There’s Something About Cornwall #TuesdayBookBlog #GuestPost by @daisyjamesbooks

First of all, a huge thank you for featuring my brand new release – There’s Something About Cornwall – on your blog. My pleasure, Daisy 🙂

 

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Amazon UK | US

 

Location is always very important to me when I’m writing. It’s almost as though it’s another character that requires just as much attention, just as much crafting, as any other. My first novel – The Runaway Bridesmaid – was set in New York. I enjoyed an amazing trip there a couple of years ago, for a milestone birthday, except, instead of spending five exhilarating days taking in the sights, because of Hurricane Sandy we ended up being there for eleven. Everywhere was closed, even the Broadway shows, so I grabbed a pen and some paper and started writing and my first published novel was born.

When I began researching my fourth book, I wanted my characters to have a fabulous backdrop for their story, so it had to be Cornwall. The scenery is so beautiful and diverse, not to mention the fact that the sun always seems to be shining. There’s Something About Cornwall follows Emilie Roberts, a food photographer, who takes a culinary road trip around the whole county as she works on a photoshoot for a celebrity TV chef working on her next cookery book.

Emilie’s epic journey starts in Padstow where she meets Matt at a beach party. He becomes a last-minute replacement driver for an orange-and-cream vintage campervan they’ve nicknamed The Satsuma Splittie. There’s plenty of stops along the way and lots of baking and tasting of the delicious Cornish food that is being photographed.

I wanted to showcase not only the local recipes, but also the wide array of artisan beverages that Cornwall is famous for. So, in Truro, they visit an apple orchard where Emilie photographs the Cornish Cyder Cake and Apple and Caramel Loaf, but they also indulge in a few pints of the local Scrumpy.

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Apple & Caramel Loaf

During my research, I was amazed to find that vineyards flourish on south-facing slopes and fabulous white and rosé wine is produced in Cornwall. The county is also the only place in England that grows tea – Tregothnan Tea – it offers a whole new meaning to the label English Breakfast tea!

I also came across the Southwestern Distillery, run by Tarquin Leadbetter, which produces not only Cornish Gin but also Cornish Pastis. The pastis is a modern take on the classic French aperitif and the first of its kind created in the UK. It is made with gorse flowers foraged from the Atlantic clifftops and fresh orange zest finished off with a touch of liquorice root. Tarquin also grows his own Devon violets for use in his Tarquin’s Gin.

I hope readers will enjoy escaping to our southernmost county when they read There’s Something About Cornwall.

For a chance to win a book on the history of the much-loved, iconic camper van, a mug and a coaster, just follow Daisy James and retweet the pinned tweet. The prize will be drawn on 31st March 2017 (UK only).

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WIN these goodies!

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

Interview with Author, Gail Mitchell @GailMitchell42 #Author #Interview #wwwBlogs

It’s my pleasure to introduce author, Gail Mitchell, as she releases her fabulous book, Loving the Life Less Lived (you can read my review tomorrow). Over to Gail…

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The Fun Stuff:

What part of the world do you come from?

I was born in Nottingham, but spent my teenage years in Brentwood in Essex (before it became famous for TOWIE). After studying in York I came back to Nottingham, moved to Bristol for six years then back to Nottingham again. Nottingham is my home, it’s like a magnet that keeps drawing me back.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

An Air Hostess! Even though it’s not politically correct to call them that anymore. Other than that I wanted to be a recluse!

List three words to describe yourself.

Well avoiding the obvious anxiety related words I would say: Continue reading “Interview with Author, Gail Mitchell @GailMitchell42 #Author #Interview #wwwBlogs”

#FridayBookShare While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft #Psychological #Thriller

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I created the Friday Book Share Game to help search for that ideal novel/author.

Anyone can have a go – all you need to do is answer the following questions based on a book you enjoyed reading (old or new) and use the hashtag #FridayBookShare – Simples!

First line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb.

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favourite line/scene.

