Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2017 from Choc Lit

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Merry Christmas everyone, Happy Holidays! Thank you for all your fabulous support in 2017. We look forward to sharing more exciting releases and fabulous Choc Lit books with you in the new year.

Love from the Choc Lit Team x
(Lyn, Lusana, Sarah, Jane O, Liz, Jane E, Marie, Jessamy, Paul, Bernie)

And now for some messages from our Choc Lit Santas …

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Santa - Rhoda Baxter Rhoda Baxter: Have a fantastic Christmas and raise a glass to a wonderful year in 2017! May you get lots of joy and chocolate and books.

 

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AnnMarie Santa photoAnneMarie Brear: “As 2016 draws to a close, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all the readers who supported me and my book, Where Dragonflies Hover, this year! Merry Christmas and a safe and happy 2017! ”

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Jan Santa photoJan Brigden: “Thanks for your fabulous support this past year. Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and much joy, peace and good health for 2017 (and the occasional choccie or two, of course …) Enjoy the festivities!”

 

9781781892572 Angela Britnell - Santa!Angela Britnell: “To all our wonderful Choc Lit readers here’s wishing you a peaceful and joyous holiday season and the best of everything for 2017 including all the books you can read and an abundance of chocolate!”

 

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Sheryl Browne Santa!Sheryl Browne: “Wishing all our lovely readers a very merry Choc Lit filled Christmas. Your support over the year has been wonderful. Thank you! I hope Santa is kind to you and that all your dreams and wishes come true. Cosy up and keep safe everyone!”

 

9781781892596Clare Chase - Santa!Clare Chase“Wishing you a very happy, cosy Christmas and a wonderful 2017!”

 

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Valerie Olteanu  - Isabeall Connor - SantaLiv Thomas - Isabella Connor - Santa!Isabella Connor (Liv & Val): Nollaig shona dhaoibh. Wishing all Choc Lit readers and their families, a wonderful Christmas, and a happy 2017.”

 

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Victoria  Santas2Victoria Cornwall: I hope you have a wonderful, laughter filled, Christmas which will leave you with memories to cherish for years to come.

 

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Christina Courtenay - Santa!Christina Courtenay: I wish you all a wonderful Christmas with everything and everyone you love, including of course loads of chocolate and plenty of time for reading your favourite books! Enjoy!”

 

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Kirsty Ferry - Santa!Kirsty Ferry: “Wishing you all a happy, healthy and wonderful 2017.Hope you wake up on Christmas morning to joy, peace and a Santa Sack full of books, chocolate and your favourite tipple!”

 

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Debbie Santa photoDebbie Flint: “Well it’s my first Devon Christmas, helping out at a writing retreat venue in Sheepwash and aiming to get the biggest tree ever! Here’s a xmas joke for you – what do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire? Frost-bite! hehe! Have a lovely festive season!”

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Kathryn Freeman - Santa!Kathryn Freeman: “Christmas – a time to relax, to indulge. Whetheryou’re turkey or goose, chocolate or champagne, Christmas films or a sack full of books, I wish you all a very happy Christmas.”

 

9781781893067Janet Gover - Santa!Janet Gover: “I hope you enjoy the festive season. Take time to be with those you love.And don’t forget to treat yourself to something special – you know you deserve it. Thank you for all your support this year, and may 2017 be filled with peace and joy for you and yours.”

 

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Morton SantaMorton S. Gray: “Have a lovely peaceful Christmas and keep dreaming those dreams. Anything is possible in 2017.”

 

 

9781781890714Henriette Gyland - Santa!Henriette Gyland: “Happy Christmas, or Glædelig Jul which is what we say in Denmark. In the face of tumultuous and terrible events across the world wish to remember that Christmas is the time for love and kindness. And reading. Lots of it!”

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Linn's Santas photoLinn B. Halton: “I’ve asked Santa for snow this year – enough to allow us all to wake up to a white Christmas morn, but I’ve also asked that it doesn’t hang around long! If he can’t deliver a brief winter wonderland treat, then I’m sending you all a Christmas hug. I hope that it’s a time of great joy and happiness for one and all.”

