Back to Manchester @ChorltonBF

789d2f_cc6d2af0db1f4c12b1409c7ec943895f~mv2I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be appearing at the fantastic Chorlton Book Festival, on Wednesday 22nd November 2017 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Being in Manchester, I’ll be talking about Skin Deep – about Hulme and art, and beauty and exploitation, and all things bookish. The event is at Chorlton Library, Manchester Rd, Manchester M21 9PN and it’s free to attend. I’m excited to be returning to Manchester – a city I know and love – and hope that some of you can come along.

To book: 0161 227 3700 or visit the website here: https://www.chorltonbookfestival.co.uk/calender

Skin Deep Poster

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The Cornish Hotel by the Sea by Karen KIng. Extract.

I’m delighted to introduce readers to author Karen King today. Karen’s work is new to me and her delightful romance set in gorgeous Cornwall, The Cornish Hotel by the Sea, is the first of her novels I’ve read – it won’t be the last. A charming sweet romance it’s perfect for lazy days on the beach. Here’s an exclusive extract with information about Karen and the novel following. Enjoy!

The Cornish Hotel by the Sea

“Excuse me.”

The man’s voice made her jolt. Ellie tore her eyes away from the figures on the computer screen and looked up, straight into a pair of deep grey eyes set in a ruggedly handsome face topped by chocolate-brown hair. Very nice. It took her a few seconds to realise that it was Merc Guy, now wearing a black tee shirt and jeans, and to notice the angry set of his jaw and the frown lines in the middle of his thick eyebrows. He was staying here then. Great.  An unhappy customer was all she needed.   She just hoped he didn’t recognise her from this afternoon when he was blasting his horn at her. Thank goodness she’d been wearing sunglasses.

She fixed a pleasant smile on her face. “Can I help you?”

“The shower isn’t working in my room and I have an important business meeting in less than an hour,” he informed her curtly. “So will you either arrange for it to be fixed immediately or provide me with the use of a shower in another room?”

Great. Problems already.

“Did you hear what I said? I haven’t time to waste. I have an important meeting to go to.”

The man’s abrupt tone annoyed her but she kept calm. “Of course, Mr…er…” she glanced at the hotel register for the man`s name.

“Mitchell.” He supplied. “Reece Mitchell. I arrived earlier today. And I’m in a hurry.”

Yes, I got that. A quick glance at the register told her that Reece Mitchell was in Room 12. Luckily the room next to him was empty and there was a connecting door between the rooms. Problem solved.

“I do apologise, Mr Mitchell. I’ll get it sorted for you today. Meanwhile, please use the shower in the room next to you. It’s vacant at the moment and you can access it through a connecting door.” She reached for the key and handed it to him. “I’m very sorry for the inconvenience. Would you mind popping the key back on your way out?”

He didn’t look too pleased. “Well, I guess it will have to do. I must say this hotel isn’t what I’d expected. I’m surprised you do any business at all.” He almost snatched the key out of her hand.

She swallowed the angry retort that sprung to her mouth reminding herself of Mum’s mantra that the customer was always right. And if they weren’t you didn’t tell them so. She watched, fuming, as Reece Mitchell stormed off.

What an arrogant man!  

Author Bio.

 A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists, Karen King writes sassy, fun, heart-warming romance. The Cornish Hotel by the Sea is her second chicklit for Accent Press, her first – I do?… or do I? was published last year and there is another one in the process of publication. In addition, Accent Press have republished her earlier romance novels, The Millionaire Plan and Never Say Forever.

Karen has also written several short stories for women’s magazine and had 120 children’s books published.

When she isn’t writing, Karen likes travelling, watching the ‘soaps’ and reading. Give her a good book and a box of chocolates and she thinks she’s in Heaven.

Author links

Website: http://www.karenking.net/

Twitter: @karen_king

Karen King Romance Author Facebook Page

Karen King Young Adult Books Facebook Page

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/karenkingauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karenkingauthor/?hl=en

Blurb

The Cornish Hotel by the Sea: Escape to Cornwall with this perfect summer read

“A feel-good summer escape.” Mandy Baggot

Ellie Truman’s widowed mum is struggling to keep Gwel Teg, the family hotel in Cornwall, afloat.  Ellie is determined to do everything in her power to help her, even if that means moving back to the sleepy Cornish village she fled from broken-hearted a few years ago.
Things go wrong from the start and she’s grateful for the help from hunky guest, Reece Mitchell. But does Reece have ulterior motives? Will Ellie’s efforts be for nothing?

