Category Archives: Brook Cottage Books

THE SECRETS OF VILLA ROSSO by Linn B Halton #guestpost #giveaway

Villa Rosso

The Secrets of Villa Rosso


Linn B Halton


Villa Rosso

Genre: Cosy mystery/romance

Release Date:21 July 2017

Publisher: Harper Impulse

The Secrets of Villa Rosso:

Escape to Italy for a summer romance to remember

When Ellie Maddison is sent on a business trip to Southern Italy, she’s reminded why she loves her job – set amongst rolling vineyards and rich olive groves, the beautiful Villa Rosso is the perfect escape from her life back home. But what Ellie isn’t prepared for is the instant connection she feels to the estate’s director Max Johnson, or the secrets they share that are as intertwined as the rambling vines that cover Villa Rosso.

It’s not long before Ellie finds herself entangled in the history of the place, trying to understand the undeniable effect Max is having on her. As their relationship grows, what will Ellie discover about this idyllic villa and those who have walked through its doors?

What started as a simple work trip will change Ellie’s life forever.





It isn’t just the sunshine and the electric blue sky, but the musical calls of the countryside that reach out to me. A chorus of low-level sounds play like a soft melody in the background. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and I feel like I’m watching a re-run of a favourite film. I could stand here for a long time simply taking in the detail and with each sweep of my eyes noticing something new.

Spinning around I look back at the villa, taking in the rustic beauty of the stonework and the pale orange-red hue of the sun-bleached roof tiles. This is, quite simply, unreal. It’s a little piece of heaven and, so far removed from my daily life that it’s hard to believe this is on the same planet. The sheer scale of the landscape literally steals your breath away. I’m a mere speck, small and insignificant in the grand scheme nature is presenting to me. But rather bizarrely, it doesn’t feel alien in anyway at all. The vastness isn’t overwhelming, but strangely comforting.

I walk back to a cluster of wooden tables surrounding a small fountain and take a seat. As I dive into my bag to extract some sunglasses, I hear a polite cough and look up at the face staring down at me.

‘Mrs Maddison? I’m Max, Max Johnson. Welcome to Villa Rosso.’

I stand, automatically plastering a pleasant smile on my surprised face as recognition kicks in. I know this man, I mean, I’ve met him before. At least I think I have, but there’s nothing similar reflected back at me, only a warm smile. The sort of smile that radiates out from mysteriously deep, hazel eyes. We shake hands. He’s younger than I expected, probably in his early forties and tall. Six foot something that’s for sure, because I feel he’s towering over me.

‘I’m sorry to disturb you. I just wanted you to know that I’m here at your disposal whenever you are ready to begin. Would you like me to fetch you a coffee so you can sit for a while and enjoy the view?’

Although I knew he was British, his tan and elegant demeanour lend an air of cosmopolitan sophistication. I would not have been at all surprised if he had been Italian. He’s hovering politely and I still haven’t answered him…

Villa Rosso

The Secrets of Villa Rosso – how does a story begin?

Every time I begin a new novel I have, if I’m lucky, a paragraph hastily jotted down when I’m out walking, or in bed at night. Usually, though, it’s one single line – the idea that I know will spark an entire story.

So how do I grow that single thought into a plotline? Quite simply I let the words unfold. Usually I have one character who will have inspired that initial idea and as I expand that one-liner I begin to get a feel for who they are. Because I don’t know them, and neither does my reader, I need the character to show me who they are through their thoughts, words and emotions.

Of course, it’s never long before another person pops onto the scene and another, then another … and that’s how it begins to grow. Suddenly they are all clamouring to give me lines to take the story forward and it becomes necessary to rein them in, becoming selective. And yes, side characters do sometimes become such good friends that I want to dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’ of their personal stories. But there comes a point, usually around fifty thousand words when I start to panic. I rarely know that far ahead how a story is going to end, although just occasionally I have written the end chapter before I’m very many words into the story. But I know there’s still a lot of story to be told and it’s necessary to focus, rather than amble towards the ending.

