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Monday, 27 March 2017

My Favourite Things by Stella Hervey Birrell, Author & Blogger




Food - Savoury and Sweet
Oh this is always a hard one, of course I want to put avocado and strawberries, and this is (kind of) true. But it is probably more true to say I like Marshmallow Top Hats (pictured) and Salt and Vinegar Crisps – the latter is my tried and tested hangover cure…





Drink
Well, just like my mother, I run on tea. Alcohol-wise, it’s got to be Tia Maria and Diet Coke, the only thing I can drink all night without needing Salt and Vinegar Crisps the next day.


Film
Films like Mystic Pizza, Staying Alive, Peter’s Friends, Parenthood and Some Kind of Wonderful: films we had on video as impressionable teenagers and watched over and over again until we knew them off by heart. I was delighted to find some of these on Netflix the other day! Since I’ve had children, going to the cinema to see anything that isn’t animated is a very rare occasion, so I probably have about eight years of great films to catch up on.


Book
I always say Possession, by A S Byatt (pictured). It had everything: academia – I love a story about academics – a massive love story, and another love story nestled within! But there are so many great books out there: two I’ve read this year and loved are The Woman who Upped and Left, by Fiona Gibson, The Little Shop of Happy Ever After, by Jenny Colgan.



Author
Jane Green. The queen of women’s fiction – I’ve been reading her since I was in my twenties and it feels like we’ve grown up together – she used to write about single gals and finding Mr Right, then it was making babies (pretty much when I was making babies!), and now she writes about female characters with older children.


Character
Bridget Jones. She is the embodiment of all our doubts about ourselves, but more importantly, she’s really, really funny.


Song
Oh my goodness, just one song? Impossible! I would struggle to ever do Desert Island Discs (note to self: never become well known enough that I could be asked), and it would probably change from one day to the next. Today, I like ‘Do your Thing’ by Basement Jaxx, ‘Cover me Up’ by Jason Isbell, and ‘Don’t Worry’ by Karine Polwart.


Holiday destination
Austin, Texas – I am a complete Yankophile, and we spent our honeymoon there.


Animal
Cat! Always, always. Here’s a picture of one of mine, we have two now: as my husband says, I wanted a cat, and he didn’t, so we compromised. And got a cat.




Person
My husband, hands down. With apologies to my children, who are pretty great too.


Place to write
In the non-existent extra room in our house, that has one of those massive writing desks with all the drawers… *sigh*


Season
Autumn. I absolutely love it: the leaves, those first, frosty mornings, and being able to put big jumpers on again.


Inspirational quote
‘She believed she could, so she did.’


Thing in the whole world
I love my kitchen table – I even tried to write a song about it once. It’s where I am now, the Autumn sun is streaming in the window, and the cat is asleep next to me. I’ve just had a bacon and avocado roll, and there are salt and vinegar crisps for later. Once I’ve finished this, I’ll be putting the kettle on…and if you were here I’d be offering you a biscuit too.



Stella Hervey Birrell’s debut novel How Many Wrongs make a Mr Right? is available from UK Amazon US Amazon Kobo Nook iBooks







Bio:

Stella Hervey Birrell was born but not bred in a market town in Fife, Scotland, just before the winter of discontent in 1978. Writing success came early when at the age of 13 she won the Class Prize in the National Bible Society of Scotland's Annual Competition with her poem, 'Mary's Donkey.' From memory, the poem itself was fairly dire.

After various distractions such as an Open University degree, marriage, several years working as a Committee Clerk, and children, Stella began writing in earnest in the early hours of the morning and during naptimes. Her first novel, How Many Wrongs make a Mr Right? was published by Crooked Cat books in 2016.

Stella writes a weekly wordpress blog about her tinylife. Other short pieces have been published, (or are coming soon) in The Guardian, The Ropes Journal, the Lies, Dreaming podcast, and The Dangerous Woman Project.

Stella now lives in an East Lothian rural idyll with her cat, husband, and children. In that order.


She blogs at #atinylife140 tweets at @atinylife140 and can be found on Facebook here.

Thanks so much for joining us today on My Favourite Things Stella.

