LAST BITE OF THE CHERRY by Margaret Cullingford Dark #Romance @CullingfordMags #RNA @RNAtweets

Last Bite of the CherryLast Bite of the Cherry by Margaret Cullingford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Last Bite Of The Cherry is a dark romance, more of a tale of slowly unfolding life-stories which culminate in another chance for some of the characters.

The book opens in 1969, Monica Sommers is just fourteen, she witnesses her parents arguing, then a near fatal accident. A distressing time for the young Monica.

A couple of chapters later and it is now the year 2000. Monica is in training to be a nun, is involved with a refuge for abused women and she also counsels. She hopes to help Rosaleen Westlake, a women suffering from depression. Through their sessions Monica finds similarities in their lives and this unleashes her own past.

The book hops back and forth with time-slips throughout Monica’s life. Much of it involves her re-telling these events to her very good friend Father Malachy O’Brien.

This is an intense read, often dialogue lead, but with sprinkles of rich descriptions as the storyline builds in layers. There are also some enjoyable characters who bring their own wide ranging local dialects to the book. I particularly liked Dora.

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

Book Description

Monica Sommers, during counselling sessions with depressed Rosaleen Westlake, is reminded of her own tumultuous past. Monica, only child of warring parents, loves unwisely. Insecure, impulsive, she betrays with irreversible consequences, Will Ackroyd, the love of her young life. Will loves her above all else. Seeking atonement, she meets and falls in love with Malachy O’Brien, her chance of a last bite of the cherry, if love, like life, is a bowl of cherries. Malachy is everything any woman would want in a man. But, can he love her in return? Malachy is a priest. Cherries have stones. 

About the author

Margaret Cullingford

Mags Cullingford, escaping the rumpus of a university department, decided to generate uproar she could control. She realized a long-term ambition to write fiction. Although ‘romantic’ is not how she would describe herself, Last Bite of the Cherry is a love story, with issues and then some. Otherwise there would be little fun in either writing about, or reading of the characters she conjures up, or so she thinks. 
She has now completed her second novel, Twins of a Gazelle, and is currently working on a third. 
Mags is a founding member of the indie publishing group, The New Romantics 4

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Did I Meet You In 2016? A Year in Review #NewYearsEve #WeekendBlogShare

Hello Lovely Readers – Did we meet in 2016?

On this New Year’s Eve: My 2016 year in review

I think many folks will be looking back at 2016 and wondering what it all meant to them. I’ve handpicked some of the highlights for me.

meet-ups

In April I had a planned meet up in Glasgow with Barb Taub, Cathy Ryan and Alison Williams. These lovely ladies are all part of my review team. Barb is an author and her blog posts are just the best to entertain you. Cathy is a book reviewer and her book reviews are extremely popular, check out her blog here. Alison is an author and editor, check out her rates and recommendations from satisfied customers.

In June I went to the Bloggers Bash in London and met lots of faces from social media. Sacha Black, Ali Isaac, Hugh Roberts and Geoff Le Pard are the bash organisers. It was the second year of this event and if you can get to London easily and want to meet a variety of bloggers and network, this annual event is a great opportunity. Next year’s date is June 10th, more details here. I chatted with Shelley Wilson, Christina Philippou, Mary Smith, Lucy Mitchell (Blondewritemore), Sarah Hardy and Suzi from Suzi Speaks, the founder of #SundayBlogShare.

Shelley is a very inspirational blogger and author, splitting her work between fantasy and non-fiction self help. I’m thrilled that she will be running a four week guest series on ways to motivate yourself here on the blog every Wednesday this January.

In August had I an enforced two weeks off as I was required to do jury service, not something I wanted to attend, but you can’t wriggle out of it very easily these days. However is was interesting to see how the system works, how strict it all felt and how sad that the case I had, ever came to court. On a positive note, whilst in Guildford I made a renewed contact with Christina Philippou and this lead to me attending her book launch in September.

