I’m delighted to welcome Ellie Holmes to my little blog today! This is a great post- I definitely need all the cheerleading I can get!
Over to you Ellie…
Why we all need a cheerleader
We all need a cheerleader in our lives, someone who supports us in whatever we choose to do. A person who is there when the going gets tough with a supportive smile, a reassuring squeeze of the hand or an encouraging nod. A person who will listen calmly as we rant about the injustices that have befallen us or which we imagine might have befallen us. Someone to share the wine (whine?) with.
Our cheerleader is a person who has the clarity of vision to look at any given situation and whilst still playing the role of our cheerleader can see where we might have taken a wrong turn and not be afraid to tell us so.
Our cheerleader is someone who knows us inside out, our limitations and our strengths. They know what we are capable of without the shadow of self doubt darkening their minds as it so often does our own. That is why they know we can succeed at whatever endeavour we have set our minds on and can calm our fears when we question ourselves. Sometimes they and only they can see our true potential and push us along the road to achieving it. That is when a cheerleader becomes an enabler.
How many of us would be where we are today and have achieved the things we have achieved without that inspiring teacher or role model, that parent or other relative who took the time and trouble to build up our self confidence? That someone special who made us believe in ourselves and that anything is possible.
Some have always been in our lives, others arrive late and leave early. But if you have experienced the power of having a cheerleader of our own, you never forget it and you are never the same again.
If you have someone like that in your life be grateful, recognise their contribution for what it is and, if you can, repay the favour by being there for them too. If it is too late for that, try to pay it forward by being a cheerleader for someone else.
There have been countless studies done into the feelings of well being evoked in us when we help others. Those same feelings are not replicated when the only person we are helping is ourselves. So, when the opportunity presents itself and you can help someone else, be their cheerleader, help them as someone once helped you and keep the cycle of goodwill spinning.
Having a cheerleader is a wonderful gift. Being one is even better.
A GOLDEN HOARD JUST WAITING TO BE DISCOVERED…
With her engagement in tatters, Jonquil Jones, a Portable Antiquities specialist, moves to Cornwall for a fresh start. When a report arrives of a treasure trove that has lain hidden underground for centuries, she can feel her soul stirring with excitement.
Is it a one off or the beginning of an extraordinary discovery? It’s Jonquil’s job to find out. There is only one problem: the man who reported the find, Sebastian Ableyard, is the man Jonquil holds responsible for the break-up of her engagement.
Can Jonquil, with the help of Cornishman, Drew Danvers, uncover the ancient landscape’s secrets in time or will plundering treasure hunters beat them to it? And can Jonquil find a way to set aside her fears and risk her heart again on love?
Set against the stunning backdrop of the Cornish countryside and combining heart and soul with a dash of danger, The Tregelian Hoard is the first novella in the exciting new Jonquil Jones Mystery Series by Ellie Holmes.
Excerpt from The Tregelian Hoard:-
Jonquil parked her red Mini Cooper beside the farm shop. As she thumbed her car alarm a blue Triumph Stag roared up and parked across the yard in a shower of gravel. She watched as the driver leapt from the car and pocketed the keys without locking it. Dressed in jeans and a white short-sleeved shirt, he was tall and slender with dark, curly hair.
Catching sight of Jonquil, the man halted. ‘Hello there. Shop’s closed I’m afraid but I can probably get Mum to open up again if I ask her nicely.’ He smiled disarmingly, revealing a pair of cute, deep-set dimples.
‘Drew Danvers?’ Jonquil asked, hazarding a guess. As she came closer and mindful of her aunt’s lively description, Jonquil was left in no doubt. The man’s eyes were the deepest, richest blue Jonquil had ever seen. A Cornish sea on a summer’s day.
Jonquil felt her heart flutter in response to the man’s keen gaze and thrust her car key into the pocket of her denim jacket, letting the edge of the key bite into her palm. You don’t need anyone, remember?
Ellie Holmes writes full length commercial women’s fiction with a touch of romantic suspense and romantic mystery novellas – books that have heart and soul with a dash of danger. Ellie takes her inspiration from the beautiful Essex countryside and the sublime Cornish coast. Romantic and engaging, Ellie’s style of writing will draw you in and keep you turning the pages. Heart-warming stories and compelling characters will stay with you long after you close her books. The Tregelian Hoard is the first novella in the Jonquil Jones Mystery Series.
Amazon Author Page http://Author.to/EllieHomes
Thanks again for such a positive post. I’m very lucky to have a few cheerleaders in my life- I hope you all have them too!
In the interests of giving you lovely folk plenty of time to sort that Christmas present shopping, the Kindle pre-order link for my Pickwick’s coffee shop seasonal trilogy, Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection, is available to click right now!
