Friday Night Drinks with…. Sarah from Lost in the Land of Books Blog @lostinthelando1 @RedDogTweets @PantherPubs @hkist @TSHunter5 #bookbloggers #bookblogging #amreading #FridayNightDrinks

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Delighted to welcome to the blog for Friday Night Drinks tonight, fellow book blogger….Sarah from Lost in the Land of Books blog.

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

Well I have recently developed a taste for pink gin and lemonade. Hangover free mornings 🙌

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Precisely why gin is my favourite tipple! If we werent here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out? 

I would be taking you to Planet, it’s a local gay bar and somewhere me and my partner go to on any night out. It’s a lovely little place with great DJs and on some nights you can sit back and watch some of some amazing drag queens. Then once the acts have finished you can dance the night away. 

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?

 Oh, now that’s a hard one, for my female I would definitely bring Pink along, she is just amazing and I had an epic time at her concert in the summer. She would also be a really good laugh. Now for a male it’s really difficult but I think it would be Robbie Williams. He is funny and who knows we could maybe have a good sing song.

Sarah, you have set us up for a raucous evening! So, now were 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 I recently celebrated the blog’s first birthday which kinda just sprung out of nowhere but it’s been such a lovely year. I have a very busy December as I have a couple of blog tours to kick the month off and then I have a week of celebrating all things Panther Publishing and then two weeks with the amazing Red Dog Press. The first week we will be taking a look at their books and having a chat, a giveaway and an exclusive. For the second week we will be chatting all things Soho Noir with T.S Hunter’s books which have just blown me away this year. I decided I was going to do this in Dec to shout about the indie publishers. I am just a small town blogger, but I want to do what I can to shout about not only the books I love but the publishers too.

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This is one of my favourite things about blogging, being able to shine a spotlight on those smaller, indie presses. What has been your proudest moment since you started writing/blogging and what has ​​​been your biggest challenge?

 My proudest moment came just recently when I was quoted on the back of a book for the first time ever. Red Dog have quoted me on the back of the book I believe everyone should read this year Heleen Kist’s Stay Mad, Sweetheart. I am also pretty damn proud I took the leap to start up the blog, I am a mum to two children and one of which has epilepsy and Aspergher’s and worried I wouldn’t have the time or the energy, mum guilt kicks in but I finally done something for me.  My biggest challenge has been saying no, I get some amazing emails and I want to say yes to everything but I have to remember as well as the blog I am also a partner, mum and I work so I can only juggle so many plates at a time.

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

 I am writing away very very slowly on a book of my own so I would love to be published and failing that then I would like to win a blogging award.

Great ambitions. What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

The Indie Christmas that I talked about and also my own writing, it started off full of self doubt and the whole oh this is rubbish etc but I had some lovely feedback about it, so I’m now hoping in the New Year to take the time to actual write a book and see where it goes. It’s about saying no a little more to tours and limiting them each month so I have time to read, review and write. Even if I don’t get it published I will still be happy that I actually finished it and wrote something and who knows where I will go from there.

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

Well apart from trips to London to visit my mum, I’ve only ever been to Tenerife, and the Canary Islands. Which is just beautiful. I would love to go to New York and Disneyland, two places I hope to get to in my lifetime. We are planning a trip to Turkey hopefully next year child free as it’s my partner’s favourite place to go so she would like to show me around.

Well, I’ve travelled widely in the States, am a Disney fanatic and used to be a travel consultant so, if you need any advice, give me a shout! Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know ​​​about you.

Oh, I think I’m pretty much open book so people know quite a lot about me, but I’m actually quite quiet and withdrawn. however they are usually surprised to see the tattoos, I have 9 so far and plan on adding more next year.

Tattoos seem to be addictive once you start! Books are my big passion and central to my blog and Im always looking for ​​​​recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a must-read?

I would say Stay Mad, Sweetheart by Heleen Kist if you haven’t already and I know you said one but just in case you have read it then T.S Hunter’s Soho Noir series.

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THERE’S A FINE LINE BETWEEN INNOCENCE AND GUILT. AN EVEN FINER LINE BETWEEN JUSTICE AND REVENGE.

