Thursday, 6 May 2021

Shh… It’s Our Secret by Lizzie Chantree

Shh… It’s Our Secret

Blog post By Lizzie Chantree

Having a good mental-health can help us relax, achieve far more and leave happy lives. In my latest book, Shh… It’s Our Secret, my main character, Violet, has been dealt some blows by life. She is determined to show her friends and family that she can do more than hide behind an unappreciative boyfriend and that she can be successful in her own right.

After losing her parents of young age, Violet falls into working at a rundown café bar, where her regulars quickly become a surrogate family. Two feisty pensioners appoint themselves as her guardian angels and she wants to repay their kindness. Violet has a secret that could not only change her life, but those of her café regulars too. The only problem is that sharing her secret, means stepping out of her comfort zone, believing in herself and finally finding her voice.

Book Blurb:

Violet has a secret that could change the lives of everyone she knows and loves, especially the regulars at the run-down café bar where she works. After losing her parents at a young age, they are the closest thing she has to a family and she feels responsible for them.

Kai is a jaded music producer who has just moved outside of town. Seeking solitude from the stress of his job, he’s looking for seclusion. The only problem is he can’t seem to escape the band members and songwriters who keep showing up at his house.

When Kai wanders into the bar and Violet’s life, he accidently discovers her closely guarded secret. Can Kai help her rediscover her self-confidence or should some secrets remain undiscovered?

Bio: 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 or follow her on Twitter @Lizzie_Chantree

Book links: Lizzie Chantree

Universal book buy link: The little ice cream shop:

Universal book buy link: Networking for writers:

Universal book buy link: If you love me, I’m yours:

Universal book buy link: Ninja School Mum:

Universal book buy link: Babe Driven:

Universal book buy link: Love’s Child:

Universal book buy link: Finding Gina:

Universal link: Shh… It’s Our Secret:


Social media links:


Author page:






FB Groups:





Critique Service for Writers

Writing Competitions

Join the D.I. Sterling Mailing List for News, Updates and Giveaways

Saturday, 1 May 2021

One Summer in Cornwall by Karen King

Today I am delighted to feature an extract from Karen King’s latest feel-good romantic novel One Summer in Cornwall.

Escape to Cornwall this summer...

A gorgeous feel-good read, perfect for fans of CATHY BRAMLEY and PHILLIPA ASHLEY.

When Hattie is made redundant and evicted from her flat in one horrible week, she needs time to rethink. Her Uncle Albert left her and her father each half of Fisherman's Rest, his home in the Cornish town of Port Medden, so this seems the perfect place to escape to until she can figure things out.

As Hattie stays in the cottage, clearing it out, tidying it up and getting it ready to sell, she starts to find her feet in Port Medden and making a new home here begins to feel right. If only her dad didn't need a quick sale and things weren't complicated by her unwelcoming neighbour Marcus . . .
Chapter Two

Sunlight streaming through her window woke Hattie up the next morning. And it sounded as though the seagulls were having a party on the roof. She sat up for a moment, hugging her knees, thinking how drastically her life had changed in the past few days. On Monday, she’d had a home and a job, now, five days later, she had neither. She shook her head. She wasn’t thinking about that now – this was a chance for her to sort out her life, and she was going to grab it with both hands.

She threw back the sheet, ran over to the window and looked out, just as she used to do when she was a child on holiday here, eager to see the shimmering ribbon of sea over the rooftops. The cottage was just a few minutes’ walk from the picturesque harbour, and when she was younger she had often opened the window and inhaled the sea air, with her mother anxiously warning her not to lean out. She wasn’t going to do that now, not until she was dressed, anyway, so contented herself with kneeling down, so only her head was visible, and peering at the sparkling turquoise ocean just a stone’s throw away. She couldn’t wait to walk along the beach and have a paddle. She almost felt as though she was on holiday! I’m going to take a few days to relax and have a good look around, she decided, then I’ll start tidying up the house. She and her father had agreed to put the cottage on the market as soon as they could, so she would probably only be here for the summer, but at least it gave her some time to sort out the shambles that her life had become.

First, though, she needed a cup of milky coffee to wake her up. She’d put a box of three-in-one sachets in her right saddlebag, in case there were no supplies in the house. She carefully negotiated the first set of narrow stairs to stop off at the bathroom to go to the loo and splash some water on her face, then cautiously descended the other staircase to the kitchen.

