Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas at Attingham Park

Christmas Tree in Entrance Hall
Attingham Park is worth visiting at any time, but at Christmas, visitors can step back in time and enjoy festivities from the mansion's 200 year history with the house decorated for Christmas through the ages, as the generations of Lord Berwicks living there might have known it.

I visited recently and took some photos.  The light levels inside the house are low and flash is not allowed in order to protect the delicate fabrics, furniture and paintings, but I managed to get a few shots which gives an idea of the wonderful atmosphere and displays :)

I also love that the old servants' hall is decorated for Christmas - and the way in which details were given for each servant was very ingenious!

All the photos are available to view on my Facebook author page here.

And this great video from Attingham TV shows some of the restoration work going on :)

A Merry Christmas and  Happy New Year !

Monday, 16 December 2013

My Writing Process

Today's post is part of a blog tour where writers answer four questions about their writing process. My fellow Regency author Beth Elliot posted her entry last week and sent me an invite (thank you Beth!).   So now it's my turn...

1)     What am I working on?

I'm currently finishing off a story called Christmas at Rakehell Manor

'Rakehell' started out as a novella but on the way it turned into a short novel so now I'm not sure what to label it!   I was hoping to publish before Christmas (that would make sense, right?!) but 2013 has been a difficult and stressful year and I haven't been able to write often.  Consequently, I'm waaaaay behind.  I'm keeping everything crossed for better times in 2014. 

The good news for those interested is that you won't have to wait until next Christmas to read Rakehell;  I'm sending it out into the world early next year.  I think the hero, Hugo, is worth waiting for and I’ve had heaps of fun throwing together this oh-so-masculine but conflicted man with my practical heroine, who disrupts his carefully planned Christmas  ;0)

The idea for Rakehell was sparked when a dear friend sent me details of a real house called Rake Manor which is tucked away in the English countryside. 

We laughed about it at the time and said it needed a story so it's going to get one.  Gilly, Christmas at Rakehell Manor is for you :)

2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I try to write stories that are captivating, passionate, have a dash of humour and are worth re-reading.   I liken it to baking a cake - strive for an ideal blend of ingredients, cook carefully with attention to detail until romance peaks and a memorable result is achieved :D

When they buy a book, readers are investing not only their money but their precious time so I want them to feel satisfied, to experience that warm, fuzzy, emotional, happy-ever-after glow. The quality of what I produce matters a lot to me.

It's also important to get historical details right, as far as possible.  As a British author I'm writing about my history and heritage.  I feel obliged do it justice.  Of course the language and some other aspects need to be accessible to modern readers - they want romance not a dry history lesson - and all historical writing is interpretation anyway, but deviate too far and it turns into a contemporary romance with fancy dress.  And glaring anachronisms pull readers out of historical romance faster than you can say Jack Robinson ;0) *

(* According to Grose's Dictionary, published in 1785, Jack Robinson was an individual whose social visits were so short that he would be departing almost before his arrival was announced! )

 3)     Why do I write what I do? 

I write for people like me, who just need a little escape from the stresses of daily life.  

I'm a romantic at heart and love the magic of romance novels.  Historical romance, particularly that set in Georgian and Regency periods, is the genre I've always enjoyed most. It seems natural to write what I like reading. 

4)     How does your writing process work?

Ideas are never a problem - the difficult decision is usually which ones to develop further! I do a rough plan and character outlines before starting a new project.  I might research some details if I know they are going to be needed, but otherwise I look things up as I go along.  Over time I've built up a collection of reference material and background knowledge.  I find it impossible to plot a novel in fine detail before starting to write.  I need to jump into the room where the action is rather than standing outside and pressing my nose against the window pane.

Writing has to fit around everything else but that usually works out OK because I write best in late afternoon and evenings.  If I get chance to sit at my PC before then, I'll avoid the creative stuff and answer emails, update my blog and web site or waste time on Facebook instead ;0)

Then I read through what I have written previously and resist the urge to edit too much.  This is tough because I prefer to edit and add detail as I go, but it's not the best way of getting a book written.  When I start writing I hope to make it to the end of a scene or a suitable break point before finishing. I can touch-type so it's quicker for me to type than write longhand. I've learned not to beat myself up if I don't achieve my daily word count, given everything that's happened this year. 