Data scientist Laura prefers the company of her books to the real world – let alone that cesspit online. But when her best friend Emily becomes the victim of horrific cyberbullying, she makes it her all-engulfing mission to track down the worst culprits.
Petite corporate financier Suki is about to outshine the stupid boys at her firm: she’s leading the acquisition of Edinburgh’s most exciting start-up. If only she could get its brilliant, but distracted, co-founder Laura to engage.

Event planner Claire is left to salvage the start-up’s annual conference after her colleague Emily fails to return to work. She’s determined to get a promotion out of it, but her boss isn’t playing ball.

As the women’s paths intertwine, the insidious discrimination they each face comes to light. Emboldened by Emily’s tragic experience, they join forces to plot the downfall of all those who’ve wronged them.

But with emotions running high, will the punishments fit the crimes?

So, weve 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?

 My new failsafe plan is to stick to the Pink Gin all night, however when I do end up falling off the band wagon then I try to drink a pint of water when I get home. A nice cold can of Irn Bru And a nice bacon roll or  full fry up sorts me right out.

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

Well after such an amazing night out I would need some downtime to recover. Wrapped up in my blanket with some good books by my side and cake and coffee on hand would be lovely. 

That sounds fantastic. Sarah, thanks for joining me, it’s been great and I wish you great success with your promotions and the writing.

Sarah has a fabulous blog over at Lost in the Land of Books and you can also catch up with her on Twitter.

Next week I am having Friday Night Drinks with author, Rachel Sargeant, so please come back then.

Friday Night Drinks with…. Lucy Keeling @Lucy_K_Author @ChocLituk @RNATweets #UKRomChat #FridayNightDrinks

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After a one week hiatus, I am back for Friday Night Drinks with debut author, member of Twitter’s #UKRomChat and RNA colleague……Lucy Keeling.

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Welcome to the blog, Lucy, it’s lovely to have you here. First things first, what are you drinking?

Ohh, thank you for inviting me, I’d love an Ameretto and Diet Coke please if you don’t mind? Or we could share a bottle of Prosecco if you prefer?

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A bottle of Prosecco between us it is, to start with anyway! 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?

We would probably start earlier and go into Manchester, that way we can be nicely tipsy/drunk/steaming and get the last train home. I like to drink in places that are relaxed and chilled. If I can be wearing my Converse then I am beyond happy. I don’t think I ever really left my student drinking days behind me, except maybe the drinking of Snakebite.

I’m the same in my DMs! 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?

David Bowie and Emma Thompson. No hesitation.  

Ooh, good call. 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 I am looking forward to this Friday night off to be honest. Most of my evenings are spent editing or writing. I work part-time and have two small humans to try and raise, so the evenings are when the words come (hopefully). My rom com debut Make It Up To You was released in September. I’ve just sent off the second one in that series, and now I’m really excited to be working on Book Three, which is Mya’s story. 

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

Well, I have been writing since I was little. In fact I wrote my first ever book when I was maybe 8? It was about Ice Monsters and my school friend did the illustrations. But I would say coming Runner-Up in Choc-Lit’s ‘Search for a Star’ Competition and finding out that I would be getting a three book deal is certainly a HUGE deal for me, and honestly I’m still in shock. I kept expecting them to turn around and say, “So sorry we meant a different Lucy!”

My biggest challenge, as with most of us I guess, is getting into a routine and finding the time to write, as well as all the other stuff that comes with it, but I think I’m getting there. I think. Some weeks are easier or perhaps more productive than others that’s for sure. 

I can totally relate to the challenges of juggling everything. 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!

Ohhh, ok well if we’re dreaming big, then obviously I would like to see my rom com series made into TV or a film. I think it would be ace to watch it play out on Netflix. 

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

So Book One was all about Sophie, a social media influencer, and Marcus a gardener. I know, I know, it doesn’t sound like a pairing that should work but it really does. Like, really does, wink wink. Judging from the reviews and the feedback for Make It Up To You, it seems as though readers are desperately trying to suss out what Mya (one of the characters) does for a living. So it’s incredibly exciting to be writing Book Three now which is all about her. Honestly, I love knowing something that everyone else doesn’t haha. 