Sincerely
Book Angel x


Thursday, 23 March 2017

Evie's Year of Taking Chances by Christie Barlow


It’s Evie’s birthday and the start of a year she’ll never forget. An emotional story of love, friendship and grabbing life by the horns.
Evie’s job has always been her safe haven. As a librarian in the little town of Becton she loses herself in books - after all it’s far easier to read about other people’s problems than set about solving her own. Then, one birthday, everything is turned upside down. A mysterious parcel containing a beautiful book with a poignant inscription arrives for Evie. It’s the start of new chapter for Evie and she’s inspired to try and find her real mother. Evie’s search leads her to meet handsome author Noah Jones. Charming and intelligent, Noah seems the perfect catch but what Evie doesn’t realise is that he is hiding something – a key to Evie’s past. As Evie gets closer to Noah and discovering her real mother, she must take a giant leap of faith. Can she embrace the new and make this her year of taking chances? And if she does, will she get her heart broken? A romantic, funny and poignant story of living life to the full and finding love in the most unlikely of places. Fans of Debbie Johnson and Cathy Bramley will adore this book!

Title: Evie's Year of Taking Chances
Author:   Christie Barlow
Published by:  Bookouture
Publication Date: 10th March 2017
Links: UK: Amazon    US: Amazon

Our Review

What a lovely story with not one but two happy endings.
Evie Cooper has a reasonably happy life, she works in the library which she loves, has a best friend called Clara who is always lots of fun and a foster mother called Irene who loves her so much. But things hadn't always been so good for her as she didn't have a very good start in life.

After having a very unsettled childhood she eventually found stability with the lovely Irene and the relationship between those two characters was beautiful. They were so close and really needed each other it was lovely to know that whatever happened in her life Irene would be there to hold her hand. There was no doubt that Irene may not have been her biological mum but she was her real mum.

After giving it a lot of thought Evie decided that on her birthday she would begin the search for her biological mum. I could really feel the angst she was going through and could imagine how much her stomach would be churning whilst she waited for news. Also because she loved her foster mum Irene and didn't want to hurt her by looking for her biological mum.

Having not told anyone about Irene being her foster mum she eventually confided in her best friend Clara who was very supportive.

I loved Evie's explanation of why she hadn't found anyone because she felt she needed to try and meet her birth mum before she could move forward in her life with regards to relationships.

Evie has a crush on author Noah Jones and I was really rooting for her hoping she could get together with him because he sounded gorgeous.

The whole issue of searching for her birth mother was handled very sensitively and there were some shocking revelations which Evie needed to come to terms with.

I really enjoyed accompanying Evie on her journey which was filled with lots of ups and downs and found this book to be completely entertaining from beginning to end.

Despite having a very bad start in life I was pleased to find there was a happy ending for Evie. But just when you think it's over and that life couldn't get any better for her there is another even happier ending.

A heartwarming, emotional read full of heartbreak, tenderness, love, laughter, friendship and the love of a good mum.

Sincerely
Book Angel x

About the Author


Christie Barlow is the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty's Countryside Dream, Lizzie's Christmas Escape and Evie's Year of Taking Chances. She lives in Staffordshire with her husband, four kids, horses, chickens and a mad cocker spaniel. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK and USA. Christie also writes her own book column in Mama Life Magazine too! www.mamalifemagazine.co.uk

Christie loves to hear from her readers and you can get in touch via her website www.christiebarlow.com Twitter @ChristieJBarlow and Facebook page Christie Barlow author

Monday, 20 March 2017

My Favourite Things by Tara Lyons, Author & Blogger


Food Savoury and sweet
It's a hard one... I definitely have a sweet tooth and love cheesecake... but I think overall I'm more of a savoury kinda girl.

Drink
Tea! I've never had a cup of coffee. When I'm out then I'm partial to an odd fruity cider or two.

Holiday destination
Marrakesh is calling me - and has done for years! I have no idea why I so badly want to visit Morocco, but I do. My friends who have visited know to no longer mention it in front of me, and has become quite the joke, because I get so upset.... It's on my bucket list.

Animal
Dogs and dolphins - both beautiful, friendly and intelligent animals.

Person
I could not live without my son and my mum. In my early twenties, I was told it would be difficult for me to conceive - if at all - so I believe Leo is my little miracle. He's changed me life for the better. I also couldn't get through the day without chatting to my mum, she keeps me sane.

Place to write
In utter quietness where I'm not disturbed.

Season
It's a throw down between Halloween and Christmas. I love the costumes and fun, the traditions and glorious food and the chance to spend time with my family and friends. I'm definitely more of an autumn/winter person - snuggled up in big jumpers, cosy socks and a fire burning.

Tradition
After having my son, I began my own tradition, different to the one I was raised with: I pack away the Christmas decorations on New Year's Eve (as opposed to 12 days after Christmas as my parents do). I love the idea of entering the new year "fresh" and leave the previous 12 months - be them good or bad - behind and start anew.

Inspirational quote
"Everything happens for a reason."
So much so, I had it tattooed on my shoulder a few years ago.