9781781893012Liz Harris - Santa!Liz Harris: “2016 will soon be but a distant memory. Hopefully, it’s been a fabulous year for you all, and is leaving behind it nothing but good memories. And, equally hopefully, 2017 will be even better for you, with all the wishes that you wish for yourself coming true. A happy, healthy 2017 to you and your families, dear readers.”

 

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Laura E James - Santa!Laura E.James: “Wishing all our readers a happy and peaceful Christmas and a wonderful New Year. Thank you for reading, reviewing and enjoying our Choc Lit books. In my opinion, it’s the best gift an author can receive. xx”

 

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Margaret James - Santa!Margaret James:“A very happy, peaceful and contented Christmas to the friends of Choc Lit all over the world who support us in so many ways – by buying or borrowing our books, blogging, Tweeting, leaving posts on Facebook and reviewing, to name just a few. We appreciate all you do for us and hope to entertain you for a long time to come! Very best wishes for a great festive season and a wonderful 2017.”

 

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Jane Lovering - Santa!Jane Lovering: “Wishing everyone a happy HobNob dunking, marshmallow toasting, Tony Robinson watching day! Although if you don’t like any of these things, I wish you a Happy Christmas anyway…all the more for me!”

 

Emma and her Daughter by Linda Mitchelmore CMYK


Linda Mitchelmore - Santa!Linda Mitchelmore: ”Happy Christmas to you all. I hope you will have a wonderful time, spending Christmas in whichever way you choose. I also hope there will  be a little window of time to curl up with a Choc Lit novel – or two – somewhere warm with a glass of something festive.”

9781781892916Lynda Stacey Santa photoLynda Stacey: ”Wishing all my wonderful friends and readers, a very happy, safe and peaceful Christmas. xx”

 

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Berni Stevens - Santa!Berni Stevens: “Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, a happy healthy 2017, and many fabulous hours of reading.”

 

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Christine Stovell - Santa!Christine Stovell: “Wishing you love, kindness and generosity of spirit, not just for Christmas  but throughout the year.”

9781781890752Sarah Tranter - Santa!Sarah Tranter: “Merry Xmas and a fabulous 2017 to you all!”

 

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Evonne Wareham - Santa!Evonne Wareham: “Good wishes for a happy Christmas, with good food, good company and good books, and some time to read them! I’m aiming to have a fabulous year in 2017 and I wish everyone the same. See you then!”

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ONE AND ALL!

 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays from the Choc Lit Team and our Santa Clauses!

Merry Christmas from Team Choc Lit!

Merry Christmas everyone, Happy Holidays! Thank you for all your fabulous support in 2015. We look forward to sharing more exciting releases and fabulous Choc Lit books with you in the new year.
Love from the Choc Lit Team x
(Lyn, Lusana, Jane O, Liz, Jane E, Marie, Jessamy) 

And now a message from our Choc Lit Santas: :)

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juliet Santa photoJuliet Archer:  ”As Jane Austen said in Emma, published 200 years ago this month: ‘This is quite the season indeed for friendly meetings. At Christmas every body invites their friends about them, and people think little of even the worst weather.’ I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year, with lots of ‘friendly meetings’ and as little as possible of ‘the worst weather’.”

Santa - Rhoda BaxterPLEASE RELEASE ME_front150dpiRhoda Baxter: “Wish you all a fab holiday season with lots of chocolate, cake and nice warming books to read. See you next year.”

 

Zana Bell - Santa!

Fool's Gold

Zana Bell: Meri Kirihimete (Maori) everyone and many best wishes from New Zealand. May you all have a wonderful festive season. ”

 

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AnneMarie Brear: “Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas, (a perfect time to read good books) and a safe and healthy 2016!”

 

 

Jan Santa photo

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Jan Brigden: “Wishing everyone a joyful, peaceful, healthy Christmas & New Year, with much festive good cheer, happy reading (and chocolate goodies aplenty!). Enjoy!”

 

Angela Britnell - Santa!

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Angela Britnell: “Wishing all of our Choc Lit readers a joyous Christmas and a wonderful New Year filled with good books!”

 

Sheryl Browne Santa!

 

9781781892350Sheryl Browne: Christmas time, mistletoe and wine … If you fancy a gorgeous hero to complete the scene, dip into scrummy Choc Lit book. Perfection. Have a lovely Christmas everyone!