Sometimes I listen to music while I'm writing.  Here's the very varied playlist for Rakehell in no particular orderSome of these have a connection to the plot and characters but some were simply right for the mood I was in, or trying to convey in a particular scene  :)

Truly, Madly, Deeply - Savage Garden
Fields of Gold - Sting
How Long Will I Love You - Ellie Goulding
Back In the Night - Dr. Feelgood
Bad Case of Loving You - Robert Palmer 
Sentinel - Mike Oldfield, Tubular Bells II
You're Right, I'm Left, She's Gone - Tom Jones and James Dean Bradfield
Breathless - Camel
Fluff - Black Sabbath
Better Days - Bruce Springsteen
Concerto Grosso in G minor Christmas Concerto Pastorale by Corelli

In Dulcio Jubilo - Mike Oldfield
Gaudete - Steeleye Span
Somewhere Only We Know - Keane, cover version by Lily Allen for John Lewis Christmas Advert 2013
Holding Out for Hero - Bonnie Tyler (watch from around 2 mins 40 secs  ;0) )

Thanks for stopping by and reading, and please feel free to comment!

Next week (on 23rd December) it's the turn of Georgia Hill 

Georgia writes contemporary rom-coms for Harper Impulse. She loves dogs, Belgian chocolate and Strictly Come Dancing. She lives in rural Herefordshire, in the UK, with her beloved spaniels and  husband (also beloved).

Friday, 22 November 2013

Sir Henry at Rawlinson End

Ever feel the need to reboot your creative muse?

Remind yourself why you love words and story-telling? :)

I know I do and one of my methods is to listen to (rather than read) something that's rich in language, style and verve. There's the classics, of course, like Gaskell's North and South and Georgette Heyer audiobooks have been favourites of mine for years.  The new-ish (although abridged) versions of The Convenient Marriage, Venetia and Sylvester  read by the delectable and chocolate-voiced Richard Armitage are fabulous and at the top of my play list ;0)

But occasionally I crave something different and then I return to a monologue comedy called Sir Henry at Rawlinson End by writer and musician Vivian Stanshall.  I've listened to this innumerable times over the years and never, ever get tired of it. 

So, what exactly is it? 

Sir Henry at Rawlinson End originated in Stanshall's performances and recordings for the John Peel show on BBC Radio One in the mid-1970s.  Contributing to Peel's programmes over several years, Stanshall played many new and old songs and Peel would later broadcast recordings made especially by Stanshall as parts of a sporadic "Rawlinson End" saga.

Viv Stanshall compiled and edited several for release, all of which related to Sir Henry Rawlinson and his country seat, Rawlinson End.   Sir Henry at Rawlinson End came out 1978 and it contains possibly the most entertaining 50 minutes you will ever enjoy.  For me and many others, it's a masterpiece, a work of undeniable genius from a man who was, on his day, one of the funniest men in Britain, a brilliant wordsmith and a true British eccentric.

Sir Henry at Rawlinson End  features Stanshall talking and singing as multiple characters.  The scene is the faded grandeur of an aristocratic manor - Rawlinson End - where the terrifying Sir Henry and a cast of larger than life characters go about their daily excursions.

Stanshall's characters include Sir Henry Rawlinson, his wife Lady Florrie Rawlinson (née Maynard), their children Ralph (`Raif') and Candice Rawlinson, and Henry's brothers Hubert (the younger brother) and Humbert (late older brother, deceased, and now a ghost). Additional characters include the staff of Rawlinson End: Mr. Cumberpatch (former gardener), Old Scrotum the Wrinkled Retainer (butler) and Mrs. E (housekeeper); various relatives: Florrie's brother Lord Tarquin Portly of Staines and his wife Lady Phillipa of Staines. Other characters include the landlord of the local pub Seth One-Tooth, Reg Smeeton, a walking encyclopedia; and "contract house cleaners" and "resting theatrical artistes," Teddy Tidy and Nigel Nice.

