24 May 2019

From Moulin Rouge to Gaudi’s City ~ From Moulin Rouge to Gaudi’s City

About the Author 

I write as EJ Bauer

About 4 years ago, a short travel story I wrote won a monthly prize in my memoirs group We Love Memoirs. As I’ve always wanted to write, this was so encouraging and I decided to scribble a little more. I wrote about 7,000 words on my adventures in the south of France (think driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and speaking atrocious French). My work found its way to an editor at Ant Press and I was bowled over when I was offered a contract. That was the beginning of much hard work, edits and rewrites. Eventually my travel memoir From Moulin Rouge to Gaudi’s City was published, book one in my Someday Travels series.

I live in Australia on the beautiful south coast of NSW. I'm happily married, retired, mother of 2, grandmother of 5 and servant to a gorgeous tortoiseshell cat, Lucy. Travel and writing are now a major part of my life. I heartily endorse the saying 'Seize the Day' and view much of life as a glass half full - of champagne that is!

Yes I have a work in progress. The next book in my From Moulin Rouge to Gaudi’s City will be about Spain and Portugal in my Someday Travels series.

My book info

My book, From Moulin Rouge to Gaudi’s City follows the adventures of three ladies of a certain age as they set out on a trip to France and several days in Barcelona. There follows a series of adventures, many glasses of champagne and some amazing destinations.
When Elizabeth receives a diagnosis of breast cancer, she reassesses her life’s to-do list. Having always suppressed her travel longings, she opens her neglected 'someday' ledger and takes a much closer look at the contents. After an opportune invitation from a friend to meet in Paris, and her sister’s enthusiastic agreement to be part of the adventure, a plan begins to take shape. Join the Australian trio as they savour the sights of France and Spain, where no trip is complete without a morsel of local cuisine and a sip of something sparkling.

From Moulin Rouge to Gaudi’s City is available at :-

I can be contacted here:

20 May 2019

Lizzie Lamb ~ Books Revisited

Location. Location. Location.
genius loci, the spirit of the place

Many thanks to Sherry for hosting me on her blog and giving me an opportunity to share my novels with you. 
It's a pleasure to have you here Lizzie. Thank you.

Readers have told me that they love my descriptions of Scotland, Norfolk and Wisconsin. And, I must admit, often a location is the starting place for my novels and then the characters appear in my head, crowding in and demanding that I write down their story. I hope these examples make you want to read more. 
Each hyperlink takes you to the relevant Amazon page where you can - read a FREE extract in kindle/share/buy 

 Tall, Dark and Kilted - Notting Hill Meets Monarch of the Glen

The music hit Fliss as she rounded the corner of Elgin Crescent, Notting Hill. The sugared almond pink and yellow houses almost vibrating in the late May evening as I Predict a Riot blasted out from an open window half way down the street.
From their vantage point, the mountains were hidden by trees and Fliss could see soft, rounded hills which swept all the way down to a large loch. The colours were dazzling; the green of the hills and trees, the blue sky reflected in the deeper blue of the loch and the ochre of the sandy beach which gave way to paler sand near a pebble path. The shoreline dipped in and out of the expanse of water and in the distance, at vanishing point, the opposing shores appeared to link hands, cutting the loch off from the sea.

* * * * 

Charlee glanced over the low hedges and dun-coloured fields stretching towards the salt marshes where the sea was a black line on the horizon. There was a stripped back beauty to the place and the flocks of birds heading for the feeding grounds down by the shoreline ensured the view was an ever-changing tapestry. Perhaps, here on the salt marsh, where the wind sighed through the reeds and stirred the dried pods of the alexanders, they could be honest with one another. Confront those feelings 

which had been simmering beneath the surface since the book launch. Playing his pretend fiancĂ©e wasn’t easy; the pretence was beginning to feel more real than the life Charlee had left behind.

