Laura

I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts. I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

Book Review: The Tuscan Contessa by Dinah Jefferies

In 1943, Contessa Sofia de’ Corsi’s peaceful Tuscan villa among the olive groves is upturned by the sudden arrival of German soldiers. Desperate to fight back, she agrees to shelter a wounded British radio engineer in her home, keeping him hidden from her husband Lorenzo – knowing that she is putting all of their lives at risk.

When Maxine, an Italian-American working for the resistance, arrives on Sofia’s doorstep, the pair forge an uneasy alliance. Feisty, independent Maxine promised herself never to fall in love. But when she meets a handsome partisan named Marco, she realizes it’s a promise she can’t keep…

Before long, the two women find themselves entangled in a dangerous game with the Nazis. Will they be discovered? And will they both be able to save the ones they love?

 

Oh, this novel. Wow.

Set in Tuscany in WWII, I knew that this wasn’t going to be an easy read as nothing set during that time is. There were certain aspects of this book that were hard to read as a result.

Told from the point of view of both Sophia and Maxine, there is a lot going on but it’s all woven together so well. Even though both women are in the same place, they both experience things slightly differently and this added additional layers to the story.

Maxine’s story especially intrigued me and I would have liked to have known more about what happened with her family but that is another story for another book. Not that I am hinting, Dinah. Haha.

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Book Extract: Summer at my Sister’s by Emily Harvale

Happy publication day to Emily Harvale as she releases her latest novel, Summer at my Sister’s. 

 

Twin sisters. One scorching summer.

A bucketful of secrets.

Diana’s life is perfect. Her twin sister, Josie’s – not so much. 

Diana has a rich and successful husband, two talented youngsters and an adorable dog. She always looks as if she’s stepped from the cover of a magazine. Her immaculate second home by the sea, for idyllic summers with her perfect family, was actually featured in one.
 
Josie has a messy, compact flat, dates, but not relationships, and she can’t even keep a houseplant alive. She moves from job to job, goes clubbing with her friends and often looks as if she’s fallen through a hedge.

Although Josie loves Diana deeply, each year she declines the invitation to spend the summer with her sister. Or any other family holiday. Because Josie has a secret.
 
But is Diana’s life so perfect? Or is she also hiding something? When secrets are revealed this summer, everything will change. Josie could finally have the life she’s always wanted … if she’s brave enough to take a chance.

 

 

To celebrate the release of her new book, Emily has some exciting news to share but first, here is an extract from Summer at my Sister’s. Enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Thank you so much for allowing me to share a little extract from my new book, Summer at my Sister’s.

This is where Josie Parnell arrives at her twin sister, Diana’s house. Liam Fulbright, who Josie has bumped into after last seeing him on his wedding day when he was nineteen, has helped her with her cases and Diana has just opened the front door of Sea View Cottage.

 

I wasn’t sure who was the most pleased to see me: Diana, Becca, or Henry the crazy, mixed up dog. I say ‘mixed up’ because Henry isn’t just a cross-breed. I think there must be at least four different breeds in his make-up. He’s brown and white and tan and there’s a big autumn-red shape over one of his eyes. He’s got the face and wiry brows of an Irish Wolfhound, the long fur coat of a Briard, the legs of a Great Dane and the tail of a Golden Retriever. That tail can clear a coffee table in seconds. Judging by the size of him I think there may also be a little bit of horse. He comes up to my waist when he’s got all four paws on the ground. When he’s got two of them on my shoulders, almost knocking me over, he’s about seven feet tall. You’d have thought I would have known that this is how he would greet me. He’s done it every time I’ve seen him, although thankfully, Diana doesn’t always bring him with her when we meet up.

Diana and Becca attempted to pull him off as he started to eat me. They said he was just being friendly and trying to lick my face but I wasn’t completely convinced. I tried to push him off me with both hands and he wasn’t budging an inch.

I shot a look at Liam, who seemed to find it rather amusing.

‘A little help … would … be nice,’ I said between mouthfuls of fur and trying to avoid dog drool.

‘Henry. Down boy.’ My nephew Toby wandered into the hall and with three little words, did what Diana, Becca and I couldn’t, using all our strength.

