All You Knead is Love is published today

ACS_0816Happy Thursday!  It is a particularly happy Thursday for me, despite the grim weather, because the first part of my new series – The Cornish Cream Tea Summer – is out today. It’s called All You Knead is Love, and it has a beautiful, summery cover, which should help take away some of the February gloom.

It has got some new characters and some you might recognise from The Cornish Cream Tea Bus, and is set in and around the Cornish village of Porthgolow.  Here’s the blurb:

Everyone’s favourite bus goes on a summer adventure full of sunshine and the promise of romance…

Charlie has a new helper on her bus, her free-spirited and loveable cousin, Delilah, who’s paid a visit to the charming Cornish village of Porthgolow and is helping out on Charlie’s adorable cream tea bus.

When the Director of a new TV series filming further along the coast tells Delilah that the bus would be the perfect addition to their onsite catering, she takes him a bit too literally, and before long she and the bus have taken a rather unexpected journey…

Part 1 jacketIt’s out today for 99p at all good ebook shops, and the second part, Beauty and the Yeast (the great titles just keep coming) is out on the 19th March, so you don’t have too long to wait between instalments.

I really hope you enjoy this, the first part of the second book in The Cornish Cream Tea series, and if you do read it, then I’d love to know what you think!

Happy reading,

Cress. xxx

The Book Geek Who Got Lucky

As I turned over very quietly, closed the cover of my Kindle and put it on my bedside table, my alarm clock winked back at me: 2am.  I had been reading, intensely caught up in the plot of a book, since 11pm.  I remember doing this when I was about 12 or 13, in my tiny box bedroom with dandelion wallpaper, reading endless Point Horror books, my feet, hot from fear, twisting the sheets impossibly, angling my lamp close to the wall in the hopes that my parents wouldn’t see the light under my bedroom door.  Now, I try and put my book or Kindle down without waking my gently snoring husband.  The people are different, the attempt at reading-stealth is the same.

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My Point Horror tote bag

I have always lived in a world full of books.  My dad was a literary agent before he retired, my mum a women’s fiction editor before she lost her sight completely.  The house I grew up in had a room that went from the front of the house to the back – we called it, inventively, The Long Room – and had floor to ceiling bookshelves on the walls , where I would go hunting for treasures such as Lady Chatterly’s Lover or gilt-edged copies of Pride and Prejudice.  The tiny oriental kitten my Mum and Dad got hid in the shelves, behind a huge tome of Lawrence of Arabia, and so he was named Lawrence.  

It was inevitable that I would love books too, and English was always my favourite subject at school.  I went on to do an English Literature degree at the University of East Anglia.  It’s a university with a strong Creative Writing reputation, a highly regarded MA course, and I discovered, to my horror, that in my first term there was a compulsory creative writing unit: I had no plans to write anything myself, and grumbled my way through the unit before getting back to the important business of reading.  The writing bug didn’t hit me until my mid-twenties, when I had the chance to try one term of a creative writing course for free and was instantly hooked, though at that point, the prospect of writing a whole novel and getting it published wasn’t even a vague thought, let alone a desperate dream.

I do get slightly obsessed by my favourite books – except scratch the “slightly.”  I fall hard for characters and storylines, I become wholly absorbed, I sit in impossibly awkward positions on the sofa for hours, not noticing until I try to stand up and my limbs protest.  Sometimes people remark on how quickly I read, but I don’t: I’m a slow reader – I take everything in, rereading a paragraph if my mind has wandered – I just read a lot.  I have the luxury to read more than I used to, and I take full advantage of that. 

But the best books don’t let you organise your time wisely.  They take hold of you, refuse to let you get away, and you will always, always, reach their most crucial moment – the tense climax to the hunt for a killer, the moment where two characters finally accept their feelings for each other after pages of will-they-won’t-they – when your loved one walks in the door after a day at work, or dinner’s ready, or the taxi’s outside. 

