Category Archives: Adult Fiction

Adult Fiction

Spotlight – Tell No Lies by Lisa Hartley

Today I am spotlighting the second book in this brilliant thriller of a series, Tell No Lies by Lisa Hartley and I have a fab extract from the book to share!

Tell No Lies was released on the 19th February 2018 following on from the huge success of Ask No Questions, the first book in the series.

So lets jump straight in….

Now they’re coming after Caelan’s team…

A tortured body is found in a basement. Drug dealing and people smuggling is on the rise. Then police start going missing.

There seems to be no connection between the crimes, but Detective Caelan Small senses something isn’t right.

Plunged into a new investigation, lives are on the line. And in the web of gangs, brothels and nerve-shattering undercover work, Caelan must get to the truth – or be killed trying.

And then there’s Nicky…

Utterly gripping, written with searing tension and remarkable dexterity, Tell No Lies is a blistering crime novel for fans of Angela Marsons, Rebecca Bradley and Faith Martin.


Caelan didn’t make the call until she had left the train at Canada Water and was approaching the apartment building she had, until the previous evening, called home. Nicky answered immediately and Caelan began to talk, not giving her any opportunity to interrupt.

‘Listen, I’m five minutes away, can you let me in so I can grab some of my gear? I’ll be in and out, don’t want to disturb you. See you soon.’

She ended the call and shoved the handset into her jeans pocket, cutting off Nicky’s voice and ignoring the sting of guilt. Beckett had demanded professionalism, and that was what she would get.

She marched towards the building, six storeys of pale-yellow bricks and immaculate royal-blue paintwork. She smiled up at the CCTV camera on the corner of the building as she walked beneath it, knowing Peter would be manning the reception desk at this hour. The glass door already stood open and she stepped inside. When she had left the previous evening, she had had no intention of ever returning. Now, less than twenty-four hours later, she was back.

‘Caelan.’ Peter was on his feet, clearly confused. ‘Ms Sturgess is here, she’s upstairs.’

Caelan forced a smile. ‘It’s okay.’

‘I wasn’t sure if you knew…’ His voice trailed away and he ran a hand over his mouth, embarrassed.

‘I saw her last night. She’s moved back in.’


Caelan kept walking. ‘I’ll keep in touch, Peter. Say hi to your wife for me.’

He nodded, sensing she didn’t want to talk.

Nicky’s apartment was on the sixth floor. Despite her aching, bruised body, Caelan made herself walk up the stairs. She usually took the lift, but the stairs would take longer, and today, giving herself extra time mattered.

On each landing was a huge window offering a view of the Thames. Caelan paused, looked down at the green-grey water. Peter would have rung to tell Nicky she had arrived. The temptation to turn and run was almost overwhelming. She took a breath, steadied herself. She had done nothing wrong. She had mourned someone she believed to be lost to her, someone she had begun to love. There was no shame in that. She looked up to the floors above, began to move again.

As she approached, the door to number 135 opened. Nicky stood there, dressed in jeans and an old T-shirt Caelan recognised, because it was one of her own. Nicky said nothing, but stepped back, allowing her to enter. Caelan nodded.

‘Thanks. I won’t be long.’ Her chest was tight, her throat feeling choked. She didn’t trust herself to say any more. She still couldn’t quite believe Nicky was here, alive and well though clearly exhausted, her eyes shadowed and watchful. She hesitated, wanting to speak but with no clear idea of what to say.

‘I’ll be in the kitchen.’ Nicky’s face was closed, her arms folded. She turned and walked away. Caelan watched her go, her jaw clenched. She wouldn’t break down again. She was a professional, and she was working. There was no room for emotion.

In the bedroom, she pulled her rucksack out of the wardrobe, filling it with tops and jeans, a couple of hoodies. Underwear, socks. Enough for a few days. She pushed her feet into a pair of gaudy pink and purple Air Max trainers, pulled on a padded jacket. In the bathroom, she grabbed shower gel, toothpaste and her toothbrush. She’d go back to the hotel to shower. The apartment seemed smaller somehow, the atmosphere suffocating. She had enjoyed living here, though it had never felt like her own. Now she knew why. It wasn’t, and never would be. Whatever legal processes had resulted in the property being signed over to her would have to be reversed now that Nicky had reappeared. It didn’t matter.

She heaved the rucksack onto her shoulder and forced herself to approach the kitchen. Nicky sat at the table, shoulders hunched, drinking a glass of orange juice. Orange juice Caelan had bought. She frowned, realising she was being petty, and pushed the thought away.

‘I’m going now,’ she said.

Nicky set down her glass. ‘Caelan, listen. I want you to stay here. This is your home, not mine. I’m going to rent somewhere else.’

Caelan stared. ‘No. I can’t.’

‘I’ve never felt comfortable here anyway.’ Nicky glanced around, her eyebrows drawn together. ‘I don’t want to live here. I’ve spoken to my solicitor. It’s yours.’

‘I don’t want it.’ Caelan hitched the rucksack higher on her shoulder as she turned away. Nicky stood abruptly, the chair legs screeching on the floor, but Caelan didn’t look back as she pulled the door closed behind her.

You can buy a copy of Tell No Lies by Lisa Hartley here

About Lisa Hartley

Lisa Hartley lives with her partner, son, two dogs and several cats. She graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Studies, then had a variety of jobs but kept writing in her spare time. She is currently working on the next DS Catherine Bishop novel, as well as a new series with Canelo.

You can follow Lisa on twitter – @rainedonparade

Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops

A huge thank you to Ellie at Canelo for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour and host this awesome extract!

Have you read Tell No Lies?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Characterisation by Ella Harper

I am over the moon to have the wonderful Ella Harper on Tales today to celebrate the release of If I Fall her new adult contemporary romance.

If I Fall is published in ebook by the lovely people at Canelo and is an unputdownable and emotional novel about love, loss and friendship.

So today Ella shares a fab guest post about Characterisation…..

I’m really sorry for what I’m about to do…

It’s fifteen years since graduation, and Connie, Jonas, JJ and Layla have managed to remain close despite the odds. They’ve supported each other, but are some things too big for friendship?

Connie is desperate to maintain the veneer of perfect family life.

Jonas is feeling the pressure at work.

Layla’s career is unravelling thanks to her ill mother

JJ’s past is catching up with him.

When they stumble and fall, who will be there to catch them?

A truly powerful and unforgettable story of love, friendship, and real life, If I Fall is perfect for readers of Alice Peterson, Amanda Prowse and Lianne Moriarty.

