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book of the week - The Stranger by Kate Riordan
8 August 2018

What a brilliant cover! The Stranger by Kate Riordan is my latest must-read for the summer. The way she weaves her wartime tale is very evocative of the era, intertwining colourful characters and vivid settings and with a premise that's so cleverly written it keeps you wanting to read more to find out what leads to the dramatic opening. I'm loving the period stories atm, and this, set during evacuation in a coastal town, features land girls - posh ladies from London, out of place in a seaside setting amongst country folk. Once again I'm llistening to the audio book and there are several narrators, helping to move the story along, reading distinct segments of the book. One of them has a peculiar way of splitting up the narration but overall it's good, particularly the dialogue and you can feel the emotions of the time, beset with tension of class differences and strict rules about behaviour of the era. A romance rekindled and lots of secrets in the big house, keep you page turning. Very good and highly recommended for a summer read.

When you're the outsider, who do you trust? 

Cornwall, 1940. For decades, Penhallow Hall has stood frozen in time, protecting the secrets of its isolated inhabitants. But the far corners of England are no shelter from the war, and Penhallow must finally open its doors to strangers. 

Three newcomers arrive, each looking to escape their past. They adjust easily to the routine - nightly blackouts, the threat of invasion - but tensions mount, and secrets are forced into the open. For one of them is not there by choice. And then, in the hushed hours of deepest night, a young woman is taken by the sea. 

Was it simply a tragic accident? Or should the inhabitants of Penhallow have been more careful about whom they invited in?

more here on Amazon


Other News

- writing for therapy - did you know that writing out your feelings can be very therapeutic? This topic is explored in a new blog explaining more here.

- Review for Retreats for You by top author Nikki Moore - Nikki recently visited our retreat in North Devon and has done the most lovely write up here - do go read it! And if you'd like to come too, email us for info and dates This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - and see more on our website here -

- Yoga Retreats - we are happy to offer full board breaks for writers with a daily stretching session to help tired muscles after hours at the keyboard. A last minute retreat is available -

13th August - 17th August.

Or join us on October 22-26.

- 'Just Write' weeks - we are available most months of the year, Monday to Friday, full board including wine with supper, afternoon snacks and hot drinks, with a mini home gym, massage chair and summer house to get away from everything and finish - or begin - that novel. With over fifty finished novels from former guests on our bookshelves, we are proud to have been helping writers write for around ten years. Join us on - 

17th - 21st September

Themed weeks with Tutors.  We have experts offer tuition at our retreat too - join us - 

12th November for flash fiction week with Retreat West run by Amanda Saint

26th - 30th November for a writing workshop week for novelists with award winning Richard and Judy author Julie Cohen - my mentor! 


email us for more information and to book - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


best wishes




Beginners’ Guide And if you’re a complete beginner and want to self-publish, my basic guide can be found here - beginner's tips for self-publishing - a summary of info, sites and links to help you on your way. Including my guest blog on prestigious industry website,, which is also a fabulous resource for beginners. And advanced writers!  Go here to read more.

Also - launched  in 2018, Jericho press is the new name for Writers' Workshop - and their £30 a month subs will get you all sorts of free info about how to write a novel and how to self publish. MORE HERE.

Archives Don’t forget to check out the other archives (to the left) for even more fabulous hints, tips, links and blogs.

My books - For the full list of my fiction and non fiction novels, novellas, short stories - info and links to buy them just go here. or see below.

As usual, here’s the round up of my own titles! I’d appreciate a review on Amazon (go here) andGoodreads (go here)! Enjoy! x


eBooks - all available on Amazon – paperback or eBook (kindle or kindle app or kindle on PC or Mac)

paperbacks – five fiction titles all available in paperback – via Amazon – see below.




 HAWAIIAN TRILOGY (2013/4) – romantic fiction in either steamy or PG options!

 Book 1 Hawaiian Escape Steamy or Hawaiian Escape PG, the prequel to Hawaiian Affair - is now available on Amazon in eBook or paperback.

 Book 2 Hawaiian Affair Steamy - now called Take a Chance on Me, with Choc Lit publisher available on Amazon. Paperback can be ordered from almost all bookshops. Reached no 79 in WHSmithsTravel charts.

 Book 3 Hawaiian Retreat - Helen's Story - Just click this link to see steamy version. Paperback also available


DIARY OF A WANNABE SHOPPING CHANNEL PRESENTER – a stand alone story – Bridget Jones meets Alan Partridge meets Eddie Murphy in ‘Holy Man’ –click here to buy Ebook on amazon, and click here to buy paperback.



 ‘When Dreams Return’ (2014) – spooky romantic short story – when Chelle’s pal Sara gets her to conjure up her ideal man with a full moon magic spell, she gets more than she bargained for… also appears in Hocus Pocus anthology.

 The Valentine’s Surprise (2010) is a short story proving it’s never too late to find your Sir Galahad!

Also – for Hallowe’en – an anthology of short spooky stories by 13 authors including many new shorts and my When Dreams Return in paperback! Hocus Pocus ’14 – ebook or paperback.

 'Battle of the Exes', written for Valentine's Day 2015, features in 'Roses are Red' anthology of six short stories on Amazon ebook and paperback too.



 Till the Fat Lady Slims 2.0 – the ‘When’ Diet - is my semi-autobiographical weight loss book – originally published in 2000. It was updated for 2014 to include the latest thinking about nutrition. Learn how to eat like slim people do and published on Amazon as TTFLS 2.0

It was followed a year later by Till the Fat Lady Slims 3.0 – Tips and Tale to Inspire on amazon which introduced new concepts and latest theories on gut bacteria and the inner chimp plus six guises of Freedom Eater.

 Go here to get its predecessor (read 2.0 first) Till the Fat Lady Slims 2.0 – the When diet on amazon

Choc-Lit, UK independent publisher, gave it a revamp and put it on order in Bookshops early 2017 - published just as 'Till the Fat Lady Slims' and with a black silhouette cover, it pulls together elements of all the predecessors, and is a good place to begin if you haven't read any of it yet. Go here to get the Choc Lit 2017 Till the Fat lady Slims on Amazon or order in bookshops.

Amazon review - January 2018 - 

This is a great book and so easy to identify with the author. I have been there and reading this book was like a breath of fresh air. I took on board what was written and lost 3 pounds in the first week. I am still losing but I don't dwell on food or think about it all day which is brilliant. I feel I can get on with my life and food is in its proper place. I eat when I'm hungry and because I am hungry, I enjoy the food all the more. If you are struggling and have tried every diet known to woman - like I have - buy this book. You will not regret it. It is turning my life around and I feel so much more positive than I did.



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