And that was the case with The Secrets of Villa Rosso. The challenge all along was never how it was going to end, it was how this story would unfold and what would be the twists and turns? That had only happened to me once before and I had to trust that the characters would steer me in the right direction.

Many writers do a lot of detailed planning, even to chapter level and they have the bare bones of the story from the start. Maybe the characters that jump into my head are just an unruly bunch who don’t like rules, or maybe it’s the bizarre way my brain works. However, I prefer to think of it as being a reader who happens to type and the characters are the real authors of the story.

I love it when I get to write from the male perspective, too, as it’s exciting being inside a male character’s head. Oh, the power to see both perspectives and it’s heady stuff. It makes my days full of surprises and a day at work is never, ever boring!

The downside for me is always when I type ‘The End’ – and, of course, editors always take that out. But for me it signifies saying goodbye to the friends who have been with me through a very personal journey and I miss them afterwards.

Writing full-time is my job, but to me writing is also my guilty pleasure. Bar of chocolate, or sit down and write another chapter? Sorry chocolate, as tempting as you are you come second!


Villa Rosso

Bristol-born Linn B Halton lives in the Forest of Dean, in the UK.

“I’m a hopeless romantic, self-confessed chocaholic, and lover of strong coffee. For me, life is about family, friends, writing … and house renovation! Oh, and the occasional glass of White Grenache…”

An Amazon UK Top 100 best-selling author with A Cottage in the Country in November 2015, Under the Stars and A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love also became best-sellers in 2016 & 2017. Linn’s novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award.

Linn writes chick lit, women’s contemporary fiction and psychic romance for Harper Impulse, Choc Lit and Endeavour Press.




Goodreads Author Page:


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Villa Rosso

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THE TRUTH ABOUT GEMMA GREY by Sophie Ranald #chicklit #romcom


The Truth About Gemma Grey


Sophie Ranald


Genre: Chick lit/romantic comedy

Release Date: 19 June 2017

Life isn’t working out quite as Gemma had planned. Her breakthrough job turns out to involve writing clickbait articles about cats. Her boyfriend Jack is off travelling the world with his glamorous BFF and her mum’s social life puts Gemma’s own to shame.

Then, after a late-night online rant, Gemma’s YouTube channel goes viral and everything changes.

Suddenly, she’s living the dream – only it’s not turning out entirely as she imagined.

Gemma realises she’ll have to choose between fame, real love and being true to herself – because she can’t have it all. Or can she?




Sophie Ranald is the youngest of five sisters. She was born in Zimbabwe and lived in South Africa until an acute case of itchy feet brought her to London in her mid-20s. As an editor for a customer publishing agency, Sophie developed her fiction-writing skills describing holidays to places she’d never visited. In 2011, she decided to disregard all the good advice given to aspiring novelists and attempt to write full-time. After one false start, It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister’s Boyfriend (Wouldn’t It?) seemed to write itself. Her second, third and fourth novels followed, and a fifth is due for release in Spring 2017. Sophie also writes for magazines and online about food, fashion and running. She lives in south-east London with her amazing partner Hopi and Purrs, their adorable little cat.


Twitter: @sophieranald

Goodreads Author Page:



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CHANCES ARE by Wendy Lou Jones #excerpt #guestpost #giveaway

Wendy Lou Jones

Chances Are


Wendy Lou Jones


Wendy Lou Jones

Contemporary romantic fiction
Release Date: 27th June 2016

Luke is the man with the money, the fast car and the hot woman. There’s no way he would even think about getting serious, but a face he can’t remember soon threatens his calm.
Rebecca isn’t interested in a relationship, and definitely not with him. How could she, after all he put her through? She’s spent the last 4 years hiding away from society, a one-woman crusade for children’s road safety. Who would have thought one fateful day, it might almost be her … again.
As two worlds collide, will opposites attract?
Not if she can help it.