Praise for Ella Harper:

‘You won’t be able to stop reading’ Heat Magazine

‘Such a beautifully heart-breaking novel, written with such poise, strength and power.’ The Writing Garnet

I couldn’t put it down. I went without sleep to finish this book… If I Fall would definitely make my 2018 must-read list‘ Writerly Ways

Highly recommended, but be prepared for tears!’ Stardust Book Reviews

‘This book was heartbreaking but beautiful…Such a joy to read, while holding back tears’ Til Then Smile Often

‘Only very rarely does a book come along that captures me and engages me as much as this one did… But don’t despair, the ending was uplifting and filled with promise’ Bookish Bits

‘I finished the book with a whopping big lump in my throat but with joy in my heart’ JaffaReads

‘Wonderful, heart-breaking and poignant… The story touched me to the core with its deeply moving plot, beautiful characters and a unique, inspiring and insightful plot’ Read Day and Night

‘A great book to curl up with’ Daily Mail

‘I had tears in my eyes’ Bookworms and Shutterbugs

‘A beautiful emotional story… I shed quite a few tears while reading this book. It’s a marvellous must-read’ With Love for Books

‘I have a feeling this book will stay with me for a long time’ Lilac Mills

‘Warm, perceptive and razor sharp. It’s everything you want from a novel’ Veronica Henry


Back in the day, when I was first writing (as myself, Sasha Wagstaff), I used to have detailed notes about all of my characters. And when I say ‘detailed’, I really mean that. I would devote pages and pages to my characters – where my character shopped, what perfume they wore, their fashion sense, their food preferences.

Now, I spend just as much time working out who my characters are, but I keep neat, concise notes – roughly half a page long – which I check and add to as I’m working through the novel. I think the difference these days, is that I am more in tune with my characters once I’ve invented them. The one thing I spend a great deal of time deciding upon is the names of my characters. I use a really good baby naming book and I enjoy finding the right names for my cast. I was able to use far more flamboyant and unusual names in my earlier novels as they were escapist and set in glamorous locations, but for my Ella Harper novels, I use more relatable, normal names. But they still have to be absolutely right! Occasionally I start writing the novel using a certain name and decide halfway through that it isn’t sitting right for whatever reason and have to dig my baby naming book out again.

But apart from the name issue, I do find that my characters form themselves in more mind more readily now and I don’t feel the need for such detailed notes. I am aware mentally of each character’s personable style and behaviour and they feel very real to me from the off-set. If anything changes about them as I’m writing, I jot it down, but by and large, I flesh them out at the beginning and get their back story laid out. I remember when I was writing ‘The Years of Loving You’, I struggled with writing the present day and my very lovely editor suggested that I didn’t write in chronological order for once, but wrote the entire past and back story first. It was a revelation as I am a very ordered person and that seemed bizarre to me – but it worked! Once I had written the past, the present became obvious and clear to me and I knew who my characters were and how they would act in the present day. The beauty of a fabulous editor!

But I think the most important part of characterisation is making sure that each character is real and relatable to the reader. That their actions and thoughts are authentic. This is more important than the perfume or aftershave they might wear, although that may get a brief mention. Each character should be true to themselves and act in a way that seems fitting with the personality and history described. I miss my characters when I finish a novel – and I mean that, genuinely. I get very involved in their lives and they are real to me. And then I start all over again with a new novel…

You can buy a copy of If I Fall here

About Ella Harper

Ella Harper learned foreign languages, and imagined she might eventually get a glamorous job speaking French. After climbing her way up the banking ladder, Ella started idly mapping out the beginnings of a novel on an old laptop. When she realised her characters were more real to her than dividends and corporate actions ever could be, she left her job to become a writer.

You can follow Ella on twitter – @Ella__Harper

Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!

A huge thank you to Ella Harper for such a fab guest post and to Ellie at Canelo for organising and asking me to host!

Have you read If I Fall?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – My Writing Process by S.D. Robertson

Today I am over the moon to have the brilliant S.D Robertson on the blog with a fab guest post to celebrate the release of his new uplifting adult fiction book, Stand By Me,

Stand By Me was released on the 11th January 2018 published by Avon Books and is set to be a beautiful heart-breaking tale that you won’t want to put down.

Today S.D Robertson is sharing an insight into his writing process in this fab guest post….

They’ll always have each other…won’t they?

Lisa and Elliot have been best friends ever since the day they met as children. Popular, bright and sporty, Lisa was Elliot’s biggest supporter when the school bullies made his life a misery, and for that, he will always be grateful.

Twenty years later, life has pulled the pair apart and Lisa is struggling. Her marriage is floundering, her teenage kids are being secretive, and she’s so tired she can’t think straight. So when Elliot knocks on the door, looking much better than she remembers, she can’t help but be delighted to see her old friend again.

With Elliot back in their lives, Lisa’s family problems begin to improve – he’s like the fairy godmother she never had. As their bond deepens, she realises how much she’s missed him, and prays that this is one friendship that will last a lifetime. But sometimes, life has other ideas…

A heartwarming story perfect for fans of Keith Stewart and Jojo Moyes, that will leave you with a tear in your eye but hope in your heart.

My Writing Process

One of the things I’ve been asked about most frequently since becoming a published author is my writing process.

This is something that seems to fascinate a lot of people, but particularly keen readers and would-be novelists.

I can understand why, as in creating a work of fiction you are essentially making something out of nothing, which sounds a bit like magic.

There is an element of that, to be honest, especially in those moments of inspiration that appear out of nowhere and slap you around the face, often when you’re least expecting them.

I imagine most authors have experienced these at some point. I certainly have and, at their best, they’ve literally sent shivers of excitement down my spine about the thrilling, fresh new direction I can suddenly see for my work in progress.

Who knows where these flashes of ingenuity come from? It’s great when they appear, though. It’s right up there with seeing the product of your imagination on a shelf in a bookstore and hearing from a reader who loves your work.

Now I wish I could tell you that whole books are written like that, in a frenzied flood of dazzling prose and unique ideas that leap fully formed out of your fingers.

Sadly, that isn’t my experience so far in the years I’ve been writing novels. For every eureka moment I’ve enjoyed, there have in contrast been many hours of hard work, frustration and perseverance.

And that in a nutshell is my experience of the writing process: lots of blood, sweat and tears with the odd joyous moment of punching the air.

Starting a novel is easy. Lots of people have done that. Finishing it is hard, which is why I always have the greatest respect for anyone who’s got all the way to the end, whether it goes on to be published, self-published or (hopefully not) just to gather dust on a shelf somewhere.

So how, as an unpublished would-be novelist, do you make sure you cross the finish line? Here are my five top tips:

  • Start with some kind of plan. It doesn’t need to be that detailed, but try to have at least a start, middle and end in mind.


