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Food, glorious food!


Following Floyd’s Footsteps by Caroline James

“Food is Life, Life is Food” – Keith Floyd [caption id="attachment_17364" align="alignleft" width="132"] Keith Floyd[/caption] I’v...

Bookshelf Reviews

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The Bookshelf – November news and reviews

The very latest Loveahappyending book news, author buzz and blogger reviews!  Our NOVEMBER Booksh...

People with a passion!

MB and CJ Movember promo low res

Ladies, celebrate the men in YOUR life and get them talking!

Do YOU have a father, brother, husband, son or grandson? Can you spare 99p/99c?   We love our men - life just wouldn't be the same ...

In Search of a Happy Ending


Torn Between Two Loves

  Q.  I have a big dilemma. I’m 25 and I’ve been seeing a really nice guy for eight months, but my ex-boyfriend (of four years) wa...

Lifestyle contributor

MB and CJ Movember promo low res

Ladies, celebrate the men in YOUR life and get them talking!

Do YOU have a father, brother, husband, son or grandson? Can you spare 99p/99c?   We love our men - life just wouldn't be the same ...

Money Matters … whether it’s quick and easy, or party pleasers!

Money Matters new header 2015

Welcome back to Money Matters, where I bring you imaginative suggestions for living well on a budget. In these tough economic times, it’s important to learn how to downsize, and stretch your money, as well as find ways to recycle or upcycle items you might normally discard, into great home innovations. From corkboards and refrigerators to flat irons and tea bags, you’ll find lots of awesome ideas for repurposing common household items. You’ll also find some great tips to help you organize and beautify your surroundings. Remember, a little bit of ingenuity can go a long way to enhancing your life—even on a budget!


“I’m a seasoned traveler and I’m always in a rush. I found a great way to iron out the little wrinkles I get in my clothing in no-time flat—a flat iron, that is! Yes, flat irons aren’t just great for straightening and taming those frizzies, they also make neat little touch up irons for clothes (especially between buttons on my husband’s shirts that my regular iron has trouble accessing.) Flat irons are much lighter and a lot more mobile than regular irons, so traveling with one is a breeze.”—Joanna Feldman

Flat iron

“My daughters have lots of jewelry between them and their necklaces were always getting tangled together in their jewelry boxes. I figured out a way to organize their jewelry while keeping it tangle-free. I turned one of their corkboards into a jewelry board. Not only is the jewelry easy to access, but they love the way they can see what they have since some of their jewelry was almost forgotten about in the box. I love the fact that I don’t have to waste my time trying to pull out necklace knots which can be pretty tricky sometimes!”—Amy Rudolf

Corkboard 1

“This may sound strange, but toothpaste has many more uses besides cleaning teeth. I’ve found that it’s a very effective way of polishing my jewelry, my chrome fixtures, and even my shoes. My husband has used toothpaste as a temporary spackle, and (believe it or not) a way to clean the headlights on our cars. Toothpaste—it’s not just for teeth anymore!”—Karen Casterfield


“Tea bags can make great tea, but I’ve found they have a multitude of other really cool uses. Here are just some of them:

  • Cool sunburns with a few wet tea bags applied to the skin. They take the sting out of your burn. If you’re burnt all lover, add tea bags to a soothing bath. They also work for other types of minor burns including razor burn.
  • Stuff a few dry tea bags into the cardboard ring from a paper towel roll and you have an easy and pleasant way to kindle a fire.
  • Revitalize tired, puffy eyes by placing tea bags soaked in warm water over your eyes for 15 to 20 minutes. The tannins in the tea will work wonders.
  • Tea bags in a cup will help absorb refrigerator odors.
  • Condition your hair and add shine by using a quart of warm, unsweetened tea as a final rinse.
  • Drain a boil by covering it with a wet tea bag overnight and the boil should drain without pain by the time your alarm clock rings.
  • Tea bags are great for reducing gum pain after a tooth is pulled, and peppermint tea makes a soothing mouthwash, too.
  • Help to dry out a poison ivy rash by dipping cotton balls in some strongly brewed tea and applying it on the affected area.
  • Foot odor got you down? Try soaking your feet in a daily tea bath. Use strongly brewed tea and enjoy.
  • A pot of strong tea, once cooled, also makes a great mirror cleaner.
  • Use your favorite herbal teas (I love Earl Grey Lavender tea) in a small porous bag as a sachet for your underwear drawer.”


“When I entertain, particularly outdoors, I found ways of serving that repurpose common household items. I use cardboard six-pack bottle holders to store condiments and plastic ware at my barbecues. It’s a great way to keep the salt and pepper shakers, plastic forks, knives, spoons, straws, and even napkins organized and easy to find. Also, when my little drink refrigerator conked out on me, I found a great new use for it. I laid it on its back in my yard and repurposed it as an ice chest. Now, for my patio parties, I just load it up with ice, pile in the beer and soda, and close the top. My friends always remark what a great idea it is, and this stroke of brilliance also helped me avoid having to dispose of the darn thing!”—Allison Cassover

Six pack

“The best part about winter for me is entertaining on the holidays. I love creating a cozy ambience and one of the things I always do is build a fire in my living room fireplace. It’s a homey visual, but I found a way to make it even better. I use dried orange and lemon peels as kindle and this creates a pleasant fragrance that adds another delightful dimension to the holiday atmosphere. I also enjoy creative centerpieces that aren’t costly. This year I’m going to fill a vase with giant red and green twisty lollypops. This should create a very festive look on my holiday table.”—Tracy Killborne


“We take a lot of road trips in my family and our car used to show the results of them. The floor of my back seat was always littered with all kinds of junk from magazines to sun block to the kids’ games. Clutter drives me nuts, but no more! I decided to get organized and took an old plastic shoe organizer that used to hang from my closet door and cut it in two. I hung half on the back of the driver’s seat, and half on the back of the front passenger seat. Now I make sure that all thermoses, sippy cups, wipe canisters, toys, reading material, and pretty much anything else that fits are stored in the plastic pockets. Not only is my car a lot more tidy, but the kids can actually find whatever they are looking for without digging through a mess or crying to me for help. Needless to say, our road trips have become a lot more pleasant!”—Sandy Wagner

“I have a lot of ‘stuff’ in my closet, and never enough room. Even the built-in cubbies can only hold so much. However, I found a way to better utilize the space I do have: shower hooks. Before you laugh, try dangling them from your clothing bar and suddenly there is a good place to hang your evening bags, scarves, ties, and other accessories. They’ll be easy to find and will look a lot more aesthetic than shoving them into a messy pile.”—Alyssa McCrea



  • Release those stubborn zippers by lightly rubbing a candle along the teeth on both sides. The wax will help smooth the way.
  • Turn a binder clip into a great makeshift money clip and key chain.
  • Use an old tissue box as a plastic bag dispenser.
  • Cupcake wrappers with a small hole in the middle for the stick will catch the melting ice cream from your popsicles.
  • Lifesaver candies make decorative and delicious birthday candle holders.
  • Use a freestanding toilet paper holder to hold your yarn while you knit or crochet.
  • Decorative waste paper baskets make great holders for legos and other toys with lots of pieces.
  • Hang extra chairs on a wall and use seats for extra storage.
  • If you are running out of surface space for your shower and bath items, hang a decorative metal pail on a hook and pile in your shampoo, shaving cream, toothpaste or anything else you commonly use.
  • Don’t throw out the drawers from the old furniture you are disposing of. Use them to store things under a bed such as shoes, kids’ toys, or other odds and ends.


Binder with money


Look out for more of Bonnie’s top tips

coming soon!


Twitter: @Writebrainedny

FB: Bonnie Trachtenberg

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Ladies, celebrate the men in YOUR life and get them talking!

MoCoverFinal medDo YOU have a father, brother, husband,

son or grandson? Can you spare 99p/99c?


We love our men – life just wouldn’t be the same without them …

We’re sharing the news about an anthology of short stories, in aid of Movember – every November, a band of perfectly ordinary men take on the brave task of growing a moustache for charity in a bid to raise awareness about men’s health – prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health issues such as depression.

LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOYS is a collection of short stories offering romance, reflection and men that you can’t help but adore (moustachioed, bearded and unshaven alike). They are stories about love and the effect others have on us, for better or worse; about meeting strangers and letting them unleash something within us; about the sacrifices we make for those closest to our hearts; and about looking back on the lives we once had and recapturing a little of that vitality. Written for those of us who still believe there is something more than just ‘okay’.

You can download an ecopy for 99p/99c from Amazon or buy the paperback for £5.99 (special)

100% of the profits for the lifetime of this book go to Movember. Tweet #ImDoingItForHim and #IBoughtTheBook

LHIFTB partners sml

MB and CJ Movember promo low res

Left: One of the authors involved, Caroline James, with one of the most famous of walrus moustachioed celebrities! TV Chef, Martin Blunos, whose fabulous restaurant in Bath ‘Blunos’ is renowned, is known as the ‘moustachioed hob gob‘. Not only does he support the book and the charity, but he’s an inspiration for anyone growing a ‘tache.

Further details on Martin & Blunos Restaurant:


Prostate Cancer

  • In Britain alone, over 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer EVERY year.

Testicular Cancer

  • In 2011, 2,200 men were diagnosed with testicular cancer. It is the most common cancer diagnosed in men between the ages of 25-49.

Mental Health Problems

  • The five main mental health problems affecting men in the UK are: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, psychosis and schizophrenia and eating disorders.

What’s it like when someone you love is diagnosed with one of these awful diseases? Contributing author, Sheryl Browne says:

“Hearing the man in your life has prostate cancer can knock you for six. It’s emotionally overwhelming; obviously more so for him. My man is a ‘man’s man’. He almost, but not quite, because I wouldn’t let him, went to the appointment where he would hear the news alone. It would be fine, he was telling himself. I had an idea it just might not be – and there was no way he was going to hear that news on his own. It was just as well I did go, because often in these situations the shock factor means you don’t take things in properly. It was definitely a case of two sets of ears being better than one. Talking over a much-needed coffee afterwards, we were able to discuss the findings and, more importantly, his options. The relief he felt in having someone to immediately discuss things he’d been reluctant to talk to anyone about was palpable.
I won’t quote figures and facts. I’m not qualified to do so. However, I will say that, thanks to early diagnosis, my man’s prognosis is extremely good. What drove him to seek help, were those niggling problems that men sometimes find hard to discuss: prostate problems. Attending the well man clinic, regular PSA readings were taken (prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland). His PSA levels were found to be high. The prostate was growing, which was cause for concern. Benign hyperplasia can be a reason for growth. Cancer, which can mutate, could also be a reason. Both can be present, which can make diagnosis a little harder. In short, further tests were undertaken, along with a biopsy. My man is now regularly monitored and, with his condition diagnosed, is able to take medication to alleviate the symptoms which were causing the initial discomfort. Importantly, his PSA levels have dropped and, with careful ongoing monitoring, the future looks positive, particularly as he now feels better!
As mentioned, my man was reluctant to talk about his situation. It simply wasn’t manly in his mind. He’s now decided, in the interests of encouraging other men to seek help earlier, to share his continuing treatment with Prostate Cancer UK. If any man out there wants to know how all this leaves the woman in his life feeling, well, I for one, am super-proud of my man. Please don’t try to ignore the symptoms if you have them. It won’t go away without the right help – and that help is available.”

Thank  you Sheryl and to your man, for agreeing to this interview. It’s so important that men of all ages are aware of the signs and that self-checks are important. Testicular cancer, in particular, can strike at any age. Here’s an article that tugged at our heart-strings:

The Huffington Post: What Does Having Prostate Cancer Feel Like?