Close up, she was like a porcelain doll, fragile and poised. Her skin was nearly as pale as her hair. Only her lips, with their deep pomegranate flush and those denim blue eyes brought life to an otherwise frosty palette and that dazzled him.
She seemed so together now, quite a different woman from the one he had witnessed before. He tried to think of a reason to speak to her, but nothing would come to mind. She paid for her milk and butter and glanced sideways at him, so cool and detached in his presence, and then she left the shop.
Luke placed his tin on the counter and chased after her. The lady behind the till called out to him as he sprinted away, but he ignored her. He needed to speak to the woman.
He caught up with her in a matter of seconds, catching her by the elbow as she tried to walk away. The woman turned and looked daggers at him and Luke was disarmed. He held up his hands. “I’m sorry.” He took a step back. “I just wanted to apologise for the other day.”
The woman said nothing, just looked at him and Luke felt his confidence slipping.
“I … I shouldn’t have left you there on the side of the road.”
“You shouldn’t have tried to knock me down in the first place,” she shot back, before he could blink.
Luke had not been prepared for an attack. “Er. No. But you did step out in front of me.”
“Well you should have been paying more attention, shouldn’t you?”
“I should…?”
She tried to turn away.
“Look.” This was definitely not going to plan. “I just wanted to say I was sorry.”
“What for, in particular?”
The woman rolled her eyes and tried to turn away from him, but he reached for her again.
“Wait. What did you mean by that? For the other day, of course. I’m sure I apologised at the time, but … you were just a bit … vacant. You probably don’t remember.”
“I’m sorry. What I’m trying to say is I should have made sure you were okay. I had hoped we could be civil about this.” Apparently not.
“Civil is a lawsuit, Luke. Go drive your fancy car with your fancy girlfriend and leave me alone,” and she stormed away from him up the road.
Luke’s jaw hung open. Such contempt from a woman he’d barely met. But the thing that had shaken him most of all, was that she seemed to know him.





Digging for gold

The story of Finding Sarah, the first book from Nutt Hill, came about years ago. I was walking through a field at the local ploughing match when I spotted a rather handsome man dressed subtly different from the rest. A few minutes later, I saw the local vicar and his wife walk into the field and my writer’s brain thought, mmm, what if…? This story ended with a new case of unrequited love arriving on the hill.

I wrote the second book, Sun on Sundays, about the new arrival, but with no luck from publishers, after that I changed tack and wrote The Songbird and the Soldier, which ended up being my first published by Harper Impulse.

Two books later, I was thinking about what to write while I waited for edits to be returned and could not shake these tales from my heart, so I got them out, dusted them off and reread them, at which point it was obvious why they hadn’t been publishable before. I had learned so much in that time! So I set about rewriting them in my time between edits going to and fro and finally brought them into line. I then wrote a first draft of 2 more to go with them. This is number 3 and number 4 is still under edit.

Chances Are -book 3 – is the story of Tom’s brother, Luke. Tom is the hero from book 2 and mentioned in book 1. It tells the tale of the transformation brought about by finding love.

The first three have now been published, and while I work on getting the fourth sorted out, I will say only this: you may well bury your early efforts in an unmarked grave at midnight, but never forget which clod they’re under!


Wendy Lou Jones

My name is Wendy Lou Jones. I was born and raised in West Sussex, England and moved to Birmingham to study Medicine at University, where I was lucky enough to meet my husband. We now live in a little village in Herefordshire with our two grubby boys. I discovered a love of writing not long after my youngest son started school. And if you were to ask me what it was that made me make the switch, I’d tell you quite simply, that it started with a dream.



Goodreads Author Page:

Instagram: wendylouwriter





The first 2 Nutt Hill novels – as signed paperbacks (open internationally)

Wendy Lou JonesWendy Lou Jones

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Brook Cottage Books presents Learning to Love by Sheryl Browne #excerpt #giveaway

Brook Cottage Books

Learning to Love


Sheryl Browne


Brook Cottage Books

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: June 14th 2016

Publisher: Choc Lit

Sometimes help comes from the most unlikely places …

Living in a small village like Hibberton, it’s expected that your neighbours help you in a time of need. But when Andrea Kelly’s house burns down, taking all her earthly possessions with it, it’s the distant and aloof Doctor David Adams – the person she would least expect – who opens his door not just to her, but to her three kids and slightly dotty elderly mother as well.