  • Keep character profiles to refer back to, adding to them as you go along.


  • Write as often as you can, preferably daily.


  • Always look forward. Avoid the temptation to read back what you’ve already written, unless absolutely necessary, until you’ve reached the end.


  • Don’t overthink the writing process or you’ll never end up actually writing. I find it’s best to get on with it and watch things unfold around you. It won’t always be easy. In fact it will often feel like hard work, but if you keep at it you’ll hopefully encounter a few moments of genuine inspiration along the way. If not, at least you’ll have a finished manuscript to polish. And let’s be honest, without that, your chances of becoming an author are zero.

You can buy a copy of Stand By Me by S.D. Robertson here or from your local bookshop!

About S.D.Robertson

Former journalist S.D. Robertson quit his role as a local newspaper editor to pursue a lifelong ambition of becoming a novelist.

An English graduate from the University of Manchester, he’s also worked as a holiday rep, door-to-door salesman, train cleaner, kitchen porter and mobile phone network engineer.

Over the years Stuart has spent time in France, Holland and Australia, but home these days is back in the UK. He lives in a village near Manchester with his wife and daughter. There’s also his cat, Bernard, who likes to distract him from writing – usually by breaking things.

His third novel, Stand By Me (Avon, £7.99), is a heartwarming story about the power of friendship. It is published on 11 January 2018.

You can find out more about S.D Robertson on his website –

Or why not follow him on twitter – @SDRauthor 

Or Facebook here

Blog Tour

You can catch up on the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!

A huge thank you to S.D. Robertson for such a fab guest post and to Sabah at Avon Books for organising and asking me to host!

Have you read Stand By Me?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Why Florence? by T A Williams

Today I have the fab T A Williams on Tales as part of the blog tour for his new adult romance, Dreaming Of Florence.

Dreaming Of Florence was released on the 8th January published by Canelo and is the feel good read of the winter.

Today T.A. (Trevor) Williams tells us why he chose to set his latest book, Dreaming of Florence, in that wonderful Italian city in this fab guest post!

Fresh pasta, red wine, fine art… and love? Find enchantment this year in the magical city of Florence

When Debbie Waterson’s bicycle crashes into handsome doctor Pierluigi, she wonders if her luck has changed. Determinedly single after ending a long relationship, at last, a man worth bumping into!

Inspired to visit Florence, she soon runs headlong into that old foe: reality. But is Pierluigi the man of her dreams? Then there’s her booze obsessed boss, his forbidding secretary and her noisy inconsiderate neighbours. But could her luck be about to change? Will she find love after all?

Warm-hearted and unputdownable, Dreaming of Florence is the perfect escape for readers of Holly Martin, Tilly Tennant and Jenny Oliver

Why Florence?

They say you should write about what you know, so that’s what I’ve done. I know Florence really well and I love the place. I worked there for almost four years, living in a very historic, but very Spartan, eleventh century convent in the hills outside the city. The area is enchanting, the city stunning, and I’ve always wanted to write about the place.

Dreaming of Florence comes on the heels of Dreaming of Venice, and is going to be followed in the spring by Dreaming of St-Tropez – nobody can accuse me of writing about drab, boring places! They are also gorgeous places to visit on those all-important research trips. Although the titles are similar, these are all standalone books. The characters are all different, but the reader will find a few recurring themes in all of them. There’s always romance, there’s always a Labrador, and there’s always a happy ending. I like happy endings and feel, with the way the world is at the moment, we could all do with a bit of Happy Ever After.

The charm of Florence is its history and its architecture, as well as its geographical location – squeezed between the rugged Appenine mountains and the rolling hills of the Chianti region. But, as well as the place, I just love the people. Florentines are a law unto themselves – and always have been. They don’t suffer fools gladly and they don’t mince their words if they’re unhappy. But, in spite of this, they are wonderfully hospitable and generous, and I count my Tuscan friends among my dearest, closest friends.

The other wonderful thing about Florence is the food. I always try to describe the food and drink of the places I write about, and I found myself salivating as I remembered some of the wonderful meals I had when I lived over there. Florence maybe isn’t the best place in the world to be a vegetarian – the iconic bistecca alla fiorentina (Florentine steak) is a huge slab of tasty steak about the size of a telephone directory  – and I mean one of the old telephone directories that strongmen did their best to tear in half with their bare hands. But there’s more to it than meat. There’s the bread for example. It may sound crazy, but Florentine bread is just terrific. It’s white bread, it comes in big round loaves that you slice, and it is completely unsalted. The first time you taste it, you may well think it strange – boring even – but I promise you it grows on you.

Then there’s the wine. Who hasn’t heard of Chianti? Nowadays it’s hard to find the old straw-covered flasks, but the taste is still the same. It’s a light red wine that you can still buy direct from the producers at farms tucked away in the hills. We used to buy our wine in 50 litre demi-johns (a huge glass ball encased inside a wicker basket) and then bottle it up ourselves. Please believe me when I tell you neither I nor my wife are alcoholics, but we used to get through a good deal of the stuff and I still miss it.

I hope I’ve been able to give the reader a true representation of this magical city in my latest book. If I inspired you to visit Venice after reading Dreaming of Venice, I really hope Dreaming of Florence will have you all hurrying off to book flights to Florence. Trust me – it’s worth it.

You can buy a copy of Dreaming Of Florence here

About T A Williams

T.A. Williams lives in Devon with his Italian wife. He was born in England of a Scottish mother and Welsh father. After a degree in modern languages at Nottingham University, he lived and worked in Switzerland, France and Italy, before returning to run one of the best-known language schools in the UK. He’s taught Arab princes, Brazilian beauty queens and Italian billionaires. He speaks a number of languages and has travelled extensively. He has eaten snake, still-alive fish, and alligator. A Spanish dog, a Russian bug and a Korean parasite have done their best to eat him in return. His hobby is long-distance cycling, but his passion is writing.

You can find out more about T A Williams on his website –

Or why not follow him on twitter – @TAWilliamsbooks

Or on Facebook here

Previously On Tales….

Click on the below links for previous post with T A Williams on Tales Of Yesterday!

The Research Behind Chasing Shadows

Five Interesting Things About Dreaming Of Venice

Spotlight – To Provence, With Love

Blog Tour

You can catch up of follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!

A huge thank you to T A Williams for a fab guest post and to Ellie at Canelo for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read Dreaming Of Florence?  Are you intrigued?  Do you love a good romance novel?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!

Tales Post – Best Books Read In 2017

It’s time to share my best books read in 2017!