* * * *

The Narrows were calm, reflecting the harbour cottages of Jamestoun on their glassy surface and making the fishing port seem twice as big as in reality. Issy loved the red tiled roofs, the whitewashed walls and the three-storey granite building which had formerly housed the local Customs and Excise. She could picture the old railway lines which dissected the cobbled road. Back in the day, when Jamestoun had been a thriving fishing port, langoustines were landed first thing in the morning, packed onto ice and sent down to London, via Oban, to grace the dinner plates in swanky hotels. Now the harbour was mostly filled with private yachts and the occasional fishing boat which took tourists out to the bird colonies in high summer. The brown hills beyond the harbour could look bleak in the winter, but today the sun warmed them, picking out the old fort (now almost covered in vegetation), built after the ’45 Rebellion to quell the unruly Scots.
The road swung inland where, in Victorian times, it had been blasted through a small mountain. ‘The Faerie Falls,’ Issy said, nodding towards it with her head towards a torrent of brown, peaty water cascading over rocks. ‘They say that the wee folk live behind its waters, but I’ve never seen them.’

* * * *

Henri gazed out across the loch, shrouded in a shifting veil of low-lying mist. The castle appeared to float above it and the world beyond seemed unreal, until she spotted Lachlan piloting his boat towards Tèarmannair. His head and shoulders visible above the swirling fog. A heron skimmed over the shifting mist, its spindly limbs trailing behind it as it hunted for breakfast.

At night, it was easy to imagine the castle was a ship sailing untroubled across a wide ocean, the only light visible the beacon on the jetty at the far side of the loch.
Trees on the margin of the loch were reflected as a perfect mirror image of themselves, in ochre, vermillion and acid yellow. Pushing her reading glasses on top of her head, Henri focused on the middle distance where two small islands, topped by scrubby vegetation and gnarled trees bent over by the prevailing wind, gave perspective to the view. Beyond that, round, green hills rose towards the sky, and beyond them were craggy mountains with snow on the peaks. 

* * * *

Take Me, I’m Yours -
a beautifully told tale, full of romance

Closing the door behind her, India sank down on the padded window seat and, drawing her knees up, pulled a cushion towards her, hugging it for comfort. Resting her head back against the heavy shutters she looked out into a vermilion and gold sunset where islands and peninsulas jutted out into the bay. However, the beauty of the scene was lost. All she could think of was how different the sunset must look from MacFarlane’s beach hut, thousands of miles away. Cool air blew off the lake and through the open window, stirring the muslin draping her cast iron four poster bed. Getting up to wipe her eyes on the corner of her pashmina, she caught sight of herself in the cheval mirror. Backlit by the sunset, with filmy drapes billowing around her, she seemed as unsubstantial as a ghost. A mere shadow of her former self. Dark circles under her eyes, skin without its youthful luminescence, violet eyes huge in her pale face. How had this come to pass?

* * * *
I hope you have enjoyed these extracts and the photos which accompany them. If you’d like to learn more about me and my novels, do get in touch via the links below. 

Author bio with links -
After teaching her 1000th pupil and working as a deputy head teacher in a large primary school, Lizzie decided to pursue her first love: writing. She joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted (2012), quickly followed by Boot Camp Bride. She went on to publish Scotch on the Rocks, which achieved Best Seller status within two weeks of appearing on Amazon and her next novel, Girl in the Castle, reached #3 in the Amazon charts. Lizzie is a founder member of indie publishing group – New Romantics Press, and has co-hosted author events at Aspinall, St Pancras and Waterstones, Kensington, talking about the research which underpins her novels. Lizzie latest romance Take Me, I’m Yours is set in Wisconsin, a part of the USA which she adores. This novel also achieved BEST SELLER status >travel>USA. She has further Scottish-themed romances planned and spends most of the summer touring the Scottish Highlands researching men in kilts. What’s not to like? As for the years she spent as a teacher, they haven’t quite gone to waste. She is building a reputation as a go-to speaker on indie publishing, and how to plan, write, and publish a debut novel. She is currently working on #6 - a road trip ‘movie’ where two warring guardians are forced to join forces and set off in hot pursuit after a runaway niece and son.  Lizzie lives in Leicestershire (UK) with her husband, David.
She loves to hear from readers, so do get in touch . . .
Lizzie’s Links

15 May 2019

Paula Martin Books Revisited

 Six years ago, when I was writing IRISH INHERITANCE, I had no idea it would lead to a series of five books. At the time, I was simply writing a stand-alone story about two people who meet when they jointly inherit Mist Na Mara, a Victorian house in Connemara in the west of Ireland.