Thing in the whole world
My laptop - I use it to plan and create and write the books I want to share, as well as to connect with the amazing people I've met over the past year.


Author Bio

Tara is a crime/psychological thriller author from London, UK. Turning 30 in 2015 propelled her to fulfil her lifelong dream of becoming a writer. In the Shadows is Tara's debut solo novel published in March 2016. She co-wrote The Caller and Web of Deceit: A DI Sally Parker novella with New York Times bestselling author, M.A Comley.

In August 2016 Tara signed a two-book contract with Bloodhound Books. The second book in the DI Hamilton series, No Safe Home, was published in January 2017.

When she's not writing, Tara can be found at a local Wacky Warehouse stuck in the ball-pit with her young, energetic son.

Sign up to Tara's monthly newsletter for exclusive news, previews and giveaways: http://eepurl.com/bN2KoH

Find out more about the author and follow her writing journey

Buy the books here Amazon

www.facebook.com/taralyonsauthor

www.twitter.com/taralyonsauthor

www.instagram.com/taralyonsauthor

www.taralyonsauthor.blogspot.co.uk

www.authorselectric.blogspot.co.uk





Thursday, 16 March 2017

There's Something About Cornwall by Daisy James



The new delightfully uplifting romantic comedy from Daisy James. Perfect for fans of Mandy Baggot, Christie Barlow and Zara Stoneley.
A knight in a shining camper van!
Life is far from picture perfect for food photographer, Emilie Roberts. Not only has her ex-boyfriend cheated on her, he’s also stolen her dream assignment to beautiful Venice! Instead, Emilie is heading to the wind-swept Cornish coast…
Emilie doesn’t think it can get any worse – until disaster strikes on the very first day! And there’s only one man to rescue this damsel in distress: extremely hunky surfing instructor, Matt Ashby.
Racing from shoot to shoot in a bright orange vintage camper van, Matt isn’t the conventional knight in shining armour – but can he make all of Emilie’s fairy tale dreams come true?

Title:   There's Something About Cornwall
Author: Daisy James
Published By: Amazon Media
Publication Date: 8th March 2017
Links: UK: Amazon    


Author Q & A with Daisy James



Welcome to Sincerely Book Angels blog. 
Thank you for having me, Annette. It’s great to be here.


What was the inspiration behind this novel? 
I’ve loved Cornwall ever since we went on holiday there when I was a child. I remember the windswept beaches and the freedom to paddle in the sea and run for miles along the golden sand. I thoroughly enjoyed researching the story, especially the recipes for the local bakes and artisan drinks. I didn’t know, for instance, that they grow tea in Cornwall.


Did you always want to be a writer? 
I’ve been scribbling one way or another since I was a teenager, whether it be in a diary, or writing a short story, or an article. One thing I hated though was writing my dissertation for my degree – just couldn’t wait to get it finished. The academic world was not for me.


How did it feel when your first novel was published? 
Absolutely amazing! I will never forget the day when I got the call from my editor to tell me they wanted to publish The Runaway Bridesmaid. I love all my books, but that one will always have a special place in my heart.


Have you ever had writer's block? If so how did you overcome it? 
I’m great at procrastination. If I need to get down to writing a difficult scene, I’ll happily start the ironing or clean the oven. But once I get started, the words seem to flow. They might not start out very well, but pages of words can always be edited - blank pages can’t!


What motivates you to keep writing? 
I love it! I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and a tickle of a story is itching at my brain. Tip – always keep a pen and notebook beside the bed for three a.m. scribbling.


Where is your favourite place to write?
I write in my peppermint-and-cream summerhouse (garden shed). It’s a great place to go to escape the hustle and bustle of the house, except in the winter when I decamp to the kitchen table.


What three pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring writer? 
Read, read, read. Then, write, write, write. And lastly, go with your gut instinct and write what you want to write.


Which authors inspire you?
My favourite genre to read is travel memoir. I love reading about authors’ journeys to far away lands and the trials and tribulations they go through when settling there. Or authors who go on epic journeys like Michael Palin or Levison Wood, or Simon Reeve. I’ve just finished reading a book called Tuk-Tuk to the Road by Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent and Jo Huxster. It’s about two girls who buy a tuk-tuk in Thailand and drive it by themselves all the way back home to London. Amazing!


What are you reading at the moment?
Lol, I’m reading another travel memoir called Tehran, Lipstick and Loopholes about the difficulties faced by women living in Iran – it’s filled with humour as well as struggle.