There’s a competition running over at:


 until the end of November 2014 and one lucky winner will receive

a  £50 Experience Days Voucher! @ExperienceDays

We’re all downloading our copies and hope you can take a moment to download YOURS, too. Some fabulous short stories to dip into and use that as a talking point to get the men in your lives talking about men’s health. It might save a life!

And meet Sheryl Browne:

Sheryl Browne poster

I’ll Have What She’s Having

Film Fatales header

A modern romantic comedy 25 years later
The Film Fatales remember When Harry Met Sally

© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

When Harry Met Sally.
1989. Rated R.
Starring Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal, Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby.
Written by Nora Ephron. Directed by Rob Reiner.  

“Will sex ruin a perfect relationship between a man and a woman? That’s what Harry (Crystal) and Sally (Ryan) debate during their travels from Chicago to New York. And eleven years and later, they’re still no closer to finding the answer. Will these two best friends ever accept that they’re meant for each other…or will they continue to deny the attraction that’s existed since the first moment When Harry Met Sally?” (Amazon)

© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Nicole: 25 years. God, I feel old. Have I ever told you that When Harry Met Sally was playing in the same movie theater where I had my first “date”? Since both of us were too young to drive and the cinema too far to walk to, my mother chaperoned us to the movies. While we got water-logged watching The Abyss, my mom later told me that while waiting for us she’d seen one of the best movies ever made. Hindsight is always 20/20: We would have been better off seeing When Harry Met Sally. When I finally did see it years later, it quickly became my favorite movie…and remains so to this day.

elizabeth: How sweet. Your first “date” with mummy coming along. I don’t think I ever did that because I liked older boys – have car and you can date me. So while you were going on first dates, I was living in Manhattan and wondering if the man who just walked past me was “The One.” And if he was, why didn’t he stop?  I was and still feel like a city girl, so When Harry Met Sally nurtured all of my city neuroses. I wanted to have my own Harry, albeit a tad taller.

Nicole: All of that sounds much more exciting and glamorous than The Abyss. As you know, I worship at the altar of Nora Ephron (Heartburn, Sleepless in Seattle) who provides the blueprint on how to be a smart and funny woman. Nora knew how to tug at our heartstrings, point out our all-too-human flaws, and make us laugh. Her brand of wit was singular in its approach. It was relatable, engaging, and endearing. Together with the creative direction of Rob Reiner (The Princess Bride, This is Spinal Tap), Ephron’s script evolved into the RomCom to end all RomComs. Many have tried to imitate it; few have succeeded.

elizabeth: How come you don’t worship at my altar? Never mind, I don’t need to know. I think your answer would frighten our readers. I agree that the late Nora Ephron was just brilliant in her storytelling. She told the story about us women in the city who made stupid choices, made excuses for our choices, and then tried to push them off on someone else. People like Sally. I loved how Rob Reiner treated the city like an actor without any lines. He must have been related to Woody Allen in another life.

© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Nicole: You’re right, there is something very Allen-esque about this movie. And that may be one of the many reasons why after 25 years it still resonates so strongly with movie buffs both new and old. The main reason, though, is it’s timeless. The debate over if men and women can really be friends without attraction getting in between still persists. But, it’s not just the philosophical question that intrigues viewers; it’s the perfect combination of casting, chemistry, writing, and direction…all set against the backdrop of 1980s Manhattan. It’s Meg Ryan’s “high maintenance” Sally juxtaposed against Billy Crystal’s frustratingly cynical Harry. It’s the ever-changing seasons over an 11-year “friendship” with its ups and downs. It’s the comic relief amidst moments of angst and tearful realizations. It’s the interstitial cuts to elderly couples sharing their “how we met” stories. It’s the soundtrack of old standards, including originals by Satchmo and reprises by the then obscure Harry Connick Jr. It’s the interplay between best friends Marie (Carrie Fisher) and Jess (Bruno Kirby), who if either had found Harry or Sally attractive it would have been a very different movie. It’s…well…everything. Everything about When Harry Met Sally is why to this day it remains required viewing.

elizabeth: Yes, When Harry Met Sally is eternal in Ephron’s story about falling in love and staying at that address for a while, maybe even years. But the big hair and dad jeans remind me that time has moved on and that Harry and Sally could be a middle-aged couple being interviewed if Reiner decides to do a remake: “When Harry Left Sally at the Mall.”

Nicole: LOL, I’d watch that movie.




Harry Burns: There are two kinds of women: high maintenance and low maintenance.
Sally Albright: Which one am I?
Harry Burns: You’re the worst kind; you’re high maintenance but you think you’re low maintenance.

Sally Albright: I have just as much of a dark side as the next person.
Harry Burns: Oh, really? When I buy a new book, I read the last page first. That way, in case I die before I finish, I know how it ends. That, my friend, is a dark side.

Harry Burns: Yeah, that’s the point. I can say these things to her. And the great thing is, I don’t have to lie, because I am not always thinking about how to get her into bed. I can just be myself.
Jess: You made a woman meow?

Sally Albright: Well, if you must know, it was because he was very jealous, and I had these days of the week underpants.
Harry Burns: Ehhhh. I’m sorry. I need the judges ruling on this. “Days of the week underpants”?
Sally Albright: Yes. They had the days of the week on them, and I thought they were sort of funny. And then one day Sheldon says to me, “You never wear Sunday.” It was all suspicious. Where was Sunday? Where had I left Sunday? And I told him, and he didn’t believe me.
Harry Burns: What?
Sally Albright: They don’t make Sunday.
Harry Burns: Why not?
Sally Albright: Because of God.


Brought to you by: Film Fatales


Twitter: @Film_Fatales

FB: Film Fatales

Murder at Restauranta Mendez – a whodunnit with Mandy Baggot

Mandy Baggot header pub 2 (1024x398)

Out and About with Mandy Baggot

Murder at Restauranta Mendez – a murder mystery night to remember!

The nights are drawing in, cash is being saved for Christmas and summer seems so long ago. Winter life is just all about staying in and watching Strictly isn’t it? Absolutely not… well not all the time!

A few weeks ago I had a brilliant evening taking part in a murder mystery night hosted by one of my lovely friends, Jane.

I was transformed from romantic novelist, Mandy Baggot, into The Perfect Daughter, Chloe Mendez.

IMG_0006A few weeks before the night, Jane came round and we picked a part to play. There were full instructions, character profiles, conversation starters and the secrets we had to keep. Plus we each had a confession if we were chosen as the murderer.


Another fun thing we had to do in character was perform a secret task during the evening. Mine was to get every other character to sign up for a magazine called ‘Isn’t Life Wonderful’. My character was 17 and supposed to be crazy happy but believe me Chloe Mendez had secrets! Other characters had to get people to do press ups or karate moves – my husband kept winking at me, although I’m not sure that was anything to do with his character.

Mingling commenced and we all had notepads and pencils to jot down any information we thought might be relevant to the murder that was about to happen. We ate Greek dips and salad then interrogated, I mean chatted, some more before the murder took place.


I don’t want to spoil the game by giving away who met their maker because I’m hoping, after you’ve read this article, you might like to give the night a try. However this particular pack had different people getting murdered and different killers so it could be used again.

The victim then became the lead investigator and it was his job to get our secrets out of us and determine who had done the deadly deed over stifado and kleftico.

The night ended with the killer being revealed and reading out their confession – a bit like the end of Murder, She Wrote.

Angela Lansbury

Top tips for making the most of a murder mystery night


Give your parts out early so guests can learn their characters well. Give costume suggestions.


Create a murder mystery night theme. Restauranta Mendez turned Greek for Jane, as she had been there on holiday in the summer.


Food and drink – Link this to your setting. We had traditional Greek food and beer!

Playlist - Choose songs to complement the setting or the era of your event. Use Spotify and let your guests add songs to the playlist.

Get in character - Really have fun and make the most of the night. Ad lib, add nuances to your character, personalize him or her, enjoy it!




Murder at Restauranta Mendez is available here!

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Visit Mandy’s website at

Latest release: Made in Nashville –





Use it or lose it ~ don’t let age stop you!


Patricia Sands header

If you are heading into the senior years, the golden age, the third stage, boomer territory, or whatever you choose to call it, I’m guessing you’ve thought about these words. Perhaps your physician has smiled sympathetically as he or she uttered them.


I’ve written about tennis, golf, yoga, and Nordic pole walking in past articles, so you know I’m keen on staying active. As I write this article though, I observe my dear husband, aged 74, grimace with pain and I’m reminded that not all of us can manage that kind of activity due to one physical ailment or another.

In spite of his back and hip problems, one activity in which my husband can still participate is walking … even though it is slow and gentle strolling. The good news is that something as simple as this can be immensely helpful both physically and emotionally.

For those who require the use of a walker, don’t stop taking it out and exploring your canstockphoto20041474neighbourhood. Be glad to get out and get over the hang-up! See your walker as a helpful means to an end. If you are a younger friend/family member, use your best persuasive skills (bribes are accepted!) to entice your loved ones out walking. Keep them company.

After speaking with a number of people over seventy who make a regular habit of getting out every day, the consensus is that this regimen is equally as important for maintaining a sense of purpose. A foray at least once a day is as good for the mind as it is for the body. A slow shuffle is better than no shuffle at all!

It’s also good to note that it is never too late to begin.

Studies have shown the losses of endurance and strength that appear to be due to aging are often due to inactivity. Some statistics gathered indicate that one in three men and half of women are more sedentary than not by the time they reach 75 years of age.

Dr. Michael Pratt, is the acting chief for the Physical Activity and Health Branch in the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta (CDC).

canstockphoto21038702He says, “One of the issues with older adults, particularly with women (Patricia’s comment: I beg to differ with that!) is that many have grown up thinking that exercise is not for them. They think if they’re not athletes, they shouldn’t be active. To this, I would like to say that it’s never too late to start. Most of the benefits of exercise that accrue for younger adults also apply to older adults, no matter when they begin exercising.”

How good is that?

I would like to introduce you to a great role model, who recently passed away at the age of 95. Olga Kotelko began competing in track and field at the age of seventy-seven.

She left a legacy that I feel will always inspire and motivate and (her obituary here in The Globe and Mail is well worth a read.

Ms. Kotelko advocated a life of moderation, exercise, and positive attitude. “I choose 51vTeCr6cwL._AA160_not to let the dark stuff have a negative effect on me,” she told Mr. Grierson, author of What Makes Olga Run? in an article in The Globe last January. I highly recommend the book. Here’s a short video about Olga and Mr. Grierson’s book. Please take two minutes to watch it. I’m  betting you will be glad you did. Click on the book for the Amazon link, if you are interested in reading it.

So now that Olga has convinced you, or perhaps tweaked your interest, here is some  helpful information around which you can build your new walking routine.

The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults (65+) recommends accumulating at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week to achieve health benefits and improve functional abilities.

Stay safe while walking

  • Choose a familiar route that is flat and free of obstacles.
  • Consider the surface you’ll be walking on. A smooth, soft surface that’s free of debris will put less strain on your joints and feet.
  • Wear supportive footwear – wear low-heeled footwear with non-skid soles.
  • Avoid rushing – rushing increases your risk of falling. Take your time.
  • If using a walking aid (e.g. cane or walker) ensure that it is fitted for your height.
  • Check the Clean Air Peel website for the daily Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) and the Ultraviolet (UV) Index to plan outdoor activities accordingly and to protect your health or the health of seniors in your care.
  • Be extra careful in cold weather — sidewalks and paths can be slippery.
  • Cold weather can cause numbness and make it difficult for you to feel any pain or an injury. When it’s cold outside, consider walking in an indoor place, like a mall or community fitness centre.
  • Walk with friends or a walking club.
  • Carry a cell phone in case of emergencies.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather and drink plenty of water.

