Thursday, 22 February 2018

Competition time!

I've just discovered the fabulous Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells competition is still open and will be running for another six days!

To be in with a chance of winning this beautiful necklace from Lily Charmed (and I have one of these so I know exactly how gorgeous it is), simply click the link and follow the instructions .

Good luck everyone!

H x

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Welcoming Bella Osborne to the blog

Today I am absolutely delighted to welcome wonderful Bella Osborne to the blog. Fellow RNA member Bella is always easy to spot at RNA events because she wears such beautiful and elegant dresses! Today she is here to talk to us all about the importance of picking character names and tell us all about the second instalment of her new title, Ottercombe Bay, which is released today.

What’s in a name? – Coming up with character names.

 I love the part of the writing process where you get to name your characters. For me it’s a really fun part because it’s usually very early on in the embryonic idea stage. Sometimes a plot thread will come to me first but my main characters are usually not too far behind. Naming them is a very important stage for me - they have to feel right. Occasionally they just fall into place as they did with Ottercombe Bay. My lead female character, Daisy, barged into my subconscious and her name just popped into my head. I already knew that her parents had been bohemian individuals so naming her after a flower seemed likely.

For other characters I needed to do more digging to uncover the names that felt right for them. Cue lots of trawling of baby name databases, archives and research on traditional names from the West Country as my story is set in a fictional Devon seaside town. I was thrilled when I hit on the name of Pasco for one of my secondary characters. It is a traditional Cornish name and although my story is set over the border in Devon I felt it fitted my character so well. You can almost hear the accent when you say the name Pasco.

Once I’ve got the main character’s names sorted I can progress with the story sometimes leaving out the names of minor characters until I hit upon the right one. Instead of a name I put XXX so it’s easy to locate later on when I need to change it. For book five I have left the names of my heroine’s parents until the very end of the first draft, having toyed with a number of options, but as none of them felt right I left it until I knew them both better and this really helped find names that worked with their personalities.

I also have lots of fun choosing the names of the animals in my stories. It is just as important to me that they have the right name. The black pug in Ottercombe Bay has a big personality, bags of attitude and some hoodlum tendencies so Bugsy Malone was the perfect fit. I hope my readers agree.

All about Ottercombe Bay

Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?

All about Bella...

Bella has been jotting down stories as far back as she can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that she finished a full length novel. She’s now written four romantic comedies and been shortlisted twice for the RNA Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year.

Bella's stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you.

She lives in The Midlands, UK with her husband, daughter and a cat who thinks she’s dog. When not writing she’s usually eating custard creams and planning holidays.

Buy the book...

UK Amazon link:
US Amazon link:

Find Bella online...

Twitter: @osborne_bella

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Welcoming Claire Brown to the blog

Today I am delighted to welcome Claire Brown to the blog. This is a truly beautiful post about the inspiration behind her book, The Poppy Garden. Thank you for sharing it with us Claire.

The Poppy Garden

 I've always been obsessed by stories, ever since I can remember.  If I wasn't reading them I was writing them or acting them out.  I spent a great deal of my childhood with my Granddad, he used to wake me at six and take me to the beach.   I always thought it was just something he did to get out of the house while my nan did the house work or baked.  It wasn't until after he died that I found out the beach was the first place he came when he returned home from World War 2. 

 My grandfather, Joseph Robinson was around nineteen when he joined the RAF in 1940.  He rose to the rank of sergeant, the tail gunner of LM471 in 576 Squadron Bomber Command.  He married my nan on 12 February 1944 and on the night of the 24 March 1944 he was part of a bombing raid over Berlin when his plane was felled by shrapnel and crashed.  My Grandfather was the last to parachute out alive; he landed in France and at some point was found by a farmer. 

 After being handed over to the Gestapo was held as a POW, he took part in the digging of an escape tunnel as per the Great Escape but before he could leave he was marched out as part of the Long Walk a death march from which he escaped. 

 He returned home to his wife and raised a daughter and then two grandchildren.  He was a strong man, I never heard him swear or loose his temper and he never told me the whole story of his time as a POW. 

 As a child you don't really question the stories you are told, now I wish I had because his is a story I would love to read completely. 

 I tried for a long time to find a way to tell his story, the lack of information was always my stumbling block, until one day while digging in my garden it struck me how I had spent many an hour watching him work in his.   It was then that I realised this was his way of coping with the horrors he had lived.  He took the bad and made it beautiful, he turned the horror of war in to the beauty of a rose. 

 His story isn't a recounting of history but more a story of hope, of coming to terms with the experiences of his life and finding a way to live and thrive.  So I started writing The Poppy Garden, a story of an injured soldier coming to terms with his experience and the family that support and fight for him.   I only hope this story honours his memory and brings beauty from darkness the way he brought beauty to his garden.  