I wept silently into my pillow when I finished The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan, stupidly late at night.  I covered my copy of The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me by Lucy Robinson in smudges of purple mascara as my tears fell onto the pages.  I have tried to read countless bits of Kirsty Greenwood and Jane Costello novels out-loud to David, completely out of context, when he’s asked why I’m laughing so hard I’ve choked on my tea.  I will argue fervently – perhaps somewhat overzealously – that you need to start a good crime series at the beginning, not pick a random book from the middle, to get the most out of it.  I have written long, gushing emails – and DMs on Twitter – to authors who have captured my heart.  I feel like I should always tell a writer if their words have meant a lot to me. 

I am the book geek who got lucky; the story lover who one day decided that, yes, she was going to try and write the novel that she wanted to read.  It’s still a miracle to me that I get to do this for a living, to see my books on bookshelves and websites, to have readers getting in touch with me to tell me how much they loved my setting, or my hero, or to ask why the bus on the front of The Cornish Cream Tea Bus is a single-decker when the bus inside is clearly a double-decker. (If you want to know the answer then get in touch, I have a ready-made copy and paste response 😬).  

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The bookshelves in my office

My TBR pile, both psychical and ebook, must be close to 1000 books.  I dare not count them.  And yet I still ask editors for copies of proofs I’m desperate to read, moving them straight to the top of the queue, ignoring the paperbacks that have been languishing on my shelves for years.  I am confident that I will get to them all at some point, even though the pile is constantly growing.  I am also, possibly, deluded.  I get invited to book launches and, instead of acting cool and aloof around my fellow writers, I become a wide-eyed, grinning fangirl.  (Though I don’t think I have ever been cool or aloof in my life, around superstar authors or otherwise). 

I have never read any Harry Potter, but I can totally understand why some people get tattoos of his face on their bicep.  I know what it’s like to get to the end of one book, go straight onto the Home page of my Kindle and buy the next seven in the series.  I have, for the New Year, created a little design with my new favourite fictional hero’s name on it, printed it on photo paper and put it up in my office – a tattoo for my noticeboard.  (I am actually getting a real, bookish tattoo this year, but it won’t be anything to do with Harry Potter). 

So yes, I am an author.  I write books and can pretend that I am professional and unmoved when the situation arises.  But I will always be a massive book geek at heart: getting over-excited when a jiffy bag or cardboard sleeve thumps onto the doormat; falling seriously hard for a new book hero and, of course, staying awake into the small hours, lit only by the backlight of my beloved Kindle, telling myself I’ll just read one more page and then I’ll go to sleep.  Yeah, right. 

Happy 2020!

Happy New Year! 

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and have already got things to look forward to in 2020.  I love new year, the chance to reset and refresh, and I often make a list of things I want to accomplish, new habits I want to make or break.  One of those is being more consistent with my news and blog page on here, so here is my first post of 2020!  Fingers crossed the next one won’t be in July. 😂

Book-wise, I’ve just finished edits on The Cornish Cream Tea Summer, which is coming out in 4 ebook parts from the end of Feb, with the paperback on the 14 May.  I have loved writing this book, I love my heroine and my hero, and I really hope you do too!  You can pre-order it from all the usual places, and check out the blurb and the covers here.

Also, just to mention that the full ebook of The Cornish Cream Tea Bus is currently 99p in the Amazon Kindle sale, so if you don’t have it, or have the paperback and want to add the ebook to your Kindle (I do this a lot with books I love) then now’s the time to snap it up!

I’m officially back at my desk on Monday, and I’m going to be starting work on a new book which I’m really excited about!  I can’t wait to share details with you all soon – I’m itching to!  Argh!

Other than that my plans for 2020 are to be healthier and look after myself more, to be kinder to myself and to spend time doing things I love.  I’m going to try and be more confident, visit lots of new places, and generally make the most out of life.  It’s so easy to get stuck doing the same thing over and over, and this year I want to do new things!

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North Norfolk – I want to continue our trend of getting out and about a lot more in 2020

I am also, unsurprisingly, going to try and read more.  There are so many books I want to read, my TBR pile is seriously out of control – and yet I always seem to be adding to it – and reading is one of the things I love doing the most.

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The books I have been gifted, sent or lent over Christmas. I also bought more with Amazon vouchers!