Buy Links

Amazon

Waterstones

W.H.Smiths

Thank you for hosting me!

Thanks for coming over! Do follow the rest of the tour. Dates here.

It’s What’s Inside That Counts: Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

Clichés? Certainly. True? Certainly. Except we do judge books by their covers, don’t we? And we judge people too.

My new novel, Skin Deep, is published in June by Accent Press and addresses the sticky issue of outward appearance versus inner reality – amongst other things. But today I’m talking about the cover – because a brand new one is unveiled today and I couldn’t be happier. The team at Accent have done a fabulous job at capturing the tone of the book and as we all know getting covers spot on is hard. Very hard. But this is perfect. I LOVE it, and I hope you do too. Can you tell how excited I am about this new novel?!

So here it is – the Skin Deep jacket. And the blurb and a link should you wish to pre-order.

It’s what’s inside that counts…

Former model and art student Diana has always been admired for her beauty but what use are good looks when you want to shine for your talent? Insecure and desperate for inspiration, Diana needs a muse.

Facially disfigured four-year-old Cal lives a life largely hidden from the world. But he was born to be looked at and he needs love too. A chance encounter changes everything; Cal becomes Diana’s muse. But as Diana’s reputation develops and Cal grows up, their relationship implodes.

Both struggle to be accepted for what lies within.
Is it possible to find acceptance in a society where what’s on the outside counts for so much?

PRE-ORDER LINK

Laura x

Good times, bad times, good memories, good lessons

This post’s title paraphrases an anonymous quote: Good times become good memories and bad times become good lessons

Across the media there’s been much talk of the terrible events of 2016 – and the terribleness of some depends upon which way you voted, though it’s fair to say most people I know, myself included, were crushed by the June result here and the November one across the pond.

Today as I dragged out my new diary – sniffed it, enjoyed the crisp, as yet unsullied pages – and transferred important information across (like all those passwords we’re not supposed to write down!) my Facebook timeline was dotted with posts celebrating Good Things of the past twelve months.

Traditionally, I have penned a review of my year here but had not felt inclined to do so for 2016 till now. The positivity on social media reminded me that I, too, have had as many good moments as difficult, if not more, and in the spirit of #lovenothate #beattheblues #hopenothate here’s my list:

Giinger2's fabulous locks

Giinger2’s fabulous locks

Ginger1 turned 18 and what a fine young man he is. Some might say my job is done, though I can’t agree. Parenting is for life.

Ginger2 turned 13 and he is shaping up nicely. And growing the finest head of hair I can think of.

I published my third novel – thanks are due to my publisher Accent Press and to all the book shops, bloggers, readers and fellow authors who supported it along its way. Bless you all.

I wrote a radio play after attending a script writing course led by Sue Teddern. It was brilliant to take on a fresh challenge and make new friends along the way. Whether or not the play is ever produced doesn’t matter (much!); the process was priceless.

I began a new novel – abandoned it and began again. Another lesson and reminder that no matter where you are in the journey there’s always something new to be learnt or discovered.Redemption Song Final

A conference I helped to organise and run – The Beach Hut Writing Academy’s From Inspiration to Publication – was a sell-out success. So much so that we’re running another in 2017.

I took part in a number of fantastic literary events – including City Reads, part of the Brighton Festival.

I was a writer-in-residence for Little Green Pig’s pop-up gallery in the summer and subsequently have been running workshops for the organisation which offers creative writing and storytelling workshops to children and young people in Brighton & Hove. A fabulous charity.

2016-08-30-09-20-40The BigFella and I made it through another year together – that’s 25 in total since we first met – and we love each other as much, perhaps more, than we ever have.

We enjoyed a great holiday in Cornwall with my lovely sister-in-law in August.

My parents are healthy and living well at a time when so many friends are facing/have faced the loss of theirs.

I witnessed friends fall in love, marry, have children, be published for the first time.

There is more love and hope in the world than hate and despair. The bad shit is given so much more air time because it is rare – at least here. We are truly blessed. Winners of the lottery of life.

Be thankful, be content. Know that every small act of compassion and kindness is meaningful. As my lovely grandma used to say: From small acorns…

Happy New Year!