If your book was made into a film what song would you choose for the opening credits? 
No matter where you go in Cornwall, you’re never too far from the sea, so perhaps Ocean Drive by The Lighthouse Family. That song invokes such a summery feel for me.


What is your next book about? 
My next book is a summer book. It’s about a frustrated artist who is too caught up in the struggle to five o’clock that she’s lost the urge to paint – until she arrives in Corfu.

To win this fantastic prize pictured below simply follow and retweet Daisy's pinned tweet @daisyjamesbooks.
The winner will be announced on 31st March 2017



And now think about the books you've read and just give the first one that comes into your head for our quickfire 'Which book round.'

Which book has made you: 

Laugh out loud? 
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Cry your heart out? 
The Teashop on the Corner by Milly Johnson

Want to read it again?
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

Think more? 
Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

Wish it would be made into a film? 
I loved The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies and think that would make a very evocative film.

Scared?
I usually read when I’m in bed, so try not to select a story that will scare me.

Thanks so much for joining us today Daisy and good luck with your book.



Sincerely
Book Angel x

About the Author

Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her peppermint-and-green summerhouse (garden shed), she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. Her husband and young son were willing samplers of her baking creations which were triple-tested for her debut novel, The Runaway Bridesmaid. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

Daisy would love to hear from readers via her Facebook page or you can follow her on Twitter @daisyjamesbooks, especially if they have given any of the recipes in her book a whirl… photos are very welcome.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Rome is Where the Heart Is by Tilly Tennant


 

Can a holiday romance ever have a happy ending? Escape with Kate to the sun-drenched city of Rome where a love affair is just about to begin…When Kate’s husband Matt dumps her on Friday 13th she decides enough is enough – it’s time for her to have some fun and so she hops on a plane to Rome. A week of grappa and gelato in pavement cafes under azure blue skies will be just what the doctor ordered.

What she doesn’t count on is meeting and falling for sexy policeman Alessandro. But the course of true love doesn’t run smoothly – Alessandro has five meddling sisters, a fearsome mama and a beautiful ex Orazia. They’re all certain that Kate is not the girl for him.

Can Kate and Alessandro’s love last the distance? Or will she return home with the one souvenir she doesn’t want – a broken heart …

Fall in love with the colourful cafes and the cobbled piazzas of Rome and follow Kate’s dreams and her heart in this enchanting escapist read. Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Carol Matthews.

Title: Rome is Where the Heart Is.
Author: Tilly Tennant
Published By: Bookouture
Publication Date: 9th March 2017
Links: Uk: Amazon  US: Amazon


We are delighted to be able to share an extract from Rome is Where the Heart is thanks to Tilly Tennant and Bookouture.


Chapter One

Kate Merry had long suspected that Friday the thirteenth had it in for her. It couldn’t be personal, of course, but something had brought her to its attention and each time it came around she seemed to be the default victim. There had been flat tyres, burst pipes, redundancy notices, the dreadful skirt-in-pants debacle of one particular Friday the thirteenth in 2004, along with various smaller but no less galling offences over the years. Even as a child she had been on the Friday the thirteenth bad-luck radar, falling victim to a tricycle clash in the playground of her primary school that had resulted in a broken toe. But all those past days of misfortune would be eclipsed by the Friday the thirteenth when she was thirty, a day that would change her life forever. Kate wasn’t to know this when she opened her front door after a long day at work to find her husband standing in the hallway with his suitcases. But although this was by far the worst Friday the thirteenth ever, it also marked the day when lady luck had finally had enough of taunting her.

She stared at the suitcases, and then noticed the taxi with its engine idling, just outside the front door. There was an obvious explanation but it was one she didn’t want to believe – couldn’t believe at all.

‘What’s going on?’

‘I’d have thought it was obvious.’ Matt’s reply was casual, cold even, but Kate could tell by the way he couldn’t meet her eye he’d been caught red-handed in a way he wasn’t prepared for.

‘If it was obvious I wouldn’t have asked.’ Kate’s tone was crisp and belied her churning stomach.

‘I’m going to stay at Connor’s for a bit, sort my head out.’

‘Connor’s? What do you mean, “sort your head out”? What’s to sort?’

‘Us. . . at least, what I think about us.’

‘What does that mean?’

‘What do you think it means? You can’t say you didn’t see this coming.’

Kate stared at him. ‘See what coming? What are you saying, Matt?’

‘I need a break.’

‘What? A holiday? A week off? What the hell does that mean?’

