The Runaway, on location…

I’ve never set a book in an area I haven’t visited. Having said that, most of The Runaway takes place in Cornwall, and it’s many a long day since I was there – but the impressions I had then have stuck in my brain. One day I’ll go back, but it won’t be this year…

The book starts off in London, though, where the Seaton family live in a terrace on the south side. I’m not sure I’ve ever been in one, but TV programmes like Location Location Location and Homes Under the Hammer can give you a very good idea of what London flats, not to mention London prices, are like.

Nicola, Ed and 15-year-old Kelly are comfortably-off, but not well off. I imagined them in a building rather like the one below. Before long, however, circumstances force the three to move to Cornwall, and although Nicola is convinced the removal is the only thing to do, she has reservations about leaving the city.

Whisper it – moving might be best for them as a family, but given the choice, she’d live in London, wouldn’t she?

Home is now a big house on the top of a cliff, a mile or two outside St Ives. Nicola tries to convince herself they’d done the right thing.

…now she could sit on the beach every day of the year, on any beach, all the beaches. Maybe one day, when they’d settled in properly, being a seaside-dweller instead of a city girl wouldn’t feel like she was cut off from her real life.

Nearby St Ives is a bustling, vibrant town in summer.
The street running along the edge of harbour was busy, and Nicola grinned at her daughter. ‘Feels like we’re back in civilisation here, doesn’t it?’

But Kelly hates her new home, and spends hours alone on the beach.
The beach was the only good part about living here. It was somewhere to come when the roof was falling on her head at home, somewhere she could be alone and part of the enormity of wind, waves and sky.

Events spiral out of control, and Nicola finds herself back in London, alone and searching, searching…
Nicola slapped her oyster card on the machine, hurrying through and joining the crowds on the platform. The train screeched in, and she took her seat for the first leg of her trip to today’s search area.

Meanwhile, Ed is still in Cornwall, waiting at home. Towards the end of the book he stands on a deserted clifftop, gazing out to sea as the tide comes in…
There was the ocean, ever-changing and yet timeless, moonlight glinting on the waves as they surged inland.

So – is there a future for the family in lovely Cornwall? I’ll leave you to read for yourselves.

The Runaway is available on kindle only at the moment, but the paperback will follow on later this year. As we’re all stuck inside in Corona lockdown, we’ve left the pre-order price of 99p or your local equivalent in place for the moment. Here we are in the psychological fiction charts:

I’ll leave you with another lovely Cornish view. Stay safe, everyone!

 

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Publication day for The Runaway – Extract

Well. It isn’t quite the publication day I’d imagined for my book – it feels wrong to be celebrating when there’s so much bad stuff going on in the world and we’re all so worried and tense.
But some things, once set in motion, can’t be changed, so The Runaway is available to download now – ebook only for the moment, with the paperback coming later in the year.
Most of the action takes place in Cornwall, where I spent happy holidays as a child. Nicola, Ed and Kelly move from London to St Ives. It was supposed to solve all the family’s problems, but…

Here’s an extract from the beginning of the book:

Nicola Seaton drained her coffee cup and sat back while Ed wielded his credit card for the waiter. What an amazing meal, and wow – how lucky was she? With their daughter at the table tennis club she’d joined a few weeks ago, Friday had turned into date night for her and Ed, and tonight was especially good. Kelly had gone to a friend’s for dinner straight after school. Nicola hugged herself. A whole evening for her and Ed to do what they liked with, and how lovely it was that after seventeen years, they still enjoyed a date as a twosome.
   Ed took her hand as they walked back to the car. ‘We should come back here with Kelly sometime. She loves Italian.’
   Nicola wrinkled her nose at him. ‘Are you telling me it’s boring when she’s not with us?’
   He wound both arms around her. ‘You know perfectly well I’m not. I’ll prove it at home, too.’
   Nicola kissed his chin. ‘I do like a proposition.’
   Anticipation flamed through her as they drove across London and parked outside their terrace flat. Ed kissed her as soon as they were decently inside, and Nicola held on tightly. He was a great guy for a cuddle, was Ed, he loved being held. Which was just fine by her.
   She leaned back to see his face. ‘Why don’t you go and slip into something more comfortable, and I’ll open a bottle of wine?’
   He moved towards their bedroom. ‘Shouldn’t that be my line? But you’re on.’
   Nicola pulled a bottle of Pinot Grigio from the fridge and stabbed in the corkscrew, vaguely aware of Ed’s mobile trilling out then falling silent. Humming, she twisted the corkscrew. Much as she loved Kelly, this was–
   The kitchen door crashed open and Ed stumbled into the room, his mobile pressed to his chest.
   ‘She’s dead!’ His face was grey.
   ‘What?’ The wine bottle fell on its side and rolled against the coffee machine.
   ‘Nic, she’s dead.’ 
   Nicola’s heartbeat thundered in her ears as the world swam.