Stop or take a break if you feel any pain during your walk. Have some water. Look runningshoesaround and enjoy the scenery. Say hello to a passerby ~ they may smile right back and be glad you brightened their day. Consult a health care provider if pain continues after your walk.

Happy walking or strolling! Just do it! We’re always happy to hear stories of how you are keeping fit, so leave us a comment or two … after your walk …


Patricia Sands footer 2015 med

The Bookshelf – November news and reviews

Janice New Banner LLm 2015The very latest Loveahappyending book news, author buzz and blogger reviews!

 Our NOVEMBER Bookshelf GUEST AUTHOR is Milly Johnson…

Milly Johnson is a half-Yorkshire, half-Glaswegian Barnsley-based author of ten novels plus two novellas. She is a poet, after-dinner speaker, sometimes actress, professional joke writer, copywriter, newspaper columnist and winner of Come Dine With Me. She is the 2014 winner of the RoNA Romantic Comedy Award for her book ‘It’s Raining Men’. She likes birds of prey, the cinema, joke books, the theatre, red wine, and cruising on P & O ships. She does not like ironing or marzipan.

I asked Milly  about the cameo roles she often gives her characters from previous books – how and when did this start and why does she like to do it?

“I got the idea from a master – Stephen King. I used to be fascinated with the tiny nuggets from one book which crossed into another and which gave an extra dimension to his stories and, though I didn’t consciously intend to do the same myself, I obviously remembered what he used to do and it took root in my brain.

Characters are proper divas. You give them small roles and you can feel them wanting more limelight. Many times, I have written a character who is meant to be a mere part of a plot device or just for a moment of interest or amusement only for them to want more from me. Freya – for instance – who sold the wedding dresses, was never intended to be someone who returned, but the more I wrote about her, the more intriguing she became. When readers responded to seeing characters return, I was delighted. Doreen was a horrible old bat in Here Come The Girls, but I loved writing about her and the more she developed, the more I could see what had made her that way. And the more I felt sorry for her and liked her and wanted her to have her own happy ending.

Of course the more books I write, the more of a nightmare it becomes because you have to get their advancing ages right and not give too much information away to people who have not read previous books. It’s like visiting old friends sometimes and makes the world which my characters inhabit, just that little bit more real.”

teashop on the corner the PBB frontThe Tea Shop on the Corner: At her beloved husband’s funeral, Carla Pride discovers that Martin never divorced his first wife and has been living a double life with her. When Will Linton’s business goes bust he at least thinks that with the support of his trophy wife Nicole he will rise to the top again. Molly Jones is being bullied into going into a retirement home by her ‘concerned’ daughter-in-law Sherry and son Gram. Young Ryan O’Gowan comes from the roughest family in the area but unlike the rest of his clan, Ryan wants to make something of his life. Pavitar Singh is a lonely retired doctor with a great love of literature – and a thirst for like-minded company. All very different people in need of a little love and compassion which they find by chance in the stationery and teashop on the corner run by the ever-cheerful Leni. But is the world of Leni Merryman as full of rainbows and sparkles as everyone thinks? Or is her smile papering over many cracks in her heart?



Find out more about Milly Johnson

 Webpage: Blog Facebook: Twitter




Loveahappyending Author Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the catering industry from a pub to a hotel, restaurants and outside catering. Today, she lives in Cheshire and spends her time writing, climbing mountains, and running a hospitality business. Her debut novel, Coffee, Tea, The Gypsy & Me is set in Northwest England, in a country house hotel at the time of a famous gypsy horse fair. The book went straight to number three on Amazon and was Ebook of the Week in The Sun. Her second novel, So, You Think You’re A Celebrity…Chef? is set in London, Ireland and Barbados with much of the action taking place at an annual Gourmet Food Festival near Cork. The story takes a lighthearted and sometimes hilarious look at the world of celebrity chefs as they battle it out for fame and fortune led by media agent Hilary Hargreaves and her team. Caroline also writes short stories and contributes to many publications.

Find out more about Caroline James: Website
And on her Bookshelf Page

 NEW This Month!

 Let’s Hear It For The Boys


A HitLitPro Anthology

Published: 1st November 2014. £0.99. Available in Kindle Format

This Movember it is time for the ladies to step up and grab the moustache baton. While we Mo Sistas may be follically challenged about the face, we do have the power of words at our fingertips. Let’s Hear It For The Boys is a tribute to the men of Movember. The HitLitPro authors have created these nine short stories to celebrate the men in our lives, the effect they have on our hearts, our minds (and our bodies) and the difference they can make to the world around them. All proceeds from the sales of the book will be donated to the Movember charities. So come on ladies, it’s time to do a little something for our boys!

Who are HitLitPro? HitLitPro is an organisation that promotes the work of independent, female fiction writers. This anthology includes the work of nine authors – some of whom are also associated authors with Loveahappyending (LLm): Caroline James, Emma Calin, Jenny Harper, Linn B Halton, Mandy Baggot, Nikki Mason, Rosie Dean, Sheryl Browne and Zara Stoneley.

 For more information on CandleLit Author Services visit: For more information on Thornberry Publishing visit: For more information on Movember visit:

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Loveahappyending BOOK BLOGGER Reviews


Bringing you independent reviews from some of the Best Reviewers in the Book Blogging world!

The Star Child

Author: Stephanie Keyes. Publisher: Inkspell Publishing. Genre: Young Adult

The world is about to be cloaked in darkness. Only one can stop the night. Kellen St. James has spent his entire life being overlooked as an unwanted, ordinary, slightly geeky kid. That is until a beautiful girl, one who has haunted his dreams for the past eleven years of his life, shows up spinning tales of a prophecy. Not just any old prophecy either, but one in which Kellen plays a key role. Suddenly, Kellen finds himself on the run through a Celtic underworld of faeries and demons, angels and gods, not to mention a really ticked off pack of hellhounds, all in order to save the world from darkness. But will they make it in time?

Reviewed by: Genesis at GenGens Book Blog

Genesis says: “The Star Child has everything a Fantasy/Paranormal story has: faeries, gods, goddess’, prophecies, evil guys, underworld, hellhounds…it’s packed! The description of the whole story comes to life before the reader’s eyes—it’s so vivid and wonderful to imagine everything so clearly. Kellen decides to help Calienta save her family and he stays brave throughout it all, he stays truthful to himself, never straying from the path of good. Something that caught my attention a lot was how willingly the gods are to give up immortal life—become mortal so they can be with the love of their life, who are mortal humans. It’s touching and beautiful.”

READ Gen’s entire review of The Star Child at GenGen’s Book Blog

Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon Find out more about Stephanie Keyes from her Website and Bookshelf page

So, You Think You’re a Celebrity… Chef?

Author: Caroline James. Publisher: Thornberry Publishing Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

When media agent Hilary Hargreaves travels to Ireland to look at a campaign for a new cookery school, she meets a blast from her past – the romantic but feckless chef Mickey Lloyd, who is hell-bent on resurrecting his flagging career. Her tough demeanour is rocked as it becomes apparent Mickey’s intentions involve more than a stint behind a stove in his quest to pursue her. But as plans for the school gain momentum, she realises that she’s developing more than a passing interest in reformed alcoholic Long Tom Hendry, who owns the crumbling old mansion where the school will be homed. Hilary has many ingredients to juggle with her demanding client list – which looks set to boil over if she doesn’t keep control. From London’s bustling Soho, to Southern Ireland and the sunny shores of the Caribbean, has Hilary got too much on her plate and is she really prepared to risk it all for love?

Reviewed by:

Mostly Food says: “You don’t need to be a culinary professional to get a kick out of this book. Caroline James, the author, does have that background but it’s her wry sense of humour that gives this book such wide appeal. So, You Think You’re A Celebrity …Chef? is a rollicking good read. Caroline James has a quick wit and amusing turn of phrase. There are laugh-out-loud moments, but dip into this light novel and you will be wearing a smile, and sometimes a smirk, from the first page.”

READ the entire review at

Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon Find out more about Caroline James  from her Website and Bookshelf page

 The Fine Art of Delusional Thinking

Author: Bonnie Trachtenberg. Publisher: Amore Publishing. Genre: Humour/Advice

Have you always wished you had a glamorous career? A spouse who worships you? An awesome set of wheels? A fantabulous social life? With The Fine Art of Delusional Thinking, all these goals can be within your grasp. You’ll never again fret about your weight, your monthly bills, your love life, or your bank account. This witty and concise how-to book from best-selling author Bonnie Trachtenberg teaches you everything you’ll need to know to turn your humdrum existence into a lifestyle others will envy. So delude your way to a happy life—with help from an expert.

Reviewed by Rachelle at Rachelle’s Window

Rachelle Says: Advice columnist Bonnie Trachtenberg shows you how you too can have it all by following her quick and simple steps toward a delusional life of excess fame, fortune, and love. This fun little book is chock full of advice. Memorize the five principles any Delusional needs to master to ward off reality. Stay away from toxic people, ever ready to pop your Delusional bubble with their evil sharpened knitting needles. Ms. Trachtenberg provides roadmaps and famous Delusionals that you TOO can emulate from Cleopatra to Imelda Marcos, Sigmund Freud to Julius Caesar. She also gives you a list of careers ultimately suitable for the Delusional lifestyle. TV shows, movies, a 12-step program to drama royalty, and yep, sure-fire weight loss delusions are all available for your imaginary enjoyment!

 READ Rachelle’s entire review at Rachelle’s Window

 Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon Find out more about Bonnie Trachtenberg from her Website and Bookshelf page


In November Look Out For…

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 Alf final 1st Oct Amazon KindleNovember marks the reveal of ‘Alf the Workshop Dog’ - the first in Emma Calin’s modern-day fairy-tale collection under the ‘Once upon a NOW’ banner. This series of chapter-book stories is ideal for young readers or for adults to share aloud. Each book is beautifully illustrated by manga/anime artist Miko Abellera. Bonus materials including colouring pages, video, audio clips and photos are accessed from within the text via links and QR codes.


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 Available in e-book, print and audio book formats in November 2014.

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A Simple Walk in the Woods

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You may have read about my previous forays far afield, to places as varied as Japan, Exmoor, London, and Liguria and many more besides. For a change I am staying close to home – please come with me!

IMG_0621smallThe outdoor space on your doorstep, whether a park or canal towpath, should add to the quality of everyday life; it certainly does for us, here in Surrey. This is the Appley Green neck of the woods – the location for my three novels. We have access to vast tracts of woodland and heath where soldiers do training exercises and manoeuvres while the general public walk their dogs or go running and, I am pleased to say, we all co-exist peacefully.

Dog walkers are usually known as Jasper’s Mum, Pluto’s Daddy and so on. Years may roll by and still this may be the only sure identity of the adult in charge. We help each other if a dog goes walkabout or AWOL.  Word gets round and so a general lookout is set up for the missing hound before alerting the local dog warden. Our current dog is our third English Setter so I confess we have had a few puppy vanishing moments. We get a quick phone call, take a drive round to someone’s house, puppy and I are reunited; order is restored. However, the worst ever such incident meant me contacting every likely person in the area, including police, and actually going to bed minus one scatty, lovable young dog. At about 3 a.m. we heard the cat flap being rattled; one exhausted, wet, hungry dog made her own way home. I wept with relief, wondering where on earth she had been and what she had been up to for all those hours.

I should make the point that, by and large, our labelled, tagged dogs are with us and under control!