I have really struggled this year not to just read, but to actually finish books!  You can read about it here

Now again this was not because there were no brilliant books to read, it was all down to me.  I feel I have been so busy with work, fitness, family and blogging that my mind and body just wouldn’t take anymore.  Anyway, needless to say that I have failed any challenges I set myself, but I’m trying not to dwell on that too much.

Whilst I only appear to have read 11 books this year this does not include the 20 – 30 plus books that I started and did not complete *rolls eyes at self*.

Anyway, even out of the books I have read I still had an amazing reading year and have picked some of my favourites below (you can see all of the books I have read here )

These will be listed in no particular order.

Before I start I would like to thank everyone for their support yet again in 2017!  The brilliant book community, all the friends I have made, fab authors for writing fab books and being generally awesome, all the publishers who have sent me books and everyone who has supported me through my third full year of book blogging.

Thank You All x

Here we go…..

(remember these are in no particular order…. )

I started the New Year off with such enthusiasm and excitement for all the bookish delights that were awaiting me and the book I decided to start with has ended up being one of my favourite books of 2017!  Caraval by Stephanie Garber captivated me from the very first page.  I don’t normally read a lot of fantasy, but the premise of this book with a circus theme, mysterious feel and set in a magical fantasy world really appealed to me.  I followed Scarlett as she left her tiny isle of Trisda after receiving an invitation from the mysterious Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.  I was mesmerised by the bright and vivid imaginary of Caraval.  I fell in love with characters who made my heartache and turned pages as fast as I could to pull myself further into its magical world.  And yes… I did fall in love with a mysterious, caped man called Legend even though it should have been forbidden and soon realised that I have a problem “thing” for men in capes!  Caraval was a marvel from start to finish and I literally cannot wait for the next book, Legendary, to be released….and yes maybe that is partly because of its namesake *swishes cape* , but mainly because this book was fantastic!

I am a huge slasher horror film lover so this book immediately appealed to me.  The story of a girl who survived a massacre that killed all of her friends and was the Final Girl who managed to escape.  I enjoyed the premise of this book and how being a Final Girl has affected our main character Quincy.  You also got glimpses into the past with flashbacks to the fatal night with the lead up to how the events unravelled right up to the climatic ending which had me on the edge of my seat.  The flashbacks for me had more pull and appealed to the slasher horror lover in me and Sager does not hold back on the shock factor when the events start to unravel.  I can’t wait to see what Sager does next as I will definitely be picking it up!

This book immediately intrigued me as I heard a lot of people talking about it on twitter and as the book is based in a cult it peaked my interest.  I immediately became drawn into the book and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out all about Moonbeam’s story.  And what a story indeed.  The about of compassion I felt for Moonbeam made be root for her all the way.  I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend.

A am a huge fan of Rhian’s already and when I heard about her new book Hope I just couldn’t wait.  From the tag line “Sometimes the end is just the beginning” to the way Rhian deals with subjects like organ donation, PMDD, friendship, family and love.  But most of all this book is about hope event in the darkest and most testing of times when you feel that all is lost.  There is a touching scene in this book that had me in tears which involves a group called Singing Medicine who are based on a real life group that work at Birmingham Children’s Hospital who I had the pleasure to meet when I chaired Rhian’s launch for Hope this year.  They bring so much joy by singing to children who are in need of a smile or indeed some hope and even just to watch them myself bought me some comfort and complete joy.  This is expressed completely in Hope and is just wonderful to read.

This gorgeous book has the makings of an instant classic that will be read to children Christmas after Christmas.  It’s heart warming and full of joy.  One Christmas Wish tells the story of Theo and what happens one Christmas Eve when his Christmas decorations spring to life.  The gorgeous illustrations by Emily Sutton reminded me of Raymond Brigg’s Snowman and bought Katherine’s wonderful, delightful words to life on the page.  This is like the best Christmas present all wrapped into one.  Just wonderful.

I adore Holly Bourne and I absolutely adored this book from start to finish.  I loved everything about it.  I loved Audrey and her project about how love is not as it is portrayed in the movies.  I loved Harry the loveable, funny love interest and I loved the cinema setting especially as I have been spending a lot of time in the cinema myself this year.  There were references to movies some of which I had heard of and some of which I am now going to seek out and discover, but most of all Holly’s writing is an absolute delight and this book made me smile from ear to ear.

So there you have it! My best books read in 2017! I highly recommend all of these books!
2018 looks set to be a fab year and I simply can’t wait to get back on track and read all of the fab books!

I would love to hear what your favourite books read in 2017 were? Are any of them the same as mine? Why not leave a comment or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy

Guet Post – The Perfect Christmas Book by Katey Lovell

Today I finally have one of my most favourite humans ever on the blog –  the amazing and super wonderful Katey Lovell to celebrate the release of her new Christmassy romantic comedy, Joe & Clara’s Christmas Countdown!

Joe & Clara’s Christmas Countdown was released in paperback on the 30th November published by Harper Impluse and is set to get you in the Christmas mood!

“Warm and romantic, every page is sprinkled with Christmas magic”  Cressida McLaughlin, author of The Canal Boat Café

So as it’s nearly Christmas and we are looking for the perfect Christmas read to snuggle up by the fire with I asked Katey exactly how to write the perfect Christmas book…..

This Christmas she’ll give her heart to someone special…

As Christmas approaches Joe Smith knows he should be celebrating with friends and family, making the most of the season. But for Joe, Christmas only holds painful memories. Ones he can feel crushing his heart, a reminder of a time he can never forget.

Clara O’Connell loves Christmas. For her it is the most magical time of the year. And she’s determined to make Joe love it too! She knows he’s hurting, but maybe she can help to ease his pain. Her plan: One special gift every day to remind Joe just how loved he is.

But the clock is ticking. Will the Christmas magic wear off at midnight or will Clara’s Christmas countdown be the perfect gift to heal Joe’s broken heart? And in doing so, maybe she will get a gift in return…Joe’s love for Christmas and forever…?

The Perfect Christmas Book

When the wonderful Chelley invited me to guest on her blog I was thrilled – she’s such a force to be reckoned with in the publishing industry, known and loved by everyone.  However, when I asked what she wanted me to talk about and her reply was ‘how to write the perfect Christmas novel’ I could feel the imposter syndrome creeping in.  I’m very proud of my festive release Joe and Clara’s Christmas Countdown, but perfect?  There’s a lot of weight in that word, but I am going to share how I wrote this book, step by step.