I’d like to thank Sarah Hardy for organising the blog tour for The Runaway, and of course all the bloggers who are taking part – I really appreciate it, especially as many of you have more pressing concerns and worries right now. Huge thanks to my non-blogger ARC readers too, and virtual hugs all round.

Lastly, we’re all restricted now in what we can do, spending more and more time inside our own four walls. So we’re keeping the price of the ebook the same as the pre-order for the moment, 99p or the equivilant in your own currency. Click HERE to see The Runaway in your local Amazon Store.
And everybody – please stay safe.

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The ‘K’ books… #A-Z books 📚

This is an adaptation of something I saw on Twitter – people were posting 26 books in 26 days, each title beginning with a different letter of the alphabet. Don’t worry – I’m planning on taking around 26 months to get to Z. Each month I’ll post a newish book I’ve enjoyed, plus a children’s book and an older book.

 

Today, it’s the ‘K’ books:

 

In this entertaining crime thriller, Julia is about to leave her husband, taking 8-year-old Lucy with her. Meanwhile, two burglars have targeted the house next door – but things go horribly wrong and mother and daughter find themselves in a desperate situation, fighting for their lives. Ann Evans is an accomplished and prolific writer in several genres, with over 30 books published. This is the first of hers I’ve read, but it won’t be the last!

 

 

 

I was almost ready to admit defeat with my ‘K’ children’s book when I remembered this one, which I read at secondary school. Written by Barry Hines, it’s not exactly a cheerful story, but it’s classed as ‘a novel that helped shape modern Britain’, and is definitely worth a read. Fifteen-year-old Billy has one pleasure in life: a wild kestrel that he has raised and tamed himself. The book has been very successfully filmed too, as ‘Kes’.

 

 

 

 

The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham is one of my all-time favourites. Something – something intelligent – falls to the earth from space to wait in the depths of the ocean. And one day, it pounces. Ships are sunk, people are captured and rolled away. The sea level begins to rise… Journalists Mike and Phyllis Watson are at the centre of action in a human drama that turns into a fight for survival. A chilling book – I love it!

 

 

Coming in April – the ‘L’ books!

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

(Don’t forget – The Runaway is on pre-order now for March 24th. Pre-order price: 99p on kindle.)

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Linda Huber – An Ornament I Love

Originally posted on Morton S. Gray – Author:
Someone new on my blog this week – Linda Huber! She’s here to tell us about an ornament she loves. Over to Linda … Jack the sheep – a treasured ornament In…

Gallery

The Runaway – an escape that went horribly wrong…

And here it is, psychological suspense book nine, and it’s on pre-order now for March 24th, when the ebook is published. (Click the cover to see it on Amazon.) The pre-order price of just 99p/c will run until the end of this month, so grab it while the bargain lasts!
The paperback will follow on in summer.

There are so many people I’d like to thank here – most of all, my fabulous editor, Debi Alper. Also the entire team at Fabrian Books, Sarah Hardy for organising the blog tour, and Yvonne Betancourt and Helen Pryke for their help with the book preparation – in Helen’s case, it was more help than she signed up for so extra thanks as well. Debbie Bright at The Cover Collection did such a good job on the cover image – I love it! Then there are all the book bloggers on the tour (see below) and the others in my early readers group – huge thanks, all. And of course the multitude of people who are helping on social media, far too many to count, never mind name, but I couldn’t do without any of you! The writing life is many things, but it isn’t lonely…
Last but not least, love and thanks to my long-suffering sons, other family members and friends. They provide technical help and/or answer odd questions about anything from hospitals to school timetables and UK prices, and I’d be lost without them.

