Archive for category Spotlight
Grab a cuppa and pull up a chair as author Angela Barton stops in for a chat on Nesie’s Place. We’ll hear about her special anniversary gift, meet her two writing companions and learn about the bittersweet inspiration and research that drove her latest release, Arlette’s Story.
FD: Welcome, Angela! Before we get to Angela, the author, many visitors to Nesie’s Place are avid readers, So, tell us your favorite genre to read?
AB: Romantic fiction with a strong story and historical fiction. (19th or 20th century)
FD: Do you venture into other genres other than your preferred?
AB: Definitely. The book I’m reading at the moment doesn’t fall into either of those genres.
FD: And what are you reading now?
FD: These Dividing Walls by Fran Cooper. It’s a story about the separate lives of people living in an apartment building in a forgotten corner of Paris.
FD: I’m a coffeeholic, shock of shocks, but what’s your favorite beverage to read with?
AB: Always a cup of tea, preferably with chocolate biscuits to hand.
FD: How long have you been writing, Angela?
AB: I’ve been novel writing for eleven years but dabbling for decades!
FD: Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?
AB: Hybrid. I’m published by Choc-Lit’s new imprint called Ruby Fiction.
FD: Choose a team – Pantser or Plotter?
AB: I’m a plotster! I have an idea for a story and generally, know how I’ll want it to end. I plan what I think will be a strong starting point and what characters I’ll need to tell that story for me. Then I generally sit at my MacBook and the characters begin to boss me around and tell me what to write.
FD: LOL! Gotta love those bossy characters! How long did it take you to write your first book?
AB: It took six months to write but another year to edit, re-write sections and polish.
FD: Editing! The bane of an author’s existence! LOL! Angela, what’s your favorite genre to write or do you only write in one genre?
AB: Although my debut novel is historical romantic fiction, I’ve also written two books in the genre of contemporary romantic women’s fiction. I do like to include hard-hitting issues though, such as obsessive compulsions, a life-threatening illness, miscarriage, fraud and crime (shoplifting) caused by grief. I’m halfway through my fourth novel which is another WW2 historical romance.
FD: Do you have any advice for new authors?
AB: Always have your completed manuscript assessed by a professional body before submitting to an agent or publisher. I used the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s, New Writers’ Scheme. I can’t praise them highly enough and I have no doubt that their suggestions turned my fish soup of a novel into a seafood bouillabaisse that was worthy of publication.
FD: Where do you get the most writing done?
AB: My husband built me an insulated garden writing room for a special wedding anniversary and that’s where I wrote my three novels
– in the company of my two spaniels, Harlyn and Brook.
FD: Wow, what a beautiful place to write! *Waves to Harlyn and Brook*
FD: Angela, are you totally addicted to social media or could you live without it??
AB: Now that my book is to be published, an addiction is growing!
FD: Tell us what inspired you to write Arlette’s Story.
AB: My inspiration for writing Arlette’s Story came while visiting Oradour-sur-Glane’s museum and martyred village in France. On 10th June 1944, this once thriving and beautiful small town was visited by two hundred Germans who set about murdering, looting and destroying. The village stands as a memorial to those who died that day, exactly as it was left seventy-four years ago – as if frozen in time. I was so moved while walking around the crumbling village. I could see inside houses where the metal remains of everyday life lay littered amongst the debris. Bed frames, log burners, ovens, Singer sewing machines, children’s toys, picture frames, and bicycles. Objects that fill our own homes today. I felt compelled to help keep the memory of what happened alive in some small way, so I vowed to myself that I would tell the story from a survivor’s viewpoint.
I thoroughly enjoyed researching Arlette’s Story. I’d regularly become deeply absorbed in a huge factual tome and lose a whole day! I was fascinated reading about Vichy, The Resistance, the demarcation line, sabotage against the Germans etc.
FD: Would you share a short excerpt with us?
AB: Of course!
Kommandant Steiner reached inside his desk drawer and brought out another packet of cigarettes. He tapped the packet onto the palm of his hand before sliding a cigarette out of it.
‘Maybe we could come to an arrangement.’
Arlette frowned. ‘I don’t understand.’
