, this place has never failed to deliver. I think you’d like it.

Indian is my favourite cuisine, so that sounds perfect. If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

Patrick Dempsey of Gray’s Anatomy and Bridget Jones’s Baby – I’ll admit to a little crush on him! 

Then to mix things up a bit and make it an interesting evening, how about Jane Austen? I’d love to meet the person behind all of those witty lines and plots. Her work made me interested in writing novels in the first place when I was introduced to Pride and Prejudice at school.

You were very quick off the mark with Patrick Dempsey, lol! So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

I’ve had somewhat of a hiatus on the writing front whilst I dealt with some health problems (difficult to write with constant migraine), my mother’s health problems and my youngest’s GCSEs (he did very well by the way! Phew), but now I’m beginning to get these background things under control, I’m back working on two novels for my publisher Choc Lit, one is a summer book and the other a Christmas title for 2020, both are set in my fictional seaside town of Borteen like my other three stand-alone novels, The Girl on the Beach, The Truth Lies Buried and Christmas at Borteen Bay. The new books are in the romantic suspense genre, or as I prefer to say, “romance with a mystery to solve”.

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What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

My proudest moment had to be when I won Choc Lit Publishing’s Search for a Star competition with my debut novel The Girl on the Beach. After so many years of writing and trying to get published, this was a dream come true.

My biggest challenge is always the publisher’s editing process. I have this fear that I can’t cope with the changes they ask me to make to a manuscript, but I’ve managed it three times so far, so I guess I can. It will still be scary when the next lot of edits arrive though.

That is an interesting insight for an unpublished writer. What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, it’s just us talking after all!

I’ve got a list of goals for my work, which I tick off when I achieve them. I’d love to get one of my books onto the Sunday Times Best Sellers List, into the Amazon Top 10 on Kindle and maybe even have an adaptation for screen done for one of my books. *Wistful sigh*.

What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

As always, I have lots of ideas for stories. My biggest challenge is to focus on just one plot through to completion. I have a friend, Alison May, who, when I get that excited look about a new idea, says “step away from the shiny” to get me to focus back on my current project.

My novels so far have all been stand-alone stories set in the same fictional seaside town, but featuring some of the same characters. The book I’m working on at the moment is about Mandy, who runs the craft centre on the promenade above the beach in Borteen. She has been a side-kick to some of the other characters in previous books, but this time she is getting her own story and she has a few skeletons in her closet. The story begins when Nick, a youth whose art career Mandy has been encouraging, appears on her doorstep saying that his mother has left him home alone and isn’t coming back…

That sounds great! I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

I’d like to go back to Paradise Island in the Bahamas, and Sydney in Australia, but having said that I love the beaches in England and Wales, particularly my absolute favourite place – Bamburgh beach in Northumberland.

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On top of my bucket list at the moment is a visit to the Red Kite Feeding Station at Rhayader in Wales. The red kites are fed by a lake and there can be as many as 150 birds coming in to feed.

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Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

There is a fifteen-year gap between my two sons, meaning I’ve been doing the school run for a very long time!

My parents had the same thing, there is almost a 16-year gap between myself and my youngest sister! Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

So difficult to recommend just one! I have two books that I’ve read countless times, I think because the messages in them change depending on what is going on in my life at the time, so I’m going to be cheeky and list both.

Wintercombe by Pamela Belle – an historical novel set in the English Civil War.

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Tortured by a cold, Puritan father, Silence has learned to conceal her passionate nature inside a prison like shell of passivity. Her eventual marriage does not offer her the escape that she longs for and she craves some semblance of autonomy. It is only the sweep of history that finally offers Silence the freedom she so desires.

Civil war has raged and her sombre husband has been away for two years. Wintercombe, once a tranquil bastion of family virtue, is transformed into an unruly, drunken, and licentious garrison. From this turmoil a still more subtle threat dawns in the handsome shape of Captain Nick Hellier.