It's irreverent, surreal and complete nonsense, at times non-PC, filled with puns, double-entendres and above all astonishingly clever wordplay.  Viv Stanshall's use of language is extraordinary.  He moves from the bawdily asinine and wacky to the sublime in a single sentence.  The piece is crammed with wonderful one-liners and all narrated in Viv Stanshall's plummy and hugely expressive voice.  His exquisitely sharp, savage and witty descriptions display English usage that is almost Shakespearean.  They paint some of the most vivid and laugh-out-loud funny scenes I've ever listened to. The richness of the descriptions and narrative brings me back time and again, finding new nuances and meanings.

Sir Henry at Rawlinson End can be quite hard to listen to the first time - it's style, like Spike Milligan and Monty Python, takes some getting used to - but stick with it and you'll be rewarded with some of the most unique, rhythmic and evocative prose that ever graced a CD (or download :D ) It will have you reaching for your dictionary (corroboree...quisling...opsimath) and marvelling at Viv Stanshall's genius. 

Viv Stanshall died in a fire at his Muswell Hill home during the early hours of March 6th, 1995.

Sir Henry at Rawlinson End is arguably the finest hour of this Great British eccentric who was an accomplished singer-songwriter, musician, poet, wit and author and who you might have already unknowingly encountered as the Master of Ceremonies on Mike Oldfield's famous album, Tubular Bells.

Next time you need to simply wallow in the joys of the English language, why not try something completely different and listen to, and marvel at, the incomparable piece of nonsense and exquisite prose of Sir Henry at Rawlinson End?!   There's a very short excerpt of the opening here to give you a flavour :)


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

A Bright Particular Star Book Club Read

A Bright Particular Star has been chosen as the Astraea Press Book Club read for September 2013. 

You can join the discussion on the open Astraea Press Book Club Facebook group and if you'd like a free copy, send an email to

Several ABPS characters have a very special place in my heart. It's a Regency road romance with a bit of mystery and suspense thrown in - kind of It Happened One Night meets Ocean's Twelve ;-D

If you're wondering about the title, it's taken from Shakespeare's play All's Well That Ends Well - 'That I Should Love A Bright Particular Star and Think to Wed it' - but you need to dive into ABPS and unravel the mystery to see exactly why it works.

If you have questions or comments, post them on the Facebook group and I'll respond; I love connecting with readers :)

Monday, 12 August 2013

Hell-Fire Caves and the Hell-Fire Club

Yesterday I visited somewhere I've wanted to see for ages - the Hell-Fire Caves, erstwhile home to the notorious Hell-Fire Club.

Entrance to Hell-Fire Caves
 The Hell-Fire Caves are in West Wycombe Hill, Buckinghamshire, opposite West Wycombe Park, the 18th century italianate villa that was home to the Dashwood family for over 300 years.  Sir Francis Dashwood, the 2nd Baronet (1708-81) founded the Hell-Fire Club, more properly or more cautiously known as the 'Monks of Medmenham' or the 'Society of Saint Frances of Wycombe'.

The society, whose members included Sir Francis's political cronies as well as poets and satirists, took the form of a mock religious order, perhaps inspired by Francois Rebelais's imaginary Abbey of Thelema, a monastic establishment with the motto in old French of 'Fay ce que vouldras' or 'Do as you wish'.

The activities of the Hell-Fire Club have probably been exaggerated but there's little doubt that elaborate mock religious ceremonies, banqueting, orgies, drinking and free love played a part in the their meetings and parties which took place both at Medmenham Abbey some six miles from West Wycombe and, of course, in the Hell-Fire Caves.

Walpole recorded that the 'monks' had a white costume 'more like a waterman's than a monk's' and dressing up was a favourite pastime of its members.   There are several potraits of Sir Francis in fancy dress, including one in oriental cosume and another as Sir Francis in the guise of Pope Innocent toasting a female herm.

Rumours of Black Masses, orgies and Satan or demon worship were well circulated during the time. Female "guests" (a euphemism for prostitutes) were masked and referred to as "Nuns".  Sir Francis himself certainly enjoyed the charms of the fair sex.  In 1774 he was described at 'the most careless and perhaps the most facetious libertine of his age.'

Walpole described him as having the 'staying power of a stallion and the impetuosity of a bull'.  In 1745, the year of his marriage, a friend of Sir Francis teased him for being 'like a Publick Reservoir...laying your **** in every private family that has any Place Fitt to receive it.'

