Starboard Home is out now

This is a few days late, due to various things that were beyond my control, but I am so excited that Starboard Home, the second part of my Christmas novella, The Canal Boat Café Christmas, is out now!

Starboard Home

If you’ve been waiting eagerly for part two of this festive story, here’s the blurb:

Summer and Mason find themselves unexpectedly spending the entire Christmas holiday in Little Venice when the canal freezes over. But their idyllic winter excursion is thrown into turmoil when an unexpected visitor appears on the scene. Are Summer and Mason facing the Big Freeze in more ways than one? Or will this be one Winter Warmer that they’ll never forget?

Summer and Mason, and the characters at Willowbeck are some of my favourites, and I’ve loved catching up with them again.  If you’ve enjoyed it too, then I’d love to hear from you, either on the contact page here, or any of my social media pages.  If you’d like to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads then that would also be amazing.  Thank you!

Win a signed copy of A Christmas Tail

Just over two years ago, my first paperback, A Christmas Tail, was published.  The time seems to have flown by so quickly, and yet, at the same time, I can’t believe how much has happened since then.

My third paperback, The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse, was published this year, my two-part Christmas story, The Canal Boat Café Christmas is out now (part one anyway, part two is coming in three weeks) and my fourth full length series, The Lovebirds, is currently with my editor. Hopefully I’ll be able to share more news about that soon!

IMG_0356But A Christmas Tail, first published as four ebooks called The Primrose Terrace series, holds a special place in my heart, because it was my first published novel.  I still love Cat and her determination to get her new dog-walking business off the ground, her flatmates Polly and Joe, mysterious Mark who moves in down the road, and her neighbour Elsie – not to mention all the dogs!

To celebrate the anniversary, and because Christmas is quickly approaching ( I haven’t started my Christmas shopping yet, eek!) I’m giving away a signed copy of A Christmas Tail, over on my Facebook page.

If you haven’t read it, here’s the blurb:

Walkies in a Winter Wonderland…

Catherine ‘Cat’ Palmer realizes that bringing an adorable puppy into work is a bad idea when it gets her the sack. Deciding it’s the perfect opportunity to launch her dog-walking business, Cat enlists the help of flatmates Polly and Joe. After all Primrose Terrace, the street where they live, is full of home-alone hounds.

Getting to know the owners and their precious pooches isn’t all plain sailing, but soon Cat is making friends, particularly with sexy Mark and his Collie, Chips. With her talent for misadventure, Cat’s new life starts to show some cracks, and when one of the street’s loveable schnauzers gets ill, it looks like this Christmas could be turning into a dog’s dinner. But Cat has never given up on anything in her life – and this is one Christmas that’s definitely worth saving…

To enter the giveaway, go to my Facebook page, here.

Good luck, and Happy (nearly) Christmas!

Cressy xx

 

 

Port Out – the first part of The Canal Boat Café Christmas – is out now!

Port Out - out now

It’s Christmas! OK, it’s only November, but that means Christmas books.  I love the books that come out at this time of year that combine the cosy, festive sparkles of Christmas and the warmth and deliciousness of a good romance.  It’s the perfect recipe for happiness in book form, and this year, I wanted to get in on the action.   I loved writing A Christmas Tail, putting in all the Christmas details and making the romance extra special, and I was itching to write another festive love story.

Summer and Mason, from The Canal Boat Café, are still two of my favourite characters – not to mention those beautiful narrowboats – and I really wanted to find out what happened next in their story, so I wrote it!  Now it’s a two-part Christmas special called The Canal Boat Café Christmas, and part 1, Port Out, is out now!  Here’s the blurb . . .

Summer is so in love with her boyfriend Mason and dreams of taking the next step with him, but is Mason ready too? When her friend Claire offers Summer a chance to come to London with her canal boat, Summer thinks this will give them a chance to find out, and they embark on a magical journey on the canal all the way to the scenic beauty of Little Venice. But will it be plain sailing all the way?

And you only have to wait until December 1st for part 2, Starboard Home. Here’s a sneak peek:

Summer and Mason find themselves unexpectedly spending the entire Christmas holiday in Little Venice when the canal freezes over. But their idyllic winter excursion is thrown into turmoil when an unexpected visitor appears on the scene. Are Summer and Mason facing the Big Freeze in more ways than one? Or will this be one Winter Warmer that they’ll never forget?