He placed the slim cigarette between his lips and lit it, squinting as the grey smoke swirled into his eyes. He blew a long trail towards the ceiling. ‘We’re adults. We’re both alone in difficult times. Perhaps one favour could be repaid by another.’ He stared at her, once again drawing deeply on his cigarette but this time opening his mouth to let the cloud of silver smoke linger around his lips. Before it had time to escape into the room, he sucked it back over his tongue, inhaling it deep into his lungs.
A muscle twitched beneath his right eye.
FD: Ok, I don’t like him already, and now I’m definitely looking forward to this read! Thanks for the excerpt, Angela, and many thanks for stopping by Nesie’s Place today.
AB: Thank you so much for this interview/blog post. Without bloggers like you, we would be at a great disadvantage. Huge thanks!
Scroll down and get your copy of Arlette’s Story today and remember to leave a review for Angela. It only takes a few words to make an author’s day!
UK visitors, don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Angela is giving away a beautiful notebook to one lucky random winner!
One woman’s struggle to fight back against the enemy in order to protect the ones she loves.
When Arlette Blaise sees a German plane fly over the family farm in 1940, she’s comforted by the fact that the occupying forces are far away in the north of the country. Surely the war will not reach her family in the idyllic French countryside near to the small town of Oradour-sur-Glane?
But then Saul Epstein, a young Jewish man driven from his home by the Nazis, arrives at the farm and Arlette begins to realize that her peaceful existence might be gone for good …
Angela Barton was born in London and grew up in Nottingham. She is married with three grown-up children. Passionate about writing both contemporary and historical fiction, Angela loves researching for her books and is an avid reader. Having signed publishing contracts for three of her completed novels with Ruby Fiction, Angela is excited to be working alongside such a friendly and supportive publishing team. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Nottingham Writers’ Studio.
Having recently moved to France, Angela (alongside her husband, Paul) is now a lavender farmer, creating products from the oil that’s distilled. Angela says she’s looking forward to spending more time writing in the company of her two spaniels while sitting on her veranda overlooking the breath-taking countryside of Charente.
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Win a beautiful notebook (UK Only!
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will pass to the giveaway organizer and used only for the fulfillment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.
I’m happy to welcome Nicola May to Nesie’s Place today! Nicola writes ‘chicklit with a kick’ and her ninth novel, The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay just released earlier this week!
Welcome, Nicola! Give my blog visitors the scoop! Are you self-published or traditional?
I am now self -published again after previously signing a 7-book deal with a publisher. It’s hard work but the sense of satisfaction of doing it myself is great.
How long have you been a published writer?
I have been writing for 22 years.
Wow! How long did it take you to write your first book?
Around one year.
Okay, now I don’t feel so bad! LOL! Did you publish it?
Yes, I self-published Working it Out successfully, was delighted that Waterstones stocked it. I won two awards whilst I was self-published for The School Gates and Christmas Yves (now called Christmas Spirit).
What’s your favorite genre to write?
Romantic Comedy, of course! The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay is my ninth one.
Where do you get the most writing done?
I write in bed. I love the peace and comfort of it, plus it keeps me focused to not jump up and start doing chores. I won’t include a photo as I’m still in my pyjamas!
LOL! Okay, I’ll give you a pass today. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever been asked as a writer?
Nothing strange per se but if I was given a pound for everyone who said, ‘you should write a book about my life,’ then I’d be very rich!
What’s your favorite genre to read?
I do love to read RomCom. In fact, Water Melon by Marian Keyes gave me the initial inspiration to start writing the genre. I also used to devour books by Carole Matthews and now adore Milly Johnson, not just as a person but her books are pretty darn good too!
I love a good RomCom and will have to look those authors up. Do you venture into other genres other than your preferred?
Patrick Gale is an amazing writer. His characters are always so beautifully constructed. Very deep and quite often flawed. His Notes from an Exhibition gets a mention in my first novel, Working it Out. I met him down in Cornwall once and I was a little star struck!
What are you reading now?
I’m not reading at the moment as The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay is out and I’m working hard on marketing it and getting it onto the bookshop shelves. Next up will be Milly’s new one; The Perfectly Imperfect Woman though.
Favorite beverage to read with?
I’m a complete tea fiend! So has to be a cuppa. Strong builders with a drop of milk.
I should have known that. Haven’t met a Brit author yet who prefers coffee. Do you have any advice for new authors?
Yes, that writing is a craft and you will get better as you go along.