The Jenny Kane Christmas Collection combines all three seasonal shorts from Jenny’s best-selling Another Cup of … series in one festive anthology.
In ‘Another Cup of Christmas’, we return to Pickwicks Coffee House in London, the setting for Jenny’s bestselling novel Another Cup of Coffee. Together with old friends Kit, Amy, Scott and Peggy, we meet new waitress Megan, who’s in charge of organising a charity event for the local hospital. Is romance as well as seasonal goodwill in the air?
‘Christmas in the Cotswolds’ sees Megan, now an established face at Pickwicks, travelling to the beautiful Cotswold countryside after an emergency call from her friend Izzie. Can Megan help Izzie pull off the perfect Christmas at her Arts and Crafts Centre – and save the business from disaster?
Kit Lambert, Pickwicks’ writer-in-residence, takes centre stage in ‘Christmas at the Castle’. Already nervous about appearing at her very first literary festival, in the grounds of a magnificent Scottish castle at Christmas time, Kit suddenly finds herself co-organising the whole thing – and trying to repair old friendships – with the deadline fast approaching…
Available in paperback from 17th November- you can pre-order the collection on Kindle here now-
Or you can buy each of the stories on Kindle individually – all the links are available below
Happy Christmas clicking!!
I’m delighted to welcome fellow Accent Press author, Kristen Bailey, to my blog today to talkie foodie-ness…
Over to you Kristen…
Given my novel, Souper Mum, runs with a foodie theme, I was recently asked by a magazine about whether I have a ‘food ethos.’ I wasn’t really sure how to answer as I’m not sure I fit into any specific foodie category. I was vegetarian for a week back in my teens until I realised I quite liked bacon. And steak. I went through a university phase of only eating pasta with stir-in sauces, and pregnant phases of only eating anything salt and vinegar flavoured. But since then, I’d say I’m your classic omnivore. A bit of everything in moderation, right? (She says, eating her fifty-fifth Malted Milk of the day).
As a household with four little people, we eat organic (if it’s on offer) and I’ll admit we eat all those bad things that people tell us to avoid: the gluten, the sugar, the chicken nuggets and the E-numbers. But we like berries and nuts and healthier shit too. My youngest once ate five clementines in a row at Christmas. I won’t talk about the resulting nappies. We preach variety. The little ones don’t mind a bit of sushi but also like an oven chip. I am pretty sure my kids could correctly identify broccoli in a vegetable line-up. Hell, sometimes they may even eat it too. I have my limits in what I’ll bring into my house: I draw the line at complete cooked breakfasts in a tin, ham shaped like a bear’s face and rocket. I’m sorry, we are iceberg people. One food issue divides this household and that is mushrooms. I think they’re great. They make my husband break into a cold sweat and if he sees me eating them, he questions the very foundations of our relationship. Of course, everything is also counterbalanced against my cooking skills and the wildly varying tastes of the littlies – one of whom recently decided he doesn’t like cheese (Seriously? Are we related?) So, is that an ethos? I’d like to see Channel 4 do a cookbook that links that altogether if possible.
It’s not an ethos shared by all. You usually find this out on play dates when a parent gives you a strange look for suggesting we ‘just grab some Happy Meals,’ or at children’s parties where you’re stared down for offering around Haribo. I know it’s an ethos not shared by half the chefs on my televisions these days either. Remember when cooking shows used to be Delia cooking in her conservatory? She’d turn out a lovely looking Victoria sponge, resplendent in a thick layer of cream, scarlet jam and a dusting of icing sugar. She was kindly and polite. Well now TV chefs use newfangled ingredients like coconut oil, agave and pomegranates. They leap around their kitchens and tell me I can’t put sugar or flour or dairy in my cakes: three foods that possibly keep me alive and sane. These chefs seem to have crossed a line into my living room too. I’ll be sitting there eating my family bag of Maltesers and they’ll point their fingers and judge me. They tell me what I’m eating isn’t good enough. Bring back Delia, I say.
So I wrote Souper Mum in the hope that there were other people out there like me who had a similar approach to food. Jools Campbell is my Souper Mum: a mum-of-four who likes a fish finger sandwich (all similarities to me are not coincidental at all…) and she gets in about 3.5 a day. Jools’ story is one of food but also motherhood and celebrity. In a world of pedant chefs and food fads, Jools tells you it’s OK to step back from the kale (it tastes bitter and gets stuck in your teeth anyway…) and opt for the food ethos that makes you ruddy happy, or at least still involves whole packets of economy biscuits…..
Souper Mum is the story of Jools Campbell, a stay-at-home mother of four, who becomes an unlikely foodie hero when she stands up to a pompous celebrity chef, Tommy McCoy on a reality show. Armed with fish fingers and a severely limited cooking repertoire, we watch as she becomes a reluctant celebrity and learns some important life lessons about love, family and the joyless merits of quinoa.