Henry launched himself off me and trotted over to his master without a backward glance while the force of his retreating paws shoved me backwards, sending me tumbling ungainly towards the floor. Luckily, Liam caught me in his arms before I landed on my arse.

‘Thanks,’ I said, scowling up at him. ‘You were no help at all.’

He was laughing but as he stood me upright, one hand cupped my right breast. I’m not sure who was more surprised but he quickly rectified the situation almost dropping me flat on my back in the process. Somehow he managed to save me – again, and this time was extra careful as he helped me straighten up.

The strange thing was, the feel of his hand on my breast sent all sorts of odd sensations darting through me and I was a bit embarrassed. But whenever I feel like that I overcompensate.

‘Blimey, Liam,’ I said, shaking my head and tutting. ‘I’ve only been back in Seahorse Harbour for an hour or two and you’re already trying it on.’

I swear I could see red beneath that tan. Was the man actually blushing?

‘I … er … sorry. It was an accident. I wouldn’t dream of … er.’

‘I was teasing you, Liam.’ I grinned at him and after giving me another very odd look, he grinned back.

 

***** end of extract*****

 

 

****An exciting update from Emily Harvale****

I apologise if you haven’t seen me on social media very much recently but I’ve been exceptionally busy working on lots of exciting stuff (technical term) 😂🤩 for my new book, my website … and a map for my new series of standalone stories set in the tiny village of Seahorse Harbour.
The map will ‘go live’ on July 31st, publication day for the first in the series, which is … yep, you guessed it, Summer at my sister’s. Let me explain a bit more.

Summer at my sister’s was originally a standalone, but then I had an idea for a Christmas book, so it became a two-book series, with Book 2 featuring a couple of new characters and most of the characters from Summer at my sister’s (with me so far?) ……

Then …. I had an idea for another completely separate story set in the same village (which I’m writing at the mo.) This one has new characters.

So now, each story in this series will be a standalone with new characters … but as each book is set in Seahorse Harbour, you’ll be able to ‘see’ what’s going on with the characters from the previous books, because you can’t help but bump into people in a tiny village, can you?

I have to say, I LOVE THIS SERIES!!!!😍🤩💖🥰 I’ve got so many story ideas, although I’ve only written 2 of the books so far, Summer at my sister’s and the Christmas book, which is called …..

Wait for it……(no, that’s not the title)

Christmas at Aunt Elsie’s

This Christmas book will be available for pre-order from early August. 💖🤩🥰😍

Did I mention that I love this series? And yes – I’m just a little bit over-excited. I can’t wait to share these fabulously feel-good stories with you. I hope you’re a little bit excited too. 🤩💖 xxx

 

About Emily Harvale… 

Emily writes novels, novellas and short stories about friendship, family and falling in love. She loves a happy ending but knows that life doesn’t always go to plan. Her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily loves to connect with her readers and has a readers’ group in which many have become good friends. To catch up with Emily, find out about the group, or connect with her on social media, go to her website at www.emilyharvale.com.

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now writes full-time. She’s a member of the SoA, an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. When not writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both. Emily has two mischievous rescue cats that like to sprawl across her keyboard, regardless of whether Emily is typing on it, or not.

Say hi on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Summer at my Sister’s was released by Crescent Gate Publishing on 31st July 2020. Click to view on Amazon UK

 

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Book Review: Cynthia Smart’s Midwife Crisis by Liz Davis

Midlife crisis? What midlife crisis?

At forty-four, Cynthia Smart is exactly where she wants to be. Almost.

In a couple of years, she’ll be the CEO of the company she’s spent her most of her adult life working in. For now, though, she’s still busy shimmying up the greasy pole of corporate business. She’s single, carefree, and independent, and nothing can stop her getting what she wants and deserves.

Until she discovers she’s pregnant.

Determined to have her cake and eat it, she’s convinced that having a baby will make little difference to her life, and that she will be one of those women who can hold down an incredibly demanding job and also be a perfect mother.