I hope you enjoy reading these, and they make you feel as Christmassy as I did when I was writing them.  And if you do have time to leave a quick review on Amazon, that would be amazing.  Thank you!

Happy reading!

Cressy xx

Cover reveal – The Canal Boat Café Christmas

This November I will be publishing a two part ebook novella called The Canal Boat Café Christmas. It’s a follow up to The Canal Boat Café, and follows summer and Mason as they go on a festive trip to London. Here are the gorgeous covers, and below is the blurb for each of the parts. What do you think?

CanalBoatCafeChristmas

Part 1 – Port Out

Summer is so in love with her boyfriend Mason and dreams of taking the next step with him, but is Mason ready too? When her friend Claire offers Summer a chance to come to London with her canal boat, Summer thinks this will give them a chance to find out, and they embark on a magical journey on the canal all the way to the scenic beauty of Little Venice. But will it be plain sailing all the way?

Part 2 – Starboard Home

Summer and Mason find themselves unexpectedly spending the entire Christmas holiday in Little Venice when the canal freezes over. But their idyllic winter excursion is thrown into turmoil when an unexpected visitor appears on the scene. Are Summer and Mason facing the Big Freeze in more ways than one? Or will this be one Winter Warmer that they’ll never forget?

True Love for the Lonely Hearts Bookshop series

Last spring, a lovely editor at HarperCollins, Martha Ashby, asked if I’d be happy to read a new romantic fiction series she was publishing.  Of course I jumped at the chance, and I was sent a ring bound proof of The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts by Annie Darling.

FullSizeRenderThe cover was beautiful, encouraging me to dive right in, and when my husband asked if I’d mind if he watched the snooker, I was keen to to tell him I would be delighted if he watched it.  All day.  While coloured balls were potted and commentators spoke in hushed tones, I read The Little Bookshop – the whole thing – with only brief pitstops for cups of tea and cake.

By the end I was in a whirl of dizzy, glowing happiness at how wonderful and funny and romantic it was.  I emailed my thoughts to Martha, and was rewarded with my first ever cover quote on a book that I had completely fallen for.

I remembered it was a series and, while I was excited about reading the second book, I couldn’t imagine I could love it as much as I loved Posy’s story.

Then, last week, Martha sent me the follow up, True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop. This time it was about Verity, manager of the bookshop, and as I opened the first page, wondering if it would scoot towards the top of my toppling TBR pile, I was reminded how good Annie Darling’s frank, funny writing is.

FullSizeRender 2It jumped to the top of the pile and I consumed it in two days, my toes curling in glee and horror at each new scenario Verity was thrust into, and as her fictional boyfriend plan got more and more complicated.  The premise is brilliant, the nods to Jane Austen funny and comforting, and I found myself crying tears of joy in a packed Costa Coffee as I read the final chapters.

Now it’s over (sob) I’m waiting eagerly for the third in the series, Nina’s story.  And still I’m skeptical – how can it possibly live up to True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop? How can the heroine be more loveable?  How could the hero possibly be as gorgeous and desirable?  But that’s what I thought about the first one, and look what happened.

For me, they are romantic fiction perfection.  Funny and warm, deliciously indulgent, and heart-stoppingly romantic.

I love them, and I hope, if you pick one up in a bookshop or download it to your Kindle, you’ll feel the same.  I’m all about spreading the bookish love, so I’ll be running a giveaway on Twitter over the next couple of days for one of my followers to win both books, along with a signed copy of The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse and a couple of other goodies, so if this sounds like the series for you, then keep an eye out!

Happy reading!

Cressy x

 

I’m in love – with a thriller series

Anyone who follows me on social media will know that I spend as much time reading and falling in love with books as I do writing them.  I have read so many good books in 2017, including Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, The Woman at Number 24 by Juliet Ashton, Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood and Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan (not out until 2018), all of which stand out for very different reasons.

You might also know I’m a huge fan of crime and thriller novels, and if I can get my teeth stuck into a good crime series, then even better.  Well, I now have a new favourite series, complete with one of the best fictional detectives I’ve ever come across who, in only two books, has stalked his way into my heart.

