Happy Halloween

I love this time of the year, I love Autumn in all its fading, golden glory. I love the dark nights and cold, frosty mornings. I love the sound of the rain against the windows as I’m sitting by the wood, burning stove, scribbling down ideas for new stories. i love that I can wear my treasured Alexander McQueen skull scarf with pride. I love the excitement of children who are looking forward to dressing up for Halloween and going trick or treating. Mugs of hot chocolate with fresh cream and marshmallows, soups, casseroles prepared in the slow cooker first thing in the morning and ready by teatime with minimal fuss. What’s not to love about it, I mean I like the summer, but I hate being too hot and bothered. I don’t like the headaches in the warm weather or the sunburn on my rather fair, freckly skin. Yep I’m definitely an Autumn girl and what’s better than sitting around an open fire, drinking hot chocolate and telling ghost stories? For me, nothing can beat it. I thrive off listening to peoples strange and spooky encounters with anything that goes bump in the night. You may have already guessed that though by my spine tingling stories about psychic police woman Annie Graham and her ghostly encounters that leave readers terrified but addicted for more.

So what’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened to me? Well there have been quite a few over the years, I think that unless you are open to anything of the supernatural kind then you won’t experience much. As the years have gone on and I’ve talked to more people I’ve come to the conclusion that if you don’t want to see anything paranormal then you won’t. Although I don’t know if my husband Steve agrees, our very first spooky encounter was on a coach trip to Germany in the middle of winter. It took longer to get there then the amount of time we spent in Germany. We were taken to a tiny village that was shut for winter, there was only our hotel and one more open. The weather was bitterly cold and on the way there to pass the time we had been talking about ghostly experiences. I worked in a retirement home at the time where lots of spooky things happened and Steve didn’t believe a word a word of what I was saying. We were given our room keys in the hotel and went upstairs to a very cold room, tired, fed up and freezing we went to bed. The room was so cold that you could see your breath in front of you every time you spoke, I crossed the room and put my hand on the radiator which was burning hot. I couldn’t understand how the room could be this cold, but I thought nothing of it and before long we both fell asleep. At some point during the night Steve shook my shoulder and whispered, ‘There’s someone outside the window wearing a top hat.’ I looked at him, then the window he was pointing at, but I couldn’t see anything. Then there was a noise in the bathroom as if someone was moving around, Stee who was freaking out by now and ever the gentleman pushed me out of the bed to go and see what it was. I was terrified because of the look of fear on his face, he was normally so calm it scared me. I remember looking at him and thinking I didn’t want to open the door, but I couldn’t ignore it either. I had to know who was in there, I pushed the door wide open and flicked the switch. The light illuminated the tiny room and thank god it was empty, but my heart was pounding and the fear inside my mind was horrendous. I shut the door again, leaving the light on and ran back to the bed where I got underneath the covers. I was terrified and the room was still like an ice box. When we went down for breakfast I asked the couple in the room next to us if their room was cold and they told me it was too hot and they’d had to turn their heater down. When we went back upstairs I opened the curtains where Steve had seen the black shadow and was shocked to see that there was no way anyone could have been standing outside of it because there was nothing there and we were five floors up. Let me tell you that scared the pair of us and we were grateful we only had to spend that night there and were leaving.

Another time a lot of years later we were walking our dog Tess in Abbotswood which runs behind Furness Abbey and is the setting for the derelict mansion in The Ghost House. I was in the middle of writing that story and whenever I got stuck I would go up there for inspiration. I had the camera out and was snapping random pictures, as we reached a clearing in the woods where there are some huge trees I was taking pictures and saw a white mist fill my camera screen. I carried on snapping away and took three consecutive photos, wondering what the white mist was in front of my lens I put the camera down and asked Steve if he’d seen it. He shook his head so I played back the photos I’d just taken and almost had a heart attack on the spot. I had a photo of some bushes, the next one taken a second later had the white mist on it in which I could clearly make out some ghostly faces and what I think looked like a screaming skull. The picture taken immediately after had nothing but the same green bushes. My heart beating wildly I began walking away from the area as fast as my short legs could carry me, I was terrified. Steve began to follow behind thinking it was all highly amusing until we got home and I downloaded the photos straight onto the computer, then he changed his mind. See what you think of the photos below, would it have scared you if you’d taken it in the woods just before dusk when there was no-one else around? I’ll let you make your mind up about that one, but remember one thing, it’s Halloween tonight so have a fabulous night if you celebrate it and if not, lock the doors and keep the lights on. You never know who might come calling………..

white mist

Helen xx

New York Dreams by Helen Phifer

Have you ever wanted to go somewhere so bad, but knew that you never would because you couldn’t afford it or it just wasn’t possible?