One of my blog posts wouldn’t be complete without a book recommendation, and my latest book-series obsession is the Maeve Kerrigan series by Jane Casey.  I am pretty behind with this – there are eight books in the series so far, (the latest one, Cruel Acts, won the 2019 Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year), plus a couple of short stories, and another novel coming out in April.  I started book four last night, and had to force myself to put it down at about 12.30 am.

The crimes are twisty and compelling – and also very dark – and the characters are wonderful.  I am overjoyed I have so many in the series to read, and would highly, highly recommend them if you’re in a reading slump or want a crime series to get your teeth into.  Of course, you might well have read them all already.  If you have, then please comment below or message me to tell me what you think about DI Josh Derwent – he is my new fictional hero crush (♥️) though quite possibly a controversial one!

The first book in the series is called The Burning.  Go on, treat yourself. 

Anyway.  Books, huh?  Who’d be without them? 🤷🏼‍♀️

Happy New Year to you all, and happy reading.

Cressy xx

 

The Cornish Cream Tea Bus is published today!

The day is here! The Cornish Cream Tea Bus is published today, in all its full ebook and beautiful paperback glory! It’s always very nerve-wracking when your book baby flies out into the world, but I’ve already had so much support with the ebook parts; so many lovely reviews and mentions on social media – thank you so much if you’ve posted about it or reviewed it so far – so I am more excited than anything.

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The ebook is available from all good ebook retailers, and if you fancy a copy of the paperback it should be in Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, as well as some Waterstones stores and some independent bookshops. You can also buy it online from Amazon, Waterstones and Foyles.

Here is the blurb:

Baking fanatic, Charlie Quilter, is surprised when her late uncle bequeaths his vintage bus to her in his will. Keen to give the bus a new lease of life, Charlie thinks it will be the perfect mobile café for afternoon tea, and when her friend, Juliette, suggests Charlie comes to stay with her in the picturesque Cornish village of Porthgolow, she’s thrilled at the chance of a new start.

Charlie and her cute dog, Marmite, make new friends wherever their bus stops – except for the sexy but reclusive owner of the posh spa up on the hill, Daniel Harper, who isn’t very pleased that her bus is parked outside his lovely hotel.

Has Charlie’s Cornish dream developed a soggy bottom? Or can she convince Daniel that her bus could be the start of something wonderful for the little village – and for them?

If you do end up buying a copy and want to get in touch, then please contact me via my contact page, or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram  – I’d love to hear from you. If you fancy posting a photo of where you’re reading it then that would be brilliant – It’s always amazing seeing shots of it by pools, in gardens or cosy reading nooks.

I’m off to go and see my book sitting on a bookshelf in a shop, which is a moment that never gets old or tired, so if you follow me on social media expect a few selfies. There will also be champagne – but I should probably wait until after lunch for that!

Whatever you’re doing with your Thursday, I hope it’s a good one.

Happy reading

Cressy xx

My favourite Cornish locations

It’s one week to go until the full ebook and paperback of The Cornish Cream Tea Bus is out in the world. Although lots of people have been reading it in the ebook parts, and I’ve had some wonderful reviews – thank you so much if you’ve taken the time to write one – it doesn’t mean that I’m entirely free of pre-paperback-publication-day nerves.

This book was a joy to write. I loved creating the setting, writing about my characters and finding out what they were getting up to (because they don’t always behave as I intend them to) and spending lots of my time in a fictional Cornish village.

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A bit of a wave

The first time I went to Cornwall was at the grand old age of thirty-three. The first series of the new adaptation of Poldark aired on the 8th of March 2015, and I went to Cornwall for the first time on the 9th of May that year. Yes, I am a massive fangirl, and always get heavily invested in whichever television series / film / book / actor is tying my heart in knots at that moment. But this time, even though Aidan Turner is truly beautiful, I fell in love with the scenery as much as the scything.

When we got there, booking a few nights in a pub in Padstow, I discovered that the BBC had captured Cornwall in all its glory. I don’t think it’s possible to make it look more magnificent than it actually is, regardless of how many filters or camera shots you use – it achieves Peak Magnificent all on its own! Since that first trip we’ve been back every year, and are going again this October.