At Christina’s book launch for her debut novel (Lost In Static), I met Neats from the Haphazardous Hippo ( lilac Hippo) a book blogger who lives near by and we met Chris’ publisher Matthew from Urbane Publications. This is small up and coming publisher check it out here.

29502191

My links with Chris and Neats took me to a Blogger/author meet up in London. Event organisers; Kim Nash @kimthebookworm and Holly Martin @hollymartin00  run these events alternating between London and Birmingham. This was a fun afternoon with a mix of authors and book bloggers all chatting in a relaxed atmosphere. I particularly enjoyed chatting to; Author Jessica Norrie, Book bloggers Susan Hampson, Anne Williams and  Jo Robertson, authors Barbara Copperthwait,  Jan Brigden and Steven Hayward

Another day I met book reviewer Liz Lloyd for an Autumn walk around a local village.

Late November Neats invited me to a book launch. We spent a Saturday afternoon in Farnham meeting author Kristen Bailey as she launched book #2 of her contemporary women’s fiction  “Second Helpings”. We also networked and by chance met another Urban Publication’s author Shirley Golden.

33305112

December saw me heading to Leicester to meet Lizzie Lamb, June Kearns, Adrienne Vaughan, Margaret Cullingford and several other members at their monthly RNA meeting. Lizzie, June, Adrienne and Margaret are also know an the New Romantics Four. With me came author, reviewer and Twitter Queen Terry Tyler, Cathy Ryan, Shelley Wilson, and Proofreader Julia Gibbs. It was great to meet Terry’s sister Julia, who was recently on the TV quiz show Pointless. If you need recommended help with copy editing or proofreading do check out her site here.  In the evening we met with authors Mark Barry and Georgia Rose. Mark runs workshops in schools encouraging reluctant readers to pick up books and Georgia has been a guest speaker for Mark, she also runs her own self publishing workshops.

The 2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge tells me I’ve read 175 books this year, however I’ve also beta read 4 books and have read others which aren’t yet on Goodreads, this bumps the number up a little.

What am I going to do next year? Perhaps I’ll meet you. I plan to go out and meet lots more authors and bloggers, nothing beats a face to face meeting.

I’d like to wish all my readers and reviewers a very Happy New Year.

Here are useful Twitter handles of people I’ve met this year.

@barbtaub

@CathyRy

@AlisonW_Editor

@sacha_black

@aliisaac_

@HughRoberts05

@geofflepard

@ShelleyWilson72

@CPhilippou123

@urbanepub

@marysmithwriter

@Blondewritemore

@sarahhardy681

@suzie81blog

@lilac_hippo

@KimTheBookworm

@hollymartin00

@jessica_Norrie

@susanhampsom57

@Williams13Anne

@jocatrobinson

@BCopperthwait

@JanBrigden

@stevieboyh

@LizanneLloyd

@baileyforce6

@shirl1001

@lizzie_lamb

@june_kearns

@adrienneauthor

@CullingfordMags

@newromantics4

@TerryTyler4

@ProofreadJulia

@GreenWizard62

@GeorgiaRoseBook

@rosieamber1

Book Review Challenge Series – The Importance of Book Reviews by Lizzie Lamb

Last Day

Our last guest post on the Book review Challenge before we hand over to you the reader is author Lizzie Lamb. Plus authors might like to step around the fence to the book reviewers side and take a look.

Lizzie Lamb New

1)     How important are book reviews for an author?

Very important. Not only do they let writers know what their readers (the genuine ones, that is) think, they give readers feedback to see if the book is something they might enjoy and download. Reviews also help to keep a writer’s profile ‘up there’ with Amazon. They ‘ping’ with the SEO machine and make sure that writer doesn’t get forgotten by Amazon’s big publicity machine.

 

2)     What are the top sites for book reviews?

I must admit that I don’t search these types of sites very often so I really can’t say. Sites like Novelicious and Love Reading, for example, don’t review self-published books and to me that seems rather unfair as it doesn’t bring new books to readers’ attention. I’ll ask reviewers to review my book – a free book for an honest, thoughtful opinion. Besides, some review sites won’t review indie authors so I tend to stick with the people I know or who ASK if they can review me. I would say that the best sites are those which attract genuine readers who are looking for new authors. Amazon actively promotes my kindle books on their website.