A good, honest editor is key
Always put a manuscript in a drawer and go back to it
Don’t edit as you go along
Good marketing is essential if you want your book to sell
Think carefully before choosing your agent or publisher
Great advice, Nicola! I know from experience it’s difficult to find your center when first starting out writing and publishing.
Many thanks to Nicola May for stopping by today, and we wish her much success with The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay! It’s already on my Kindle-scroll down and get your copy today! Don’t forget to enter Nicola’s international giveaway… three lucky winners will each receive a print copy of The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay!
Rosa Larkin is down on her luck in London, so when she inherits a near-derelict corner shop in a quaint Devon village, her first thought is to sell it for cash and sort out her life. But nothing is straightforward about this legacy. While the identity of her benefactor remains a mystery, he – or she – has left one important legal proviso: that the shop cannot be sold, only passed on to somebody who really deserves it.
Rosa makes up her mind to give it a go: to put everything she has into getting the shop up and running again in the small seaside community of Cockleberry Bay. But can she do it all on her own? And if not, who will help her succeed – and who among the following will work secretly to see her fail?
There is a handsome rugby player, a sexy plumber, a charlatan reporter and a selection of meddling locals. Add in a hit and run incident and the disappearance of a valuable engraved necklace – and what you get is a journey of self-discovery and unpredictable events.
With surprising and heartfelt results, Rosa, accompanied at all times by her little sausage dog, Hot, will slowly unravel the shadowy secrets of the inheritance, and also bring her own, long-hidden heritage into the light.
Praise for Nicola May’s books
“This book will twang your funny bone & your heartstrings” Milly Johnson
“A fun and flighty read” the Sun
“A funny and fast-paced romp – thoroughly enjoyable!” WOMAN Magazine
~ About Nicola May ~
Award winning author Nicola May lives in Ascot in Berkshire with her rescue cat Stanley. Her hobbies include watching films that involve a lot of swooning, crabbing in South Devon, eating flapjacks and enjoying a flutter on the horses. Inspired by her favourite authors Milly Johnson and Carole Matthews, Nicola writes what she describes as chicklit with a kick.
~ Follow Nicola May ~
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Win x 3 Paperback copies of The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay (Open Internationally)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Author: C.A. Harms
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Published: March 6, 2018
Page Count: 177 Pages
Publisher: Limitless Publishing, LLC
He was off-limits. Forbidden. I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with him…
Kyler was my boyfriend’s best friend. I never looked at him as anything more than a friend too, but that all changed when Beau deceived me.
One unexpected night, one moment of truth, and that imaginary line between friendship and lovers was crossed.
Secrets were shared. Desires fulfilled. There’s no going back now.
Our lives were changed forever…
C.A. Harms is like any other addicted reader. She enjoys happy endings and HEA love stories. She hasn’t always been a lover of Romance and had once been addicted to a good Mystery. Just recently she has taken on a new liking and now is a full-blown Romance novel addict.
She lives in Illinois and enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. You will always find her with her kindle or paperback in hand as it is her favorite pass time.
Learn about author Sarah Marie Graye today as she takes time out from writing to discuss her debut novel, The Second Cup. Remember to scroll to the end and enter Sarah’s international giveaway. Three winners will each receive a signed copy of The Second Cup.
FD: Where are you from?
SMG: I’m originally from Manchester (in the United Kingdom). I’m a typical Mancunian in that I can’t hear anything negative about my hometown, although I’m not sure I could live in a big city again. I lived in London for a while, but it wasn’t for me. [SMG shudders] I currently live in Whitstable on the north Kent coast – and one of my local bars is called ‘Novelist’ so it’s fate! I recommend a daily dose of sea air to anyone thinking of moving to the coast.
FD: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
SMG: I’m a natural daydreamer and spend many hours living in the world inside my head. I’ve always enjoyed reading and found myself writing the next theoretical chapter of a book in my head once I’d finished reading something.
I loathed school, but found English the most tolerable subject! [SMG rolls her eyes] I studied English Literature at A Level and enjoyed the range and depth of books we read. I also studied Performing Arts and went on to do a degree in Scriptwriting at Bournemouth University before working as a journalist. A few years ago I completed an MA Creative Writing, which supported me in writing my debut novel.
FD: What inspired you to write your first book?
