TALK OF THE TOWN #45 – What is Romance? Event at Waterstones

Welcome back to Talk of the Town, a weekly link-up I am co-hosting with Shaz from Jera’s Jamboree. We’d love you to share your book related blog posts with us.  Please visit my Talk of the Town page if you are unsure of how a link-up works. We are looking forward to reading your blog posts.

I didn’t manage to do any reading this week. With a brand new baby in the house (who very much likes staying awake during the night), I try and catch up on sleep whenever she is sleeping during the day. I love these newborn days though – there is nothing better than to look into the little person’s face and be overcome with absolute pride and joy.

For this week’s #ToTT, I wanted to  share this exciting event with you. I won’t be able to attend, but maybe that’s something of interest to you? On Monday, 13th February, four romance writers will get together at Tottenham Court Road Waterstones in London and discuss the Romance genre; how it has evolved over time – the impact of feminism and self-publishing – and where it is heading now. Audiences will also be offered a free glass of wine upon arrival. The four writers are: Isabelle Broom, Sarah Morgan, Nicole Cornick and Jean Fullerton. They will be interviewed by Fanny Blake, books editor for Woman & Home. More details for the event can be found here.

TALK OF THE TOWN is sponsored by Black and White Publishing who kindly support a monthly giveaway. Everyone who tweets with the hashtag #ToTT will be entered into this giveaway for either a single book or a book bundle.   The giveaway might be paperback (UK/ROI) or digital (UK/ROI/INTL).  The winner will be randomly selected using Tweetdraw and books will be sent directly from Black & White Publishing. If you are sharing my weekly post please include @bwpublishing if possible. Thank you :-).

Showcase book of the month: The Secret Life of Lucy Lovecake by Pippa James.

TALK OF THE TOWN #44 – We have a brand new sponsor!

Welcome back to #TalkoftheTown, a weekly link-up I am co-hosting with Shaz from Jera’s Jamboree. We’d love you to share your book related blog posts with us.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and a brilliant start to the New Year. I need to apologise for my lack of blog posts lately, but I do have a perfect excuse. We welcomed our second daughter on Monday. We are all doing well and very much enjoy our new family setting. My oldest daughter couldn’t be any prouder of becoming a big sister. She adores our new addition and literally does not let her out of her sight.

From one exciting bit of news to the next: Talk of the Town has a new sponsor, Black & White Publishing. I am a huge fan of this publishing house and have read so many great books and have discovered a wide array of new talented authors. Shaz and I are so pleased and cannot wait to share more details with you over the coming weeks.

About Black & White Publishing

Black & White Publishing was founded in 1999. Since then, they’ve grown into one of Scotland’s leading independent publishers with over 300 books in print across a variety of genres. Committed to publishing the best books from the most talented writers in the UK and beyond theyproduce an extensive range of titles, including general non-fiction,  biography,  sport and humour,  as well as selected fiction,  young adult and children’s books.

Each month, we will introduce one of their new releases to you. This month the chosen title is The Secret Life of Lucy Lovecake by Pippa James.

Daisy Delaney’s life is pancake-flat. A talented baker and passionate lingerie specialist, she has wound up with no one to bake for and a career that hasn’t proved successful. But when she starts a delicious relationship with famous French author-chef, Michel Amiel, everything begins to look a bit more exciting.
That is, until Michel’s bestselling cookbook is knocked off the top spot by newcomer ‘Lucy Lovecake’. His outdated recipes slide down the charts while the popularity of Lucy Lovecake’s new dating cookbook is rising like the perfect sponge.
As Daisy teeters on the brink of love, how can she ever tell Michel that she is the mysterious Lucy Lovecake? Could he ever forgive her for finishing off his career? And more importantly, does Daisy even want to be with a difficult, egotistical, down-on-his-luck Frenchman just as her career is beginning to take off? Especially when she has some other very interesting offers…

Guest Post by Laura Briggs (Talk of the Town #42)

Welcome back to #TalkoftheTown, a weekly link-up I am co-hosting with Shaz from Jera’s Jamboree. We’d love you to share your book related blog posts with us. Please visit my Talk of the Town page if you are unsure of how a link-up works. We are looking forward to reading your blog posts.


I am so pleased to be welcoming Laura Briggs to the blog today. Laura’s Christmas release, A Christmas in Cornwall, is out now. Laura has kindly written a guest post about Cornwall for my blog readers. Cornwall is somewhere I always wanted to visit, but have never gotten round to doing so. Oh well, one day for sure!