You Think You Know MeClare Chase - Santa!Clare Chase: “Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas, full of warmth and good cheer, followed by a very happy 2016.”

 

An Irish Promise

Valerie Olteanu  - Isabeall Connor - SantaLiv Thomas - Isabella Connor - Santa!Isabella Connor (Liv & Val):  Nollaig shona dhaoibh. Wishing all Choc Lit readers and their families, a wonderful Christmas, and a happy 2016.”

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Christina Courtenay - Santa!Christina Courtenay: “I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Have a peaceful, relaxing holiday hopefully with lots of time for reading! Thank you all for your support this year and here’s to a fantastic year in 2016!  Christina xxx”

Some Veil Did Fall

Kirsty Ferry - Santa!

Kirsty Ferry: “Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy 2016. I hope you enjoy a festive season filled with cake, chocolate and a multitude of good books! Love from Kirsty xxx”

 

9781781892206Debbie Santa photoDebbie Flint: “Wishing you sleighbells and snowflakes, mince pies andmulled wine, silent nights and holly-days, myrrh and magic moments, tinselled tots and festive pets, plus perfect peace, Christmas cheer – and to all a good night!”

 

9781781892466 Kathryn Freeman - Santa!Kathryn Freeman: “Christmas – a time to relax, to indulge. Whether you’re turkey or goose, chocolate or champagne, Christmas films or a sack full of books, I wish you all a very happy Christmas.”

 

Janet Gover - Santa!9781781892688Janet Gover: “May Christmas be a time of joy for you and yours – and I hope 2016 will be a wonderful year filled with love and laughter.”

 

 

The Highwayman's Daughter

Henriette Gyland - Santa!Henriette Gyland: “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May 2016 be filled with love, laughter and good books to read.”

 

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Linn B. Halton: Wishing everyone peace, love and happiness this Christmas time, and a wonderful start to 2016! Linn x

 

 

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Liz Harris - Santa!Liz Harris: ”Wishing you everything for 2015 that you wish for yourself.  May it be a year filled with health, happiness, chocolate and, of course, books!!”

 


The Wedding Cake TreeMelanie Hudson - Santa!Melanie Hudson: 
“Wishing you love, light and oodles of laughter this Christmas.”

 

 

9781781892701Laura E James - Santa!Laura E.James: “Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a 2016 that’s overflowing with good health and great books.”

 

 

Magic Sometimes Happens

Margaret James - Santa!Margaret James: “Merry Christmas, readers and writers, and may 2016 be a wonderful year for you all.”

 


Impossible ThingsKate Johnson Santa!Kate Johnson: “I’d like to wish everyone a very happy festive season and offer my best wishes for the new year.”

 


Dangerous DecisionsMargaret Kaine - Santa!Margaret Kaine: “I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas whether you are spending it with family or friends, or have chosen to be on your own surrounded by chocolates, wine and good books. May I wish you both good health and happiness throughout 2016.”

 

Jane Lovering - Santa!9781781892817Jane Lovering: “Wishing everyone a happy HobNob dunking, marshmallow toasting, Tony Robinson watching day! Although if you don’t like any of these things, I wish you a Happy Christmas anyway…all the more for me! JANE X”

 

9781781892176Sally santa photoSally Malcolm: “Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas, and a New Yearfull of adventure!”

 

 

Alison May - Santa!9781781892947Alison May: “May your festive season be joyful and filled with books, chocolate and all good things. Happy Christmas one and all.”

 

 

Emma - There's No Turning BackLinda Mitchelmore - Santa!Linda Mitchelmore: “Happy Christmas to you all. I hope you will have a wonderful time, spending Christmas in whichever way you choose. I also hope there will  be a little window of time to curl up with a Choc Lit novel – or two – somewhere warm with a glass of something festive.”

Lynda Stacey Santa photoLynda Stacey: ”May your Christmas sparkle with happiness, surprises and above all else, good health. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a fabulous 2016  xx”

 

 

DANCE UNTIL DAWNBerni Stevens - Santa!Berni Stevens: “Wishing everyone a Perfectly Paranormal Christmas and a peaceful New Year! Happy reading! Love Berni xxx”

 

Follow a StarChristine Stovell - Santa!Christine Stovell: Nadolig Llawen! Merry Christmas one and all. Here’s wishing you everything you would wish for yourself.”

