All about Books, Guest post, Meet the Author

Meet the Author: Kate Ryder Author of Beneath Cornish Skies

Today I am excited to be chatting to Kate Ryder, the author of Secrets of the Mist, and her new release Beneath Cornish Skies and is on my TBR pile. So grab a coffee or tea and cake if needed and discover more about the person behind these books.

Time for tea and a natter

  • Hello Kate, thank you so much for popping by. Your books are based in Cornwall, what draws you to this setting for your novels? 

Three of my four published novels are set in Cornwall, which is such an inspirational county for the writer/artist in me.  As a Piscean I’m drawn to the sea, and Cornwall’s natural, ruggedly beautiful coastline always gets my creative juices flowing!

  • Did any of your inspiration for novels originate from your own real-life experiences?  

Secrets of the Mist (interestingly, the only novel I’ve set in a different county) was inspired by renovations to our 200 year old cottage during which a time capsule was discovered, secreted away by a previous owner.  Its contents were fascinating and it had me contemplating previous occupiers of our cottage and the dramas it may have witnessed.  Readers took the novel to heart and it achieved #1 best seller in Time Travel Romance on Amazon UK, Canada and Australia.

  • I loved the cottage in Secrets of the Mist. Is this based on a real place?  

The setting for the cottage is real – Walditch, in Dorset – but the actual property doesn’t exist.  It’s purely from my imagination.  However, the internal stained glass divide between the sitting and dining rooms and the ghostly presence were inspired by a conversation with someone who told me about an old Dartmoor cottage she once owned that she’d shared with a ghost.

  • I have a bookcase full of books I will keep forever and regularly reread them. Do you reread books or do you only read them once?  

I have bookcases full of books (at least our old stone cottage is well insulated!).  I do reread books but tend to put several months between subsequent readings.

  • What are you currently reading? 

Several reviewers comment that my books remind them of Barbara Erskine’s writing.  What a wonderful compliment!  I’m currently enjoying the audible version of her novel, River of Destiny.  It’s a terrific adventure, which the narrator has done justice to.

  • I would agree with their assessment, Secrets of the Mist did have the atmosphere of Barbara Erskine novels. River of Destiny is a great book and will now have to add it to my reread pile. Do you have any tips for would-be writers? 

Remember that writing is a long-game.  Smile and enjoy the journey!

  • Secrets of the Mist and your upcoming release are time slip novels with elements of the supernatural threaded through them. Is this a genre you always wanted to write?  

In my late childhood/early teenage years, I was spellbound by Alison Uttley’s A Traveller in Time.  The mix of history and timeslip seemed so believable.  The story has remained with me through the intervening years, although I wasn’t aware this was a genre I would write.  Summer in a Cornish Cove (and its standalone sequel, Cottage on a Cornish Cliff) is a contemporary romantic suspense novel that verges on psychological thriller, although (she laughs) there is a tiny smattering of the other side coming through!

  • What is your favourite book? 

Frenchman’s Creek.

  • Who is your favourite author? 

Daphne du Maurier.  However, during lockdown I discovered several terrific authors that I’d not read before, including Christina Courtenay, Georgia Hill, Nicola Cornick and Susanna Kearsley.  All historical dual-timeline/timeslip writers… funny that!

  • Is your writing influenced by the books you have read? 

Definitely.  When aspiring to being a good writer you should read a varied subject matter and as many books as possible.

  • Where is your favourite place to read or write?  

During 2020 – the strangest of years – I did a lot of reading in bed; probably because it felt safe and warm.  I write in my office, which is in the eaves of our three-storey Cornish cottage.  Being on the top floor, it feels like an eyrie, tucked away from the distractions of the rest of the household.

  • When did you begin writing and how did being published come about? 

I’ve been writing for as long as I can recall, and I’ve also worked in publishing.  However, it took a certain milestone birthday to motivate me towards turning my dream of becoming a published author into reality.  I joined the Romantic Novelist’s Association New Writers’ Scheme and submitted a manuscript for a professional critique.  Taking on board my reader’s comments, I tweaked the manuscript and sent it to several publishing companies.  There followed the inevitable rejections (par for the course) but Aria responded and offered me a four-book contract.

Beneath Cornish Skies by Kate Ryder

Blurb

Beneath Cornish Skies

To an outsider, Cassandra Shaw‘s life looks perfect. She lives in a beautiful, luxurious house in the English countryside, with a handsome, wealthy boyfriend who insists she needn’t do a day’s work in her life. But Cassie knows that something is not right. Her boyfriend has grown colder, treating her more like a housekeeper than a future wife. And her time feels empty and purposeless.

