Thursday, 28 May 2015

Welcome romance author, Helen Pollard...

             What was your first job? Did you like or dislike it? Why?
             I got a Saturday job in a cheap clothes shop when I was 16. It paid £6 for an 8-hour day, but                the bus cost me over £2 to get into town and back. When my pay went up to £8, I was over                  the moon! I found it boring standing around when the shop wasn't busy, so I would spend a                  lot of time tidying all the shelves and stands for something to do.

             Do you have a pet peeve? If so what is it?
             Discourtesy. I absolutely can't stand it. People can be so impolite with each other nowadays.                Please, Thank you, Excuse me and Would you mind …? seem to be disappearing from the                    English language. Few strangers return your smile as you pass in the street or thank you if                    you hold a door open for them. I find it unbelievably depressing.
             Would you describe your style as shabby chic, timeless elegance, eclectic, country or ___­­­_?
              Well, I certainly wouldn't say timeless elegance! Eclectic would be nearest. There's a bit of                 old hippie in me, still, and I like to find something different or unusual - although nowadays               it does have to be practical and comfortable, too. The joys of middle age …

            Tell me about your book Holding Back and where you got your inspiration for it?

            Holding Back is a summer romance set in northern Portugal, and it was definitely the place                 itself that inspired the book. I visited there a couple of times, and it was so beautiful that it                   stayed with me over the years, until my imagination came up with the characters and story to               go with it!
            As for the characters, I wanted them to be quite different from my first romance, Warm                       Hearts in Winter. In that story, the hero and heroine rather liked each other from the outset, so            it was mainly a question of getting them past their personal demons to consider a future                        together. But in Holding Back, Daniel and Laura don't get on at all at first despite a mutual                  attraction, and they are both resistant to romance. Since my characters always tend to develop              a mind of their own as I write, getting them together was quite a challenge!

           Who is your role model? Why?
           The cat! I wish I could relax the way she does.

           No, seriously, I've just spent five minutes thinking about it and can't pick one out. There are                a lot of people I admire who have characteristics I would like to emulate, but I've reached an                age where I'm beginning to realise that I am what I am. I can try to boost my strengths and                  damp down my weaknesses, but at the end of the day, I can't and don't want to be like anyone              else.
          How much of your book is realistic?

          The area of Portugal where the story takes place is certainly realistic – I have been there, and               even though it was a while ago, I'd written a rough draft and some notes soon after I came back           from my visits … although I did do a little internet research in case anything had changed                   dramatically!

          Otherwise, the story is completely from my imagination, although I hope it's realistic. I always           invest a great deal of time and thought in my characters, so that the way their relationship                     develops stems from their motivations, their actions and reactions, in a believable way.
          What are your ambitions for your writing career?

          I have few illusions – there are a lot of books out there, both good and bad, for readers to sift               through - but I would like to keep on writing good quality stories that give people much-needed           escape from their hectic lives and find an audience that enjoys my 'voice'. 

         Share one fact about yourself that would surprise people.
         Alongside my creative streak, my other forte is pernickety admin. I can happily lose §myself in         data and spreadsheets for hours!

Holding Back by Helen Pollard


The last thing they're looking for is love …

Laura Matheson is a natural at avoiding romance, so when she is drawn to mystery guest Daniel Stone while helping out at her friends' hotel in Portugal, she assumes all she needs is a little extra willpower.

Daniel is at the hotel on business. The demands of work and a manipulative ex-girlfriend mean he doesn't have the time or energy for romance, but Laura is a distraction he finds hard to ignore.

As they negotiate a minefield of misunderstandings and mutual attraction, will they both continue to hold back? Or will they finally allow love into their lives?

Buy Links:

Amazon US: 

Amazon UK:

Barnes & Noble:



About the Author:

Helen Pollard writes contemporary romance with old-fashioned heart. She believes there will always be a place for romantic fiction, no matter how fast-paced and cynical the world becomes. Readers still want that feel-good factor – to escape from their own world for a while and see how a budding romance can blossom and overcome adversity to develop into love … and we all need a little love, right?