 

Romancing the SoulSarah Tranter - Santa!Sarah Tranter: “Merry Xmas and a fabulous 2016 to you all!”

 

 

Never Marry a Politician!Sarah Tranter - Santa!Sarah Waights: “Wishing all Choc Lit readers a fabulous Christmas and as much romance and chocolate as you can handle in the year to come.”

 

Out of Sight Out of Mind

Evonne Wareham - Santa!Evonne Wareham: “Happy Christmas – Nadolig Llawen – and health, happiness and lots of good books for everyone in 2016.”

 

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Nicky Wells:  ”Frohe Weihnachten und ein Gutes Neues! ~That’s “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” in my native German, and I’d like to wish you both of those with all myheart. May your Christmas sparkle and may your 2016 be filled with love, laughter and happiness. Xx”

MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ONE AND ALL! 

Merry Christmas from the Choc Lit Santa Clauses!

Merry Christmas from Team Choc Lit!

Wishing all the readers, reviewers, Tasting panel members and bloggers who have supported us this year a very Merry Christmas! We look forward to sharing our 2015 releases with you all soon :) In the meantime, here are some festive messages from some of the Choc Lit Santa clauses alongside a reminder of some of those beautiful 2014 covers …

Doctor January by Rhoda BaxterSanta - Rhoda BaxterRhoda Baxter:
“Have a wonderful Christmas with lots of chocolate. May 2015 be full of laughter and more chocolate.”

 

Zana Bell - Santa!

Fool's Gold

Zana Bell:
“Sending a virtual splash of Kiwi sunshine and ice cream Christmas pudding to all our readers.”

 

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Angela Britnell - Santa!Angela Britnell:
“Merry Christmas from Nashville! I hope everyone’s Christmas stockings are full of great Choc-Lit books and plenty of good chocolate.”

Sheryl Browne Santa!Sheryl Browne:
“Christmas, the perfect time to curl up with mulled wine and Choc Lit. Have a lovely Christmas everyone. I hope all your dreams and wishes come true.”


You Think You Know MeClare Chase - Santa!Clare Chase:
“Wishing you a warm, bright and merry Christmas, and a very happy new year.”

 

An Irish Promise

Liv Thomas - Isabella Connor - Santa!Valerie Olteanu  - Isabeall Connor - SantaIsabella Connor (Liv & Val): Nollaig shona dhaoibh. “Wishing all Choc Lit readers and their families, a wonderful Christmas, and a happy 2015.

 

Monsoon Mists

Christina Courtenay - Santa!Christina Courtenay:
God Jul – I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a fabulous New Year!  Hope you have lots of time over the holidays to relax and read!”


Some Veil Did FallKirsty Ferry - Santa!Kirsty Ferry:
“Have a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful New Year. And eat lots of chocolate, obviously! Love from Kirsty xxx”

 

Do Opposites Attract by Kathryn Freeman Kathryn Freeman - Santa!Kathryn Freeman:
“I hope Father Christmas brings all our lovely readers a sack full of books – and a stocking full of chocolate. Happy Christmas and very best wishes for 2015.”

Flight to Coorah Creek

Janet Gover - Santa!Janet Gover: “I hope your Christmas is filled with the people you care most about. And that all the presents under your tree are book shaped (except for the ones that are the shape of chocolate or possibly Champagne.)”

The Highwayman's Daughter

Henriette Gyland - Santa!Henriette Gyland:
God Jul og Godt Nytår, which is the traditional Christmas greeting in Denmark where I come from!

 


Liz Harris - Santa!A Western HeartLiz Harris:
Wishing you everything for 2015 that you wish for yourself.  May it be a year filled with health, happiness, chocolate and, of course, books!!”


The Wedding Cake TreeMelanie Hudson - Santa!Melanie Hudson:

“Merry Christmas!”

 

 

Cross Stitch

Amanda James:Amanda James - Santa!
“Have a fabulous Christmas and New Year!  Here’s to a 2015 full of great stories.”