As the battle for England is matched by the struggle within her soul, it’s not long before Captain Hellier starts to slowly unlock the chains around Silence’s fragile, Puritan heart…

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – an autobiographical account of a woman escaping her life and trying to find out who she really is. (There is a film of this book, but as is often the case, the book is much better).

I love Eat, Pray, Love, but not the other one, so I’ll add it to my TBR. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

Here I have a confession. I think I’ve only ever had one hangover way back at university and I hated the feeling so much, I have never drunk that much ever since. So, I guess my failsafe plan to avoid a hangover, is to choose a drink you really like and to savour it, rather than drinking loads.

That is eminently sensible advice. After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

I love nothing better than walking on a beach and visiting stately homes and castles. Favourite beaches include Bamburgh in Northumberland, Woolacombe in North Devon and Abersoch in North Wales. Favourite stately homes and castles include Witley Court in Worcestershire and Powis Castle in Wales.

Morton, it has been a huge pleasure having you on the blog, thank you for giving me your time and company and hopefully we will meet up in person at an RNA event in the near future.

Morton lives with her husband, two sons and Lily, the tiny white dog, in Worcestershire, U.K. She has been reading and writing fiction for as long as she can remember, penning her first attempt at a novel aged fourteen. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors.

Her debut novel The Girl on the Beach was published after she won the Choc Lit Publishing Search for a Star competition. This story follows a woman with a troubled past as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s new headteacher, Harry Dixon. The book is available as a paperback and e-book.

Morton’s second book for Choc Lit The Truth Lies Buried is another romantic suspense novel, The book tells the story of Jenny Simpson and Carver Rodgers as they uncover secrets from their past. This book is available as an e-book, paperback and audiobook.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is Morton’s first Christmas novella. It is set in her fictional seaside town of Borteen and follows the story of Pippa Freeman, who runs the Rose Court Guesthouse with her mother, and local policeman Ethan Gibson, as they unravel a family secret as Christmas approaches.

Morton previously worked in the electricity industry in committee services, staff development and training. She has a Business Studies degree and is a fully qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Reiki Master. She also has diplomas in Tuina acupressure massage and energy field therapy. She enjoys crafts, history and loves tracing family trees. Having a hunger for learning new things is a bonus for the research behind her books.

You can catch up with Morton on her websiteTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Please join me back here next week when I will be having Friday Night Drinks with editor and blogger, Emma Mitchell.

Friday Night Drinks with…. Sarah from Sarah’s Vignettes @Sarah_Swan2 @JulietWest14 @DEWhiteAuthor @maverickbooks #bookbloggers #bookblogging #amreading #FridayNightDrinks

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Last week we had a bit of a technical hiccup, so I apologise for the lack of drinks last week. Sandra, from BookLoverWorm will be appearing on a future date. This week, normal service has been resumed and I am delighted to welcome another blogger, the fabulous……Sarah Swan from Sarah’s Vignettes.

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Sarah, it is a joy to have you on the blog, thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

Thanks for inviting me, Julie. I’ll have an Aperol Spritz, please. I’m trying to carry on that summer holiday feeling for as long as possible!

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Looks delicious, I’ll have one too. If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

Definitely, a country pub with a log fire. Good food and chatting about books over a bottle or two!

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Oh, you’d love my local, only tottering distance away if we over-indulge! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

Only two?! This is a tough choice. Winston Churchill would be one. I’ve always been fascinated with him. Have you visited Chartwell, his home in Kent? It’s a wonderful place with a happy atmosphere. I’ve recently visited Bletchley Park so I would love to invite along one of the WRNs who worked there. I have so many questions!!

So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

I started Sarah’s Vignettes back in April 2017 to share my love of books. I work full-time and have a commute, so running the blog alongside that can get a bit busy, but I love it! My blog has grown quite a lot already in those in two years. I’d just like to see where it goes. 

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing/blogging and what has been your biggest challenge?

It’s more a series of moments for me. I’m really proud that the blog is still going strong after two years. Through blogging, I get to shout about great books, I have met several of my favourite authors, made some good friends and been to fab events. 

