Shades of Appley Green – Miriam Wakerly

Description as per Amazon

Steph is a special, but troubled young woman. Chosen by the most venerated man in Appley Green to fulfil his mission, she feels publicly admired rather than privately loved. She certainly does not trust men!

In helping a once famous, elderly architect with Parkinson’s regain a social life, she finds herself taking personal risks, fending off objections, blind to danger. We wait for the moment when it dawns on Steph what is driving her deep-seated obsession; for only then can she find the happiness she deserves.

Appley Green is a charming English village. Everyone says so. But people are still people. With the emotional turmoil that comes with love, birth and death, a close-knit community can harbour betrayal and guilt, as well as joy and laughter.

My thoughts

Shades of Appley Green is lovely heart-warming story, one which I very much enjoyed.

I became very fond of Steph as the story developed and felt a great empathy for her, not only for the difficulties she faced today, but for the problems she had been forced to deal with in the past.

I thought the way Miriam revealed Steph’s back story was done brilliantly through diary entries and, without interrupting the flow of the story, expertly showed how these events impacted on Steph’s life today.

The twist at the end, I didn’t see coming at all and it really made me sit up and think but again, the way this was woven into the story it didn’t seem out of place and sat comfortably within the novel.

Miriam Wakerly has a lovely, easy style of writing that draws you into the story and keeps you there at a nice pace.  The story touches on difficult issues in a sensitive manner and in a style that is not uncomfortable for the reader.  The end, for me, was very emotional and did, in fact, bring a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes.  A lovely story of one woman’s journey to understanding and accepting her past and ultimately finding an inner-peace and happiness.

Available to buy on

Miriam is on Twitter@MiriamWakerly:!/MiriamWakerly  


Author website:

Miriam is a member of Love A Happy Ending and Famous Five Plus

An Audience with an Author … Kathryn Brown

Today Kathryn Brown, author of Discovery at Rosehill, is my guest and talks about why she wrote paranormal. Last year I reviewed her novel which you can read by clicking on the link below.

Why I wrote Paranormal Romance

It had to be paranormal genre for my debut novel, I couldn’t possibly write about anything else. Inspired by my father’s visiting spirit, I decided to turn my experiences of the spirit world into a book after publishing some of them on my blog in the early days. I wanted to create a character who was strong but gentle, intelligent if not a little gullible, and above all, mysterious. Camilla Armstrong was based partly on myself. My fascination with the paranormal and the incredible experiences I’d had, were brought to ‘life’ and woven together to make a somewhat complicated existence make sense once the mystery surrounding Camilla’s life was unveiled.

For many years, I have been fascinated by the spirit world. My sensitivities to a world beyond our own were heightened when my father passed away in July 2001. Just like Camilla, I found my dream home, but unlike Camilla who was led to Rosehill by her grandmother, I was led to my home by my father. I could sense energy in the house since the day I moved in, the ambience was calm yet it was like a thousand eyes watched me constantly. I have never been afraid in my home because the spirits who share it with me, welcomed me with open arms. I believe everything happens for a reason and I most certainly believe moving to my home in Northumberland only six weeks after my father’s passing, was very much meant to be.

It wasn’t until 2007 that I decided to start making a log of the paranormal experiences I was encountering, some that were more prominent than others. I would feel someone watching me when I swept the staircase; I would see faces in the mirror on the half-landing, thus naming it, “the mirror with a thousand faces”. I would sense a woman walking up and down the stairs and then be greeted by the aroma of beef stew whilst walking through the halls. One day, I heard someone running down a corridor as though heading towards the bathroom where I was drying myself after having a shower. But when I called out my daughter’s name, assuming it to be her, I then glanced through the window and saw her playing outside. Sharing my home with previous occupants has never bothered me, not least because they have given me much to write about and a purpose to fulfil my dream of being published.

I wanted Camilla to be a real person, not just a part of me. So I introduced a love interest to her life, making him slightly controversial in the form of a vicar. Knowing that the two personalities wouldn’t mix, I wanted to give them a “will they-won’t they” type of relationship and keep the reader guessing about whether they’d ever get together. I’m not a very romantic person but I do like to read romance, and watch it on the television. Adding a twist to the love story of the book was a must, if only to make the reader see that Camilla is indeed a strong woman that does have a lot more to offer apart from mediumship.