A Yorkshire lass, Helen is married, with two teenagers and a psychotic cat. When she's not working or writing, it goes without saying that she loves to read. She also enjoys a good coffee in a quiet bookshop, and appreciates the company of family and close friends.

Find Helen at:
Website & Blog:     

Excerpt from Chapter One:

"Excuse me. You've picked up the wrong bag."
Deep and decisive, the voice startled Laura from behind as she loaded her luggage onto her hard-won airport trolley.
"No, I don't think so." She swung round to confront the voice's owner. Unnerved to find him towering over her, she took a step back, stumbling over her trolley in the process.
With lightning speed, he reached out to catch her arm, his grip strong as he helped her regain her balance. When she was upright again, she took in piercing blue eyes, thick dark brown hair, a hint of stubble on a tanned face—and felt an immediate jolt of attraction.
Laura ignored it. "I can manage, thank you," she snapped, thinking she wouldn't have tripped if he hadn't surprised her like that.
He released his hold and raised an eyebrow. "As I said, you have my bag."
Pushing away long strands of chestnut-brown hair that had dared escape their ponytail, Laura returned his gaze.
"No, this is definitely mine." She was hot, harassed, and late. The last thing she needed was a futile argument over her own luggage!
"Would you mind if I check?"
"Help yourself." Unable to disguise her impatience, Laura waved at it, adding, "But I am in a hurry." She winced at the hostile tone in her voice, but she really didn't have time for this. Tapping her foot in irritation, she waited to be proved right as he crouched over her trolley.
"Would you care to look?" he asked.
Laura's foot stopped tapping. Recognising undisguised triumph on his face, she read the label over his shoulder with trepidation, but there it was in black and white—Daniel Stone, London Gatwick to Porto. The heat that rose in her cheeks seemed to burn right through her skin.
"But it's the same as mine!" she blustered, watching with embarrassment as he hoisted the heavy bag from the trolley with ease.
"It's hardly a unique design," he commented, shrugging broad shoulders. "If you weren't in such a tearing hurry, you might have spotted your own on the carousel."
Laura spun around to see her bag riding forlornly around with the few that were left. Mortified, she opened her mouth to apologise.
But he spoke first. "Personally, I would advocate that old saying 'More haste, less speed.'" His tone softened a little as he added, "I'm sorry, but you're not the only hot, tired person whose flight was delayed, you know." And off he strolled through the terminal, his bag flung over his shoulder, without a backward glance.


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Welcome historical romance author, Anne Stenhouse...


         Rachel thank you so much for inviting me onto your great blog. I love going around and visiting                  with people.

1.)            What did you want to be when you grew up?

I remember this question was set for an ‘essay’ when I was in primary seven and I had a list of six. It started Secretary, Air Hostess… I couldn’t remember what number six was and had to ask my mum. Apart from that, I don’t think I had any aim beyond finding something that used words. I passed into the graduate entry for the Home Civil Service because so much of the entry process was language based. Now, I have to remind myself that fiction writing does not demand setting out the problem, examining the pros and cons and suggesting a solution. A fiction writer needs to muddy the waters and keep stirring until the last page or two.

2.)            Coffee, tea or hot chocolate?

Coffee. Tea gives me indigestion particularly if served with lemon. Hot chocolate I find is a little too sweet. Is this possible? Coffee hits the spot, but I drink far less as the years roll past and do rely on instant now. ‘Real’ coffee gets me a little hyper.

3.)            What genre do you typically read? Why?

Typically, I read historical romance from the around the turn of the nineteenth century years. Why? I blame Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen. I love the snap of between the sexes dialogue, I love the idea of being released from domestic duties as we understand them (going to the supermarket, changing the double duvet, washing the kitchen floor…). Would I have enjoyed living without toothpaste, antibiotics and anaesthesia – No. Do I enjoy being a second class citizen when the DH and I visit foreign shores – No. Have I any idea how to look after a horse or poultry – That’s right – No.

