Firestarter is a romance featuring the bubbly and ever hungry Alice, her slightly bossy big sister Kate, a hunky fireman called Handsome Hamish and smart, very much in control Tony. There's a lot of food, quite a lot of wine, a fair bit of birdwatching, more than a few firemen ...
Research was been really tough ;-)
I really enjoyed writing Firestarter and was fortunate to be able to do most of it on location in the campervan. I think you can work out this is a posed picture - the mug is empty and there's to cake in sight!
BLURB: Alice has a fantasy. It starts with being rescued by a hunky fireman, involves the kiss of life and ends in him not needing his uniform. At the New Forest Show, Alice is offered an innocent version of her dream. Reluctantly she turns down fireman Hamish's invitation.
Despite Alice's blameless behaviour, boyfriend Tony's obsessive jealousy kicks in. Hamish wants to take Tony's place, but a hoaxer ensures Alice already sees far too much of Hampshire Fire Service. The threat of an explosive sprout surprise, her mum's baking, sister Kate's mind boggling pep talks and the peculiar behaviour of Alice's boss Miles provide distractions.
Is Alice really in danger? What is Kate up to? Can Hamish possibly be as perfect as he seems? It takes Alice masses of wonderful food, disgusting wine, smelly mud, red footed crows and steamy Welsh passion, but she finds the answers. And rethinks her fantasy.
Paint Me A Picture is the first novel I completed. It's set in my local area. The cover image shows The Round Tower in Portsmouth. The tower is as important to me as it is to the main character – our wedding cake was a replica!
BLURB: Mavis Forthright carefully rehearses her jump from Portsmouth's Round Tower. She's existed for over five decades. Lived hardly at all. Will end her misery with a few second's fall into the cold sea. Except she's not quite ready to die. A half day's delay to try a bacon sandwich from the cafe won't matter. Mother's no longer there to disapprove.
She delays another day to lend Janice a book. Then a week to use her new paints. A month. Until the end of term. Mavis makes new plans; to create paintings full of emotion, to live, perhaps even make friends.
As if to balance her survival a number of people connected to Mavis die. At first that doesn't matter. They're people she dislikes. Mavis continues painting, tending her garden, feeding the birds and keeping her home properly clean, without additional concern. Then people who've been kind to Mavis are killed or injured. That shouldn't happen.
Why are people dying? Is it because of charming Norman who's back from her past, or is that strange boy Jake her mistaken guardian angel? Perhaps Mavis herself is to blame. She must learn the truth, stop the deaths and protect those she's learned to care about before she can enjoy the new life she's making for herself.
Escape To The Country is another romance. Originally it was published after I won a novel writing competition, but the publisher has now gone out of business (I'm sure the two things are coincidental!) and I've published it myself.
BLURB: Leah is accused of a crime she didn't commit. Dumped by Adam, the man she planned to marry, she escapes to Aunt Jayne's smallholding in the Kent village of Winkleigh Marsh. Heartbroken and homeless, she strives to clear her name and deal with her emotions.
Jayne treats Leah's unhappiness with herbal remedies, cowslip wine and common sense in equal measure. In return Leah works hard for the delicious home-cooked meals they share. She wrestles with sheep, breaks nails and gets stuck in the mud - learning as much about herself as she does about farming. Soon Leah is happy milking cows, mucking out pigs and falling halfway in love with Duncan, a dishy tractor driver.
Back in London, steps are being taken to investigate what's happened to the missing money. It looks as though the real embezzler must soon be unmasked and Leah will have to choose between resuming her old life or starting a new one.
That's when her problems really start.
A Year And A Day is also a romance. Well, they do say to write what you know! (So, yes – there is a lot of food in this one too)
BLURB: Despite Stella's misgivings, her best friend Daphne persuades her to visit a fortune teller. Rosie-Lee promises both girls will live long and happy lives. For orphaned Stella, the fortune teller's claims include the family she longs for and a tall, dark handsome man. Stella doesn't believe a word, so Rosie-Lee produces a letter, to be read in a year's time, which will prove her predictions are true.
Stella remains sceptical but Daphne is totally convinced. Daphne attempts to manipulate Stella's life, starting with an introduction to her new boss. Restaurant owner Luigi fits the romantic hero image perfectly. In complete contrast is Daphne's infuriating policeman brother John. Despite his childhood romance with Stella ending badly he still acts as though he has a right to be involved in her life.
Soon John is the least of her worries. Daphne's keeping a secret, Luigi can't be trusted, romantically or professionally and both girls' jobs are at risk. Worse still, John's concerns for their safety are proved to be justified.
John, and Rosie-Lee's letter, are all Stella has to help put things right.