Here’s mine:

It’s my spot on the Blog Tour for Kathryn Croft’s new psychological thriller, While You Were Sleeping, and I thought it would make a fabulous addition to the Friday Book Share Game. Continue reading “#FridayBookShare While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft #Psychological #Thriller”

Writing for Children and Young Adults with Marion Crook (@author_mcrook) #BlogTour #wwwBlogs #HowToBooks

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Writing isn’t easy. Our creative skills need to be nurtured so they can evolve. Reading ‘how to’ books on various writing formats/genres has been an enormous help to me over the years, and in particular, with my YA novels. I am, therefore, delighted to have a master of writing for children and young adults on my blog today.

It is my pleasure to introduce author, Marion Crook, as she releases the third edition of her fabulous book, Writing for Children and Young Adults. Over to Marion…

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©Imaging by Marlis 2012

The Fun Stuff:

What part of the world do you come from?

Gibsons, British Columbia, Canada. I live in a small town on the ocean, a 40 minute ferry ride from Vancouver.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a veterinarian and when I couldn’t (women weren’t allowed way back then) I wanted to graduate from university and just keep learning. I didn’t tell my daughter my early ambition, but she is a veterinarian. Perhaps that’s why I have animals, particularly dogs, in every book.

List three words to describe yourself. Continue reading “Writing for Children and Young Adults with Marion Crook (@author_mcrook) #BlogTour #wwwBlogs #HowToBooks”

#wwwBlogs Meet Author, @lindsayjpryor #newrelease #paranormal #romance

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It’s no secret that I am slightly obsessed with vampires! I’ve blogged about it often enough, and my obsession may have come up in one or two interviews. So, I’m beyond excited to have dark paranormal romance author, Lindsay Pryor, on my blog today – what she doesn’t know about hot, steamy vampires isn’t worth knowing!  😉

Over to Lindsay…

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The Fun Stuff:

What part of the world do you come from?

I was born in South Wales in the UK and lived there for twenty-two years, studying for both my degree and my post-graduate qualifications there too. I moved to the north of England for three years for my first teaching post, but I’ve now lived in the south west of England for the past seventeen years.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

An author. I had my first batch of careers advice when I was 13. By that point, I’d been writing stories for at least four years – including a science-fiction book. It’s what I did every spare minute I had so I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I had no understanding of what being published meant, just that I wanted as much time as possible to write. They advised me to opt for a sustainable career so suggested teaching. I did that for eighteen years but I guess the full-time author in me had to out at some point!

List three words to describe yourself.

Creative. Empathetic. Tenacious.

Who would play you in a film about your life?

Helena Bonham Carter. It would have to be someone quirky who plays intense and socially awkward well.

What’s your favourite snack food when writing?

Dark chocolate. I want to say fruit, I really do… we believe you, Lindsay 😉

If you had a super power, what would it be?

Tough one! I’ve always wanted to be able to fly and regularly used to take lessons in my living room growing up. It used to involve jumping across the room from one sofa to the other. The sad thing is, I used to award myself certificates for progress – and make my parents attend the ceremony.

I think I’ll opt for the power of healing though. I lost my Dad to cancer before he had the chance to see me published. The time I spent on the wards during his treatment was an immense eye-opener to what some people deal with every day. Imagine having the ability to remove that pain and be able to tell people that their loved ones are going to be okay? I also have a passion for wildlife and nature. My garden’s a woodland so there’s times when I wish I could offer more than just warmth and TLC when I lose one of the residents.

Oh dear, this was supposed to be the “fun” section. See, this is I write dark PNR… 🙂

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The Sensible Side:

Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing?  What do you do when you’re not writing?)

I’ve been writing for over thirty years and have been published for the last four. Writing was never actively a choice, more of a compulsion. I certainly never started out with the intention of getting published one day. I just kept coming up with characters and worlds in my head and the most natural thing to do was to write it down.

I penned my first sci-fi when I was nine and wrote stories throughout my teenage years and into my early twenties, as well as writing, performing and directing mini-plays in my local church hall. I opted to study Psychology and Communication at university because I thought it would better help me understand the characters I write about. I went on to qualify as an English teacher and spent eighteen years with a focus on improving children’s literacy. I also learned a lot about my own writing skills and techniques along the way.