But as her pregnancy progresses and her life slowly falls apart, she has the sneaking suspicion that Max Oakland, the new guy on the block, is out to steal her dream job. That she’s terribly attracted to him doesn’t help, nor does the fact that he’s devilishly handsome, appears to be a really nice fella, and is good in a crisis.

When she gradually comes to realise that something has got to give, what she doesn’t want it to be is her heart.

 

I am pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for Cynthia Smart’s Midwife Crisis.

Cynthia Smart’s career is riding high. In her forties, she is on the verge of a promotion despite the appearance of a mysterious new work colleague, Max.

Then she finds out she is pregnant. Having pretty much written off ever being a mother, a baby wasn’t something Cynthia had factored into her life plan.

This was one of those books that had me hooked from page one.

Told from Cynthia’s point of view, the writing style is lighthearted and easy to get into and I pretty much read it across a couple of sittings as I didn’t want to stop reading.

Cynthia is one of those frustrating but loveable characters. She has no idea what is about to hit her especially when she decides that two weeks is enough time to go back to work after the birth.

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Book Review: Starting Over at the Vineyard in Alsace by Julie Stock

It’s springtime at The Vineyard in Alsace, a new season and a new beginning

After being abandoned by her partner when she falls pregnant, Lottie Schell goes home to live on The Vineyard in Alsace, where she has started a new relationship with the estate’s winemaker, Thierry. Now about to give birth, Lottie’s determined to raise her child and to provide for them both on her own without having to depend on anyone else.

Thierry Bernard is still dealing with his grief and guilt following the death of his wife two years earlier, for which he blames himself. When he meets Lottie, the instant attraction he feels towards her gives him hope that he can move on from the tragedy of his past, as long as he can tell Lottie the truth of what happened.

When circumstances force Lottie and Thierry closer together, they both find it hard to compromise – she’s proudly independent and he’s fiercely protective – and they’re both wary about trusting someone new with their heart.

Can Lottie and Thierry take a chance on each other, move on from their pasts and start over?

Escape to The Vineyard in Alsace once again with this romantic read set in the heart of Alsace’s wine country.

I was very pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for Starting Over at the Vineyard in Alsace by Julie Stock.

I have not read the first book, The Vineyard in Alsace so I was a little concerned I wouldn’t know what was going on. Although this is book two in the series, it didn’t take me long to catch up so, in my opinion, this can be read as a standalone novel. Book one followed Fran. This book focuses on Fran’s sister, Lottie as she prepares to have a baby on her own.

I liked the fact that this book was told from the point of view of Lottie and her boyfriend, Thierry. Each are developed well and have a good chance to reveal their stories. All of the elements are put together well through the book.

Both of these characters have many layers to them. Lottie has a broken heart and trouble trusting those around her. I found Thierry’s story interesting and very sad as he grieves the loss of his wife and the guilt surrounding their last conversation. They both go through quite an emotional journey as they learn to hopefully trust each other. I feel that many can relate to them.

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A Moment With… Dave Flint

I am pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for Hidden Intentions, the latest novel from Dave Flint. 

Toby could… and Toby would.

‘Enjoy yourself as you rot, old man. And you’re not my dad – you never were.’ Southern England, September 1957

When thirteen-year-old Toby Mitcher’s mum collapses, never to wake up, Toby’s alcoholic stepfather becomes his legal guardian. He thought life couldn’t get much worse, but was he wrong.

Time passes, and an orderly direction comes into his life. That is until problems start and the disappearances begin.

No more being put upon or allowing bad situations to happen.

From now on, Toby is in control. Or is he?

 

To celebrate the release of his novel, Dave has joined me today to talk about his favourite things about being an author. Over to you, Dave. 

 

Up until eight years ago, I never imagined being an author. To me, the most significant challenge and excitement came when I sat in front of my computer with an idea. It could be a drabble of 100 words, a short story for a competition or something else. As to the completed novel, straight away, I can say, seeing my book out there and knowing I wrote it has to be a Wow factor! When I first entered into the writing world at my local writers’ group, I was surprised how individuals, authors and people who enjoyed turning up relished advising others, encouraging them to go for what they wanted to write about. Within six months of joining that group and never before having done anything like it. I knew I wanted to write a book. My second novel is underway, and I have more stories that require attention that I have shelved.