 

Calling All Foodies: Kristen Bailey’s Festive Food Blog Party!

Today, I’m kicking off another Accent Press author Kristen Bailey‘s Christmas blog party with a fairytale of New York. Do pop over, take a look and follow the rest of the tour. It’s going to be a blinder. Essential reading for all book, booze and food lovers.

http://www.kristenbaileywrites.com/single-post/2016/12/07/Christmas-Blog-Party-Laura-Wilkinson

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Guest Post from Jenny Kane: Christmas Pick ‘n’ Mix

Hello again, Jenny! Lovely to have you here this Christmas!

Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection: Stress at Christmas?

jennykanes-christmas-collectionI’m delighted to be visiting today, as part of a blog tour celebrating the launch of my seasonal anthology, Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection.

Personally I adore Christmas. I love the extra rushing about and cooking and secret gift buying, but let’s face it; for many Christmas can be something of a mixed blessing. While it means families and friends come together, gorgeous food, rather more alcohol than is strictly wise, and a certain joyous throwing out of the diet plan- it can also mean excessive spending, stressed out arguments over who said what to ‘Our Cheryl’ during last year’s Christmas dinner, and total exhaustion- not to mention arguments over whether to have a real tree or an artificial one- and a colossal electricity bill in January as a result of all those extra festive lights…

Within the confines of my festive stories I try and toe the middle line. It would be foolish to pretend that Christmas was never stressful, to make out that snow always fell with Christmas card precision when it was supposed to, and that an overcooked turkey couldn’t cause a minor domestic meltdown. On the other hand – this is fiction! I’m supposed to be providing light entertainment- a cheerful moment of escapist hope and happiness amongst the chaos of wrapping present and making mince pies. Consequently, while the three novellas that make up Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection, do touch on the extra pressures that the Christmas season can bring, they are basically stories of friendship and smiles. Tales that I hope will provide some Christmas warmth, whatever the winter weather.

My Another Cup of series began some years ago with the full length novel, Another Cup of Coffee. I enjoyed writing that novel so much, that when I was asked to write a Christmas follow up, I was only too happy to oblige. I had no idea then that I would end up writing three Christmas novella’s and a further novel (Another Glass of Champagne) before the series came to an end.

Those seasonal stories began with the Another Cup of Christmas, followed by Christmas in the Cotswolds in 2014, and then Christmas at the Castle last year.

Blurb for Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection

jennykanes-christmas-collection-5starThere is something very special about Christmas…
Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection combines all three seasonal shorts from Jenny’s best-selling Another Cup of … series in one festive anthology.
In ‘Another Cup of Christmas’, we return to Pickwicks Coffee House in London, the setting for Jenny’s bestselling novel Another Cup of Coffee. Together with old friends Kit, Amy, Scott and Peggy, we meet new Pickwicks waitress Megan, who’s in charge of organising a charity event for the local hospital…is romance as well as seasonal goodwill in the air?
‘Christmas in the Cotswolds’ sees Megan, now an established face at Pickwicks, travelling to the beautiful Cotswold countryside after an emergency call from her friend Izzie. Can Megan help Izzie pull off the perfect Christmas at her Arts and Crafts Centre – and save the business from disaster?
Kit Lambert, Pickwicks’ writer-in-residence, takes centre stage in ‘Christmas at the Castle’. Already nervous about appearing at her very first literary festival, in the grounds of a magnificent Scottish castle at Christmas time, Kit suddenly finds herself co-organising the whole thing – and trying to repair old friendships – with the deadline fast approaching…

One of the most important decisions I make when I’m about to write a story is where to locate the tale. When, I wrote Christmas in the Cotswolds, I thoroughly enjoyed taking Pickwicks’ waitress, Megan, away from her workplace in Richmond, on an artistic adventure in the lovely Gloucestershire countryside. So when the time came to write the fourth adventure for the characters from Pickwicks Coffee House, Christmas at the Castle, I had no fears about taking regular customer, and writer in resident, Kit Lambert, on her travels as well.

I only ever write stories based in places I know well. The Deeside area of NE Scotland, where Christmas at the Castle is based, was my home for three years at the turn of the century. I lived in the beautiful village of Banchory (and worked in the branch of WHSmith’s you can find on the High Street). It was in Banchory – in a coffee shop that might look very similar to the one mentioned in Christmas at the Castle– that I wrote my very first published story!