I was also asked to talk about book blogging at my local college. It was a publishing event for the adult education creative writing class. I was with authors Juliet West and Daisy White and publisher Kim Nye from Maverick Books. It was an honour to be asked. 

The biggest challenge is not having enough time to read all the books I’d love to read! You have to be realistic about how much you can take on. 

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What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

I’d like to write a bit more and maybe write a book one day. I’d like to think that being an insightful reader would stand me in good stead if I do decide to take the plunge. 

What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

I’m not really working on anything at the moment, except trying to reduce my TBR (to-be-read) pile of books! I’ve cut down on the amount of blog tours I am committing to, mainly because of time. I love taking part in them but reading to deadline can get a bit crazy sometimes. I have some beautiful books waiting patiently on my book shelfs to be read and discovered. 

I completely understand, I am exactly the same! I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

My favourite place to visit was La Reunion/Reunion. It’s a little island in the Indian Ocean, situated between Mauritius and Madagascar. It is an overseas department of France and it is paradise. 

There are so many places I want to visit. Depending on the day, the top of my list might change but I would love to visit Iceland. I changed planes in Rejkavik when I went to Canada and the landscape was fascinating as we landed. A friend has recently been on holiday there and loved it. 

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Iceland is on my bucket list too. Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

I am fluent in French, having lived and studied in Paris for 3 years. It was a wonderful experience. Give me a novel set in France any day!

Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

Oh, this is painful! One book is hard as I recommend favourite books for different reasons. The one that springs to mind right now is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Have you read it? If you haven’t, it is written in the form of letters between an author, her publisher (we all need a Sidney in our lives!) and members of the Society. It is a heartwarming and delightful book. 

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To give them hope she must tell their story

It’s 1946. The war is over, and Juliet Ashton has writer’s block. But when she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – a total stranger living halfway across the Channel, who has come across her name written in a second hand book – she enters into a correspondence with him, and in time with all the members of the extraordinary Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Through their letters, the society tell Juliet about life on the island, their love of books – and the long shadow cast by their time living under German occupation. Drawn into their irresistible world, Juliet sets sail for the island, changing her life forever.

I haven’t read it yet, it is on my endless TBR! So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

I’m not a big drinker, so I rarely have a hangover but drinking lots of water is key to avoid a hangover! On the occasions I do have a hangover, I always have a hankering for carbs and the fattiest food you can find. A good cooked breakfast and large pot of tea usually fixes it. 

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

Reading books and drinking tea! Whether that’s curled up at home or sitting outside – at the park, by the sea, in the garden. 

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Gorgeous photo, looks like the perfect reading spot for this time of year! Sarah, thank you so much for coming on the blog, it has been an absolute pleasure.

Sarah Swan has been reading books from a very early age and before she could read, she was always flicking through picture books. She’s sure she was born with a book in her hand! Books are a big part of her life and she started her blog, Sarah’s Vignettes in 2017, to share her love for them. By day, she can be found working in marketing and engagement and by night, she can be found shouting out about books on her blog and social media.

Find out more about Sarah via her blogFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Please join me next week when I will be having Friday Night Drinks with author Morton S. Gray.

Friday Night Drinks with…. Florence Keeling @KeelingFlorence @LilyMaeWalters1 @CrimsonCloakPub #FridayNightDrinks #FictionCafeWriters

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Tonight I am delighted to be joined for Friday Night Drinks  by author and fellow Fiction Cafe Writer…..Florence Keeling.

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(Another camera shy guest again this week!)

Thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

I have recently discovered Parma violet gin, with lemonade rather than tonic…it has to be lemonade as tonic spoils the taste of the gin. I also found cherry Bakewell vodka last week…delicious.

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If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

There’s nothing like a country pub. I’d take you round the corner to a beautiful little restaurant/bar in the middle of nowhere with a huge open fire.

Oh, you’d love my local! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

The Queen would be top of my list but I suspect it would be afternoon tea rather than a pint down the pub. And I’d love to sit down with Henry 8th, he’d have some fabulous stories to tell.