Once that was finished and submitted, I started writing a story set in the English Lake District. The hero was a veterinary surgeon, and the heroine was an actress who was escaping her busy life in London for some well-earned ‘R and R’ in the country. I wasn’t very happy with the way it was progressing, but then my publisher suggested the possibility of a spin-off story about the best friend of the heroine in Irish Inheritance. ‘Okay’, I thought. ‘I’ll think about that once I’ve sorted out this Lake District story.’ Two days later, I had another thought: ‘Why not move the Lake District story to Ireland?’ The hero then became an Irish vet, but I had to rethink the heroine’s reasons for being in Ireland, so that it followed on from where she had been at the end of the first story. I also needed to inject more ‘suspense’ into the story, with some unexplained crises at the veterinary surgery, and the hero’s ex-wife trying to claim custody of their two children – and that’s how IRISH INTRIGUE was born.

Half way through this story, one of the secondary characters was explaining to the hero his idea for a screenplay about an American who was adopted as a baby and comes to Ireland to search for her birth mother. Even while I was writing this conversation, I realised the character had given me the idea for my next novel.

I then had to do a fair amount of research about the baby adoption scandal in Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s. Because of the timing, I decided my (new) heroine needed to be trying to find her mother’s birth mother (rather than her own) but coming up against a wall of secrecy (which, indeed, is what real-life adoptees have had to face). This gave me the title of IRISH SECRETS, and I also gave the hero a secret of his own.

After this trilogy of Irish novels, I contemplated a different setting for my next novel (and even started to write it), but Ireland pulled me back. In this story, the heroine and her friend (who’d been mentioned briefly in the earlier novels) were setting up a dance and drama school for children, which made it easy to transfer the story to the Mist Na Mara Arts Centre. This story became IRISHDECEPTIONS, with a hero who appears to be deceiving the heroine.
A thirteen-year-old streetwise boy in Irish Deceptions led me to my fifth book in the series, IRISH SHADOWS, when I realised his mother (deserted by her lover when she became pregnant at seventeen) had a story to tell. A quick check on the timeline of the series showed me that five years had passed since the launch of the Mist Na Mara Arts Centre – and this gave me my hero, an events manager who arrives to organise the anniversary celebration. Add to that a link to an incident in the Irish Civil War in the 1920’s and the hero’s search for his nephew (his sister’s son), and I had plenty of ‘shadows of the past’ for the characters to deal with and resolve.

Although this is a ‘series’, all the stories are ‘stand-alone’ with new heroes and heroines in each. The link between them is Mist Na Mara House and, of course, the beautiful Connemara area in the west of Ireland.

Currently, Book 1 IRISH INHERITANCE is FREE from all major distributors (Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Nook, and Apple) and Book 2 IRISH INTRIGUE is only 99c/99p.

About the Author
Paula Martin lives near Manchester in North West England and has two daughters and two grandsons. She had some early publishing success with four romance novels and several short stories, but then had a break from writing while she brought up a young family and also pursued her career as a history teacher for twenty-five years. She has recently returned to writing fiction, after retiring from teaching, and is thrilled to have found publishing success again with her contemporary romances. Apart from writing, she enjoys visiting new places. She has travelled extensively in Britain and Ireland, mainland Europe, the Middle East, America and Canada. Her other interests include musical theatre and tracing her family history.

(this gives you links to all major ebook distributors)
Twitter: @PaulaRomances

10 May 2019

Martin Gore The Road to Cromer ~ Interview

I am delighted to welcome Martin Gore, author of The Road to Cromer Pier, to The Heart of Romance today, and congratulation on your upcoming release of The Road to Cromer Pier.

