Get ready for the wonderful cover for ‘Paddy and Pedro’, my first children’s book for quite a while, that I’ll be publishing on 17 March.
Not many people have a penpal who’s a llama, but Paddy does. And not many people’s penpals actually come to visit them, but Paddy’s does.
Kind-hearted, geeky, chess-mad Paddy is thrilled to bits to find Pedro the llama on his doorstep in his tiny Irish village one morning, and his Great Aunt Maureen Mary Margaret (Gammy for short) who is minding him, is delighted to find Paddy’s handsome owner, Carlos, there too.
Pedro is a big hit in Paddy’s village and sees off the bunch of bullies who are pestering Paddy. Llama spit is truly awful stuff. Paddy now has massive street cred.
Then Paddy and Gammy are urgently summoned by Gran to help out in a dreadful emergency. Gran lives in Windswept Cottage, possibly the windiest spot in Ireland. Carlos and Pedro, and not forgetting Seamus the guinea-pig, come along for the ride too. But they soon wish they hadn’t because suddenly everything’s either up in the air or going downhill rapidly. Add in a lottery win, an evil twin and over-enthusiastic police officers, and things get very exciting!
The book is fun, lively and action-packed, and perfect for young, confident readers.
And now the cover…
The artwork is by Kim Hazel Shaw, who illustrated all my children’s books published by Mentor. It’s lovely to be working with her again.
So, remember the date and be on the look-out for ‘Paddy and Pedro’ in all Amazon stores.
Welcome to the worst day of Chef Charlie Sheridan’s life, the day he’s about to lose his two great loves: his childhood sweetheart, Lulu, and the legendary Brighton hotel his grandfather, Franco Sheridan, opened in 1973.
This is the story of the Belle Hotel, one that spans the course of four decades – from the training of a young chef in the 1970s and 80s, through the hedonistic 90s, up to the credit crunch of the noughties – and leads us right back to Charlie’s present-day suffering.
In this bittersweet and salty tale, our two Michelin star-crossed lovers navigate their seaside hangout for actors, artists and rock stars; the lure of the great restaurants of London; and the devastating effects of three generations of family secrets.
As someone who works in the hospitality trade, I appreciated the realistic (if occasionally tongue in cheek) view of the industry. Too often in literature it’s portrayed as all mainly being about icing cupcakes and dealing with wonderfully behaved guests. If only. As we see in this book, an awful lot goes on behind the scenes in a busy hotel, such as endless work, constant juggling to avoid the latest looming financial crisis, the need to keep abreast of all the latest relevant ideas and developments and building that customer base. For many people it will be quite an eye-opener, and it’s all very entertainingly done.
There’s lots of variety in how the story is set out – sometimes with a time and the relevant character’s name to head a section, sometimes as more straightforward narration, and there are letters, recipes and receipts too along the way. This keeps everything as fresh and bubbly as the author’s writing. Real events and people are woven into the fictional action, which definitely catches the tone of the various eras in which this action takes place, which is 1973 onwards. Trust me, I’ve lived through those times!
Charlie makes for a sympathetic hero, pretty much from the word go. We immediately start hoping he’ll find that £10,000 he needs, although it seems a tall order. We quickly realise Charlie is someone who won’t give up on his dreams and is someone to admire. We follow both his and his family’s fortunes in the course of the novel.
It’s definitely different, extremely enjoyable and absolutely to be recommended.
About the author
Craig Melvin holds an MA in Creative Writing from Sussex University and works as a restaurant consultant in London and Brighton. He was mentored by Albert Roux at catering college and has worked in the hotel industry ever since.
This is a fun and lively cosy mystery, with two Flapper sisters as our amateur sleuths.
Diana applies for a job as secretary for a group of ‘Owls’ –
professors, who, every year go on a jaunt to further their studies in a
particular area. This time round they’ve arrived in Fort Worth to discover more
about its Wild West days. Against Diana’s better judgement, and thanks to her
sister, Pamina, interfering, the professors end up at a very dodgy bar and witness
a kidnapping. They all have to go on the run to avoid danger, but will they?