I was discovered through an international romance writing competition after being a finalist for two years running. I was approached by Bookouture and asked to be their launch author back in 2012.

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or watching films. I also love walking and nature so, when the weather’s reasonable, I regularly trek along coastlines, through woods or over the moors. I definitely like the quiet life!

Where did the inspiration for your Blackthorn Series come from?

The concept for the Blackthorn series started evolving twenty years ago this month when I relocated to a big city over 300 miles away from everything I knew. Not long after moving there, I got lost walking home one night. I ended up in a very isolated and run-down area. Iron bars were on windows. Metal shutters were on doors. The place was dead.

I was terrified, but the idea for Blackthorn was born – dark paranormal stories set in an urban, gritty backdrop of social unrest, where the ‘third species’ are segregated and discriminated against for having shadows instead of souls. Primarily based around a polluted, over-populated, rotten core of a locale, they’re given the dregs in terms of location, provision, opportunities and rights whilst being ruled by the iron fist of the more privileged humankind.

Blackthorn soon became the ideal environment to breed conflict between characters, particularly my heroes and heroines. Blackthorn inevitably developed into a backdrop for dark and intense romances that will each play an integral role in the future of all who live there.

What do you like most about writing dark paranormal romance?

I love writing fantasy because the level of creativity required is a challenge. There’s nothing quite like the total freedom of creating your own world and rules.

Because I’m fascinated by human nature, romance is the prime genre to explore all facets of a character. If you want to dig deep into a person, their take on and approach to their romantic relations will reveal more about them than anything else. I like to lay my characters as bare as possible, and romance allows the most holistic overview of a person.

Writing the darker side of romance comes because I love complex characters – whether reading about them, watching them, or creating them. Writing intense and unpredictable situations makes for a more interesting dynamic on the page for me. I also like the flexibility dark PNR allows. Neither the hero nor the heroine need to be guaranteed to do the right and moral thing, nor fit society’s view of what that is. There’s no clear-cut good and bad. Dark PNR allows for its characters to be shades of grey – and there’s a heck of a lot of scope in grey for a writer. When you have grey characters it can, ironically for PNR, be a truer reflection of life.

What is the hardest part of writing a series containing eight novels?

Not ever working with just one book at a time. Because of Blackthorn’s overarching plot, every time I write the next book I have to be thinking of all the previous books as well as where it’s all going to end so as to ensure the pace works not just in one book but across the entire series.

I also needed to lay the clues of what’s to come like a trail of breadcrumbs from book one. For example, one of my characters works out a salient piece of information in book 5 that’s first mentioned in passing in book 2. It meant nothing whilst reading the second book, but if it hadn’t been there it would have made the discovery too convenient for a significant turn in the plot later. That takes a lot of planning! It’s great fun because I have so many readers who now keep re-reading the series and spotting everything they missed the first time around. It hopefully makes reading Blackthorn a richer experience for them.

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The other challenge is being aware that some readers will enter the series later in the books. It’s not easy trying to cover what they need to know without rehashing what is obvious to fans of the series – I don’t want to confuse one but neither do I want to bore the other. We have it plastered everywhere that readers need to come in from the beginning though. We can do nothing more than that.

As challenging as it has been at times, I’ve loved it.

Can you give us a brief excerpt from your latest novel, Blood Bound?

I can share one of the ‘Bites’ as we call them, so as not to reveal any spoilers:

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What can we expect from you in the future? 

Hopefully more books! With only one more Blackthorn book to go, I’ve already been in conversations about where I’m going next and have started on new projects that I’m working on alongside the final book.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

You can visit my website. Everything you could need to know is there. My other main place is my Facebook page where I regularly chat to my readers. I receive a lot of emails too, so never hesitate to get in touch is you prefer a less public forum.

You can also follow Lindsay on Twitter.

You can read my review of Blood Shadows (book one) HERE.

Find all the Blackthorn books on Amazon UK | Amazon US

Thank you so much for joining me today, Lindsay.