In light of that, and with seven short days to go until The Cornish Cream Tea Bus hits bookshelves, I thought I would show you a few of my top Cornish locations.

Padstow

Padstow was the first place was stayed, and it’s still one of my favourite towns to visit. It’s always busy, it has beautiful independent shops and galleries, a pretty harbour and huge seagulls that are intent on helping you eat your ice cream. It is the home of Rick Stein. It is where Padstow Sealife Safaris launches from, and I loved my Sealife Safari, complete with dolphins swimming alongside the boat.

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Padstow Harbour

It’s worth a visit for the delicious Cornish pasties alone, but there is so much to see and do here. It inspired my book in so many ways. Trevose Head close-by is a perfect place to watch the sunset over the sea.

We ate fish and chips as the light turned to fire and then disappeared.

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Sunset from Trevose Head

Cape Cornwall

Cape Cornwall is wild and stunning and scary. We always try and visit here when we go, and every time I tell myself I won’t be scared climbing to the top, and I always am (Cape Fear, it should be called, even though neither Robert Mitchum or Robert De Niro are ever waiting to kidnap me). But it is so worth the terror. The views are beautiful, the air is clear and the sea is endless. I set a scene in my book here, because Charlie couldn’t go to Cornwall without visiting Cape Cornwall.

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Cape Cornwall. The Fear happens walking up the cliff to the chimney

Charlestown

Another beautiful town, it has been used a lot for Poldark filming. It has a boat! (I have no idea what kind of boat. I am a boat ignoramus). And a Shipwreck and Heritage centre, and galleries and cavernous antique shops that you can get lost in, not to mention a delicious seafood restaurant and deli. The beach has rock pools and caves. It’s full of intrigue and interest and history.

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Charlestown and the Poldark boat

Kynance Cove

This is another Poldark filming location, and when you go you can see why. It has a sandy beach peppered with rocks, which the waves crash against when the tide is in. You can sit in a deckchair and watch the swell, the glittering sea and boats passing on the horizon. You can also get very sunburnt, if you do all these things and forget that sun and wind are a fairly potent combination. The water is an unbelievable aquamarine.

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Look at the colour of that water!

Porthcothnan

This beach just south of Padstow has been almost deserted every time we’ve been. It’s a long walk from the dunes down to the water, even if the tide is in. You can run on the sand for miles, the sky reflected in the pools of still water, the cliffs either side peppered with tiny cottages. It is used in Poldark for Nampara Cove, the beach below Ross’s house. I love it so much.

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One of my favourite beaches in Cornwall

Trebah Garden

This valley garden is full of sub-tropical plants, and leads down to a beach on the Helford river. There are so many paths and trails to explore, passing huge camellia and rhododendron bushes, and a forest of gunneras. It feels like you’re on a distant island somewhere. You can pause for an ice cream on the beach at the bottom before making the climb back up the valley.

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A garden you wouldn’t mind getting lost in

Porthreath

We usually stay in a resort called Gwel an Mor. It’s close to Portreath, a small coastal town with a pretty beach and a narrow harbour, with houses rising up the sides of the cliffs. We went down to the sea on our final morning last October, and watched three surfers braving a wild and windy sea while a man stood alongside us and told us – in an awestruck voice – that they were idiots.

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Portreath beach under a menacing sky

These are by no means all the wonderful places in Cornwall, they are simply a few that I have fallen in love with. I could – as always – ramble on for hours. But I won’t. I would, however, love to know where you’ve been in Cornwall, and which places have found their way into your heart. Comment below, or get in touch on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

If you buy a copy of The Cornish Cream Tea Bus, you might come to love Porthgolow, too. It has been inspired by the locations above, and other pockets of Cornwall that I’ve been to, but the only place you’ll find this particular Cornish village is between the pages of my book. If you go, I hope you enjoy your visit.

Happy reading,

Cressy xx

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Saint Eval, near the Bedruthan steps

 

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My Cape Cornwall fear
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Dolphins, with a backdrop of Cornish coastline
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Surfers doing their thing in Portreath
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Sunset from our lodge at Gwel an Mor

The Icing on the Cake is published today

Today is the day that the final part of The Cornish Cream Tea Bus is published. Called The Icing on the Cake, it is the conclusion to Charlie’s story. I have really loved writing this story, and I feel both happy and sad that it is the final ebook part publication day – just as I did when I finished writing it.