I suspect the Queen enjoys a cheeky sherry! So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

I’m currently working on my children’s stories under the name of Lily Mae Walters before returning to my women’s fiction novels.
There are two series… Josie James is currently on its third of a five- book series and Brittle’s Academy for the Magically Unstable is brand new.
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I’d love for them both to be read worldwide and loved by thousands  of children.

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

My proudest moment so far has happened very recently. I’ve been asked to open a new school library as a children’s author and I’m absolutely thrilled.
My biggest challenge is balancing my writing with my work. I have three jobs and find it hard to sit down and physically write.

What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

My greatest ambition is to be able to write full time and to make a living from it. I have so many stories and characters whirling around in my head that I want to share with the world.

What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

I’m currently planning a series of romance books…real feel good love stories…Pedals and Prosecco, Cocktails and Cadillacs are just two of the titles.

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

I’m not fond of flying, in fact I’m absolutely terrified. We’ve flown a few times as a family but I’d have to say that you can’t beat the good old British seaside. If I’m near the sea, I’m happy.
I’d love to visit Venice and the Pyramids one day, they are definitely on the bucket list.

I’ve been to Venice, but I’d love to go back. The Pyramids are definitely on my bucket list too. Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

I share a birthday of April Fools Day with my great grandmother Florence Keeling, this is why I use her name as my pen name. My children’s author name is a mixture of all my grandparents names. Lily for Lilian, Mae for Marjorie and both my grandads had Walter as a first or second name.

Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

You have to read The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. I love historical fiction especially the Tudor era and she just writes as if she was there at the time and saw the events for herself.

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This chance for us Howards comes once in a century…

1521. Henry VIII rules over a fashionable court alive with pageant and celebration, the lack of a son his only threat. When young Mary Boleyn arrives at court, she becomes his new mistress, an unwitting pawn in the ambitions of the powerful Boleyn and Howard families.

As Henry’s interest begins to wane, the Boleyns scheme to put forward Mary’s sister, Anne. Yet Anne Boleyn, newly returned from the French court, won’t agree to be Henry’s mistress, only his wife.

Pitting the king’s desperation for an heir against the advice of his powerful advisors, Wolsey and Cromwell, what follows will change the course of a country’s history.

Great choice. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

I’m not a big drinker and have only ever been drunk once in my life…but I’ve always been told that you must drink a glass of water before bed and then a fry up in the morning.

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

After our night out, a lovely walk in the country with my two dogs followed by a huge carvery lunch with all the trimmings and jam roly poly for pudding.

Florence, thank you so much for joining me, it has been a wonderful evening.

Florence Keeling is the author of two women’s fiction  novels, Winter’s Gift and Reflected Destinies. 

As Lily Mae Walters, she is the author of Josie James & the Teardrops of Summer and Josie James & the Velvet Knife and the upcoming Brittle’s Academy for the Magically Unstable.

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You can read my review of Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer here.

Florence Keeling/Lily Mae Walters chose her pen name in honour of her beloved grandparents who also star in the Josie James series. She is married with two teenage children, and two huskies that are the inspiration behind Murphy and Asher in the books. Florence lives in Nuneaton, England and finds herself using local  places and even her old school in her stories. Family and friends mean the world to her and many will find themselves popping up throughout the series. Lily Mae also writes for adults under the name of Florence Keeling. You can find Florence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Please join me next week for Friday Night Drinks with blogger Sandra from BookLoverWorm.

Tangled Roots by Denise D. Young #BlogTour #GuestPost (@ddyoungbooks) @RaRaResources #RachelsRandomResources #TangledRoots

Tangled Roots

I am taking my turn on the blog tour today for Tangled Roots by Denise D. Young by featuring a guest post by the author. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for my place on the tour and to the author for the guest post.

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A beautiful witch lost in time. A brooding farm boy with magic in his blood and a chip on his shoulder. Dark secrets and shadowy magic. Paranormal romance with a time slip awaits in the first book of this new series.