#TuesdayBookBlog Meet #SciFi Author, Arthur Doweyko (@aweyken)

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I am delighted to have sci-fi author, Arthur Doweyko on my blog today talking about his latest book, As Wings Unfurl, flying like Superman, and the joy of writing science fiction.

 Arthur Doweyko

The Fun Stuff:

What part of the world do you come from?

I was born in Aldershot, England and spent early years in London. My family moved to New Jersey where I spent most of my youth.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A high school vocational test indicated I had an aptitude for both science and art. I followed my father’s advice to pursue a career in science, but kept art (painting and writing) close by.

List three words to describe yourself.

Creative, scientist, artist.

Who would play you in a film about your life?

I don’t think my life is interesting enough for a movie. Having said that, there are a number of misadventures that I did get into and for some reason Benedict Cumberbatch comes to mind.

What’s your favourite snack food when writing?

I don’t eat while writing. I don’t listen to music either. I lock myself away in my man cave and crawl out when exhausted. (I do love raisinets while watching movies).

If you had a super power, what would it be?

Flying. I always wanted to fly like Superman, and not just for the thrill of it. I wanted to catch crooks and save damsels in distress.

 

As-Wings-Unfurl-800 Cover reveal and Promotional
Amazon UK | Amazon US

 

The Sensible Side:

Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing?  What do you do when you’re not writing?)

I wrote short stories in high school. I used to pass out type-written booklets during trig class. There has always been within me a strong urge to share a vision or a story. I get a real kick when a reader’s eyes light up.  I’ve been a scientist for most of my life and most of my writing was aimed at producing a non-fictional (I hoped) report or paper or chapter. Since retiring recently, I now spend most of my time unleashing the stories that have floated around in my head for years. I teach college chemistry as an adjunct faculty at a state college.

Where did the inspiration for As Wings Unfurl come from?

Inspiration is tough to define, and even tougher to pin point an origin for. My best guess is that the idea came from the melding of at least two experiences. In parochial school I had just learned about guardian angels, and one morning on the way to school I was sure one of those winged creatures saved my life. I even argued with a nun about it. The Vietnam War produced thousands of altered lives, men broken in body and spirit. When they returned home, they were generally despised. We’ve forgotten how bad that was. So there you have it. A dejected amputee veteran, addicted to morphine encounters an angel who needs his help to save humanity. Of course, she’s not really an angel. I figured it was time for a Vietnam vet to be a hero.

What do you like most about writing science fiction?

The sky’s the limit … actually there are no limits. It’s a genre that is quick to absorb all others. It serves as a creative platform, offering up make believe worlds, people and civilizations.

—a perfect backdrop for highlighting character arcs, and zooming though the most wondrous plot arcs.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Gratuitous sex and violence. We get enough of that on the nightly news.

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead characters?

Although Angela is capable of looking like anything he/she wishes to model, in the story, this alien creature takes on the form of a 20-something beautiful brunette. So, I checked out a few listings of up and coming actresses in that age range and five names percolated up: Victoria Justice, Cara Develingne, Elizabeth Olsen, Mia Wasikowska, and Emily Ratajkowski. They all have the strong facial features I envisioned for Angela. My top choice would be Elizabeth Olsen because she pulled off dynamic and strong roles in recent SFF films. For Apple, I’d pick an actor who has had some experience playing offbeat roles. Perhaps someone like Robert Adamson, Robbie Amell, Brenton Thwaites, or Miles Teller. I’d prefer a rugged face and physique …maybe Robbie or Miles. (Fabulous choices!)

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The hardest part in writing is the research. It’s probably why folks are always telling you to write about what you know. In the case of As Wings Unfurl, I needed to do quite a bit of exploring. What were the trains/subways available to/from NJ and NY in 1979? What’s the most likely look for Big Foot or a Yeti? What was the most common version of a leg prosthetic? What does the inside of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral look like? Some of these bits came from first-hand experience, most others are references (thank God for Google).

Can you give us a brief excerpt from As Wings Unfurl?

Jason, a private eye, faces off with a mysterious woman visitor in his office

A sharp pain stabbed at his right hand. He jerked it up, leaving a trail of bright-red oval droplets along the doorjamb. His eyes widened. The tip of his right forefinger was gone. Squealing half in anger and half in terror, he pinched the bloody stub with his other hand.  “Bitch! What the hell?”