‘Who is it? Who is it?’ Buddy screeched as she walked in.

‘Morning, Buddy. It’s me, Hattie!’ she called. She filled up the electric kettle, glad that the old stove kettle she remembered, with the high-pitched whistle that let you know when the water had boiled, had been replaced. The almost-new silver kettle and matching microwave looked a bit out of place in the dated kitchen, but she was grateful for them. She took a clean mug out of the cupboard, then froze as she heard the back door open and someone stride in, whistling cheerfully. Horrified, she spun around and stared at the suntanned stranger, who was dressed in low-slung grey surfer shorts that skimmed his hips. His long fair hair was tied back in a ponytail, revealing a tiny silver cross earring dangling from his right ear, he had a large tattoo on each upper arm, and his body was taut and toned. Then his hazel eyes widened as they flitted to her naked body. Shit! She’d forgot she was starkers! They both stared at each other, dumbstruck for a second, then Buddy’s screech of ‘Bloody Hell!’ brought Hattie to her senses.

Two quick steps and she’d whisked the checked tablecloth off the table and quickly wrapped it around herself. She glared at the man. ‘Who the hell are you? And how dare you walk in like this!’

‘More to the point, who are you?’ the man demanded. ‘I’m Marcus, from next door. I’m here to feed Buddy. I’ve been looking after him.’

Damn! She remembered thinking yesterday that Buddy looked well fed and cared for, so a neighbour must be popping in to feed him. Why the hell hadn’t she pulled her dressing gown on this morning? Because it was still in her saddlebag and she was half asleep and hadn’t expected someone to walk into her kitchen this early in the morning, that’s why. It was barely eight o’clock!

‘I’m Hattie, Albert’s niece. He left this cottage to me and my dad in his will.’ She held the tablecloth tighter around herself, the plastic feeling sticky and uncomfortable against her skin. ‘I came down last night. I’m staying here until the cottage is sold.’

A look of disdain crossed Marcus’s suntanned face and his hazel eyes narrowed . ‘I thought you were coming down next weekend. You obviously couldn’t wait to claim your inheritance. Shame you didn’t see fit to visit your uncle when he was alive and lonely.’


Buy Links



Karen King Bio

Karen King is a multi-published author of both adult and children’s books. She has had eight romantic novels published, one psychological thriller with another one out later this year, 120 children’s books, two young adult novels, and several short stories for women’s magazines. Her romantic novel The Cornish Hotel by the Sea became an international bestseller, reaching the top one hundred in the Kindle charts in both the UK and Australia. Karen is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. Karen now lives in Spain where she loves to spend her non-writing time exploring the quaint local towns with her husband, Dave, when she isn’t sunbathing or swimming in the pool, that is.


Contact links


Amazon Author Page




Critique Service for Writers

Writing Competitions

Join the D.I. Sterling Mailing List for News, Updates and Giveaways

Thursday, 29 April 2021

BOLLYWOOD P.I. California Dreaming

Some time ago I had the good fortune to read an early draft of this wonderful book. It has given me great joy to know that it has now been published.

BOLLYWOOD P.I. California Dreaming has launched!

A bookkeeper rushes into a mystery with the best of intentions, but stumbles into something that's way out of her league.


Aparajita Patel plods through her days at a health clinic in Santa Barbara, California.

When her cousin mysteriously disappears, Jita strikes out on her own, only to be joined by a collection of misfits along the way...but they run into all that is unexpected.

 It turns out...that only the unexpected can save them.

 Reader Alert: Contains irreverent humour, some suggestive humour and language.

Available for Kindle, on Kindle Unlimited and as a paperback...




Critique Service for Writers

Writing Competitions

Join the D.I. Sterling Mailing List for News, Updates and Giveaways

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Interview with A D Thorne

Interview with A D Thorne, author of Mass Murder, Book two of the Camino de Santiago Series.

What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?

Broadly, they are crime novels. The Santiago de Compostela series was intended to be a police procedural series but seem to mutate into political thrillers as I wrote them, Mass murder has almost Dan Brown style action, I love the result but it was unintentional and makes the book hard to describe.

The treasure of Saint Bee series started as cosy mystery and also veered off course into a more traditional mystery. In the New Year, I have planned a series of cosy mysteries which will remain true to the subgenre. I plan to be very strict with my characters and myself, I will not veer off course.

What made you choose that genre?

