Goddess Fish Her One True Love Tour

Saturday, 13 February 2016

My Favourite Victorian books, films and TV shows…

What A Woman Desires is my third Victorian romance for eKensington/Lyrical Press and the fourth is released March 15th. I love the Victorian era! Many people initially think of Queen Victoria in mourning, Dickensian poverty or cruelty, or ladies dressed in high-neck dresses, looking down their noses at anyone even thinking an immoral thought, let alone acting on one.

These passing assumptions are not entirely true…although they are true of some people and places from that time. If you have read any of my previous books, you will know my Victorian romances tend to be darker than most on the market, and focus on the lower classes of society, rather than the upper-middle and middle classes.

It is my mission to prove even people not born into money deserve a happy ever after!

Many authors, including me, garner a lot of inspiration from what we read and watch. It is because of my favorite books, films and period TV series that I became so interested in Victoriana. I am lucky enough to live just a short drive from the city of Bath, England in one direction and the beautiful Cotswolds in the other. It would be a sin for me to not take advantage of this location in my books.

What A Woman Desires and my previous books (The Seduction of Emily & The Temptation of Laura) are all set in and around Bath. Here are some books and viewing I highly recommend…albeit most of them are set in London. Enjoy!


Tipping The Velvet, Affinity & Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
A Glimpse at Happiness by Jean Fullerton
The Victorian House by Judith Flanders (non-fiction)
Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Mr Briggs’ Hat by Kate Colquhoun


North & South – (British TV)
North & South – (US TV) – these are two VERY different stories!
Bleak House – (British TV)
The Young Victoria – film
Gangs of New York - film


Thursday, 11 February 2016

Welcome The Wild Rose Press author, Christina Hollis...

Hi, Christina! Great to have you visit with me again - hope you're well! Looking forward to catching up with you and hearing all about your new release, HEART OF A HOSTAGE - let's kick off with my questions...

1.) What is the strangest talent you have?
I asked my OH’s opinion about this. Quick as a flash, he said; “managing not throttle me, in all the years we’ve been married.” He said it, not me!  OH has a brilliant mind, but people are a complete mystery to him. We met on a blind date, and clicked like jigsaw pieces—he’s purely logical and analytical, I’m more imaginative and sociable.

2.) What is the best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?
I’m a Christian, so I don’t celebrate Halloween.

3.) Are the titles of your books important?
They’re very important, although at the start of my romance-writing career I didn’t get to choose them. Titles were chosen by my publisher, who needed a good, descriptive balance between the books they were offering. With my most recent series (the Princes Of Kharova for The Wild Rose Press) I called the first book His Majesty’s Secret Passion to reflect Leo’s struggle between love and duty. The second novel, Her Royal Risk, highlights Krisia’s starring role in saving the crown of Kharova. Heart Of A Hostage, my most recent release, actually has a twist in the tale. Maia is taken hostage but she finds out her captor Mihail is equally trapped, although in a quite different way.

4.) If you’re struggling with a scene or difficult character, what methods help you through it?
Walking is my favourite way to Beat The Block. I’m lucky enough to live in the middle of an ancient wood not far from the banks of the River Wye, so there’s fresh air everywhere, bluebells in spring, shade in summer, blizzards of leaves in autumn and solitude in winter.

5.) Do you prefer dogs, cats or none of the above?
I love both, as long as they’re friendly. I’m very wary of strange dogs as I was attacked by one and badly bitten when I was a child. After once trying to put my little sister’s dress on a half-wild farm moggy, I now restrict myself to just stroking cats!

6.) Who’s your favourite author? Why?
That’s an almost impossible question! Writing is such a hard craft to master, anyone who can tell a good story well gets my vote. I could name more than a dozen authors who have entertained, educated and inspired me, but top spot has to go to H.E.Bates, because my lovely dad was his greatest fan and introduced me to Bates’ work.  We’d laugh about The Larkins and Uncle Silas, or discuss Bates’s non-fiction writing for hours. His work still makes me feel very close to Dad, who passed away three years ago.

7.) Do you have a pet peeve?
I wish I had a pound for every person who thinks a full-time writer does nothing more than sit at home watching TV and eating chocolate, while waiting for inspiration! Nothing could be further from the truth. If my eyes are open, I’m working—thinking, listening, taking notes or squirreling away ideas. That’s before I put in at least forty or fifty hours a week on the computer, researching and typing, promoting my work and liaising with  publishers and other people in the industry. Writing is the way I earn my living, in exactly the same way other people put in regular hours working in offices, shops, schools, hospitals, or wherever. The only difference is I work from home, rather than outside it. That’s all—yet you’d be amazed how many people-who-should-know-better expect me to drop everything and run errands, or sort out their problems during the week, because they’ll “...be at work, while you’re sat at home all day”!