Have a ton of ideas, reject most of them, hone the good one

As I was reaching the end of drafting my second novel, The Café in Fir Tree Park, my editor Charlotte Ledger and I were in discussions about what to do next.  I was really keen to write a festive novel and tentatively suggested my ideas.  Our favourite was based around an office secret santa, but Charlotte felt the office setting had the potential to be too dry.  I wanted charity to be a big theme in this book and after dismissing the idea of setting the book in a foodbank (although there is a scene at a foodbank in the novel) ran with it centring around a fictional Manchester youth club.

Make notes on anything and everything Christmassy

Throughout October 2016 I carried my notebook everywhere and made a ridiculous amount of notes.  I asked friends what their favourite aspects of Christmas were, queried Twitter and Facebook on what they thought were ‘musts’ for a festive read (tinsel, mulled wine and Santa, apparently) and thought about how my characters were going to develop over the course of the novel.  I also came up with a title at this point, which was eventually tweaked only slightly (when the male protagonist’s name changed).

NaNoWriMo 2016

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) takes place every November and encourages writers to draft 50,000 words in 30 days.  I still had 20,000 words left to write to complete The Café in Fir Tree Park but, knowing that it would be easier to write a Christmas novel in winter, I surrounded myself with mince pies and decided to also write the first half of the Christmas book.  By the end of the month I had ‘won NaNo’ and had the first 30,000 words of what would become Joe and Clara’s Christmas Countdown.

Finish the book!

This stage took a while.  I had a much-needed month away from writing over Christmas and struggled to get back into the routine of writing afterwards, especially after the tree came down and Christmas was over for the majority of people.  Thankfully I’m friends with other writers who were in the same predicament and so our fictional Christmases continued in parallel.  I finally finished the first draft in May 2017.

Edit, edit, and edit some more

Personally, I always find structural edits (big changes to plot, the order events take place in, adding in subplots or additional characters) difficult.  One change often starts off a chain and it felt at times as though the novel I’d worked so hard to build was falling like one of those tracks of dominos where you touch one and the whole lot fall down.  However, I had the experience of knowing I could edit a book because I’d done it before (twice!) and knuckled down to get stuck into polishing my Christmas book.

Next came the line edits, where as well as working on editors suggestions I was keen to inject even more festive sparkle into the book.  I wanted it to be 100% Christmassy!  This is where I developed a lot of the outdoor scenes such as the one at the skating rink and at the Christmas market, to ensure I was encapsulating the magic of the traditions of Christmas in my words.

Finally, in August 2017, it was time for the proofread – the end was in sight!  I must admit that by now I was all Christmassed out – I challenge even the most avid Christmas fanatic to feel in the mood for listening to Shakin’ Stevens in temperatures nearing 30 degrees.

Let it go

As Elsa so wisely said in the Disney hit ‘Frozen’, there comes a time where you just have to let it go.  For authors, that time is publication day, when ownership is no longer yours and your publishers, but your readers.

When Joe and Clara’s Christmas Countdown was released in October I was nervous – would people like the idea enough to buy it?  Thankfully, people have and I’ve been fortunate that bloggers, authors and readers have shared their kind words about the book online.

So that’s my experience of writing a Christmas book – it was jolly hard work, but worth every tinsel-filled moment.  If what you’re dreaming of this Christmas is writing a festive novel I’d encourage you to go for it, and sprinkle glitter on every single page.

You can buy a copy of Joe & Clara’s Christmas Countdown here or from your local bookshop

About Katey Lovell

Katey Lovell is the author of three commercial women’s fiction novels published by Harper Collins’ imprint HarperImpulse. Her novels are about people overcoming everyday challenges with the support of their friends, family and local community. She has also penned a series of coffee-break romances (also published by HarperImpulse) and a hot romance for Tirgearr’s City Nights series.

Originally from South Wales, Katey now lives in Sheffield with her husband and son. When she’s not writing she’ll most likely be found watching musicals, enjoying live music or reading anything and everything she can lay her hands on.

You can follow Katey on twitter – @Katey5678

A huge thank you to Katey for such a fab guest post and for sharing so much about her writing process.

Have you read Joe & Clara’s Christmas Countdown?  What did you think?  Do you read Christmas reads in the lead up to Christmas?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!


Spotlight – Christmas At Woolworths by Elaine Everest

Today I am over the moon to be shining the spotlight on a new gorgeous Christmassy historical adult fiction book, Christmas At Woolworths by Elaine Everest.

Christmas At Woolworths was released on the 2nd November published by Pan Macmillan and is set to get you in the Christmas mood.

So today I am shining the spotlight on this fab book and fab author in a spotlight post….

About The Book

Even though there was a war on, the Woolworths girls brought Christmas cheer to their customers

Best friends Sarah, Maisie and Freda are brought together by their jobs at Woolworths. With their loved ones away on the front line, their bonds of friendship strengthen each day. Betty Billington is the manager at Woolworths, and a rock for the girls, having given up on love . . . Until a mysterious stranger turns up one day – could he reignite a spark in Betty?

As the year draws to a close, and Christmas approaches, the girls must rely on each other to navigate the dark days that lie ahead . . . 

With so much change, can their friendship survive the war?

You can buy a copy of this book here or from your local bookshop

Or why not add it to your Goodreads shelf here

About Elaine Everest

Elaine Everest, author of Bestselling novel The Woolworths Girls and The Butlins Girls was born and brought up in North West Kent, where many of her books are set. She has been a freelance writer for twenty years and has written widely for women’s magazines and national newspapers, with both short stories and features. Her non-fiction books for dog owners have been very popular and led to broadcasting on radio about our four legged friends. Elaine has been heard discussing many topics on radio from canine subjects to living with a husband under her feet when redundancy looms.

When she isn’t writing, Elaine runs The Write Place creative writing school at The Howard Venue in Hextable, Kent and has a long list of published students.

Elaine lives with her husband, Michael, and their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, in Swanley, Kent and is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Crime Writers Association, The Society of Women Writers & Journalists and The Society of Authors as well as Slimming World where she can been sitting in the naughty corner.

You can find out more about Elaine on her Facebook page – here

Or why not follow Elaine on twitter – @elaineeverest

Blog Tour

You can follow or catch up on the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!

A huge thank you to Faye Rogers for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read any of Christmas At Woolworths?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  What books do you like reading in the run up to Christmas?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – My 8 Favourite Historical Novels by Dawn Farnham

Today I am super happy to be part of the blog tour for a new historical fiction book published by Monsoon Books.

The Red Thread by Dawn Farnham is the first book in The Straits Quartet series and is a brilliant Asian Historical Fiction read.

Today I have the author herself sharing some of her favourite historical fiction books….

