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Debbie Flint

Charlie Bears will be coming down to my Vintage Pop Up Tea Rooms in Devon Feb 18,19thHow exciting! We are doing a bit of a fundraiser for Medical Detection Dogs too that weekend and a couple of the actual dogs themselves will be coming along – am so proud to be involved and it makes me smile knowing our help is contributing to irreplaceable canine companionship which changes lives. More here. Book it in your diary if you live nearby – and come try our homemade cakes and exquisite teas in bone china cups in a vintage setting – can’t wait! Sheepwash is EX215NE if you want to check out how far away you are from Retreats For You.

Published in My Charity

it's lovely when a fellow author gets a truly important break, and for Choc Lit, my publisher, that comes once a year in the form of the 'Search for a Star' contest. Amongst stiff competition, Morton S Gray won through and this month her 'Girl on the Beach' came out to rave reviews!

Who is Harry Dixon?

When Ellie Golden meets Harry Dixon, she can’t help but feel she recognises him from somewhere. But when she finally realises who he is, she can’t believe it – because the man she met on the beach all those years before wasn’t called Harry Dixon. And, what’s more, that man is dead.

 

For a woman trying to outrun her troubled past and protect her son, Harry’s presence is deeply unsettling – and even more disconcerting than coming face to face with a dead man, is the fact that Harry seems to have no recollection of ever having met Ellie before. At least that’s what he says …

 

But perhaps Harry isn’t the person Ellie should be worried about. Because there’s a far more dangerous figure from the past lurking just outside of the new life she has built for herself, biding his time, just waiting to strike.

 

‘Intriguing and, ultimately, satisfying, with a wonderful romantic element.’ Bestselling Author, Sue Moorcroft.

 

Already getting rave reviews – like this one – “You will not be able to put down this book until the mystery above has been resolved. The book gives you details about both their pasts from their own perspective and how they ended up in the same small town. A real page turner. Hope Morton S Gray will write more great books like this one.”

 

Get it here on amazon

Other News
- free video tutorials - is your idea for a book any good? the Writers' Workshop gang are coming up trumps again with this little series of helpful videos - go watch this one here.
 

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, TheCreativePenn.com, Go here to read more.

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

Best wishes

Debs

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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) and Goodreads (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.

 

 

FICTION

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 in both PG original and steamy (just released last week!).

Book 2 Hawaiian Affair Steamy - now called Take a Chance on Me, with Choc Lit publisher available on Amazon. Paperback coming to shops Dec 2015! yay!

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.

 

SHORT STORIES

‘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!

And Work in Progress, a compendium in paperback of Dairy of a Wannabe plus the two short stories in one volume.

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.

NON-FICTION

Till the Fat Lady Slims 2.0 – the ‘When’ Diet - is my semi-autobiographical weight loss book – updated for 2014 to include the latest thinking about nutrition. Learn how to eat like slim people do.

Go here to get Till the Fat Lady Slims 3.0 – Tips and Tale to Inspire on amazon

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

Till the Fat Lady Slims 2017 version - 'how I broke free from Food Prison forever'

now available in bookshops to order, and online on all platforms, as well as on amazon here.

Have a lovely week

d

 

 

 

come join us on Saturday to help Linda Magistris raise funds to kick off the new charity Good Grief Trust. I will be there and so will lots of bargains!

http://www.wandsworthguardian.co.uk/news/15057741.New_bereavement_charity_to_host_fundraising_event/?ref=fbshr

The event will take place from 11am to 3pm on Saturday February 4 at St. Anselm's Church, Old Hall, Balham High Rd.

"Good quality" donations are wanted. For more information or to make a donation please visit gofundme site.

x

Published in My Charity

Had another super week even though I was ill and had to do something unheard of and call in sick over the weekend! Boo! Here's one of my posts about it all on Facebook (don't forget to 'like' this page on Fbk to see my updates as they happen.) But Wendy and I (my partner in crime at the guest house/writing retreat where I am now helping out half the week) went to do 'mystery shopping' to gen up on how to run a vintage tea rooms in the summer, and came across The old Forge in Chagford - it was fab.Lovely place, and Richard, or should I say Doctor Richard, was delightful. And a good cook. I did ask if he had an older brother! hehe! By the way another short romance at the bottom of this blog - specially for you in the run up to Valentine's Day!

also this week - 

My sis takes the mick out of me - in the Alps! just had to show you this video too - my sis Linda doing her version of my vlogs, whilst on her ski hol in the Alps. Well it's one reason to buy Wintertracks! Check out her intonation too - cheeky moo! lolol. Watch it here!

Daisy has designs on dinner - well, she wishes! Just watch this - what a naughty dog! Good job I made it out in time! It was a plate of dinner put out there by Deborah at Retreats for You, but we didn't know why Daisy was trying to get it till the end - just look what's under the lid, at the end of this video!

Book of the week is from my lovely Choc Lit colleague Victoria Cornwall - her book The Thief's Daughter is all about smugglers in the 1800s - coool! more here

Early Bird order links include this one for the amazing Amazon Echo - go here to get it early or see it on air from Friday midnight on QVC UK. And the Dyson one is coming too ready for Sunday on air - a new V8 cordless anyone?

Plus check out this week's QVC blog with lots of sneaky peeks of this week's upcoming deals - it will appear here on Friday pm 27th.

Have a lovely week and do try to come down to RFY if you can! More info about pricing and what's included is here on the RFY website, and just email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have some dates in mind this year - remember two spaces are left for Feb 6th if you fancy joining us short-notice. Exercise and walks will be part of it, if you want!

Best wishes

 

Debs

xx

Ps my new Till the Fat Lady Slims book is now out on Amazon here, and there’s such an amazing support system on Facebook on theTTFLS group here - do come join us!

New QVC - featuring sneaky peeks and pics of deals from the next seven days so do go look! NB any Early Bird order links will appear first on my blog page here - do go look on a regular basis!

for info about my paperbacks and ebooks for sale now, go here 

for all my social media and to keep in touch go here.

 

SHORT STORY 

'Follow the Joy'

A short story by Debbie Flint

 

‘No Henrietta I told you before not to do that,’ Simone said, weary of yet more three year old’s fingerprints on her cut-glass vase. ‘Andrea when I asked you to pop by with the girls, I did kind of expect you to let me know in advance, darling, I’m a bit at sixes and sevens at the moment with everything up in the air – settling in a new place and all, you know how it is.’

‘Sorry Am-mah,’ Andrea said, reaching up and kissing her grandma’s cheek, whilst simultaneously removing a cut glass squirrel ornament from inquisitive butter- smeared hands. ‘I just ended up missing the appointment with the hairdresser due to the snow storm so we thought we’d swing by here instead.’ She cleaned the glass ornament with a baby-wipe and replaced it higher up on the shelving. ‘Here, let’s move these other things as well, madam was trying to open them. Up higher, that’ll sort little legs out, she won’t be able to reach past…’ Andrea scanned her finger across the spines of all the books … ‘Stephen King. Horror? I’ve never had you down for a horror fan?’

‘Thank you, yes, well, eclectic tastes me and your grandpa – but he was mostly the Stephen King fan, not me. That and sci-fi.’