I have since I was a child and learnt about the Statue of Liberty, I longed to go to New York. As I got older it was always in the back of my mind. Thanks to watching Ghostbusters numerous times I felt as if I knew the place pretty well already. I met Steve when I was eighteen and we did go on an amazing holiday to Hawaii, before we settled down. Then we bought a house, got married and our five children came along, so a day out in Blackpool was a luxury that we couldn’t really afford, but we would save up and take them so they never missed out. We did have one holiday abroad when the kids were very small, but it was such hard work that I swore to myself I would never go abroad again. At least not until the kids were old enough that they didn’t need nappies, buggies and more clothes than we could carry. Fast forward to nine years ago and I had five teenagers, we discovered Centreparcs which is perfect for our family, especially my son Jaimea who is severely disabled. We try and go there every year because we love it so much and now I have grandchildren to share it with. Gosh I feel old, however New York it isn’t and I still desperately wanted to go there. Jaimea needs round the clock care and we’ve never left him so before so I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I wasn’t bitter about it because Jaimea is my world, but it’s hard knowing that you can’t do what everyone else is doing.

This year has been a tough one for my family, my two adorable grandsons decided that being born at 27 weeks was fine and Jaimea became seriously ill. He ended up in intensive care for longer than I care to remember. Thankfully he eventually got better and the twins were well enough after one heck of a fight to come home.

I was looking at my emails and found an invite from my publishers Harlequin to a Black & White Ball, to be held at…..you guessed it The Waldorf Astoria in New York. My heart filled with pride that I had even been sent such an invitation, but seconds later it sunk again. I knew I could never go, but being invited was almost as good I told myself. I printed the invitation out and stuck it to the front of my fridge, hoping it would give me some incentive to stick to a healthy eating plan in case I got another invite next year.

Later that day my daughter brought the twins to see me and read the invitation, she looked at me and said, ‘You have to go.’ I laughed and told her I’d very much love to go, but I didn’t even have a passport. She rang the passport office and made appointments for me and Steve to go to Liverpool the next day. We told ourselves we would get the passports then see about booking, the next day after a four hour wait we had our shiny, brand new passports in our hands. Then fellow write romantic Rachael who was also invited asked if I had my ESTA, my what? We drove home and I applied, within a minute we had our approval. I was terrified to book because as much as I wanted to go I was scared to leave Jaimea. We finally talked ourselves into it with the promise that if all was not well on the day we were supposed to travel then we wouldn’t go.

It was eight days until the ball and it was amazing how things fell into place. I even had a brand, new black dress that I’d never worn hanging in my wardrobe. It was as if it was meant to be, so we packed our bags and said our tearful goodbyes. I was only going for three nights but it seemed like forever, we needn’t have worried. Jaimea had the time of his life without us, my kids who are actually all adults now took care of him brilliantly.

When we arrived in New York I got a text telling me Jaimea was fine and to enjoy myself, which quite frankly I did. We packed everything in those three days that I’d ever dreamt about. The Statue of Liberty, The Top of the Rock, The Empire State Building, The American Natural History Museum, The One World Tower, we paid our respects at the 9/11 memorials. We saw Central Park, shopped on Fifth Avenue, visited Times Square – a lot and we would visit the summer bar outside the Rockerfeller Plaza each night and sip cocktails. We went to Grand Central Station, The New York Public Library and of course Cinderella went to the ball at the Waldorf, which was the hotel we were stopping in anyway. The ball was amazing, it was the kind of party I’ve always dreamt about since I was a teenager and as I sat there sipping my champagne I could not believe I was there, in the city that never sleeps. After dreaming about it for more than thirty five years, let me tell you something, it was even more amazing than I’d ever imagined. By the time we flew home we were exhausted, but I’ve never been so thankful or grateful that I was able to go. We arrived home to find our house was still standing, Jaimea was fabulous and I felt as if my spark for life had been reignited after all these years.


