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Shaken And Stirred Book Tour – Extract

Shaken And StirredOn the book tour for the fourth novel in Bella Osborne’s ‘Ottercombe Bay’ series called ’Shaken And Stirred’, enjoy an extract from the tale.

Tamsyn was woken by the sound of Jason’s voice and by the time she’d opened her eyes he was placing a tray on her bed. It was the 22nd of March.

‘Good morning,’ he said ridiculously cheerily.

Tamsyn rubbed her eyes like a small child, yawned and blinked. ‘What’s all this?’

‘Your mum let me in. This is the start of Tamsyn Turvey Day,’ said Jason proudly.

‘Toast and tea and a yellow rose because I know you like those,’ he added pointing to the things on the tray. Tamsyn couldn’t help the beam of a smile spreading across her face. She had a feeling she was going to enjoy today very much.

Their first stop was her absolutely favourite place, the donkey sanctuary, and thanks to Jason knowing the vet’s cousin she was allowed to spend the morning being a keeper. ‘You all right?’ called Jason, from a safe distance as Tamsyn flung manure and straw into a wheelbarrow.

‘Yeah, this is great.’

‘I’ve never seen someone enjoy mucking out before.’

‘It’s ace. I definitely want my own donkey,’ said Tamsyn, her face serious.

Next there was feeding and grooming and before she knew it she was out of her green overalls and borrowed steel cap boots, and sitting with a cup of coffee in the sanctuary café.

‘This has been the best day ever,’ she said. ‘Thank you, Jason.’

‘Drink up,’ he said with a grin. ‘You’re only halfway through.’

He was so kind and thoughtful, she thought. If today was about showing her what things would be like to be his girlfriend he was selling himself well.

‘You know you don’t have to do any of this,’ she said.

‘It’s not a bribe. I’m not expecting you to declare your undying love for me or anything.’ He gave a strangled laugh.

‘You’re my friend and I want you to know how special you are. That’s all.’

The next stop was another favourite of hers. The freshest local fare from the fish and chip van eaten on the sea front with a wooden fork with seagulls swooping above them in the hope of snatching a stray chip. It was a beautifully sunny day and the sea was rolling tamely onto the beach – it didn’t come much better in Tamsyn’s book. When she thought she was too full to eat anything else Jason produced a cake box from his rucksack.

Her eyes were like a bush baby’s. ‘Is it?’

She was too excited to finish the sentence.

‘Scones and clotted cream,’ he announced, flipping open the box lid. Tamsyn was in heaven.

After a delicious fresh scone, which crumbled in her mouth, she licked her fingers and was interested by the mix of chip vinegar and clotted cream. ‘Jason, that was amazing. Thank you.’

‘Uh-uh,’ said Jason with a shake of his head. ‘Not done yet.’ He checked his watch. ‘Come on.’ He held out his hand and Tamsyn took it. His fingers were warm and curled gently around hers. They both looked at their entwined hands and grinned. Something was starting to feel right.

Did you enjoy that taster? Well, good news, you can buy Ottercombe Bay – Part Four: Shaken and Stirred from Amazon for only 95p!

The Joys Of Research By Bella Osborne

Raising The BarToday on the book tour for ‘Raising The Bar’, the third book in Bella Osborne’s ‘Ottercombe Bay’ book series, Bella talks about the joy of research.

As I writer it’s important that I do my research. Sometimes this takes me to odd places and has parental warnings flashing up on my PC but sometimes it is pure bliss. My research for Ottercombe Bay gave me a mix of all three! It is set in a fictional Devon seaside town so obviously I had to spend some time in the area and it really is a beautiful part of the country. We stayed on the Devon/Dorset border not far from Lyme Regis and got to explore the coast in both directions.

We visited the beautiful village of Beer, Devon, and I loved how the river was channelled through the streets to the sea. The beach at Beer is divided: one half filled with small fishing boats and the other side littered with tourists, but everyone seems to get along just fine. Near Budleigh Salterton, Devon, the river Otter meets the sea but unlike Beer there is no village as it’s an area of outstanding natural beauty, which got me thinking. What if there was a village here? Combe means a valley on a hillside or coastline so the town of Ottercombe Bay was born.

I spent some time talking to the lovely people at the RNLI, both their central office and volunteers from various Lifeboat stations who were so generous in sharing stories and answering my questions. As I was brought up in a seaside town I have also witnessed the lifeboat going out in the most awful storms and am in awe of the crew members who regularly risk their lives to save others.

My favourite research for Ottercombe Bay was the very serious subject of gin. Gin features in the story so I felt I needed to know more about this drink – a lot more! A YouGov poll found that gin is now the most popular spirit in the UK, with 29% of drinkers voting it their favourite and 47m bottles of it were sold in 2017, setting a new record! Gin has become very popular over the last few years since 2009 when Sipsmith, a London based distiller, won a legal battle with HMRC for the right to produce gin in small quantities via smaller stills rather than on an industrial scale. This gave rise to craft distilleries that sprung up all over the country producing their own variations of gin. I was very lucky to be able to attend a special Burleigh’s gin tasting evening at the Seven Stars pub in Rugby, Warwickshire where I learned so much about the history of gin and gin production as well as getting to try out quite a few too!