‘Yes I knew about the Sci-fi – he made us watch all the box sets of Star Wars and Star Trek, remember?’ Andrea continued, picking up an ancient gilt-framed photograph which had fallen to the floor and handing it to Simone. ‘My first love was R2D2 because of him.’

‘My first love was him,’ said Simone, wistfully.

Andrea put her hand over the old lady’s bony fingers as she closed them around the frame. ‘That’s a lovely photograph of you and grandpa, why don’t you come through and tell me about it over tea?’

Simone would have replied but was caught by a sudden coughing fit. Andrea patted her hand affectionately and changed the subject.

‘Now what about this new teapot I bought you?’ Then turning to her little one, she added, ‘Shall we help get some sandwiches prepared, Henny? We can all have a bit of cake … yes, sweetheart, cake! … then maybe little madam here will have a tiny weeny sleepy byes and me and my grandma can have a proper catch up. I can tell you all about the new job her dad’s starting on Monday. It really looks like a permanent one this time,’ she trailed off, as she walked away into the kitchen pulling the little girl reluctantly behind her.

Simone followed slowly after them and hesitated as she gazed at the picture of her much younger self beaming ear to ear next to an amazingly broad shouldered sheep farmer in the scorching Australian outback holding the sheep SHE had just sheared. So long ago. So many memories. She sighed and put it awkwardly up on the top shelf out of the way. As she did so, the back moved, still slightly open, and a little piece of paper came drifting out from the back of it, and she felt her heart skip a beat. She hadn’t seen that for … it had to be, fifty years? Tentatively she picked it up and delicately unfolded it, almost tissue paper thin but still the note was legible. It was a series of dots and dashes and she felt a tiny tear prickle at the corner of her eye. Their code. It was how they’d communicated back in the day when she’d gone to be the cook on the sheep farm and relationships between staff were banned – specially with the only woman in the ten strong team, the bosses were particularly sensitive about risking someone as important as the cook. Ranch hands could come and go, but cooks were few and far between … the memories came flooding back. And the joy……….

Simone was just twenty four. She’d worked her way around Australia for three years already and this was her last stop before the long journey home, a journey which would take her back to her planned life as an accountant. This sojourn had been suggested by her mother, who saw the longing in her only daughter’s eyes every time the new fangled television they’d just bought showed programmes about distant lands. Her university friends had all gone travelling, so why couldn’t Simone? It simply wasn’t fair. But she was too precious, apparently, so it had taken a good deal of bargaining power to bypass the objections and end up with the compromise of following her cousin Sean around a couple of Uncle Mitch’s farms, closely guarded by Sean and his brothers, whilst she hopefully got the wanderlust out of her system. It had nearly worked. This farm was by far the biggest, the most problematic and it turned out that it held her greatest challenge of all – not just catering for hungry ranch hand gangs, but a challenge of the heart – not to fall in love with Brady - the most hunky worker she’d ever laid eyes on. One who clearly thought the same about her as she did about him, if his first reaction was anything to go by.

 ‘I know you,’ he’d said. ‘I used to watch you years ago when I was fourteen, playing rough and tumble with Sean and his brothers in the yard. Still looking just like you did back then – specially the hair.’

Self-consciously Simone had reached up to her now blonde locks, tied up in a messy bun on top of her head, hurriedly scraping the escaped bits back into place.

‘Well I’m flattered. So, you’re plumber as well as sheep shearer and general mucker-inner then are you?’

He laughed. A deep throaty laugh and her heart skipped a beat as his eyes crinkled in amusement. God he was handsome when he smiled. But he often looked so grumpy. She wondered why. ‘Whatever needs doing, I’m your man,’ he said, wiping his face on his shirt sleeve, but there was a moment – a definite moment. Hopefully uncle Mitch wasn’t watching.

‘Jack of all trades master of none then?’ Simone had teased. She couldn’t help herself – she was known for her sharp tongue and he’d asked for that one, surely. She watched his mouth quirk and felt an unexpected pang of desire course through her body. Dammit. He seemed to be looking at her mouth now, wasn’t he? Was she looking at his?

He tore his gaze away and knelt down. ‘So what did you girls block the sink up with this time?’ he demanded, as he peeled off his sweats and kneeled down on the floor at her feet, leaving on only his vest and a battered pair of denim jeans. The vest didn’t really cover very much, least of all his well-defined pecs. She tried hard not to look.

‘I didn’t block it up – it just kind of happened,’ she replied, realising how stupid that sounded. ‘Er… I don’t know, it just won’t empty any more.’ He gave her a ‘you think’ face, and continued. She shut up trying to be funny – what was it with this guy and his effect on her heart. She’d better not tell him. Because that could mean biiiiig trouble.

He spent a while poking around near the u-bend whilst she scurried around him, still trying to prepare the lunch, increasingly flustered and not happy with his proximity to her legs and the way he kept looking round at her every time she passed. Well that wasn’t true – in fact, she was MORE than pleased at the way he kept looking at her, but it didn’t help things. She’d had a spotless record as far as her uncle was concerned and she didn’t want to start muddying the waters now. And she certainly didn’t want to cause any trouble for this guy. She could wangle her way out of it, after all, it was her uncle and she was his favourite niece. His only niece. But this guy, he could be given a fine or even be fired.  She shook herself to try to shift the feeling of attraction between them. It was probably all in her mind anyway. Lord knows it had been a couple of years since her last boyfriend had ended with a damp squib exit and she was too out of touch to know if anything was real any more.

‘Well, not emptying is a definite sign of a blocked sink,’ he said, eventually, speaking slowly, deliberately slowly until she realised he was teasing her. ‘That’s why I need this.’ And produced a plunger, bringing it up between them in a comedy way. It made her laugh out loud, throwing her head back, and relieving the tension. He laughed too, a low almost guttural sound, a tiny bit like a famous actor, Sid something, on the black and white programmes on that television back home. His laugh made her laugh even more. She felt as though her whole body was filled with an indescribable joy.  Then suddenly they stopped, and his eyes locked on hers. His eyes were blue, deep blue and entrancing. It felt for all the world like he was about to kiss her until all of a sudden her cousin’s voice came booming across the kitchen behind them.

‘Put her down, Brady, and get back to the plunger. We need our chow, cuz, will it be long?’

They stepped apart and got their work done, bantering the whole while, as he completed his jobs and she did hers, trying to avoid each other’s gaze for as long as possible, whilst she finished preparing the huge vat of steaming soup and bread, and got it ready to serve on the huge wooden table they all ate around each lunchtime. Brady poked, plunged and prodded until finally the sink was running clean away and he finally excused himself with a quip and left the room.

As she watched the swarthy band of brothers devour the food she’d made them, Simone’s eyes drifted over to where Brady sat slightly on his own at one end of the table. He’s a bit of a loner, her cousin had said to her. Sworn himself off women since one broke his heart and took his bank balance, apparently. Well how wild west, she thought to herself, and smiled, just at the point that he looked up at her and caught her eye. She stared at him. And so did Mitch, the owner of the ranch.