Cassandra has always been riddled with insecurities and self-doubt, but, just for once, she decides to take a chance on a new beginning. She answers an advert for a live-in nanny, dog walker, cook and all-round ‘Superhuman’ for a family living in a rambling manor house on the rugged North Cornish coast. The work is hard and tiring, but Cassie has never felt so fulfilled.

As Cassie learns to connect with the natural beauty unfolding around her, Cornwall starts to offer up its secrets. Soon, Cassie starts wondering if she was drawn to this isolated part of the coast for a reason. Why was she guided to Foxcombe Manor? What are the flashes of light she sees in the valley? Is it her imagination or does someone brush past her? And who is the mysterious man living deep in the woods?

A beautiful romance with a hint of ghostliness, Beneath Cornish Skies is for anyone who has ever longed to start their lives again.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/364FTKy

Kate Ryder

Author Biography

Kate Ryder is an award-winning, Amazon Kindle international best seller who writes timeslip and romantic suspense in a true-to-life narrative. On leaving school she studied drama but soon discovered her preference for writing plays rather than performing them! Since then, she has worked in the publishing, tour operating and property industries, and has travelled widely.

Kate is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors.  In 2017, she signed a 4-book contract with Aria (digital imprint of award-winning independent publisher, Head of Zeus).

Summer in a Cornish Cove, a contemporary romantic suspense set on the Lizard Peninsula, gained her a nomination for the RNA’s 2018 Joan Hessayon award, while its standalone sequel, Cottage on a Cornish Cliff, reached the heady heights of #2 in Kindle Literary Sagas.

‘Secrets of the Mist’, a mysterious timeslip romance, not only achieved #1 Kindle best seller flags in the UK, Canada and Australia, but also reached #49 in Amazon UK Paid Kindle. In the original, self-published version (The Forgotten Promise) it was awarded the first Chill with a Book “Book of the Month”.

Originally hailing from the South East of England, today Kate lives on the Cornish side of the beautiful Tamar Valley with her husband and a collection of animals.

Social Media Links –

Author website: http://www.kateryder.me
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KateRyder_Books
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kateryder.author
Instagram: @kateryder_author

Thank you so much for joining me for a natter. I wish you luck in your new release and can’t wait to read it.

Happy writing, reading and keep safe!

Love

All about Books, Book review

Book Review: Once and future witches by Alix E. Harrow

My plan was to shout about this last month as part of the witchy Halloween take over but life had other ideas so I am happy to share my delayed review for Once and Future Witches by Alix. E Harrow.

Book Review: Once and future witches by Alix E. Harrow

Title: Once and future witches

Author: Alix E. Harrow

Publisher: Little Brown Book Group

Genre: Sci-fi and fantasy

Release date: 15th October 2020

Blurb

‘The Once and Future Witches is a gorgeous and thrilling paean to the ferocious power of women’ Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author of Strange the Dreamer

In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the three Eastwood sisters join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote – and perhaps not even to live – the sisters must delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

Praise for The Once and Future Witches:

‘A brilliant dazzle of a book . . . I devoured it in enormous gulps, and utterly loved it’ Kat Howard, author of The Unkindness of Ghosts

‘Compelling, exhilarating and magical – a must read’ Booklist (starred review)

‘Delightful . . . a tale of women’s battle for equality, of fairy tales twisted into wonderfully witchy spells, of magics both large and small, and history re-imagined’ Louisa Morgan, author of A Secret History of Witches

‘A love letter to folklore and the rebellious women of history’ Publishers Weekly

‘A breathtaking book – brilliant and raw and dark and complicated’ Sarah Gailey, author of Magic for Liars

My Thoughts

This novel blew me away and I’m in awe of the prose, vivid storytelling and unusual, powerful characters. The three Eastwood sisters drew me into their story like the witchcraft they practise and they refused to let me go. Forget sleep, chores and reality, I had to read as long as I could. It is a book for a lazy, indulgent weekends where you have no distractions.

Blending the suffragette movement with women fighting for the vote with a movement to release witching from its shackles so women are empowered is clever, powerful and urges the reader to read more. The characters of the Eastwood sisters are so well developed they leap of the page and the descriptions of location make the story form a movie in the mind. The twists and turns along with the love, anger and hate the sisters encounter as they find their way to Avalon make this book unforgettable.