Set against the backdrop of 1830s Singapore where piracy, crime, triads, and tigers are commonplace, this historical romance follows the struggle of two lovers Zhen, a Chinese coolie and triad member, and Charlotte, an 18-year-old Scots woman and sister of Singapores Head of Police. Two cultures bound together by the invisible threads of fate yet separated by cultural diversity.

Favourite 8 Historical Fiction Books 

My novels are set in Asia so instead of going through all the usual and more recent suspects (a la Mantel), I would like to offer your readers and bloggers a few perhaps lesser known or older ones set in East and Southeast Asia.

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck 

Perhaps she is somewhat forgotten now but that doesn’t mean she isn’t a great read. It won the Pulitzer in 1932. She won the Nobel in 1938.  All her books set in China are worth re-finding.

The Quiet American by Graham Greene

He’s a marvellous writer. Not strictly historical but he tells the story of foreign meddling in Vietnam and its consequences better than any history book.

Red Sorghum by Mo Yan

A splendid writer, also winner of the Nobel prize.

Shogun by James Clavell

Flawed and probably historical nonsense (so the Japanese say) but he tells a good tale.

Waiting and War Trash by Ha Jin










I love almost everything by him.

Roshomon by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

Classic Japanese tale transformed into many movies.

Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad

Conrad set many stories in Southeast Asia where he spent a long time as a sailing man.  Beautiful writing and compelling stories.

You can buy a copy of The Red Thread here

The Red Thread is going to be FREE on Amazon from 17th – 25th September

Or why not add the book to your Goodreads here

About Dawn Farnham

Dawn Farnham is the author of The Straits Quartet (The Red Thread, The Shallow Seas, The Hills of Singapore and The English Concubine), as well as numerous short stories, plays and children’s books. A former long-term resident of Singapore, Dawn now calls Perth, Australia, home. Her new book, Finding Maria is published in October 2017. Learn more about Dawn at

You can also follow Dawn on twitter – @farnhamauthor

Or on Facebook here

Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops

A huge big thank you to Faye Rogers for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour and to host this fab piece and to Dawn for writing it.

Have you read The Read Thread?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – I Know Where She Is by S. B. Caves

I am thrilled to have been asked to feature a chilling extract from new adult thriller, I Know Where She Is by debut author S. B. Caves as part of this fab blog tour.

I Know Where She Is was released on the 14th August 2017 on e book published by Canelo and is set to be an explosive gripping thriller for fans of Karin Slaughter, Linwood Barclay and Karen Dionne.

So today I am shining the light on this gorgeous book and sharing that chilling extract…..

On the tenth anniversary of her daughter Autumn’s abduction, Francine receives an anonymous note containing just five words: I KNOW WHERE SHE IS

When a young woman approaches her the next day claiming to have sent the letter Francine wants to dismiss it as a cruel, twisted joke.

But the stranger knows things that only Autumn would know.

It soon becomes clear that Francine must go to dark places in order to learn the truth about her child’s kidnapping.

She will discover that danger comes from unexpected sources. She will do things she never imagined herself capable of.

But will Francine get her daughter back – or is it too late?

I Know Where She Is – Extract

Chapter 2

At five a.m., a full two hours before her alarm was due to sound, Francine kicked out of the twisted sheets and got dressed. She wasn’t sure whether she’d dozed at all, but guessed that she’d probably managed to snatch a few minutes of shallow sleep. Her mind had whirred incessantly, the caffeine and anxious excitement making it impossible for her to switch off.

It was still pitch black as she drove to the gym, but it had stopped raining. It wasn’t unusual for her to put a shift in on the free weights before work, but today she’d given herself enough time to swim too. The pool didn’t open until seven, so she did the rounds on the cross-trainer, the treadmill – upping the incline almost vertically – and her usual dumb-bell routine. All the while she’d been eyeing the punchbag. She’d always wanted to use it but couldn’t trust herself not to scream as she unloaded on it. She wasn’t really sure how to go about hitting the thing, but the place was virtually empty, so she could afford to look silly. She picked up a pair of gloves that lay by the side and slipped them on, then gave the bag a few jabs for practice. It felt good. Once she’d settled into a rhythm, the volume of punches increased, as did their ferocity. Soon her arms were throbbing and her lungs flamed inside her. She punched until she could no longer lift her hands, her slick forehead resting against the bag.

Afterwards, she swam for an hour without stopping. She couldn’t remember ever having done that before, especially after such a strenuous workout, but she wanted to push her body until she’d burned all that anxiety to cinders.

Her body was a patchwork of pain by the time she sat down at her desk. It was as though she’d given her mind a spring-clean, sifting all that sludge, and now she could focus. She worked solidly through to lunch, processing invoices and sending out reminders, only stopping to confer with colleagues where absolutely necessary. All of the six employees crammed into the tiny back office of Worldwide Golfing Supplies knew Francine’s story, and they had never tried to engage her beyond routine chit-chat. That suited her fine. When she’d first started, one of the other accountants, a divorcee named Henry who drank lots of black coffee and ate neatly cut ham sandwiches for lunch, asked her if she would like to go for a drink some time. Francine offered him only sincerity in her reply: no, she didn’t want to go for a drink – not now, not ever. She hoped her expression would dissuade any future attempts at courtship. He didn’t ask again.

As usual, she left her desk and went for a stroll during her lunch hour. She stopped at Starbucks for a cappuccino and bought a newspaper from the corner store before walking to her car. She liked having lunch in her car, comforted by the notion that at any second she could turn on the ignition and drive away forever.

She began skimming the newspaper, waiting for her cappuccino to cool. Quite suddenly, the lack of sleep and the exertion of her morning workout seized her. She could feel her eyes losing focus on the page, her head dipping. She placed the cup in the holder and closed her eyes. Very soon, she was out.

When she woke, her coffee was cold and a girl, maybe eighteen years old, was standing in the centre of the parking lot, staring at her. The wind whipped the girl’s hair about her face, tugging at her frumpy dress. She had scrapes and scabs lining her legs and was drowning inside a man’s bomber jacket. Francine yawned, looked at the clock, then back at the girl, who still hadn’t moved.

She got out of the car and stretched. The girl turned on her heel and cut briskly across the parking lot, casting glances over her shoulder before vanishing through the automatic doors of the small indoor market.

Francine returned to her desk ten minutes late from lunch, but nobody seemed to notice. While she was in the middle of composing an enthralling email to their suppliers regarding low stock on fluorescent golf tees, it began to rain again. The first drops plinked against the window, and then a low rumble of thunder distracted her. She stopped typing and looked out into the parking lot. The girl in the baggy bomber jacket was standing next to her car, peering curiously inside like a child at an aquarium. Francine stood up and watched as the girl cupped her hands around her eyes and pressed herself up against the car window for a better look, before walking round to the passenger side, idly running her finger along the bodywork, then scoping out the back seats.