His eyes darted to his desk. The Smith and Wesson might as well have been a thousand miles away. He didn’t see a knife. His knees began shaking.

“Jason, calm down. Tell me where the negatives are, and this unpleasantness will end.” She held up his fingertip, wiggled it at him, and tossed it into her mouth.

What can we expect from you in the future? 

I am currently putting the finishing touches on my latest project, Henry The Last.  An early version of the manuscript has been rated 5-stars by Readers Favorite and is a Finalist in the 2016 Royal Palm Literary Award competition held annually in Orlando, FL. Henry is a Lakota Sioux native American. He is also an android entirely made of metal, plastic, tubes and wires, except for one little thing, his human brain. An asteroid strike and a viral outbreak that followed left few humans alive — those that were lucky to have their brains encased in impervious titanium skulls. At least that’s what the news said. Henry will discover the truth, but in no easy way. He, his ghost of a wife, a robot aide and an unusual visitor will take a roller-coaster ride through a post-apocalyptic world where nothing is as it seems

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

The best way to get in touch is to visit my web site: www.ArthurMDoweyko.com

You can also access a number of my short stories there.

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/@aweyken

Website: http://www.arthurmdoweyko.com/

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2c4vWlv

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30236739-as-wings-unfurl

As Wings Unfurl

By Arthur M. Doweyko

Genre: Science Fiction

Applegate Bogdanski returns from Vietnam with a missing leg, a Purple Heart, and an addiction to morphine. He stumbles through each day, looking forward to nothing and hoping it will arrive soon. When he attempts to thwart a crime, he is knocked unconscious and wakes up to discover that people are once again calling him a hero, though he feels undeserving of the praise.

Apple returns to work and meets Angela, a mysterious woman who claims to be his guardian. Immediately, he feels a connection to her, which morphs into an attraction. But he soon discovers that Angela is much more than she seems.

Apple and Angela are swept up in a conspiracy that stretches through time and space. Together, they must fight to save everything they hold dear from an alien race bent on destroying humanity.

Author Bio

After retiring in 2009, Arthur M. Doweyko took up writing fiction. His novel Algorithm garnered a 2010 Royal Palm Literary Award. He has also published a number of short stories, many of which have been selected as Finalists in the Royal Palm Literary Award contest, and two Honorable Mentions in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest.

Arthur was awarded the 2008 Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award for his contribution to the discovery of Sprycel, a novel anti-cancer drug successfully brought to the marketplace in 2009. He has authored over one hundred publications (papers, abstracts, patents, book chapters) and has been an invited lecturer in a number of drug-discovery and computational venues.

Arthur lives in Florida with the love of his life, Lidia. When he’s not writing, he’s happily wandering the beaches.

Interview with Kitty French (@kittysbooks), author of Melody Bittersweet and the Girls’ Ghostbusting Agency #humour

I’m delighted to have the deliciously funny, Kitty French on my blog today to talk about her new release, Melody Bittersweet and the Girls’ Ghostbusting Agency.

Kitty French

The Fun Stuff:

What part of the world do you come from?

The UK. I’m a Black Country lass!

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Being a writer in some form was all I ever really wanted. Originally I wanted to go into journalism, but I’m pretty happy writing books.

List three words to describe yourself.

Disorganised. Scatty. Bibliophile.

Who would play you in a film about your life?

That would be a very niche film!

What’s your favourite snack food when writing?

Something small and sweet and not very good for me that I can keep picking at! Wine gums, that kind of thing.

If you had a super power, what would it be?

I’d like to write faster than the speed of light. 😉

Melody Bittersweet
Amazon UK | Amazon US

 

The Sensible Side:

Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing?  What do you do when you’re not writing?)

I’m happily married with two young sons, and I live in the UK in a house that seems to be perpetually messy! I started writing during maternity leave, because it was something I’d always wanted to do but never had the time to have a proper go at before. Having a lap top was a bit of a turning point, it meant I could write anywhere, often next to a sleeping baby in the middle of the night back then.