 

Follow Me Follow YouLaura E James - Santa!Laura E.James:
“Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015, filled with love, laughter and literature.”

 

Magic Sometimes Happens

Margaret James - Santa!Margaret James:
“A very happy Christmas to everyone. May magic often happen and 2015 be good to you all in every way.”


Impossible ThingsKate Johnson Santa!Kate Johnson:
“The weather outside is frightful, but our books are so delightful! Here’s wishing you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year.”


Dangerous DecisionsMargaret Kaine - Santa!Margaret Kaine:
“Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones, with lots of books under the tree and even some time to read one! Enjoy!”

 

How I Wonder What You Are

Jane Lovering - Santa!Jane Lovering:
So many books, so little time! Wishing you a happy and peaceful Christmas.”

 

Cora's Christmas KissAlison May - Santa!Alison May:
“Happy Christmas. I hope your festive season is filled with love, chocolate, books and merriment.”

 

Emma - There's No Turning BackLinda Mitchelmore - Santa!Linda Mitchelmore:
“Wishing all my readers – past, present, and future – a wonderful Christmas. May there be love and warmth in your home, food on your table, a glass of something to lift the spirits, joy in your heart, and a quiet corner to sit and read a good novel.”

The Wedding Proposal

Sue Moorcroft - Santa!Sue Moorcroft:
“I hope that you have a joyful and peaceful Christmas … with time to read!”

 

DANCE UNTIL DAWNBerni Stevens - Santa!Berni Stevens:
“Wishing you all a magical Christmas and a wonderful 2015. Happy reading!”

 

Follow a StarChristine Stovell - Santa!Christine Stovell:
Nadolig Llawen!  Merry Christmas from west Wales!”

 

Romancing the SoulSarah Tranter - Santa!Sarah Tranter:
“Have the most wonderful Xmas and may your 2015 be chock-a-full of happiness.”

 

Never Marry a Politician!Sarah Tranter - Santa!Sarah Waights: “2014 will always have happy memories as ‘the year I published my first novel’ thanks to the lovely Choc Lit readers’ panel who were kind enough to like it.  I hope that all you Choc Lit readers have had an equally brilliant year, that Santa brings you everything on your list and that you have a happy 2015 with LOTS of reading and LOTS of chocolate. X”

Out of Sight Out of Mind

Evonne Wareham - Santa!Evonne Wareham:
“I hope everyone manages to find some time over the holiday to curl up with a good book. Happy Christmas!”

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ONE AND ALL! 

Ladies of the Road by Henriette Gyland

Recently I wrote a guest post on Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell about highwaymen in general and why they make excellent heroes in a work of fiction. In my latest novel The Highwayman’s Daughter the heroine, Cora, holds up a carriage belonging to the hero and gets more than she bargained for.

I chose to make her a highway robber because I wanted to create a heroine who was both gutsy and bold and wouldn’t shy away from what was generally perceived as a male domain. However, while I was doing my research for the book, I discovered that it wasn’t actually that unusual for women to turn to the road and a life of crime in this way. Throughout history, a number of notorious female highway robbers have made their mark, and here are a few of them.

Moll Cutpurse, whose real name was Mary Frith, was born in 1584. After driving her

Moll Cutpurse

Moll Cutpurse

parents to distraction for being a “rumpscuttle”, an old word for “tomboy”, they decided to put her on a ship to America, but she absconded as it was setting sail and ran away to the infamous rookeries in St Giles in London where she set herself up as a fence.

An astute businesswoman with a reputation for integrity in the wicked world, she became an institution, not least because she wore men’s clothes and smoked a briar pipe. She was caught after holding up General Fairfax but managed to buy her freedom for £2000, and died of natural causes in 1659 – a relatively long life for that period and despite her exploits.

Ann Meders born 1643 was another female highway robber, and she added fraud and bigamy to her portfolio. Obsessed with the idea of achieving high social and financial status, she regarded marriage to a wealthy man as one way and married three times in rapid succession without dissolving her previous marriages. She worked her way through a number of wealthy lovers but no matter how much money she received, she was always broke. She turned to the road and carried out many robberies, but was eventually arrested for stealing a silver plate.