The Runaway tells the story of Nicola, who relocates to St Ives with her family. Unfortunately, life in their new home doesn’t turn out as she’d planned…
Here’s the blurb:

Keep your secrets close to home…

Bad things happen in threes – or so it seems to Nicola. The death of her mother-in-law coincides with husband Ed losing his job and daughter Kelly getting into trouble with the police. Time to abandon their London lifestyle and start again by the sea in far-away Cornwall.

It should be the answer to everything – a new home, a new job for Ed and a smaller, more personal school for fifteen-year-old Kelly. But the teenager hates her new life, and it doesn’t take long before events spiral out of control and the second set of bad things starts for Nicola.

Some secrets can’t be buried.
Or… can they?

 

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A visit from Cass Grafton

I first met Cass on social media, but given that we both live in – roughly speaking – the same area in lovely Switzerland, it wasn’t long before we met up in person. Since then, we’ve been meeting regularly to share the ups and downs of the writing life, and drink the odd prosecco (or two). Cass writes in different genres, but today she’s here to tell us about her new book, The Cottage in a Cornish Cove, an uplifting romance novel.
Over to Cass:

The Cottage in a Cornish Cove
I’ve always enjoyed holidaying in England, and when I started to write novels, I realised this love of the country was influencing how I wrote, with my stories always becoming strong on location.
A love of Cornwall inspired me to write The Cottage in a Cornish Cove. I first visited the county as a young child but it was when I returned as an adult that I truly fell in love. Before we were married, my husband and I had both visited the quaint Cornish fishing village of Polperro, and had fallen in love with it (my husband later proposed to me in a restaurant there). We ended up living in Somerset for seven years, when our children were young, and we went to Polperro several times a year: day trips, long weekends and sometimes for a week or two at a time. We stayed in various B&Bs and on caravan sites, but our absolute favourite thing was to rent a cottage and pretend we lived there.

Polperro

You can probably see where this is going! The long-held dream that one day we might somehow live in Cornwall faded over time. Our jobs and lifestyle meant it wasn’t practical as the children grew up, but even after we moved north from Somerset, we still came down at least twice a year to feed our souls in this timeless county.
Then came the years we lived in Connecticut, and by the time we returned to the UK, the children were grown up and living at opposite ends of the country, and my husband and I felt the need to find somewhere else to call our home-from-home in Cornwall. Recalling our day trips to Fowey when staying in Polperro all those years ago, we gave it a try and were instantly smitten.
Fowey sits on one side of a wide estuary (the River Fowey), with Polruan—a smaller village—on the wooded hillside opposite. They are charming places, clustering around the water’s edge, with a passenger ferry running between the two and further up river, a small car ferry at Bodinnick (next to Ferryside, once the home of Daphne du Maurier, an author whose Cornwall-set novels are amongst my favourites).

Polruan and the house on the headland

When I sat down to pen a contemporary romance set in Cornwall, these settlements, (with a smidgen of Polperro thrown into the mix), became my inspiration for Polkerran, the fictitious village in the book. I drew a map of my imaginary place, closing off the river to make a sweeping bay (known by the locals as ‘the Cove’) and chose two prominent properties on opposite headlands to feature in the story: the titular cottage, and Harbourwatch, a large gothic-style property occupied by a somewhat grumpy and reclusive writer.


Although we now live in Switzerland, this was a fantastic excuse to take several ‘research’ trips to Fowey, and I spent the time walking, writing and gazing out across the bay at the large property in Polruan I had decided was my cottage in a Cornish cove. The actual house was probably built in the early 20th century, but in the story it becomes a substantial cottage, with old-fashioned features.
Cornwall: county of my heart, and I’m delighted to now be able to call it ‘home’ when I’m with my characters in Polkerran.

Thank you for visiting, Cass – and for the beautiful photos! The Cottage in a Cornish Cove is a lovely feel-good romance with great characters and a real sense of place.

Orphaned as a baby and raised by uncaring relatives, much of Anna Redding’s happiness as a child came from the long summer holidays spent with an elderly family friend, Aunt Meg, in the coastal village of Polkerran.

With Aunt Meg’s passing, Anna is drawn back to the West Country, relocating to the Cornish cove where she was once so happy. Filled with memories, she hopes to perhaps open a B&B—and perhaps cross paths with Alex Tremayne again, a local boy she used to have a major crush on and who only had to walk past Anna to make her heart flutter.