The moral of this story is never give up on your dreams, even if you think there is no way on this earth you will achieve them because of the obstacles life puts in your way. If you want something bad enough you will find a way and when you do take the opportunity to have the time of your life.

Helen Phifer xx

The letter from the Tooth Fairy – Saturday Spotlight with Amy Lynch

We’re excited to welcome Amy Lynch to the Saturday Spotlight. Amy is an Irish author of women’s commercial fiction and writing  is her passion. She loves to write humorous romantic fiction, but not always with fairy tale  endings! She has published fiction in magazines, and has  worked in the charity sector for twelve years. She is  married with two young children. When she is not writing,  Amy can be found juggling school lunches and two Shetland pony-sized rescue dogs. Now,  how’s that for multi-tasking? Amy is the author of two novels, Bride Without A Groom and Does My Bump Look Big In This? Her third novel is in progress.

Over to Amy …

The tooth fairy made her very first visit to the Lynch house last night. Let’s just say that on an excitement scale of one to ten, it was an eleven. You see, during a posh Sunday lunch at the golf club with the in-laws, out popped my six year old daughter’s tiny bottom tooth. Next thing you know, I’m scrambling under the table to find it, as my daughter squeals in delight. The tooth had been wiggling about all week, threatening to escape, and the little keepsake box from her teacher was at the ready.

Amy in garden 2Now, paper money, the child informed the amused grown-ups at the table, is better than coin money. And sometimes, she educated us, the fairy left little letters to the children. Some of the girls in her class had lost teeth, you see, so she was quite up to date on the old tooth fairy etiquette. Our younger child was less interested in tooth fairies. He was busy cramming the remaining profiteroles in his chocolate-smeared gob while his sister created a charming distraction. You have to admire the little guy, he didn’t waste an opportunity.

‘Ah yes,’ my mother-in-law winked, ‘the children must be in bed early tonight. They must be asleep when she comes.’

Afraid to miss out on the cold hard cash, the kids were out like a light. This was handy, because my husband and I got to watch back to back uninterrupted episodes of ‘Game of Thrones.’ Before going to bed, my husband put a large two Euro coin into the little white box, along with the teeniest letter you’ve ever seen. The mastermind behind the letter, of course, was me. It was a complex, long-winded note, explaining that the tooth fairy (Frenchy) was going to use the tooth to make a necklace for her sister (Pinky) whose birthday it was, and that there was to be a great ball held in Fairyland, and all of the fairies would be dancing in the moonlight. And yes, before you ask, I’d had a large glass of wine before writing it.

At exactly six forty five on a Bank Holiday Monday morning (blast that flipping tooth fairy, this was even earlier than Christmas morning) the children leapt from their beds, exclaiming the good news. The tooth fairy, as promised, had come up with the goods.

Amy bookshopWhat delighted us the most was not that our daughter insisted that she was going to treat the entire extended family (including long lost cousins) to ice-creams with her mega two Euro coin, but that she was able to read the teeny letter aloud, all by herself. In fact, she read it to everyone we met today.

The love of reading comes from me. When I was little, dad and I used to adore flicking lazily through The Beano. Later, we progressed to Roald Dahl, our library cards frayed at the edges from frequent Saturday visits. When I close my eyes, the illustrations by Quentin Blake are still visible in my mind. These days, I’m reading ‘The Magic Finger’ to the children, who share my love of Roald Dahl, and have a library card each.

At eight o’clock every night, my daughter begs for more time before lights out, so that she can finish reading. She permanently has a pen in her hand, doodling and writing constantly. At night, I creep into their bedroom, avoid the creaky floorboard, and remove the pen from her little hand.  She says that when she grows up, she wants to write books, just like her mummy. Perhaps the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. When I look at my daughter, I see the same love of reading and writing, the same hard-working, chatty personality, the same freckled nose. The bookworm gene, I now see, passes from one generation to the next. And just think of all the wonderful stories just waiting to be enjoyed!

Bride Without a Groom is Amy’s debut novel, and was launched by Harper Collins UK in June of this year.