To ensure I was sufficiently qualified to write about gin I also attended a gin festival in Coventry Cathedral, a very beautiful but unusual venue for such an event, and did my own research on gin cocktails. I must say my friends have been amazingly supportive of the gin research, offering to accompany me and test out my creations over and over again – well, what are friends for?

You can buy Ottercombe Bay – Part Three: Raising the Bar (Ottercombe Bay Series) from Amazon.

Phillipa Ashley

Phillipa AshleyPhillipa Ashley is the author of the best-selling Cornish Cafe series. Before she became a full-time writer, she studied English at Oxford and worked as a copywriter and journalist. As Pippa Croft, Phillipa also writes as the Oxford Blue series which is published by Penguin Books. She lives in a Staffordshire village with her husband and has a grown-up daughter. When she’s not writing, she loves falling off surf boards and following ‘Poldark’ around in a camper van.

  1. To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing
    I’ve been writing for 11 years and got started by writing online fanfic for a TV period drama called ‘North & South’, ‘Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles’ will be my 16th published novel!
  2. What is your new book about?
    It’s about Maisie, who quits her job managing a busy Cornish pub to run her parents’ inn on the Isles of Scilly. She’s looking forward to a proper family Christmas for the first time in years but can’t forget the previous Christmas – and the day she lost everything.
  3. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    My friends from the Romantic Novelists Association including Bella Osborne, Elizabeth Hanbury, Nell Dixon, Katie Fforde, Jo Thomas, Jill Mansell, Cressida McLaughlin, Alison Sherlock – so many fantastic authors. We’d have lots of wine as well as books.
  4. Who’s your favourite literary hero or heroine?
    Elizabeth Bennet. Ross Poldark.
  5. Was there ever a book that you read, that didn’t live up to the hype that surrounded it and left you disappointed?
    I have given up on a book that I was very disappointed in compared to the film. The only clue I’m giving is that Ewan McGregor was in it.
  6. What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
    Finishing!
  7. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. (‘A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens’) I also almost injured myself laughing so much at the opening chapter of ‘Notes from a Small Island’ by Bill Bryson.
  8. 'Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles

  9. What do you think makes a good book?
    An unputdownable read that doesn’t end with the unexpected death of a character you have invested in.
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    ‘Pride & Prejudice’, ‘Jane Eyre’ and something very long that I haven’t read yet!
  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Developing confidence in their own voice and creating memorable characters.
  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    Earl Grey tea.
  13. And finally do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website
    I’m currently writing ‘Spring in the Little Cornish Isles: the Flower Farm’ and have already started the third book in the series, ‘Summer on the Little Cornish Isles: the Starfish Studio’.

Follow Phillipa Ashley Twitter Phillipa Ashley for updates or check out her website at Phillipa Ashley

Paul Finch Writers Tips

C.L. TaylorAuthor of ‘Ashes To Ashes’, Paul Finch shares his writing tips for aspiring authors.

Learn the lessons of rejection. Sorry, but I’ve no time for newcomers who won’t listen to the advice of those who’ve gone ahead of them. We all of us get rejections in our early days (and not just then either, trust me). As the old saying goes, we should keep all our rejection slips so that we can gloatingly wallpaper our studies with them when we become successful. It’s no picnic at the time, being told that your work isn’t up to scratch. But if you want to get on, you need to turn this disappointment to your advantage. So, if an editor or a publisher or a producer takes the time to tell you why he/she has rejected your work, you don’t have to accept it, but you at least need to take note of it. And if you hear the same thing again and again, the likelihood is that the fault lies with you, not them. In which case, if you can put it right, that could be the difference between getting rejected again when you next submit … or making a sale. The other thing is, and it’s tied to that, you’re going to have to tough these rejections out. This is no job for a snowflake. But if it helps, remember this – it’s a long, rocky road for all of us, and we trip lots of times, but we only actually fail the day we give up.

Book News – Amanda Robson Reveals New Book Obsession

ObsessionIf you’re a fan of Paula Hawkins and BA Paris, then the new book by Amanda Robson called ‘Obsession’ is just the book for you.

What the back cover says

It is a simple question – a little game – that will destroy her life.

Carly and Rob are a perfect couple. They share happy lives with their children and their close friends Craig and Jenny. They’re lucky. But beneath the surface, no relationship is simple: can another woman’s husband and another man’s wife ever just be good friends?

Little by little, Carly’s question sends her life spiralling out of control, as she begins to doubt everything she thought was true. Who can she trust? The man she has promised to stick by forever, or the best friend she has known for years? And is Carly being entirely honest with either of them?

Obsession is a dark, twisting thriller about how quickly our lives can fall apart when we act on our desires.

I don’t know about you, but this is a book I’m definitely looking forward to reading!

You can pre-order the ebook of Obsession from Amazon from 4th May 2017 and the paperback will be available to buy from 1st June 2017.