4.)            Share a favourite childhood memory.

I came out of our council house and saw my granny walking down the street with her shopping bag. She always stayed when she came and it was a lovely ‘surprise’.

5.)            Do you have any shameless addictions? ie. Tea, Books, Shoes, Clothes?

No, of course not. Well, maybe NCIS. Not a particular actor, but the whole package. As a former playwright, I admire the way it’s crafted and how well it works.

6.)            What do you think is the biggest challenge of writing a new book?

For me, the biggest challenge is undoubtedly holding off until I know enough about the characters and their stories. Again, I think, it’s a hangover from writing drama. I’m so keen to hear the voices, I set up a file and type. Big mistake!

7.)            Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages a day?

Not really, but I did find bites of 800 a good target the year I did NaNoWriMo.

8.)            What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

Daisy’s Dilemma is a continuation of the story of a character from Mariah’s Marriage. It hadn’t occurred to me there would be a continuation so it was hard work and a little nerve-shredding. If I were to do that again, I think it would be a whole lot easier to start off with the intention in mind. It was lovely to have the chance to develop Daisy further.

Back Cover blurb for Daisy's Dilemma:

Lady Daisy should be ecstatic when her brother, the earl, allows Mr. John Brent to propose. She’s been plotting their marriage for two years. However, she is surprised to find herself underwhelmed and blames their distant cousin, Reuben, for unsettling her. 
Reuben Longreach wonders whether the earl understands the first thing about Daisy’s nature and her need for a life with more drama than the Season allows. It’s abundantly clear to him that Daisy and John are not suited, but the minx accepts his proposal nonetheless. 
Meanwhile, Daisy hatches a plan to attach Reuben to her beautiful, beleaguered Scots cousin, Elspeth. Little does she know that Elspeth is the focus of a more sinister plot that threatens Daisy too. 
Will Reuben be able to thwart the forces surrounding Daisy before she is irretrievably tied to John? Will Daisy find the maturity to recognise her dilemma may be of her own making before it’s too late?

Daisy's Dilemma pre-order from amazon 
Novels Now blog

Comments?? Questions??

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Welcome contemporary romance author, Linn B Halton...

(formerly The Quintessential Gemini)

For twenty-one years, the focus of Katherine Dale’s life has been her work. Love interests and hobbies came and went, but what has always been there for her—her only constant other than her cat delightfully named No. 4—was her nine to five habit. Until she’s replaced.
With her confidence dented, Katherine is angry at life and at herself.
She has ignored hints of “changes to come” in her horoscope forecasts, written by the wonderful and renowned astrologer, Mark Ainsley-Thomas.
Mark is now an “A” list celebrity in the UK and his new agent is determined to raise his profile in America. So, he has to take on the new, and very talented, astrologer James Kingman to help him run his web-site.
When Katherine discovers James has been writing the forecasts, rather than Mark, her life explodes in confusion as the three lives become inextricably tangled. Insecurity, self-doubt, guilt, stress, and frustration, coupled with village gossips and merciless reporters wanting eye-catching headlines leave Katherine feeling vulnerable and in need of guidance.
The stars might be telling her that love is going to feature in her life, but when Katherine finds herself implicated in the headlines ‘Mystic Love Triangle’ she’s just as surprised as everyone else! None of the men in her life are love interests – so what exactly does fate have in store?

Bristol-born Linn B Halton lives in the small village of Lydbrook, which nestles on the edge of the Forest of Dean, in the UK. She resides there with her husband and feline with 'catitude'- Mr Tiggs.
Linn began writing in March 2009 and her debut novel was published in February 2011. In a recent interview Linn was asked about genres:
"From a very young age I knew romantic fiction was always going to be my genre. I am, and will always be, madly in love with love! Whether that's love of life, a partner, or the things I'm passionate about.
My stories are about love, life and real relationships - but romance is always the one thing that holds each story together. Often there's a light, psychic touch and I never dreamed I would write drawing upon my personal psychic experiences. But as my interest and understanding in the subject has grown, it is now such a part of my life that it finds its way into my fictional tales. However, what is heartening is that most of my experiences have been uplifting and it's wonderful to know loved ones are around me always. I hope it will make readers stop and wonder 'What if?'
The result is that I get a lot of mail from readers who have had similar experiences and some are sharing theirs for the first time with me. I always feel that's something rather special and for which I'm very grateful."
Love, life and beyond... but it's ALWAYS about the romance! Linn is published by HarperImpulse, Endeavour Press and Sapphire Star Publishing.
Linn is also the managing editor of Loveahappyending Lifestyle emagazine.