Rebecca has chosen the most luscious, five tiered, wedding cake. The engagement ring that she has selected is celebrity inspired. The wedding singer is on speed dial. He doesn’t usually do Michael Bolton, but as it’s for a first dance he’ll make an exception. Father Maguire is checking dates for the parish church as we speak. The deposit on the white sand honeymoon is paid for in full on Barry’s card. She has fallen for an ivory lace couture gown that is to die for. The down payment may require her to sell a left kidney, but it will be worth it. Isn’t that why you have two?

There’s one teeny tiny problem. It’s nothing, really. No need to panic! It’s just that Barry has yet to propose. Says he’s not ready! He can be a bit of a kill joy that way. It’s time to face the harsh reality – Rebecca is a bride without a groom!

US amzn.to/1MlTewZ  $1.99

UK http://amzn.to/1JVC7ls 99p

Thanks for joining us, Amy. We wish you continued success with your writing.

Alys & Jessica xx

Location, Location!

Melbourne at night - free image Pixabay

After living in Australia for fourteen years, we made the decision to return to the UK to be nearer to my family. We left Australia on October 20th 2014 and so it seemed fitting that almost a year on (we arrived in the UK October 26th), I write about the setting for my novels so far.

I spent nine years in Melbourne and five in Sydney and Australia will always hold a special place in my heart. I set my first novel in a fictitious town on the Central Coast with my characters visiting and working in Sydney itself, then Handle Me with Care was set in the fictitious suburb of Huntley. Handle Me with Care really let me embrace my love for Melbourne and talk about all the fantastic places that have seen it named the World’s Most Liveable City several years in a row. I love everything about Melbourne – the friendly and approachable people, the tram network that’s just so easy, the surrounding green space.

My third novel is due to be released in only two weeks’ time, on November 3rd, and yes, you guessed it, it’s set in Australia too. This time I’ve set the story in a fictitious town called Magnolia Creek and What Rosie Found Next is the first in my Magnolia Creek series. The series will be made up of standalone stories but will all be set in the same beautiful area nestled in the Dandenong Ranges near Melbourne.

The Dandenong Ranges always hold a good memory for me, not only for their beauty. When I first arrived in Australia a friend and I decided we would go to the Dandenongs and explore – we’d heard there were quaint little shops that sold freshly baked scones with cream so we were sold. Now, remember these were the days before iPhones and Sat Navs so armed with our copy of the Melways – an enormous book of maps – off we went.

Disappointed, we returned to work the next day moaning to colleagues, and a little embarrassed, that we hadn’t seen Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges with their breathtaking scenery, low mountain ranges, rolling hills and Mountain Ash trees, and when we told them we’d been to Dandenong and seen a suburb much like any other, the people we worked with found it hysterical. Dandenong is a whole different place…’The’ Dandenongs were in a different direction entirely.

Anyway, we lived it down, eventually, until the day we went to visit the Grampians, but that’s a different story altogether!

koala - free pixabay imageSetting my books in Australia came naturally when I wrote The Friendship Tree. I’d been living in the country for such a long time that I never considered a different place. I had fun with fictitious suburbs and when I formed Magnolia Creek I wanted to return to Victoria but set my story in a small town with gorgeous Australian scenery, a vibrant community, characters who had stories to tell and problems to solve.

So will I always set my stories in Australia? Well, that I’m not sure of. What I do know is that I’ve had a lot of fun with the setting so far and I’m already back in Magnolia Creek as I work on the first draft of book four bringing new characters to town. But who knows where it’ll be after Magnolia Creek…maybe over to another country entirely. Now that could be fun!

Helen J Rolfe.

What Rosie Found Next - bookcover - KDP version


What Rosie Found Next is the first novel in the Magnolia Creek series and it’s available for pre-order now. The book will be released November 3rd 2015…

Secrets are unearthed, promises are broken, friendships are put to the test and the real risk of bushfires under the hot Australian sun threatens to undo Rosie once and for all…Will Rosie and Owen be able to find what they want or what they really need?

What Rosie Found Next – Available for pre-order now



Guest interview – Sky’s Book Corner

Today we welcome Simona Elena from Sky’s Book Corner to the blog…

simone elena photo2


Welcome to The Write Romantics’ blog. Please tell us a bit about yourself and Sky’s Book Corner?