There’s the wonderful counterpoint between our two
thoroughly modern misses, at least for the era of the book, and the
old-fashioned, bemused professors. The modern world has left them behind, but one
of the group, Adler Behr who’s a banker rather than an academic, is aware of
the times and the changes it brings and doesn’t approve. A woman should be at
home cooking and cleaning, not doing a man’s work by being a secretary. He and
Diana apparently have nothing in common apart from dislike for each other, but
these are two characters who develop during the story.
It’s an energetic read with lots of humour and sparkle and it really brings the period to vibrant life. The plot is exciting and well-devised, our characters are fascinating and all in all it’s a very enjoyable, entertaining novel.
Diana Woods, a thoroughly modern woman of the 1920s, is thrilled to begin a secretarial job helping visiting professors research the Wild West days of Fort Worth, Texas. Things heat up when she and two of the profs witness the speakeasy abduction of a prominent citizen and realize they could be next. The group hits the road to escape danger, and the professors send Diana to safety in the hometown of their former student Adler Behr, a grouchy banker who has no use for modern women and whose temperament resembles his bear namesake. As Diana schools Adler in the allure of her twentieth-century skills, danger is never far behind. Adler learns that his future lies in the hands of a woman who can do more than cook and darn socks, and Diana finds even a grumpy Behr has a softer side.
Customs & Excise are tracking a gang of
cigar-smugglers who operate on the quiet Kent coast near Plummergen, home to
retired art teacher Miss Emily Seeton.
Their attempt at a midnight ambush goes wrong, and a man is found dead.
As Miss Seeton sketches the most notorious tomb in Plummergen
churchyard – the one built for 19th-century smuggler Abraham Voller – she meets
a young American tourist. He claims to be a descendant of the Voller family,
but is he a truly innocent ancestor-hunter, or do smugglers inherit their
When the school concert includes a performance of Kipling’s “A
Smuggler’s Song” it begins to seem that everyone is at it … but we can rely
on Miss Seeton to ensure that the police will get their man, and the smugglers’
dreams will go up in smoke!
Serene amidst every
kind of skulduggery, this eccentric English spinster steps in where Scotland
Yard stumbles, armed with nothing more than her sketchpad and umbrella.
Many critics claim that authors such as Virginia Woolf,
James Joyce or Sylvia Plath are the masters, or mistresses, of the ‘stream of
consciousness’ narrative technique. Stream of consciousness is a way of depicting the many and various thoughts and
feelings that flit through someone’s mind. And whilst those authors I mentioned
might be rather good at at, by far best of all is Hamilton Crane.
I’ve read quite a few Miss Seeton stories by now and I love
how we hop in and out of our characters. We see the world from their points of
view – and trust me, those are always totally unique. How all these original
takes on events meld together is one of the many fascinating facets of these
Watch The Wall, Miss Seeton joyously combines such disparate
elements as twitchers, smugglers’ descendants, metal thieves, a school concert
and good old customs and excise. Of course, not forgetting the local police
force of and Miss Seeton, complete with umbrella and sketch pad.
The plot is clever and entertaining, and the whole book is
alive with nonsense, quirkiness and wit. The writing is fresh and lively, whisking
us along at a spanking pace. The characters we meet, well, they really are
characters in every sense of the word! There isn’t one you’d call boring!
Fabulous story, absorbing and never a dull moment!
Don’t miss the new delightfully uplifting book from the author of A Recipe for Disaster!
A second chance at love…
When globe-trotting Emmy first fell for first-aider William
on a freezing New Year’s Eve, she really believed that their love would go the
But when she returns
to Australia, her letters start to go unanswered and her emails bounce back
unread, Emmy decides it’s time to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and
start afresh in London.
So she’s shocked when
William walks in on her very first day at her new job! Even worse, he’s hotter
than ever. But why did he disappear for so long? What has he been hiding? And
could this really be their second chance at falling in love…?
Perfect for fans of Carole Mathews, Mhairi McFarlane and
Carrie Hope Fletcher.
This is a really delightful romcom, set in Edinburgh, Australia and London. Our heroine and hero are William and Emmy who meet during Hogmonay. They are instantly attracted to each other, but Emmy is about to return to the other side of the world and Wiliam has a new job in London to go to. They keep in touch for a while, and we share their correspondence, but it’s not easy keeping love going when you’re tens of thousands of miles apart. Their relationship begins to sag and then dies.