What do I do when I’m not writing? That doesn’t happen very often! But I like spending time doing stuff with the family, and going on holiday to somewhere sunny with a pool, a sunbed, good book and of course, a big G&T.

Where did the inspiration for Melody Bittersweet and The Girls’ Ghostbusting Agency come from?

Unusually for me, it came to me almost fully formed. I generally have to work hard to develop a new idea, so to have Melody stroll into my head and almost shout ‘write my story’ was a welcome change!

If your book was made into a film, who would you love to play the lead character?

Melody, for me, would be played by the actress who played Clara Oswald in Doctor Who.

Which of your books was the most fun to write and why?

Definitely Melody Bittersweet! It’s my most humorous book to date, and I love how Bookouture let me have free reign to unleash the crazy!

Can you give us a brief excerpt from your latest novel?

This is the opening from Melody Bittersweet:

‘So, what do you do with your spare time, Melody?’
I look my date square in his pretty brown eyes and lie to him. ‘Oh, you know. The usual.’ I shrug to convey how incredibly normal I am. ‘I read a lot . . . Go to the movies. That kind of thing.’
I watch Lenny digest my words, and breathe a sigh of relief when his eyes brighten.
‘Which genre?’
‘Movies or books?’ I ask, stalling for time because, in truth, I don’t get much in the way of spare time to do either.
‘Movies. Action or romance? No, let me guess.’ He narrows his eyes and studies me intently. ‘You look like a sucker for a rom-com.’
‘Do I?’ I’m genuinely surprised. I’m five foot three and look more like Wednesday Addams than a Disney princess. Maybe Wednesday Addams is over-egging it, but you get the idea; I’m brunette and my dress sense errs on the side of edgy. I don’t think anyone has ever looked at me and thought whimsy. Maybe Lenny sees something everyone else has missed, me included. I quite like that idea, mainly because everyone who knows my family has a head full of preconceptions about me, based on the fact that my family are all crackers.
‘Four Weddings?’ He shrugs hopefully.
I nod, not mentioning that the only part of that particular movie I enjoyed was the funeral.
‘The Holiday?’
Again, I try to look interested and hold my tongue, because I’m sure he doesn’t want to hear that I’d rather stick needles in my eyes than ever watch an over-optimistic Kate Winslet drag some old guy around a swimming pool again.
I’m relieved when the bill arrives and we can get out of there, because so far Lenny has turned out to be a pretty stellar guy and somehow I’ve managed to convince him that I walk on the right side of the tracks. Maybe this time, things will be different.
Lenny pulls his dull, salesman’s saloon into the cobbled cartway beside my building and kills the engine. I don’t mind dull. In fact, my life could really use a bit of dull right now, so I shoot him my most seductive smile, cross my fingers that my mother will be in bed, and invite him in for coffee.
Oh, just when it had all been going so well. Why couldn’t I have just given him a goodnight kiss, with maybe the smallest hint of tongue as a promise, then sent him on his way? He’d have called for a second date, I’m sure of it.
But no. I got greedy, pulled him by the hand through the dark back door, placing my finger against my lips to signal he should be quiet as we tip-toed past my mother’s apartment and up the old wooden staircase to my place.
He rests his hand on my waist as I turn the key, and a small thrill shoots down my back. Look at me, winning at this being-an-adult thing today! Dinner with an attractive man, sparkling conversation, and now back to mine for coffee . . . and maybe even a little fooling around. It’s not that I’m a virgin or anything, but it would be fair to call my love life patchy of late. By ‘of late’ I mean the last two years, ever since Leo Dark and I called things off. Well, by Leo and I, I mean Leo called things off, citing conflict of interests. Ha. Given that he was referring to the fact that my mad-as-a-bag-of-cats family are the only other psychics in town besides him, he was, at least in part, right.
But enough of Leo and my lamentable love life. Right now, all I want is for Lenny not to know anything at all about my peculiar family, to keep seeing me as a cool, regular, completely normal girl, and then to kiss me.
‘You remind me of Clara Oswald,’ Lenny whispers behind me at the top of the stairs. ‘All big brown eyes and clever one-liners. It’s very sexy.’
Lord, I think he’s just brushed a kiss against the back of my neck! My door sticks sometimes so I shoulder it open, aiming for firm and graceful but, I fear, ending up looking more like a burly police SWAT guy ramming it down. Thankfully, Lenny seems to take it in his stride and follows me into my apartment. Then I flick on the table lamp only to discover that my mother is standing on my coffee table in a too-short, too-sheer, baby-blue negligee with her arms raised towards the ceiling and her head thrown back.
‘Shit!’ Lenny swears down my ear, clearly startled. He isn’t to blame. My mother’s a striking woman, ballerina-tall and slender with silver hair that falls in waves well beyond her shoulder blades. It isn’t grey. It’s been pure silver since the day she was born, and right now she looks as if she’s just been freshly crucified on my coffee table.
I sigh as I drop my bag down by the lamp. So much for me being normal.
‘Err, mother?’
Slowly, she takes several heaving breaths and opens her eyes, changing from crazy lady to almost normal human lady. She stares at us.
‘For God’s sake, Melody,’ she grumbles, taking her hands from above her head and planting them on her hips. ‘I almost had the connection then. He’s hiding out in the loft, I’m sure of it.’
I risk a glance over my shoulder at Lenny, who sure isn’t kissing my neck anymore.