My name is Simona Elena, I’m 26 and I’m from Switzerland. I am a primary school teacher and in my free time I enjoy blogging, reading, music, traveling and fashion. Sky’s Book Corner is mainly a book blog, full of reviews, Q&A and bookish guest post. I also write about lifestyle, traveling and music.

Do you consider books from all genres?

I mainly review romance/women’s fiction/chick-lit books. I love romantic stories and happy ends. I also read other genres like YA, NA, historical romance, contemporary and fantasy.

sky's book corner 1

When did your love of reading start? And do you have an all-time favourite author?

It actually all started with J.K. Rowling. When I started reading the Harry Potter books I fell in love with reading, I actually hated it before. So she definitely is one of my faves. I kind of lost my love for reading for a while, but Paige Toon has brought me back to it, I also started blogging, because of her books. Aven Ellis and Holly Martin are fab as well, their stories are just amazing!!!

What author has most influenced you over the years? (could be an author whose books you read as a child / teenager)

Well, I have to go with the obvious answer here again: J.K. Rowling. I grew up with the Harry Potter books, I grew up with the characters and that was just awesome!

What do you like most about being a book blogger?

The time I get to spend with books 😉 The contact with other bloggers and authors is also fantastic, I have made some great friends through blogging and I’m forever grateful for that.

Do you think you’d ever write books yourself?

I’ve actually written some Harry Potter fanfictions before and also some little short stories. I have some ideas for books and I definitely plan on writing more in the future, especially when I have been teaching for a while, so that I can focus on it more.

What book would you most like to see on the shelves?

Oh go, that’s a really difficult question. But it would be great to see a book, where all my favourite characters meet. Some of the HP characters, my fave Paige Toon characters and also some of Aven Ellis’ ones. They could all meet in Florida or Vancouver or London, cause I just love these places.

Do you choose ebooks or paperbacks or a mixture?

It’s pretty much a mixture. I love reading both and an e-reader is really practical, but I will never loose my love for paperbacks. I try to change after every book, sometimes that’s easy, sometimes it isn’t ;).

And finally, what’s next for Sky’s Book Corner?

Oh, that’s another good question. Well, I definitely have a Christmas Special coming up and I will also post a range of lifestyle posts. Of course I still have a mixture of bookish posts coming up.

Thank you, Simona! I’m sure our followers will be keeping a look out for that Christmas Special too 🙂

If you’d like to know more about Simona, please use the following links or leave a comment below.

Helen J Rolfe.

Blog: skysbookcorner.blogspot.com
Twitter: @skydreamersimi

Please, sir, I want some more

IMG_0910I’ve become a bit Oliver Twist lately. I keep wanting more. Okay, I confess, it’s not just been lately. The desire has always been there. Ten more minutes in bed? Ooh, can I have an hour more please? One lottery number in the draw? No, thanks. I’d rather have all six! One jaffa cake? No, thanks. I’ll take the whole packet instead! And when the tendency to munch my way through too many full packets of jaffa cakes (or tubes of Pringles … or pieces of cake; they’re interchangeable!) takes its toll and I toddle off to Slimming World or WeightWatchers for the millionth time, step on the scales and discover I’ve lost 6lbs in my first week, I feel disappointed that I haven’t lost 7lb or 8lb or, let’s face it, five stone in one week!

And I suspect I’m not the only one.

I decided to ask Google the question, “Do humans always want more?” A multitude of links came up offering thoughts and opinions, but all of them pointed to just one thing: it’s human nature. Good. Because I feel a little less guilty about it knowing that I’m not alone and that my “Please, sir, I want some more” attitude is not about me being greedy. Well, my desire for the extra jaffa cakes may be about me being greedy, but I hope my writing-related desires are purely human nature.

IMG_0900It started when I submitted my first manuscript Searching for Steven to the RNA’s New Writer’s Scheme in 2012. Like every aspiring writer who submits to the Scheme, I prayed that I’d get some positive feedback. I did. But I found myself wishing my MS had been good enough to be put forward for a second read. Please, sir, I want some more! Maybe the following year? I re-submitted Steven the following year as I’d made some significant changes. Perhaps I’d get my second read then? As it happens, the second read system was scrapped so I’ll never know.