Review of Discovery at Rosehill click here

Discovery at Rosehill – available at Amazon

Blog: Crystal Jigsaw

Paranormal Blog: Marvellous Mable


Twitter: @CrystalJigsaw

Facebook: CrystalJigsaw

An Audience with an Author … Sheryl Browne, Recipes for Disaster

Today I’m delighted that Sheryl Browne, author of Recipes for Disaster, is visiting my blog to chat about why she writes and her road to publication.  It’s always great to hear from Sheryl, she has such a lovely, bubbly personality which I think shrines through in her writing.

The question most often asked of a writer seems to be, why do you write?  Applied to me, at least up until my recent publishing success, I think that question should read whatever possesses you to keep writing?

It’s a good question, and I think ‘possession’ is possibly the answer.  By and large, unless blessed with an inordinate amount of talent combined with good luck (ergo able to find that elusive unique selling point, make your characters compelling, your story captivating and then get it in front of the right eyes at the right time), an author’s debut novel tends not to be their first.  They’ve worked hard at it, most always editing and re-drafting, possibly re-writing the book in its entirety, or putting it to bed and moving on the next one.

As mentioned in other interviews, I am a creative soul by nature, my background being in Art & Design.  For me, creating a character through words in is not dissimilar to creating a portrait on canvas.  Whichever way you choose to paint, representational or abstract, you want dig deeper than skin surface and capture the essence of the person, to connect emotionally.

Writing, in my mind, is therefore as much an expression of emotion as sculpting or painting, and sometimes it pays to learn the skills of the trade, whether through creative writing courses, sharing through writers’ groups, learning from constructive feedback via dreaded rejections, employing editors.  Recently, I approached the Romantic Novelists’ Association in regard to editorial services on one of my previous books. The RNA recommended someone whose rates were affordable and whose help was invaluable.  Feedback from the RNA New Writers’ scheme is excellent incidentally, if you are fortunate to get on board with that, as I was some years back.

So, ‘why do I write’ ?  Possibly for the same reason I read or watch a film.  Like most writers, I want to connect with people, share emotionally with people, to escape to another place, cheer the hero/heroine on and come away satisfied.  Also, yes, I admit I am a little obsessed with the desire to get my work out there.  To make it as good as it can be, to get it published, to get feedback, which grants me permission to keep writing.  Ah, you might say, but you don’t need anyone’s permission.  Sadly, though, you do in a way.  Most writers juggle family and often day-jobs, and desperately need to justify being able to say, go away, I’m writing, without feeling guilty because it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

You may have heard (or possibly not, because I haven’t been shouting very loudly… ahem) that I finally, finally, feel able to do just that, having recently had my book Recipes for Disaster published by wonderfully supportive Safkhet Publishing!

What Safkhet Publishing did for me in saying they loved my writing and, equally quietly J, cheering me on to write Recipes for Disaster, was to make me stay focussed; to believe in myself and stay true to my writing style.

I’ve used every single piece of constructive criticism I’ve had, taken on board suggestions from agents and publishers who were kind enough to offer advice, stored away editorial comment for future reference, but what I always tried to do was not stray too far from what I wanted to do: To make people smile.  My catharsis from those tedious, sometimes traumatic, life events ~ and let’s face it, we all have them ~ is to write. It is my emotional outlet. Through writing I hope to tap into other people’s emotions, but in a good way.  In a way that helps me and, more-importantly, the reader, leave his/her problems behind, at least for a while.

At last, I feel I’ve achieved my aim.  And now that Safkhet have offered me a further three-book contract under their new Safkhet Soul imprint, I feel I can go on doing what I know has bordered on obsession occasionally, because I am possessed ~ by a passionate spirit that will wither and die without writing.

In summary, finally, I’m glad of the journey, even though I got so very tired of the rejection sometimes, of coming close, but not close enough.  If anyone asks me that other question that often crops up: what advice would you give to aspiring writers(?), it would be: have one-to-one with yourself.  Be honest and ask yourself, is this a burning passion I truly can’t give up?  If the answer is an adamant yes, then don’t.  Keep at it, use every bit of advice ~ as long as it makes sense (and you know when it does) ~ and stay true to your art, because that’s what it is.

