The Dawn Chorus is here!

Today is publication day for The Dawn Chorus, the first part of my new series, The House of Birds and Butterflies.  Here is the blurb:


Abby Field is living the dream. As events coordinator at the Meadowsweet nature reserve on the idyllic Suffolk coast, every day is an adventure with the birds and the butterflies, and she couldn’t feel more at home. When another local nature reserve is chosen as the hot location for a new television series, however, Meadowsweet looks set for seasonal hibernation – unless Abby can whip up a creative plan to keep the visitors flocking.

With the help of the Meadowgreen villagers, and her cute rescue huskie, Raffle, can Abby rescue the nature reserve from oblivion? Or will she be distracted by the arrival of a brooding – and annoyingly handsome – new neighbour…

I really loved writing this series.  It was bubbling away under the surface for a long time before I finally put pen to paper.  I love all the characters, and the setting, which has been brought to life so beautiful by Lindsey Spinks and the cover designers at HarperCollins.  I really hope that you enjoy it too, and if you fancy getting in touch when you’ve read it then I’d love to hear from you.  A review on Goodreads or Amazon is always very welcome too, as they help to make books more visible.

I’m off to celebrate by doing some plotting, trying not to refresh the Amazon page to see the ranking and whether any reviews have appeared and possibly, at the end of the day, drinking something fizzy.

Happy Friday, and happy reading!

Cressy xx

The House of Birds and Butterflies: Cover reveal

It’s less than two weeks until The Dawn Chorus, the first part of my new series, The House of Birds and Butterflies, is published in ebook.

This time, we’ve kept you waiting for the cover reveal, but I hope you think it’s worth it. So here they are, the four covers of The House of Birds and Butterflies ebook novellas.  The Dawn Chorus, The Lovebirds, Twilight Song and Birds of a Feather.


I am so in love with them, with the detail in the design and the way that, put together, they make up the front of the house that, in the book, is a key location. Do you have a favourite? I still can’t decide!

I hope you love the covers, and I hope that you enjoy The Dawn Chorus when it is published on the 16th of March. You can read more about the story here.

Hurrah and happy reading!

Cressy xx

Perfect Death by Helen Fields blog tour – Q&A with Helen

I love Helen Fields’ books. Have I ever mentioned it? Maybe once or twice . . . Her third book in the Luc Callanach and Ava Turner series, Perfect Death, was published on the 25th of January, and it’s even better than Perfect Remains and Perfect Prey, if that’s even possible!

For my stop on the blog tour I have a wonderful, insightful Q&A with Helen, who very kindly answered all my questions about her books, Edinburgh and her writing process. Get ready to Google some rather delicious French actors . . .

  1. What was the inspiration behind Luc Callanach, Ava Turner and their respective backgrounds?

It was Luc who arrived in my imagination first. I wanted to move away from the stereotypical older, gruff detective and bring a bit of sexy back into police fiction. Having decided that, I needed to make his character more complex – hence the somewhat traumatic backstory – and I couldn’t think of anywhere more interesting in the UK to drop a stunningly good-looking frenchman than in Scotland where he was bound to be given a hard time! I need Ava to counterbalance Luc and to befriend him, but it was vital to me that she was completely unimpressed by him. Ava is the sort of character who rips up the rule book and I enjoy the interactions between the two of them.

  1. And following on from that, what was your starting point when you decided you were going to write a book? Was it the overarching premise of a crime series set in Edinburgh, the central characters, the killer/scenario in Perfect Remains – or something else?

Edinburgh is a city of ghosts. It has such a gothic atmosphere and historic beauty that it’s easy to set crime fiction there. What I needed to do was bring characters into that setting who would offer different perspectives on how they saw the city. I enjoy the fact that it’s not Luc’s natural habitat. It means he has more to say about the place. (I also have an excuse to visit regularly for research, so it was slightly self-serving too!)PD cover

  1. Do you have any essentials you need when writing – e.g. coffee, comfy chair, music / no music?

I like to listen to music when I write but it has to be very familiar to me so I don’t concentrate on it too hard. There’s one Crash Test Dummies album that I’ve discovered I can write to for hours on repeat and never get bored. When I’m stuck for an idea, I put it on and start writing immediately. Strange but true! I also drink copious amounts of decaffeinated tea, and need a reasonably tidy space or it annoys me. Other than that, just biscuits really…

  1. Luc Callanach is a very memorable, dynamic (and swoonworthy) character that lots of readers have fallen for. Was that your aim / hope when you were writing him, or has his popularity taken you by surprise?