SMG: The final-year project on my degree at Bournemouth was a feature-length script. The feedback I got was that my writing was a too descriptive for a script – and also wasted on it because the audience didn’t get to read it, and that I should consider writing a novel. The thought stayed with me for over a decade before I got round to doing anything about it! I’m a typical “Turtle Writer” (a group of writers who write slowly, who support each other on Twitter).
FD: Who designed the cover?
SMG: Cover Mint (www.covermint.design). It was one of five covers sent over as ideas from my publisher Creativia. I fell in love with the one I chose instantly. Turns out it was their favourite too! I especially love the font – it has given my novel a very strong look. When my first order of paperbacks turned up I found myself hugging them – it’s when it really hit home that I was a published novelist.
FD: What genres do you enjoy reading and what are you reading now?
SMG: I love psychological fiction that gets inside the head of the main characters. I prefer slower paced books, so I don’t read too much psychological crime/thriller fiction. I’m currently reading The White Lie by Andrea Gillies – I’m actually re-reading it, which is cheating a little, I guess [SMG grins]. Before that I read The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards and I’ve got How to Stop Time by Matt Haig and The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman next on my to-read list.
FD: How do you relax and have fun?
SMG: I love going for long walks. Well, I’m more of a meanderer – no real speed. I’ve learned the coastal bus routes in Whitstable and Herne Bay so I can get myself back home if I walk too far and tire myself out. I also enjoy binge-watching TV series on Netflix – recent recommendations are The Code and The Sinner. And reading, of course! I obviously love reading! [SMG laughs] I’m also a bit of a sleep addict; I try to get 10 hours every night. Sleep is so important for health and general wellbeing and needs no fitness levels in order to be achieved.
FD: What’s one thing from your bucket list you’d like to experience or accomplish?
SMG: To spend a year or two living on one of the Canary Islands and writing a book in the sun. It’s difficult to get work out there, so it’s very much a wistful idea at the moment. I have a plotline for a novel where tragedy strikes on holiday, so it would be the perfect excuse. If I ever win the lottery I’ll head out there and have a lovely long writing holiday!
FD: What are your current projects?
SMG: I’m working on my second novel, with the working title of The Victoria Lie. I’m just over 10,000 words into the first draft, so it’s not much beyond the embryonic stage at the moment. Unlike The Second Cup, which is mostly set in my hometown of Manchester (plus London, Berkhamsted and Blackpool), The Victoria Lie is set in London and Whitstable.
FD: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
SMG: I write in first-person multi-narration, so different characters tell different chapters. The section below comes from the first draft of Ruby’s first chapter. She lives in Whitstable and is visiting London – so she sees it through the eyes of an outsider. A homeless person has just recited a poem on the tube as a way to beg for money. Ruby notices the way most people on the tube don’t even see them.
She finishes her poem and stands briefly at the end of the carriage that was temporarily her stage before walking slowly between the two rows of seats, ignored by most, acknowledged with a nod by a skinny girl who looks like she could do with a decent meal herself – the nod says “I would like to help but I can’t, but I see you as a fellow human”. The nod is important.
Nobody else puts their hands in their pockets or their purses. I know rhyming couplets aren’t clever, and maybe it’s the hundredth time that everyone else in this carriage has heard the poem, but I want to reward this homeless woman for attempting to connect with a carriage full of people who mostly want to pretend she isn’t there.
I have no idea what an acceptable amount to give a homeless person in London is, so I guess at £2. I fish the coins out of my purse and hand them over. I can tell from the slight flex of muscles on her face – a hint of surprise – that I’ve been generous. Even though people earn more in London, it doesn’t seem to matter; people are protective of their own pennies.
FD: Where can readers find you online?
You’re most likely to find me on Twitter!
FD: Many thanks for visiting with us today, Sarah Marie. Continued success to you!
SMG: Thank you! Lovely to meet you and talk to you about about my writing. Hopefully we’ll get the chance to catch up again once I’ve finished The Victoria Lie.
Would your life unravel if someone you knew committed suicide? Theirs did.
Faye’s heart still belongs to her first love, Jack. She knows he might have moved on, but when she decides to track him down, nothing prepares her for the news that he’s taken his own life.
With the fragility of life staring them in the face, Abbie finds herself questioning her marriage, and Faye her friendship with Ethan. And poor Olivia is questioning everything – including why Jack’s death has hit Beth the hardest. Is she about to take her own life too?