My husband and I usually take turns so our mutt gets two walks a day and we usually listen to the radio as we go. It can be quite a social event, though, and headphones are unplugged when we see someone we know, or indeed a stranger whom we then hail with some comment about the weather or dog-related matters. It can be the start of a long chat: years ago, I walked round with a pleasant enough man and his dog; we chatted about blackcurrant bushes and allotments. Afterwards I thought, Was that TV gardener Diarmuid Gavin? He said he was a landscape gardener. The resemblance was startling and he spoke with an Irish accent. I never saw him again, so who knows?

We have also been cat owners and one of our cats, Charlie, presumably thought he was an English Setter and would insist on trailing behind me, hell-bent on doing the full trek, despite my efforts to shoo him back home. On sight of a strange dog, he would shoot up a tree, the height of ascent commensurate with the number and/or size of dog(s). Getting him down was problematic, hence my futile attempts to discourage his companionship.

IMG_0786smallBeing observant can add colour to any walk, as any naturalist would agree. Sometimes camouflaged soldiers are right there, with arms at the ready, as you walk by a bush, but we studiously ignore each other. They become part of the scenery and it is probably wise not to break their concentration. It is magical to catch sight of a deer in the early morning mist, however; they always freeze and stare, you blink and they are somehow gone in a flash. Of course, there are rabbits, squirrels, foxes, unseen badgers … raucous crows are all too plentiful and once I gazed at a terrified (I presume) heron being murderously pursued overhead. Drama! At certain times of the year we may spot deeply focused, cep culinary collectors – fungi people who are sure of what they’re looking for. I wouldn’t dare risk it; I would probably end up with something fatally toxic or at best hallucinogenic. I stick to gathering sweet chestnuts or blackberries.


There has been the odd bizarre spectacle, things you could not make up if you tried: the upturned portaloo cubicles, there for the soldiers’ convenience, spilling deep, bright blue disinfectant. The sight of dogs with blue hair was something else. I would willingly lend a hand to throttle the ‘mischief-makers’, the mindless vandals who used to do this – but that’s just by the way. A while back there was an abandoned car, a rusting, rotting corpse, for which nobody took responsibility, bedecked with branches. As an art installation, it would not have looked out of place in the Tate Modern. This was a one-off, as the army are meticulous is dealing with any suchlike nuisance and, indeed, it eventually disappeared.

A rare but stunning sight is the astonishing machine that not only fells tall pine trees in seconds, but also strips off the branches and chops the main trunk into logs with breathtaking speed. The first time I saw this at close range I stared in awe. Some may regret the supplanting of traditional skills, but I could only marvel at the man-hours saved, thus enabling any woodcutter to put his feet up and read a good book instead – or some other pastime of his (or her) choice.

I could ramble on with these rather random memories, but perhaps I should stop. I do draw on my local surroundings to help give a strong sense of place in my Appley Green novels, however. These few words just barely skim the surface.


Miriam’s Ramblings

Twitter @MiriamWakerly

Facebook:  Miriam Wakerly

On the LoveaHappyEnding Bookshelf  

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Novels by Miriam Wakerly are all available as Paperback and Kindle, on Amazon 

Graveyards, Stolen Koalas, and Navajo Marines: Books For Middle Grade Readers

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As promised, I’m back with some more book recommendations! We started out with picture books, but this time, let’s take a look at some great Middle Grade books out there. In case you aren’t familiar with MG, that’s books for readers ages 9-11 and grades 3-6. Now, if you remember some of my picture book favorites, these aren’t necessarily books that were released this year, but books I’ve either enjoyed or feel have a powerful message. Here are some recommendations for facing fall with a book in hand.

Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two

CodeTalker_2p.inddby Joseph Bruchac

Throughout World War II, in the conflict fought against Japan, Navajo code talkers were a crucial part of the U.S. effort, sending messages back and forth in an unbreakable code that used their native language. They braved some of the heaviest fighting of the war, and with their code, they saved countless American lives. Yet their story remained classified for more than twenty years.

But now Joseph Bruchac brings their stories to life for young adults through the riveting fictional tale of Ned Begay, a sixteen-year-old Navajo boy who becomes a code talker. His grueling journey is eye-opening and inspiring. This deeply affecting novel honors all of those young men, like Ned, who dared to serve, and it honors the culture and language of the Navajo Indians.

Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 6th 2006 by Speak

Summary from Goodreads


17777989by Stuart Gibbs

Teddy Fitzroy’s back for another zoo mystery—this time it’s a koala caper—in this action-packed follow-up to Belly Up, which Kirkus Reviews called “great fun.”

School troublemaker Vance Jessup thinks Teddy Fitzroy’s home at FunJungle, a state-of-the-art zoo and theme park, is the perfect place for a cruel prank. Vance bullies Teddy into his scheme, but the plan goes terribly awry.

Teddy sneaks into the koala exhibit to hide out until the chaos dies down. But when the koala goes missing, Teddy is the only person caught on camera entering and exiting the exhibit.

Teddy didn’t commit the crime—but if he can’t find the real culprit, he’ll be sent to juvie as a convicted koala-napper.

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 8th 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Summary from Goodreads

Steering Toward Normal

18405502by Rebecca Petruck

Eighth grade is set to be a good year for Diggy Lawson: He’s chosen a great calf to compete at the Minnesota State Fair, he’ll see a lot of July, the girl he secretly likes at 4-H, and he and his dad Pop have big plans for April Fool’s Day. But everything changes when classmate Wayne Graf’s mother dies, which brings to light the secret that Pop is Wayne’s father, too.

Suddenly, Diggy has a half brother, who moves in and messes up his life. Wayne threatens Diggy’s chances at the State Fair, horns in on his girl, and rattles his easy relationship with Pop.
What started out great, quickly turns into the worst year ever, filled with jealousy, fighting, and several incidents involving cow poop.

But as the boys care for their steers, pull pranks, and watch too many B movies, they learn what it means to be brothers and change their concept of family as they slowly steer toward a new kind of normal.

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Harry N. Abrams

Summary from Goodreads

The Night Gardener

18405537by Jonathan Auxier

This much-anticipated follow-up to Jonathan Auxier’s exceptional debut, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, is a Victorian ghost story with shades of Washington Irving and Henry James. More than just a spooky tale, it’s also a moral fable about human greed and the power of storytelling.

The Night Gardener follows two abandoned Irish siblings who travel to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house. But the house and its family are not quite what they seem. Soon the children are confronted by a mysterious spectre and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives. With Auxier’s exquisite command of language, The Night Gardener is a mesmerizing read and a classic in the making.

Hardcover, 350 pages
Published May 20th 2014 by Harry N. Abrams

Summary from Goodreads


The Graveyard Book

2213661by Neil Gaiman

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family.

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

Hardcover, 312 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by HarperCollins

Summary from Goodreads

Hopefully, that’s enough to get you started. Remember, reading to and with your kids increases their reading comprehension and fosters a sense of family. A few moments shared among the pages of a book can instill a life-long love of reading. These are just a few titles for middle grade, but hopefully you’ll keep reading and searching for more. Check out sites like Penguin, Scholastic, and Goodreads for great recommendations.

And most important? Never. Stop. Reading.


Promises To Keep ~ NEW RELEASE!

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lt all began with THE PROMISE OF PROVENCE, published in 2013.

Fifty, suddenly divorced and alone,TPOP_med

can be an opportunity to begin something better than you ever dreamed …

see for yourself … 

Life often changes when we least expect it and that’s what this story is all about.

After a year of heartbreak, Katherine Price impulsively agrees to a home exchange in the south of France. Colorful locals, a yellow lab named Picasso, and the inspiring beauty of the countryside breathe new life into her days … and then there’s the handsome French dude who brings her exotic cheese instead of flowers.

Thanks to tremendous reader response asking for more of Katherine’s story, a six-book series, LOVE IN PROVENCE, was born!

And now … drum roll please … I’m delighted to announce the launch of PROMISES TO KEEP ~ LOVE IN PROVENCE, BOOK TWO.



Falling in love with the south of France was no surprise to Katherine. Choosing to walk away from her past and start over was completely unexpected. A new country, a new lover, and the promise of a bright future beginning in mid-life … who knew?

 Now there were the exciting dreams of restoring the property on the Cap, beginning a new career,  experiencing the traditions of Christmas in Provence, and falling even more deeply in love with the man who inspired these hopes.

 It was all so perfect, until it wasn’t. The anonymous note left on the windshield was just the beginning.

Katherine had embraced new possibilities in life and given her heart only to discover something was being kept from her. Something terrible from her lover’s past. Something that could destroy everything.

 What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, had become her mantra. Would it be enough?


“Minou! I have to make a quick trip to collect a special order. If you aren’t busy, come with me!” Philippe called as he burst into the apartment. “We haven’t explored a new village for a while and I promise you will love this one … but then, you love them all though, don’t you?”

Editing photos on her computer, Katherine looked up in surprise.

“Je suis pressé!” Philippe continued, rushing about, “I’ll tell you in the car … and we’ll need warm coats. It will be cooler up there.”

“I’m ready!” she said, picking up her camera, as Philippe took jackets for each of them from the closet.

He gave her a playful pat as they hurried down the stairs. “No time to wait for the ascenseur. Allez zou!”

Katherine laughed at the spontaneity.

In the walled courtyard where he had parked, Philippe held the car door open for her. It was a courtesy that seemed to be second nature to him, and Kat appreciated it every time. Then he went to unlock the gate. On his way back to the car, he paused and plucked a folded paper from behind the wiper on the driver’s side. His jaw tightened and he quickly looked around the courtyard. He scrunched the paper and shoved it into the pocket of his jeans before sliding heavily into his seat. Kat had never seen him angry before.

“What was that?” she asked.

“Rien du tout. Nothing, nothing at all,” he answered abruptly.

Putting her hand on his arm, Katherine repeated her question. “I saw the look on your face. It looked like it was something, not nothing.”

Philippe exhaled loudly before he covered her hand with his and lifted it to his lips. “Sorry, Minou. It’s nothing to worry about, and I’m sorry I spoke so sharply.”

“But –”

He squeezed her hand, but he looked pained and his voice had an unfamiliar edge to it. “Seriously, we don’t need to talk about it. It’s just some business from a long time ago that I thought was finished …”

A hush hung in the air. Then Philippe started the engine and they drove off.

Torn between wanting to know what was bothering him but not wanting to push, Katherine stayed quiet as Philippe navigated the town’s narrow streets and drove them into the countryside.

She had learned years earlier, after being scolded and humiliated by James, that she needed to stay out of some matters. Her throat tightened at the memory. His verbal attacks had felt physical, like a kick in the stomach, and completely foreign to her. She had not experienced or witnessed anything like it before she married him. It had crushed her.

Now she struggled to banish those painful memories. She looked straight ahead, taking some deep breaths but saying nothing, until she knew exactly what it was she wanted to say.

She turned to Philippe and touched his cheek lightly. “You know I’m here if you want to talk about it.”

He nodded, staring intently at the road. “Frankly, I hope we never have to talk about it. It’s something that should not be part of our life together. I’m sorry you saw this.”

After a moment, he glanced at her and tried to smile. “I will make it go away, I promise.”

To read more about Patricia Sands and her novels, click here to visit her website.

To purchase your copy of  Promises To Keep, click on one of these links below.

Not only does Patricia Sands love the south of France and love to write novels about that part of the world, now she also leads women’s tours based on her novels. Last summer she took two groups of women to visit some of the beautiful villages and towns in her stories. In 2015 the first tour will be from June 22 to July 4. Come and join us for a trip of a lifetime! Click here for more details.