I’ve been delighted by the effect Luc has had on readers. Someone recently emailed my publishers absolutely demanding to know what was going to happen between Luc and Ava because they simply couldn’t wait and see any longer. That came as a bit of a shock to me. As a writer, it’s always the greatest compliment when you’re characters become so very real to readers. A few people found him rather grumpy to begin with, and he was supposed to be, given what he’d been through. Now, though, Luc is a much more human character, and for me it’s the interaction between him and DS Lively that’s the most fun to write.

  1. Who are your favourite detectives / protagonists in crime fiction?

Without a doubt, the combination of Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander in Stieg Larsson’s ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.’ It’s such a dynamic, risky and unlikely pairing, and Larsson sets the stakes so high, that the whole book carries the reader at a pace I haven’t experienced in many other books. I love the strength of the the female figure, and the fact that she never waits around to be saved by anyone.

  1. How did the titles come about? Was it always the intention to call them all “Perfect ***” or was that something that followed on from Perfect Remains?

The title Perfect Remains was my own. The publishers liked it so much they decided to use it as a way of branding the series. In an increasingly competitive crime fiction marketplace, it helps if your books are memorable and immediately recognisable. It also allowed the designers to let their imaginations loose when it came to the covers, all of which have been wonderful. Can’t wait to reveal the cover art for Perfect Silence!

  1. If the BBC came to you tomorrow and said they wanted to turn your series into a prime time drama, and you had full say on the matter, who would you cast as Ava and Luc?

I have two actresses in mind for Ava. The first is the brilliant Karen Gillan (Dr Who & Guardians of the Galaxy) who would bring the cheekiness and humour to the role. Ava Green (Casino Royale & Penny Dreadful) offers that straight talking, confident sexiness that I also think Ava has. The dramatisation rights to the series were optioned before the first book in the series was published, and that raised the interesting question of how you would cast Luc. For me, he needs to be a genuinely French actor (nothing worse than a fake French accent). Grab an internet browser and see what you think of these two options…Gilles Marini or Nicolas Cazalé. Enjoy!

  1. How does creating and spending time in the heads of incredibly gruesome or calculating killers affect you, and what do you do to step away from them when you’ve finished writing for the day?

I don’t really get affected by what I write. For me, the acting of writing gets the images out of my head and that’s cathartic. I often finding myself crying when I’m writing very sad sections, but I’m genuinely invested in the protagonists winning the day, so I feel that I can do something about the nastier elements of what I write. My background is criminal law and I was involved in cases that had some very unpleasant elements. I think that when you’ve dealt with aspect of crime and criminals in the real world, writing fiction seems less terrible. I’ve met some of the real monsters and I was glad to leave them behind when I left the Bar.Helen Fields

  1. If someone told you they wanted the perfect weekend soaking up Edinburgh’s atmosphere, which sights / areas would you tell them to visit?  

Well, it’s inevitable that you start at Edinburgh Castle, which has the benefit of giving you perfect views of the city. Walk down The Royal Mile but ignore the tourist shops. Do stop in at the Inn on the Mile and try a Clover Club Cocktail with egg white. (Best make that your last stop of the day, as the chances are you’ll want to try out all the other cocktails after that). If you’ve packed your hiking shoes, take a walk up to Arthur’s Seat, the peak that overlooks the city. The Royal Botanic Garden is not to be missed, and the National Museum of Scotland is somewhere I could happily be left alone for days. And walk the bridges looking at the architecture. They are beautiful marvels, too often taken for granted. Have fun and don’t forget to spit on the Heart of Midlothian (yes, it’s an actual thing!)


I was lucky enough to meet Helen when I went to her launch of Perfect Death at Waterstones in Southampton a couple of weeks ago.  It was a brilliant evening, and Helen is utterly lovely.  I’m so delighted to be able to take part in the blog tour for this amazing book, and I’m already counting down to Perfect Silence‘s publication in August.

Thank you so much for answering my questions, Helen!


A ghost story and a love story – my first two 5 star reads of 2018

One of my very unoriginal 2018 ambitions is to read more books.  I’ve always loved reading, but when I first started publishing books with HarperCollins, my reading took a nose-dive because those lazy Sundays where I’d lounge around and inhale a whole book were taken up with writing, editing or proofing to meet deadlines.  Last year, when writing became my Official Job (yay), I had more time to read again.  And, after all, reading is an important part of being a writer; working out what you like and don’t like, why and how a particular technique works, learning from other authors to improve your own writing.

In 2017 I read 79 books, a record for me, and with a constantly growing TBR pile I’ve vowed that the number will be even higher this year.  I also want to share more of my top reads on here, rather than just review them on Goodreads and Amazon, and generally do more to spread the joy of books.

It’s only the 16th of January and I’ve already discovered two books that I think are outstanding, so I’m going to gush about them a little bit.

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

I love ghosts.  Have I ever mentioned that?  Quite possibly . . .