At the Old Bailey she caused a stir by wearing a low-cut dress, however, when that didn’t provide her with the sympathy she needed from the jury, she claimed to be pregnant. A new jury, consisting of women only, was sworn in, but they found her claim to be false, and she was hanged at Tyburn in 1673, aged 30.

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Lady Katherine Ferrers

Perhaps the most famous female highway robber was Lady Katherine Ferrers, born in 1662. Her marriage at 16 to a much older man proved to be a bit of a disappointment to her as her husband seemed far more interested in the running of his estate than in his bored, young wife. To add some spice to her life she turned to highway robbery where she enjoyed the sense of power from seeing men lose their bluster with a pistol pointed at them.

Her career on the road could have come to an abrupt end when she held up a celebrated highwayman named Jerry Jackson, but he saw the funny side, and they became lovers. Catherine Ferrers ended up adding murder to her list of crimes, and her partner was later hanged at Tyburn. What happened to end her career is less certain, but she may have sustained a wound during a robbery and died from that.

Her adventures were the inspiration for two films both entitled The Wicked Lady.

Is it a crime to steal a heart? 
Hounslow, 1768. Jack Blythe, heir to the Earl of Lampton, is a man with great expectations. So when his carriage is held up by a masked woman, brandishing a pistol and dressed as a gentleman of the road, he wholly expects to have his purse stolen. And when he senses something strangely familiar about the lovely little bandit, Jack also expects to win his cousin’s wager by tracking her down first. 
But as Jack and the highwaywoman enter into a swashbuckling game of cat and mouse, uncovering an intricate web of fiercely guarded family secrets, the last thing Jack expects to have stolen is his heart.

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The Elephant Girl: Prequel III – Henriette Gyland

In the last prequel to “The Elephant Girl” we see yet another reaction to events, this time from…

THE BUSINESSMAN

The screaming headline reporting the murder of Mimi Stephanov left nothing to the imagination. Derek Moody had retreated to the dining room to finish his late morning coffee and read the newspaper undisturbed. It was his son Jason’s ninth birthday, and the boy’s excited chatter echoed from across the hallway as he played with his presents.

wrapped-presents-resized-201He smiled to himself. Business was going well, and he’d lavished presents on his son, including a bike with 21 gears. That plus paying this terms’ school fees and for the holiday to the Bahamas they were taking at Christmas had hardly made a dent in his savings. Life was good.

Well, maybe not that good. One of his wife’s empty-headed Pekingese dogs had left her side and was now standing beside Derek’s chair, peering up at him through raisin-coloured eyes, its lower jaw protruding and making it look every bit as dumb as it was.

‘Get out,’ he snarled.

Whimpering, the dog turned tail and clattered back across the hall, sweeping the floor tiles with its thick belly fur. Derek shook his head. What his wife saw in those mutts he’d never been able to figure out.

He glanced back at the paper, and at the photo of the smiling Mimi Stephanov, taken at a glitzy charity dinner two months ago. She looked every inch the successful business woman and socialite. Pity she’d been such a difficult person.

Carefully he folded it in half and dropped it in the log basket next to the marble fireplace he’d had installed recently, at great expense. Just then Jason entered the dining room followed by his mother and the infernal Pekes.

‘Thanks for the bike, Dad.’

‘You’re welcome, Son. The man in the bike shop said it was the best model on the market.’

‘Yeah, it’s cool. Dad,’ Jason asked hesitantly, ‘is it okay if I cycle down to Tom’s and we can go on our bikes together? I promise we’ll only go on the pavement.’

‘Tom? Do we know a Tom?’ Derek turned to his wife.

She nodded. ‘Tom’s father did our conservatory last year.’

‘So, he’s a builder?’

‘He runs a construction firm, yes.’

Derek looked from his wife to his son, saw the cautious look in their eyes. Well, they should know better.

‘Son, we don’t mix with people like that. Now, let me call Percy’s parents, and we can arrange something.’

‘Aww, no, not Percy,’ Jason protested.

‘Why? What’s wrong with him?’

‘He’s a wimp, Dad! He cries like a baby when he falls over.’

‘Now, now. You just have to be a little tolerant of him.’