8.) Do you remember your dreams when you wake up in the morning?
Very rarely, but luckily when I do they’re always good ones. One day I woke up laughing, as I’d  dreamed I was being fed ice-cream by a gorgeous man. That scene made it into His Majesty’s Secret Passion!

When she isn't cooking, gardening or beekeeping, Christina Hollis writes contemporary fiction starring complex men and independent women.  Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and she’s sold nearly three million books worldwide. You can catch up with her at http://www.christinahollis.blogspot.com, on Twitter, Facebook, and see a full list of her published books at christinahollis.com

Here's the blurb for Heart Of A Hostage —

Mihail strides out of Maia's past to take her hostage, but who will end up in more danger?

Princess Maia has it all—including a horrible fiancĂ© chosen for her by the king, and a family bullying her into doing the right thing—but all she wants is her independence. When she falls into the hands of rebel leader, Mihail, she tastes real freedom for the first time. Mihail is a lone wolf, Public Enemy Number One, and heir to a fierce tradition. A dangerous reputation, a castle full of guilty secrets and now rescuing Maia are all woven into his master plan. He can’t lose.

Until his unexpected hostage turns out to be the house guest from hell...

And the buy links—

The complete Princes of Kharova series can be found at http://bit.ly/1GEkZkJ, while the  link http://myBook.to/HeartOfAHostage will take readers to their local online Amazon store. 

This is my bio:

Christina Hollis met her husband on a blind date, then wrote award-winning short stories to fit in with the school run until she had a full-length historical novel, Knight’s Pawn, published by Harlequin Mills and Boon. Five more historicals followed under the pen name Polly Forrester. Then in 2007 her first Mills and Boon Modern Romance, The Italian Billionaire’s Virgin, was published. Since then, she’s written sixteen more novels, more short stories, sold nearly three million books, and her work has been translated into twenty different languages.

And you can find my personal links at the bottom of this email. If you need anything more, just let me know. 

I'll mail you my blog post for the February slot asap.

Thanks again for this opportunity,

Best wishes

Paula (Christina Hollis)

Heart Of A Hostage—Published by Wild Rose Press—http://bit.ly/1JNeVkM
Her Royal Risk—Published by Wild Rose Press—http://bit.ly/1GQPIIq
His Majesty's Secret Passion—Published by Wild Rose Press—http://bit.ly/1ujX5zc

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Welcome historical romance author, Fenella Forster...

 Today I am happy to welcome fellow RNA member, Fenella Forster to my blog! Hi, Fenella, it's great to have you here. I'm looking forward to learning more about you and your work! Let's start with my questions...

Hello, Rachel. Thank you very much for having me as your guest. It’s my first time!

1.    What is the strangest talent you have?
I had to think long and hard about this. None of my so-called talents seem particularly unusual, let alone strange. What about this one: I am quite good at impersonating Patsy Cline singing Country with a southern accent!

2.    What is the best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?
Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever worn one. Not having children, I don’t go in for dressing up. The nearest I came was when I was at a job interview in my twenties. It was to be the secretary to a cartographer. He mentioned that he was also an illustrator of children’s books. ‘So would you be willing to dress up as a snail?’ I shot out of that office, leaving a silvery trail behind me.

3.    Are the titles of your books important?
I think most authors feel as I do, that titles are extremely important to get right. They have to attract a reader instantly, give a flavour of the content, and preferably be memorable. I love the double pun in my non-fiction title when I worked in a sanatorium in Bavaria as a veggie cook: from Bad to Wurst. Most people know that wurst is sausage, but don’t always appreciate that Bad is spa. When I translated for my witty writing friend, he said, ‘Oh, I get it, Den: from Spa to Sausage!’  
The title for my trilogy was always The Voyagers. The three heroines all go on ships to faraway places, but unbeknown to them they are also on an inner voyage of discovery and maturity. I kept the three individual titles simple: Annie’s Story, Juliet’s Story, and Kitty’s Story.
I have a fabulous title for my romantic comedy I’m in the middle of writing but I won’t disclose it until I’m further along in the publishing process. I’ll just say that the book hardly needs to be written – the title says it all!