Phew.  Right, now I’ve got that off my chest, I’ll shut up!  Um, except…  No, no more from me.  Just the teeniest of extract from Safkhet’s press release re their new imprint, Safket Soul, which might just help a few people.  Here you go:

The first book in the imprint is Sheryl Browne’s Recipes for Disaster, which had a wonderful reception in its first week on the market: over 5,000 Kindle copies sold! Recipes for Disaster is deliciously different; fun recipes combined with romantic comedy make this book unique and cater to the romantic comedy and cookery readers at the same time. A man’s point of view also appeals to male readers who want to cook or learn how.

Sheryl originally approached Safkhet with her book previously published in the US. She knew Safkhet had no list for the type of book and yet was not quite ready to give up hope. Kim, the editor who received her submission, loved her writing style and asked if she would like to write a romantic comedy cookbook. Having just the recipe names to work with, Sheryl gave it a go and managed to convince everybody else on the Safkhet team that a new imprint was needed. An imprint for Sheryl’s books and more just like it. Something to cheer up the reader, something bright and something that combines fun reading with recipes.

Safkhet signed Sheryl for three more books to be released within the next 18 months. They will all be published both in print and for the Kindle. Safkhet will soon accept submissions for this new imprint; up to four titles are planned for publication per year.

There really are some fantastically supportive people out there.  Keep writing!

Recipes for Disaster

The shortest way to a man’s heart

Mix romantic comedy and step-by-step cooking instructions. Bake at 200 degrees for an entertaining read and handy guide.

She’s a single. He’s a widower. She wants him. He wants her. She wants to impress. So does he. There’s just one catch – she can’t cook. To get him, she needs to get past the big fish – his mother. Lucky her, she’s got an Ace up her sleeve and all she’s got to do is impress this one time. Bad luck, though, her new guy can’t cook either, her dog Rambo is on the loose and now they’ve got to pull off the big lunch at the club. Will it be a match made in heaven? Will they be able to pull off a culinary miracle? Will their combined efforts result in love at first bite? Or is it simply a Recipe for Disaster?

Format:                        Paperback.  Also available on Kindle

Available from:         Amazon, any local bookstore, or direct from Safkhet Publishing

Safkhet Publishing


Author Facebook!/pages/Recipes-for-Disaster/245372252189480

Romantic Novelists’ Association

loveahappyending featured Author  

Twitter: @sherylbrowne

Author Stephanie Keyes and her Real-Life Valentine

Hello everyone and Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you! A special “thank you” to the lovely Sue Fortin, whose book French Kissing in the UK is due out this spring, for having me as a guest today.

When I think about Valentine’s Day, I can’t help but remember how I met my real-life valentine, the enigmatic Mr. Keyes. When our paths first crossed, I didn’t think very kindly of him. Okay, that’s being kind; I thought he was a total jerk.

When we first met, we were both music majors. I was studying clarinet and he trumpet performance. I was in a practice room at the local community college working out a piece, when he walked in. Needless to say, in those days I had to be taken down a couple of notches. I was a little too full of myself, too much of a diva. Though don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe that everyone should have a little inner diva, even the men. Okay, moving on.

So I said, in the geeky, stilted speaking voice that I had then: “So what did you think of that?”

His response: “It was pretty good, but you didn’t articulate properly on measure twenty four…”

Well naturally, I immediately thought, “What a jerk! Who does he think he is, criticizing me?”

His behavior that day definitely encouraged me to avoid him. However, I realized quickly that first impressions aren’t always accurate. The man that I thought of as obnoxious at first pass, turned out to be one of the nicest people I’d ever met.

When we finally connected romantically, it was easy. We were already best friends.

Seventeen years and two kids later, Mr. Keyes is still my best friend. It’s not the same relationship as it was when we first met. I think you have to be committed to working it out.

So we both try every day to “keep the magic alive” so to speak. Whether that’s leaving one another little love notes, surprising the other with a special dinner, or just saying “I love you” each day, we both work on it all the time.