Fate has a part to play and years later they meet up again
in the UK. Both have new partners, but there’s something still sparking between
them. What should they do? There are moments of tension and drama which work well
against a generally easy-going background.
There are many lively characters in this book who make for
great company. William and Emmy are very sympathetic in that they’re as human
as we are, with flaws and foibles, but ultimately they mean well. They make
mistakes, they’re funny and they’re endearing.
A very enjoyable, gentle romcom.
Belinda Missen is an award-winning and best-selling author, screenwriter, and freelance writer from Geelong, Australia. She lives with her car-obsessed, but wonderful husband, two loopy cats, and more books than she cares to count.
In late 2017, Belinda signed a six-book contract with
HQDigitalUK (HarperCollins). A Recipe for Disaster was released in August 2018.
An Impossible Thing Called Love appeared by magic in November 2018.
Giveaway to Win 2 x
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data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Lewis landed herself a reporting job on an idyllic Thai
island, she thought she’d found paradise.
But one day her dream turns into a nightmare…
goes off outside her hostel and there is more than one fatality.
Although the local paper she works for is mainly a tourist
guide, the phone is soon ringing off the hook with people desperate to hear
news of their loved ones.
Together with her editor, Steve Boyd, Lucy finds herself drawn into the investigation.
And things become more complicated when the dead body of someone connected to the paper washes up on the
the bomb planted by terrorists? Are the two incidents connected?
Lucy finds herself running in circles as she desperately searches for the key to
RUNNING IN CIRCLES is a thrilling international mystery set in Thailand: a
private investigation featuring an exciting new female lead.
Running in Circles is the perfect title for this book as it leaves
you breathless! There is an awful lot of intrigue and action packed into its
Lucy Lewis is an English journalist working in Thailand working on
a weekly English-language paper. She and her editor, Steve Boyd, are battling
to keep it going. They very quickly find themselves battling to discover who’s
behind the fatal bomb blast near Lucy’s hostel. And then another body washes
up. The mystery deepens and becomes very complex, but never complicated. The
author aims to keeps us busy rather than overwhelm us with events and events
are clear and easy to follow.
The backdrop of Thailand is woven into the story, with its exotic
scenery and the many backpackers who come to discover the country and often
themselves. The violent events seem completely at odds with the beauty of the
place but as Lucy and Steve discover, if you start to scratch the surface then
you begin to reveal a seedier side of life.
Lucy and Steve aren’t perfect as investigators, or people. They
both have some emotional baggage to cart around with them, and it’s their
flawed human-ness that makes them so likeable and so successful as our
protagonists. However, they are genuine, committed and do their best.
The plot is clever and certainly keeps us guessing, which is what
we want in a thriller. There are clues for us to notice or miss, along with Lucy,
and the denouement is both exciting and satisfying.
A very enjoyable read.
About the author
Claire Gray lives in the South Lakes with her husband and two small children. She studied Creative Writing at the Cumbria Institute of the Arts, which no longer exists, having been absorbed by the University of Cumbria. She graduated in 2006 and then went on to complete a journalism course at Darlington College.
That same year, she won a Northern
Promise Award from New Writing North, and her work was featured in their
anthology, entitled Ten Years On. Claire now works as a freelance copywriter and
continues to write short stories, some of which have been published in
magazines and online.
Recently, she has been guest editor for
the prose section of SpeakEasy Magazine, which showcases Cumbrian writing. In 2015,
she received editing advice from The Literary Consultancy through their Free
Read scheme. They felt that her manuscript, Running
in Circles, showed potential, and began approaching literary professionals
on Claire’s behalf. Sapere Books published Running in Circles in 2019 and
Claire is really excited to have published her first novel!
Struggling American waitress and
aspiring novelist Maisie Clark dreams of becoming a full-time writer — even
though in real life she’s just lost her chance at an exclusive writer’s
mentorship program that would give her novel its big break. Desperate, she
decides to take a chance and ask her favourite writer, a celebrated but
reclusive English novelist, to help her find a second chance.
When she receives the author’s reply in an
envelope with a Cornish postmark, Maisie decides not to take the writer’s
half-hearted ‘no’ for an answer. With nothing to lose, she takes off for the
author’s last known location, a beautiful hotel on Cornwall’s western coast.