The next big moment came when I clinched a publishing deal in September. Woo-hoo! It was an eBook only deal and, you’ve guessed it … Please sir, I want some more! Whilst absolutely astounded, flattered, and thrilled to have secured a publishing deal, I found myself wishing it was for a paperback as well as an eBook. Doesn’t every writer long to hold their own paperback in their paws? Sometimes wishes come true and, before I’d signed, another publishing deal materialised and, this time, it was for an eBook and paperback. Double woo-hoo!

But, please sir, I want some more. It wasn’t enough for me to have a paperback available via Amazon or my publisher’s website. I wanted people to be able to walk into a bookstore and buy a copy of Searching for Steven. My publisher is new and small and they don’t have the links to make this happen … or at least not just yet. So it was down to me to be brave, like Oliver, and ask for more myself. Waterstones in Scarborough were my target and, although a change in manager meant that the enquiry slipped through the net several times and we missed the summer market completely, they stocked Steven. I knew they’d placed an order, but I didn’t know how many or when it would arrive so I kept popping in during my lunch hour at work. It was on my third or fourth visit that I finally spotted him nestling on the bookshelves and …

Please, sir, I want some more! It’s human nature to imagine scenarios and many of us will imagine the best possible scenario. IMG_0911My best possible beyond my wildest dreams scenario was a huge quantity of paperbacks piled up with pride of place on one of the tables rather than the shelves, with a sign beside them reviewing the book and pointing out that I was a local author and that Steven was set in a fictional version of Scarborough. Realistically, I knew that wasn’t going to happen, but I couldn’t help but feel a pang of disappointment that there was no signposting whatsoever. I’ve seen little review cards before pointing out recommended and local books, but Steven didn’t have one. I had to admonish myself to be grateful that (a) they’d stocked it, (b) there was more than one copy (there were 4 or 5) and (c) it was on the shelves forward-facing. I wanted to take a selfie of this amazing moment, but this would have involved an embarrassing lying on the floor moment because it was on the second from bottom shelf so I had to settle for a shelfie instead!

My next drama was whether it would sell. Four or five copies, not signposted, not on the tables, probably most likely to be selected by someone actually looking for my book rather than browsing on the shelves … would Waterstones be doing a return to distributor? I was therefore stunned and excited when Michelle, with whom I do a bootcamp, said to me a week gone Friday, “I bought your book in Waterstones yesterday. It was the last one on the shelf!” Eek! There’d been 4 or 5 on the Monday that week! I know where another two of them have gone – two of my work colleagues made a purchase – but I don’t know where number four and five went which is very exciting.

Of course, this has brought on another please, sir … moment because I now want Waterstones to restock! I want them to say, “Goodness me, those Jessica Redland books flew off the shelves. We must stock some more. And put them on a table in the middle of the sales floor. The best table. Ooh, and let’s add one of those review signs. In fact, let’s put some in the window too and flag up our local talent.” Hmmm. Might be getting a bit carried away there!

Yes, I think it’s human nature to always want that bit more. Yet that doesn’t mean I’m not satisfied with everything I’ve achieved so far. When I started writing, I had an idea and felt compelled to put it to paper. I didn’t really imagine that I’d be a published writer one day; I just needed to write a book. It’s amazing to think I managed that, never mind that it’s now out there for the general public to (hopefully) enjoy.

I’d love more. Who wouldn’t? I’d love to be top of the charts in Amazon, I’d love to appear in bookshops nationally, I’d love to have my books translated into other languages and available around the world, I’d love to sell the film rights. I doubt any of these things will ever happen and that’s fine because my main dream has already come true and I’ll be forever grateful.

Speaking of wanting more, though, where’s those jaffa cakes?

Jessica xx

In light and shade with Elle Turner

Hidden FaceOur guest on the blog today is friend of the Write Romantics, Elle Turner, telling us how she’s got this self-publishing lark all sewn up. Over to the fabulous Elle…

Hey there lovely Write Romantics! Thank you so much for having me back on the blog. I can’t believe two years have passed already since I was last here. It’s been great to follow your individual journeys over the period – you’ve all done tremendously well.