It gives me a chance to murder people without committing a crime, so my imagination can run riot.

Also, if anyone upsets me they might end up metaphorically dead. It is much easier to forgive people once you have planned their murder in your mind.

I have ideas for stories in other genres too, if I ever get a chance to write them. More seriously, I read quite widely and you have to start somewhere.

How long does it take you to write a book?

I haven't been writing for long enough yet to be certain, because each book takes less time. But about six months start to finish at the moment. I have planned three books for next year so I am banking on writing faster in the future.

What is your work schedule when you are writing?

Again, that is still developing. At the moment, I start the day by editing the previous day's work, then have a break. Then I write about a thousand words before lunch. After that, it depends on what else I have to do. Writing related tasks, like website, answering emails, maybe watching a writing related Youtube video or doing some research. Household tasks tend to go in this slot as well, so washing, cleaning, food prep. Then if I can, I write some more in the evening before my husband who is a teacher gets home.

Tell me something about yourself that your readers might not know.

I am terrified of social media. I have done all kinds of jobs, been climbing, sailing, even parachuting all of which I did without batting an eyelid, and yet the mere thought of posting something on Facebook or Instagram has me curled up in a ball under the bed covers. Twitter is nothing more than a torture device, you write something and then wait for people to hurl insults back and if you are not careful; you lose the ability to escape from it all. I don't know how people do it.

When did you write your first book?

Just over two years ago, I'm a late starter. I was almost 60 when I started. I have always been an avid reader of all genres and had had a blog. I had never tried writing fiction. I would have loved to write a book earlier, but lacked both confidence and time. I'm working on the principal that it's never too late to start a new career.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

We are restoring an old stone farmhouse in Galicia and four acres of land. There is always something to do. Of course, in Galicia it rains, so it's good to have some indoor activities on hand. I read and sew and crochet and sometimes sit on the balcony and watch the buzzards circle overhead.

I also cook sometimes for a stall on an artisan market, or in the summer for a couple of summer camps. At the moment I mostly write, and being a relative beginner, I watch your tube videos on things like formatting, email lists and marketing. There is a steep learning curve and many new skills to learn.

What is the most surprising thing you learned in creating your books?

How addictive it is: I had expected it to be hard work; I knew that I would encounter many things that were technically difficult. I'm old enough to feel like a dinosaur at time, when dealing with the digital world. Like many writers, I find the notion of selling or marketing is quite scary. I have never been good at selling. I even lost money selling unwanted items on eBay. Twice I felt guilty when someone bought thing I was selling and I rushed out and bought a new item and gave them that instead. Once, when someone collected something in person, I gave them the item for free and invited them in for tea and biscuits. I had to stop; it was costing me so much money.

I hadn't anticipated the thrill of telling a story, or that I would wake up in the night thinking about the next scene, or the sinking feeling at the start of a day out, that my computer wasn't going with me (I do sneak a notebook into my bag).

How many books have you written?

I have two full-length novels, two novellas, and a short story. My latest full-length novel is being edited at the moment. I'm not sure of the publication date yet though, I might prefer to miss the Christmas rush and publish in January.

Do you google yourself? What did you find that affected you most?

No, I don't. Is that a thing? I mean, do people really do that?

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

As I child, I changed my mind often, but it was usually an explorer or a mountaineer. My mother thought I would end up on the button counter at Woolworths, she meant it as a threat, but I don't remember thinking it would be a bad thing. I remember wanting to live in a croft in Scotland. But that is probably because I was in love with Lillian Beckwith's Hebridean books. I still love them, and I still sometimes wonder why I didn't do that. I suppose a farmhouse in Galicia is not so different though. Now I know that I want to be a writer when I grow up.

How many unpublished or half-finished books do you have on your computer?

Just two: my work in progress, and a half-written memoir, which I haven't yet had the courage to finish. I have a number of short stories though; maybe some of them should be books. I write them mostly to deal with ideas that threaten my current work in progress. But I also give them away to my mailing list.

Bio: Abigail Thorne was born in the Yorkshire mining town of Doncaster and attended the grammar school there, one of the oldest schools in England.

She has been married for over forty years to her husband Steve; they have two children and four grandchildren all living in the UK.

She now lives in a tiny Galician aldea with an ever changing number of animals, a productive vegetable garden and an amazing view over the hills.

She especially loves the tranquillity of life there.