Twitter: @LinnBHalton
Facebook: Linn B Halton and Linn B HaltonAuthor
Loveahappyending Lifestyle
Romantic Novelists’ Association page

No Purchase necessary!
 1st Prize A surprise goody bag (UK only) Plus ecopy of book
2nd prize ecopy of Under the Stars (International)

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Welcome Crooked Cat Publishing author, Deirdre Palmer...

Hi Deirdre! Welcome to my blog - I am looking forward to learning more about you and your writing! Let's kick off with my questions...

What is the strangest talent you have?

No strange talents, at least none that I’m aware of…  I do have a mild form of synaesthesia, though, which I suppose is a little bit strange.  My days of the week have colours, as do some names, and my letters and numbers have a physical location.  I get called up to Sussex University occasionally where they test my brain function!

What is the best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?

Never worn one.  Don’t do Halloween.  I went to a few Halloween parties as a child but I don’t think we dressed up.  It was all about the apple bobbing.

Are the titles of your books important?

Yes, I think all titles are important.  The title is your first line of communication with a potential reader, along with the cover.  Luckily my titles so far have been easy to come up with as they were readily suggested by the story.  I like to have the title firmly in place before I start writing.  For me it anchors the book, somehow.  That’s not to say I wouldn’t change a title once I’d started, though, if the book takes an unexpected turn as it goes along.  In fact, I might change the title of the one I’m working on now.

If you’re struggling with a scene or difficult character, what methods help you through it?

My number one method is to leave it alone, go away and do something else.  As likely as not, the solution will pop into my mind while I’m gone.  Other than that, if I’m having problems with a scene, I’ll try to stand back from it and ask myself what the purpose of the scene is, then take it from there.  If it has no useful purpose, I’ll cut it.  If it needs to be there, I’ll think about whether it would be better shown from a different character’s viewpoint.  I like to form my characters fairly well early on in the story, if not on paper then at least in my head, and that way they don’t tend to present many problems.  If they do I’ll check their motivation, in case I’m making them act in a way that’s inconsistent with that.

Do you prefer dogs, cats or none of the above?

Cats.  I’m quite potty about them. We’ve had cats for a number of years now, the current one being a tabby and white six-year-old called Chester, and my goodness do we know we’ve got him; he’s such a character.  It seems appropriate that I’m published by Crooked Cat!

Who’s your favourite author? Why?

Now there’s a question and a half.  I have a set of favourite authors rather than just one, and it changes according to what I’ve just read.  Among my top favourites are Isabel Ashdown, Lisa Jewell, Jo-Jo Moyes, David Nicholls, Hannah Richell.  For sheer quality of writing and acute observation of human behaviour, William Nicholson is hard to beat.  If I have to pick one favourite, then it would be Deborah Moggach, again for superb writing and pure entertainment. 

Do you have a pet peeve?

Depends what day it is.  There do seem to be more peeves these days then there used to be, so obviously I’m turning into a Grumpy Old Woman.  What gets me at the moment is not being able to find a comfortable seat on the bus.  The tip-up ones you have to vacate as soon as someone gets on with a baby buggy.  I don’t feel qualified – yet! - for the elderly and disabled seats, the ones at the back give out tremendous heat, and what’s left in the middle are rock hard and I can’t get my legs in.  Upstairs is all right, if I want to risk being thrown bodily down the steps as the driver stamps on the brakes.  OK, you get the idea about the buses…

Do you remember your dreams when you wake up in the morning?