I’m always looking for properly scary ghost stories, tales that chill me to the bone and stay with me long after I’ve turned the lights off, but on the whole I find ghostly novels disappointing.  Either they’re too subtle and slow to get my heart racing, or they start well, scare the pants off me and then have a ridiculous, unconvincing ending that blows any faith I had in the story out of the water.

The Silent Companions, however, is neither too slow, nor too ridiculous.  It is atmospheric and compelling, beautifully written and truly, spine-chillingly terrifying.  The concept is ingenious, and it held my attention from page one through to the outstanding, lump-in-your-throat ending.  Here is the blurb:

IMG_0732Newly married, newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband’s crumbling country estate, The Bridge.

With her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. For inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure – a Silent Companion – that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself…

Gawd.  Even that gives me the shivers, and I know what’s coming!  If you love your books mesmerising and terrifying – not to mention beautifully packaged, the hardback is stunning – then this is one you’ll enjoy.

This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell

This is out on the 25th of January and is, quite simply, romantic fiction perfection.  I first fell for Jill’s books when I discovered Rumour Has It many years ago.  I was just starting to think that I might like to write a book of my own, and it was hugely inspiring.  I’ve read lots of her other books since, but Rumour Has It stayed a firm favourite, and I didn’t think Tilly and Jack’s story could be beaten. This Could Change Everything, however, has . . . well, changed everything.

The story is set in Bath, and specifically Percival Square, which is gorgeous and idyllic and my new home.  Why doesn’t it exist?  Dammit!  The heroine, Essie, is wonderful.  She’s feisty and determined, but suffering some of the insecurities and modern-day pitfalls that so many of us face in today’s fast-paced, social-media driven world.  As with all Jill’s books, there is a cast of loveable, imperfect characters whose stories intertwine, and I found myself rooting for each one of them.

There is also a thread running through the book about living and celebrating life that I found incredibly moving, and which had me in tears on more than one occasion.  It has made a huge impression on me, and I’m sure it will have the same effect on many readers.

Oh – and the hero?  I defy anyone not to fall for him.

It’s a beautiful, memorable story that will have you reaching for the tissues, crying with laughter and then doing a little happy dance on your sofa – if you’re as much of a sucker for a love story as me, anyway.  It is as uplifting as a hot air balloon ride, but far less scary.  It might be in my top five books of 2018, and there’s still most of the year to go!  Here is the blurb:

IMG_0757On the one hand, if Essie hadn’t written that letter – the one that only her best friend was meant to see – then she’d still be living like an actual proper grown-up, tucked up with Paul in his picture-perfect cottage, maybe even planning their wedding…

On the other hand (if her true feelings hadn’t accidentally taken the internet by storm, that is) she wouldn’t have moved into the attic flat on the square. She would never have met Conor. Or got to know Lucas…

And she wouldn’t have found herself falling in love with someone she really, really shouldn’t fall in love with…

I’m very jealous of everyone who gets to read this for the first time, though I’m already looking forward to my first reread, and the next, and the next . . .

So there you have it.  My first outpouring of book-love for this year.  I expect there will be a lot more.  If you do read either of these books then I’d love to know what you think – if you’re as touched by Jill’s story as I am, or if reading The Silent Companions means you now have to turn all the lights on and sing Taylor Swift songs loudly when you need a wee in the middle of the night, which is definitely, definitely not something I’ve been doing . . .

Happy reading!

Cressy xx

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2018 – how has that happened?

One of my resolutions for this year was to make more use of my website and blog at least once a week, and yet, somewhat unsurprisingly, I have made it to the 11th of January without doing anything. So here is my first, belated post.

I’m very excited about 2018, and all the bookish things that are due to happen. My next series, The House of Birds and Butterflies, will be published in the spring, with part 1 coming out on the 2nd of March, the others following at monthly intervals, and the paperback due to be published in July.

I have loved writing this book, and I can’t wait to share the covers and the story. If you want to find out more about it, you can visit the series page, where there is a brief synopsis to whet your appetite.

Then it’s on to the next one, and I’ve got some very exciting ideas that I can’t share yet, but I’m really enjoying developing.


There are also so many books due to be published in 2018 that I can’t wait to read, and I’m going to be posting my thoughts about them on here a bit more. I do love a good book recommendation, and I want to share the books I’ve read and enjoyed with a wider audience.

So my resolutions are to write more, read more, and share more on my website and social media – basically, to spread the love of books far and wide. And to kick that off, I’m running a giveaway over on my Facebook page to celebrate reaching 500 likes.

Do you have any resolutions that you’re excited about, havealready let fall by the wayside or are determined to make happen in 2018?

Cressy x



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?


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