He lifts his eyebrows at me, a silent ‘what the hell?’ and then looks away when my mother beckons to him like a siren luring a fisherman onto the rocks.
‘Your hand, please, young man.’
‘No!’ I almost yell, but Lenny is already across the room with his hand out to help her down. My mother eyes me slyly as she steps from the table, keeping a firm hold of Lenny’s hand.
‘Long lifeline,’ she murmurs, tracing her red talon across Lenny’s palm.
‘Mother,’ I warn, but my somber, cautionary tone falls on her selectively deaf ears. I expected nothing else, because she’s pulled this trick before. Admittedly, the standing-on-the-table thing is a new twist, but she’s got form in scoping out my prospective boyfriends to make sure they’ll fit in with our screwball family from the outset. Not that her romantic gauge is something to put any stock in; Leo passed her tests with flying colours and look how that ended up. I got my heart broken and he got a spot on morning TV as the resident psychic. Where’s the justice in that?
Look, we may as well get the clanky old skeleton out of the family closet early on here, people. It’s going to come out sooner or later, and despite my attempts to pull the wool over Lenny’s eyes, there’s never any running away from this thing for long.
My name’s Melody Bittersweet, and I see dead people.
It’s not only me. I’m just the latest in a long line of Bittersweets to have the gift, or the curse, depending on how you look at it. My family has long since celebrated our weirdness; hence the well-established presence of our family business, Blithe Spirits, on Chapelwick High Street. We’ve likely been here longer than the actual chapel at the far end of the street. That’s probably why, by and large, we’re accepted by the residents of the town, in a ‘they’re a bunch of eccentrics, but they’re our bunch of eccentrics,’ kind of way. What began as a tiny, mullion-windowed, one-room shop has spread out along the entire row over the last two hundred years; we now own a run of three terraced properties haphazardly knocked into one, big, rambling place that is both business and home to not only me, but also to my mother, Silvana, and her mother, Dicey. Gran’s name isn’t actually Dicey, it’s Paradise, officially, but she’s gone by Dicey ever since she met my Grandpa Duke on her fifteenth birthday and he wrote Dicey and Duke inside a chalk heart on the back wall of the building. He may as well have written it on her own racing heart.
‘Silvana!’
Speak of the devil. Does no one go to bed around here?
I open my door to find Gran on the threshold with her hand raised, poised to knock. I guess I should be glad she’s slightly more respectably dressed, if a floor-length, purple shot-silk kimono, bearing huge technicolor dragons could be considered as such. Her usually pin-curled gold hair is piled elegantly on her head and she wears a slash of fire-engine-scarlet lipstick for good measure. Most people couldn’t carry the look off, but thanks to her poise, confidence and couldn’t-care-less attitude, Grandma Dicey wears it with artful success. She glides past me without invitation and gazes at my mother and Lenny, who are still hand-in-hand on the rug.
God.
First thing tomorrow morning, I swear, I’m going to look for a new place to live, somewhere, anywhere, that is not in the same building as my mother and my gran. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a charming old place and I love my family dearly. It’s not even as if I don’t have my own space here, because, theoretically at least, I do. Mum and Gran have the ground floor apartment behind Blithe Spirits, and I have the smaller flat upstairs, at the back. In lots of ways this makes me fortunate; I get to have a nice little home of my own and stay close to my family. It would all be fine and dandy, were it not for the fact that my family are officially bonkers and liable to come up and let themselves into my flat – using the spare key I gave them for dire emergencies only – and embarrass the shit out if me.
‘Why is Silvana entertaining a man half her age in your flat?’ Gran looks from me to my mother. ‘You should have said you were expecting company, darling. I’d have gone out.’ She touches her hand lightly against her hair. ‘Put a towel on the doorknob or something, isn’t that the modern way to signal these things? Don’t come a knockin’ if the caravan’s rockin’?’
She looks spectacularly pleased with herself, and one glance at Lenny tells me that he knows he’s way out of his depth with these two and is in the process of writing me off as the worst date he’s ever had. His eyes slide from me to the door, and I can almost hear him begging me to let him go unharmed.
‘He’s not mum’s date, he’s mine. Or else, he was,’ I mutter, and then I’m distracted as a beer-bellied pensioner in a soup-stained shirt slowly materialises through the ceiling, his flannel trousers not quite meeting his bony ankles. Stay with me; I see dead people, remember? As do my mother and my grandmother, who also watch him descend with matching expressions of distaste.
‘Finally,’ my mother spits, dropping Lenny’s hand so she can round on the new arrival. ‘Two hours I’ve been chasing you around this bloody building. Your wife wants to know what you’ve done with the housekeeping she’d hidden in the green teapot. She says you better not have lost it on the horses or she’s had it with you.’
Grandma Dicey rolls her eyes. ‘I rather think she’s had it with him anyway. He’s been dead for six weeks.’
‘You’re a fine one to talk, given that you still sleep with your husband twenty years after he died.’ Mother flicks her silver hair sharply. Touché.
Lenny whimpers and bolts for my front door, turning back to me just long enough to splutter ‘something’s come up, gotta go,’ before he hoofs it out and down the stairs two at a time.
I listen to the outside door bang on its hinges and wonder what came up. Probably his dinner.