Favourite things about being an author are still unknown to me at this stage, other than what I have said. But the feeling I got when I won a short story prize was at my first attempt was amazing. At the award ceremony, listening to those people clapping for me was something I have never experienced before. Members of my writing group and others who were authors I had never seen before congratulated me that evening. Having your photo taken, and giving a speech was brilliant if not unreal for me. I still have the large cheque presented to me under my bed from that time, something I will keep knowing I can accomplish a written work.

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Book Review: Idle Hands by Cassondra Windwalker

You can call me Ella. You generally assign me a whole host of other preposterous monikers. I think the least imaginative name I’ve heard is “the devil”, but I’ll answer to it if I must.

After making the courageous decision to leave her abusive husband, Perdie and her three young children start over and finally find the safety and love they deserve. But years later, when tragedy strikes, Perdie is left wondering if the choice she made to leave has led them to this moment.

If she were given the opportunity to take it all back and stay, would she?

In a frantic bid to protect her family, Perdie makes a deal to do just that. But in a world where the devil pulls the strings, can Perdie really change the past?

Brimming with enlightened observations and brilliant voice, Idle Hands is a haunting examination of grief, resilience, and what we’d give to spend another moment with the ones we love.

 

Perdie decides to leave her abusive husband. To begin with, it’s hard on her and her three children, Hannah, Rachel and Tad but eventually, the family finds some of the happiness that they have previously missed out on.

That is, until ten years later, tragedy strikes.

This book fascinated me from the first page to the last word. So much so that I read it across one day.

I found Perdie such a frustrating but compelling character. I wanted her to be OK but at the same time, I wanted to scream through the pages at her. She is broken and at times, I struggled to have sympathy with her. However, I could not relate to her on the physical abuse and it’s hard to know how I would react in that situation. Whatever she chose, she was potentially in a no win situation and that’s a horrible circumstance to be in. She was certainly a character of many layers who wanted to do the best for her children.

The plot very cleverly explores the question of ‘what if’ as well as family, love and friendship. It’s all woven into a strong, heartbreaking story that I knew was going to have an effect on me from the moment I began to read. The majority of us have probably, at some point said ‘I would give anything to spend some more time with..,’ or ‘I wish I had more time.’ This book has a unique perspective on that.

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Book Extract: The Casanova Papers by Kate Zarrelli

A big welcome to Kate Zarrelli. She’s here with the blog tour for her latest novel, The Casanova Papers. 

Ellie Murphy takes a contract teaching English at a school in Venice. There she meets the sexy, enigmatic Professor Piero Contarini, from an ancient Venetian family, and agrees to help him in his work curating a new edition of the memoirs of the famous seducer, Giacomo Casanova. T

aking their task seriously, they start to enact his adventures with each other, ecstatically revealing their own kinks as they do so. But who is watching them from the shadowy alleyways of Venice?

 

Kate has shared an extract with us today so sit back and enjoy. 

(Content warning: adult themes.)

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Ellie, a young English teacher working in Venice, has agreed to help the enigmatic Professor Contarini curate his definitive edition of the writings of Casanova….

 

Piero walked her through the maze of alleys and passageways with such confidence that Ellie thought he could probably have done so blindfolded. Shortly after they had crossed the Grand Canal at the Accademia Bridge, she lost her bearings completely. Sometimes they would emerge into a piazza bright with lights and laughter, only to plunge into a dimly lit gap between high, dark buildings, in which all that could be heard was the sound of their footsteps. Often the narrowness of the path meant he was right at her shoulder—he’d indicate where to turn by a hand gently at her elbow guiding her over a little bridge across a darkly-glittering canal. Later, the hand came to rest more proprietorially in the small of her back. I’m completely in his power. If I turned and ran away from him now, all he’d need to do is stand and wait, as I’d be bound to go round in circles and meet him again.

“First stop,” he said, coming to a halt in a little square. He pointed up at a plaque. “Casanova was born right here,” he said, “the son of two actors, but he was brought up by his grandmother, perhaps the only woman he ever really loved.”