‘What’s she doing?’ Francine muttered to herself. She walked out of her cubicle and left the office, hurrying down the corridor before taking the stairs two at a time. Pushing through the double doors of the reception, she marched toward the car. ‘Excuse me? Can I help you?’

The girl had been looking through the back window when she snapped upright at the sound of Francine’s voice. From a few yards away, Francine thought she saw something amiss in the girl’s expression. It was only as she neared that she noticed that she was severely cross-eyed, her pupils pulling away from one another like magnets. Kermit the Frog, Francine thought. She has eyes like Kermit the Frog. Given the distraction they presented, those eyes made it impossible to tell whether the girl was pretty or not. She appeared gaunt, birdlike almost, her hair a blonde so dull it bordered on silver.

‘I said, can I help you?’

‘I put a letter through your door. Did you get it?’

You can buy a copy of I Know Where She Is here

Or why not add it to your Goodreads List here

About S. B. Caves

S.B. Caves was born and raised in North London. He loves crime and thriller novels, classic horror movies, Korean/Japanese thriller films and true crime documentaries. He is also a huge boxing fan.

You can follow S. B. Caves on Twitter – @SB_Caves

Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!

A huge thank you to S. B. Caves and Canelo for letting me share this fab extract and for having me as part of the blog tour.

Have you read I Know Where She Is?  Are you intrigued?  Do you love a good thriller?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – To Provence, With Love by T A Williams

I am super happy to have been asked to feature 4 brilliant excerpts from To Provence, With Love from the wonderful T A Williams as part of this fab blog tour.

To Provence, With Love was released on the 12th July 2017 on e book published by HQ Digital and is set to be a brilliant adult fiction romance novel with a beautiful setting.

So today I am shining the light on this gorgeous book…..

Escape to the south of France with this perfect feel-good summer romance!

 Struggling writer Faye Carter just can’t believe her luck. She’s off to Provence to write the autobiography of a famous film star and she’ll be staying in the stunning chateau!

So when she meets charming (and completely gorgeous) lavender farmer, Gavin, she knows that she’s made the right choice – even if glamourous, elderly Anabelle seems to be hiding something…

But when the sun is shining, the food is delicious and the air smells of honey, anything seems possible. Will the magic of Provence help Faye finally find a happy-ever-after of her own?

To Provence, with Love – Excerpts

Excerpt One

  The dog stopped dead, only a few feet from Faye and waited for his master. She was impressed and relieved. She loved dogs, but she was on her way to an interview after all, and the last thing she needed was to be leapt upon by a dog, however friendly his intentions might be. She took a step back and studied the man surreptitiously as he approached.

   He was wearing a battered T-shirt that had once advertised a Rolling Stones European tour. From its faded appearance, the tour in question had probably taken place in the years before the surviving members of the group had reached pensionable age – and that was a good while ago. On his feet were equally scruffy trainers and his strong, brown legs ran a long way up before disappearing into his sand-coloured shorts. He had hold of the dog by the collar and was bending over. Sensing her eyes on him, he looked up towards her and, to Faye’s considerable surprise, she realised that he was very, very good-looking. Somehow, out here in the wilds of deepest rural Provence, she hadn’t expected to meet a man whose face could have come off the front cover of a fashion magazine. She swallowed hard before answering.

   ‘Afraid so. Totally lost. I’m looking for St-Jean-sur-Sarde; the chateau to be precise. I was told to follow the signs for St-Jean and then turn right after the restaurant in the centre of the village. Only I can’t seem to find any road signs at all and I’m just going round in circles.’

   The man nodded. Satisfied that the dog wasn’t going to jump all over Faye, he released his grip on the collar and reached up to pull off his sunglasses. As he did so, Faye noted the network of lines around his eyes that would no doubt have been airbrushed away by a photographer. As it was, they only served to add character to an already remarkable face. His eyes met hers for a second before he dropped them again and, in spite of herself, Faye was fascinated. They were the most amazing and unusual colour; a very light yellowy brown. They gave her the surreal sensation of looking into the eyes of a lion or a tiger – and a very fine-looking male of the species, although by the look of him, a rather unhappy male of the species. She was wondering why the expression on his face was so glum when he shot a glance at her, his expression not exactly hostile, but definitely lacking in warmth.

Excerpt Two

   As she opened the car door, she heard a cacophony of barking and came close to closing the door again and locking it. It sounded as if the Hound of the Baskervilles himself was in there, straining to get out. Cautiously, she made her way up the steps until she was level with the half-glazed front door that was visibly shaking. By this time, Faye was also close to shaking. The door, set into a carved stone surround, was made of sculpted oak and, thankfully, it looked solid, even though the upper half was made up of little square red, white and blue stained glass panels. Staring at her through the base of one of these, was the source of the noise. A shiny black nose and an intimidating set of gleaming white teeth were very much in evidence, as were a pair of bright eyes that studied her approach. Then, as she and the dog made eye contact, the barking suddenly stopped, leaving Faye’s ears ringing. The dog dropped back to the floor, and in place of the barking, she heard low whines emanating from inside.

   At that moment, the door was opened by a slim, grey-haired man in jeans and a crisp white T-shirt, his other hand firmly gripping the dog’s collar.

   ‘Good morning. You must be Faye. We’ve been looking forward to meeting you.’

   He spoke in English, with a soft American accent, and he might have been seventy or so. He shot a glance down at the dog, who was wagging his tail so hard, the whole back half of his body was wiggling. ‘You must tell me your secret. I’ve never seen Marlon so pleased to see somebody before. I’ll let him go if you’re all right with dogs. He’ll probably try to jump up at you, but just push him down.’

   Faye looked at the dog whose intentions were now unmistakably friendly and nodded her head. ‘Hello, yes, I’m Faye Carter. Do let him go. I’ll be fine.’

   A split second later she found herself pinned back against the door by a pair of hefty, mercifully clean, paws; a big hairy Labrador head stretching upwards, a pink tongue trying unsuccessfully to reach her face. Marlon was definitely very, very pleased to see her. She recovered her balance, persuaded the dog to return to all fours and bent down to stroke him. As if by magic, feeling her touch, he slid down onto the floor and rolled over, all four legs in the air, emitting an assortment of happy canine grunts, his tail still wagging furiously, doing a very efficient job of sweeping the polished oak floor.