The conclusion is unexpected but is perfect.

Would I recommend?

Yes, yes, yes. This is my favourite book of the year for its powerful storytelling, unique characters, vivid imagery and theme. If you love books that are different, witchy or highlight the strength of women when challenged this is a must. It would make a fantastic series, but like all things, nothing can beat the insight you gain from the written word; it left me wanting more.

I am grateful to Little Brown Books for the advanced copy so I could give my honest, unbiased opinion. This is one of those books I would have missed if it had not been brought to my attention and the world would have been a little bit greyer without.

Have you read it? I would love to know what you thought, comment below.

Take care and happy reading!

Love

All about Books, Guest post, Writing journey, Writing process

Guest Post: WORLD BUILDING with Guardian: Recruit author, Catherine Rull

Catherine Rull

Today I am excited to introduce Catherine Rull, the Australian author of paranormal romance, Guardian: Recruit as a guest on my blog. Her book is about guardian angels that watch over a psychiatric facility in London. She’s here for a quick chat to tell us more about world-building, and hitting those word counts.

Hi, Kate. Thanks for having me.

Hello. Shall we get started? Okay, so first up: how did you come up with the world for Guardian: Recruit?

Well, it actually came to me in a dream while I was pregnant in 2008. In my dream, I was driving and saw some small things flying around. When I got out of my car, I realised they were pixies. One of them was someone I knew as a child, but he’d died. And he told me, children’s souls got to grow up but as pixies. When I woke up, I wrote down the idea. But of course pixies aren’t really sexy so I went with angels.

Good choice. Was there anything else from your dream?

No. That was it. The rest, I had to figure out myself.

Well, the world in Guardian: Recruit’s quite fleshed out. Do you have any advice for other paranormal writers?

I think there are probably five things you’ll need to do to build your own world.

  1. Base it on something real. Any novel requires a certain level of world building, regardless of the genre. I think the more you can ground your world in reality, the more believable it is. The setting for Guardian: Recruit is similar to the hospital school where I worked in London. Of course, it wasn’t creepy there at all but that’s the beauty of creating your own world. You add your imagination to the mix and hopefully create something vivid and realistic for your readers.
  2. Research. Researching different aspects of your story (eg. your character’s job; angels from different cultures) often leads to more ideas for your books.
  3. The new character. Another important tool in world building is to have a character who is new to the world. This allows you to explain some of the rules of the world to the reader in a more organic way. You see this all the time, including in Harry Potter. As someone who didn’t know he was a wizard, Harry had to be taught the way the wizarding world works and the reader learns about it with him.
  4. Layering. If you have the time, I suggest editing the book with some breaks in between. This allows you to notice things you may not have realised before, or come up with new ideas to add to your world. This gives the book its many layers.
  5. Series Bible. It’s important to keep track of the rules you’ve set for your world. I keep a “Series Bible” for all my books (not just the paranormal ones) to ensure continuity.

Thanks, Catherine. That’s a handy list. Did it take you long to write Guardian: Recruit?

I wrote about five pages in 2008. Then, in 2014, I picked it up again and set myself 800-words minimum a day until it was finished. And it wasn’t always easy. Sometimes, I would fall asleep at my laptop trying to hit my word count for the day and I would wake up to find a row of “bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb” where my hand rested while I was sleeping. But then I’d wake myself up and keep going till I reached that word count. There were times when I felt like what I was writing was absolutely terrible, but when it was time to edit, those parts were never as bad as I thought. Sometimes, they were actually quite good! Either way, it’s better to edit bad writing than to have a blank page.

I completed the first draft of Guardian: Recruit in about 8 weeks, and then I edited it lots of times. I’m a “pantser”—that means I like to write “by the seat of my pants”. I find that this gives me space to surprise myself. I personally find plotting very restrictive. “Pantsing” allows the characters the freedom to get themselves into trouble, instead of me plotting their challenges 😊

Anyway, after writing the first draft, I print out my manuscripts to edit on paper, input the changes to the digital copy, edit on the laptop and print again. I usually edit books between five to ten times in this way. But I editing is all part of making a tight story and a clean manuscript. In 2015, Guardian: Recruit was shortlisted in the UK’s Mslexia Women’s Novel Competition.

That’s great. Congratulations!

Thanks.

So, do you already have other books lined up after Guardian: Recruit?