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Following Floyd’s Footsteps by Caroline James


“Food is Life, Life is Food” – Keith Floyd

Keith Floyd

I’ve always been a huge admirer of Keith Floyd – celebrity chef, TV presenter and restaurateur. In my early years in the hospitality industry, he was my inspiration and during the days behind the stove of my own restaurant, I was jokingly referred to as a female Keith Floyd because like Floyd, I enjoyed a slurp or two whilst cooking. Floyd’s Irish sojourn in Kinsale was the inspiration for my novel: So, You Think You’re A Celebrity…Chef?

Three years ago, I fulfilled an ambition and went to the famous Kinsale Annual Gourmet Food Festival. Located only sixteen miles south of Cork, on the south east coast of Ireland, Kinsale is a picturesque, popular and historic town. Hailed as the Gourmet Capital of Ireland it has a plethora of pubs and cafes to suit every taste and budget including ten fine dining restaurants that form the Kinsale Good Food Circle.

Kinsale – home of the Annual Gourmet Food Festival

A recent count found fifty nine establishments that cater to a population of approximately three thousand residents, whose numbers swell in summer. The festival, held every October, originated to extend the tourist season and such is the popularity that it sells out months in advance. This riotous event provides a weekend of gastronomic bliss for foodies and revellers from around the globe. It was an amazing time and I loved every moment.

Mad Hatters prepare for the food festival!

I wanted to return to the festival to discover why it had enchanted Floyd and why the residents of the town won his heart, resulting in a spontaneous property purchase. So I went back for the 38th festival and found that the locals were eager to talk to me about Floyd; everyone seemed to have a fond memory.

Members of Kinsale’s Good Food Circle

Keith Floyd

Martin Shanahan, chef proprietor of the famous Fishy Fishy Restaurant told me: “When he arrived I thought, oh my god – why is he here? But we appreciated him because he bought fish out of the stone ages and he loved what we had; we respected him as a normal guy, not a TV star. He came here to get away from the madness and had a great heart. We were lucky that he came to Kinsale.”

The story emerged that following the collapse of his Bristol restaurants, Floyd was broke. Despite the success of his TV programmes, his Devon pub was haemorrhaging money and, as fast as funds came in, they flowed straight back out to pay off a long list of creditors. Brymon Airways had recently launched a route to Cork and invited Floyd, together with dignitaries and journalists from both sides of the Irish Sea, to the Gourmet Food Festival in Kinsale.

Sunrise in Kinsale

He wanted to accept but couldn’t afford a hotel for four nights. After coming clean to the organisers, Cork Airport Authority stepped in and offered to cover all his expenses. In his autobiography, Floyd described the weekend as the most incredible four days he ever experienced and I have to say that I can fully understand what he meant. Where in the world would you find such uniqueness by way of events, combined with the highest quality food and a harmony between the restaurateurs, who all work seamlessly together and co-operate for the benefit of the town.

My recent return to the little Irish port, on the fifth anniversary of his death, followed Floyd’s footsteps and I wanted to know why the residents of Kinsale called Floyd, ‘their adopted son’ and why he is still celebrated for putting Kinsale on the gastronomic map. But first, let me tell you about this year’s festival…

Cornstore Cork – Chowder Winner!

It started with Friday’s Chef’s Chowder Cook-Off, followed by the opening night champagne reception and gala dinner.

On Saturday morning, the crazy, Mad Hatter’s Taste of Kinsale began where 500 participants don their “mad hats” and follow Alice, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Field Mouse on a raucous tour of Kinsale’s Good Food Circle and four different venues where tables groan with delicacies prepared by local chefs and glasses are kept constantly charged.

Follow your leader!

Food glorious food…

Flaming Fish

Surf ‘n’ Turf Tower

Crazy hats at the Mad Hatters Food Trailcheeseboard hat

It’s an hilarious day, where you meet old friends and make many new and by early evening, for those still standing, there’s dancing to a live band.

Host Derek Davis & Guest

Finally, if you still have the stamina, Sunday’s Fruits de Mer Luncheon takes place in Actons, the very hotel where Floyd stayed on his first and subsequent visits. This is a seafood extravaganza featuring lobster, crab, prawns, oysters and other delights from the local waters, with more dancing to live music.

Fruits de Mer Lunch

Host & TV Presenter – Derek Davis

Derek Davis, a well-known Irish TV and Radio personality, is the MC of the weekend’s event and hosts with some style. He has fond memories of Floyd and many hilarious anecdotes to tell of their escapades in Kinsale. He told me: “At ten o’clock in the morning you’d be walking down the street and would get a tap on the shoulder, ‘Let’s get rat-arsed dear boy,’ Floyd would say. He was hard to keep up with but he loved Kinsale and made a legion of friends here and what better tribute to give to the town that to move to it…”

Derek remembers how Floyd boosted the town’s reputation, both nationally and internationally, as a leading food destination. But what made Floyd decide to settle in Kinsale? Locals say that he fell in love with a property called Creek Lodge, owned by a farmer. It stood on the bank of an estuary and Floyd agreed to buy it on the spot.

Creek Lodge – former home of Keith Floyd

I’m told that it took him eleven months to complete the deal and on his final visit the farmer’s wife sat in the back of the gloomy room while the farmer sat silently in front of a peat fire. Eventually, the wife emerged with glasses, a bottle of whisky and the largest bible Floyd had ever seen. She poured and walked away. In a silent moment, the farmer motioned for Floyd to pick up his glass and the deal was done. I visited the property and could see why Floyd was so smitten.

Street in Kinsale

Floyd spent the next year completely renovating the house and soon found himself immersed in Irish life. I tried to image him living there surrounded by his ducks, chickens, pot-bellied pigs, vegetable gardens and house with hollyhocks around the door. The locals remember his shenanigans. His daily routine, within seconds of pouring the first pint of Murphy’s, might be a trip up the river on his vintage motor boat, groaning with drink, food and friends, or a train ride to Dublin to follow in the drinking and literary footsteps of the famous Irish writers, euphemistically known as the Literary Pub Tour – getting smashed in all the places they used to drink in, or perhaps a day at the races, or the local point-to-point and hurling finals, or an oyster festival.

Floyd was a huge supporter of Kinsale Rugby Club and a friend told me how he watched Floyd walk into a dinner at the club one night with a bottle of port in one hand and a glass in the other, then proceeded to entertain the large audience for twenty minutes with riotous tales, at the end of which the port bottle was empty.

View from Charles Fort, Kinsale

Floyd described his time in Ireland in the 1990s as one of the happiest times of his life. As I prepared to leave Kinsale, I walked to Charles Fort, high on a hill overlooking Kinsale and looked down on the magnificent coast line and pretty town. As I reflected on Floyd’s experience and the legendary hospitality that was shown to the chef, it was easy to understand why he fell in love with Kinsale and why the residents took the enigmatic, colourful and, five years on, never-to-be-forgotten, Keith Floyd to their hearts.

I hope you enjoyed the start of this story.

To be continued.

Thanks to the lovely Maria at Kinsale Good Food Circle and all the wonderful people in Kinsale.

“Food is Life, Life is Food” – Keith Floyd

Kieth Floyd Memorial Plaque

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Following Floyd’s Footsteps ©carolinejames


Everywhere I go in southern Ireland there is one dish that is a must for me most days and that is chowder. I’ve never had a bad one and the best was at Toddies, at The Bulman in Kinsale. Here is my recipe for this easy to prepare dish which is filling and wholesome and absolutely great with soda bread, which is also a snip to prepare and I’ve included my recipe below.

Seafood Chowder, Soda Bread & Whisky Sour

Seafood Chowder
A delicious meal by itself and nice and easy to make

320g fish pie mix – salmon, smoked haddock, cod
1 tbsp oil
1 large onion finely chopped
1 tbsp plain flour
225gm potatoes – peeled and chopped into cubes
300ml milk
6 tbsp double cream
600ml stock (make with fish or vegetable stock cube)
100gm smoky bacon, chopped
Chopped chives to garnish
Seasoning to taste
• Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat then add the onion and bacon and sauté gently for 10 mins
• Stir in the flour and cook for 2 mins
• Slowly add the stock and bring gently to the boil. Add the potatoes then cover the pan and simmer for 10 – 12 mins until the potatoes are cooked.
• Stir in the milk and add the fish mix, simmer for 2 mins.
• Add the cream then ladle into bowls, Garnish with chopped chives.

Delicious with soda bread, creamy Irish butter and a whisky sour!

Soda Bread
There is no yeast in the recipe and it is ready in no time

170 gm plain flour
170gm self raising wholemeal flour
250ml butter milk (you can use any milk)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
• Preheat the oven to 400f/200C/gas 6
• In a large bowl or food processor, combine flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda
• Add the buttermilk and blend to form a soft dough
• Turn onto a floured surface, knead briefly and form a round then place on a non-stick baking sheet.
• Slash the top of the loaf with a sharp knife and bake for 30 mins until the loaf sounds hollow when you turn out and tap
• Cool on a wire rack



Caroline James

Find out more about Caroline:


Facebook: Caroline James Author on Facebook
Twitter Account: @CarolineJames12
Author Blogs: carolinejamesblogspot
Author’s Website:

Cross Channel Stuffing – It’s a French Farcie


The only wedge we should drive between us and our neighbours

The English do so love stuffing the French. A recent incident involved Mr Andy Street, the big boss of John Lewis. He told an audience of business types that in France “Nothing works and worse, nobody cares.”

His supermarket chain Waitrose still boasts of its selections of French cheeses and wines. Maybe some things work very well. May be that in order for the best things to work properly, a different philosophy of life is needed. It translates like this. “In France, everything will work somehow and even better, you spoil the surprise by getting too involved.”


Latest farm executive’s company vehicle

Anglo-Saxons care! We consume books to sharpen our anxiety skills. Bestsellers tell you how to “make” yourself be happy. In France they write books on how to make yourself unhappy. Step one all the way to one thousand is not to be French. Nothing worse can happen. Even while you are not queuing in the Big Mac elbow-wrestle, Anglo Saxon globalized big biz is the root of unhappiness.

In these features I’m going to be talking about aspects of life in France (Paris is a separate country). I hope to cover anything from buying a house to the dark arts of dinner invitations. If you are thinking or dreaming of moving to France you will need to know the true underlying cultural differences.

Firstly, Brits think. French believe. This applies to things like health. Brits with back ache think they have a misplaced fourth vertebrae. They will have researched it on the net. The French believe that they have slept awkwardly because they drank Chablis with the cheese course. The Brit goes to the doctor and demands a scan. The Frenchman goes to the pharmacy, discusses wine choice and gets enough medicine to sedate a horse. Recovery and outcomes are more or less identical.

Top brandy CEO in designer clogs

Top brandy CEO in designer clogs

Few Brits think of themselves as peasants. Not all peasants are French but all French are peasants. A Brit sees a field of cattle. A Frenchman sees cheese, udders, steak, tripe, and manure. A Brit may vote for the green party. The French have parties in green meadows. Ladies who work in geeky IT for car companies step up for goat milking contests cheered on by wine swigging marketing executives. High flyers in Britain buy a Porsche.  It is not necessary to know how to drive fast. In France they buy a pig trailer and a Citroen Berlingo.  It is not necessary to have a pig.

Weekend goat-milking contests - open to all

Roll up girls – weekend goat-milking contest

Believe me, France works just great at being French. Beware of self-help imitations. It’s an aristocracy of shrugs. You have to be born into it. If they cancel your two-hundred-mile-an-hour train and you ask for a refund – well it’s only a three month wait. Hey – what was the rush anyway?


Emma Calin was born in London in 1962. She currently lives part of the year in the UK and spends the rest in France.  She has been writing since childhood and has won numerous local, national, and international prizes for poetry and short stories.

Emma enjoys writing love stories firmly rooted in social realism.  She blogs about the contrasts in life on both sides of the English Channel, which she likes to explore on her tandem whenever weather and fitness coincide. She is a Lifestyle Contributor on Loveahappyending Lifestyle.