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I downloaded Perfect Remains by Helen Fields to my Kindle because it was 99p and Avon Books, the HarperCollins imprint who publish it, seemed rather excited about it on Twitter.  (And, while I shouldn’t be biased, HarperCollins do publish some rather good books).  Because of my overburdened reading pile it took me a while to start it, but when I did I quickly realised I had discovered something special.

Helen Fields’ books are set in Edinburgh, and the cases are investigated by DI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach.  Ava Turner is fiery and determined, but she’s also funny, warm and kind – she hasn’t sacrificed her empathy for ambition.  Luc Callanach is half Scottish and half French, and has recently returned to Scotland after his Interpol career ended in less than happy circumstances.  A former model, he’s sometimes remote and short tempered, and to begin with I struggled to warm to him.  But then, as he started working with DI Turner, I stopped struggling, and I began to warm to him like a marshmallow turning slowly over a camp fire.  I melted.

By the end of the first book I was hooked – I’m sure I stopped breathing a few times,  and then I went online immediately to find out when the second book in the series, Perfect Prey, was coming out.  I only had a couple of months to wait, and the sense of relief was huge.  Avon Books very kindly (or under duress – I may have pestered a bit) sent me a proof last week, and I managed to make it last all of two days, and that was exercising my utmost restraint.  Needless to say, I liked it quite a lot.

I was trying to work out why I love these books so much, why they resonate with me more than most other series I enjoy.   They feel like they’ve been written for me; they fulfil every single thing I like about crime thrillers, and it’s such a brilliant feeling when you find a book like that.  We are Made For Each Other. 

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Firstly, I love Edinburgh, it’s one of my favourite places in the world; it has a wonderful atmosphere, it’s historic and modern and sinister and welcoming all at the same time, and so any novel set there immediately has me on side.  Then there are the crimes, which are complex, original and scary – definitely at the top end of grizzly – with killers who are unique and unpredictable.  There are always more lives at stake, and that adds so much tension, and to the pressure put on the detectives solving the case.

Then, of course, there are the characters.  DI Turner and DI Callanach have a brilliant supporting cast of officers and civilians that help them get to the truth.  Helen Fields has such a clever way of teasing out the plot, so that with every turned page you care more about Luc, Ava and their team, and by the end are as ragged as if you’d been involved in the chase yourself.

And Luc Callanach is, without a doubt, my new favourite tortured hero.  I love him even more than I love Wolf in Ragdoll, which is saying a lot.

DI Luc Callanach is brooding but focussed, he puts everything aside to catch the killers; personal safety, procedure, happiness, sleep.  He’s always in just the right amount of danger that you’re constantly worried about him.  He’s gorgeous, he has a French accent – he’s undeniably attractive in lots of ways – but he’s often distant, he makes himself untouchable, and underneath everything he’s battling with the repercussions of events in his past.  He’s a complicated character – the phrase ‘tortured hero’ puts him in a box that doesn’t really do him justice – and his relationship with Ava Turner is as compelling as the crimes they’re trying to solve.

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They’re gripping, brilliant, addictive books, and knowing that I only have to wait until January for number three, called Perfect Death – the title alone makes me a bit trembly – means that things are, I think, going to be OK.  I’ve set up a new collection on my Kindle, I’ll download Perfect Prey on Thursday despite having the proof, so I can keep books one and two in my handbag at all times (can anyone say “book geek”?)  I can cope with six months . . . just about.

So if you’re stuck in a reading rut, wondering what to try next or looking for a new author to sweep you away, and you don’t mind your stories dark and gruesome, then look no further.  But a word of warning . . . you might well find yourself counting down the days until your next Luc Callanach fix, just like I am.

 

 

The Canal Boat Café full novel is 99p

My second novel, The Canal Boat Café, has been chosen as part of Kindle’s summer sale, and is currently the less-than-a-coffee price of 99p!

Eagle-eyed readers might also have spotted on Amazon a couple of new titles, The Canal Boat Café Christmas parts 1 & 2.  It’s a follow up to The Canal Boat Café, and returns to Willowbeck to see Summer and Mason embarking on a new adventure, which is not without its hitches!

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I’m looking forward to letting you know more details, and revealing the covers, very soon.  In the meantime, why not snap up the original story and give your Kindle a summer treat.