I am a 62-year-old Accountant who semi-retired in 2015 to explore my love of creative writing and travel.
When I was nine years old I told my long-suffering mother that as I liked English composition and drama I was going to be a Playwright. She told me that I should work hard at school and get a proper job. She was right of course.
I did write ten chapters of a novel on 2000, drawing on my upbringing in a council house, and childhood holidays to Cromer, but I wasn’t convinced that it was working as a novel, and work commitments took over.
The opportunity to rekindle my interest in writing came in 2009, when I wrote my first pantomime Cinderella, for my home group, the Walkington Pantomime Players. I have now written eight, Beauty & the Beast being the last, and my all time favourite. When I get time I’m working on a ninth, Camelot.
As a writer though my focus is on the audience. Be it a play or a novel I’m an old fashioned writer I guess. I want you to laugh and to cry. I want you to feel that my stories have a beginning, a middle, and a satisfactory ending. When I write I seem to disappear into another world and become completely self-absorbed. It’s a great feeling.
The Road to Cromer Pier, will be released on 29th June 2019. The support I’ve received from Cromer Pier Theatre has been outstanding, and I’m planning to launch the book on the day that the Summertime Special Show starts.
There is a play version of The Road to Cromer Pier available for am-dram groups. It is available royalty-free at present, with donations to the hospital charity:

Q – Martin thank you for joining us here today. I gather you have a deep-seated interest in Amdram and have written scripts for many successful plays. What persuaded you to diversify into novel writing, and do you enjoy it as much as you do your script writing?
A very interesting question. Most of my play writings have been pantomimes, and to hear people laughing at what I’ve written is just fantastic. My first comedy play, He’s Behind You, was performed script in hand to great reviews, but was rejected by Hull Truck Theatre as it required too many actors (six). The financial constraints imposed by theatres limits what you can write, so writing novels gives me greater freedoms. The reviews of Pen Pals were really touching, particularly ones from people who commented that my novel resonated with their real life experiences. I guess I like both mediums, which is why The Road to Cromer Pier is available as both a play and a novel.

Q – Please will you describe your writing environment for us, and did you create the space specifically for writing or do you write on the dining room table, or corner of your living room?
A - I have to write in silence, so when I retired we built a garden room with a desk, a chair and an old settee. It has pictures on every wall of beautiful places I’ve been to, both in the UK and abroad, and views over open fields. It does help me to concentrate and go into my writing world.

Q – Did you choose to write in the genre or did the genre choose you?
A - They definitely choose me! One of my biggest problems is that my work doesn’t fit a specific genre. Drawing a lot on my younger experiences in the sixties and seventies they could be historical fiction, but they also feature current events. They feature families, but broader than blood relatives, so not entirely family sagas. They touch on business and politics, but mainly the human impact that these have. They are stories about love and relationships, but are not quite romantic fiction. I’d be interested to hear what genre your readers think that they belong in!

Q – Tea or coffee?
A - Tea at home. I make all of the tea in our house. Black coffee at work. Probably as there were some disputes over ownership of the milk!

Q - I gather from some of your fb posts, that you spent many happy childhood holidays in Cromer and that was your incentive for writing The Road to Cromer Pier, do you set all your books in places you know well. Do you organise holidays to visit places you want to write about?
A - I might be 62 but I’m only just getting started as a novelist, so writing about what I know makes sense to me. The Road to Cromer Pier started out around twenty years ago when I was working long hours. It draws on my childhood holiday experiences there, and some of the locations are real. The Cromer Pier Summertime Special show is the only full season end of the pier show left in the world, so doing justice to the lives of the imaginary cast and crew was a big challenge, and I doubt that I could have done it without the invaluable support of the management of the theatre.  
Pen Pals could really have been based anywhere, but the mill towns of Yorkshire gave it a really nostalgic feel, and there were places I could go to build the picture. Much of the descriptive detail of the mill area is drawn from Magdale in West Yorkshire, where some friends live.
If I’m on holiday I write in the early mornings. I remember completing one pantomime while in Bellagio on Lake Como, in an apartment with a stunning view of the lake. Must try that again sometime.....

Q - Car or motorbike? And which model?
A - An old Skoda Octavia 4 x 4 to tow our caravan, which doubles as a writing room when we visit locations. As I have had ear problems since childhood I’m not safe on two wheels!