Ahem, he sounds a bit of a lad to put it mildly!

Banqueting Cave
The caves were originally excavated in 1740s to allow Sir Francis to give employment to the villagers following a succession of harvest failures. They were then and remain totally unique.  Their design was no doubt inspired by Sir Francis' Grand Tour of Europe and the Ottoman Empire.  Many of Sir Francis's contemporaries were building palladian villas and landscaping gardens, but no others ventured underground like the Hell-Fire Caves.  The excavated chalk was used to improve the road between West Wycbombe and High Wycombe.  The caves were all dug by hand and you can still see the pick marks on the walls. 

The caves extend down deep winding passages for over a quarter of a mile underground.  They lead past various small chambers, to the large, vaulted banqueting hall, then further down and onwards to the River Styx, which according to mythology separated the living world from the Underworld, and finally to the Inner Temple, the deepest chamber.  This is some three hundred feet directly beneath St. Lawrence's Church, at the top of West Wycombe Hill, and thus, whether intentionally or not, reflecting Heaven and Hell on the same site.

Two ghosts are said to haunt the caves - one is Paul Whitehead, steward of the Hell-Fire Club.  Whitehead left £50 on his death for the purchase of an urn to be deposited in the Dashwood Mausoleum (situated on top of West Wycombe Hill, next to St. Lawrence's church) so that his heart may be placed inside and thus remain with the Dashwoods forever.  This was done but in 1829 an Australian soldier stole the heart and the urn was placed in the caves for safekeeping.  Paul Whitehead is reputed to haunt the caves searching for his heart.

The second ghost is Sukie, a servant girl who worked at The George and Dragon inn in West Wycombe in the 18th century. Among her many admirers were three boys from the village, whose advances she rejected since she had set her sights on becoming the mistress of an aristocrat. One day a wealthy young man paid a visit to the inn and Sukie, seeing him as her meal ticket out of there, promptly set about ensnaring him. Soon the handsome young buck was besotted and began paying daily visits to the inn. This irked the three local lads, who hatched a cunning plan to teach Sukie a lesson. They sent her a letter, which purported to come from her noble suitor, informing her that he wished to elope with her. She was, he instructed, to don a white dress and meet him that night in the West Wycombe caves. Elated, the unsuspecting Sukie dressed accordingly and set off for her rendezvous.

Arriving at the mouth of the caves she lit a flaming torch and set off into the labyrinth. Hidden behind a large rock, the spurned lads watched with anticipation a she approached. Just as she had passed by, they seized the torch and dashed it to the ground, extinguishing its flame. Sukie was terrified and fled into the darkness with her tormentors in hot pursuit. It was then that the prank turned to tragedy. As the frightened girl turned a corner, she tripped over a rock and her head struck the cave wall, knocking her unconscious. The three lads summoned help and the villagers arrived to carry the comatose girl back to her room at The George and Dragon. A doctor was called, but in the early hours of the next morning she died.

As well as the caves, Sukie's restless ghost is also reputed to still haunt The George and Dragon.

I've posted some photos on my Facebook author page from my visit to the Hell-Fire Caves and West Wycombe park which you can see here.

I must say the caves had a very, very peculiar atmosphere.  And one thing is for sure, no-one would hear you scream down there! :-0

West Wycombe Park
St. Lawrence's Church

Friday, 28 June 2013

Midsummer Eve at Rookery End

It's out! :)

The new ebook edition of Midsummer Eve at Rookery End (The Complete Collection) is available now with a gorgeous new cover designed by Sheyna Watkins

For the first time all the Midsummer Eve at Rookery End short stories come together in this edition.  It features an updated foreword, a prequel story (The Virtuous Courtesan) which appeared in the Brief Encounters anthology, the three original tales and a brand new story - Love's Thorne.  It also includes a preview of The Cinderella Debutante.

Midsummer Eve is the traditional time for love divination, when gentlemen and ladies can hope to meet their true love. Lord and Lady Allingham hold a lavish ball every year at their country estate, Rookery End, to celebrate this ancient custom.  These five little tales of love and passion take place in this romantic setting in Regency England.
Here's more on each story in the order they appear... 