Yes. I’ve already written Book 2 of the Guardian Series and have the basic premise for the third book. I think the sequel will come out some time in 2021. I am currently working on other projects as well—some sequels to the chick lit and rom com that have already come out this year: The Fat Chicks’ Club Series and my Swim Bike Run Series.

You sound very busy. Do you have a set routine or favourite drink while you’re writing?

Not so much a routine. Like most writers, I have a day job. Plus, I have young children so I fit my writing around my other responsibilities. However, before the lockdowns, I sometimes used to go to my local library to get away from the distractions at home. That was usually when I needed to write or edit something in time for a competition or a submission to an agent or editor.

As for a favourite drink. I’m a big kid, so I like cold drinks like bubble tea and frozen Cokes. I like to keep it fun. Writing brings me so much joy, and I hope my readers feel that in my stories. You know, even though Guardian: Recruit has a seemingly sombre premise, you’ll find there’s a lot of humour in it as well. I don’t think I’d like to write anything too sad or depressing—I like my characters to have a sense of humour. It’s important to be able to laugh at life.

That’s good advice. Well, all the best with all those projects!

Guardian: Recruit is the first book in the Guardian Series. It’s available in ebook and paperback from Amazon, Book Depository and Barnes & Noble.

Social media contacts

website: www.catherinerull.com

Facebook: Catherine Rull (novelist): https://www.facebook.com/CatherineRullnovelist

Twitter: @catherinerull13

Instagram: @catherine.rull 

Thanks again Catherine, and I can’t wait to read your book. We are heading into November and NaNoWriMo so let me know if you are joining in and have any other word building tips.

Happy writing and stay safe!

Love

All about Books

Guest post: Lizzie Chantree and Networking for Writers

Today, I am excited to pass my blog over to best-selling author, Lizzie Chantree to discuss her new book for writers – Networking for Writers: A Fun Way to Sell Books which one day I hope to need. Over to Lizzie.

Networking for Writers by Lizzie Chantree

Thank you so much for inviting me onto your wonderful blog today, Kate.

Hello everyone. My name is Lizzie Chantree and I am a romance author. I write books about sassy entrepreneurs who are always up to mischief and find friendship and love along the way. I have been lucky enough for them all to become international bestsellers in various categories, including hitting the #1 spot more than once with my book, If you love me, I’m yours.

I have just written my first non-fiction book, Networking for writers, in the hope of helping writers who are looking for a little guidance about branding, marketing, events, seminars, mentorship, social media, finding a wider readership and more. Networking is about being social, but it is also about structure, discipline and focus. In my book I offer insight into the tools I use to stay productive, find creative time and to have room left to step away from work and give myself space to breathe and let creativity blossom. Have a great day everyone and if my book does help you on your writing journey, I’d love to hear from you!

Networking for writers. Samm doc. By Lizzie Chantree

Title: Networking for Writers: A Fun Way to Sell Books

Author: Lizzie Chantree

Genre: Non-fiction

Release Date: 29th October 2020

Blurb

Are you swamped with book marketing and looking for a way to find new sales? Learn simple and effective networking techniques, to grow your readership and connect with other authors and book lovers, today!

Whether you are a new or experienced writer, self-published or traditionally published, this book will show you how to grow your readership and author network, through some of the most powerful of all marketing tools – word of mouth and recommendation.

This book will show you:

How networking can help you sell more books.

Why author branding is important.

How networking hours work.

Specific Facebook groups for writers

How to utilise social media to grow your readership.

How not to waste valuable writing time.

How to make our marketing more effective.

Throughout Networking for Writers, we will explore running or attending book signings, hosting seminars, finding a writing buddy or mentor, author networking groups, social media planning and so much more

Author Biography

Lizzie Chantree. Author photo small
Lizzie Chantree

International bestselling author and award-winning inventor, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now works as a business mentor and runs a popular networking hour on social media, where creatives can support to each other. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, that are about women with unusual and adventurous businesses, who are far stronger than they realise. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.

Visit her website at http://www.lizziechantree.com or follow her on Twitter @Lizzie_Chantreehttps://twitter.com/Lizzie_Chantree.

Book links: Lizzie Chantree.

