September has been an unusually busy month, as I completed a five-week writing course and I also enjoyed attending the Rockingham Writers Convention. There I participated in various workshops and met admired authors, Tess Woods, Natasha Lester, and Annabel Smith. It also gave me a chance to catch with the dynamic team from Serenity Press, Karen McDermott and Monique Mulligan publishers of Writing the Dream and I saw fellow contributors Sandi Parsons and Michelle Nugent. I met another author ( more about her later) and caught up for the first time with a couple of ‘Facebook friends.’ One (J) had come from Queensland to attend the convention and the other(D) has recently moved to Western Australia from Queensland. We’d never met before but we hit it off right away, finding much to talk about.
Under Her Spell by Monique Mulligan
Writer Oliver Pendall is on location for the filming of his book Multiples.
He meets Kaylie by chance. She both teases and fascinates him but he’s not looking for a relationship.Despite this, Kaylie captures his imagination with her passion for using unusual words. Oliver’s writer’s interest is piqued by her lively mind and he’s also captivated by her cute persona too.Sadly, Kaylie appears to be disinterested in him, except when paradoxically, she isn’t.It’s a rare book that has a reader turning to Google to search out the meanings of words, but this one did. A sparkling romance.
Black Cats and Butlers A Rose Ravensthorpe Mystery by Janine Beacham
I happened on Black Cats And Butlers by chance, as it was shelved with adult fiction. in the library. It’s actually a middle-grade fiction – so I’m not the intended readership. Despite that, I really enjoyed it. The story was fast-paced and exciting. It appealed to me for both the humour and the crime content. Imagine, butlers those bastions of respectability are being murdered. Additionally, I was fascinated to learn about the cat statues in York England being stolen. Note there really are statues of cats on buildings in York and more are being put up. Tourists can take a tour of the statue locations.
Rose Ravensthorpe is a feisty and determined character and I can certainly see the potential for many further adventures. A lot of fun!
Love Under Fire by Carolyn Wren
A fast-paced action /romance
I was pleased to meet delightful author Carolyn Wren at The Rockingham Writers convention, we were seated at the same table and talked. She is a contributor to A Bouquet of Love and I was able to tell her how much I had enjoyed her hilarious story Angel in the Baking. She is also the author of eleven books.Later, I bought a copy Love Under Fire which she kindly signed for me.
Love Under Fire lives up to its promise. Astrid James, aid worker and daughter of a prominent politician is caught up in a coup in small jungle nation. Black ops agent Remy Cross has been sent to rescue her and has three days to do so.Despite the increasing danger Astrid refuses to leave unless the two orphans that she is protecting can be rescued too. It’s an unwelcome complication that Remy hasn’t planned for. The repartee and action continue from this well-matched duo. I was swept along with the plot twist and turns. A fun read.
Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues by Trisha Ashley
Tansy Poole’s relationship with her fiancée Justin is at a stalemate. So she returns to the Lancashire village of Sticklepond. There, Tansy is needed to help her much loved Aunt Nell with her shop Bright’s Shoes. Her aunt’s age and failing health mean that both she and the shop are in desperate need of more care.
Tansy is torn between a boyfriend who spends more time with his mother than with her and who is increasingly critical of everything about her and her aunt who brought her up and who needs her. Guilt and baking are her constant companions as she tries to keep everyone happy.
It’s a relief for her to return to Sticklepond.Tansy’s biological clock is ticking and her hopes for a home of her own and children seem further away than ever. At least in Sticklepond she’s wanted and avoiding her fiancés increasingly pointed criticisms, of her dress sense, her behaviour and her weight.
Staying with her aunt enables her to avoid her two malicious stepsisters and a potential mother in law from hell.Tansy wants to be with her aunt, who she cares for. When her aunt dies Tansy decides to stay and reopen the shop, to sell beautiful wedding shoes, vintage shoes, and even the chocolate shoes of the title
Her next door neighbour is presumed to be an ancient Shakespearian actor who has come to live in the village for peace and quiet. Instead, he is irascible, but a devastatingly handsome man, who dumped Tansy years ago. He doesn’t appear to recognise her or appreciate her dog, the noise of the workmen or the shop bell.
I really enjoyed this lively story, my appreciation sharpened by the fact that I knew so many of the locations, such as my old hometown of Southport, and neighbouring places such as Ormskirk, Rufford Old Hall, though not, of course, the fictional village of Stickelpond