But when the hotel mistakes her for the latest applicant for a maid’s position,
Maisie finds herself given an opportunity too good to lose … and a chance for
a summer adventure far bigger than she ever imagined.
Surrounded by breath-taking Cornwall and working
in an elegant hotel, Maisie’s world becomes one of secret identities, quirky
friends, and unintentional mishaps — and despite reminders of past relationship
disasters, a certain handsome, charming local resident Sidney Daniels has her
conflicted about her heart’s desires, too.
Will Maisie find the chance she’s been waiting
for — and a possible new romance — in her perfect Cornish summer?
Laura Briggs is the author of several chick lit and romance stories,
including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a
fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads
everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing,
she enjoys spending time with family, caring for her pets, going to movies and
plays, and trying new restaurants.
A cryptic message from an old friend
leads Joe Grabarz to an abandoned farmhouse in the middle of the South Downs.
But Joe is too late, someone else has got there first: his friend is dead, and
all the evidence points to him.
Ten years ago the farmhouse was the
scene of three infamous murders when a young boy killed his mother, father, and
little sister. Now an adult, he was released from prison with a new identity.
Could he be involved? The farmhouse also sits on valuable land, fought over in
a struggle between building houses and drilling for shale gas. But could it
really be worth killing for? Whatever is going on, Joe knows one thing for
sure: his friend’s murder is just a tiny part of it.
To bring the killer to justice Joe
must dig up the past, and reckon with his own, because no matter how hard you
work, it never goes away.
Wow! This trilogy has been great from
the start, and this last book provides a really polished and exciting finish to
the series. The author’s books are always complex and intriguing, and this one
is especially so.
Joe has had to deal with a few demons
in the previous two books but now he really has to face his past head on, and
it isn’t easy. There is a definite air of menace in this novel, more so than
before. Brighton has always been intrinsic, and we’ve got to know it quite
well. We’ve seen its seedier side, but here we discover new disturbing depths.
I shall miss Joe! I feel I’ve got to
know his as well as he’ll allow us too over the series. He has many good
qualities alongside the less pleasant ones that are essential for him be ‘hard
boiled’ enough to do the job he does. He’s a fascinating, flawed character, and
I’ve no doubt you’ll thoroughly enjoy his company too. You’ll certainly admire
the work of a talented author, whose sharp observations and equally sharp but
dry wit are always wonderful.
Author Bio – Born
in Brighton, I went to school in here, worked many jobs here, and have never
lived anywhere else. I first started writing at school, where I and a group of friends
devised and performed comedy plays for assemblies, much to the amusement of our
fellow pupils. The young ones would cheer (and the old ones would
groan) as we stepped up onto the stage, the buzz was tangible. It has
been with me ever since.
an adult I have written a short comedy play that was performed at the Theatre
Royal Brighton in May 2014 as part of the Brighton Festival; Daye’s Work, a
television pilot for the local Brighton channel; and won the Empire Award
(thriller category) in the 2015 New York Screenplay Contest. I published my
first novel, You Can’t Make Old Friends, in 2016; my second, Choose Your
Parents Wisely, in 2017, my
third, The Benevolent Dictator, in 2018, and now my fourth, It Never Goes Away, in
2019. When I’m not writing books, I’m writing about writing, books, and film on
inspirations as a writer come from a diverse range of storytellers, but I have
a particular love for the works of Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie, Joel
& Ethan Coen, Arthur Conan-Doyle, Daphne du Maurier, Alfred Hitchcock,
Bryan Fuller, Ira Levin, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Towne, JRR Tolkien, and many
many more books and films beside. If you can’t find me, or I’m not answering my
phone, I’m probably at the cinema.
Nineteen-year-old year old Sean hasn’t seen his father since he was twelve. His mother has never really explained why. An argument with her leads to his moving to the other side of the country.
Martin, his father, has his life thrown into turmoil when the son
he hasn’t seen in nearly eight years strolls back into his life immediately
killing his dog and hospitalising his step-daughter.
The one thing they have in common is the friendship of a girl
Over the course of one summer Sean experiences sexual awakenings
from all angles, discovers the fleeting nature of friendship and learns to cope
Martin, meanwhile, struggles to reconnect with Sean while trying
to delicately turn down the increasingly inappropriate advances of a girl he
sees as a surrogate daughter and keep a struggling marriage alive.