‘Brady, a word in your shell-like,’ he boomed, making the whole table shake, as the team went silent, and Brady wiped his mouth and followed Mitch outside for what was obviously a dressing down.

 

Later that night, Brady cursed. He was hot in his bunk and the stillness of the night didn’t help take his mind off the most amazing eyes he’d ever seen. Blue like his own. Every sense in his body told him how attracted he was to her. The moment he saw her in the kitchen, her beautiful smile, big blue eyes, the shape of her mouth and just being in her presence made him sooooo excited. He wanted to find a 100 different things wrong in the kitchen just to keep talking to her. And according to some of the other guys, whose banter he could hear late at night from his bed, he’d learned how kind she was, and understanding, patient and generous. Dammit. Next time he’d have to avoid the jobs anywhere near her, or he could be in major trouble. And trouble was the last thing he needed so close to achieving his goal of paying back every dollar he owed since his scheming ex did a runner with his cash. But not all women were the same, were they? This one definitely seemed different. And the way she was looking at him too… What had his old Am-mah said? She’d told him once when he was small that when two people meet, sometimes there was more than just cool logic, sometimes your heart fills with joy so much that even against the odds, you had to move heaven and earth to be with the person that fills your head so much that you go to sleep thinking of them every night and the next day they are the first thing on your mind. Or was that all nonsense? The next morning Brady found out it was probably exactly as his Am-mah had said, the wise old woman who helped bring him up and make him appreciate women. Once of the reasons he’d been taken for a ride with the last one – too trusting. Well no more, he decided, and went and asked for a transfer to a different team.

 

Over the next few weeks, as Brady was put on a different shift he rarely came into contact with Simone. She looked out every day to see if he was amongst the ranch hands joining the team at the table for chow, but only on the odd occasion did he show up, at which point her heart began racing with an unbelievable anticipation of something that just could not be. He was forbidden to spend much time with her and she was wise to stay out of his way if he wanted to keep his job. And considering it was a day’s truck journey just to get to the next ranch, it was a good idea to avoid getting him the sack.  Plus, even having him at a distance still worked, it was better than nothing. If it had to be all or nothing, she’d rather have this. She’d taken to asking the others about him and found out that the last woman had indeed treated him badly – so badly he’d lost the chance of starting his own farm and was working his way towards paying back a huge loan he’d been given by his previous boss. He was an honourable man as well then. Too bad he was proving elusive. But still Simone’s heart filled with joy whenever he was around.

Then one day she had to take the old jeep and drive out to where that day’s team were tending the sheep rather than the men taking a break to come back in. There had been a spate of thefts in the area and everyone was on red alert. In fact, they were all learning a special code to help communicate over the long distances at night. ‘I know morse code,’ she blurted out, as she distributed the food parcels. ‘My uncle taught us it during our school holidays, he was in the army and needed to…’

‘Don’t you bother with it,’ Donno, one of the older, more arrogant ranch hands had sneered at her ‘Women don’t need to know about dots and dashes for working in the kitchen.’ She turned bright red and was flustered when the others just laughed, shrugged and carried on their quizzing. That night she decided to brush up on her skills and was sitting in the kitchen late when everyone had gone to bed when Brady came in with an empty glass in his hand. She turned, skipped a beat of her heart, and locked looks with him. Neither moved for an instant. Then he smiled. He indicated to the glass and gestured to the tap, then walked across to the sink.

‘Seems Donno was a bit rude to you today. The boys told me.’ He filled the glass and drained it, all the while watching her. His eyes were bright and sparkling, and the sexy little smile lines appeared at the corner of his eyes as his face lit up whilst he looked at her.

‘I’m used to it,’ she said, ‘I ignore him. I’ll get the better of him tomorrow as I’ll know every letter off by heart and I’ll answer before he does. Mitch has said I can join the morning lesson. Just in case I ever need morse code, it might be handy.’ She told Brady about her uncle and playing secret agent games. He was impressed. He tested her a couple of times and she only slipped up once or twice. She tested him and he knew almost every reply. Before they knew it, he had been there two hours, the candle had burned low and the air had gone cold. Simone looked at the clock and gasped in surprise. ‘Oh my god – look at the time. Better stop now, early start as usual. I’ll look terrible in the morning.’

‘I’ve seen you in the morning and you always look flawless,’ Brady shot back without hesitation. Simone’s jaw opened then closed again. ‘Th-thank you,’ was all she could manage. He just smiled and bowed his head, suddenly aware of what he’d said.

‘I better be turning in,’ he said, and placed the glass he was drinking from with the others on the counter just as her hand reached out to get one herself. Their hands touched and before she knew it he was holding her in his arms and holding her close, hugging her tightly their lips only inches apart. But he did not kiss her. ‘I definitely should not be doing this,’ he said, pushing back a strand of her hair from her face, ‘but big hugs often help people remember morse code. Good luck in that classroom tomorrow morning.’ Then he gently let her go and, winking, bade her goodnight and disappeared. Simone felt herself flush with overwhelming happiness. She knew in that instant, that instant of connection and warmth and a deep glow she’d never felt before, that he was the man for her. But her heart could not quite let go of the icy feeling it had, knowing that if anything happened between them he was out of a job and could not make the loan repayment deadline he faced. Nonetheless that night she fell asleep more happy than she’d been in years, knowing he felt the same way she did.

It made her more determined to do him proud and reply first to every single test question in the classroom the next day - faster than any of the men. Now the other men were laughing at Donno as she’d trounced him in every question. Pretty soon it was Simone who took on the mantle of teaching the other necomers how to recognise the code which made up letters, and then the short cuts if they needed them. Pretty soon she was fluent. It helped the team out on patrol no end, and as they all took their turn on the rota, Simone held regular quizzes to brush up their skills. Then one balmy evening as the native insects started their calling, in walked Brady’s shift.

As he entered the room, her heart dropped through her stomach. He was freshly showered, clean-shaven, handsome. By god if he was doing this deliberately she was in trouble tonight. And with only a short while left to go before she returned home for good. She called the group to order and began her reminders. They called out the answers, first to call getting a mark on the chalk board behind her. Old fashioned, but her idea of being in control. 

‘.... . .-.. .--.’ is pretty universal and it means…?’ she said.

‘Means help,’ said one of the men at the front.

‘Good. And this?’ she pointed at  ‘-.-. --- -- . / -. --- .—‘ on the board.

‘Come now,’ said Donno, to sniggers and elbows from his colleagues around him.

‘Correct, well done,’ Simone said, ignoring them.

Under his breath but not quiet enough for Simone not to hear he added ‘get you alone that’s what you’d be sayin to me.’ More laughter.

‘Why, ‘cos you couldn’t get it up?’ said a calm, deep voice from the side of the room. Brady. Leaning back against the wall by the door, cool as cucumber. Donno started to get up, but Brady leaned forward and with one quick motion, kicked the chair leg from under Donno and he stumbled sideways into his pals, who laughed at him even more. ‘Sorry Simone, ignore the children at the front. Do continue.’

‘Do continue,’ was all Donno could find to say, in a whiney voice. His mates weren’t laughing so hard now. And Simone continued.