Andrea needs all the help she can get, dealing with aftermath of the fire and in the suspicious absence of her husband, Jonathan. But, as she gets to know David and his troubled son, Jake, she begins to realise that maybe they need her help as much as she needs theirs …

Previously released by the author.  Revised, edited and republished by Choc Lit in June 2016.


I don’t know how you feel, David, do I? I don’t know you, other than what you’ve told me.’

David looked at her levelly. ‘The truth.’

‘The truth?’ Andrea was really incredulous now. ‘Apart from the one or two inconsequential little things you forgot to tell me? Or was it more than that, David? Three? Four? A hundred?’

‘Two! Twice. Bloody hell, Andrea …’

And that made it all right? She forced back the tears she desperately didn’t want to cry in front of him, again. ‘And I thought Jonathan was being devious. You take the biscuit, David, you really do.’ Shaking her head, Andrea moved to walk past him.

‘I’m nothing like Jonathan, Andrea,’ David said quietly. ‘I care about you.’

Andrea turned back. ‘And Jonathan doesn’t?’ She knew in her heart that her relationship had been floundering long before the fire that had blown her world apart, before David … She didn’t believe Jonathan’s tale about why he hadn’t been able to contact her any more than his claim to have found Dougal in the park. He’d been piling lie on top of lie since that dreadful night, and she would tackle him. Right now, though, she was more interested in what lies this man might concoct to extract himself from his mess.

‘Did he tell you the assessors had been?’

‘I haven’t had a chance to speak to him yet.’ Andrea walked on.

‘He’s hiding something, Andrea,’ David called after her. ‘I’m not sure what, but the fire, his preoccupation with Dee’s mental state, his story … It just doesn’t add up.’

Disbelieving, Andrea whirled around. ‘You’ll stop at nothing, will you? You paint yourself as a poor wounded hero, torn apart by grief and guilt and the havoc you created, and then you have the nerve to point out other people’s failings? Why?’

‘Andrea, I … I don’t know.’ David shrugged hopelessly. ‘I just want you to be careful, that’s—’

‘I mean, I’m no great catch, am I?’ Andrea went on, her fury growing. ‘Was what just happened between us another one of your mistakes, is that it?’

‘No!’ David fixed angry eyes on hers. ‘Dammit, Andrea I do care about you. I—’

‘I’m going.’ Andrea turned away.

‘Andrea, don’t.’ David caught her arm. ‘Please. The kids …’

‘Don’t you dare, David,’ Andrea warned him angrily. ‘Don’t you dare try to manipulate me through my children!’

‘They’re getting ready for bed, Andrea. There’s no point in upsetting them tonight.’

‘Me upsetting them?’ Andrea was flabbergasted.

‘Jake …’ David swallowed. ‘Give me a chance to speak to him, Andrea. Please, I’m begging you.’

Andrea felt her heart break inside her afresh, for Jake, for David, too, who was going to have to live with the devastating consequences of his actions; for Sally, who would surely need her friendship now, but which this man had made impossible. For herself.

‘Stay,’ David implored. ‘Please? For tonight, at least.’

Andrea studied his face, saw the desperation in his eyes; eyes where so many conflicting emotions played out. How little did she really know him? She could have loved him. Did, still. Yet hated him.

‘For Jake’s sake,’ she said, dropping her gaze to his hand still on her arm.

Relief flooding his face, David released his hold. ‘Thank you,’ he said, closing his eyes.


Amazon Link:



Brook Cottage Books

Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, Sheryl Browne brings you sassy, sexy, heart-wrenching fiction. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for the Best Romantic e-book Love Stories Award 2015, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing.

Recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer, Sheryl’s contemporary fiction comes to you from award winning Choc Lit.