 The Virtuous Courtesan -  A valuable portrait sparks a series of events that culminate in Lord and Lady Allingham's extraordinary first meeting.

Siren's Daughter - Following her disagreeable aunt's demise, Deborah King attends the midsummer ball where she encounters Sir Benedict Catesby. Can Deborah and Sir Benedict overcome past bitterness and let love triumph second time around?

Blue Figured Silk - The handsome Marquess of Shaftesbury is renowned as a rake and a gambler. When the Marquess arranges an assignation with an attractive widow in the garden, his encounter does not turn out as he expected...

A Scandal at Midnight - Young governess Verity Brook accompanies Miss Amelia Gardiner to Rookery End and receives a shocking letter. Verity must act to avoid a scandal, but the only person she can turn to is the arrogant Sir Tristan Millforte - the nonpareil Amelia is to marry.

Love's Thorne - A wily valet lends a helping hand when Captain Simon Russell's future happiness is at stake. 

It's available on Amazon and Amazon UK.  Other buy links to follow.   Read an excerpt here.

Please consider leaving a review if you enjoy it.  Reviews help readers find books :)


If you've previously purchased the Kindle eBook of Midsummer Eve at Rookery End, you can now access the new edition for FREE!

Opt in to receive book updates automatically. You can do this by going to Manage Your Kindle and clicking on the Manage Your Devices section. You'll find the option labeled Automatic Book Update.

Alternatively, get the updated version by going to Manage Your Kindle. Find Midsummer Eve at Rookery End in your Kindle Library, click on the "Update Available" link next to the title, and then follow the update prompts. All your devices that have the eBook currently downloaded will be updated automatically the next time they connect to wireless.

Also, to get the (Midsummer) ball *g* rolling, I'm running a giveaway - just click on the Rafflecopter widget below to get started and thanks for celebrating the start of summer with me!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 13 May 2013

A Bright Particular Star

A Bright Particular Star has a new cover and a new offer price!

Here's the gorgeous new cover and check out the offer price of 99 cents or equivalent while it lasts :) 

Buy links below...

Amazon UK
B&N Nook

or see A Bright Particular Star page on my website here for full list.

And coming next month (June 2013)...a brand new edition of Midsummer Eve at Rookery End, featuring the complete collection of Midsummer Eve stories including a brand new story!

More details to follow - watch this space ;0)

Monday, 8 April 2013

Only You - Lorna Peel (Q&A)

Welcome back to Lorna Peel tor the second of her guest blogs, a Q&A session about her debut romantic suspense novel, Only You  :)


Hi Lorna! Tell us a little bit more about yourself.

I live in Ireland and when I’m not writing, I’m tracing my family tree or growing my own fruit and vegetables. I love chickens and I have four hens, one cockerel, and one Guinea Hen, who now thinks she’s a chicken!

Only You is your debut novel. What teasers can you share with us about the plot, characters etc.?

Jane Hollinger has just turned thirty-one and teaches adult education classes. Her self confidence is low, as she hadn’t known her ex-husband was cheating on her. Jane’s sister and best friend buy her a subscription to a dating website but little do they know that the man of Jane’s dreams is waiting for her in her family history evening class!

Is it the first novel you’ve written?

No, I’ve been writing since I was nineteen so I’ve written quite a few over the years. Some I’m very proud of and some will never see the light of day!

What do you enjoy most about being a writer, and the least?

I love writing the first draft, as I just write and write - without stopping to edit - from beginning to end, to get the whole story down. 

Like Jane, I’m quite a private person, so I find promoting myself without cringing takes a bit of getting used to!  

What books/authors have influenced your writing?

I love the Merrily Watkins mysteries by Phil Rickman. He writes very natural dialogue, which I try and do, too.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if so, what strategies do you use to overcome it?

Thankfully, I’ve never suffered from writer’s block as I make an effort to write or edit something every day, even if it’s only as little as one paragraph.

Tell us about what you are writing now.

My work in progress is a romance called Into the Unknown and is set in England and Ireland during World War Two. It is a prequel of sorts to Only You.

Thanks Elizabeth, for having me on your blog!


It was great having you, Lorna and I look forward to reading Only You :)

Only You is published by Entranced Publishing and you can find out more about Lorna at


Only You is available from Amazon US    Amazon UK    B&N   Kobo   Smashwords

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Jeremiah Dixon

Who's Jeremiah Dixon, I hear you ask!