‘I need to be away from you, that’s what it means.’ He rubbed a hand through dark hair that was already grey at the temples. He looked tired and drawn – a far cry from the bright-eyed eighteen-year-old she had married, the man who had been in her life since they’d started high school together. If she was really honest with herself she too had felt they had been stuck in a rut and they were a long way from the bubbly couple they’d once been. But this seemed so extreme. Things weren’t that bad, were they? Shouldn’t they at least talk about it first? Despite what he’d just said, she hadn’t seen this coming, hadn’t imagined for a moment that his complaints and grumblings of discontent meant anything.

‘You’re leaving me?’

‘It’s just space – you know? It’ll be good for both of us – it’ll help us both to decide what we want.’

‘I want you! I don’t need space to decide that! At least come in and talk to me before you do anything else. Twelve years of marriage has got to be worth that, hasn’t it?’

‘Kate, we’ve done nothing but talk and it’s got us nowhere.’

‘No, we haven’t! Not properly. You’ve never mentioned leaving! How is that talking?’

‘You wouldn’t have listened even if I had,’ he replied quietly. ‘And when were we supposed to get the time to talk when you’re never around?’

‘I have to work! I have commitments outside our marriage. Am I supposed to forget all that and be at your beck and call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week?’

‘You’re always with your sisters—’

‘You’re saying I can’t see my sisters?’

‘That’s not what I’m saying,’ he fired back irritably. But then he checked himself, paused, and when he looked at her, Kate could see how much this was hurting him. So why was he doing it? ‘It’s too late,’ he said finally. ‘The rot is set in and I don’t see a way back from here.’

‘So when you said you needed a break that was a lie so that I’d let you walk out of the door without a fight? It was just so you could stop the meter running on that taxi waiting for you outside?’

‘I didn’t want to hurt you.’

‘Oh, right. Because this way isn’t hurting at all.’ She narrowed her eyes. ‘I suppose what you were actually hoping for was to be gone before I got in from work, so that you could take the coward’s way out and not have to face me at all?’

Matt shifted awkwardly, his gaze dropping to the antique tiled floor of their hallway. Kate let out a hollow laugh.

‘How inconsiderate of me to finish work early today. What would I have arrived back to? A note on the table? A text? Dinner in the oven? Nothing?’

He shook his head, but he couldn’t look her in the eye.

‘Is there someone else?’ she asked in a low voice.

‘No.’

‘You expect me to believe that? This, all of a sudden? If there’s nobody else then why are you leaving?’

‘There has to be another woman?’

‘Of course not – not if it was any other man we were talking about. But I know you, Matt, better than you know yourself, and I know that you need someone; you’re not built for life alone.’

‘Well maybe I changed! Maybe I’m not quite the pathetic needy man you seem to think I am.’

‘I never said you were pathetic and needy, but I don’t believe for a moment that you’re up to life on your own. It’s just not the sort of person you are.’

‘Believe what you like. I’m leaving and it’s down to nothing apart from the fact that you and me don’t work any more. This marriage is dead in the water, and it has been for a long time now.’

‘So that’s it? We don’t try? We don’t fight for it? If there’s no one else then there’s no reason why we can’t work it out.’

‘There’s no fighting to be done, and I don’t want to work it out. I’ve grown up, Kate; I’m not the man you married. We were too young, and we thought we could survive growing up but we couldn’t. That’s all there is to it.’

Kate stared at him, tried to be strong and calm, but inside there was a mess of emotions that couldn’t be contained. ‘You selfish bastard,’ she said, fighting back tears. ‘We’ve known each other since we were eleven and that’s all I’m worth? We’ve both grown up but I’ve grown up living a life that includes you. I’ve gone out of my way to make you happy, considered your feelings in everything I’ve ever done since we got together and you throw it back in my face without so much as an explanation, without one attempt to make it work when the going gets a little tough? You’re bored and now you want out, and you don’t give a shit about the consequences, or what it means for your wife, who has lived her life with you always at the forefront of every decision? I thought you were better than that. It just goes to show that you never really know anyone at all.’ He didn’t say another word. He didn’t even say goodbye. Matt picked up his suitcases and left, and he never slept under their roof again

Sincerely
Book Angel x

About the Author


Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset, the oldest of four children, but now lives in Staffordshire with a family of her own. After years of dismal and disastrous jobs, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing (she never could carry a bowl of soup without spilling a bit), she decided to indulge her passion for the written word by embarking on a degree in English and creative writing, graduating in 2009. She wrote a novel in 2007 during her first summer break at university and has not stopped writing since. She also works as a freelance fiction editor, and considers herself very lucky that this enables her to read many wonderful books before the rest of the world gets them.

Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn was her debut novel; published in 2014 it was an Amazon bestseller in both the UK and Australia. It was followed by Mishaps and Mistletoe, The Man Who Can't Be Moved, the Mishaps in Millrise series and the Once Upon a Winter series. In 2016 she signed to the hugely successful Bookouture with the first book of her Honeybourne series out June 2016. She also writes as Sharon Sant, where she explores the darker side of life. Find out more about Tilly and how to join her mailing list for news and exclusives at www.tillytennant.com

Monday, 13 March 2017

My Favourite Things by Chris Phillipou, Author & Blogger




Food  Savoury and sweet:
Ice cream or Nutella or maybe both? Is that wrong? And savoury? What’s that???

Drink:
Hot chocolate without the trimmings – yum yum.

Film:
The Usual Suspects – complex, well-acted, and so so so good. Plus, there’s always something that comes to light with every re-watch.

Book:
Hard question. There’s a few… The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas and Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn definitely feature in my top 5.

Author:
Agatha Christie – love my classics.

Character:
Sherlock Holmes or Bosch (Michael Connelly) – I love my dysfunctional detectives.

Song:
Runaway Train by Soul Asylum

Holiday destination:
Greece, of course! Although Cuba and Brazil are pretty amazing too…


Animal:
Siberian tiger – rare and beautiful.

Place to write:
Anywhere with relative quiet (emphasis on the relative)!

Season:
Summer – I like my sunshine.

Inspirational quote:
Just do it

Thing in the whole world:
Life J 

Author Bio 


Christina Philippou’s writing career has been a varied one, from populating the short-story notebook that lived under her desk at school to penning reports on corruption and terrorist finance. When not reading or writing, she can be found engaging in sport or undertaking some form of nature appreciation. Christina has three passports to go with her three children, but is not a spy. Lost in Static is her first novel. 

Christina is also the founder of the contemporary fiction author initiative, Britfic. 

You can connect with Christina on TwitterFacebook, Instagram and Google+.


Lost in Static 


Sometimes growing up is seeing someone else's side of the story.
Four stories. One truth. Whom do you believe? 

Callum has a family secret. Yasmine wants to know it. Juliette thinks nobody knows hers. All Ruby wants is to reinvent herself. 

They are brought together by circumstance, torn apart by misunderstanding. As new relationships are forged and confidences are broken, each person's version of events is coloured by their background, beliefs and prejudices. And so the ingredients are in place for a year shaped by lust, betrayal, and violence... 

Lost in Static is the gripping debut from author Christina Philippou. Whom will you trust?

Links


Lost in Static is available from, amongst others, Amazon UK, Amazon US, and direct from the publisher, Urbane Publications.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Author Q & A Christie Barlow



It’s Evie’s birthday and the start of a year she’ll never forget. An emotional story of love, friendship and grabbing life by the horns.

Evie’s job has always been her safe haven. As a librarian in the little town of Becton she loses herself in books - after all it’s far easier to read about other people’s problems than set about solving her own.

Then, one birthday, everything is turned upside down. A mysterious parcel containing a beautiful book with a poignant inscription arrives for Evie. It’s the beginning of a new chapter for Evie and she’s inspired to try and find her real mother.

Evie’s search leads her to meet handsome author Noah Jones. Charming and intelligent, Noah seems the perfect catch but what Evie doesn’t realise is that he is hiding something – a key to Evie’s past.

As Evie gets closer to Noah and discovering her mother, she must take a giant leap of faith. Can she embrace the new and make this her year of taking chances? And if she does, will she get her heart broken?

A romantic, funny and poignant story of living life to the full and finding love in the most unlikely of places. Fans of Debbie Johnson and Cathy Bramley will adore this book!

Title:    Evie's Year of Taking Chances
Author:   Christie Barlow
Published By: Bookouture
Publication Date: 10th March 2017
Links:   UK: Amazon    US: Amazon


Author Q & A 



Today we would like to welcome Christie Barlow to Sincerely Book Angels blog.

What was the inspiration behind this novel?
Evie’s Year of Taking Chances would never have been written if it wasn’t for a lady called Marie ‘Mim’ Deakin whose vintage café and book club in Cannock, Staffordshire provided the inspiration behind this novel. I was sitting in her café eating the most delicious Victoria sponge cake when the idea came to me. I wanted to write a warm funny comedy about a character who loved books that took the reader on a whole roller-coaster of emotions. The character Evie Cooper was born; her job as a librarian had always been her safe haven until one birthday her life is turned upside down when a mysterious parcel containing a book with a poignant inscription arrives for her. It’s the beginning of a new chapter for Evie as she’s inspired to finally search for her real mother.