Universal book buy link: Networking for writers: viewbook.at/NetworkingForWriters

Universal book buy link: If you love me, I’m yours: viewbook.at/IfYouLoveMe-ImYours

Universal book buy link: Ninja School Mum: viewBook.at/NinjaSchoolMum

Universal book buy link: Babe Driven: viewbook.at/BabeDriven

Universal book buy link: Love’s Child: viewBook.at/Amazon-LovesChild

Universal book buy link: Finding Gina: viewbook.at/FindingGina

Social media links:

Website: www.lizziechantree.com

Author page: https://www.viewAuthor.at/LizzieChantree

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lizzie_Chantree

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LizzieChantree/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7391757.Lizzie_Chantree

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lizzie_chantree/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/LizzieChantree/pins/

FB Groups: https://www.facebook.com/groups/647115202160536/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/lizzie-chantree

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lizzie-chantree-03006425/

Email signature Flat covers. Lizzie Chantree

Thanks Lizzie for popping over and sharing your book details. It will hopefully arrive on my Kindle at midnight.

Happy Writing!

Love

just Kate

All about Books, Book review

Book Review: Beltane by Alys West

The witch themed book reviews continue with Beltane by Alys West. I read it in May and discussed it on my sister blog, From Under the Duvet.

BOOK REVIEW: BELTANE BY ALYS WEST

Beltane cover

Title: Beltane

Author: Alys West

Publisher: Fabrian Books

Release Date: 8th June 2016

Genre: Fiction, supernatural

Purchase: Amazon

BLURB:

Struggling artist, Zoe arrives in Glastonbury seeking inspiration. The small Somerset town is steeped in myth and legend and Zoe’s sure it’ll be the perfect place to work on a book about King Arthur. But behind the shops selling witchcraft supplies and crystals real magic is being practised.
When Zoe meets Finn her life changes forever. Not only is he a druid connected to the ancient energies of the earth but she dreamed about him long before they met. Finn’s life is in terrible danger and Zoe’s dreams start to reveal more of the plot against him.
After dreaming of a deadly battle at a stone circle on Dartmoor, Zoe starts to wonder if the dark magic around her is playing tricks of its own or if she really can see the future. Will she learn to trust Finn, and herself, in time to stand any hope of surviving the powerful magic that will be unleashed at Beltane? Or is it already too late?
This gripping story of magic, romance and the supernatural will entrance fans of Deborah Harkness and Phil Rickman and keep you spellbound until the very last page.

MY THOUGHTS

Wow! I was trapped in the spell of this book from the first chapter and was not released until the last page. I loved the premise, the characters and the foreboding atmosphere. It got under my skin. I needed to know what happened next.

As a heroine, Zoe is memorable for her strength of will as she stumbles into a battle of magic on a vacation designed to inspire her work. Her visits to the places linked to the Arthurian legends made me add them to my own bucket list, not only because of these tales but so I can imagine Finn and her acting out the scenes of their own story. Forget a ghost walk, I would do my own Beltane trail if they are accessible to wheels. The imagery invoked by the written word is ideal for this powerful, fast paced, and highly imaginary tale of witchcraft, druidry and magic. A thread of romance between Zoe and Finn runs throughout but it is the menace and creepiness of Maeve that will stay with me forever.

WOULD I RECOMMEND?

Yes. This is a thrilling spooky contemporary novel to escape into. The tension grabbed me making me stay up throughout the night to finish it. I am pleased to have this on my forever shelf to return to in the future. I can’t wait to read Alys West’s new novel in this series Storm Witch.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

ALys West 2020
Alys West

Alys West writes contemporary fantasy and steampunk. Her first novel, Beltane was inspired by the folklore of Glastonbury. Her second novel, The Dirigible King’s Daughter is a steampunk romance set in Whitby. Storm Witch is her third novel and is set in the beautiful Orkney islands which she fell in love with back in 2010 and has used every excuse to return to since (including setting a novel there!) She is fascinated by folklore and folk tales which are a big influence on the stories she tells.

Alys has a MA in Creative Writing from York St John University and teaches creative writing at the Centre for Lifelong Learning at the University of York. She’s also a book whisperer (like a book doctor but more holistic) and mentor to aspiring writers.

When she’s not writing you can find her at folk gigs, doing yoga and attempting to crochet. She occasionally blogs at www.alyswest.com, intermittently tweets at @alyswestyork and spends rather too much time on Facebook where you can find her at Alys West Writer. She is also on Instagram at @alyswestwriter. To keep up with Alys’s news you can join her Facebook readers’ group ‘Druids, Spellworkers and Dirigibles’.

Storm Witch’s book review will be published here later this month.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love