 

3)     Many authors have their books and an author platform on Goodreads. Why do you think it’s a good place?

I have been told that Goodreads is not a channel for authors to promote their work but for readers to find books they might enjoy. I have to confess that I don’t interact with GR as much as I might because it is too long winded and not very user friendly. I have a friend who is a Goodreads librarian and she’s always encouraging me to do more. But, as a writer, time is limited, so I stick to what I know works for me. I get many ‘friend’ requests from Goodreads and I always look carefully into the background of the person sending the request. If they have a private profile, or don’t post an avatar I immediately discount them.

 

4)     What else does Goodreads provide for readers that you are part of? (i.e. Groups, Reading challenge, giveaways)

This is an area I have yet to explore. When my third novel is ready I hope to use Goodreads to promote it. Or, to have someone do it for me.

TDK 3D cover trans

 

5)     With the KDP self-publishing platform on Amazon, plus it’s world-wide buying power, this makes it a top site for books. Do people still need to post book reviews on Amazon or will discounted prices keep books selling?

I encourage readers to post reviews because I think it helps to validate me as a writer. I’ve noticed that if books are cheap or free then readers load them onto their kindle but don’t necessarily read them – and rarely review them. Another downside of ‘free books’ is that you risk attracting trolls who leave you negative 1 star reviews because in their eyes you have ‘given’ your book away and they are especially harsh on indie publishers..

6)     What would you like to see in a review of any book?

Did the book make the reader forget their cares while they were reading it? Did the reader enjoy the plot, my voice and the journey I took my heroine on? Did they, like me, fall in love with my hero? (I always do!!). I know that you can’t please everyone, but I hope that a reviewer will respect the time, effort and cost involved in uploading a decent book onto amazon and the love which I put into writing my books.

7)     Have you ever paid for book reviews? Are they considered “Professional” and important?

I have never paid for reviews but have given away review copies to most blogger who offer to review my book, and made many friends/contacts in the process. I’m only interested in bloggers who connect with readers as preaching to the converted (i.e. writers) isn’t what I’m really about. As an indie author, many doors closed to me which conventionally published authors have access to: Women’s Magazines, the bigger blogs and so on. A genuine review from a reader saying how much they loved my characters means more than a hastily dashed off review in a trade paper etc.

8)     What’s the best way to deal with a review from someone who didn’t like your book?

Ignore it. Never respond or get into a debate with the reviewer. I think most genuine readers know the worth of those negative 1stars and the people who write them. Toughen up and get on and write your next book.

9)     Do you think anyone can write a review? Do they have to be a minimum number of words?

Anyone can write a review and I hope that most readers will ‘have a go’. Writers don’t expect everyone to love their book or to ‘get them’ as a writer. All we ask for is a balanced review which says what a reviewer liked and if they’d like to read more of the same by me. Amazon demands a minimum of 20 words and I think they could do more to eliminate ‘negative’ reviews which are often not written by a genuine reader. I’m not sure about GoodReads as I rarely go on to that forum.

BCB 3D cover trans

10)     Where can readers find out more about you and your books? 

Here is the link for my amazon page and my blog pages:

https://www.amazon.com/author/lizzielamb

www.facebook.com/LizzieLambwriter

lizzielambwriter@gmail.com

website and blog: www.lizzielamb.co.uk

blog: www.newromantics4.com

Goodreads http://tinyurl.com/cbla48d

Lifes a beach poster FINAL

 

 

Thanks Lizzie they were some truly difficult questions.

My final piece in the series goes out to all you authors.

As an author it’s good for you to walk around the other side of the fence and get involved with book reviewers. Joining us on this challenge is just part of that.

Here’s some points I’ve discovered from my own book reviewing.