At the end of the class, just after the last person left the room, Brady slunk back in again and closed the door behind him after checking up and down the corridor. Simone swallowed hard.

‘You’re not supposed to be alone in the same room as me,' she said. 'You asking for trouble?’

Without saying a word he scooped her up into his arms once again, and she felt the hard muscular body holding her close – yearning, her body answering its call. ‘I can’t stop myself. I just need to be near you, around you. I have been thinking of you ever since I first saw you. I just had to let you know and if you had said don’t be so daft, I would have accepted it as such.’

‘I would never have said that,’ she said, ‘I feel the same way.’

‘So I have a plan,’ he said. ‘Your cabin overlooks the lagoon, right? Well here’s what we should do…’

 

The next night, Simone was ready and waiting with the flashlight at the window near her bunk. Sure enough out of the distance came a flash, a mixture of short ones then long ones. She began to translate, her heart pounding out of her chest as his thoughts about her came tumbling out – without a sound, but surely the sweetest words she ever did hear. As sure as if he was saying them himself.

‘I … W..A..S….I..M..A..G..I..N..I..N..G ,’ he flashed out in code, ‘W..H..A..T….I..T…W..O..U..L..D…B..E….L..I..K..E…T..O…K..I..S..S….Y..O..U’

Simone nearly melted. Over the next two weeks they revealed inner most thoughts and dreams, sharing memories with each other, dreams for the future and a secret plan that could only be initiated the day he resigned as a ranch hand and could take the money, pay his debt, and with the little that remained, go get another loan which would help begin his life anew with a down payment on his own farm. A new start. He had to make it clear to Simone. He had to. It would be hard but without that independence what could he offer her. For Brady a new start was exactly what he needed. And he had a plan that he hoped would work. And it involved very careful handling of her uncle Mitch.

Soon it was the night before Simone was supposed to go back to the UK. A long long drive followed by a train followed by a series of flights. And in the early 1960s not many were that brave. Most stayed within their own comfort zones and few chased the dream. Or followed their joy. Simone wondered if she was his joy, truly. If it was For  Real. Or if she was just a way of spending time whilst he worked his way back to solvency. She would have sworn his feelings were genuine, and his words and the dots and dashes had all been so flattering, but still…

On the day she was supposed to go back to the UK, Simone had packed, said her goodbyes to the other kitchen staff, her favourite ranch hands and her uncle and cousin, and was ready to get into the jeep to depart back to the airport and ultimately back to England. But where was Brady. She’d asked whether, now she was leaving, Brady would be able to take her. Mitch had given her a little lecture but had done so with an amused face, now he knew she was leaving anyway. Would Brady be the one to take her back to the airport? But there was no sign of him. Or any other driver. Simone waited with her bags out by the entrance. She began to get worried. Brady surely only needed to go collect his wages and they could leave? Had there been a problem getting paid? She looked over when she heard a noise, and saw Brady being accompanied towards her by her uncle Mitch, with a face like thunder. She gulped. Oh-oh.

As he got nearer, Mitch tipped his hat upwards so he could see her better. ‘Brady here says you’ve been communicating with morse code for the last few weeks. That right?’ His voice was stern, his face surly. Simone looked at Brady who just nodded. So did she. Mitch looked angrily towards Brady, then spat ‘Give her the note.’

Simone felt the bottom fall out of her heart, a cold icy feeling infiltrating every bone in her body as Brady looked uncomfortable and pulled a small piece of paper out of his pocket. He looked at Mitch who jerked his head towards Simone. Brady stepped forwards and slowly held out the note for Simone to take. She felt foreboding in her body and hesitated.

‘Open it,’ demanded Mitch and then looked at Brady. She had to be mistaken, she could have sworn he winked at Brady. Confused, Simone opened the note and then stopped dead.

‘-- .- .-. .-. -.-- / -- .’ it read.

She digested its meaning and tears began to prickle in her eyes. ‘I don’t know what to say,’ she spluttered, barely able to see the note now for tears. ‘Is this right?’

Mitch stepped forward, and patted Brady on the back. ‘Sure is right. Go on,’ he nodded at Brady. Then turned his back.

Brady stepped closer to Simone and took her hands in his. Then he took her in his arms. Then he kissed her. He cupped her face in his hands and held her there for a moment, tenderly kissing her cheeks and her eyes and her nose. His hands were moving through her hair and suddenly his lips were upon hers, exploring her mouth with his tongue, eager, loving, passionate… hers. Hers, For Real. She felt so full of joy she thought her heart would burst.

‘Simone, you make sure you tell him your reply, OK? And tell that sister of mine when you get back home that you’re welcome back out here any time – next summer if you want to. That be long enough to learn bookeeping? I could do with a good accountant.’ And with that he was gone.

Simone turned towards Brady and could still barely speak. ‘Is this honestly, truly for real?’ she asked.

‘It’s for real,’ he replied. ‘And nothing’s going to change my mind. You’re worth it. This has never happened to me before, I didn’t go looking for it, but I just couldn’t stop it. And now it’s happened, I’m so glad. Because – if you want it to happen – I want to be a part of your life from now on.’ She didn’t reply and he looked worried. ‘Except…’ still she didn’t reply, so he continued. ‘Except if you Don’t want to. And I’ve got it all wrong. Normally I know my own mind, but you have thrown me into turmoil. This has bowled me over and goes against how I would normally behave…’ Simone just gazed into his eyes, speechless. ‘Can you help me out here? I thought we both had the same ideas about each other. I just know I need to be around you however this pans out. No one could have foreseen this.’  And with that she took her finger and placed it gently on his lips to quieten him.

‘Me neither,’ she said. ‘I just want to wrap my arms around you and hold on…’

 

 

Andrea was listening with rapt attention. Simone, Am-mah to her grandchildren, had paused, glistening eyes, her mind clearly firmly back in that day, fifty years ago and the fragile note in her hand. ‘And what happened then?’ Andrea urged. ‘Come on, what did that note mean? And what did you say?’

Simone’s now bony hands gently unfurled the little piece of ancient paper, and read it out.

‘It said ‘marry me.’’

Andrea gasped. ‘Really? That was sudden! What did you say?’

‘I said, the only thing I could have said in the circumstances,’ Simone sighed after an unbearably long pause, looking pained as though she was trying to recall something really important. ‘I said dash dot dash dash, dot, dot dot dot.’

‘Which means?’ Andrea asked, the anticipation in her face mounting.

‘Which means she told me yes,’ said an old crackly voice standing at the French doors. Simone stopped struggling to speak, and rose from the chair easily, then scurried towards him, the same old joy flooding her body, even now. He HAD followed the joy, he had come with her to England, then returned the following summer together to make their life out here, and he had been with her through thick and thin. And now he’d come back for her. Am-mah and her Brady held hands and he gently led her out through the French doors into the winter sunshine, not a sign of the snow storm from earlier, and if Simone wasn’t mistaken, she was sure she could hear the sound of sheep in the distance.