What can we expect from you in the future? 

Well, Melody Bittersweet is the first in a series, so more adventures with the Bittersweet crew lie ahead. Yay! 🙂

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

You can chat to me on Facebook, or I’m on Twitter, or you can catch up with my news on my website

Melody Bittersweet and the Girls’ Ghostbusting Agency.

Blurb:

An absolutely hilarious, totally entertaining, spookily sexy read that you won’t be able to put down!

Life’s tricky for Melody Bittersweet. She’s single, she’s addicted to sugar and super heroes, her family are officially bonkers and … she sees dead people. Is it any wonder no-one’s swiping right on Tinder?

Waking up lonely on her twenty-seventh birthday, Melody finally snaps. She can’t carry on basing all of her life decisions on the advice of her magic 8 ball; things have got to change.

Fast forward two months, and she’s now the proud proprietor of her very own ghostbusting agency – kind of like in the movies but without the dodgy white jumpsuits. She’s also flirting with her ex Leo Dark, fraternising with her sexy enemy in alleyways, and she’s somehow ended up with a pug called Lestat.

Life just went from dull to dynamite and it’s showing no sign of slowing up anytime soon. Melody’s been hired to clear Scarborough House of its incumbent ghosts, there’s the small matter of a murder to solve, and then there are the two very handsome, totally inappropriate men hoping to distract her from the job…

Welcome to Chapelwick, home of the brand new and hilarious Girls Ghostbusting Agency series, where things really do go bump in the night.

This is the PERFECT choice for fans of Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella or Lindsey Kelk, with an extra helping of hauntings and hilarity!