Five Things I Learned (and Love) About Cornwall
(Guest Post by Laura Briggs)

I love England. And I love Cornwall. Sadly, however, I’ve only been to England once (on a school trip, actually), and wasn’t lucky enough to visit Cornwall during my stay. So when I began writing about it in A WEDDING IN CORNWALL, I realized all my knowledge of it came from ‘Doc Martin’ and the hit series ‘Poldark’! So I did a little … then a lot more …research while writing, and learned more about one of England’s most beautiful and most unique counties, full of culture and history. So here are five of the ‘fun facts’ I learned that found their way into A WEDDING IN CORNWALL, A CHRISTMAS IN CORNWALL, and the upcoming third book A COTTAGE IN CORNWALL.

#5  Heath — One of Cornwall’s Native Plants

Heath is as quintessentially English as the moors … but I had always pictured it in THE SECRET GARDEN’s Yorkshire world, and never knew that it was one of Cornwall’s native, rugged flora, nor that it was protected. But I learned all this and more when I wrote the first cliffside encounter between Julianne and Matt. Cornwall is full of beautiful wildflowers, so choosing a plant was hard, but I chose heath because it seemed like such a perfect representation of Cornwall’s character. And, maybe, a little bit perfect as a representation of Julianne herself!

#4 The Cliffs

The coasts of Cornwall are breathtaking. Even if you’ve only seen pictures, like I have, the beauty of its shores can really be mind-blowing. Until I began this book, I had only a vague idea (Doc Martin, remember?) so much of A WEDDING IN CORNWALL’s coastal beauty was originally inspired by other parts of England…but when I began visiting blogs and websites by Cornwall’s natives and visitors, the Cornish reality began to take form in my head. The view of the shore and the sea factors into every story somehow, and feels almost like another story character to me now. I even named the manor house in honor of it, in fact (the original name — that’s another story).

#3 Oggies

Meat pies are a Cornish specialty, and residents have very decided opinions on what constitutes a quality ‘oggie,’ I learned! I tried to describe their favorite tradition as best I could when writing the scene in Charlotte’s shop, and it definitely made my mouth water as much as Julianne’s did. The only thing better than reading Cornish opinions on English pasties is watching pasties being cooked on The Great British Bake Off.

#2 The Cornish Tongue

Ah, Cornish! Not an easy language, as I learned from a little research. It has ties to other languages — it has spelling difficulties that make one’s head spin and pronunciations that my American tongue simply can’t attempt. But I made my best attempt to include a little of it in the story because Cornwall just isn’t the same without its language, as I’ve come to understand. Village names come from it, boats and landmarks are called by its tongue, and local phrases and slang are derived from it. In A WEDDING IN CORNWALL, the village name is taken from two common Cornish/Old Welsh words (the spelling is a little imperfect, as I’ve since learned!) Julianne and Matt visit the famous Lowarth Helegan gardens, whose name means ‘Willow Tree,’ and even Rosemoor Cottage has a reference point in Cornish.

#1 Troyls

It’s a running joke in the story — Julianne’s confusion over the traditional Cornish evening of music and dance, which comes up yet again in A CHRISTMAS IN CORNWALL. To me, a troyl seems like the Cornish version of an Irish ceili, although I’ve also learned that it served as a traditional festival or celebration at the end of the fishing season in different parts of Cornwall. And you even sense a little kinship with Scotland in the fact that kilts are sometimes worn by the men (hence Julianne’s blush over indulging in a little mental picture of Matt in attendance).

From the ‘Lizard’ to the flavor saffron, I’ve learned far more about Cornwall than the ‘fun facts’ I just named from the first book…and what I’ve learned since then found its way into the Christmas sequel, and into the third book I’m releasing in January (where I learned a little more about a famous Cornish tourist spot, and about springtime in Cornwall). I hope the world they helped create will help readers escape to a little part of Cornwall, even if they’re as far away from it as I am!

About Laura

Laura Briggs’ first stories were written in crayon about a rooster named Henry–but she was pretty young at the time, so it’s understandable. She eventually graduated to writing more complex plot lines and characters and writing her stories on a laptop. She tends to write stories with a romance theme, but as a reader she has a soft spot for mysteries, including those by Agatha Christie and Mary Roberts Rinehart. She also enjoys books by Jane Austen, Anne Tyler, Amy Tan, and too many others to name. In her free time, she likes to experiment with new recipes and tries to landscape her yard (a never-ending project).