 

Back in the room, Andrea was still waiting. ‘Am-mah?’ she said. She reached out and rested her hand on the old lady’s, but it fell to the side of the armchair and the note fluttered to the floor. A peaceful, joyous look was on her face, and if Andrea didn’t know better, she would have said that she was finally happy once more. She gently patted her hand, tears in her eyes, and took her now sleeping little daughter out of the room to go find the care home manager. She’d been lucid almost to the end, although she’d been ill for the longest time, and now, Andrea realised with a jolt, she’d passed away exactly two years since her beloved Brady had done. Well at least they were together now, she thought, and picked up the phone to call her mother. A strange noise from the handset met her ears, and she shook herself. Surely that wasn’t the sound of dots and dashes… No, it had gone now. But stranger things have happened, she thought. In search of Joy.

 

 

FOR MORE SHORT STORIES CHECK OUT

- 'ROSES ARE RED' ANTHOLOGY HERE AND

- 'HOCUS POCUS' ANTHOLOGY HERE!

for the rest of my books, go here.

 

x

 

 

Published in Debbie's News

Now I've been listening to a lot of catch-up audiobooks lately, and ploughing my way through some super ones, including jackie Kabler's The Deadline, and The Buttonmaker's Daughter. But this week, this new one caught my eye. From fellow Choc Lit author, the lovely Victoria Cornwall, it's called The Thief's Daughter, and is my book of the week.

If you go here on Amazon you will see it is her first novel and so far it's got some great reviews. She can trace her Cornish roots back to the 1700s, and its this that's given her a love of that period.

Hide from the thief-taker, for if he finds you, he will take you away …
Eighteenth-century Cornwall is crippled by debt and poverty, while the gibbet casts a shadow of fear over the land. Yet, when night falls, free traders swarm onto the beaches and smuggling prospers.

Terrified by a thief-taker’s warning as a child, Jenna has resolved to be good. When her brother, Silas, asks for her help to pay his creditors, Jenna feels unable to refuse and finds herself entering the dangerous world of the smuggling trade.

Jack Penhale hunts down the smuggling gangs in revenge for his father’s death. Drawn to Jenna at a hiring fayre, they discover their lives are entangled. But as Jenna struggles to decide where her allegiances lie, the worlds of justice and crime collide, leading to danger and heartache for all concerned

One review said - 

"Set against the background of smuggling in Cornwall ,the story line was well thought out and researched. Smuggling and romance always seem to work together but it also covered the violence and severity of smuggling as well, which helped to add tension to the story. A very good read"

Do give it a go! To help you decide, do go watch this super little trailer for it on Youtube here - well done Victoria!

 
 
 
Other News
- free video tutorials - is your idea for a book any good? the Writers' Workshop gang are coming up trumps again with this little series of helpful videos - go watch this one here.
 

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, TheCreativePenn.com, Go here to read more.

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

Best wishes

Debs

X

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) and Goodreads (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.

 

 

FICTION

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 in both PG original and steamy (just released last week!).

Book 2 Hawaiian Affair Steamy - now called Take a Chance on Me, with Choc Lit publisher available on Amazon. Paperback coming to shops Dec 2015! yay!

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.

 

SHORT STORIES

‘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!

And Work in Progress, a compendium in paperback of Dairy of a Wannabe plus the two short stories in one volume.

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.

NON-FICTION

Till the Fat Lady Slims 2.0 – the ‘When’ Diet - is my semi-autobiographical weight loss book – updated for 2014 to include the latest thinking about nutrition. Learn how to eat like slim people do.

Go here to get Till the Fat Lady Slims 3.0 – Tips and Tale to Inspire on amazon

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

Till the Fat Lady Slims 2017 version - 'how I broke free from Food Prison forever'

now available in bookshops to order, and online on all platforms, as well as on amazon here.

Have a lovely week

d

 

 

It thrills me to report yet another successful book launch from one of my writing gang and Merryn Allingham has to be one of the most prolific I know. With 14 novels to her name since we first met at the Watermill, Posara in September 2009, she has made her name with period novels, and The Buttonmaker's Daughter is her latest. I have it on audiobook, I'm delighted to say, and it promises to be another well-researched belter from my lovely friend.

May, 1914. Nestled in Sussex, the Summerhayes mansion seems the perfect country idyll. But with a long-running feud in the Summers family and tensions in Europe deepening, Summerhayes’ peaceful days are numbered.

For Elizabeth Summer, the lazy quiet of her home has become stifling. A chance meeting with Aiden Kellaway, an architect’s assistant, offers the secret promise of escape. But to secure her family’s future, Elizabeth must marry well. A man of trade falls far from her father’s uncompromising standards.

As the sweltering heat of 1914 builds to a storm, Elizabeth faces a choice between family loyalty and an uncertain future with the man she loves.

One thing is definite: this summer will change everything.

The one thing I love about ex- English lecturer Merryn is that all her books are delightfully written and her prose is eloquent and evocative. A true delight. Add to that characters that you can really believe in and a story that pulls you along at a pace, and you know you are in for a great ride. Do get it now and also look out for more from Merryn, like The Girl from Cobb Street - last year's bestseller.

Get it on Amazon here

 

John Grisham Latest - The Whistler 

I am, it has to be said, a bit of a Grisham junkie. However, having been a bit disappointed with a couple of his most recent ones over the last few years, (Gray mountain - lacklustre heroine) I started listening to The Whistler with a bit of trepidation. I needn't have worried, as pretty soon I was sucked into the narrative and buffeted along by the sub plot undercurrents towards the reliably tense climaxes. I liked it - a lot. 

The most corrupt judge in US history. A young investigator with a secret informant. The electrifying new thriller.

Lacy Stoltz never expected to be in the firing line. Investigating judicial misconduct by Florida's one thousand judges, her cases so far have been relatively unexciting. That's until she meets Greg Myers, an indicted lawyer with an assumed name, who has an extraordinary tale to tell.

Myers is representing a whistle blower who knows of a judge involved in organised crime. Along with her gangster associates this judge has facilitated the building of a casino on an Indian reservation. At least two people who opposed the scheme are dead. Since the casino was built, the judge has made several fortunes off undeclared winnings. She owns property around the world, hires private jets to take her where she wishes, and her secret vaults are overflowing with rare books, art and jewels.

No one has a clue what she's been doing - until now.

Mixed reviews but mostly favourable. Get it on Amazon here.

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, TheCreativePenn.com, Go here to read more.

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

Best wishes

Debs

X

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) and Goodreads (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.

 

 

FICTION

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 in both PG original and steamy (just released last week!).

Book 2 Hawaiian Affair Steamy - now called Take a Chance on Me, with Choc Lit publisher available on Amazon. Paperback coming to shops Dec 2015! yay!

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.

 

SHORT STORIES

‘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!

And Work in Progress, a compendium in paperback of Dairy of a Wannabe plus the two short stories in one volume.

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.

NON-FICTION

Till the Fat Lady Slims 2.0 – the ‘When’ Diet - is my semi-autobiographical weight loss book – updated for 2014 to include the latest thinking about nutrition. Learn how to eat like slim people do.

Go here to get Till the Fat Lady Slims 3.0 – Tips and Tale to Inspire on amazon

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

Till the Fat Lady Slims 2017 version - 'how I broke free from Food Prison forever'

now available in bookshops to order, and online on all platforms, as well as on amazon here.