Did you always want to be a writer?
My writing career came as somewhat of a surprise! Once hitting my mid-life crisis (but dodging the tattoo and the fast car) after wholly dedicating my life to the care of my children, they asked me what I wanted to do in life while we were discussing their career options. ‘I’ve always wanted to write a book,’ I found myself answering, and so the notion was born. I self-published my first novel and will always remember the proud moment I showed my children the finished product. I stood in front of them, with a book that had my name on the cover and the message was loud and clear. If I could achieve something by setting my mind to it, then so could they. I would have been happy enough if my demonstration of what hard work and determination could achieve had ended there, but it didn’t. I knew that a strong social media presence would be necessary to promote it – and sure enough, it circulated quickly and became the talk of the town! Within a few months, the first novel I wrote became an Amazon #1 bestseller in the UK and the USA, then I secured a five-book publication deal and an agent. I now write women’s commercial fiction, specifically romantic comedy and am a full-time writer.


What other jobs have you had?
I have been a piano teacher for all of my life and still teach students today. I love every minute of watching my students flourish and achieving their dreams. A number of my pupils have gone on to have successful careers in musical theatre and pop bands! I’m so proud of each and every one of them.


How did you feel when your first novel was published?
I think the only word I can use is ecstatic! I stayed up until midnight and I watched the book change over on Amazon from pre-orders to available and I knew my book was now published for the whole world to read! I let out a huge whoop and drank a glass of champagne to celebrate.


Can you please tell us a little about your publishing story?
The only way to describe my publishing story is like a dream! After achieving the number one spot with my self-published book, this was when my life really took a parallel course with reality. One morning after the school run, I came home to find an email from literary agent - I had just finished writing the sequel Misadventures of a Playground Mother, intending to self-publish again, when Ping! I not only had an agent but within a few weeks, I had a publishing deal with Bookouture for five books. I have recently signed a further contract with Harper Collins affiliate Harper Impulse and now have my own book column in a magazine too! I have written five books so far! A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother and The Misadventures of a Playground Mother (these are feel-good comedies about life at the school gates). Kitty’s Countryside Dream (a feel-good romantic comedy about life, love and family), Lizzie’s Christmas Escape (a sparkling Christmas romance) and Evie’s Year of Taking Chances (A heart-warming romantic comedy you won't be able to put down). Currently, I am working on my next release for September 2017.


Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it?
I haven’t as yet, and fingers crossed it stays that way!


What motivates you to keep writing?
Apart from my gorgeous family whose support has never gone unnoticed, every day I receive numerous emails, tweets and messages to my author pages from readers and bloggers who have thoroughly enjoyed my books. The joy my books bring to these individuals keeps me motivated to keep writing. I absolutely appreciate people have chosen my books to read and all of their kind words and if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be doing the job I love so much. The last three years in the land of books has been truly amazing.


Where is your favourite place to write?
For the past eighteen months, we have been building a house. The last two books (no word of a lie) were written sat on a pile of bricks on a building site but now I have my very own writing room with not only heating, a desk and all my knick-knacks but I have my very own life-size cardboard cut-out of Gary Barlow who keeps me company every day!


Do your characters’ moods ever affect your mood?
There’s a simple answer to this … absolutely! The characters in the books I write become my new best friends for approximately five months. I live and breathe every emotion I write. When I write, I can be laughing or crying. What I write I write from the heart, and this helps to connect with the readers. They really do become a huge part of my life and once I finish writing the book I often feel bereft.


What three pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring author?
1. Always believe in yourself.

2. Always read and read widely.

3. Set time aside to write every day, that way there will always be continuity.


Which authors inspire you? 
There are so many but my number one favourite author has to be Katie Fforde. Her books are so heart-warming and I love them all, but as a child the biggest influence on my life was Enid Blyton. Her book, Five on a Treasure Island has stayed with me from the age of seven when I can remember sitting on an old trunk in my bedroom and not moving all day until I’d finished it. The marvelous characters and the adventures of the Famous Five I will never forget and I have introduced all my children to this series. All of her books in her back catalogue are absolute classics and every child should have the opportunity to read them; they are truly fantastic.


What are you reading at the moment?
I am currently reading Sister Sister by Sue Fortin.


If your book was made into a film what song would you choose for the opening credits?
For Evie’s Year of Taking Chances I would choose Beautiful by Christina Aguilera.


Who would you choose to play your favourite character in the film of the book?
Keira Knightley would be perfect for Evie Cooper and the delicious Steven R. McQueen to play Noah Jones.