4.    If you’re struggling with a scene or difficult character, what methods help you through it?
I have to think myself into the scene, or think myself into the character. But first I need to visualise the setting. Then I can usually create the scene. As settings are often difficult for me, I’m better if I can actually visit the place and absorb the atmosphere. Of course that’s not always possible – Kitty’s Story is set in Cairo and that’s not such a good part of the world to be at the moment. I don’t have a problem with characters. They come half formed at the beginning, and develop almost of their own accord. I really do picture them and hear their voices and listen to what they say. (I don’t always take notice of them – they need to realise I’m in charge!)

5.    Do you prefer dogs, cats, or none of the above?
I love all animals – I don’t eat them! My first job was a kennel-maid on a greyhound race track where I had to look after 40 dogs! But I’m a cat person through and through – adore them. I have a rescued pure white moggie with golden eyes, named Dougal (husband’s name is Ted), and he’s gorgeous. I love having a cat around. He comes to my writing cabin most days and sleeps on his special chair for hours. When he thinks it’s time for his dinner he strolls along my worktop, drapes over the current manuscript, sometimes tossing it to the floor, picks his way delicately over the keyboard, and generally makes himself a nuisance, purring and nuzzling, until I take notice. Fabulous!

6.    Who’s your favourite author? Why? For a life-long reader who reads widely and avidly, this is the hardest question to answer. For classical, I love Mark Twain, both fiction and non-fiction. He’s so funny. The Bill Bryson of his time. For modern, I’m choosing a relatively new author – Hazel Gaynor, who wrote: The Girl Who Came Home (about a Titanic survivor) and A Memory of Violets (about two orphaned sisters who are flower sellers in London). Her writing is lyrical without being pretentious and you become totally absorbed in the period. Her research is meticulous. I can’t wait for her new one: The Girl from the Savoy, due out September 2016.

7.     Do you have a pet peeve: Yes, a huge one! I can’t stand people in the cinema crackling their sweet papers and popcorn. They seem to have to work their jaws right the way through the film. When I saw Suffragette recently I could hardly hear for the constant noise. After 10 minutes I stood up and asked them to please be quiet. Someone shouted back, ‘We’re not at school!’ No, and had they been, their sweets would have been confiscated. It’s not always the young ones, either. Am I turning into a grumpy old woman?

8.    Do you remember your dreams when you wake up in the morning? Frequently. They probably don’t mean much, though I recently dreamt about the hero in Juliet’s Story, Book 2 of my Voyagers trilogy, a Jack Delaney. He’s tall, dark and arresting, with hazel eyes flecked with gold. Phwar! What a fantastic lover!!

And on that note…I’ve really enjoyed talking to you, Rachel. Thank you so much for having me as your guest.

Blurb for Annie’s Story
We’re going to Australia to better ourselves, Annie…’ 

Hearing those words from the lips of her fiancĂ©, the dashing Ferguson, housemaid Annie’s heart is filled with both excitement and trepidation at the thought of leaving England and her family to sail with him to a new life on the other side of the world. But Australia doesn’t turn out to be the land of Annie’s hopes and dreams when she discovers that those closest to her have betrayed her. A betrayal devastating enough to destroy all of their lives.

Then Annie unexpectedly encounters Alexander Townsend again, the handsome doctor she met on the voyage to Melbourne. Although she tries to deny it, when Annie looks into Alex’s eyes she can’t help wishing there might be a second chance of happiness for her. But she’s a married woman with a secret nobody must uncover…least of all, Alex.

Blurb for Juliet’s Story

Can secrets destroy love? 2005 - Whatever the risk, businesswoman Juliet Reece grabs a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with both hands. She's been given the freedom and time to sail to Australia to trace her emigrant grandparents' story back in 1913. But buried under the surface is a more compelling reason - a secret she has held close since she was a vulnerable sixteen-year-old, which only her grandmother, Annie, shared - and whose answer may lie in Australia. When Juliet boards the 'Alexandria' at Tilbury she doesn't count on meeting the enigmatic Jack Delaney. But is it wise to fall for a man from the other side of the world who seems to be carrying dark secrets of his own?

Bio of Denise Barnes                November 2015

Denise Barnes has travelled the world, unpacking her suitcase in a score of countries and working at more jobs than she cares to remember.  Mentionable events include selling lipstick in a Denver department store to top English model of the day, Jean Shrimpton; typing on a French keyboard for the UN Narcotics Director in Geneva, chauffeuring a lonely Swiss multi-millionaire lawyer in Zurich, being the first fashion model in Atlanta to dance to pop music; working as a PA to a film producer and delivering a film script to Richard Harris in Rome and not recognizing him (he was not amused); and cooking in a vegetarian sanatorium in Bavaria, which gave rise to her first hilarious memoir: from Bad to Wurst: Bavarian adventures of a veggie cook.
     Back home in England, Denise reluctantly began training as an estate agent – and loved it! Juggling the running of her chain of eight offices in Kent with taking an Honours Degree with Open University, Denise had difficulty finding the time to pursue her life-long passion for writing.
     To give herself the freedom to write she sold her business after 17 years, but unfortunately to the wrong buyers, namely a couple of tricksters, which resulted in a second, more serious, memoir: Seller Beware: How Not To Sell Your Business. Buying back the business and selling it once again, she is now able to resume her love of fiction writing, under the pen-name, Fenella Forster.