Universal Purchase Link – https://mybook.to/SecondCup
Sarah Marie Graye was born in Manchester, United Kingdom, in 1975, to English Catholic parents. One of five daughters, to the outside world Sarah Marie’s childhood followed a relatively typical Manchester upbringing… until aged 9, when she was diagnosed with depression.
It’s a diagnosis that has stayed with Sarah Marie over three decades, and something she believes has coloured every life decision.
Now in her early 40s, and with an MA Creative Writing from London South Bank University (where she was the vice-chancellor’s scholarship holder), Sarah Marie has published her debut novel – about family, friendships and mental health.
Win 3 x Signed copies of The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye (Open Internationally)
Have you ever helped out a stranger only to have it turn your normal life into something that resembles a nightmare?
After a dead man is discovered in one of her motel units, his only relative, an older sister, asks Arina to help her. The sister believes her brother was murdered.
Despite being dissuaded from getting involved, true to form, Arina dives in. Head first.
Without knowing exactly what she was getting into, she inadvertently puts lives on the line. Including the life of her two-year-old son, Ben.
Money laundering and multi-million-dollar tax evasion scams are uncovered. Ruthless and desperate people will do all they can to avoid detection to protect their interests. Including murder.
Book Three ‘HER BROTHER’S KEEPER’ of the Arina Perry Series takes a phycological ride on the wild side.
Released in e-book late November 2017 and in paperback late December 2017.
‘Crime Fiction About An Undercover Cop By a Former Undercover Cop’ is roughly how the blurb goes on the Amazon listing for my latest book Who The F*ck Am I?
The title may be a tad controversial to some, but it is part of the very fabric of an infiltrator. Identity confusion among undercover agents is a medically recognised condition.
It is Book One in a trilogy featuring Steve Regan, a fictional British undercover cop. The action takes place mainly in the United Kingdom but also takes the reader to Miami and Boston in the United States.
The book is available from October 31, 2017, in both Kindle and paperback through Amazon. It will also be available in other eBook formats through Smashwords and at most other online bookstores.
The blurb also makes the claim, “This surely has to be a first! Crime fiction about an undercover cop written by a former undercover cop!
From Amazon UK bestselling author, Stephen Bentley, comes a fictional undercover cop, Steve Regan, following on the success of his true crime undercover cop memoir ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story.’
Steve Regan, undercover detective, is tempted by the riches of drug smuggling so he can be free of debt, police bureaucracy, and help a loved one. He wonders whether he can go ‘rogue’ and cross the line.
Regan gets involved in one deal with a Miami-based drug lord. But is everyone who they say they are?
Short, fast-paced, high-impact entertainment, from a bestselling author who knows how to suck you into a story.”
This novella was inspired by two gangsters I met in real life while undercover. I harboured thoughts about them for many years and felt obliged to deal with those thoughts in this fictional work. I believe I can safely say that is a first!
As the author and a former undercover cop, I do not profess to know with certainty if my claim about it being a “first” is fact. I mean the claim: This surely has to be a first! Crime fiction about an undercover cop written by a former undercover cop!
I could argue, in line with another former profession of mine (lawyer), that it isn’t a claim at all – merely a hypothesis. Pedants may argue there ought to be a question mark following “has to be first.” Possibly, they are correct.
But in any event, whether claim or hypothesis, it intrigues me. So, a challenge to all readers of this blog post – tell me if I am right or wrong about it being the first fictional work about an undercover cop written by a former undercover cop. At least I ask you to leave a comment letting us know your thoughts.
There is a reward for the best comment left – one free copy of the book featured here and a free copy of my bestselling memoir Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story.
Please note there can only be one winner and the prizes will be provided in any eBook format of the winner’s choice.
The winner will be judged by the author on the basis of the insight provided by the commentator, the originality of the comment, and any tendency to humour gains extra marks J
Stephen Bentley BIO
Former UK Detective Sergeant, undercover cop, barrister (trial counsel). Now a writer, author, and blogs at HuffPost UK.
Author of ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story’ – an Amazon UK bestselling book about his undercover days on one of the world’s largest drug busts.
Lives in the Philippines, enjoys the beaches and a cold beer and follows “his team”, Liverpool Football Club from afar.