Here is the blurb of The Icing on the Cake:

Charlie has fallen in love with Porthgolow village and they adore her vintage bus, now getting a new lease of life as the best place to have a Cornish Cream tea in the whole of Cornwall. Charlie and her bus have heralded a new start for Porthgolow too, but the one fly in the ointment is Daniel Harper who is still resisting the charms of Charlie and her bus. Can Charlie bake her way into his heart or is it time to admit that her Cornish dream has got a soggy bottom?

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I hope you enjoy reading it, and think it is a fitting conclusion to Charlie and Marmite’s story. If you do read it, I’d love to hear what you think! And if you have a chance to leave a very short review on Amazon then that would be wonderful – they help readers discover new books, but are also very valuable for authors. If you have left one for one of the other parts, thank you so much!

If you’re waiting for the full novel to come out, either in ebook or very beautiful paperback (embossed lettering and bunting, people!) then there are only TWO WEEKS to go! I am so excited part 4 is out in the world, an am positively bubbling with excitement for the paperback release.

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You can get it from Amazon, of course, but also the Waterstones and Foyles websites, and it will also be popping up on supermarket shelves, so you should be able to find it easily.

Whatever you’re reading in this hot, hot weather, then I hope you’re enjoying it.

Happy reading,

Cressy xx

Scones Away! is published today!

There are two exclamation marks in that title, but it can’t be helped, because today is the day that Scones Away! part three of The Cornish Cream Tea Bus, is published.  Hurrah! These part releases are coming thick and fast, and I can’t believe it’s the turn of the beautiful green cover, which hides the fact that Charlie might, potentially, get herself in a sticky situation . . . But you’ll have to read it to find out exactly what happens.

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Here is the blurb:

Charlie’s toughest technical challenge yet…

Now that Charlie’s Cornish Cream Tea bus has taken off, everything should be going swimmingly – the locals love her baking, Marmite adores getting his paws wet in the crystal-clear sea at Porthgolow beach, but Charlie has manged to get on the wrong side of the mercurial owner of The Porthgolow Hotel, Daniel Harper.  He wants her to pack up her doillies and pastry cutters and take her bus elsewhere, but can Charlie convince him that they have just got off on the wrong foot and that her bus could be the start of something wonderful for the little village?

It’s only 99p from all good e-book retailers, and I really hope that if you read it you enjoy it!  Today is a brilliant day for all kinds of reasons.  Two of my favourite authors have got books out – A Postcard from Italy by the consistently wonderful Alex Brown, and The Spanish Promise by Karen Swan, which I finished yesterday and is beyond brilliant. (If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen me gushing about Karen’s books on my stories yesterday.  I am happy to call myself a Karen Swan Superfan).

There is also a very small matter of England Vs Australia in the cricket world cup Semi-Final.  I’m actually wondering, being Sky-TV-less, if I can find a pub somewhere and sneak away and watch it.

ANYWAY.  That is the news.  Happy Thursday, people.  Go out!  Enjoy books!  Cheer England on, even if you don’t know your googly from your jaffa.

Happy reading!

Cressy xx

The Eclair Affair is published today

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Where have the last two weeks gone? I have no idea, but part 2 of The Cornish Cream Tea Bus is here! It’s called The Eclair Affair, and continues the story of Charlie, her vintage Routemaster bus Gertie, and the picturesque Cornish village of Porthgolow.

If you’ve enjoyed part 1, then I hope you’ve been looking forward to the second leg of Charlie’s journey. Here is the blurb:

Charlie’s unveils her signature bake…

Charlie and Marmite finally arrive in the picture-postcard Cornish village of Porthgolow in thier vintage Routemaster bus. Not everything is as it seems and Charlie’s friend, Juliette, tells her about the owner of the big hotel up on the hill who has managed to upset the locals.