Q – Has anyone said they’ve seen the play –and- read the book, and if so did they go on to share which they liked best? :-)
A - Not as yet. I’m hopeful that I’ll get the play version of The Road to Cromer Pier performed by my home group in Walkington early next year, but I’m very receptive to any Amdram group who wishes to perform it, free of charge. I only ask for two tickets to see it performed, and I’m happy to help with staging etc.

Q – Writers have a reputation for forgetting about the ‘world outside’ when writing, have you ever forgotten an appointment because you have been so immersed in your writing?
A - No, but I really do know the feeling well. I certainly inhabit the world I’m writing about, and suddenly mentally wake up quite some time later. I’ll freely admit to shedding a few tears at one or two of the really poignant moments in my books.  

Q – What do you like most about writing a script and why?
A - I just love the challenge of making people laugh when I write pantomimes, and generally do sound at the back so I get the audience point of view directly. I wrote a scene involving two mermaids in Peter Pan which worked so well that many of the cast turned up at the back to watch each night. Really proud of that.
Plays are very different. My favourites, such as Ladies Day and Calendar Girls mix a heart-warming story with comedy. That’s a real challenge, and one I’m still mastering. My first effort, He’s Behind You, worked well though, so I think I’ll crack it given time.  

Q- What do you like most about writing a novel and why?
A - That you are not limited in terms of cast size and the problems of staging it. I also love to go to places which I can then draw on in my stories. The canteen scene in Pen Pals came from a closed factory I visited in Wakefield, where the room had been emptied of furniture, but it was otherwise left as it had been. You could almost hear the chatter of the staff who had long since departed.

Q – What do you least like about writing (both novels and scripts) and why?
A - Editing must be the worst! I am a comprehensive school kid, so my spelling is okay but my grammar is certainly not great. I have editors and beta readers of course, but it is still my responsibility to check the final version page by page, and I just don’t have the attention span!
I guess in plays it is when I’ve written something which simply doesn’t get the laughs that I think it should. Everyone’s humour is different of course, but hearing a gag fail in each of eight performances certainly doesn’t amuse me....  

Q – And how do the two compare?
A - Oh editing must be the worst.... There are so many rules and more than one interpretation quite often, so you need to be consistent. Nightmare!

Q – Pets ~ no pets?
A - No pets. We are away a lot so it’s not such a practical proposition for us. We had pets when the kids were young, but we are empty nesters now.  

Q – Where in the world would you most like to visit and why?
A - We visited Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand last year, and we have a long holiday in California this year. India strikes me as a remarkable country, and is certainly on the list. Next year is our fortieth wedding anniversary, so I think Sicily is favourite for 2020. We just love Italy, so maybe I’ll write some stuff out there. Pen Pals featured Florence, so why not?   

Q – Which destination have you enjoyed the most so far?
A - I think South Africa would get my vote. Stunning scenery, amazing history and stunning wildlife safaris as the sun came up.   

Q- What is the nicest thing one of your readers have ever said to you?
A - A reader who was adopted said that I had got the feelings of an adopted child towards the birth mother spot on. That really was the hugest of compliments and touched me a great deal.

Martin, thank you so much for taking the time to share your answers to these random questions, and I wish you every success when The Road to Cromer Pier releases.
My pleasure. I’m just loving this journey I’m on at present, and really hope that readers enjoy what I write.

"Local author, Martin Gore, launches novel in tribute to Cromer Pier theatre.
‘The Road to Cromer Pier’ – A Tale of Lives, Loyalty & Luvvies."

The Wells family has run the Cromer Pier Summertime Special Show for generations. But it’s now 2009 and the recession is biting hard. Owner Janet Wells and daughter Karen are facing an uncertain future. The show must go on, and Janet gambles on a fading talent show star. But both the star and the other cast members have their demons. This is a story of love, loyalty and luvvies. The Road to Cromer Pier might be the end of their careers, or a new beginning.