Sometimes I do, if I’ve had a particularly vivid dream, but it will only stay with me for a moment or two.  Just as well, probably!

Thanks very much for inviting me onto your blog, Rachel. I’ve enjoyed answering your questions.



Blurb for Remarkable Things  (Deirdre Palmer)

When Gus Albourne finds himself as sole inheritor of Aunt Augusta’s cottage in the Sussex village of Hangburton, he has more than just a property on his hands. Why him and not Robert, his more deserving brother? Gus needs answers. As he searches for the truth behind the legacy, the cottage begins to reveal its secrets and Gus realises he’s looking at his own life story. Only it’s not the version he knows.

Millie Hope is searching for her missing daughter, Karen. When Millie’s ex-husband dies, finding Karen becomes even more urgent. But there’s more than one barrier to the search. For a start, there’s Jack, Karen’s terrifying ex-boyfriend. And then there’s the reason Karen disappeared in the first place, which seems less certain as time goes on.

Friendship between Gus and Millie deepens into something more as they share confidences over endless cups of tea in the back room of Millie’s shop. But how can they begin to think about the future when the past is clamouring to be rewritten?

Author of ‘Remarkable Things’ published by Crooked Cat Publishing:

Comments?? Questions??

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Welcome contemporary romance author, Janice Horton...

 Hi, Janice! So great to have you here and to be a part of your ongoing tour - you have a very generous prize giveaway ready and waiting for several lucky winners! Looking forward to catching up with you and your writing. Let's get started with my questions...

1.    What do you wish men understood about women?
I’m very fortunate in that I’m married to a wonderful man and have been for very a long time and so I think he understands me better than I understand myself. We have three grown up sons and they are all handsome, intelligent men who have great relationships with women, so if anything I would wish that all men were as understanding as mine and all women could be as blessed!

2.    Do you only work on one book at a time?
I work on writing one book at a time but I will also be thinking about and planning the next one. I’ll jot down some ideas, write a brief outline/synopsis, think about the two main characters, and come up with a working title. That way, I’m ready to start working on the next book as soon as I’ve finished the work in progress.

3.    Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?
I often need to remind myself of the quote ‘A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships were built for…’ when any of our sons go off to have adventures. It’s become a bit of a mantra.

4.    Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?
When I am in the Caribbean, which is where I’m based just now, it’s really hard to stay disciplined and to stay home to write when the sun is shining and the beach and sea is calling my name! But I do try to write everyday and I use a timetable on an Excel spreadsheet to help keep to deadlines. I set weekly word targets for the first draft of my work in progress rather than daily ones – so I can be flexible if something comes along - and then I get a chance to catch up. I also have to schedule in writing my monthly feature ‘The Bookshelf’ for Loveahappyending Lifestyle Magazine and my quarterly ‘Snap Gap’ travel features too. I can tell you feel really sorry for me, right?

5.    What do you like better, Twitter or Facebook? Why?
I love the immediacy and real time aspect of both Twitter and Facebook – but I’d say that Facebook is my favourite of the two. I use it to keep in touch with all my friends and family. I love to post photos and status updates. I’m very nosey and I love seeing what everyone else is up to each day. I really care about all my Facebook friends and what is happening in their lives.

6.    What are you working on now?
Other than my tan, I’m working on my next monthly ‘The Bookshelf’ feature for Loveahappyending Lifestyle Magazine and also a new ‘Snap Gap’ travel feature on the Dominican Republic. I’ve also just started working on the first draft of a new novel but it’s a bit early for me to say much about it yet. J