Settling into her new life, and enjoying her work for the older, reclusive and—to be honest—often exasperating Oliver Seymour, Anna is delighted when Alex reappears in Polkerran and sweeps her off her feet.

The stars finally seem to be aligned, but just as Anna thinks all she’s ever wished for is within reach, a shock discovery brings everything under threat, and she discovers she’s living a dream that isn’t hers.

Can Anna rescue the new life she has made for herself and, when the testing moment comes, will anyone be there to hold her hand?

You can find out more about Cass and her books on her websites, here and here, and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

A Cottage in a Cornish Cove is available from Amazon UK, Amazon US, Kobo, Barnes & Noble Nook, Smashwords, and the Apple iBookStore.

An avid bookworm since childhood, Cass Grafton writes the sort of stories she loves to read – heart-warming, character driven and strong on location. Having moved around extensively and lived in three countries, she finds places inspiring and the setting of her novels often becomes as much a part of the story as her characters.

She leans heavily towards the upbeat and insists on a happy ever after. As one of her favourite authors, Jane Austen, once wrote, ‘let other pens dwell on guilt and misery’.

Cass loves travelling, words, cats and wine but never in the same glass. She has two grown up children and currently splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband and imaginary cats, and England, where she lives with her characters.

The cove in The Cottage in a Cornish Cove

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The ‘J’ books… #A-Z books 📚

This is an adaptation of something I saw on Twitter – people were posting 26 books in 26 days, each title beginning with a different letter of the alphabet. Don’t worry – I’m planning on taking around 26 months to get to Z. Each month I’ll post a newish book I’ve enjoyed, plus a children’s book and an older book.

 

Today, it’s the ‘J’ books:

 

 

I’m a huge fan of Elly Griffith’s Dr. Ruth Galloway books. The Janus Stone is the second in the series, and it’s a good one. Two children went missing forty years ago… and now, bones are discovered when an old house is demolished. And someone is trying to frighten forensic archeologist Ruth…

 

 

 

 

 

Jo’s Boys is the fourth and last in Louisa Alcott’s ‘Little Women’ series. I went to see the new film recently, and dived straight into the books when I came home. Jo’s Boys is more about the boys than Jo, but we still see what’s been happening to the March family over the years. A nostalgic read.

 

 

 

What else could the ‘older book’ be? Jane Eyre needs no introduction. I visited the Brontë Parsonage the last time I was in England – it gave me goosebumps, standing in the room where Charlotte Brontë had penned Jane Eyre, and hearing how ‘To Walk Invisible’, the film about the Brontë siblings,  was made.

 

 

 

Coming next month: the ‘K’ books. This could be a challenge…
(The Cold Cold Sea is just 99p on a Kindle Monthly Deal all February – grab it while it’s hot!)

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The Writing Life: 5 things on my desk…

Around ninety-five per cent of my writing is done at my desk. It’s not a very tidy desk, but it’s at a window overlooking a wood, so the view is spectacular in all seasons. On the photo, taken from my office chair (you can just see my screen bottom right), it’s around five o’clock last Friday afternoon – almost sunset. I’ll spare you a photo of the desk itself.  #notaprettysight

I like my desk; we’ve got into a lovely writing rut, the two of us, and I need every one of the approximately 297 items that live on it. Here are a few of the most important:

1) My tiger. He’s really a screencleaner, but his main function here is to provide a wrist rest while I’m using the mouse. If I don’t have him, my wrist aches all the time I’m mousing around. I’ve tried proper wrist rests, but none were half as good as Tiger.

 

2) My magnetic wobbly pen. The brilliant thing about it is – it never gets lost. You stick the pen into the holder and it stands up, ready to grab next time. No searching, no time wasted. Best of all, you can buy refills for it, so it’ll last forever. Of course, if my desk was tidier I might not have to search…

 

3) My computer specs. These are  especially designed to remove glare from the screen while you’re typing. The moment I put them on, my eyes say, Ahhhh! Writing a book means staring at a word doc for hours every week, and these really do make a difference.