Have a lovely week

d

Well it’s another Valentines Day again soon, in QVC terms - we plan ahead, so here’s a little story just for you. See bottom of this blog to read it. Time to get my dose of romance once again by making it all up as usual, eh! Lol.

It’s not been an important day for me for so many years  - has it you? In fact, I ask to work it mostly, and this year is no exception. So do join me when I’m on air if you are in the same boat. And let’s face it, it’s a big boat. Floating above all those fish, staying right there in the sea. Best place for many of them… lol! Hope you have a good one though.

So I was asked this week by QVC if I had an appropriate tale of my own to tell as regards ‘that’ day, and the best I could come up with was that my very first proper Valentine, where I had no idea who it was from, was when I was about 13 or 14. I had a crush on a boy in the cricket team called Steven Whitefoot at the time, I recall, and he talked to me but nothing had happened. Anyway, there it was in the post, a card. All it said inside was ‘from WK’ and a question mark. I had not a clue – nada – nothing. I knew no one called William or Wayne or even Walter. Racked my brains, nothing. Turns out, he told me once we started going out, he was the ‘wicket keeper!!’ Der!!

Then came my married years, and we celebrated it. But since the divorce, in the last 16, I’ve had just two valentine’s days where cards have been received. The first was laced with a bad taste of an awful night. And the second was at last when I was pleased to finally be with someone who I could explain how important the day was to me. And then lo and behold he decided to book a flight and cleared off the day before, leaving a dozen cards in his wake but it fell on hollow ground. Oh well. Never mind. I've got a good feeling about this year, so you never know! Bout time, I hear you say, regulars. Well let's see. A psychic told me someone amazing is coming into my life and it's not anyone around me now. Yay! So if you meet him, point him in my direction will you? But in true Bridget Jones style, he can't be a f***wit, married or a cheater, must be solvent, GSOH etc etc.......... And false starts don't count. But what do we know of the future. So instead, I caught up with the past. 

Revisiting old flames. You know there’s always something very reassuring about being in the company of those who know you well. And Martin – in the pic above in a John Lewis café with me one day last week on the M40 - was my childhood sweetheart for four years, so we have history that can never be replaced – after all, as they say, you can’t make ‘old memories.’ It’s been a couple of years so it was about time we caught up. Well we were chatting about my (usually non-existent) love life, catching up with news and I asked him his story. I love hearing inspirational tales, don’t you? Well my old mate Martin’s got the most amazing relationship with his lovely wife Erica and we chatted about it all. He said that when he first met her things were complicated but that he knew right there and then that she was a hundred per cent the person for him and he would have moved heaven and earth to be with her as he couldn’t live without her and could simply see life no other way! How amazing huh? Isn’t that just perfect and precisely how things should be?

So why not set our bars that high, eh girls? Well we can try – or as the Carpenters say - I can dream can’t I! And so can you. There you go – a fab little ballad for the big day. One of my top tunes from the Carpenters. Have been sorting out old cds and songs and realised that Spotify has most of them! Including the soundtrack for LaLaLand – amaaaaaazing romantic movie I saw this week – big review on new QVC  blog out Friday here Do go see it. And the soundtrack is awesome too.

Also on Spotify and youtube, my fave tunes this week – posted some on Facebook - -

-          Kate Bush’s Snowed in in Wheeler Street from her last album – ft Elton john – incredible song and check out this amazing video to go with it too. Having just had my ancestry DNA chart analysed it’s even more fascinating……….

-          Daniel Bedingfield’s classic – one of my faves of all time

-          And this one from superb country supergroup Lady Antebellum – lovely song. The guy’s voice is my idea of perfect for songs like this and the lyrics are very thought provoking too.

- and allow me a little indulgence? Here's one of the best Adele songs ever, sung by some bird.

There you go! It’s always good to have a good binge-listen every now and then, and then shake yourself down and get back to real life. But if you’re in the mood to read some romance, my short story is below. It’s one I let Choc Lit have for their newsletter last year. Enjoy!

Book of the Week this week is two actually – first, the latest from Lucy Dillon – another wonderful heart-wrenching tale of romance and also family drama, so well-written as usual with believable characters and a super audiobook – more here. Then your chance to win a copy of Adrienne Vaughan’s anthology ‘Fur Coat and No Knickers’ – more here on my RiWiSi blogs.

New Flames Ok I’m teasing – the latest news from my new home in Sheepwash Devon is that we’ve decided to get a woodburner instead of an open fire. New flames, get it? (Did you get your hopes up? No, it’s never a good idea to get carried away with any notions of tall dark single hunky handymen walking through the door to fix it a la Mills and Boon – that’s not real life – not the real thing, and if destiny doesn’t have those plans for you, that’s where us authors and our imaginations come in, right?! All my books are here!) Anyway the new place is coming on a treat and the latest bunch of girls really enjoyed their time there. We’ve got a bodyblade group coming to some February ones – 6th and 20th – do email me back if you want to come along – full info here.

More about Retreats for You and how to book is here.

And here’s a facebook vid of a scary river on one of my dog walks this week whilst I was down there, putting some things straight and getting ready for the next phase, whilst the writers did their thing and lovely Deborah looked after us all, and Wendy each morning too.

Anyway enjoy your own planning for Valentine's Day if you celebrate it, and watch QVC if you don't - hehe.

Have a super week and join me on air Fri, Sat and Sun. Hugs

D

X

Ps my new Till the Fat Lady Slims book is now out on Amazon here, and there’s such an amazing support system on Facebook on theTTFLS group here - do come join us!

New QVC - featuring sneaky peeks and pics of deals from the next seven days so do go look! NB any Early Bird order links will appear first on my blog page here - do go look on a regular basis!

for info about my paperbacks and ebooks for sale now, go here 

for all my social media and to keep in touch go here.

 

 

Deb’s short Story for Valentine’s Day 2017 - another one to follow on the day itself next month

TELLING PORKIES

By debbie flint, june 2016

  

‘I’m sorry ma’am but I’m going to have to confiscate these.’

‘But they’re not meat. They’re pork pies, ’ I whined.

The tall, muscley customs official held one side of my little package, my precious little package, and I held vainly onto the other. It didn’t work. He was shaking his head at me, and with a jerk, tookmy booty slipped away. My heart always pounded as I strolled ‘nonchalantly’ through the airport arrivals. But this time it was pounding for a different reason: he was handsome too. Annoyingly so. It would have been easier if he was overweight and ugly, and he should have been sweating in the warm Florida customs department interview room with its dodgy air conditioning and wilting yucca, but he wasn’t. I was, though – or was it my first hot flush? Or rather, a ‘glowing moment’ as my 75 year old mother called them when she was having hers.

‘They’re for my mum’s birthday. Can’t I keep just one, to take her? She loves them and can’t get them here – not the crunchy crust, Marks and Spencer’s kind anyway. It’d be a lovely surprise for her.’ He didn’t respond, just examined my passport and made some notes, poised and calm.

‘Sorry Ma’am,’ he said. Then he handed it back to me, one eyebrow raised. I took it from him, or tried to, but he held the other side of it till I looked him in the face. What? said my expression, as I tried to act affronted.