  1. Book reviewers should be your next best friend.
  2. When someone posts a review of your book you should leap on it asap. Get it out on all your social media sites. Like it on Goodreads and Amazon. Tweet it, Facebook about it, google+ it. Get into the habit of checking weekly or more on Amazon and Goodreads. (I know you’re busy writing but it’s no good if no-one knows about you.)
  3. If a book reviewer has a blog, get signed up as a follower, interact with posts, tweet their posts etc. Get a feel for their blog and the type of books they like.
  4. Then approach them for a book review and wait patiently.
  5. If they are going to, or have reviewed your book, politely ask them to let you know when to expect to see it on their site. (I personally tell the author the date and send the author a link to the post as soon as I’ve posted it on the day.)
  6. Mark this date in Huge red pen on your calendar and in your diary, make it really stand out. Get all your own family and friends prepared to spread the word on all their social networks too. (DON’T then book your holiday! Or if you do ask the book reviewer to change the date if possible) And Don’t dismiss the blog post as not important, so there’s not need for you to show up. Yes folks I’ve seen it all!
  7. Then on the allotted day make sure you go to the book reviewers site, see your book review and tweet / facebook etc the post as much and as many times as you can during the day. If possible interact with readers on the blog who might leave a comment about your book. Lizzie Lamb, June Kearns and Adrienne Vaughan are all part of The New Romantics 4, they have support groups set up who all get behind any posts and social media about each others books. They are very pro-active and will work hard with a blogger to share posts and create awareness. Terry Tyler is a Queen of Twitter and tweets all day and more about a post, her followers get behind her and RT.
  8. This can be a two way win, win situation, both the book reviewer and the author get masses of exposure.
  9. After the heady high of your book review day, don’t disappear never to see your book reviewer ever again. Stay and build a working relationship with them and you never know they might review your next book too. Plus if they do other things on their blog (Like me) you might get a second chance to expose your work with just a little effort. In the last year I’ve co-run a romance book tour, run a Christmas themed book tour, used books in the April A-Z Challenge and am now running this book review challenge. Some of the authors taking part this week have been with me on several tours and it great for all of us.
  10. Lastly, don’t forget, book reviewers do all this for FREE. Make book reviewers your new best friends today and have a little fun.

Think you might enjoy doing more book reviewing? I’m planning to put together a group of book reviewers so that I can offer authors more opportunities for book reviews. Books would be put up for offer and reviewers could take their pick as long as they write and post the reviews on their blogs and platforms like Goodreads and Amazon. I need to work out more details and see if anyone would be interested, there would be no minimum number of books to read.

All books have now been sent and the book requests are now closed.

17447896  Do you fancy an adventure in the forests of Windemere with young warrior Luke Callindor sent to protect the heir of Duke Soloman? REQUEST A COPY OF BEGINNING OF A HERO BY CHARLES E. YALLOWITZ (Fantasy) (1 copy left)

22011018  How about a modern twist on Tudor history? Relive the life of Henry VIII through the eyes of Harry Lanchester and his merry wives. REQUEST A COPY OF KINGS AND QUEENS BY TERRY TYLER (Contemporary) (All copies have now been requested)

16141980  Are you in a romantic mood? How about a romantic Highland fling? REQUEST A COPY OF TALL, DARK AND KILTED BY LIZZIE LAMB (Romance) (2 copies left)

18779783  Or how about a romantic romp with journalists in Norfolk with wedding bells in the air? REQUEST A COPY OF BOOT CAMP BRIDE BY LIZZIE LAMB(Romance) (All copies have now been requested)

18489308  Want to escape your superpowers? Null City is they place to be in this New Adult paranormal fantasy. REQUEST A COPY OF ONE WAY FARE BY BARB AND HANNAH TAUB(Paranormal NA Fantasy) (All copies have now been requested)

19229825  More tales from Null City, can be easily read as a stand alone or part of the series.. REQUEST A COPY OF DON’T TOUCH BY BARB TAUB(Paranornal NA Fantasy)