What is your next book about?
I’m currently writing book 6 which is due for release September 2017 by Harper Impulse. I don’t want to give too much away except that it features narrowboats and an old picture house. I’m loving writing every second of it and I hope you’ll love it too!


Quick-fire round,

Which book made you:

Laugh out loud?
Jon Rance – A Notting Hill Christmas.


Cry your heart out?
My own book! Evie’s Year of Taking Chances. I actually broke my heart crying while writing a couple of the chapters.


Want to read again?
Enid Blyton – Five on a Treasure Island.


Think more?
Again, my own book, Lizzie's Christmas Escape which I think gave out a poignant message which most readers related to.


Made into a film?
Misadventures of a Playground Mother, again by me! This would be comedy gold on the big screen.


Shocked?
Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl.


Scared?
Angela Marsons – Evil Games.

Thanks so much for joining us Christie and good luck with the book.

Sincerely
Book Angel x

About the Author

Christie Barlow is the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty's Countryside Dream, Lizzie's Christmas Escape and Evie's Year of Taking Chances. She lives in Staffordshire with her husband, four kids, horses, chickens and a mad cocker spaniel. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK and USA. Christie also writes her own book column in Mama Life Magazine too! www.mamalifemagazine.co.uk

Christie loves to hear from her readers and you can get in touch via her website www.christiebarlow.com Twitter @ChristieJBarlow and Facebook page Christie Barlow author
                   

Monday, 6 March 2017

My Favourite Things by Holly Seddon, Author



Food savoury and sweet 
I love a good British roast, even though I very rarely eat meat. They don’t do roasts where I live now in Amsterdam, and many of the houses have very small ovens or in some cases just microwaves. For nine months after moving to this country we only had a microwave. The first thing I did when we moved into our new house was to cook a roast. Surrounded by unpacked boxes…

Sweet-wise, anything with cherries is a plus but my favourite pudding of all time is lemon meringue pie. I’m not very sophisticated!

Drink 
Nothing beats a Corona and a wedge of lime on a hot day but really, given how much I drink, I should say tea. I’m such a bloody Brit!


Film 
Back to the Future II.

Book 
Nearly impossible to choose, but for years I’ve said Illywhacker by Peter Carey. I don’t even know if it’s true anymore - I’ve read so many amazing books now - but I’m incapable of making a decision.


Author
So tricky… If I think about the author whose book had the most life-changing effect on me, it would be Douglas Coupland. Not for Generation X (although I did love it) but for Shampoo Planet. I read it at the exact time I needed to read it.

Character 
Omar Little from the Wire.

Song 
That is nearly impossible to answer as well! Gah! It changes every day, many times a day, depending on mood. But the one song guaranteed to make me cry and smile is You And Me Song by The Wannadies. It reminds me of my husband and our early years.

Holiday destination 
St Lucia. We took our youngest children in summer and it was the most incredible, beautiful, relaxing place. We stayed in the middle of the rainforest and the noise of the insects at night was deafening but was also, somehow, a total anesthetic. I’ve never slept so well.  Funnily enough my parents went there when I was in my mum’s womb so maybe it’s my calling to visit again and again.


Animal 
My dog Arnie. He’s a cross between a Miniature Schnauzer and a Yorkshire Terrier, so he’s tiny and has a little beard. He sleeps under the covers by my feet every night.


Person 
I have four kids so I need to answer diplomatically! As I can’t in all fairness choose them, I’ll have to choose mu husband. It’s cheesy but it’s true, I love him to bits.

Place to write 
Hotel rooms but that’s very rare! I’m lucky to have a little office that I share with the washing machine.


Season 
Autumn.

Tradition
I am one of those maligned non-believers who rejects almost everything from religion except the food and the presents. I’m a huge fan of Christmas.   


Inspirational quote 
I realise that it sounds like I’m joking, but I’m deadly serious. The quote is from Arnold Schwarzenegger in his autobiography Total Recall:

“There are no shortcuts—everything is reps, reps, reps.”

It’s just so true, across the board. Reps, reps, reps. You want to improve something, you need to work at it. You want to create something, you need to keep approaching it from different angles and refining it until it earns its place. And it’s true for weightlifting, of course, which is also one of my favourite things.


Thing in the whole world 
The ability to travel. Wow, what a privilege that is.  I never take it for granted and I’d be heartbroken to lose it.


Bio
Holly’s debut novel, Try Not to Breathe was published in early 2016 and has gone on to become a bestseller in several countries. Her next novel, Don’t Close Your Eyes, will be published in July 2017.
Pre-order now. Click here for link

Thanks so much for joining us on My Favourite Things Holly

Sincerely
Book Angel x