To buy Souper Mum, click on this link:
Mother-of-four, gin-drinker, binge-watcher, receipt hoarder, hapless dog owner, enthusiastic but terrible cook. Kristen lives in Fleet, Hampshire and has had short fiction published in several publications. The sequel Second Helpings will be published in November.
She also writes a blog about being a modern mother. That and more can be found at her website: www.kristenbaileywrites.com
You can also find her on:
Twitter @baileyforce6 and Facebook www.facebook.com/kristenbaileywrites
Many thanks Kristen for such a fab blog,
It’s pouring with rain outside- it often is down here in the South West of England. Even though it is only 8am in the morning, the corner of the café in which I sit and write every morning is filling up fast.
I’m a familiar face in here. I usually sit at the same table- although only because it has good light – I’m not precious about sitting in the same spot or anything (despite the plaque on the wall that claims the opposite!). Consequently I am something of a fixture and fitting, and people that come to the café regularly see me here, writing away, every time they come through the door. There is even a rumour that I keep a rolled up sleeping bag and pillow under the table, and never actually go home.
A few days ago, one of the lovely regulars came and asked me a question I’m pretty sure they’ve been dying to ask for months. ‘Why are you always writing, don’t you ever get a day off?’
It’s a good question. One my husband asks pointedly every now and then.
The answer is simple- well ‘simple’ is probably pushing it!
I need to write.
Don’t confuse this with being the same as ‘I want to write.’ That is a different thing altogether.
Once upon a time I did want to write. I dreamt of completed stories, and maybe one day having a book all of my own.
These days it’s an addiction. An unstoppable, nail biting, obsession of disappointment and triumph. A roller coaster I can’t imagine ever getting off.
I used to fit my writing around my job and my life, now it is very much the other way around. As a consequence of course I get massive hits of guilt. So, rather than giving my job less time, I give it more; as I live in fear of letting my employers down, and am frequently to be found processing spreadsheets late into the night.
Then comes the real guilt- when you find yourself only half listening to what your child has been up to at school because you have just thought of a killer line for your latest book and if you don’t write it down NOW, you’ll actually explode!
My children (who luckily for me are both very creative in their own right, and totally get the feeling of absorption which producing something unique brings), are wonderful. Whenever I apologise to them for being only half as attentive a parent as I should be, they tell me off for being daft. Telling me they are just fine thank you very much- and could they have a life to karate, their friend’s house, the cafe now please…
Sometimes I look around at my undusted house, with the fluff on the carpet sometimes reaching epidemic proportions, and feel very sorry for my husband. He didn’t sign up for this. When we met and married almost 18 years ago, I was almost the complete opposite of who I am now. My home was cleaned and scrubbed to within an inch of its life. Dust was captured long before it had the chance to settle, and it was a rare day when there wasn’t a fresh cake baking in the over. And somehow, alongside all this, I had 3 part time jobs and was doing a PhD.
My husband must miss that multitalented woman, domestic goddess, and fellow academic. Sometimes I think he deserves a medal for putting up with me, because- to get back to the point of this blog- I really do only have a one week off a year for a holiday, along with a few random days off at Christmas and Easter each year. Not because I have a maverick boss yelling at me, not because I am forced to- but because I can’t stop. I just can’t.
Okay, there are lots of deadlines to deal with, and there are times when I am genuinely very much up against time- but often I have to work because- well, I have to work! If I don’t I’m a ratty, fidgety, grumpy person who is in serious danger of losing my usually permanent smile.
And why wouldn’t I smile all the time- I am addicted to the best job in the world!!
So be warned anyone out here who hopes to write a book some day. You too could also be kidnapped by the world of the imagination- a world that is so much safer than the real one, because you are always in charge. You get to pick the words that shape the lives of everyone you invent- a powerful narcotic indeed…. (Oh- and if you do want to risk it and write-make sure you are married to a very very understanding husband or wife!!!)
I’m delighted to welcome Jenny Harper to my blog. Today Jenny is chatting about a problem I’ve tackled myself- series writing.
Over to you Jenny…
The perils of writing a series
I confess to being a very bad series writer. The fact is, I never expected my first novel, Face the Wind and Fly, to turn into a series. But the town of Hailesbank was in my head, and it wouldn’t go away. However, I’ve never drawn a map (except in my head), and I just know that one day my characters are going to meet in a place that has mysteriously shifted along the High Street, or they’re going to be the wrong age, or their eyes will have changed colour… And going back through all the books now to log everything would be such a lot of work! I can’t resist sending my characters off to meet in the Spanish tapas bar, Besalú, or watching them walk in the Memorial Park, or drop in at the Duke of Atholl for a pint or two (but heck – where is it again?).