Well if you've ever heard of the famous Mason-Dixon Line, or Mark Knopfler's song, Sailing to Philadelphia, then you've heard - albeit it unknowingly - about Jeremiah Dixon.

Jeremiah Dixon (July 27, 1733 – January 22, 1779) was a surveyor who is perhaps best known for his work with Charles Mason, from 1763 to 1767, in determining what was later called the Mason-Dixon Line.

Dixon was born in Cockfield, near Bishop Auckland, in 1733, the fifth of seven children, to George Dixon and Mary Hunter. His father was a wealthy Quaker coal mine owner; his mother was said to have been the "cleverest woman" that ever married into the Dixon family.  This intelligence certainly seemed to show itself in her children, especially Jeremiah.

Jeremiah became interested in astronomy and mathematics during his education at John Kipling's school at Barnard Castle. Early in life he made acquaintances with mathematician William Emerson, and astronomers John Bird and Thomas Wright.

Jeremiah served as assistant to Charles Mason in 1761 when the Royal Society selected Mason to observe the transit of Venus from Sumatra.   Their passage to Sumatra was delayed, and they landed instead at the Cape of Good Hope where the transit was observed on June 6, 1761. Dixon returned to the Cape once again with Nevil Maskelyne's clock to work on experiments with gravity.

Dixon and Mason signed an agreement in 1763 with the proprietors of Pennsylvania and Maryland, Thomas
Penn and Frederick Calvert, sixth Baron Baltimore, to assist with resolving a boundary dispute between the two provinces. They arrived in Philadelphia in November 1763 and began work towards the end of the year.

The survey was not complete until late 1766, following which they stayed on to measure a degree of Earth's meridian on the Delmarva Peninsula in Maryland, on behalf of the Royal Society. They also made a number of gravity measurements with the same instrument that Dixon had used with Maskelyne in 1761. Before returning to England in 1768, they were both admitted to the American Society for Promoting Useful Knowledge, in Philadelphia.

Dixon sailed to Norway in 1769 with William Bayly to observe another transit of Venus. The two split up, with Dixon at Hammerfest Island and Bayly at North Cape, in order to minimize the possibility of inclement weather obstructing their measurements.

Following their return to England, Dixon resumed his work as a surveyor in Durham.  Evidence of his skill as a draughtsman can be seen in a plan of the park of Auckland Castle, completed in 1772 All Jeremiah's maps are beautifully decorated, and works of art in themselves. 

Jeremiah died unmarried in Cockfield, January 22, 1779.

To celebrate the 250th anniversary of the commencement of the Mason-Dixon survey in 1763, the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle will host an exhibition of items such as model ships, surveying equipment and historic maps.  It will also feature a slave whip which Jeremiah kept as a trophy.   Jeremiah saw the owner thrashing a slave with the whip, took it from him, thrashed the owner with it and kept the whip. Artefacts from the native Americans who worked alongside Jeremiah will also be on show.

Jeremiah Dixon: Scientist, Surveyor and Stargazer  will run from Sat 27 Apr 13 - Sun 06 Oct 13.

Jeremiah Dixon also appears in Thomas Pynchon's 1997 novel Mason & Dixon.   The song Sailing to Philadelphia from Mark Knopfler's album of the same name, also refers to Mason and Dixon, and was inspired by Pynchon's book.

I love this song!

Here's the original version with Mark Knopfler and James Taylor

and here's a live version with Mark only

Enjoy :D

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Only You - Lorna Peel

Today I'm delighted to welcome guest blogger Lorna Peel to talk about her debut novel, Only You, published by Entranced Publishing.

In the first of two guest posts, Lorna tells us about what inspired her to write Only You.  But first, here's the blurb...

Jane Hollinger is single, divorced, and the wrong side of thirty – as she puts it. Her friends are pressuring her to dive back into London’s dating pool, but she’s content with her quiet life as a genealogy teacher.

Robert Armstrong is every woman’s fantasy: handsome, charming, rich and famous. When he asks her to meet him, she convinces herself it’s because he needs her help with a mystery in his family tree. Soon she realizes he’s interested in more than her genealogical expertise. Now the paparazzi want a piece of Jane too.