He narrowed his eyes at me, but I couldn’t help it. ‘Just one little gesture of goodwill – you can see they are all packaged up, surely you believe me that they’ll be eaten, not used to infect your precious Florida crops?’ Still no sign of compassion. ‘She’ll be really disappointed. Can’t you make them magically vanish into my case again?’

He chewed his lip and took a breath, then spoke. Still the level, calmness, totally at odds with the turmoil I was feeling – for more reasons than one.

‘No. Ma’am.’ And he glanced up into the corner of the room. ‘My wand is at home.’ His eyebrow flickered. ‘I hope the next time I see you,’ he said, leaning towards me and lowering his voice, ‘ I won’t be alerted that your suitcase holds contraband.’ He had a stern expression, but one eyebrow was definitely betraying him. ‘By Draco here.’ The yellow Labrador on the floor wagged its tail.

Now it was my turn to look quizzical. ‘Draco?’

‘It was either that or Weasley,’ he explained. ‘J K Rowling fan.’

‘So it seems,’ I said with a sniff. ‘I prefer Robert Galbraith myself.’ I waited, and the corner of his mouth quirked right on cue. Then he snapped my passport together.

‘Now I ought to file a report, but you say it’s your first offence so …’ he said. I batted my eyelashes very slightly at him, waiting expectantly. And hopefully. He paused a moment, then handed me back my passport. ‘I’ll ‘magically’ let it go. Don’t do it again.’

I breathed a sigh of relief. ‘Thank you,’ I said, and smiled at him. ‘I won’t.’

He beamed back at me. ‘Now, you may go on your way. Have a safe journey home and I hope your mother has a wonderful birthday. Are you celebrating somewhere special tonight?’

So he was being conversational now? I tucked the passport into my bag and took one last lingering look at the package on the table, being investigated by that damned efficient black nose. I bet I knew exactly where that would end up as soon as I walked out the door. ‘Tomorrow night. Just a party at her house – with jelly and ice cream … and no pork pies,’ I said, petulantly.

He smiled. ‘Well jelly and pork pies never went well together,’ he replied. ‘Goodbye ma’am.’

‘Goodbye, Mister…’ I looked at the name badge on his jacket, ‘… Christoff.’ And with that he led Draco out the door to pick on the next poor victim of over-zealous sniffing, leaving me to repack my suitcase in front of his disinterested colleagues excavating someone else’s suitcase on the other side of the room. Then I made the walk of shame back out of the exit door.

 

‘What a lovely thought,’ my mum said the next night as she caught her breath. ‘When you said you were bringing a surprise I thought it would have been my pork pies again, not a big cake like this! It’s far too much for just us. I’ll have to go cut it up to share it with the neighbours,’ she said with a sigh, removing the candles she’d just blown out. I felt a pang of regret that her so called creative daughter hadn’t come up with the customary cunning gift.  She hadn’t said anything, but I knew she was disappointed. Oh well, maybe next year, when perhaps I’d stuff them in my bra and challenge the dog to sniff them out of that hiding place.

Mum headed off to the kitchen with the cake just as the door bell rang and mum’s little spaniel started yapping loudly. ‘Get that would you? If it’s Albie next door, tell him he’s twenty minutes early,’ she called over her shoulder. ‘Hermione, shut up,’ she shouted at the dog, who paid no notice and as soon as I opened the door to the hall, the bundle of black fluff sped past me towards the dark figure just visible through the opaque glass in the front door.

‘Hang on!’ I called, picking the dog up. Suddenly in a break in her yapping I heard an answering deep ‘woof’ outside the door. I released the catch on the door and the little dog practically jumped out of my arms trying to get to whomever was on the other side. I struggled to get the spaniel back under my arm. ‘Quiet Hermione!’ I hissed. Only then did I see the owner, and the yellow Labrador wagging its tail energetically on the doorstep.

‘Quiet, Draco,’ the dog’s owner said, and the yellow Labrador shut up.

Suddenly all the stress in my body was replaced with a different kind of tension. I opened my mouth but no sound came out so I shut it again. ‘Hi,’ he said, somewhat sheepishly. The authoritarian tone was nowhere to be seen. Instead, Mister Harry Christoff stood there in a leather jacket looking every inch the biker type. With the dog. Oh my god, had he discovered I’d lied about it being my first time? I could see the headlines now – ‘Serial Pork Pie Smuggler gets Deported to the UK.’ My mother would be mortified. I managed a ‘hi’ back.

Then I saw something familiar in his hand. ‘This is for your next of kin.’ I must have looked blank ‘cos he added, ‘Your mother?’ He presented the pork pies towards me, still cold – he’d even put them in a fridge or something. Then he produced a bunch of flowers from behind his back. ‘These are also for the birthday girl,’ he added.

‘How?’ I asked. It seemed I was only capable of uttering one word replies – it was like he’d bewitched me or something.

‘Turns out a sniffer dog will sometimes rescue a package from the trash can at the end of a shift. Completely unbeknown to me,’ he said and the tell-tale eyebrow-flickering flashed across his tanned face, and his blue eyes glinting at me. ‘And I thought I’d help rescue a birthday party. Bit like a magic trick,’ he said. ‘See, turns out we do have a heart.’ Then hesitating, he added. ‘I hear this is the place to get jelly and ice cream?’

‘And pork pies, as it happens. Thank you.’ I said, a big beam spreading across my face. ‘Magic.’

 

copyright Debbie Flint 2016

 

FOR MORE SHORT STORIES CHECK OUT

- 'ROSES ARE RED' ANTHOLOGY HERE AND

- 'HOCUS POCUS' ANTHOLOGY HERE!

for the rest of my books, go here.

 

 

Published in Debbie's News

LUCY DILLON - ALL I EVER WANTED. Another cracker from Lucy, one of my favourite relationships/romantic fiction writers. I always enjoy the fact that Lucy grabs my attention straight away - within a few paragraphs - vital when I'm on a long drive and want a wonderful distraction from the miles on the road (not from my driving of course!) on audiobook. Anyway, this latest one does not disappoint. I love the tension she creates and the conflict that keeps us entranced. Highly recommended.

"Caitlin's life is a mess. Her marriage to a man everyone else thinks is perfect has collapsed, along with her self-esteem, and breaking free seems the only option. Nancy, her four-year-old daughter, used to talk all the time; in the car, at nursery, to her brother Joel. Then her parents split up. Her daddy moves out. And Nancy stops speaking.

Nancy's Auntie Eva, recently widowed and feeling alone, apart from the companionship of two bewildered pugs, is facing a future without her husband or the dreams she gave up for him. But when Eva agrees to host her niece and nephew once a fortnight, Caitlin and Eva are made to face the different truths about their marriages - and about what they both really want . . ."

Get Lucy Dillon's 'All I ever Wanted' on Amazon here, amongst other places. Well done Lucy, you're a star.

 

coming soon - MERRYN ALLINGHAM - next week - the Buttonmaker's Daughter! And the latest John Grisham.

other news -

- Christmassy stories from Pan Macmillan Here are some more choices to get you in the festive mood ready for Next Sunday! here.