While I was there, I was a frequent visitor to all the local castles, including the breathtakingly stunning Crathes Castle. From the moment I set foot in the castle grounds back in 1998, I fell in love with the place.

Owned by the National Trust for Scotland, Crathes Castle, with its thick whitewashed walls, incredible ceiling paintings, and atmospheric rooms, remains one of my favourite buildings in the world. Complimented by a mix of formal grounds and woodland, no matter what, or much, I write about Crathes, I will never be enough to do it justice.

Crathes is as much a character in this festive novella as Kit, and her fellow literary festival planners, Alice and Charlie…

Extract

Cameron Hunter rocked back on his desk chair and stared out across the estate grounds of Crathes Castle. From where he sat he could see the sweep of the formal gardens that huddled neatly around the foot of the sixteenth-century tower house, and on to the woodland beyond.

He still couldn’t believe he’d managed to land a job in one of the most picturesque places in the country. On crisp winter mornings like this one, when the fallen russet leaves crunched underfoot and the evergreen leaves shone with the spidery touch of Jack Frost, it seemed madness that he’d actually hesitated before applying for the estate manager’s post.

Returning to the pile of paperwork on his desk, Cameron’s gaze fell on a stack of ‘Christmas at the Castle Literary Festival’ flyers. It had seemed like such a good idea at the time. The chance to impress his new boss and attempt a “kill or cure” technique on the ghost of his former relationship at the same time.

Cameron often wished he’d never set eyes on Alice Warren. He hated that he couldn’t stop loving her, even when she made it clear that their time together had just been a bit of a fling.

He thought he’d be safe taking a job back in the area now that Alice was living in Edinburgh. Yet on his very first trip into Banchory after taking the job, he’d seen her chatting to another girl outside the newsagents.

On his return to the office, unable to stop himself, he’d found himself searching for Alice Warren on Google. Telling himself that this wasn’t stalking, but that he was merely acting in self-preservation, Cameron had discovered that his ex was running Warren Premier Events, a successful event management business in Edinburgh.

Seconds later, he’d come up with the idea to get her to organise an event for him. That way his lingering obsession with her would either be shot stone dead and he could get on with his life, or Alice would realise she’d made a terrible mistake and that she loved him after all.

Pushing the sleeves of his thick Aran jumper past his elbows in annoyance at himself, Cameron absent-mindedly signed three documents. Even though he knew he was behaving like a lovesick teenager, he couldn’t help but hope it would all work out.

Contacting Alice via the Warren Premier Events website, Cameron had asked her to help for old time’s sake. Trying not to feel pathetic, he justified his actions to himself with the thought that, whatever his reasons, there could be few better places for a literary festival than in a castle at Christmas time…

***

You can buy Jenny Kane Christmas Collection as a paperback or download from-

Amazon UK- https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jenny-Kanes-Christmas-Collection-Short-ebook/dp/B01M0ICD7A/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1474386377&sr=8-2&keywords=jenny+kane%27s+christmas+collection

Amazon.com-  https://www.amazon.com/Jenny-Kanes-Christmas-Collection-Short-ebook/dp/B01M0ICD7A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474387008&sr=8-1&keywords=jenny+kane%27s+christmas+collection

Many thanks Laura,

Jenny xx

Bio

jen-and-abis-house-1Jenny Kane is the author the contemporary romance Another Glass of Champagne, (Accent Press, 2016),  Christmas at the Castle (Accent Press, 2015), the bestselling novel Abi’s House (Accent Press, 2015), the modern/medieval time slip novel Romancing Robin Hood (Accent Press, 2014), the bestselling novel Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013), and its novella length sequels Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013),  Christmas in the Cotswolds (Accent, 2014), and Christmas at the Castle (Accent, 2016). These three seasonal specials are now available in one boxed set entitled Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection (Accent, 2016)

Jenny’s fifth full length romance novel, Abi’s Neighbour, will be published in June 2017.

Jenny’s first medieval murder mystery, The Outlaw’s Ransom will be published in December 2016 under the pen name, Jennifer Ash

Jenny is also the author of quirky children’s picture books There’s a Cow in the Flat (Hushpuppy, 2014) and Ben’s Biscuit Tin (Hushpuppy, 2015)

Keep your eye on Jenny’s blog at www.jennykane.co.uk for more details.