Cassie Gearhart casts a spell in the forest in the summer of 1974. The next thing she knows, she wakes up to find the world irrevocably changed.

It’s 2019, for one thing. For another, all of her coven members have vanished, leaving behind only one man who holds the key to their secrets.

Nick Felson has sworn off magic, until a confused Cassie knocks on his door in the middle of the night, somehow missing forty-five years’ worth of time. But Nick knows falling for the captivating witch means letting magic back into his life—and that’s one line he swore he’d never cross.

Can Cassie unravel the mystery that transported her decades into the future? And can Nick resist the powerful magic and heart-pounding passion that swirl in the air whenever he and Cassie are together?

*The Tangled Magic Series is intended for readers 18-plus who enjoy fast-paced reads, wild and witchy magic, swoon-worthy kisses, and small-town charm. The series is best read in order.

Why I Went Indie: My Journey to Being An Indie Author by Denise D. Young

In May of this year, I reached a milestone: I published my debut release, Tangled Roots, part of my Tangled Magic Series. But my writing journey, full of twists and turns, began 11 years ago.

I graduated with my master’s degree in creative writing in 2008. At that time, indie publishing was sort of this wild, newfangled notion—an experiment, really.

My first encounter with indie-authordom was with now RITA award-winning romance author, Kait Nolan. Kait’s smart, confident, no-nonsense yet approachable demeanor combined with her phenomenal writing chops were my first glimpse that indie authors could take the world by storm. That passion and determination inspired me.

But that was 2008, and I wasn’t ready. I had lessons to learn, skills to master, and confidence to gain.

I published a few short stories over the years, but I wasn’t quite ready to hit publish on my longer works. They languished in drawers as I proclaimed them in need of one last polish.

And then, in 2018, I saw indie author Sarra Cannon speak at a local RWA chapter. Her talk rekindled my fire to get my stories out into the world.

In January 2019, I made the decision official: I was going the indie author path. There’s no right or wrong path to being an author. Success can be found on many paths.

So, what led me to choose the indie author path?

First, I have the right blend of personality traits for it.

I’ve long had an entrepreneurial mindset, which I trace back to the first business I ever started: Vampires, Inc., a vampire-slaying business my brother and I co-founded when I was nine and he was eight. (Vampires, Inc. was also my first experience with the importance of market research, as we soon closed for business when unable to find a single customer in need of our services.)

I’m analytical and like to make data-driven decisions, but I also trust my intuition to help me make the final call. I’m fairly tech-savvy and enjoy learning new skills, which come in handy when learning anything from how to purchase ISBNs to Amazon keywords.

Second, I like being able to set my own production schedule and choose my own creative projects.

Like any writer, I do sometimes struggle with shiny-idea syndrome, but now that I’ve published book one of my series, I’m focused on sharing the stories of the Willow Creek Coven with readers. I want Nick, Cassie, Vivienne, Evan, Bailee, and the other characters in the series to triumph, save the day, and live happily ever after. Having Tangled Roots out there makes me that more focused on this series.

The truth is there is a lot of pressure on indie authors to write and publish extremely quickly—but not all indies publish at warp speed. (Kudos to those who do, though! Wow!) Indie authors publish at a variety of speeds, so despite the perception, there’s still plenty of space within the indie publishing world to publish at your own speed. Not, say, as slowly as a redwood grows, but at your own pace.

Third, I like being engaged at all steps of the creative and publishing process.

This might be a holdover from my magazine days, when I served as assistant editor and did everything from write feature articles to copyedit submitted materials to brainstorm cover design. I enjoy working with graphic designers, editors, and others who are part of the production process that takes a story from manuscript to published book.

Fourth, I like getting my stories into readers’ hand as quickly as possible.

There’s merit to the traditional publishing process, and I have friends who have found success beyond many writers’ wildest dreams on this path. For me, the idea of spending years from slush pile to release day felt stifling.

It’s not that I jumped too quickly into the process. Again, I’ve been writing paranormal romance since 2008. I spent over a decade learning the elements of craft, industry, and business I’d need to create a recipe for my indie author business.