18752098  How about a bit of  witches and history? England 1647, civil war and Matthew Hopkins sweeps through the land as the Witchfinder. REQUEST A COPY OF THE BLACK HOURS BY ALISON WILLIAMS (Historical) (1 copy left)

17904468  Could you see yourself at a tournament of Gamesmen as they play a game of Comet? There’s a mystery man and a potion maker in this fantasy. REQUEST A COPY OF THE BIRR ELIXIR BY JO SPARKES (YA Fantasy) (2 Copies left)

20488718  Love a thriller? Travel with John Cannon as his relaxing leave of absence turns into a nightmare when his boat is attacked by terrorists. REQUEST A COPY OF MY GRL BY JOHN W. HOWELL(Thriller)(All copies have now been requested)

19332056  Can we tempt you with a spiritual quest? Albion, is the oldest name for Britain. Wen and Don take you on a mystical journey through Myths and Legends of these blessed Isles. REQUEST A COPY OF THE HEART OF ALBION BY SUE VINCENT & STUART FRANCE ( A spiritual quest around England) (All copies have now been requested)

13361184  Crime? The first book in the Georgie Connelly crime series. Join feisty documentary film-maker Georgie as she dangerously plans to expose Gentleman’s Clubs. REQUEST A COPY OF BUSINESS AS USUAL BY E.L.LINDLEY(Crime) (All copies have now been requested)

22304215NON-FICTION here’s the chance to get some help promoting your work. REQUEST A COPY OF HOW TO PROMOTE AND MARKET YOUR BOOK BY MADI PREDA (Non-Fiction) (1 Copy Left)

16301205  There’s more romance on it’s way.  Marianne Coltrane’s writes an award winning scoop about the sale of babies. Destiny will take her to an island off the wild west coast of Ireland. Love a mix of Ireland and romance? REQUEST A COPY OF THE HOLLOW HEART BY ADREINNE VAUGHAN(Romance) (2 copies left)

16301209  If you’ve read The Hollow Heart by Adrienne Vaughan, here’s your chance to loose yourself in more Irish themed romance with the second book in the series. REQUEST A COPY OF A CHANGE OF HEART BY ADREINNE VAUGHAN (Romance) (2 copies left)

20166986  How about a murder mystery set in a coastal resort in Maine? REQUEST A COPY OF DEATH IN A RED CANVAS CHAIR BY N.A GRANGER (Murder Mystery) (All copies have now been requested)

20451856 Step back in time to Georgia and the deep south for this book, real people struggling to survive with segregation and inequality. This is a fictionalised real story. REQUEST A COPY OF RED CLAY AND ROSES BY S.K. NICHOLLS (1 copy left)

scrolls fFINAL 3 TJ Therien has his fantasy book for FREE on Smashwords and Barnes and Noble (Nook), so no limit on the number of copies but he’d still like reviews. (Fantasy) In know of at least 1 down load.

Please... Call Me Derek British comedy comes in the form of the Derek series, we have the first book available as a kindle download for UK reader/ challengers only. REQUEST A COPY OF PLEASE CALL ME DEREK BY MAC BLACK (British Adult Humour) (2 copies left)

17202249 1867, the American Wild West. British raised girl Annie meets wild man Colt McCall after a stagecoach crash. Fantastic cowboy romance. (Voucher from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com to download the book.) REQUEST A COPY OF AN ENGLISHWOMAN’S GUIDE TO THE COWBOY BY JUNE KEARNS (Historical romance) (1 copy left)

18878661 1924, the English Shires. Jazzing flappers and a half share in a million acre ranch in Texas. (voucher from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com to download the book.) REQUEST A COPY OF THE 20’S GIRL, THE GHOST AND ALL THAT JAZZ BY JUNE KEARNS (Historical Romance) (2 copies Left)

20448650 16 year old Jade discovers her Grandmother was murdered. She sets out to find the mystery commune killer. REQUEST A COPY OF JADED BY KRISTY FELTENBERGER-GILLESPI.(YA Thriller) (All copies have now been requested)

 

Romancing September author Lizzie Lamb (Day 16)

Day 16 on our Romancing September Across the World Tour and today we welcome author Lizzie Lamb to the blog with her book “Tall, Dark and Kilted”. Later you can join Lizzie over in Georgia with Stephanie, when they discuss writing romance today’s society.