Twitter- @JennyKaneAuthor

Facebook -https://www.facebook.com/JennyKaneRomance?ref=hl

Jenny also writes erotica as Kay Jaybee

The Joy of Creation – and the seventh day

Back in late June I had a whole bundle of good intentions for the summer. The most important of these was to complete the first draft of my WIP; I was 30k words in. Now, I have 35k. You don’t need to be good at maths (I’m rubbish) to see that I failed to meet my objective in spectacular style. 5,000 words? A figure I would commonly knock up in less than seven days.

The Family LineThings went pear-shaped from the off. The EU referendum result rocked me to an extent and depth I was utterly unprepared for. For weeks, I could think of nothing else and fed my addiction by reading everything I encountered on social media: articles, debates, the numerous passionate conversations between friends and colleagues, and, sadly, the trolls. Struggling with despair, a ‘what’s the point, we’re all going to hell in a handcart’ attitude, I did manage the edits on the revised edition of my debut, renamed The Family Line. Which was just as well: it had a July publication date.

Then Ginger1 went away. For a month. A whole month. One child lighter I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to catch up. Wrong. Instead I fretted about him constantly, using up precious emotional and mental energy. I couldn’t focus.

Late July and Ginger2 finished school for the summer. A week later and his older brother returned home safe and sound – if grubby; he’d been living in a tent for the duration. Now the long break has never been an easy time in which to write, as many mothers know, but I have plodded on in the past, albeit at a reduced pace: I worked in the mornings and we played in the afternoons. It didn’t pan out that way. I did try. Time and again I sat at my pc and typed a few measly sentences, before admitting that I wasn’t getting anywhere, fast. And for days, and weeks, one question plagued me: What on earth is going on? Have I lost my passion? Will I never complete a novel again?

In the past seven years I have written six (and a bit – there’s that third of the WIP) novels, a number of short stories, and a radio play. The shorts and five of the novels have been published – the sixth is scheduled for release in June 2017 – with all the attendant promotional activity. The radio play is almost ready for submission. Whether or not it is ever produced remains to be seen. On top of this I have continued to teach, mentor and work as an editor.

Prussia Cove, Cornwall

Prussia Cove, Cornwall

In August we went away for our family holiday. This year to Cornwall, to the most southerly point of Britain: the Lizard.  On this holiday, where we walked and sailed and mostly admired the stunning beauty of the Cornish coastline (though the Helford Passage is worth a visit too) I realised that I needed to stop beating myself up. That my sub-conscious had been at work. I’m tired. I needed to take stock, step back, refill the well.

So, aside from a stint as a writer-in-residence for Little Green Pig (that’s a story for another time…) August and this first two weeks of September has passed without writing and little social media activity and – shockingly to me – it’s been OK. Really, really OK. Great, even.

2016-08-30-09-20-40

The Little Green Pig pop-up in Brighton

I’ve read a lot – both fiction and non-fiction – rediscovering my love of writing from across the pond. American literature was a strand of my degree but in recent years I’ve read British works almost exclusively, feeling the need to keep up with trends.

I’ve swam almost every day, in the sea mostly – how lucky I am to live in Brighton; I’ve hung out with much neglected, and extremely tolerant, family and friends, realising in particular that my boys are growing up fast and it won’t be too long before they’re gone. Ten years from now, I won’t regret having written five rather than eight or nine novels, but I will regret not having spent more time with my children. A novelist friend said exactly the same thing.

At the weekend I was at a character masterclass run by The Beach Hut Writing Academy, tutored by clinical psychologist Dr Sam Fraser and thriller writer Rebecca Whitney. It was a fascinating and inspiring day. I came away buzzing with ideas and during one particular  exercise I discovered what the heart of my story was – and it wasn’t what I’d thought it was! The whole thing needs a re-write.

And here I am, ready to face the autumn, to enjoy reconnecting with my craft, a rewrite, my characters and their stories, to reconnect more fully with online friends (I am fortunate to have many astoundingly wonderful online mates) and I’ve learned the importance of taking a break, stepping away and reassessing.

A writing life is a marathon, not a sprint. We need to pace ourselves.

Creation is a marvellous thing and regardless of whether or not you believe in the Christian creation story (I don’t) the significance of the seventh day should not be underestimated.

Laura x