Tell us about your latest release and where we can find it
Castaway in the Caribbean is out now and available exclusively from Amazon as an ebook for Kindle - it’s a romantic adventure story set in the Caribbean - about a mismatched couple who end up being castaway together on a tropical island. I was incredibly fortunate to spend all of last summer in the Caribbean, writing and researching this novel and, for the purposes of proper research, I travelled to and explored many Caribbean islands and spent a lot of time in boats. I even got to sail around Tortola, the larger of the British Virgin Islands, in a restored schooner that had been used in the filming of the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
The Virgin Islands inspired me with the modern day setting for my story because, of this chain of around 90 small islands, islets, cays and rocks in the Caribbean Sea, many are uninhabited. But I eventually settled down to write the first draft on the Caribbean island of Utila, the smaller of the Bay Islands, just off the coast of Honduras. Likened to the Key West of long ago, Utila is a quaint, unspoilt and laid-back little island. Sitting on the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere, it is also a paradise for scuba diving, which is exactly was what my husband was doing every day while I was busy writing this story. I do hope all the fun and adventure I had on the islands has found its way into the pages of Castaway in the Caribbean.

Janice Horton writes contemporary romantic fiction with a dash of humour and a sense of adventure. Look out for Janice’s new release for 2015 ‘Castaway in the Caribbean’ and her Amazon Kindle bestselling books 'Bagpipes and Bullshot' and 'Reaching for the Stars' and her fun ‘Voodoo Romance’ series of novellas. Her nonfiction guide to online promotion 'How To Party Online' is recommended reading for all authors and writers by publishers. Janice is a regular blogger from her website at and you'll also find her on Facebook and Twitter.
Janice Horton - writer of romantic adventure novels
Follow me on Twitter: @JaniceHorton
Friend me on Facebook Page
Link to my Amazon Author Page
Check out my page on Goodreads
My LLm Bookshelf

Castaway in the Caribbean

More fun than you’ll find in any travel brochure…

Vacationing on the beautiful Caribbean island of Antigua, Janey Sinclair is persuaded by her magazine editor boss to do a quick island hop in order to supervise an impromptu photo-shoot for the front cover. With no flights immediately available, Janey is directed to the harbour.

Captain Travis Mathews hates tourists, although he’s not above making a bit of money off a prissy and sharp tongued young British girl when she’s desperate to get to the neighbouring island of Tortola.

After striking a deal, they set off together in Travis’s weather-beaten old boat. When the vessel comes to a sudden full stop in the sea, the mismatched pair end up as castaways on an uninhabited island.

In this fast moving romantic adventure about a vacation that turns into a tropical nightmare there’s more fun than you’ll find in any travel brochure.…

Message from the Author 
I was incredibly fortunate to spend the summer of 2014 in the Caribbean, writing and researching this novel. I found it challenging only in the respect of being continually distracted from the manuscript by the tropical sunshine, the white sand beaches, the warm aquamarine sea, rum cocktails, and the fabulous social scene on offer. Many of these distractions are well documented on my website, blog and Facebook page, if you are interested in reading the details and seeing the photos!
For the purposes of proper research for Castaway in the Caribbean, I travelled to and explored many Caribbean islands and, despite my tendency for sea sickness, I also spent a lot of time in boats. I even got to sail around Tortola, the larger of the British Virgin Islands, in a restored schooner that had been used in the filming of the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
The Virgin Islands inspired me with the modern day setting for Castaway in the Caribbean because, of this chain of around 90 small islands, islets, cays and rocks in the Caribbean Sea, many are uninhabited.
I eventually settled down to write this romantic adventure story on the Caribbean island of Utila, the smaller of the Bay Islands, just off the coast of Honduras. Likened to the Key West of long ago, Utila is a quaint, unspoilt and laid-back little island. Sitting on the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere, it is also a paradise for scuba diving, which is exactly was what my husband was doing every day while I was busy writing this story.
Research is a valuable tool for a writer, so I do hope all the fun and adventure I had in the Caribbean has found its way into the pages of Castaway in the Caribbean.
Janice  xx


1st Prize Mermaid Necklace (UK only)
2nd Prize – ecopy of the book (international)
2nd Prize Shell box (UK only)
3rd Prize Caribbean spices Necklace (UK only)
4th  Prize  Purse & pen (UK only)

Comments?? Questions??