 

4) My sticks bowl. One of my sons made this at primary school – I love it. I always save the day’s work onto at least two sticks, as well as having it on a cloud. No way do I want a repetition of what happened a year or two ago when I clicked something I shouldn’t have. Here’s the bowl looking pretty with just one stick – I removed another four sticks, three batteries, a memory card from a camera, a metal guardian angel, my Tippex roller, two paperclips and a 5 cent coin for the photo…

 

5) Last but not least – my sucky sweeties, to help when my writing gets stuck. These ones are from Aldi and with yoghurt, fruit and no sugar they’re not really unhealthy… are they? (Don’t answer that.)
(The red ones are the best.)

 

So there you have it, five must-haves on my writing desk. What are yours???

 

 

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Coming soon – book nine. 📘 And two goodbyes…

Image by jeresta from Pixabay

Who was it said that writing a book is a marathon and not a sprint? Two or three years ago, an idea started jogging around in my head. A couple of news stories had been hitting the headlines, about people who’d disappeared, sometimes for years, and then emerged again, to the joy and also the horror of their families.

Plotting and planning is a lovely stage of the writing process. You’re thinking all the time, what if…? Ideas and scenes swirl around in your head, and slowly, slowly, the characters emerge.

In this one we have Nicola, who is trying to hold her family together. And Kelly, who rebels against everything. Ed, who has put his past behind him and built a new life. Rob, who has dealt with tragedy once already. And Mia, who loves life and doesn’t remember what happened when she was a baby.

These five, ably assisted by a few minor characters, tell the story of someone who runs away – away from the past? From the present? From friends, family – themself?

I started to write, and of course one of the first things you need is a location for your book. This one has two, but the main action takes place in Cornwall, where I spent several wonderful holidays as a child.

Image by Klaus Stebani from Pixabay

This isn’t the first book I’ve set near St Ives; Chosen Child centres around this lovely town too. I enjoyed the months I spent writing, sitting at my desk in N.E. Switzerland, with my head in Cornwall all the time. The Runaway is written now, and edited, and will be published in ebook on March 24th, with the paperback following on nearer the summer. Big thanks right here to everyone at Fabrian Books – a great team!
I’ll be sharing more details soon, including the amazing cover.

I’ll finish up with more thanks. Last week, a little indie bookshop closed in nearby Liechtenstein – not really a sad event, because the owner is retiring to help look after the next generation in her family. But I’ll miss my trips to Vaduz – I usually went with a bag of my own books and returned with a bag of other people’s!  Here’s the scenery that met us last week. Big thanks too to all at McOwl’s for their support over the years.

And I can’t stop without mentioning Mary Higgins Clark, who died last week at the age of 92. She truly was ‘the queen of suspense’ and her books – over fifty of them – gave pleasure to so many people over the years. The biggest thanks of all.

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The ‘I’ books… #A-Z books 📚

This is an adaptation of something I saw on Twitter – people were posting 26 books in 26 days, each title beginning with a different letter of the alphabet. Don’t worry – I’m planning on taking around 26 months to get to Z. Each month I’ll post a newish book I’ve enjoyed, plus a children’s book and an older book.

 

This time, it’s the ‘I’ books:

 

Bea Davenport and I go all the way back to 2013, when our first books were published within a few weeks of each other and we did various bookshop and library events together. In Too Deep tells the story of Maura, who flees her home and her past. Maura’s best friend Kim is dead – did Maura help to kill her, as she thinks? I’m a huge fan of Bea Davenport’s writing. As well as crime fiction, she also writes children’s and YA books. All highly recommended!

 

 

 

In the High Valley by Susan Coolidge is the fifth and last of the ‘Katy’ books: What Katy Did, What Katy Did at School, and What Katy Did Next are the better-known ones, and are followed by Clover and In the High Valley. The first three were favourites when I was a child, so I was pleased to learn, years later, that another two existed.

 

 

 

 

I Leap Over the Wall by Monica Baldwin is my ‘older book’ choice. In 1914, aged twenty-one, Monica Baldwin entered a convent (she writes about this in The Called And The Chosen). Twenty-eight years later, she leaves, and has to get to grips with daily life outside of her enclosed order. Meanwhile, the world is now at the height of the Second World War. Both are fascinating books.

 

 

Coming next month: the ‘J’ books.
Footnote: The Cold Cold Sea is on a UK/US 99p/c kindle deal this weekend.

 

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