I’m still only one book into this, but I know I’ve found the right path for me. People like Kait and Sarra and countless others are the trailblazers who paved the way for those of us who are just now beginning our indie-publishing journeys.

Who knows what magic awaits? As for me, I’m eager to continue sharing my Tangled Magic Series with readers, including Tangled Roots and the next book, Tangled Flames, which is coming soon!

Tangled Roots is out now and you can buy a copy here.

If you would like to read some reviews of the book and discover more fabulous content, make sure you check out the rest of the stops on the tour:

Tangled Roots Full Tour Banner

About the Author

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Equal parts bookworm, flower child, and eclectic witch, Denise D. Young writes fantasy and paranormal romance featuring witches, magic, faeries, and the occasional shifter.

Whatever the flavor of the magic, it’s always served with a brisk cup of tea–and the promise of romance varying from sweet to sensual.

She lives with her husband and their animals in the mountains of Virginia, where small towns and tall trees inspire her stories. She reads tarot cards, collects crystals, gazes at stars, and believes magic is the answer (no matter what the question was).

If you’ve ever hoped to find a book of spells in a dusty attic, if you suspect every misty forest contains a hidden portal to another realm, or if you don’t mind a little darkness before your happily-ever-after, her books might be just the thing you’ve been waiting for.

Connect with Denise:

Website: http://www.denisedyoungbooks.com

Facebook: Denise Young Writer

Twitter: @ddyoungbooks

Instagram: @deniseyoungbooks

Friday Night Drinks with…. Eva from Novel Deelights @noveldeelights @SlaughterKarin @RCArmitage @stu_turton #bookbloggers #bookblogging #amreading #FridayNightDrinks

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Exciting evening ahead which I get to spend having Friday Night Drinks with one of my absolute favourite people in the world of book blogging……Eva from Novel Deelights.

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(We’ve got a camera shy one this week!)

Eva, thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

Thanks so much for inviting me, Julie! Normally I would have said Prosecco or white wine but on my latest holiday to Italy, I discovered Bellini and since that has peach juice I’m considering it to be one of my five a day so I’m going with that. Whatever you do, keep me away from limoncello. 😳

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If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

If money were no object, I’d take you to my favourite restaurant in Tuscany where they serve the best tiramisu ever. But since I don’t expect to be winning the lottery any time soon, my local one Michelin star will have to do. There is only the option of a chef’s menu but it changes on a regular basis and I do so enjoy trying new things from time to time.

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Doesn’t that look fabulous, I wish we were there right now. I absolutely love Italian food! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

My first thought for questions like these is always Karin Slaughter but then I thought of Richard Armitage who narrated the audiobook The Taking of Annie Thorne by CJ Tudor so I’d have to go wit those two and talk books. And by talk I mean possibly just listen and stare and try not to make a complete fool of myself.

Interesting choices! So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

I have very little going on at the moment, which at first was a conscious decision to take a step back but is now also due to my fur baby’s poor health. I started my blog in March 2017 and it has gone places I never expected it to go. It’s been a whirlwind, a 24/7 full-time job between reading, reviewing and blogging and I needed a breather. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a lot of fun but where I want it to go is back to that place where it was a hobby instead of feeling like a job.

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Awww, gorgeous dog. I completely get where you are coming from with the blogging, sometimes we just need to go back to reading for fun! What has been your proudest moment since you started blogging and what has been your biggest challenge?

Being quoted in books I’ve reviewed is right up there. It’s such a wonderful feeling and it will never grow old. And having fellow bloggers nominate me for blogger awards. That’s also special.

The biggest challenge is most definitely trying to keep up with commitments when life gets in the way and/or you just don’t feel like picking up a book. This past year in particular has been a bit of a struggle as I seem to have gone from one reading slump to the other but I’ve not missed a single commitment or let anyone down and that’s something to be proud of too.