Website and Blog:


Amazon Author page:


Critique Service for Writers

Writing Competitions

Join the D.I. Sterling Mailing List for News, Updates and Giveaways

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Author interview with Lisa Rose Wright

Author interview with Lisa Rose Wright. 

What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?

My books are travelogue memoirs about our life here in beautiful green Galicia

What made you choose that genre?

I guess because I felt I had a story to tell which might interest readers, and maybe even encourage people to find this lovely, little known area of Spain

How long does it take you to write a book?

Well, I suppose my first book was ten years in the making. I wrote odd stories down from time to time with no clear idea what to do with them until I joined a writers’ group. I then wrote a short story as a reader magnet which only took me a couple of months. My second book is at the editing stage now and I’ve started making notes for book three. I think they will each end up being a year in the making.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I don’t really have a set schedule though I do get itchy fingers if I don’t write for a couple of hours a day. I sit typing and staring out of the window at my lovely view!

Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know.

Aged eight I won a writing competition with the milk marketing board. My prize was a two foot high Rupert Bear. He was adorable!

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I suppose I wrote my first ‘book’ around age ten. It was a collection of nine stories about creatures living on each of the planets in the solar system! My first published book went on sale in Amazon stores on July 1st this year at age 55 so it’s taken a while!

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

If I’m not writing you can usually find me on my huerta sowing, planting, weeding or harvesting our produce, or in my kitchen preserving the harvest or baking cakes…my favourite pastime!

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That I can apparently write things people want to read. It sounds daft but I was always shy of letting people read my efforts until I entered a competition in a local anthology called The Good Life in Galicia. In the second year I won second in the non-fiction section. That was a revelation.

How many books have you written?

I have one full length memoir and a short story ‘prequel’ both on Amazon. I also have a free Christmas story out this month and I’m planning on book two of the Writing Home series being out next spring.

Do you Google yourself? What did you find that affected you most (good or bad)?

No, I never do…is that odd?

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I always wanted to work with animals though I did have a brief spell of wanting to be a bus conductor when I was six.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have on your computer?

Ah well, on my computer only the WiP and a short Christmas story for release in December. In my notepads though I have many more half-baked ideas for memoirs and even a couple of novels…one day!

 Author Bio:

In 2007 Lisa left a promising career as an ecologist catching protected reptiles and amphibians, and kissing frogs, to move to beautiful green Galicia with her blue-eyed prince (who has since become her blue-eyed husband but that’s another story).

She divides her time equally between growing her own food, helping to renovate a semi-derelict house (or actually two… but that’s another story too) and getting out and about to discover more of the stunningly beautiful area she calls home.

Lisa is happiest outside in her huerta weeding, watching the antics of her chickens or in her kitchen cooking interesting recipes on her wood burning range.

Plum, Courgette & Green Bean Tart is her first memoir. Book two of the writing home series will feature more anecdotes, more letters home and more recipes. Oh and more bureaucracy! Tomato, Fig & Sweetcorn Jelly will be available in 2021. In the meantime there is a short story prequel Camino available on Amazon or free to subscriber’s to Lisa’s newletter.





Amazon author page





Plum, Courgette & Green Bean Tart – A year to write home about

Camino, or a Peanut Butter, Marmite & Banana Butty – a sort of prequel

Tomato, Fig & Sweetcorn Jelly –A year to write home about too (coming soon)

Christmas in Galicia – a Free short story download. My Christmas gift to anyone purchasing Plum, Courgette & Green Bean Tart in December.

Critique Service for Writers

Writing Competitions

Join the D.I. Sterling Mailing List for News, Updates and Giveaways

Friday, 6 November 2020

Friday Fiction Feature: Everything is Fine

This week’s Friday Fiction Feature is Everything is Fine by Gillian Harvey

Ever wondered what it’s like to be an influencer? For Jessica Bradley, fitness guru, things aren’t as wonderful as they may seem.

We all like a bit of attention, but when Jessica started blogging about a diet and fitness programme she’d put herself on, it was only so she’d feel accountable and actually shed a few pounds. 

What she didn’t bank on was a celebrity retweet, and the fame and notoriety that followed.

At first, the attention was quite welcome – as someone who runs her own little PR enterprise, the flood of new clients on the back of her improved social media presence boosted her income and put her business on the map.

But after a while, things start to slip. Like many of us, Jessica’s not the sort of person who can stick to a fitness routine long-term. Certainly not a punishing one. Yet her followers expect daily inspiration from their chosen fitness guru – what is she eating? How is she working out? How does she look in her gym gear?