That doesn’t stop Charlie and Marmite making new friends and the bus finds a new lease of life as the perfect mobile café for afternoon tea. But what will Charlie make of the enigmatic Daniel Harper when they meet, and more to the point, what will he think about Charlie and her bus parked outside his lovely hotel?

It’s available from all good ebook retailers for 99p, and if you gobble it down as quickly as a Cornish cream tea, then you’ve only got to wait two weeks for part three! As always, if you do read it then I’d love to know what you think, so please get in touch via my contact form on here, or on all the usual social media channels.

Happy Thursday, and happy reading!

Cressy xx

Don’t Go Baking My Heart is published today

The first part of The Cornish Cream Tea Bus is published today in ebook.  It’s called Don’t Go Baking My Heart, and is full of sunshine and cakes and romance, and everything you need to distract you from the rain outside the window. (If your weather is anything like ours, then it is feeling distinctly un-Junish).

Here is the blurb:

IMG_2046 2Baking fanatic, Charlie Quilter, is surprised when her late uncle bequeaths his vintage bus to her in his will. Charlie thinks it will be the perfect mobile café for afternoon tea, and when her friend, Juliette, suggests Charlie comes to stay with her in the picturesque Cornish village of Porthgolow, she’s thrilled at the chance of a new start.

Charlie and her cute dog, Marmite, make new friends wherever their bus stops – except for the attractive but reclusive owner of the posh spa up on the hill, Daniel Harper, who isn’t very pleased that her bus is parked outside his lovely hotel.

Has Charlie’s Cornish dream developed a soggy bottom? Or can she convince Daniel that her bus could be the start of something wonderful for the little village – and for them?

You can buy it from all good ebook retailers for 99p, and if you do read it I’d love to know what you think.  You can get in touch with me via my contact form, or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – I’d love to hear from you! And, as always, reviews on Amazon or Goodreads are amazing, and really do make a difference.

And part 2, The Eclair Affair, is out in a fortnight, so you don’t have too long to wait between instalments this time!

Happy Thursday, and happy reading!

Cress xx

 

 

The Cornish Cream Tea Bus

I have been neglecting my website and my blog – sorry! I really am hopeless – but with the publication of my new book creeping ever closer, now seemed like the perfect time to post an update.  My new book deal with the wonderful HarperFiction team at HarperCollins was announced in The Bookseller back in January, and since then I’ve been working hard on the edits for The Cornish Cream Tea Bus.

Yesterday, I hit send on the email sending the edited version back to my editor, Kate.  It’s nearly there, just some final tidying up, dusting down and polishing to do.  I am very proud of this story, I love the characters and the imaginary – but hopefully very recognisably Cornish – setting, and I hope you will too.

First, let us talk about the part titles. I LOVE them!

Part 1. Don’t go Baking my Heart. (Published 31st May)

Part 2. The Eclair Affair. (Published 21st June)

Part 3. Scones Away! (Published 12th July)

Part 4. The Icing on the Cake. (Published 2nd August).

Which is your favourite? I can’t decide, but I do know that every time I see the part 1 title, I starting singing.

41RdO3zzqRLThe paperback and full ebook follows on the 8th of August, and I’m hoping it will be the perfect accompaniment to glasses of wine in back gardens and sun loungers next to the pool.  I’ve also seen the very-close-to-finished covers, and I can’t wait to share them with you!

All that’s left is to give you the blurb:

Baking fanatic, Charlie Quilter, is surprised when her late uncle bequeaths his vintage bus to her in his will. Keen to give the bus a new lease of life, Charlie thinks it will be the perfect mobile café for afternoon tea, and when her friend, Juliette, suggests Charlie comes to stay with her in the picturesque Cornish village of Porthgolow, she’s thrilled at the chance of a new start.

Charlie and her cute dog, Marmite, make new friends wherever their bus stops – except for the sexy but reclusive owner of the posh spa up on the hill, Daniel Harper, who isn’t very pleased that her bus is parked outside his lovely hotel.

Has Charlie’s Cornish dream developed a soggy bottom? Or can she convince Daniel that her bus could be the start of something wonderful for the little village – and for them? 

I’d love to know what you think! Who fancies a trip on board The Cornish Cream Tea Bus?

Cressy xx