She defines herself as woman eternally pedalling between Peckham and Pigalle, in search of passion and enduring romance.

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For books by Emma Calin: Amazon USA  Amazon UK
Emma Calin Blog: 
Emma Calin Website:
Twitter:@Emma Calin

A Garden Evolves


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by Leslie Cox – Duchess of Dirt.  Photos by John Cox

Grape arbour diningA garden is a wonderful place for many people. For some, it is an extension of their home. One or more rooms created for entertaining or quiet solitude in celebration of the outdoors. The cooks amongst us extend their food passion into growing organic vegetables, fruits, herbs and edible flowers for their culinary creations. Still others grow a garden simply for the enjoyment it gives them. And some of us resort to gardening because that is all we know.

Such was the case for my husband and me when we both lost our jobs at the same time. No warning. Bang…no jobs. To this day I can feel the sheer dismay hitting me in the solar plexus as we listened to the breaking news bulletin announced by the network anchorman. Still remember the shock turning to panic as it slid into the pit of my stomach. My knees buckled.

I wish this for no person.

Did I mention panic? Four teenagers at home. No income. Our industry in trouble. A down-turn economy setting in and precious few skills to fall back on. But there was one skill we both possessed…gardening.

So…how to make it work?

Duchess & sunflowersGrow food, we thought. Gardening may not have been front and centre during our working careers but there were always some food crops grown every season. We could expand. Join the local farmers market. At least our family would not go hungry.

Thus began Growing Concern Cottage Garden and the transformation of our garden.

Garden expansionThe first year we ripped up some lawn, knocked out the few raised beds we had been using and designed a food production system on a grander scale. At least for us. And every Saturday morning from April through into October saw us hawking our efforts to the local consumers the first year of our new careers.

Herb GardenOh…and I put in an herb garden.

We learned a lot that year. Fighting soil conditions, weather, ferocious pests and stubborn diseases is not for the faint of heart. But there was one bright spot. It shone on the herb garden…an oasis of peace and tranquility. Captivating. Begging a moment’s enjoyment with each pass on the path.

Transformed by this small, circular-designed space of special herbs, the lure to create a larger space in which to explore more of nature’s wonders was overwhelming. We tweaked our business plan. Stretch the produce into value-added chutneys, relishes, jams and jellies to reduce the amount grown. Less space needed for vegetables and fruits translated into beds for an expanding array of ornamental plants.

Backyard a few years onWe fast became dedicated plant-aholics. Indeed. It was that serious an addiction. Before long we had to seek help. Another business tweak and we opened our ever-expanding garden and small nursery to entice others into our group sessions. We needed to share.

Duke & DuchessSo…imagine our surprise one winter when we realized the tenth anniversary of losing our corporate jobs was looming on the calendar.

I looked at John. He looked at me. We still had a roof over our heads. We were still together. We had held on to our sense of humour. We hugged. Our lives were perfect.

Life begins the day you start a garden.   ~ Chinese Proverb

Sure…there were times when it was really hard to find that second nickel to rub with the first. But you know? We learned two very valuable Life Lessons.

  1. It is amazing what you can live without.
  2. Necessity is the mother of invention.

Fish pondThe summer our eldest daughter was to be married in our garden I wanted a pond. No money for a pond liner on top of all the other wedding expenses. So we enquired at carpet stores for old underlay slated for the garbage dump.

Spadeful by spadeful, the pond was dug out. Then came multiple layers of newspaper, some plastic bags from potting soil, the underlay…all covered with non-biodegradable plastic scrounged from a near-by dairy farm. I had my fish pond through recycling, re-using and re-purposing a few materials.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.    ~ Author Unknown

Over the years since…no trip past the pond has ever disallowed a pause to watch whatever drama may happen to be unfolding. It is always an encore performance.

Now, a few more years further on…

Front garden from porchIt is said a garden provides solace to those in need. Tis the truth. We know it personally. The horrors of watching loved ones suffering life-ending pain or an inescapable slip into incontinence weighs heavily on those left behind. Whoever cares to seek…peace and a spiritual companionship wait patiently in the garden.

Gardening is medicine that does not need a prescription. And with no limit on dosage.   ~ Author Unknown

Both of us had a door slammed in our faces at a very pivotal time in our lives. Too young to retire and too old to recycle…we were lucky to have discovered the open window into our garden. Over time, it has evolved into an extension of our home. A place to share with family, friends and visitors alike. (Some have asked if they could pay rent.) Food crops and herbs continue to be an important part of our garden landscape for the freshness and bounty they provide.

But above all, the garden has made us realize who we really are. Made us understand the role we are designed to play in life. A true blessing in disguise.

To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.   ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Back yard to pergola



Torn Between Two Loves


Q.  I have a big dilemma. I’m 25 and I’ve been seeing a really nice guy for eight months, but my ex-boyfriend (of four years) wants me back. Both are good men, but I feel more attracted to my ex-boyfriend. We had so many good times. My current boyfriend is fun to be with, but I’m not sure I’m as in love with him as I was with my ex. Do you have any advice that could help me make a good decision?


A.  First of all, I’d like to know why you and your ex-boyfriend broke up. Was it due to one of you cheating? Long distance between you? A fight? General malaise about the relationship? This is important information because it may be the key to whether or not a future relationship with him would be successful. Some issues are workable; others are not. Think long and hard about what caused the break-up and whether or not common sense tells you the problem may rear its head again in the future. It’s also important to keep in mind that sometimes we only remember the good times we’ve had with someone, while blocking out the difficulties. It’s human nature. So is wanting someone when you think you can no longer have her. Is your ex possibly guilty of that? Weighing a four-year relationship against an eight-month long one may not be a fair comparison due to your longer history and attachment to your ex. Is it conceivable that you don’t feel as “in love” with your new man because you never really let go of the last one? If that’s the reason, then your feelings could easily change when you truly move on. In the meantime, ask yourself which man is more reliable? More attentive and kind? A better friend and partner? Which one wants a similar future to the one you imagine for yourself? Who makes you a better person for having known him? If you can answer those questions, you will have a much better chance of choosing your Mr. Right. Good luck!


Read more advice from Bonnie HERE

If you would like Bonnie to offer some advice on your personal relationship issue, contact her at

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Author page 
Author Website
Author Blog 
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Twitter A/c @writebrainedny




Sixties Throwbacks and Cloaked Militia On Skis: It’s Fall-Winter Fashion

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Hello and welcome to Fall! Let’s take a look at the best in fashion trends for Fall/Winter 2014!

Sixties Throwbacks

Okay, everyone! It’s time to step into the Wayback Machine and head to the Sixties. This Fall/Winter will feature furs, boxy coats, and mini-skirts. Dress up your evening attire with dramatic cloaks, trapeze dresses, and chic Mary Janes. Don’t forget to add in a day of Plum, the in color for Fall.



Military Chic

Yeah, pretty much two words that I never expected to see paired. Hey, it seems like almost anything goes in Fashion these days, so why not? Check out bulky army jackets in camo or khaki, hip accessories with flare, like these sleek gloves and retro army style watch. And yes–the military look even extends to heels. And don’t forget the military boots!




Hit the Slopes

This Winter, embrace the Aspen style. We’ll see the return of the Ski Sweater, boxy sweaters over leggings and the ever-popular ski hat. Tall boots and retro fittings add to a look that’s quintessentially Colorado.

hit the slopes


Cloak Magnifique!

This Winter, cloaks are just for Harry Potter and Little Red Riding Hood. Add a cloak to your wardrobe in dramatic gold, another in color for the season. Pull it all together with the ultimate wardrobe add-on, a scarf. And don’t forget to accessorize! Check out these slick glasses and belt. Why not extend your style to your phone with this snazzy gold case?

cloak magnifique


Thanks for joining me for another Fashion update! See you in the Spring with more hip trends. What’s your favorite style for this season? Let me know below in the comments.


The Bookshelf – October Book News

Janice New Banner LLm 2015The very latest Loveahappyending book news, author buzz and blogger reviews!

Our OCTOBER Bookshelf GUEST AUTHOR is Jenny Harper…

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Jenny Harper lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, though she was born in India and grew up in England. She has been a non-fiction editor, a journalist, and a businesswoman and has written a children’s novel and several books about Scotland. Her short story, ‘The Eighth Promise’ was published in March in the Mills & Boon anthology, Truly, Madly, Deeply. Jenny writes contemporary women’s fiction with bite – complex characters facing serious issues. ‘Face the Wind and Fly’ is about a woman wind farm engineer with a marriage in trouble and a controversial project to handle. ‘Loving Susie’ is about a female politician with a complicated family history and at odds with the world. Her latest novel, ‘Maximum Exposure’, is about a newspaper photographer with a job to save and some growing up to do.

I asked Jenny, who recently signed with Accent Press, why her books have been called ‘The Heartland Series’.

Jenny says: “I was planning on grouping my books together as a series once there were three published. Accent acquired the rights just before the third, ‘Maximum Exposure’, hit the e-market and they were also keen on the idea of a series. However, they felt that my planned ‘Hailesbank’ name for the series was too hard edged and asked me to come up with another name. This was a challenge because there is no central character; the link is in the location – my fictional town of Hailesbank. I was flummoxed! So I went off to my aqua class where, thankfully, inspiration hit me. I made Hailesbank the ‘ancient capital of the Heartlands’ and added an explanation to the start of every book. Here’s a brief version. For more, please read my books!”

“The first mention of The Heartlands was made by Agrippus Centorius in AD77, not long after the Romans began their surge north in the hopes of conquering this savage land. ‘This is a place of great beauty,’ wrote Agrippus, ‘and its wildness has clutched my heart.’ He makes several mentions thereafter of The Heartlands. There are still signs of Roman occupation in Hailesbank, which has great transport links to the south (and England) and the north, especially to Edinburgh, and its proximity to the sea and the (real) coastal town of Musselburgh made it a great place to settle. The Georgians and Victorians began to develop the small village, its clean air and glorious views, rich farming hinterland and great transport proving highly attractive.”

Maximum Exposure: Livelihoods are at risk when a local newspaper begins to fail, but the future of one member of staff depends more oMax Exposuren the choices she makes than the decisions of others… ‘Page-turning and thoroughly entertaining. I loved it!’ Katie Fforde

Adorable but scatterbrained newspaper photographer Daisy Irvine becomes the key to the survival of The Hailesbank Herald when her boss drops dead right in front of her. And while big egos and petty jealousies hinder the struggle to save the paper, Daisy starts another campaign – to win back her ex, Jack Hedderwick – while Ben Gillies, returning after a long absence, sees childhood friend Daisy in a whole new light. He’d like to win her love, but discovers that she’s a whole lot better at taking photographs than making decisions, particularly when she’s blinded by the past. When tragedy strikes Daisy’s family, loyalty drives her home. But it’s time to grow up and Daisy must choose between independence and love.

Find out more about Jenny Harper  Webpage: Facebook: Twitter




Loveahappyending Author Stephanie Keyes is the author of the YA Fantasy series, The Star Child, which currently includes The Star Child, After Faerie, The Fallen Stars, and The Star Catcher, all from by Inkspell Publishing. Mrs. Keyes is hard at work on a new YA Paranormal Romance.

Stephanie says: When I’m not writing, I work as a freelance instructional and graphic designer, along with my husband of eleven years. My most important job of all, however, is being a mom to two little boys under the age of six and Riley, the Cockapoo Princess. When I am not working, mothering someone, or writing, I am an avid reader. Naturally, my favorite genre is fantasy, but I’ll read just about anything given the chance. I’m also a gadget freak (if it’s new I have to have it) and a music addict. I play the clarinet and saxophone, and I sing.