In many ways I see Mr. Keyes as my miracle, my angel. Generally, I’m a skeptic about most things, but underneath it all, I’m still a hopeless romantic underneath it all. Mr. Keyes just looks beneath the surface to find out what I need and he’s always there for me.

So to all you who have a Mr. or Mrs. Keyes in your life, reach out them and tell them this Valentine’s Day how much they mean to you. If you don’t have a special someone, don’t look for him or her, because they always seem to come along when you least expect them and you aren’t looking.

Have a wonderful day everyone!

 The Star Child is available on Amazon



About the author:

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(Designed by Avalon Graphics and Bronwen Harrison)

An Audience with an Author – Evonne Wareham plus Giveaway Book and Chocolate

Never Coming Home… The ‘Wispa It …’ Blog Tour

I am delighted that Evonne Wareham has stopped by on her book launch blog tour. I reviewed Never Coming Home recently and absolutely loved it. Published by ChocLit this thriller romance is a great addition to their catalogue.

‘Wispa It…’ Snippet No. 3

The woman was a looker. Still youthful, with a pale cashmere sweater and jeans, clinging to an admirable figure – but the expression lines around the eyes and mouth told him she was too mature to be the one he was looking for.

‘Can I help you?’ She’d taken a pace back, frowning, as if she was trying to place him.

‘My name is Devlin.’ He had a card ready. Not that it said a lot. He handed it over. She was frowning now at the slip of pasteboard in her hand.

‘Security consultant?’

‘I was hoping to see Mrs Elmore?’

‘Ah.’ She looked as if she was about to hand the card back. Instead she slipped it into a pocket. No reaction to his name, Devlin noted, puzzled.  ‘My daughter isn’t here at the moment. Perhaps you can call again.’ She was closing the door.

Devlin tamped down the gut reflex to stick his boot in the narrowing gap. The palm of his hand was the civilised way. ‘Can you just tell me when she will be home?’  He’d started this thing, now he had to finish it. Besides, there was something going on here that he didn’t understand.

That’s the third taster from the first chapter of Never Coming Home.  Another snippet on Tuesday  – Valentine’s Day!

The (very loose) theme of this tour — apart from the Wispa bit (Don’t forget to look at the bottom of the post. Your chance to win a copy of Never Coming Home, and a Wispa bar — but not now  — read this first.) is ‘How did I get here?’

So this blog post is about influences.  A lot of people who have read the book already have commented that it has an American feel to it.  It opens in America, and there are a number of scenes set there.  Devlin, the hero of the book, has a murky past and has changed his name and identity on more than one occasion.  When the book opens, he’s American.  As he says, it says so on his passport.  While the fact that the book was written while I was participating in an American writing contest may have had a lot to do with it, Devlin never felt like a Frenchman, or an Italian.  When the book opens he is on the road, about to be the first on the scene of a fatal car crash.  Somehow that road and that car crash could never be anywhere but America … and the rest followed from that.  I have family in America and spent a month there when I was an impressionable teenager.  Maybe something seeped in from that.

I love to travel, although lately it’s been more of the armchair variety, so other places I’ve visited get into the book too — with scenes in Italy and France.  I lived for a long time in London, including three years in Chelsea. Kaz, the heroine of the book lives there, running her landscape gardening business.  I’m not a landscape gardener, but I do like to potter with plants, and I love visiting horticultural shows, so that’s another influence seeping in.  If anyone asks me for tips on writing, I usually say that you should try to have fun doing it.  Using things and places you enjoy is the part of the fun.  Another big influence is reading.  If you read a lot, you can’t help but learn technique from other writers.  I take classes too — not just writing classes, though I have taken a few of those, but science, folklore — anything that might be useful, might provide a new insight — that might be fun.  The company of other writers is important — they really ‘get’ you when you have your writer’s hat on. Local writing groups are a possibility. The Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme is now quite difficult to get into, because of the demand, but if you can join, then it means a lot in terms of learning and socialising. And the RNA throws an excellent party …

The last influence that I’m aware of in my writing is my love of theatre — what makes a scene dramatic, how to end it on a note of suspense,  the contribution of dialogue, its rhythm and  the way characters overlap, the characters themselves and the way they slowly reveal themselves.