I re-read my 2013 interview with you guys before writing this post and one of the things I said was that I was mulling over the idea of self-publishing a short story collection. Well, at some point I must have stopped mulling and taken some action because I published Tapestry, my first collection of short stories, in September!

One of the things that struck me when I re-read the interview was how apprehensive I sounded. At that time I was still breaking out into a sweat every time I submitted anything anywhere. So how did I manage to get from there to here – excitedly sending my writing out into the world?

I know with complete certainty that being a member of the RNA New Writers’ Scheme has played an enormous part100_0740. The annual deadline to submit manuscripts, the readers’ reports, the supportive community and, this year, my first trip to the summer conference have all provided a focus, friendships and the will to keep going. Writing in itself has contributed to my growing feeling of belonging in the writing world, but also the online support through my blog, twitter and other social media platforms has been invaluable. In other words, in no small measure I have all my online buddies, not least the Write Romantics, to thank for helping me get here. It’s not all been plain sailing – self-doubt, rejection, impatience and what have you – but that’s all part of life’s rich TAPESTRY, right? 😉

My collection of twelve short stories went through many titles before I chose Tapestry, but now I wonder why I didn’t think of it in the first place. The stories are a tapestry, exploring the complexities of life and love through what I hope are moving tales, whether happy or less so. I wanted to write stories about love in different guises, whether romantic love, familial love or obsessive love and took the opportunity to explore the darker, sadder sides of the emotion too. Some of the characters appear in more than one story – I wanted to see what happened to them before or after their first story in the collection. I hope, if you read it, you find you wanted that too!

TAPESTRY_front150dpiIn hope, in pain

We lose, we gain,

But always and forever

The human heart braves life

In light and in shade.

A collection of twelve short stories exploring the complexities of life and love.

Available now from Amazon http://hyperurl.co/ymjfs2

Tapestry came out at the end of September and publication day was so much fun! Again it was my online buddies who made it so and I’m more grateful than I can say to everyone who really got behind me. I’ve had some lovely comments about the stories too, so I’m very happy. J

It’s all been very exciting, but it’s back to work now! I’m looking for an agent for my books and am keen to hear what my NWS reader has to say about Book 4. I’m also planning a new project for 2016. That’s the idea anyway, but who knows what will happen? I’ll have to take it as it comes. Part of life’s rich…

Yes, OK, I’ll get my coat… 😉

Thank you so much for having me, Ladies! I hope to see you again soon and, in the meantime, happy writing!

Much love,

Elle J xx

Congratulations, Elle, the WRs are all really looking forward to escaping into your stories! Good luck with the agent submissions and the NWS news and thanks for joining us on the blog again, we hope you’ll come back next time you have some news.

Elle Turner writes contemporary women’s fiction. She lives in beautiful Scotland with her husband and two sons. She has pretty much no sense of direction, if you offer her a 50:50 she will ALWAYS get it wrong and, despite living in Scotland, she rarely manages to wear shoes that don’t leak.

If you would like to find out more about Elle or her writing, she’d love to see you at www.elleturnerwriter.com on Twitter @ElleTWriter, Instagram elletwriter or she’s on FB as elleturnerwriter



Its all about the people!!!

Who can forget the astounding snobbery of Margot Leadbetter? The stunning arrogance of Sir Edmund Blackadder? The spirited wit and common sense of Elizabeth Bennet? The decency of Abel Magwitch? The feisty independence of Bathsheba Everdene? None of these people ever really lived, yet all of them have left their mark on our collective understanding of the world. Google them and you’ll find loads about them.


You see, great stories aren’t just about the plot, but the characters. The best stories have memorable characters, and when well drawn it’s hard to believe they never existed. They feel familiar, as if they’re people we know. To me that’s the greatest delight of reading and writing, I love people, well most of them anyway, and keep a mental record of the most interesting ones.

Since starting this post I’ve broken the middle finger of my left hand and can’t type much. I was fishing for american crayfish with my grandsons and took a break to sit on a new picnic stool. It felt a bit rocky so I put my finger beneath whereupon it totally broke, crushing the finger in the X frame as it collapsed!