Ellie looked up at him. “I wondered about that, too, reading his life. Always after the next conquest, never satisfied—like he was searching for something he never really found.”

“You’ve got him, Ellie. I think he was a lonely man at times, even though there were plenty of women who wanted to love him. He ruined their lives in some ways—who’d be satisfied with another man after he’d had them, the greatest lover of them all? Yet he got close to none of those women. He thought he was in love for a while, and then his head would be turned by someone new.”

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Book Review: The Village Shop For Lonely Hearts by Alison Sherlock

After losing her job in New York, Amber Green isn’t looking forward to visiting her godmother in the sleepy village of Cranbridge. With its empty lanes and rundown shops, it’s hardly a place to mend her lonely heart.

But when Amber discovers that Cranbridge Stores, owned by her godmother Cathy and son Josh, is under threat of financial ruin, she realises that her skills as a window dresser might just be able to help save the struggling shop.

When disaster strikes, Amber and Josh must unite to save both the shop and the village from flooding.

Can Cranbridge Stores become the heart of the village once more?

And as the village begins to come back to life, perhaps Amber will discover a reason to stay…

 

I have become a fan of Alison Sherlock’s novels and was so pleased to be able to take part in the blog tour.

Amber has just returned from New York, having lost her job. Her plan is to join her parents in New Zealand but first, she visits her godmother, Cathy who runs the village shop in Cranbridge.

When Amber arrives, she finds Cathy on the eve of finding out results following cancer treatment and the shop is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Then there is Cathy’s son, Josh. When Cathy leaves him and Amber in charge of the shop for a while, feelings emerge. Does Amber’s future belong in New Zealand or Cranbridge?

 

Cranbridge sounds so idyllic. I got a bit of a Beaulieu feel from it actually. I know I want to go visit, especially if it’s Christmas.

Amber is a fantastic character. She’s warm and relatable. At the beginning of the book, she’s at rock bottom and she doesn’t know what to do next. It was great to see how she and her feeling of self worth changed through the book.

Josh, Oh Josh. If there are any Gilmore Girls fans out there, he gave me a bit of a Luke vibe. He’s a little grumpy but beneath that, he’s a loveable, dependable, honourable man.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Familiar Days

It’s Friday which means it’s time to start writing some fiction.

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt.

The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can.

Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

 

Today’s prompt: Familiar Days.

You have a bad day. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong.

You are pleased when it’s time for bed.

When you wake up, you find yourself reliving your bad day. And it happens again and again and again.

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Book Extract: Homewood Bound by Richard Smith

A big hello to Richard Smith. He is here with the blog tour for his latest novel, Homewood Bound.

 

Here’s a little about the book…

Homeward Bound features 79-year-old grandfather George, who didn’t quite make it as a rock star in the ‘60s. He’s expected to be in retirement but in truth he’s not ready to close the lid on his dreams and will do anything for a last chance. When he finds himself on a tour of retirement homes instead of a cream tea at the seaside his family has promised, it seems his story might prematurely be over.

He finds the answer by inviting Tara, his 18-year-old granddaughter, to share his house, along with his memories and vast collection of records. She is an aspiring musician as well, although her idea of music is not George’s. What unfolds are clashes and unlikely parallels between the generations – neither knows nor cares how to use a dishwasher – as they both chase their ambitions.

 

Richard has shared an extract today so grab that comfy chair, a drink and enjoy.

 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Chapter 1 – opening

There were two things George Turnbull treasured above all else. One, his piano – upright, of no particular repute, King’s Head not Royal Albert Hall, but much played and well loved.

“This is our luxury accommodation. The Churchill Suite.”

“Lovely and roomy.” Toby nodded, turning to his wife for a affirmation.

“We allow our residents to keep their most precious mementos,” the sales pitch continued. “Picture of a loved one to put on the dressing table, favourite clock. So long as it’s not too large.”

The second was his record collection, several thousand vinyl LPs, EPs and singles, and almost as many CDs.

“We find these suites are very popular, especially with our well-to-do guests.”