The Star Child Series: The YA Paranormal Romance series, The Star Child, follows seventeen-year-old genius, Kellen St. James and his Irish goddess, Calienta, as they fight to save the world from darkness. Come away to a world where magick and destiny intertwine…

steph booksFind out more about Stephanie Keyes at:
And on her  Bookshelf Page

Falling-complete-series-190x280NEW This Month!

Linn B. Halton’s Falling: Angels Among Us The Complete Series

Published by Harper Impulse, launches on 9th October 2014.

 ‘No one chooses to see angels. Why would they?’

Linn is very excited that Harper Impulse launched Falling: The Complete Angels Among Us Series on 9 October 2014 in ebook format and the paperback is coming in December 2014. She’s on the HI blog talking about it this week and the scoop is that there is bonus content that takes the reader on past ‘The End’ of the third novella, ‘Forever’ to wrap it up!

Linn said, “In this series, which is a mixture of research and fiction with an over-riding love story to add as many complications as you can possibly want, the ideas were limitless. But the ending has to do the story justice and Forever ends with a scene that needed an explanation. Whether or not you’ve read the three novellas, there’s a surprise waiting for the reader in the complete series after ‘The End’. It’s an appropriate ending, but it took a while for the words to come …”

Love is a powerful emotion, but can it change the course of someone’s destiny? This is a romance story that explores the possibility of there being something more than just the ‘here and now’. Ceri’s journey begins…

Find out more on Linn’s website or from Harper Impulse


This Month’s @LAHEBookshelf Twitter Snapshot

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Loveahappyending BOOK BLOGGER Reviews

Bringing you independent reviews from some of the Best Reviewers in the Book Blogging world!

EOS Cover (3)The Edge of Sanity

Author: Sheryl Browne.
Publisher: Safkhet Publishing.
Genre: Romantic Thriller

How far would YOU go to protect your family?
A decent, ordinary man, a man who has already suffered the loss of one child, Daniel Conner is forced by extraordinary circumstances into being a hero. Tortured, forcibly drugged—heroin still pulsating nauseatingly through his veins—his wife and daughter degraded, Daniel knows their kidnapper is beyond reasoning with. But does being pushed one step beyond endurance justify doing the unthinkable? High on drugs, indebted to his supplier, and desperate, Charlie Roberts takes Daniel’s wife and daughter hostage. Daniel does everything within his power to rescue the situation bloodlessly. Eventually though, Daniel realises that with or without violent mood swings induced by amphetamines and cocaine, Charlie Roberts is a psychopath. He wants more than Daniel’s money. He wants him.

Reviewed by: Sophie at Reviewed the Book
Winner of the Romance Blogger of the Year 2014 award

Sophie says: The Edge of Sanity was gripping, intense, and emotional. Jo and Daniel have had their relationship torn apart after the devastating loss of their youngest child. Their oldest daughter Kayla is suffering in the aftermath. Then psychopath Charlie is introduced… Honestly, the concept of this book sounds good but I just can’t make it sound as good as it is. The author, seemingly effortlessly, draws you in to this traumatic plot to the stage where you just have no idea what’s going to happen next. You have to read because you need to see if this broken family will ever come through and the flawless pacing takes you through this whole experience with them, like you’re witnessing the suffering in real life. Heart-wrenching, captivating, dramatic and all-out simply the best thriller I’ve read in… as long as I remember. Brilliant.

READ Sophie’s entire review of The Edge of Sanity at Reviewed the Book

Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon
Find out more about Sheryl Brown from her Website and Bookshelf page

Made in NashvilleMade in Nashville

Author: Mandy Baggot
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Genre: Contemporary Romance

A story of fear, determination and passion for what you were born to do…
An on-stage attack left Honor Blackwood with more scars than just the one on her face. It’s been ten years since she left her spot as Nashville’s brightest country music star. Is now the time to return? And is she brave enough to do it? Country rebel and rock star, Jared ‘Jed’ Marshall is hot property on the Tennessee music scene in more ways than one. He’s wild, he’s sexy, and everybody wants a piece of him. But when he sets his sights on Honor, is it pure attraction or just distraction on his mind? Join the country scene to find out!

Reviewed by: Jess at A Novel Thought

Jess says: I love the relationship between Jed and Honor – you can immediately feel the chemistry and connection between them. Mandy beautifully writes about the reactions they each feel when they look at each other, when they’re near each other and it is so gorgeous the way Jed learns Honor’s different quirks that make her unique. There are definitely some intense scenes where Jed and Honor start to act on the attraction they feel. Mandy brilliant builds the tension and gets the heart racing as she describes the feelings and emotions running through the characters.

READ Jess’s entire review at A Novel Thought

Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon
Find out more about Mandy Baggot from her Website and Bookshelf page

SO LBH medSweet Occasions

Shortlisted in the Festival of Romantic Fiction reader’s award ‘Best Author Published’ category
Author: Linn B Halton
Genre: Contemporary Romance

A heart-warming story that deals with many of life’s most difficult issues: being a single dad when a relationship falls apart, the impact of life-changing illness, dealing with the loss of a loved one … and the search for a soul mate.

Katie’s relationship has had more than its fair share of problems. After a difficult few years things begin to pick up and Katie finally realises her dream of opening up a bakery. Sweet Occasions specialises in novelty and celebration cakes, plus the most inspiring range of cupcakes anyone could possibly ask for. Utilising her passion and skill helps to inject happiness back into her life, but it’s short-lived as things begin to fall apart. The reality is that you need to run a business with your heart AND your head. Help is at hand in the shape of her partner, Steve. He has the necessary experience, but does Katie want to tie herself to him financially, as well as personally? Then one rainy, wintry day a bedraggled customer steps inside the door to order a cake …

Reviewed by JB at Brook Cottage Books
Shortlisted for the Festival of Romance Blogger of the Year 2013 award

JB Says: Sweet Occasions is a beautiful book. Katie is a lovely young woman who is struggling to make her bakery business a success. However, in the background is her pushy businessman boyfriend who wants Katie to take the business in a whole new direction. Then, one Christmas a soaked and frozen Adam comes into the bakery to buy something nice for his grandmother. Katie takes pity on him when she sees he is nearing a state of hypothermia! A strange sort of friendship begins. A friendship that only sees the pair meet up a couple of times a year when Adam visits his grandmother. Told from the different perspectives of each of the central characters I loved how the story was told and how it developed. It flows at a natural pace, much like Adam and Katie’s friendship. This book will leave a lasting impression on your heart. A lovely book that was hard to put down and equally hard to let go once the final page was turned!

READ JB’s entire review at Brook Cottage Books

Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon
Find out more about Linn B Halton from her Website and Bookshelf page

In October Look Out For… Voodoo Romance!

I’m taking my series of three fun and spooky voodoo romance novellas on tour over Halloween with Candlelit Author Services now they are available to download from Amazon as a bargain priced boxed set!

The Voodoo Romance Boxed Set by LLm author Janice Horton features Amazon bestselling ‘How Do You Voodoo?’ ‘Voodoo Wedding’ and ‘Voodoo Child’ and is exclusive for Kindle ereaders worldwide and – only during the days of the tour – available to download here at the amazing price of just 99p! No Kindle? No problem! Download the free Kindle reading app from Amazon for your iPhone, your tablet, iPad, Laptop, Mac or other electronic mobile device and get your voodoo romance now!

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Wanting what you can’t have … dilemma! Love, lust and fate

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HarperImpulseFalling: Angels Among Us the complete series isn’t just three novellas rolled into one, but it also has bonus content that takes the reader beyond ‘The End’. How many times have you read a book and thought, ‘Great, but what happened next?’ Well, in the complete series you get to find out and, yes, it’s a roller-coaster ride!  

Forever ends with a shocking incident, simply because it’s one of the possible ways a story like this might end. But the bonus content sees beyond that and takes it in another direction.

This book does take the reader through a lot of thought-provoking moments in the quest to find out why Ceri is able to make seemingly tiny differences, that dramatically change the course of some people’s lives. Well, it’s more a case of ‘putting right’ that small thing that would, in one split second, throw them off course.

That brings me on to my favourite subject – love and fate. Just like going to the shop and buying that winning lottery ticket, true love is, as the saying goes, made in heaven. Not convinced? If you stand back and consider how many people of the opposite sex, within an appropriate age range, that you will meet throughout your life … starting to follow my drift?

Then all of a sudden, you meet ‘the one. The problem is that you can have a few—okay for some, many, false starts. Meet, fall in love, fall out of love, it ends. Move on. Why? Who knows why our fate is laid out in the way it is – why some meet their soul mate early on, and some never do find that perfect match. Maybe that’s the whole point of fate. Each of our paths is mapped out for us to learn a specific set of lessons and if you believe we live more than one life here on this plane, then that would make perfect sense.

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And then there is lust. It can be blinding, but without love to back it up—and I’m talking the sort of love that means you would lay your life on the line for that person—it’s usually a transient thing. On its own it isn’t enough to satisfy body, mind AND soul. We need someone who is a lover, friend, confidante and who will return in equal measure  the love they are given. So it is a bit like picking the winning lottery ticket, isn’t it? A miracle that it ever really happens!

Wanting something, however badly, won’t make it happen. What I explored in this series was a whole range of problems, from wanting someone Ceri wasn’t supposed to have (and to hold forever and forever), to accepting the inevitable. But we are only human and that is almost impossible to do. So the story reflects struggle, conflict (with life and conscience) and the depth of love that squeezed Ceri’s heart so tightly she thought she’d stop breathing.

And THAT’S why what happened after ‘The End‘ matters so much in this series. I can’t wait to find out what the readers think …




Twitter: @LinnBHalton FB: Author Linn B Halton

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A Prickly Problem

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The northern central states of the USA, such as Montana and the Dakotas, are farming country and often considered destinations for bird hunters.

People come from all around to visit these seemingly desolate farmlands in the fall. Bird hunters bring their dogs. Usually they bring a pair of pliers too.

If you spend much time in these states with a bird dog in tow, one of these days you are bound to run into a cute little animal that is hated by nearly everyone.


Excitedly, I told a farming friend one day, “We saw a porcupine this morning!”

“Did ya shoot it?” was the immediate response.

I had never seen a porcupine before, and I thought it was so cute. I just wanted to pick it up and cuddle it, but  knew better. I could easily have caught it. It wasn’t very fast. But they don’t like to be cuddled. They have rather prickly personalities, and even pricklier fur.


The needles in their coat are so sharp they easily stick in a person’s (or animal’s) skin. The points have fine barbs on them that make pulling the quills out quite a nuisance; hence the pliers.


In the interior of British Columbia, where cougars are plentiful, the young adult cats who are newly on their own often have a hard time catching their prey. They are still learning hunting strategies and finding out about the world around them.

I heard of one cougar who had to be shot after it lingered near town too often, trying to pick off house cats or little dogs. Upon examining the cougar, it was found that the poor animal was near starvation. Apparently it had tried to bite a porcupine and got a mouthful of quills. It hadn’t been able to eat for a very long time for the pain of all the needles in its tongue and the roof of its mouth. Many quills had even penetrated the skin on the cougar’s chest and had broken off between the skin and the muscle, festering there, probably for weeks.

A friend told me that his Labrador retriever had been quilled by a porcupine.

“I bet he never went near another one after that,” I said.

“Aw, no!” the dog’s owner said. “He was so stupid that the next time he saw a porcupine, it made him so mad, he attacked it and got another dose of quills in his face. You’d think he’d learn, but he just goes wild now when he sees them. Dumb dog!”