Lizzie Lamb authorLet’s find out more about Lizzie and her book;

1) Where is your home town?

Leicester, UK. Recently, the remains of King Richard III were located and exhumed in a Leicester City car park after lying there since 1485!!

2) How long have you been writing?

I’ve been scribbling away since childhood. But my latest venture started in 2006 when I left the teaching profession to concentrate on my writing.

 Has is always been romance?

Romance and historical novels, but most recently rom coms, inspired by Jilly Cooper and Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones).

3) Your book cover is lovely and tantalising, who designed it?

I designed it using the Create Space template. My husband spent HOURS sifting through Shutterstock, Dreamstime etc for the right image before I settled on this one (from Dreamstime).

4) With its title, “Tall Dark and Kilted” can only be in Scotland, had you always wanted to set a book here?

I was born in Scotland and love anything to do with its history and romance, so it was a natural choice for me to set my first novel there. My second novel which is due out this autumn is set in Norfolk, England. But I’m returning to Scotland for number three and four.

5) Does our Scottish Laird Ruairi march around in his kilt all day or does it come out on special occasions only?

Ruairi owns several kilts in different versions of the Urquhart tartan – ancient Urquhart, hunting Urquhart and so on. He also has quite a few old kilts which have been ripped on thorns and thistles, mended and consigned to work wear. When estate work demands him to walk through the long grass or when he goes deer stalking he would wear combat pants to protect him from the midges!! Te He!

6) What does he wear under his kilt? (Sorry readers, I just had to ask!)

In true, Scottish fashion he usually goes commando. However, should the occasion warrant it, he would wear Calvin’s beneath his plaid. It the now famous window seat chapter of Tall, Dark and Kilted, the reader learns exactly what the gorgeous Ruairi wears under his kilt.

Old joke: Is there anything worn under your kilt, sir? Answer – No, it’s all in perfect working order. Ha ha!

7) Fliss practices Holistic therapy, did you deliberately want to mix “New” and “Old” in your book?

YES! She leaves behind the raucous lifestyle of Notting Hill and Pimlico and settles for the gentler pace of Kinloch Mara. There she can practice the more ‘yen’ side of holistic therapy, help people relax and unwind – and find out who she really is.

8) You’ve added humour to your book too, can you tell us a little of what to look for that will make us giggle?

Most people have said that they’ve enjoyed the sparky dialogue between Fliss and Ruairi. My favourite moment is when Ruairi’s sisters’ antics on the London Underground are revealed (via a YouTube video). We see them performing a sword dance to Scotland the Brave and then stripping down to thongs and hold up stockings to execute a pole dance to the Pussy Cat Doll’s Don’t You Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me? Oh My! That sound pretty memorable!

9) You are a Founder member of The New Romantics 4, can you tell us more about this?

Certainly.

The catalyst for forming the NR4 was an inspiring lunch with a well known indie author (Amanda Grange) who encouraged us to stop waiting for agents to nail a publishing deal and to go it alone. We reached the conclusion we had nothing to fear other than fear itself and set off on the road to self publication summer 2012. Along with three other authors in  The New Romantics 4 (all members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme) I published my debut novel on Amazon as a paperback and kindle download.  Last autumn we held red carpet road shows where we read extracts from our novels over fizz and canapés, and then signed and sold copies of our books. We have plans to repeat this experience again in November 2013 – including one gig in London !! Woo Hoo. I’ll certainly look out for that.

10) What is the new title of your next book? When will it be published?

My second novel is called BOOT CAMP BRIDE and is currently with a copy editor. I expect it to be ready by the end of October 2013 and available on Amazon in November.

Tall Dark and KiltedFind Lizzie’s book here on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Thank you Lizzie, I’m beginning to feel part of your book already without having read it, it’s characters are enticing me in.