In my latest novel, Mistakes We Make, I’ve been more daring than merely setting the books in the same town – it’s the first book in my Heartlands series that actually takes a character from a previous novel (People We Love) and moves her story forward. I loved writing this! It was a great feeling to know that Molly and her friend Lexie (who went through the mill in the earlier novel) had a future – and to uncover the mysteries left hanging about Molly’s past.
I should have planned the whole project better, of course. I spent a ridiculous amount of time making sure there weren’t any continuity errors. Still, I did love writing it, and I hope you enjoy reading it too. Here’s the gist:
What do you do when you find you haven’t fallen out of love after all? It’s too late to save your marriage and your husband has a new woman in his life …
Molly Keir’s answer is to run away. Well, it’s not exactly running away because she is given the chance of a lifetime – a partnership in a glamorous marketing agency in London – but she soon finds it isn’t the right answer either. She misses her friends and family, and when her brother gets into trouble, she’s not there to give him her support.
Adam Blair, her husband (they are still married at the start of the book), is sleepwalking through life. He has lost his wife and he’s in a job he hates. He became a lawyer to please his father, but he’d much rather be out walking on the hills. When everything collapses around him, he has some difficult decisions to make too.
And then there’s Caitlyn Murray. I really enjoyed writing about Caitlyn, who stars in the sub-plot, Caitlyn Murray. Caitlyn lives with her unlucky-in-love mother and four step siblings, and she’s a warm, loving, salt-of-the-earth girl who has to find her own way through the huge problems that beset her, while trying to work out what it is that she really wants from life. Her story, obviously, intertwines with Molly’s in an unexpected way, but in the end, she’s her own woman.
So – will I write another book in the Heartlands series? Almost certainly! And will I learn from the past and get organised?
Shh … don’t tell anyone … but I’ll probably muddle along again. But next time I decide to write a series, it will all be different!
Jenny Harper lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, though she was born in India and grew up in England. She has been a non-fiction editor, a journalist and a businesswoman and has written a children’s novel and several books about Scotland, as well as a number of contemporary novels and a novella in The Heartlands series (set in the fictional town of Hailesbank), and two short stories that have appeared in anthologies. Mistakes We Make, published in July 2016, is her sixth full-length novel
Social media links
Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00HXIE2Q0
Many thanks again Jenny- great blog.
Don’t yell at me! I know you don’t want me to mention ‘Christmas’ in September, but I have great news about my ‘Another Cup of…‘ series seasonal specials, Another Cup of Christmas, Christmas at the Cotswolds, and Christmas at the Castle.
This winter you’ll be able to buy these 3 seasonal Pickwicks café specials in one collection – a paperback collection!! I know that some of you have been waiting to read these Christmas tales in paperback before you read the last in the series, Another Glass of Champagne – and soon you’ll have your chance!
There is something very special about the Christmas season- the extra levels of hope, love and kindness the season engenders makes it the perfect time in which to set a romantic story. Writing the three seasonal novellas, that form part of the Another Cup of…series, was tremendous fun.
Another Cup of Christmas was the first sequel to the bestselling novel, Another Cup of Coffee.
Another Cup of Christmas continues the tale of life at Pickwicks Coffee House in Richmond, London, and its regular customers, ex waitress Amy, writer in residence, Kit, and local bookshop owner, Jack.
Café owners Peggy and Scott and their new waitress Megan, are organising a Christmas fundraising auction for the local hospital. Rather than serving copious amounts of coffee to Kit, as she sits writing the corner of the cafe, Megan is spending most of her days emailing the hospital liaison clerk about the charity event. As the auction draws nearer, Megan becomes more and more curious about meeting Nick in person…
Christmas in the Cotswolds follows on from Another Cup of Christmas. A year has passed, and Megan is now an established face at Pickwicks. However, when an emergency call comes from her friend Izzie, Megan finds herself travelling to the beautiful Cotswold countryside. Can Megan help Izzie pull off the perfect Christmas at her Art and Craft Centre, and save the business from the clutches of disaster?
Christmas at the Castle turns its attention to Pickwicks writer in residence, Kit Lambert. Invited to guest at her very first literary festival, Kit is suddenly thrust into the role of co-organiser. As if that wasn’t daunting enough, Kit is going to have to face the challenge without the support of her loyal family and her Pickwick friends- for the festival is to be held in the magnificent grounds of Crathes Castle, in distant Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
All three of these festive novellas can be read in isolation, or in order. And if you love reading them as much as I loved writing them, then why not finish off the series, by searching out the final tale in the series, Another Glass of Champagne.
A full length novel, Another Glass of Champagne, brings big changes for all of the Pickwicks team- especially Jack and Amy…
So if you’ve been waiting for the paperback version of my Christmas coffee shop tales- your chance to buy them is almost here. I’ll shut as soon as the pre-order is available!