It helps to have boyfriend Dave on board. He’s the epitome of a well-honed gym goer and is happy to be featured regularly on her online feed.

When Dave leaves her unexpectedly one morning, she’s left trying to pick up the pieces.

She’s caught – forced into a lifestyle she doesn’t fully want to embrace, but one doesn’t feel able to let go of either.

Stuck, Jessica tries to keep up appearances – with hilarious results.

The book explores the idea of what it means to live your life on social media – and encourages the reader to reflect on whether it’s possible to be honest online, or whether happiness is better found in the ‘real’ world.

Everything is Fine

Author bio

Gillian Harvey started her career as a high school teacher in the UK. In 2009 she moved to France, where she now lives with her husband and their five children. In 2012, she retrained as a freelance writer and now regularly writes for national publications. ‘Everything is Fine’ is her debut novel.

Critique Service for Writers

Writing Competitions

Join the D.I. Sterling Mailing List for News, Updates and Giveaways

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Interview with Karen Osman

Interview with Karen Osman

What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?

My novels fall into a sub-genre of psychological thrillers called domestic noir. Domestic noir novels usually centre around the family and are quite dark in nature. There is usually a thriller element as well as suspense and various plot twists.

What made you choose that genre?

When I wrote my first novel, The Good Mother, which won the Emirates Festival of Literature Prize, it wasn’t a conscious decision to write this genre. However, there are strong themes of motherhood in my book and I wrote instinctively most likely because I was pregnant at the time and also looking after a toddler. Saying that, I read a lot of psychological thrillers and crime novels, so this probably influenced my work as well.

How long does it take you to write a book?

I have written three books so far. The Good Mother took me a year to write, my second, The Home, around nine months, and The Perfect Lie, my latest book, around nine months as well. I’m currently working on my fourth book and I estimate six to nine months to write it.  

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

As I have a four and six-year old, I usually work around the academic calendar so as soon as I have dropped my sons off to school, then I will usually work first thing in the morning when I’m at my most creative. The early afternoons are for admin, marketing, meetings, and so on. I find writing a bit like exercise – if I don’t do it in the morning, it doesn’t tend to happen.

Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know.

I’m originally from the Lake District in the UK but left when I was 21 to live in Japan. Since then, I’ve lived as an expat in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East and currently live in Dubai. 

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I’ve written my whole life from a very young age, but it was only when I was 37 that I attempted my first novel, The Good Mother. I submitted that manuscript into a novel writing competition and won. The judge of that competition was a renowned literary agent and he sold The Good Mother as part of a three-book deal.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

In addition to writing novels, I also own a business which I set up in 2011 called Travel Ink. I also run an online book club, Karen’s Bookshelf, because I love to read, and this summer, I launched an online writing course for aspiring authors called Kick Start Your Book With Karen. To relax, I love working out, going to the beach, and spending time with my family.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

I think there were two things: the first, how difficult it can be to write a book and secondly, how challenging I found the isolating nature of the job. I consider myself an introvert but sometimes I struggled working on my own for so long. The latter is one of the reasons I set up Karen’s Bookshelf and the Kick Start Your Book With Karen programme. I wanted to connect with other readers and writers as well as pass on book recommendations and writing advice.

How many books have you written?

I have written three novels and currently working on my fourth. For my latest novel, The Perfect Lie, readers can read the first chapters for free by clicking here.

Do you Google yourself? What did you find that affected you most (good or bad)?

Great question - I just Googled myself now to answer this! The first few pages are mainly about my books, social media profiles, and other interviews I’ve done but I also discovered another author called Karen Osman who has published a book about the Italian Renaissance!

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I wanted to be a war reporter when I was around sixteen and didn’t really understand what it entailed. I studied Linguistics and English Language at the University of Durham so I always knew I would work with words in some way.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have on your computer?

Just the one, thank goodness! I wrote a first draft, around 80,000 words, but realised the story didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. So disappointing! It took me a while to accept it but once I did, I had the freedom to start working on something else.  




Amazon Author Page:

Link to join the book club:

Link to join writing course:





Linked In


The Perfect Lie (pub 2019)

The Home (pub 2018)

The Good Mother (pub 2017)

Critique Service for Writers

Writing Competitions

Join the D.I. Sterling Mailing List for News, Updates and Giveaways