 

The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse is published today

It’s finally here!  My third novel, The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse, is published today in full ebook and also super-stroky paperback.

OUT-NOW

Here’s a bit more about it.

Robin Brennan has come home to Campion Bay. Now her parents have retired, she’s set to become the new landlady of The Campion Bay Guesthouse.

Bookings have been as thin as the hand towels, and it doesn’t take long for Robin to realise that the place needs a serious makeover. Perhaps throwing herself into the task will help to heal her sadness at the tragic end to her dreams in London.

As she gives the guesthouse a new lease of life, Robin encounters old friends and new, including old flame Tim, who’d clearly like to reboot their romance. But what about Will, the new arrival at No. 4, who’s rocked up with the cutest dog ever?

Caught up in a flurry of full-English breakfasts and cream teas, Robin’s never sure what, or who, the next check-in will bring…

If you pick up a copy, I love to see photos of you reading it, or the paperback sitting snugly on a bookshelf somewhere.  You can get in touch with me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, or the contact form on this website.  And if you can take five minutes out to write a review and pop it on Amazon or Goodreads, I’d be very grateful – they really make a difference.

Happy reading!

Love,

Cressy x

The Writing Life

Today I started my new job – as a full time writer. Instead of fitting in my writing and editing, plotting and promotion into my Writing Wednesdays, and the evenings and weekends, it’s now my day job. No longer do I need to haul myself out of bed, put on vaguely presentable clothes and go to the local county council offices, where I have worked for the last eight and a half years.

I can write in my pyjamas, I can have Radio 1 or Classic FM accompanying me, I can spend more time staring out of the window at the back garden, currently the purple and yellow of Lilac and Laburnum, and think about how best to construct the next scene, or whether a character is working in the role I’ve given them.

This has been my dream for almost ten years, ever since I decided I was going to write a novel – because by that point writing had become more than just a hobby, it was something I needed to do. Part of me never thought I’d see this day, that it would always be a magical, unreachable wish, and now that it’s here I’m excited and daunted, and I also feel a little guilty.

img_1128.jpgI am being paid to make up stories: to sit in my office at home surrounded by books, with photos of Ross-Aidan-Turner-Poldark on my wall, a figure of Beast from the recent Beauty and the Beast film cheering me on from my desk, and the sparkle of my lava lamp. Coffee, chocolate biscuits and fruit are a staircase away, ready to fuel me while I create new worlds, heroines and heroes.

And then, at the end, I am rewarded with my words being turned into a book with a beautifully designed cover and, in the case of the paperback, end-matter and riffling pages, that people will read and enjoy and talk to me about. It feels naughty; I keep wondering what the catch is.

I also wonder if I can do it. Am I destined to fail, to suddenly lose my productivity or get crippling writer’s block now the days stretch ahead of me? Will I become a mumbling hermit, so unused to human interaction that I forget how to be sociable and develop a fear of leaving the house? Will my sales dry up, forcing me to look for a new “day job” in six months’ time? I’m sure everyone who has made this leap has felt this way; I know I’m not alone.

Also, as my friends and family have been reminding me, I have worked towards this day for nearly ten years, through rejections and close calls before the magic of my book deal, then late night copy edits to meet deadlines, and many many days at the council when I wished so badly that I was at home finishing a chapter, turning the ideas into paragraphs and pages.

Well, now that’s what I do. This is my job. I have been given the chance to do what I love for a living, to turn that long-imagined daydream into reality, and I’m going to make the most of it. Have you ever fulfilled a dream? Was it scary as well as blissful? I’d love to hear your experiences.

The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse – full novel cover reveal

I’m thrilled to share the cover for the complete novel of The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse.  This is the cover for the full Kindle edition and also the paperback, both of which are out on the 29th of June. It’s a combination of all the best bits of the series covers, and I’m over the moon (!) with it. What do you think?

Cover Paperback

The fourth and final part of The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse, Wish You Were Here, came out yesterday, and if you’ve read it then I’d love to know what you think. You can leave a review on Amazon, or get in touch with me via the contact page on here, or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

If, however, you’re waiting for the complete novel to come out, either as an eBook or a paperback, then I hope you like the jacket it comes in! I’m pretty chuffed with it, I have to say.

Cressy xx