Its not much fun but I was rapidly put back together by our wonderful NHS, aided by 9 yr old Joshua giving detailed accounts to every medical professional we encountered. Even the most hardened medics went pale when enlightened with the particulars of every drop of blood and bit of swelling! One good thing, my daughter is doing ‘A’ level law and wants to be a barrister said to me ‘I think you have a nice little product negligence claim there mum!’ She’s got the hang of it already!

And if you’re wondering who the cranky looking person above is, think moi, dotty enough to delve around in the infant river Thames for crayfish and attend a Mad Hatters Tea Party in a get up that would grace any hatter, mad or not.

Want to know where to find quirky characters? Look no further!


Inspiration and travel by Joanne Dannon

Today it gives me great pleasure to welcome Joanne Dannon – all the way from Melbourne, Australia to introduce her debut Falling For Mr Wrong. Joanne and I met through Romance Writers of Australia’s critique partner scheme over five years ago and one day we hope to meet in person! Selfie

Thank you to Rachael and The Write Romantics for inviting me to chat about my recently launched book, “Falling for Mr Wrong”.

Today, I’m talking about inspiration and ideas for books. Many times I’m asked about where I get the ideas for my writing and I answer, everywhere, which is true. It could be a newspaper article or something I hear about that will have me thinking “what if?”

“Falling for Mr Wrong” is set in Israel and I wrote it after returning from 12 incredible days there. The words flowed as I poured all the amazing experiences I had just enjoyed into Tilly and Nate’s story.

In July 2014 I was selected to attend a dynamic women’s conference in Israel. I arrived early and spent 3 days exploring Tel Aviv and Jaffa. Although the conference was based in Jerusalem time was spent in of Tiberias and Tsfat.

Rather than just basing the story in Jerusalem, I took Nate and Tilly to beautiful northern Israel. Whether you’re religious or not, you can’t help but feel inspired by the places and events that occurred there.

Tsfat, the home to Jewish mysticism has amazing artists living there and you can immerse yourself in art galleries.

In Galilee, Christians visit the places where Jesus performed his miracles, Jews visit the tombs of the Rambam and other great sages. And for the not so religious visitors, there are stunning walking tracks and hot springs to indulge in.

The country is steeped in history and everywhere you go, there are monuments and remnants of the past that have been meticulously preserved.

Not only did I have a truly incredible, travel experience but it inspired me to write “Falling for Mr Wrong”.

I’ve loved the feedback I’ve received where readers have not only enjoyed the romance, but also the setting.

I’m giving away an e-book of “Falling for Mr Wrong” to one lucky reader. To enter, simply tell me a place you’d love to visit and why. I will randomly give the prize to one person who comments.


Excerpt from Falling for Mr Wrong –

Perspiration dotted her forehead and salt burned her brows. Lifting her glasses she rubbed her eyes absent-mindedly. “Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!” Pain seared through her brain as the smudged mud slipped underneath her eyelids, burning her eyeballs.

Scrunching her eyes tightly shut, Tilly tripped on the uneven sandy beach foreshore, blindly searching for her towel to wipe her eyes.

Her ankle twisted sharply.

With a sore foot and burning eyes she stumbled. Her hip connected with something metal, something hard. A vat of mud. She swore an un-lady like word as she started to fall – falling into a great big tub of mud, head first!

Bracing herself for the inevitable squelch she gasped. Air, not mud filled her mouth. A pair of strong, masculine arms caught her and with the ease of a weightlifter, said strong arms hauled her to his chest. Saved!

“I’ve got you,” a deep voice, with a dreamy-to-die-for British accent, filled her ears.

Oh, you most certainly do, she purred, her back pressed against firm packed muscle and two lightly tanned forearms fastened snug around her waist. She always liked reading about her heroes saving heroines but this was so much better.

Where to buy – 




Barnes and Noble

About Joanne Dannon –

Joanne writes to give her readers the experience she still loves to savor—indulging in a sigh-worthy-happily-ever-after, being swept away from the everyday by diving into a delicious romance novel.

Joanne Dannon is a happily married mother of two heroes-in-training who loves spending time with friends and family.  She can be found on Facebook and her website www.joannedannon.com chatting about reading, writing, cooking, vintage-inspired dresses and all things romantic.  She loves to hear from readers.

Catch Joanne online at –




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