Author Website:

Twitter Account:

Facebook Page:

Thank you so much for visiting today, Laura.


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My Reading Habits (Talk of the Town #39)

Welcome back to #TalkoftheTown, a weekly link-up I am co-hosting with Shaz from Jera’s Jamboree. We’d love you to share your book related blog posts with us. Please visit my Talk of the Town page if you are unsure of how a link-up works. We are looking forward to reading your blog posts.

For this week’s Talk of the Town, I had a slightly different post planned. I originally wanted to share my review of Julia Williams’ newest release It’s A Wonderful Life. I am hugely excited for this title and did a little squeal when it arrived in the post. I started the first few chapters, but was then struck by a horrific cold that turned into a chronic sinusitis. With me being 31 weeks pregnant basically means that I cannot take much medication (well, none to be fair – apart from a paracetamol here and there) to ease the pain. I am hoping daily that my symptoms will improve, but no luck so far. Right – enough with the moaning, but this basically means that I haven’t read anymore pages from Julia’s fantastic book as I cannot concentrate on anything at the moment. However, this gave me the idea of sharing my reading habits with you. Illness taken aside, the amount of books I read per month (even per week) is certainly never consistent.

Quite often, I will take a little reading break when I read a book that had a huge impact on me (that can either be a thought-provoking novel or a book that left a huge impression on me). I often find, that I need to take a little break to properly “digest” the book.

I also feel that a read a little more in the winter than in the summer. Nothing is more comfortable than cuddling up on the sofa to my husband drinking a hot chocolate and indulging in a fantastic novel.

My most favourite place to read? Well, that’s a rather hard one! In the summer time it would definitely be on a sunlounger in the garden. During the colder month, I love to read in the bath (this is where paperbacks come in more handy than my kindle –  I am the most clumsiest person on the planet, and I am sure the kindle would probably take a bath before I even had the change to read a whole chapter). My third preferred reading space is my bed – especially after a hard day at work, I find it super relaxing to read a few chapters before I turn the light off and fall asleep.

What are your reading habits?


#AVerySecretBlogTour (Guest Post by Katerina Diamond)

As soon as a very intriguing email from publisher Avon landed in my inbox, asking whether I wanted to be part of #AVerySecretBlogTour, I said “yes” without any hesitation. Avon does come up with some brilliant ideas for blog tours and I thought this newest one was just fantastic! Let me tell you a bit more about this blog tour. First of all, it is for Katerina Diamond’s newest release, The Secret. The book itself is not a secret, but furthermore the bloggers taking part in this blog tour are. The identity of the bloggers involved is kept a secret until the day it is their turn on the tour. The night before, Avon will leave some hints as to who the blogger might be… 


The Secret Garden

(Guest Post by Katerina Diamond)

When I was a child I was given two books for Christmas. They were navy blue, leather-bound and had little colourful illustrations on a few of the pages. I absolutely loved these books and read them from cover to cover so many times; the excitement of turning the page and finding a picture was something that never got old. To this day I still remember the pictures. One of the books was Little Women and the other was The Secret Garden. 

The idea of The Secret Garden is something that still draws me in: a garden that is hidden away from the rest of the world, with a concealed entrance and a beautiful rope swing hanging from a tree branch – that fed the romantic in me almost as much as Jo March and her handsome German Professor Fritz Bhaer in Little Women. Over the years we lost a lot of our belongings and so those books disappeared and I was quite bereft.

The Secret Garden was a dark book, with so much darkness that I remember feeling like it wasn’t meant for children to read in places, and after doing a little research I found out it wasn’t originally a children’s book but was actually a serial in a magazine. The protagonist is quite a dislikeable little girl who learns to grow and become herself within the confines of a secret garden. The idea being that spending time alone and unwatched would uncover her true self, allowing her to grow into a person she had never known she was. I think it was quite a powerful lesson when a lot of stories were telling us that money or love were the answer to all of our problems.

Recently I was in a local second hand shop and I saw those books I’d had – exactly the same ones – and I bought them again. I even wondered if they were my own copies, they were so familiar. I read them as soon as I got them home, the familiarity of the pictures bringing back so many memories (of being alone reading!). They sit on my bookshelf among my Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes books. We all have those favourite books from childhood, and those two were mine.