Can Jane handle living – and loving – in the spotlight?


Wouldn’t it be fantastic to be in a relationship with someone famous? Wouldn’t it be great, with parties and premiers, and having your picture in the papers and gossip magazines?

But what would it be really like to be in a relationship with someone famous but you wish they weren’t because you are a private person who likes a quiet life? Could you love them enough to be able to put up with all the intrusions?

It’s a dilemma and it’s why I created Jane Hollinger so she can try and decide.

Poor Jane. Her self esteem is in the gutter because her husband left her for a client. She lives alone with her books and huge DVD collection and doesn’t know if she ever wants to date again. It’s been so long since she’s dated that she’s not even sure she remembers how to do it properly and the prospect of going out with someone from the dating website her sister and best friend subscribed her to fills her with dread. Why can’t they just leave her alone? She does go out in the evenings – but it’s to teach family history evening classes at the Local Education Centre. Little does Jane know that romance will strike when she least expects it. But will she be able to cope with being in a relationship with a man she’s only dreamed of and the British press?

Readers can find out more on the web at


My website



Thanks Elizabeth, for having me on your blog!


Thank you, Lorna :)  Only You sounds an intriguing read and I look forward to finding out more in your second blog post here on 8th April.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Radio Gaga

A very warm welcome to the blog today to my fellow coffee crew author, Nell Dixon.

Nell has a brilliant new book out - Radio Gaga - and she's here to tell us more about it!  ( I love the cover by the way :D)


Radio Gaga is my first mainstream single title release for quite a while now. It’s a story I’m quite excited about as it’s a fun, upbeat chick lit suspense.

I’d finished the book and was deciding what I should do with it when the story broke all over the news about the Australian radio presenters who had a practical joke go badly wrong! Talk about weird timing! Chloe, in Radio Gaga also has things go wrong for her but I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

Here's the blurb...

Over the airwaves everyone can hear you scream!

Radio researcher and part-time presenter Chloe Lark is certain her big show biz break is just around the corner. Live it Up radio may not be the big time, but surely - one day soon - fame will come her way. And, if she could convince the hunky guy next door to give her a chance, her love life might improve too.

Ex-soldier Ben isn’t sure if his new ‘Z’ list celebrity neighbour is crazy or on medication. Either way he’s looking for a quiet life out of the spotlight. The last thing he needs is an accident prone media hungry blonde complete with mystery stalker. Problem is - Chloe doesn’t seem to have received that particular memo…

And here’s an excerpt!

I knew it wasn’t burglars when I noticed the large empty space next to the bay window. No self-respecting burglar would break into someone’s home just to steal a life size cardboard cut-out of Darth Vader would they?

No, it wasn’t burglars who’d nicked Darth or who’d cleared the shelf of the Queen CDs. It was Neil. He’d finally moved out, and taken Freddie Mercury and the Dark Lord with him as he went.

For a moment I stood trying to decide how I felt. Angry? Broken-hearted? In the time it took me to cross the room, enter the kitchen and dump my handbag on the worktop I decided my overwhelming feeling was relief.

Neil had raided the kitchen too: his state of the art coffee maker which I hadn’t been allowed to touch was gone, along with his juicer and his super fancy wok. Only a couple of spilled coffee beans on the countertop showed where they had been. I looked at the clippie magnet on the fridge to see if he’d left me a note. We’d always left messages for each other one there. A few months back they had been little love notes with kisses and pictures of hearts. Now the only thing on there was the ratty message I’d left for him yesterday asking him to pick up some milk on his way home.

I walked back through the lounge to what had once been our bedroom. The wardrobe doors were open showing the empty hangers and his rack of immaculately arranged ties had gone. My mobile vibrated in my trouser pocket telling me I had a text as I sank down onto the edge of the bed. I knew what it would be before I even fished it out of my pocket.

‘Chloe, guess you know by now have moved out, thought would be better this way. U know it wasn’t working, sorry, N’

© Nell Dixon 2013

Available from

Readers can find me on the web at:

Twitter - @NellDixon


Thanks for visiting the blog, Nell - Radio Gaga is a fabulous read and I'd urge everyone to check it out!