   ‘That’s quite amazing.’ The grey-haired man was still looking very surprised. ‘We normally have to shut him in the kitchen when somebody comes to the door.’ He stepped to one side and waved her in formally. ‘Anyway, welcome to St-Jean, Faye. My name’s Eddie Marshal. I’m Miss Beech’s PA.’

Excerpt Three

   Before they reached the Coq d’Or, Marlon led her off to the left along a narrow path and Faye was happy to unclip the lead from his collar and let him make the decisions as to where they should go. He was very well behaved and didn’t attempt to run too far ahead as they followed the path alongside a dry gulley running down towards the river in the valley below. From the collection of bone-dry branches and weeds caught in the bushes lining the gully, it was clear that this would turn into a raging torrent after heavy rainfall, but for the moment, there was no sign of water at all. Everything around them was terribly dry, the grass burnt brown by the sun. She picked up a stick and threw it for the dog. He ran for it, picked it up, but then steadfastly refused to bring it to her. Clearly somewhere along the line, his brain hadn’t quite got the hang of the retriever part of his ancestry.

   As they walked along, a succession of startled lizards ran frantically for cover and Faye found herself hoping there were no snakes about, and this reminded her of her father. She had texted him as soon as she had reached the chateau to let him know she was safe and well, and she resolved to call him later to tell him all about her first day. All around there was virtual silence, and for somebody used to the never-ending background hubbub of London, it was almost disconcerting. After a short distance, threading their way between dry stone walls, covered with wild vines, and among ramshackle old buildings, Marlon, still carrying his stick, turned left once more and led her over a bridge composed of a single irregular slab of limestone, well over six feet long. Faye wondered how many centuries it had been lying there and how on earth the people who had laid it had been able to do so in an era surely long before motorised cranes and mechanical diggers.

   On the other side of the bridge, she saw her first human being.

   ‘Hello, Marlon. Who’s this you’re taking for a walk, then?’ The voice came from the owner of a very large shaggy mongrel that looked like a cross between a sheep and a grizzly bear. From the wagging of tails that was going on, clearly Marlon and he were already on good terms, which was just as well because Faye had no illusions as to her chances if it came to having to step in to stop a dogfight with this monster. The dog’s owner, on the other hand, looked big and strong enough to separate a pair of fighting wolves, if he had to. He looked down at her, fortunately with a smile. ‘You’ll be the young lady who’s going to be staying at the chateau, I daresay?’

   Faye nodded and took a good look at the owner of the Beast of St-Jean. They say that dogs and owners often come to look alike and this pairing certainly added weight to that hypothesis. The man, maybe in his late thirties or early forties, was the size and shape of a wardrobe, with a hairstyle, if, indeed it could be called a style, not dissimilar to that of his dog. Fortunately, he was still smiling benignly at Faye and she summoned a nervous smile in return.

   ‘Yes, that’s right. I’ve just arrived. My name’s Faye. How did you know I was coming?’ She wondered for a moment whether this man mountain might in some way be related to Miss Beech, and it turned out she wasn’t far off the mark.

   ‘Name’s Albert. I’m the man who’s just spent a week redecorating the flat above the stables for you. My mum’s Miss Beech’s housekeeper and I do the garden and stuff.’ He extended a huge paw towards her in greeting. Gritting her teeth, Faye reached out and let him envelope her hand and shake it, mercifully remarkably delicately.

Excerpt Four

   Faye went over and clinked her glass against Miss Beech’s, then Eddie’s, and took a mouthful. She watched as Miss Beech sipped her drink pensively before looking up. ‘Here’s something you can put in the book, Faye. They say alcohol slows the activity of the brain, but every time I drink champagne, my mind’s flooded with memories of so, so many good times.’ She stared down into the wineglass. ‘To be quite honest, I’ve never really liked the stuff that much. Those bubbles always seem to go up my nose, but it’s what it represents, I suppose.’

   ‘Well, I haven’t had the opportunity to drink enough champagne in my life to develop a special taste for it, but this is gorgeous. By the way, talking of wine, thank you so much for all the food and drink you’ve put in the flat. The fridge is absolutely packed.’ As Miss Beech made a dismissive gesture with her hand, Faye took another mouthful of champagne. It really was excellent. She pulled up an ornate wooden stool and sat down to one side of Miss Beech, directly in front of the fireplace. ‘So, go on then, what’s running through your mind at the moment? What memories has this sip of champagne awakened?’

   There was a moment’s silence while Miss Beech reflected on the question and then, to Faye’s surprise, she started giggling like a schoolgirl once more. ‘To be totally honest, Faye, it reminds me of the night I tipped a bucket full of ice into my leading man’s lap in an Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills.’

   Faye gasped, feeling a fit of the giggles rising up inside her as well. ‘You did what?’ She watched as Miss Beech dissolved into laughter, her whole face flushed with pleasure as the memory returned. ‘It was at the end of a day’s filming of Faded Heart.’ Faye knew this to be one of Miss Beech’s best-known films. ‘All that day we’d been riding around on horses. As I recall, I was trying to show him how the stunt boss had been teaching me to jump onto a moving horse.’ She looked up. ‘We did a lot of our own stunts in those days, not like today – and as I leapt to my feet and stretched out one leg to demonstrate, my foot hit the bucket and … splash!’

   Faye was laughing by now. ‘Who was the leading man?’

   ‘Charlton Heston.’

   ‘Wow, and what was his reaction? Was he angry?’

   Miss Beech shook her head. ‘Not at all. He laughed his head off. Said it cooled him down. He was a good, kind man, was Chuck. Not like some others I could mention.’

You can buy a copy of this fab book here

Or why not add it to your Goodreads list here

About T A Williams

I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, “Dirty Minds” one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn’t possibly comment. Ask my wife…

I’ve written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I’m enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. Romantic comedies are what we all need from time to time. Life isn’t always very fair. It isn’t always a lot of fun, but when it is, we need to embrace it. If my books can put a smile on your face and maybe give your heartstrings a tug, then I know I’ve done my job.

I‘ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away in south west England. I love the place. That’s why you’ll find leafy lanes and thatched cottages in most of my books. Oh, yes, and a black Labrador.

I’ve been writing since I was 14 and that is half a century ago. However, underneath this bald, wrinkly exterior, there beats the heart of a youngster. My wife is convinced I will never grow up. I hope she’s right.

You can find out more about T A Williams on his website –

Or why not follow him on twitter – @TAWilliamsbooks

Or on Facebook here

Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!

A huge thank you to T A Williams for letting me share some fab excerpts of the book.  Also a huge thank you to Faye for asking me to be part of the blog tour.

Have you read To Provence, With Love?  Are you intrigued?  Do you love a good romance novel?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!

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