What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

I’m probably one of the least ambitious people you’ll ever meet. The one big thing I’d most like to achieve is finding a healthy balance. I’ve taken on a lot since I started, at times it’s been incredibly overwhelming and I’ve just been lucky in that I seem to thrive under pressure but I now find I quite like that I don’t have to pick up a book if I don’t want to and I can happily go and do something else without feeling guilty or stressed out.

What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

Does hibernating count? 😄 This is my least favourite time of the year. I’ve already started my countdown to Spring so I’m actually the most excited about not needing to socialise too much, being comfortable on my sofa with a nice cup of tea and a book or a tv series I want to catch up on.

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

My favourite place is Tuscany in Italy. I completely lost my heart there from the very first time we visited and the dream is to move there some day. There are a multitude of other places I’d love to go to some time but I think top of the bucket list is probably New Zealand. Even if the long flight completely puts me off.


Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

From what I’ve gathered over the time I’ve been blogging, the most surprising thing to people seems to be that I’m not English. I’ve been speaking English from a very young age, surprising my parents as neither of them spoke it. That prompted me to be absolutely convinced I was adopted. I asked them numerous times. It didn’t go down so well. I have no idea where it came from or how I picked it up but I’ve even been dreaming in English for as long as I can remember.

Wow, that’s really fascinating! Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

The first book that came to my mind is The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. Or as I like to call it “Agatha Christie on crack”. I’ve never read anything like it, or since, and while I’m not one to read a book twice, I am determined to re-read this one again some day. But also, every single book ever written by Karin Slaughter.

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Tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed … Again

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

The only truly failsafe plan I know of, and apologies for the disgusting image, is to just vomit it all out before you fall into bed. Aside from that, water, water and more water. But I wouldn’t necessarily call it failsafe. That’s experience talking right there.

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

That depends on the hangover. If you didn’t follow my advice to keep me away from the limoncello, I will probably spend the day feeling absolutely sorry for myself, vowing to never drink again. If there’s no hangover, a nice lunch and maybe a boardgame. Or cards. Or a nap. 😉

Eva, it has been a joy to spend the evening with you, thank you so much for joining me on the blog.

Make sure you go and check out Eva’s delightful blog over at Novel Deelights. You can also catch up with her on Twitter and Instagram and on Goodreads.
Join me next week when I’ll be having Friday Night Drinks with author, Florence Keeling.

Friday Night Drinks with…. Noelle Holten @nholten40 @HarperCollinsUK @0neMoreChapter_ @KillerReads @Bookouture @TheCraigRussell @michaeljmalone1 #FridayNightDrinks #DeadInside

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It’s Friday Night Drinks again and, tonight, I am joined by another busy lady – author, blogger and PR for Bookouture…..Noelle Holten.

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Noelle, welcome to the blog and thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

Rhubarb gin & tonic …it might be a double 😉 Though I’ve recently tried pink grapefruit & pomello gin + tonic … *bites nails* so I think I’ll change my order to that!  

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Sounds delicious. I think your colleague, the lovely Kim Nash, recommended the same one when she were here a couple of weeks ago. Have you two been sharing a tipple of this by any chance? If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

I’m quite the homebody, but do like a good village pub when socialising so would probably take you to The Rose Inn, in the next village over. They have good food, a nice atmosphere and booze! We could chat books all night! 

Perfect! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

Famous as in celebrity or just in my eyes? Hmmm…. I think I’d invite Martina Cole as she’s a good laugh and a font of all knowledge when it comes to books and I’ve recently met Professor David Wilson and he absolutely fascinates me – he so nice and quite funny too – we’d definitely have some interesting conversations!

So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

At the moment I am nearing 70K on the third book in my series (DC Maggie Jamieson) and I expect to receive the edits for Dead Wrong in the next week or two so will be on to those as well! Book 3 is due Dec 2019 so I needed to get a draft done by at least the end of Oct, and if I continue at the rate I’m at, even with my edits, this should be doable. I’m also winding down on my blog tour commitments. I just can’t keep doing tours and writing – so I’ll still read and review books, I just can’t take part in any tours. 