Those are the things that find their way into my writing. Every writer is different, which is why there are so many different kinds of book — which takes me back to reading …

Author’s Book Shelf

Favourite book – there are many, and plays too. I have a particular weakness for Jacobean drama — all that wickedness … but one of my favourite plays is Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. As well as being clever, funny and sad, it’s a reminder to writers of the way point of view can change the perspective of a scene. Two supporting characters see all the high points of Hamlet but are totally mystified because they are only getting a part of the story.

What I’m currently reading – I’m indulging in a spate of American authored historicals at the moment – currently it’s When the Duke Returns, by Eloisa James.

 A book I have not read but should have.  To Kill a Mockingbird.  This seems to be a very influential work for all sorts of people.  I’ve seen it on stage number of times, but never got round to reading it.

To enter the Giveaway Competition and a chance to win a copy of


and a


just leave a comment saying who you would want to walk you home on a dark night.

 The next installment of the ‘Wispa it …’ tour will be next Tuesday at the Katy Little Lady blog.

An Audience with an Author … Darlene Jones, ‘Embattled’

Yesterday saw the launch of ‘Embattled’ by Darlene Jones

Today Darlene is my guest blogger and gives a summary of her novel

Em’s life is taken over by beings “out there somewhere.” They’ve chosen her to be their agent on Earth, to make the changes they want for the planet. Flung into battle, Em has no idea what is happening to her or why. She just knows that strange words are coming out of her mouth at the most inopportune times, and that she often has blood on her hands, literally.

As for the celestial beings controlling her? Well they have a few problems of their own. Yves, her controller, is a rookie on his first assignement. Of course he messes up.

And let’s not forget the love triangle! Two humans, one supreme being…!

EMBATTLED will appeal to any reader who loves a good adventure love story that has elements of the magical and enough depth to provoke thought and discussion of current issues in our society.

EMBATTLED by Darlene Jones



Darlene has her own blog and  is also on Twitter and Facebook

Darlene is also a Featured Author with Love A Happy Ending

Never Coming Home – Evonne Wareham

Description ~ All she has left is hope. When Kaz Elmore is told her five-year-old daughter Jamie has died in a car crash, she struggles to accept that she’ll never see her little girl again. Then a stranger comes into her life offering the most dangerous substance in the world: hope.

Devlin, a security consultant and witness to the terrible accident scene, inadvertently reveals that Kaz’s daughter might not have been the girl in the car after all.

What if Jamie is still alive? With no evidence, the police aren’t interested, so Devlin and Kaz have little choice but to investigate themselves.

Devlin never gets involved with a client. Never. But the more time he spends with Kaz, the more he desires her – and the more his carefully constructed ice-man persona starts to unravel.

The desperate search for Jamie leads down dangerous paths – to a murderous acquaintance from Devlin’s dark past, and all across Europe, to Italy, where deadly secrets await. But as long as Kaz has hope, she can’t stop looking…

My Thoughts

I really loved this book. On the ‘rave scale’ it’s right at the top in book Heaven.  For me, all the genres that I enjoy reading were wrapped up in one novel; crime, suspense, mystery and romance.

I must admit I was a little concerned that a story involving a missing child, might go to places I was uncomfortable with, but I am pleased to say that none of my fears came to fruition.

Devlin and Kaz are fantastic characters.  Devlin, with a very dark past, imperfect and dangerous yet at the same time compassionate, caring as well as down right sexy. The kind of guy you know would keep you safe, no matter what.  Kaz, such a strong woman; determined, honest and brave who would make a great friend.

The story is fast paced and the plot intriguing, gradually unfolding, revealing the story and the truth bit by bit.  It has an American flavour to it, but it all sat perfectly within the backdrop of the story, the dialogue reflecting this which at times was gritty and some of the action raw but none of it out of place or context.   I really enjoyed the way Evonne got to grips with the emotional conflicts that Devlin and Kaz had to deal with, how their surprise, then confusion, followed by understanding of their feelings evolved.

ChocLit have another winner on their hands and this darker taste is a wonderful addition to their catalogue.

Thank you Choclit for sending me a copy to review.

I am delighted that author Evonne Wareham will be visiting my blog on 10 Feb as part of her Wispa It book launch tour.