“Ah. That’s something that might be a problem. You see, George isn’t really that ‘well-to-do’. That’s true, isn’t it, darling?” Toby paused, turning to Bridget. She frowned, narrowed her eyes and glowered. “My wife and I will be selling his house in London. Even so, I’m afraid we may not be quite in the right – how should I say – ballpark? For the Churchill Suite.”

“No matter.” Mrs Williams carefully straightened a badge on her lapel. Worn like an ornamental brooch, it sported a designer logo, her name and the words, ‘Proprietor, Lastdays Rest Home’. “Perhaps Mr Turnbull would like to see one of our Mornington Rooms.” She barely glanced at George as she spoke. “Follow me. They’re just down the corridor. An acceptably a affordable option, we like to think.”

There was a third thing, George now realised. To piano and records, add his cuttings. He’d kept every review, from his first performance pictured in the Swindon Advertiser, complete with ration-book out t and National Service cropped hair, to his last at the Pavilion Ballroom, Strathpeffer, where his hair had been shorn not by clippers but by time. Except they weren’t really cuttings. He’d kept the whole newspaper. The front-page banner headlines weren’t international issues, more ‘Council Debates Road Closure’, ‘Stray Dog Causes Travel Chaos’, ‘Garden Blaze Destroys Shed’. And they weren’t so much reviews as gig listings and ‘Also Playing’. Yet he had them all. This monument to the past was in the same room as his music, a wall of yellowing paper, stacked in date order. ‘A fire waiting to happen,’ Toby called them.

Bridget put her hand gently on George’s arm. “Let’s move on to the Mornington Rooms. Don’t you think so, Dad?”

“If you want to, Bridget.”

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Cover Reveal: The Banjo Book Two by Elaine Spires

I am so excited to be one of the blogs revealing the cover for The Banjo Book Two. This is the latest novel from Elaine Spires. 

Before we reveal the cover, here’s a little about the book…

 

The 1970s. Zany fashions brought the Decade That Taste Forgot. Change is in the air. Decimal currency; the Common Market; widespread strikes; the Winter of Discontent; IRA bombings; the sale of Council houses and quickie divorces make their mark on the whole country including the community of the Banjo.

The eight households who live in Cromwell Close experience births, deaths, marriages, shocks and surprises but as the 70s become the 80s and beyond Dagenham undergoes great transformation. The once close-knit Community is changing.

 

OK, without further ado, here’s the cover. One..two…three…. 

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Book Extract: A Cornish Daisy’s Kiss by Laura Briggs

A big lovely welcome to Laura Briggs. Today, she’s here with the blog tour for her latest novel, A Cornish Daisy’s Kiss. This is book six in the Little Hotel in Cornwall series. 

Weeks after boarding a train to Paris in pursuit of her writing dreams, aspiring novelist Maisie Clark is right back where she started: on the idyllic shores of Port Hewer in Cornwall, luggage in hand and heart filled with anticipation for what lies ahead. Except that nothing seems the same as Maisie left it, from her place among the staff at the hotel Penmarrow to her budding romance with groundskeeper Sidney Daniels, who isn’t quite ready to overlook the painful consequences of her sudden departure.

Losing Sidney would be unbearable, but Maisie can’t help fearing it might be true if the rift between them proves too deep to heal. She knows her feelings for him are unchanged, but whether he feels the same remains to be seen—particularly since she stopped him from expressing them in the first place. And to make matters worse, her position at the Penmarrow has been filled by another, there’s nowhere for her to live in the village, and her savings are finally dwindling to a pathetic number – with her book still unpublished after her startling discovery about the author helping guide her towards success.

But one thing which hasn’t changed is the drama and excitement at the hotel Penmarrow, where the staff is awaiting inspection from the dreaded owner Ms. Claypool. Stirring up trouble in the meantime is the owner’s special guest ‘Mad Ludwig’, an eccentric architect whose demands are definitely driving everyone on the staff a little crazy. And then there’s the hotel’s mysterious new desk manager, whose behavior ignites Maisie’s suspicions and causes her to become entangled in yet another form of intrigue—one that could unwittingly jeopardize the future of the Penmarrow and everyone who works there, unless Maisie can find a way to undo the harm.