Twitter @martingore


Author Contact Details For Interview:

For further details:Press contact

6 May 2019

Riverside Lane by Ginger Black

First of all I must say how delighted I am to be on Sherry’s fabulous The Heart of Romance Blogspot. Had I seen your tagline before Riverside Lane went out Sherry, I might have had to borrow it! “Blends heartwarming romance with mystery, history and intrigue,” pretty much sums up the novel Riverside Lane, which I co-wrote with my friend and neighbour Gaynor Pengelly.

Although I am, at the moment, in the process of  promoting my latest children’s novel, I am here to talk about the wonderful  process of co-writing a novel.

Thank you for visiting The Heart of Romance today.

Riverside Lane Blurb:~
A mysterious American arrives in a quintessentially English village claiming to be on holiday but not all the residents are convinced by the handsome stranger's story. Behind perfect privets and brightly painted front doors, the lives of Riverside Lane's residents slowly unravel, until it becomes apparent that the American may not be the only deceiver in their midst. Tension begins to mount in this quintessentially English community - now revealed to be a labyrinth of deception - and culminates in an unexpected death. The villagers threaten more than his anonymity with their mutterings and meddling and when religious zealot Ivy Midwinter challenges him in the church she learns that Luca Tempesta will stop at nothing to protect his secret. Set against the cinematic backdrop of a gastronomic village by the Thames, Riverside Lane is a thrilling, vivid page-turner that seeks to understand human behaviour hard-wired for desire, power, love and possession in a traditional society threatened by extraordinary challenges.

About the authors...
 Gaynor and I formed our writing partnership wondering around our village, Bray, walking dogs and dropping off children while observing the rules and nuances of the village social structure. We began to imagine, what would happen, for example, if you dropped an international spy into the midst of such a quintessentially English community?  How would a conman or an art thief fair among the curtain twitching complexity of a typical English village. 
The plot for our first novel, Riverside Lane, grew organically through these conversations and we decided a house swap would be a good vehicle to introduce different protagonists through a series of stories.
Once we agreed to write together our nom de plume came early, dreamed up by Gaynor’s mother to whom Ginger Black was an obvious choice; Gaynor has ginger hair, mine is dark and my maiden name is Blackburn.  In some ways, having a ‘brand name’ spurred us on, making us feel professional and like a team.  While I had written novels before - mostly children’s - I had never submitted them for publication and as a national newspaper journalist Gaynor was used to being published, but had not written fiction.
We developed the characters for Riverside Lane pacing the Thames path with Rumpole, my British Bulldog panting in our wake.  Pretty soon stuff needed to be written down so we committed to a regular Monday meeting.  Here we would plan for the week and then leave armed with a brief for - depending on where we were in the process - character development, scene breakdown or copy for the next scene. We set a midweek deadline to file copy to one another and edited the work, emailing it to and fro before signing it off the following Monday.
And so we progressed, step by step along the towpaths, word by word onto the page until we completed our first draft.  While every word, character and plot point is a collaboration, we each bring different strengths to the Ginger Black partnership.  Gaynor is good at seeing the big picture and excellent at pace and shape while I sweat every word and comma and obsess over continuity and credibility.  She is patient with my pedantry and I am grateful for her vision.
Once we finished our first draft we filed it to the bottom draw and worked on promoting the Ginger Black name much as we did the writing; discussing what needed to be done at Monday meetings and dividing the work between us.  We developed website and social media identity, then set about building a digital presence and that all important mailing list to give us something - as well as our magnum opus - to make us a marketable prospect to agents and publishers.  And then we rewrote the manuscript.  Like all the other jobs, we shared this one but instead of working in parallel Gaynor edited the entire novel, then I did, and then we each did it again, and again, and again!
We are often asked how our writing partnership works and I think the short answer is with a similar work ethic, a sense of humour and complete trust.  We take the discipline of writing seriously - in three years of partnership we have rarely missed a deadline - but a healthy dose of self-deprecation and irreverence has definitely smoothed our path while guaranteeing terrific fun along the way.
       I feel fortunate to have met Gaynor and found a kindred spirit and writing partner. I have just finished writing a middle grade novel for children alone, and while I have enjoyed the writing process, it has not been as much fun as writing with Gaynor.

Riverside Lane is available in paperback at all good bookstores and libraries. There is also an ebook version available on Kindle.

Author contacts:-