I understand the pressure of blog tours, sometimes you just have to step back from reading to a timetable. I’ve had to do similar in the hope I can get my book finished! What has been your proudest moment since you started writing/blogging and what has been your biggest challenge?

I feel like I have had so many proud moments and no doubt I’ll forget something but here are just a few: getting a two book deal, Dead Inside being published, amazing support from the blogger and crime community, getting a further 3 book deal before Dead Inside was published, being the supporting act via Crime in the Spotlight for Ian Rankin and Nicola Sturgeon at Bloody Scotland, appearing on my first panel at Newcastle Noir, then Bute Noir, and having a paperback launch in Glasgow. Signing MY book! Readings at Noir at the Bar. Knowing that by the end of 2020 I will have written FIVE books! There have been so many moments that I am incredibly proud of and still can’t believe. I am grateful for them all. 

You’ve had such an amazing year. What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

Tough one, as I really am grateful for everything so far – I’d love for the series to take off and to continue writing about Maggie and the rest of the agencies she works with and I would also love to appear on a panel at Bloody Scotland with some of my writing idols! 

What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

I’m writing Book 3 and it’s quite dark – I haven’t come up with the title suggestion yet or a proper blurb but I am loving the direction it is going in and hope that I get it in reasonable order with the edits when I finally type THE END of this draft! 

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

I’ve not really travelled 😱 I mean I have been to various places in the US, Canada, Ireland and the UK but I would LOVE to go to an Island somewhere, total solitude, a beach, a bar, and books. I love Scotland too and hope to one day move there. 

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I really loved Cape Cod in the US when I visited so I’d also like to go back there and I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland. 

Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

Ok – I took music in high-school and played the baritone for 4 years. Not sure if that is interesting/surprising or secret 😂😂 but it is true! 

Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

I loved Craig Russell’s The Devil Aspect so would definitely recommend that, but I’ve recently read Michael J Malone’s In The Absence of Miracles, so have to sneak that one it too – both are phenomenal for very different reasons! 

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How do you find a killer when you’re surrounded by madness?

1935. As Europe prepares itself for a calamitous war, six homicidal lunatics – the so-called ‘Devil’s Six’ – are confined in a remote castle asylum in rural Czechoslovakia. Each patient has their own dark story to tell and Dr Viktor Kosárek, a young psychiatrist using revolutionary techniques, is tasked with unlocking their murderous secrets.

At the same time, a terrifying killer known as ‘Leather Apron’ is butchering victims across Prague. Successfully eluding capture, it would seem his depraved crimes are committed by the Devil himself.

Maybe they are… and what links him with the insane inmates of the Castle of the Eagles?

Only the Devil knows. And it is up to Viktor to find out.

I have a copy of Michael’s book on my TBR, I have read so many amazing reviews of it. I will add the Craig Russell one. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

Ha! Well I tend to drink a glass of water with 2 ibuprofen before I sleep – I have a high tolerance for gin so usually manage to avoid a bad hangover, but can feel very tired, so if that happens – it’s a duvet day with a constant flow of coffee, a good book and a few naps!  

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

 A perfect weekend for me would be either the time to sit and read on my couch as much as I can or to attend a book event/festival. I love seeing my friends but most live miles away so any excuse that sees us all together is great for me! 

Noelle, I have had a lovely evening, thank you for joining me and I can’t wait for the next book in the Maggie Jamieson series.

Noelle’s debut novel, Dead Inside, was published earlier this year and you can buy a copy here. I reviewed Noelle’s book on its paperback publication and you can find my review by following this link.

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The killer is just getting started…

When three wife beaters are themselves found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.

The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered.

And he is Lucy’s husband.

Now the police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer?

Noelle Holten is one of the PR & Social Media Managers for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and was a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. She worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse but left in 2017. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Her hobbies include reading, author-stalking and sharing the booklove via her blog, Crime Book Junkie. Dead Inside is her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

You can find out more about Noelle on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Next week I will be joined for Friday Night Drinks by fellow blogger and all round delightful human, Eva from Novel Deelights.