Personal links are:

Twitter:  @denisebarnesuk
FB:         Denise Barnes Writer

Saturday, 6 February 2016


Genre: Contemporary Romance : Release Date: 1st July 2015
Publisher:  Choc Lit @ChocLituk

Recommended by the WH Smith Travel Fiction Buyer
Shortlisted for the LoveStories Awards 2015
A Being Anne’s Book of the Year 2015

The Rest of My Life - When is it time to stop running?
“You can’t run away from commitment forever … “
Adam Hamilton-Shaw has more reason than most to avoid commitment. Living on a houseboat in the Severn Valley, his dream is to sail into the sunset – preferably with a woman waiting in every port. But lately, his life looks more like a road to destruction than an idyllic boat ride…
Would-be screenplay writer Sienna Meadows realises that everything about Adam spells trouble – but she can’t ignore the feeling that there is more to him than just his bad reputation. Nor can she ignore the intense physical attraction that exists between them.
And it just so happens that Adam sees Sienna as the kind of woman he could commit to. But can he change his damaging behaviour – or is the road to destruction a one-way street?

WATCH THE VIDEO!! https://youtu.be/7p319itbVKg


Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, sexy, poignant fiction. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for the Best Romantic e-book Love Stories Award 2015, Sheryl has seven books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies

Sheryl’s new contemporary romance novel was recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer. THE REST OF MY LIFE comes to you from award winning Choc Lit.

Win 1 ecopy of a Sheryl Browne book! You pick what book you want!!


Thursday, 4 February 2016

A warm welcome to fellow RNA Bath/Wilts Chapter member, Jan Ellis...

 Hi Jan! Lovely to welcome you to my blog - I'm looking forward to learning more about you and your books. Let's start with my questions....

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

I wanted to be a vet until a life-changing visit to Lloret de Mar aged eleven, after which I decided I was going to be a holiday rep. What could possibly be more glamorous than living in a hotel, having a pool and taking English tourists donkey-trekking?

2. Coffee, tea or hot chocolate?

Tea. I could give up most things, but not my cuppa.

3. What genre do you typically read? Why?

I'm a paperback tart and will read pretty much anything, so long as it's well written with a strong story. That could be fiction, biography or history. I love old Penguins and will often buy them because of the cover art. We're fortunate in having a fantastic second-hand stall in the local market where I'm often to be found gossiping about books with the owner and other like-minded individuals.

4. Share a favourite childhood memory.

Family picnics on the sand dunes in North Wales, complete with gritty egg sandwiches and enough sun to make your shoulders tingle. After rolling down the dunes in my swimming costume, I'd be finding sand in my ears and belly-button for days afterwards. Bliss.

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

Not that I can think of, apart from tea. Oh, and cheese. And wine. And books. (Obviously.)

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

If you're self-employed like me and have lots of competing deadlines, finding the time to sit down and begin is the biggest challenge. Once I get cracking and the characters take over, it's much easier!

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

See above. However, I fully intend to turn over a new leaf and become super-organised . . .

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

Series are great because it means you can explore much-loved characters and bring in new ones. I was delighted (and stunned!) to be asked by Waverley Books to write a paperback for them called The Bookshop Detective. The bookseller in question is Eleanor Mace who runs The Reading Room in An Unexpected Affair and A Summer of Surprises. I'm very fond of Eleanor and her eccentric bunch of friends and family – especially mother Connie and her octogenarian squeeze, Harold – so I'm hoping this new venture turns into a series.

Jan Ellis began writing fiction by accident in 2013. Until then, she had led a blameless life as a publisher, editor and historian of early modern Spain. She fell into fiction when a digital publisher approached her to write a history book, then made the mistake of mentioning women’s fiction, which sounded much more fun.

Jan’s stories have small-town settings with realistic characters who range in age from young teens to eighty-somethings. She is somewhat surprised to find herself a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

The books
An Unexpected Affair, French Kisses and A Summer of Surprise are published as ebooks by Endeavour Press. The paperback versions will be published by Waverley Books in July 2016 and The Bookshop Detective will hit the shelves in spring 2017.