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, TheCreativePenn.com, Go here to read more.

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

Best wishes

Debs

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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) and Goodreads (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.

 

 

FICTION

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 in both PG original and steamy (just released last week!).

Book 2 Hawaiian Affair Steamy - now called Take a Chance on Me, with Choc Lit publisher available on Amazon. Paperback coming to shops Dec 2015! yay!

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.

 

SHORT STORIES

‘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!

And Work in Progress, a compendium in paperback of Dairy of a Wannabe plus the two short stories in one volume.

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.

NON-FICTION

Till the Fat Lady Slims 2.0 – the ‘When’ Diet - is my semi-autobiographical weight loss book – updated for 2014 to include the latest thinking about nutrition. Learn how to eat like slim people do.

Go here to get Till the Fat Lady Slims 3.0 – Tips and Tale to Inspire on amazon

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

Till the Fat Lady Slims 2017 version - 'how I broke free from Food Prison forever'

Well a January date has been set and the book is on its way to the printers, ready for the New Year New You bookshop frenzy (lol) and Choc Lit are aiming to get it in WHSmith Travel as they did last year with my first novel Take a Chance on Me.

Have a lovely week

d

x

How funny is this pic! Just as I took it, Daisy Dog wandered in and decided to photobomb my pic of the food and fire combo. It was a lovely week this week in Sheepwash and this is the view the visitors will get on next week's retreat for writers.

Mind you I've been having quite a few queries from people who just want to come for a break - must say it's been nice to hear from so many. At just £80 per person per night, full board, it's very good value I must say. email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested.

Here's a tour around downstairs and here's a look at the rest of upstairs! Like the decorations? I did them I did!

Whilst down there I went over to see the annual event that gets the whole village out ready to participate or just watch the spectacle - the hunt. They hunt scented rags, of course, and the dogs seemed to be really excited! Here's the preamble and the moment they all get moving - check out that horn! lol!

click here

Another new year's treat was being at pal Shyama's for the fireworks - lots of fun and banter and good company - what did you do? Here's a snippet of our fun - 

click here

Book of the week this week, well it has to be the release of the brand new Till the Fat Lady Slims - Break free from Food Prison (2017) which is available now on multi-platforms - find out more about my semi-autobiographical weight loss book on the special TTFLS blog here - I've also added a couple of new posts from Penni Rowe who's used just Freedom eating to go from a 16 to a 12 and below, she's just off on her hol and is chuffed!

And I am too - there's such an amazing support system on Facebook on the TTFLS group here - do come join us!

New QVC blog out Friday here - featuring sneaky peeks and pics of deals from the next seven days so do go look! Plus a pet show on Sunday - super.

Best wishes

debs

x

ps - any Early Bird order links will appear first on my blog page here - do go look on a regular basis!

for info about my paperbacks and ebooks for sale now, go here 

for all my social media and to keep in touch go here.

Published in Debbie's News

Christmas in Devon and with family has been amazing this year. I've managed to capture many of the moments and have posted them online - 

- click here to see xmas day pics and my lovely sister's new house - sixteen for dinner!

- click here to see Boxing Day and beyond at Retreats for You in Sheepwash - my brother joined me and the pogs there with his family and later with his friends, for their new year too.

And it's been amazing spending time in the peaceful, picturesque Devon countryside - click here to see Sheepwash in the distance, the medieval strips and the bluest clear sky. It's just one of the live vlogs I did on my Facebook page (go here to 'like' 'debbieflintauthorqvc page  so that future ones come up in your feed.)

By the way, anyone need a four night getaway in Feb? We have a few spaces feb 6-10 and Feb 20-25 incl. Full board, wine at dinner, afternoon tea coffee cake. own room shared bathrooms, hot water bottles at bedtime and not allowed to do any housework or helping! Great for writers, or academics. Or carers needing a rest. Dietary needs can be accommodated more below. Just relax, walk, read, stare at the open fire... I just don't do enough of that when I'm down there myself, that's my trouble!

Presenter's Funny Xmas Lunch  - there's a great video clip on this post, my xmas blog on QVCuk.com - watch what happened when half of us got together for secret santas!  click here.

and my Review of the Year  blog reminded me just how much I'd packed into 2016 - a hard year in many ways, but culminating in a brand new era - a new home down in Devon and one of the most promising futures ahead of me, ever! click here to see some of the highlights - features 8 or more videos! Plus a good sneaky peek at the week ahead's TSVs on QVC.

What are you doing for New Year? I'm on air late afternoon, which means a fab evening of food and games at my pal Shyama's, who I've spent many a fun NYE with over the last decade or so, when I'm not on air. Are you a 'going out?' or a 'staying in?'

Things to look forward to in 2017 -

I'm very excited about my new Till the Fat Lady Slims - Break free from Food Prison (2017) book, being released to order in bookshops too, by publisher Choc Lit in January. more here. Get it here on Amazon if you are truly determined this year to make the difference in your eating patterns - it really works, and don't forget to come join our Facebook group - such a support system, it makes all the difference in the world - click here to join.

Plus, of course, back to Retreats for You - there are several new exciting plans underway for Spring and Summer. If you fancy full board incl afternoon tea, coffee, cake, and wine with evening meal, for only £80 per person per night own room shared bathroom, in a 1600s thatched house in a sleepy Devon village, with nothing to do except relax by the roaring open fire and read or write, or just stare into space, or you'd like to give a £30 deposit for a four night stay to someone who needs it, just email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , details on website retreatsforyou.co.uk/practicalities. It'd be lovely to book some of you in - do bring a pal. Sometimes dogs can come too, with conditions, so do ask. Home cooked meals and no housework - it's not allowed - plus hot water bottles at bedtime. Talk about pampered! And - surprise surprise - I'm really enjoying helping out with the pampering myself. 

Plus much more fundraising activity for Medical Detection Dogs - looking forward to a pop-up charity Vintage Teas Weekend at Retreats for You mid Feb maybe? And of course a super opportunity to set up a permanent vintage tea rooms at RFY from the summer onwards. I'm meeting all sorts of new people down there too - it really feels like home already. Thanks to Deborah Dooley for making this all possible as she goes off to start her long-awaited retirement on a permanently moored houseboat in Bideford, not far away. She'll kindly pop back from time to time to help out too. Wendy and I will be your main hosts for much of 2017 retreats.

I also have a run of lovely holidays lined up - including a return to Chez Castillon in the Dordogne, as well as Cyprus and France for family weddings this year. Plus my daughter's own wedding on 2nd September! #motherOfTheBride! x

One thing I do have a good feeling about is my love life this year. I don't know why - I just feel it in my bones... I won't be 'updating' until there's something proper to tell you and maybe not even then if whoever it is turns out to be a little social media shy, like Mr Back of My Tandem was in 2012! I may be wrong, but, still, it's been long enough to recover from the last one, so let's see what 2017 brings! 

best wishes

debs

x

ps - any Early Bird order links will appear first on my blog page here - do go look on a regular basis!

for info about my paperbacks and ebooks for sale now, go here 

for all my social media and to keep in touch go here.

 

 

Published in Debbie's News