 The Poppy Garden is available for Kindle and in Print

Universal Link -

Author Links

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Happy Publication Day to The Cherry Tree Cafe!

I have often heard it said that the first novel you have published will always hold a special place in your heart and, for me, The Cherry Tree Café has confirmed that. Today I am celebrating not the first publication day or even the second, but actually the third!

The e-book came first of course and then the longed for paperback and now the paperback and digital Kindle version in German! I'm sorry to say, I can't read a word of German but I do know that the publisher, Penguin Verlag have made a stunning job of the cover...

I'm hoping that this will be the first of many translations for my tales from Wynbridge! If you happen to read German and are tempted to download The Cherry Tree Café, I would love to know what you think of it.

Thank you for joining me to read all about this very special day for Lizzie Dixon and the rest of The Cherry Tree Café crew. I hope to see you back here again soon because there's plenty more thrilling news to come!

H x

Thursday, 8 February 2018


I'm absolutely delighted to be able to finally spill the beans and share with you all the thrilling news that my summer 17 release, Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage, has made the RoNA Contemporary Romantic Novel shortlist this year!

The award ceremony takes place in London next month and I can't wait. The shortlist is packed full of author pals, including Milly Johnson and Holly Hepburn, both of whom are also signed to Simon and Schuster which makes the moment even more special .

If you would like to know more about the awards and the other lists, just click the link below...

I'm looking forward to seeing lots of you there!

H x

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Welcoming Ros Rendle back to the blog

Today I am delighted to welcome fellow author, and RNA member, Ros Rendle back to the blog to talk to us about her wonderful books and the inspiration behind them.

Inspiration, and having it invade all one’s waking thoughts, is a strange thing and can spring from the smallest of incidents. For my published first book, it was wading through a minor flood in our French village caused by rain sweeping mud off the fields and blocking the drains. This set me thinking about the fearful floods in Boscastle some years ago. I also thought about a disparate group of people and how they might, or not, be brought together in the face of adversity. Thus, was born, ‘Sense and French Ability’, which became an Amazon best seller for a while.

Since then I have written some historical novels set during the major conflicts of the 20th century – The Strong Sisters series. They have a French connection, too, since we lived in the area of major battles of WW1. Initial research was a hobby for my husband, but I quickly became inspired to write ‘Flowers of Flanders’, having shared visits to those sites and also Kew records office to look at particular war diaries. There is a novella in the mix too, ‘Delphi’s Dilemma’

The next full novel in this series was inspired by a visit to Chenonceau Chateau to discover that the Grand Gallery spans the River Cher which was the dividing line between occupied and Vichy (so-called free) France during WW2. It became part of a route for escapees and downed airmen. ‘Flowers of Resistance’ covers this period of history.

My last book published was the first book I ever wrote. I had to rewrite it in light of learning so much more about the skills and process of writing a novel and then it was accepted by Endeavour Press. This was ‘Peace of Time’, and was the book my mother, a published author many times over, encouraged me to write. It’s dedicated to her and. Thirty years later it is complete.

For my most recent book I have returned that feel-good location of my childhood holidays, Cornwall.  It’s a contemporary romance following a girl from late rebellious teens to adult responsibilities. Its called a ‘Bird in the Hand’ with a tag line of . . . ‘and what do you do when you have two and a third on the way’. It has left the building to try and find a new branch upon which to perch.

Or via my website:


Twitter: @ros_rendle

Having worked as a head teacher, Ros has been used to writing policy documents, essays and stories to which young children enjoyed listening. Now she has taken up the much greater challenge of writing fiction for adults. She writes both historical sagas and contemporary romance; perfect for lying by a warm summer pool or curling up with on a cosy sofa
Ros is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and the Historical Novelists' Society.

She has lived in France for ten years but has moved back to the UK with her husband and dogs. While there, she gained much information which has been of use in her books. They are thoroughly and accurately researched.

Ros has two daughters and four grand-daughters with whom she shares many heart-warming activities.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Say cheese!

A brand new experience for me today - a trip to my publisher, Simon and Schuster, in London for some fabulous new author pics!

I'm not a massive fan of having my face in front of the camera, but Laura, the photographer, was great and soon put me at ease. I can't wait to share the results with you, even if I do hide behind my fingers when I first view them!

The trip down to the city also provided the perfect opportunity to catch up with my lovely editor, Emma and have a sneaky glimpse at the stunning cover for Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square. You guys are going to absolutely love it!

She's also promised me it won't be too much longer before I can spill the beans on the Top Secret Project .

Wishing you all a wonderful week and thank you Tamsyn Murray for the pic!

H x