In the meantime, I have a brand-new ebook due out with Endeavour Press in March 2016. Cover reveal to follow! The book is provisionally entitled Kate in the City and here's the blurb:

"Kate has turned her back on university and ended up working for an artisan cheese-maker in a small county town. Life changes radically when she leaves home to take up a job in a super-smart deli and restaurant in Chelsea.

Along with the job come new flat-mates, including the fun, exasperating Imogen and her long-suffering boyfriend, Freddy. Kate thinks she's doomed to early spinsterhood, but Immy has other ideas and sends her colleague out into dating land with unexpected consequences for them both.

This is a fun romance that takes the reader from the King's Road to Cornwall with an eclectic bunch of characters including an old hippy, a Russian property magnate and an ex-boyfriend who doesn't know when to give up."


Find Jan's books here: http://goo.gl/Y86DWm

Follow Jan on Facebook and on Twitter @JanEllis_writer.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Welcome romance author, Ellie Gray...

1.)          What is your favourite thing about yourself?
Hmm. I think I’m a kind person – usually trying to make sure that everyone is okay. I also quite like the fact that I’m a little bit quirky – and not overly bothered if people think I dress a little bit weird sometimes.

2.)          What do you wish you’d known before you started writing?

That getting down the first draft is just the beginning. I wish I had known the technical aspect to writing – editing (and not just for grammar and spelling), character arcs, point of view, etc. And also that it is okay to think you’re first draft is rubbish because it is just that – a first draft and probably the first of many….

3.)          Share a romantic moment in your life.
I love Christmas. A couple of years ago my partner, David, and I spent a weekend in Edinburgh in December. It snowed quite hard and we walked around the Christmas Market hand in hand and then went on the Ferris Wheel. The view was just magical, overlooking Edinburgh, full of snow and Christmas lights.  It was romantic simply because I was there with David, who hates heights and the big wheel, but who made it special.

4.)          Is there one subject you’d never write about as an author? What is it?

It’s difficult to say I would never write about something in particular because you just never know. Characters and stories pop into my head quite randomly but I am mainly a romance writer so it would be unusual for me to write a gritty war or crime novel. But, as I said, you just never know…

5.)          Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Every author will say this, but read as many books and different authors as you can. If you can afford it, go to a writer’s workshop to learn the technical aspects, as I mentioned above. It really helped me to know about those things. There are plenty of books available to buy which can teach you those things too. It really makes you see things in a different light and it helps you as you write your book because you are already looking out for those errors that editors will pick up on.

6.)          If you could be the original author for any book, what would it be? Why?

I would love to be the original author of the Amelia Peabody series of books, written by Elizabeth Peters. Amelia is an unorthodox Victorian woman who, with her archaeologist husband, solves crime and murder mysteries. The books are funny and quirky and are set in Egypt, which I love.

7.)          What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?

I don’t really remember getting into much trouble – nothing major anyway, which I suppose makes me a bit of a goody-two-shoes!  I couldn’t really go anywhere to cause too much trouble as we lived in the middle of nowhere on the edge of a forest, so I spent much of the time exploring the forest with my two brothers and making dens etc.

8.)          If I came to your house for dinner what would you prepare for me? Why?

If you came in the summer, I’d prepare a Mediterranean feast of cold meats, cheeses, dips, breads, olives etc as I love that light kind of food, and we’d eat in the garden with a glass of wine.  In the Winter, I’d probably cook a range of Indian dishes – one of my favourite types of food. With wine. Or beer. Or both J

Author Bio:

Ellie loves to write contemporary, feel-good romance and YA fiction, and is very proud to be a member of the Romantic Novelist Association. She lives in the beautiful East Riding of Yorkshire with her partner, David, two children, two cats and a chinchilla.
Currently working full-time in public services and studying for an MSc in Public Management, Ellie one day hopes to achieve her ambition of writing full time.

Beauty and the Recluse

Following the recent death of her father, and in need of both a job and somewhere to live, Kiya takes a housekeeping job on the spur of the moment. She soon finds herself living in a beautiful but neglected mansion, working for a strange and reclusive man. 

St. John is a man scarred by the past, both physically and emotionally, and is determined to live out his life alone. They are two very different people, drawn to each other almost against their will, but can Kiya convince St. John that he is not the monster he believes himself to be?

Ellie’s debut novel, Beauty and the Recluse, is due for release on 12th February 2016 by Tirgearr Publishing and is currently available for pre-order. Please follow the links below:


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