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 am not as well travelled as I would like. What have you got on yours? I’d love some inspiration. I would say that I really loved visiting Washington DC. We have friends that live over there and getting to see all the sites with them was amazing. Right now, I would just love to go somewhere warm and peaceful where I can read as much as I want before swimming up to a bar and drinking and then repeat. I don’t think that’s too much to ask? Is it?

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Sounds perfect. I was in Washington DC in 2018, great place. Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

Oh erm… I actually don’t think I’m at all that interesting. I would say that I am terrible at small talk. It’s the small bit I struggle with and so I tend to just go straight into the over sharing detail that you absolutely wouldn’t have asked for, and certainly didn’t need to know.

I feel exactly the same, I think it’s a nervous tic shared by introverts. Next time we are at the same RNA event, we should meet up and overshare together! 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 keep coming back to Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game. I just love it. Having said that I am also loving Tessa Dare’s series at the moment too. She is a genius at writing hilarious stories with amazing romance. I’m just about to start Clare Lydon’s ‘You’re My Kind’ and I can’t wait. I could go on and on.

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Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome. 2) A person’s undoing. 3) Joshua Templeman.

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman sit across from each other every day . . . and they hate each other.

Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. HATE. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight approach to his job and refusal to smile. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and desire to be liked.

Now they’re up for the same promotion and Lucy, usually a determined people-pleaser, has had enough: it’s time to take him down. But as the tension between Lucy and Joshua reaches its boiling point, it’s clear that the real battle has only just begun . . .

I haven’t read that one, it sounds good. I will add it to the list. 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 am renowned for making a brew. I am an absolute fiend when it comes to the hot beverage, and so no matter how drunk I might be, how many tipples I’ve had, I will always,and without fail make a brew when I get in. If I’m feeling really risky I might even make some toast. I’m so bad-ass I know. But I swear it will lessen your pain the next day.

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A cup of tea cures all! After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

Once I get in and it’s likely to be late because I get the feeling that you may be a bad influence ☺, I would like to recover the next day in bed, watching things on Netflix that I promised my friends I would watch and never got round to. But if we’re talking truly ideal then at some point I would need a big ol’ greasy breakfast and a cold can of full fat coke. Then I will be ready to face absolutely anything. Unless it’s Soft Play Hell in which case, no. Absolutely not. Do not ever go to Soft Play Hell with a hangover. 

Thankfully, my girls are past the Soft Play stage, so I won’t have to suffer that with or without a hangover! Lucy, thank you so much for joining me, it has been an absolute joy. Here is a gif, just for you!

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Lucy’s debut novel, Make It Up To You, is out now as an ebook and you can buy a copy here.

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What do mascara wands and gardening shears have in common?

Absolutely nothing! At least that’s what wannabe beauty influencer Sophie Timney thinks when her friend Polly suggests involving her brother Marcus in Sophie’s make-up tutorials. She needs more views, Marcus needs promotion for his gardening business – in Polly’s mind joining forces will help them both. Sophie isn’t so sure.

Because Marcus Bowman has a habit of getting under her skin in a way that no exfoliating face scrub ever could. But, as the views and comments on her videos begin creeping up, it becomes increasingly obvious that Sophie’s subscribers like Marcus, and what’s even worse is that Sophie might be starting to feel the same way …

Lucy Keeling is an author writing fun, sexy, stories with all of the happily ever afters. When she’s not typing at the kitchen table, she’s arranging and then re-arranging to see her friends for the occasional spot of day drinking. Lucy is currently writing the third book in a Contemporary Romance series, the first of which was Runner-Up in ChocLit’s ‘Search for a Star’ competition. This story has become her romantic comedy debut Make It Up To You.

To discover more about Lucy and her writing, you can find her on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Please join me next week when I will be joined for Friday Night Drinks by Sarah from Lost in the Land of Books blog.

 

 

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.

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.