Ignoring further protests from his son, Derek left the dining room to telephone from the hall. As he dialled the number for Percy’s parents, he thought of another child altogether. Mimi Stephanov’s daughter, who’d been in the car with her mother.

How much had she seen? He needed to know.


The Elephant Girl: Prequel I – Henriette Gyland

When you read a book, have you ever wondered how subsidiary characters perceive and react to events in the book? To celebrate the publication of “The Elephant Girl”, over the next couple of weeks I’ll be writing a short piece from the viewpoint of three different characters. Today it’s…

THE GRANDMOTHER

Agnes Ransome accepted a cup of coffee from her secretary, then turned her attention to the papers on her desk. Although the family-owned auction house was now run very efficiently by her youngest daughter Letitia and her step-daughter Mimi, and she herself was officially retired, Agnes still kept her hand in once a week.

Whereas her other daughter Ruth… she glanced at the sleeping form on the leather sofa. After yet another argument with her husband, Ruth had slept in the office.

Agnes despaired at her daughter’s disastrous marriage. At least Letitia had had the good sense to remain unattached. Then there was Mimi whose husband had died far too young. Aside from her own few blissful years with William, the Ransomes had a terribly track record when it came to happy-ever-afters.

Abandoning the paperwork, she poured Ruth some coffee from the Thermos the secretary had left, then woke her up.2013-07-04-1525-resized2

‘It’s 8.30. You might want to freshen up before the 10 o’clock auction.’ She noticed a cut on Ruth’s hand. ‘And get that seen to.’

Ruth shook as she reached for the saucer with both hands. ‘Thanks,’ she mumbled, and Agnes smelled the gin on her breath.

The door opened, and Letitia almost fell into the office, her face as white as a sheet. ‘Mother, it’s Mimi.’

‘What about Mimi, dear?’

‘She’s dead. Murdered!’

Agnes felt the blood leave her face, and she steadied herself against the desk. From the sofa Ruth made a strangled sound and dropped her coffee cup with a clatter. A dark stain spread on the Persian rug.

‘But that’s… how?’ asked Agnes.

‘Stabbed. In her car. The police want to talk to all of us.’

‘And the child? Where’s Helen?’

Letitia wrung her hands. ‘In hospital. Apparently she was on the back seat when it happened.’

‘Oh, my God!’ Ruth covered her mouth with her hand.

A tight feeling grew in the pit of Agnes’ stomach. ‘Was she harmed?’

‘She had a seizure, from shock I imagine, but no, she wasn’t harmed.’ Letitia sent her sister a hard look. ‘Well, that’ll make life easier for you, won’t it, Sis?’

Ruth glared back at her. ‘I won’t pretend to be heart-broken. And it’s not as if you’re going to miss her either, is it?’

‘Girls!’ Agnes snapped, although both in their forties they were hardly that. ‘This isn’t productive.’

Letitia turned to her mother with a brief panicked expression in her eyes. ‘But how will we cope, Mother? Without Mimi? We’re just about to float on the Stock Exchange.’

‘I’ll have to come out of retirement.’

‘But, Mother, your health – ‘ Ruth protested.

‘Don’t talk such nonsense. It’s the only thing that makes sense. Letitia is right, the company won’t succeed otherwise. And then we need to decide what to do about the child.’

The child, she thought. So many issues surrounding that little girl already, and now another: if Helen was on the back seat, how much had she seen?


Henri wants to be…

blueprint-for-love-50-percent1When my sister and I were children, we used to play a game called I-Want-To-Be-Her. It was quite simple – whenever we were watching a film or a TV series, we would shout “I want to be her”, meaning a character in the film/programme, usually the most beautiful actress. In the interest of fairness we would also take turns at being the one to get first dibs.

You might think this would keep the peace, but you’d be wrong. My younger sister proved to be infuriatingly adept at spotting the right woman to root for, or the one “to be”, whereas I often ended up “being” the beautiful villain-ness.

So I developed my own brand of deviousness – or maybe that devious streak was already there, which might explain why I always ended up as the bad girl… hmm. Anyway, I would persuade (read: bully, cajole, trick) her into watching re-runs of the same programme when it was my turn to choose first, and then choose to be the good girl. It worked, but the victory felt hollow because it still didn’t change the fact that she was better at spotting the nice people than me. Grrr!