Gap Years is an exploration of what it means to be a man in the
21st Century seen from two very different perspectives – neatly hidden inside a
funny story about bicycles, guitars and unrequited love.
This is another sharply satirical
novel from this author about false expectations and the sub-optimal lot of
humankind. Sean expects all will be well when he leaves his mum to move in with
his father, despite not seeing him for eight or so years. If one parent proves to
be a pain, the other will be fine, surely. Dad Martin is more clued up as he’s
apprehensive about the arrangement, and, as it turns out, rightly so.
Sean comes across as a very convincing,
confused teenager, still idealistic and under the impression that the world
owes him a favour. He gradually comes to learn, to his surprise, this isn’t the
case. And things aren’t helped by a decidedly mixed-up femme fatale sticking
her oar in.
Both father and son develop and
grow in the novel. They learn a lot about themselves and each other, not all good,
but they manage to deal with it. It’s thus actually quiet a moving novel,
although that edge of dark comedy one associates with Dave Holwill is always
It’s very much a novel for modern
times with a dysfunctional family at its heart, full of good intentions but also
teetering on a cliff edge. The writing sweeps you along through the chaos and
is immensely entertaining. A quirky, absorbing read.
Dave Holwill was born in Guildford in
1977 and quickly decided that he preferred the Westcountry – moving to Devon in
1983 (with some input from his parents).
After an expensive (and possibly wasted)
education there, he has worked variously as a postman, a framer, and a print
department manager (though if you are the only person in the department then
can you really be called a manager?) all whilst continuing to play in every
kind of band imaginable on most instruments you can think of. Gap Years is his third novel – following on the heels of Weekend
Rockstars and The Craft Room, and he is currently working
on the fourth (a folk horror set in his native mid-Devon) and a sequel to Weekend
The Migraine Relief
Plan: An 8-Week Transition to Better Eating, Fewer Headaches, and Optimal
In The Migraine Relief Plan, certified health and wellness coach Stephanie Weaver outlines a new, step-by-step lifestyle approach to reducing migraine frequency and severity.
Using the latest research, her own migraine diagnosis, and extensive testing, Weaver has designed an accessible plan to help those living with migraine, headaches, or Meniere’s disease. Over the course of eight weeks, the plan gradually transitions readers into a healthier lifestyle, including key behaviors such as regular sleep, trigger-free eating, gentle exercise, and relaxation techniques. The book also collects resources—shopping lists, meal plans, symptom tracking charts, and kitchen-tested recipes for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner—to provide readers with the tools they need to be successful.
The Migraine Relief Plan encourages readers to eat within the guidelines while still helping them follow personal dietary choices, like vegan or Paleo, and navigate challenges, such as parties, work, and travel. A must-have resource for anyone who lives with head pain, this book will inspire you to rethink your attitude toward health and wellness.
I’ve also been prone to headaches so although not a migraine
sufferer I was interested to see if there was advice that might apply to me.
And there was – plenty! As a result of her health afflictions, the author has
done extensive research into foods that might be complicit in contributing
towards headaches of all types and intensities.
And more than just food, the author considers lifestyle. The
whole book is intended to realign not only unhelpful eating habits, but also
our general approach to health and well-being. I’ve made some tweaks to my
lifestyle and am starting to see some benefits.
The 8-week plan is just the first stepping stone. The author
offers further advice and goals to achieve for the following months and even
years. Change won’t happen in five minutes – it’s a steady progression, that
may falter occasionally but that’s OK because we’re all only human. The author herself
had setbacks, but she gives advice on how to get back on track again.
The author is very upfront and approachable. She gives her
own medical history, and always gives the impression of being in the room with
us, chatting through ways we can improve our health, identify those headache
triggers and organise ourselves and our food shopping a bit better.
There are loads of recipes and meal plans, and most of all encouragement
to persevere at every turn. You really feel that the author has your best
interests at heart. All in all, a helpful, interesting and inspiring book.
Author Bio –
Stephanie Weaver, MPH, CWHC, is an author, blogger, and certified wellness and health coach. Her recipes have been featured in Cosmopolitan, Bon Appetit, Cooking Light, Parade, and more. She lives in San Diego, CA.