With everything that matters to her most at stake this time, Maisie faces her biggest challenges yet…and her deepest question of the heart as she confronts the reason she returned to Cornwall and the Penmarrow in the first place.

 

I’ve got an extract from the novel to share with you today so, without further ado, over to you, Laura. 

 

***** beginning of extract*****

 

A huge thank you to Laura for this chance to share an extract from my romance read A Cornish Daisy’s Kiss. The sixth book in my current series, it continues the adventures of amateur writer Maisie Clark at the historic hotel by the sea. In the following scene, Maisie learns more about the hotel’s impending sale as she chats with its current owner, Ms. Claypool.

*****

The teapot was still warm and so were the muffins, with thick butter and blueberry preserves, so I helped myself to one last bite. Katy was doing the same in the empty dining room as she texted her current boyfriend, giving me a quick grin before giggling over his latest reply.

She glanced up, and quickly disappeared without saying anything, to my surprise. Then Ms. Claypool seated herself at the window table with her assistant, a briefcase, and the long roll of paper that constituted Ludwig’s blueprints. The assistant scurried away to fetch a fresh pot of tea, leaving the hotel mogul to study some reports and glance out the window at the flowers in bloom.

She noticed me as I swept my muffin crumbs onto my plate. “I didn’t realize you were still a guest here,” she said. “You are the young woman I met on the patio a few days ago — the one who was interested in the plans for the new resort?”

“That would be me,” I said. “But today’s my last day, so I’m bidding goodbye to the dining room before I go.”

“Ligeia is quite the culinary artist,” said Ms. Claypool. “If I thought I could steal her away for my personal chef at the new resort, I would. But I’ll have to make to do with a Michelin star culinary genius to please my investors.” To my surprise, she rolled her eyes slightly. “Sometimes I think I’ll defy them and do it anyway. What can they do to stop me from hiring whatever chefs I please?”

“Probably nothing.” Not unless they had more money than the woman in question.

“Exactly what I want them to say, too,” answered Ms. Claypool, with a pleased smile. So maybe Riley wasn’t exactly wrong about her.

“Tell me,” I said, trembling a little inside. “What’s happening to this hotel?” I was afraid what I might hear in reply, but that wouldn’t stop it from being true.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: I Remember

It’s Friday which means it’s time to start writing some fiction.

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt.

The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can.

Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

 

Today’s prompt: I Remember…. 

 

You wake up one morning and discover a world without books.

You ask people about them and no one knows what you’re talking about. In fact, you’re the only one that remembers them. You are the only one that owns books.

Write about what happens when your small selection of books is discovered. Are you seen positively or otherwise?

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NK Chats To… Don Waitt

Hi Don, thank you for joining me for a chat today. Can you tell me a little about your book, The Revelation of Chester Fortunberry and what inspired the book?

You come into this world alone and you leave this world alone, which got me thinking about whether that world even existed before I came into it and will it exist after I leave it.

 

What’s your typical writing day like? Do you prefer silence? Lots of coffee?

I like to write in the afternoon. I prefer total silence, no distractions. I write on a desktop computer with a huge screen. Can’t do it on a laptop.

 

How do you approach the writing process, from idea, to planning, to final draft? How much prep do you feel you need to do before you feel ready to start writing?

For me, it all starts with the first paragraph of the book. Once I get that down on paper, then it’s off to the races. As all authors know, I don’t write the book; the book writes itself and goes in whatever direction it wants to. Kind of like a runaway train.

 

What is your favourite word and why?

Really. It’s a noun and a verb and an adjective and even an exclamation point.

 

What songs would feature on a playlist for your novel?

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: The Middle of the Action

Welcome back to the Novel Kicks Writing Room.

Today, I wanted to do some free-writing but focused around beginning the story in the middle of the action.

Using dialogue as your starting line, write up to 500 words of an action scene that puts the reader in the middle of the action. Continue to use dialogue as much as you can.

For example, ‘You need to jump. Now.’

Who your character is in terms of age and background is up to you.

You are welcome to use my example if you like.

Let me know in the comments if you try this and how you found it. What was easy or difficult about it?

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Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.

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