Porcupines are not mean animals. They can’t run fast, or bite, or scratch. Their only defence is their body armour, their coat of quills. They simply want to be left alone to eat the leaves, twigs, and bark they love. Unfortunately that means that many trees are damaged and will die from being debarked. This makes them unpopular with the farmers who plant the trees as a windbreak.

These little animals don’t go out of their way to harm anyone, but they do have an excellent system of self-defence. Any person or animal who tries to handle a porcupine carelessly will receive a painful lesson they won’t soon forget (except in the case of the lab I mentioned above).

In spite of the risk of having to use the pliers on my dog, to undo the effects of prickly porcupine encounters, I look forward to my next visit to the northern central states of the USA. I can’t wait to go back and give my camera a good workout there.


Find out more about Anneli:

Anneli’s Website




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The trauma of a break-in

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You enter your house and something isn’t quite right but you can’t immediately put your finger on it. As you wander from room to room more things don’t look as they did when you left either that morning or on your vacation. It isn’t until you go to get something and it’s not where you know it to be, or you discover damage, that your mind finally clicks in. Then you frantically search for other things you might have missed on your first pass through, but calling the police still hasn’t entered your mind.

When your mind finally starts to function at some level of “I need to report this” you make the call to 9-1-1 or 9-9-9 depending on where you live. The sooner this happens the better chance of catching the culprits.

Publication1You feel vulnerable. Someone has entered your “castle” uninvited. You feel violated. Someone has gone through your “things” and possibly stolen some of them. You feel like a prisoner in your own home because now you’re afraid to leave in case it happens again. When you do finally have to leave (job, grocery shopping, or appointment), you take things with you that before the break-in you would happily have left at home.

How do you prevent such an occurrence from happening to you? You can’t. At least not 100% but there are things you can do to protect yourself and your belongings and hasten their return if they are stolen.

  1. Install an alarm system. It can be monitored by an outside service such as ADT or not. There are alarm systems that you can install yourself. With or without monitoring, you will get a break on most house insurance. If you don’t mind being on “candid camera” you can install a CCTV system. The bonus of security cameras is you might be lucky enough to catch the person or persons. If that happens you can back up that section of the recording and provide it to the police on a CD or USB stick.
  2. Be fastidious about recording model/serial numbers of televisions, computers, cameras, lenses, and other electronic devices. Also make note of the date purchased and the price you paid at the time. The police will want this rather than replacement cost to help determine the charge.
  3. If you have portable Apple iProducts, install the find my iPhone app on all of them and activate it. It will find iPads, iPods and iPhones. Should your device go missing, you can activate the app and it will locate your device as soon as it connects to the Internet. It doesn’t necessarily guarantee you’ll get it back in one piece, but when you receive the email notification based on your iTunes account name, it will give the location of where it was when it connected and you can provide that to the police to give them a starting point.
  4. If you’re a movie or TV series buff and have purchased the DVDs or Blue Rays of your favourites, use a program to catalogue your purchases. DVD Profiler works well and also allows you to add the place and date of purchase as well as the price you paid.
  5. If your camera was stolen and the card in it was wiped, don’t despair. Should it be recovered, you might be able to get your photos. The evaluation copy of Card Recover is free and it will tell you if it can recover any, some or all of your photos. The downside is you have to pay $39.95 US to be able to save them to your computer, but it’s money well spent, so it’s not really a downside.

The best case scenario is that this never happens but unfortunately, it does. The better prepared you are to give the police the information regarding your missing items, the better the chance there is to recover them.

Melanie Robertson King footer



Celtic Connexions Blog

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@RobertsoKing on Twitter

Available for purchase from 4RV Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and bricks ‘n mortar locations.


A Walk Among the Tombstones ~ Film Review

Title Films

If you are a Liam Neeson fan (and, let’s face it, there aren’t many filmgoers who aren’t), you will see this film whatever the reviews say. Personally, I’ve been a fan of Neeson’s since watching his heartfelt performance in the deeply affecting film, Schindler’s List, and have seen all of his films since.

Post-Taken, Neeson has fallen into the role of ordinary man turned action hero, satisfyingly delivering what the audience expects. Unlike Taken, A Walk Among the Tombstones is more a slow-burn thriller, but no less chilling and powerful for it. The subject matter is predictable, the imagery deeply disturbing, yet morbidly fascinating and, I have to say, skilfully developed, compelling the audience to connect powerfully emotionally with the first victim and thereby the other women kidnapped. The skill is in evoking the precise tortures inflicted on these women without actually showing it, thankfully. It gets my vote for that.

A Walk Among the Tombstones

Liam Neeson plays cop, turned PI, Matthew Scudder (from the Lawrence Block crime novels). In 1991, he’s a walking cliché, a cop with a drinking problem, on the take, who gets a wake-up call when a shootout goes wrong. He’s hailed a hero, but a consequence of that shootout has left him with ghosts (a nice touch is that we don’t get to see all of his ghosts until the end). Fast forward to 1999 and he’s freelance, an emotionally damaged, unlicensed Private Investigator with a conscience, choosing his jobs and working for favours, rather than a paycheque. The NYC setting is dark, sombre, and sets the mood well. Scudder is hired by a drug kingpin (played by Dan Stevens from Downton Abbey) to find the kidnappers who murdered his wife, delivering her gruesomely to him, despite his paying the agreed/negotiated ransom. There will be too many spoilers if I go into detail, but he pays for his drugs by the kilo. Apparently, so he should have paid for his wife.

A traditional ‘cop’, lots of legwork, Scudder hasn’t embraced new technology, eschewing the PC for microfiche, he goes to the library where he meets his unlikely sidekick, TJ, a homeless and Internet savvy teenager. TJ is smart, knows his detective novels, and soon becomes a wannabe PI. Determined to get to grips with practical private investigating, TJ is in the way and, inevitably, invaluable, linking murders via the Internet it might have taken Scudder a while to do using microfiche.

There is lots of telephone action (a la Taken, and something Neeson does only as Neeson can, negotiating with the kidnapper coolly, quietly, and menacingly determinedly).

As mentioned, the plot is somewhat predictable, littered with cliché’s (some of which are played with nicely); familiar. And that, together with the persona Neeson brings to the character, makes it a satisfying, chillingly entertaining, film.


Scott Frank


(Screenplay) Scott Frank

(Novel) Lawrence Block


Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, David Harbour, Astro


Crime, Drama, Mystery




Sheryl Browne Author Links:



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Talking about tarot …

Today I’m talking to author, and tarot reader,

Rosemary Louise Gallagher

Before I ask Rosemary about her background and to explain why people seek out tarot readings, we are offering you an exciting opportunity to ask Rosemary a question to which YOU are seeking an answer. In a forthcoming feature Rosemary will select a few of the questions put forward and will be seeking the answers in the tarot cards. Details of how to apply are at the foot of this article.

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When did your interest in the psychic world begin?

I was born in Melbourne, Australia and spent most of my life there until the year 2000 when I decided that it was time for a change.  I was turning 40 and I was still single – something had to change and fast. So I took advantage of my Irish heritage and got myself an Irish passport and moved to London to see what the other side of the world was offering.  It was a big decision at the time but one I certainly don’t regret.  As much as I love Australia; and I am extremely proud to be an Australian, I always felt like there was somewhere else I was meant to be. And I guess that place was London.  I’ve been living happily here now for the past 14 years.

I’ve always held a strong interest in the metaphysical; especially the tarot cards and I have a strong connection with the angelic realm.  After settling into my new life in London I began formal tarot studies at the Psychic College of London.  I have been reading the tarot professionally ever since. Recently I appeared on an episode of ‘Made in Chelsea’ reading tarot for the girls, which was a great experience.

For the benefit of those who aren’t familiar with this topic, why do people seek out a tarot reading?

The Tarot is a device which can help us in all areas of our daily life. Sometimes we need a little bit of clarity, guidance or reassurance that we are on the right path and headed in the right direction. Perhaps we are unsure of our current circumstances, are we in the right job, or the right relationship? Or maybe we just need a little bit of hope and faith that all will be OK! The Tarot will not only offer an alternative view and a new perspective on our lives, but will also help us to see the whole picture.

My tarot readings are a little bit different as I read the tarot in pairs. As an example I combine a major card with a minor and I find this method gives a far more accurate and detailed interpretation in the area we are dealing with. To illustrate, the Magician paired with the Ace of Pentacles tells me that by putting your ideas into action and making use of your potential (the magician) there could be a successful new financial opportunity coming up (ace of pentacles). Also, my tarot readings are completed with a complementary angel card spread. Not only is this a lovely way to end the reading; but I find that the angel cards always confirm the tarot reading just given. As a result, you are able to leave with the wonderful warm feeling that comes when we know that the angels loving protection and guidance are with us.

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Cover only for webYou also have another passion …

Yes, my passion for writing only began a few years ago, and to be honest I had never written before. I Listened to My Heart is fictional although inspired by a real life experience.

I used to float along in life, happy, content – I didn’t give my life purpose much thought.  However, the universe had other plans and that changed the day my path crossed with the man I believe to be my twin soul mate. This encounter has changed my life forever. And for the better I must say.

For the first couple of years I didn’t even know he was my twin soul mate; I had never even heard of the word until a medium I visited told me about it. I had already started on my spiritual path but after I met my twin my spiritual journey escalated. I’d learnt how to read the tarot & angel cards, and I was having fun with it; even making a little money. My connection with my guardian angel which had always been strong got even stronger.

I hadn’t had much luck in love and had never really been in love before. Of course, I had had my share of fun over the years and a few major infatuations – but nothing compared to the feelings I had for this man. At first, I didn’t understand why I felt the way I did, this certainty and knowingness that came from so deep within my soul. He was on my mind 24/7. I was consumed by him. There were many times I thought I was losing it, because apart from our first date my twin was doing nothing to encourage me. In fact he was pushing me away. Although I knew he had strong feelings for me and that was what was so frustrating. I was driving myself and everyone around me crazy. I had to find an outlet to express my feelings as the angst and frustration of not being with him was taking its toll.

My sister was the one who suggested that I should write down my feelings, as it might help me. I wasn’t very good at writing but then I thought… what the hell no one was going to see it (little did I know…) So I channelled my energy to the keyboard and started writing down my story of meeting my twin – the words just poured out of me. I started to think it could even be turned into a good little novel. Then I started to receive messages from my angels telling me to write this book… “You have to write this book,” was what I kept hearing. I didn’t know why they were continually telling me to do this as I was NOT a writer. Well my angels knew better – as they always do. So with the help of an editor I ended up writing my own story and I discovered that I did have a talent…a creative one. It didn’t stop there. I started to write lyrics to love songs (mostly about my twin of course) and have written over 50 songs, many have received high acknowledgement in various worldwide competitions; one has even been selected for consideration for a top country artist which I “coincidently” wrote about in my book. A couple of other “surprising occurrences” have happened since I have written the book. I am hoping I have written my own reality!   I’m in the process of putting the finishing touches to the sequel MAKTUB: It is Written, which should be out in the coming months.

I lost myself for a while in my twin, but through losing myself… I also found myself. My twin has given me the greatest gift of all: ME. And maybe that was one of the reasons he came into my life – to help me to find my life’s purpose and become the woman I am today. If so, he has done his job, and I thank him from the bottom of my heart.

Even though my twin and I are still not together physically, he is forever with me on a soul level and I look forward to the day when we will meet again. I know he is on his way…my angels told me so!

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HOW TO ENTER YOUR QUESTION: If you have a question you would like Rosemary to endeavour to find an answer for in the tarot cards, please email and look out for this forthcoming feature!


Follow Rosemary and visit her website for more information and details about the range of services she offers:
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Twitter: @rosemarysangels

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