However, today I get first dibs, and I choose to be my heroine, Hazel, who features on the cover of my sweet romance mystery novella, “Blueprint for Love”. I just love her red coat and black boots, and I wouldn’t mind living in that house in the background either…

So does Hazel have a devious streak, or is she a goody-two-shoes? Or maybe her personality is somewhere in-between. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

Hubble Bubble by Jane Lovering causing a stir!

iBookstoreThis fabulous novel which we’ve all been waiting to release, has magically been selected as one of the Best Books of the Month by those amazing people at the UK Apple iBookstore! HURRAH!

Just take a look at this cool screen shot of the iBookstore Features page. Okay, the banner rotates but can you see our fabulous Hubble Bubble is there! We know, our lovely Tasting panel and our book reviewers know, this is another winner for Jane!  BUT now the iBookstore have chosen it.

Spread the news and let folks know about this gorgeous read and purchase today from the iBookstore here . Available internationally but you’ll need to search as the link will only work for the UK store – sorry!  Only £1.99 or $2.99 – a bargain! Can be read using iBooks (free from the App store) on iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch (2nd gen).

There’s even a competition on our Facebook page so wander over and share with your Facebook friends. You could win Choc Lit and chocolate!:-)

Happy reading and sharing!!

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Henri shouts, “Stand and deliver!”

thd_packshot-web1Actually it’s the other way round, I’m the one who’s delivering. It gives me great pleasure to reveal the cover for my next novel, The Highwayman’s Daughter, which will be published in January 2014.

In contrast to my contemporary romantic suspense novels, the setting for this book is Hounslow Heath in the 18th century, during the golden age of “gentlemen of the road”, and it’s a swash-buckling romp, light-hearted in parts but with darker elements too, as well as a core mystery.

I really love this cover, with its hint of intrigue and the central character’s slightly androgynous clothing and untamed hair, which tells us that she’s free-spirited and possibly a bit of a tomboy. I also love the green marbled background symbolising a forested hide-out (in 1768 Hounslow Heath was still densely forested in places), and the font has undertones of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Another reason I’m very excited is that this is actually my first historical novel. I always saw myself as a writer of contemporary fiction, so when this story presented itself to me, almost completely written in my head, it was rather a shock to the system. Should I ignore it and concentrate on my contemporary work, or should I go where the story was taking me and see what happened?

I trusted my instinct and went with the story. When I’d finished it, not only was I thrilled that I’d written a novel in a historical period which has always captured my imagination – the Georgian period – I also discovered that I’d succeeded in creating my own story universe (and by that I don’t mean an alternate universe…) as well as the basis for a trilogy.

So I’m very glad I didn’t ignore the call to “stand and deliver”!

Remember, Remember …

… the 7th of December. Well, I’m not likely to forget that date in a hurry, am I? Because it’s PUBLICATION DAY of Up Close today! Hooray!

Box of author copies

Box of author copies

There’s a tremendous sense of achievement. Some people even liken it giving birth, and there are certainly elements which can easily be compared: the hard slog (read: feeling like a beached whale), dealing with rejections (read: hormones), the long wait (a lot more than 9 months…), the final hard push, and then cradling the product in your arms.

That’s where the analogy ends. This isn’t just nature taking it’s course, each day moving closer and closer to an inevitable outcome, but something born out of my imagination alone. It didn’t come from the blue lagoon, instead it came from what can be best described as resembling an overblown, grey walnut – my brain. And that makes it so much more.

So is it all it’s cracked up to be?

Recently my friend and fellow writer, the lovely Jean Fullerton (see http://www.jeanfullerton.com/), pulled me to one side and said, “I didn’t want to tell you this before, but you’ll never get a break now. You’ll either be writing a book, editing a book, or talking about a book.” And she’s absolutely right.

Today I’m talking about Book 1 (Up Close), while I’m awaiting the edits for Book 2, and the creation of Book 3 is well under way. I get breathless just thinking about it!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Far from it. This is what I’ve always wanted, even before I realised I wanted it. Where my heart always was, what I am. An author. And even if I’d known beforehand what crazy, hard work it was going to be, I wouldn’t want it any other way.