Website | Twitter | Facebook | Buy | Buy US | Pinterest

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Choc Lit | Romantic Novelists’ Association



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THE SAFE WORD by Karen Long #giveaway #guestpost


The Safe Word


Karen Long



Published January 14th 2014

Genre: Mystery / thriller / crime

Eleanor Raven Series: Book 1

There are rules that every player of every game must abide by, no matter how dangerous the sport.

Toronto has become the backdrop to a macabre set of artistic installations: women kidnapped, tortured and horrifically displayed by a killer with a vision.

Only someone capable of understanding the killer’s creative desire will be able to stop the murders and D I Eleanor Raven is uniquely qualified. Driven by a complex personality she pursues only the facts, only the things she can see, but never casts a judgement.

But she also has a dark and dangerous secret – one that will threaten her very survival.




B & N


Just read The Safe Word by Karen Long – an unputdownable serial killer tale. James Purefoy

For DS Eleanor Raven It’s not so much who, what or when but ‘why’ that leads this powerful read to its conclusion and Karen Long reminds us that a brutal, vicious and destructive act is not something inherently ‘Evil’ or derived from Satan but is a rational choice made by a human being. The quirky, offbeat and endearing relationship between Eleanor and her partner Laurence Whitefoot shines a light on this dark compelling world of sexual intrigue and mystery. My imagination was certainly held captive! Robson Green

Most fictional detectives these days have to have a ‘thing’ to set them apart from the others, and Raven’s is one of the most original for a long time. The plot moves in some unexpected directions, and builds to a genuinely exciting climax. The Safe Word is an impressive, confident debut. Convincing characters and some nice twists make for a compelling, satisfying thriller, and I look forward to seeing what’s next for Eleanor Raven. Killing Time

Karen’s top five recommended reads for crime writers.

I love to read about forensic science. It is the backbone of modern crime fiction and your audience is knowledgeable and critical of duff science. That is not to say that you can’t manipulate time factors to push on a narrative but not understanding the physical world and modern techniques of evidence collection means you are writing science fiction not crime fiction.

The books listed below have enabled me to acquire a solid grounding in how a crime scene is worked, how to kill someone, how to cover your tracks and why that is so difficult in the light of modern forensics.

The Forensic Casebook: N.E. Genge

This is my favourite book on the subject of, well pretty much every aspect of forensics. It begins by defining what the differences are between the ‘scene of crime’ and the ‘crime scene’, a seemingly dry semantic debate. However, Genge’s style is pithy and well illustrated, using television, film and real life cases to expand and clarify concepts. The presentation is varied and invites a ‘dip in’ approach to reading. Bullet points, different fonts and highlighted sections break the material down into appetising segments. I loved the incidental job adverts and the well-edited interviews with crime scene workers.

Severed: A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found by Frances Larson

Frances Larson works as a curator at the wonderful Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, where there is an extensive shrunken head display. The book focuses on the human head as a trophy, an object of morbid curiosity and as an artistic expression. I found it particularly useful, while writing the third book in the Eleanor Raven series, as it covers the psychological foundation of taking body parts as trophies during military conflicts. Difficult subject matter, deftly analysed.

Forensic Entomology: Dorothy E. Gennard

I wouldn’t say this was an easy, or accessible read…at all. It is a serious, well-documented degree level textbook. There are some photographs but nowhere near enough for the lay reader. If I’m going to dip in, this is not a linear read by the way, I either access images on the internet or have an identifier open. I find insects astonishingly beautiful and alien, their life cycles and behaviour, which when combined with temperature, can pinpoint the time of death, is something I am particularly interested in.

Postmortem: Dr Steven A. Koehler and Dr. Cyril H. Wecht

This book has lots of glossy photographs and thoughtfully presented diagrams. The material is compact but it’s designed as a quick introduction to the study of forensics and, as such, is a great writer’s help. The photographs don’t pull their punches and the case notes are relevant, if a little rushed. There is an excellent chart on p75, which measures the visual changes of different bruises over a time period of 15 days. If it’s an exciting introduction to the discipline you’re after, then this book is the one for you.

Molecules of Murder: John Emsley

I am happy to recommend any of John Emsley’s books. They are well written, well researched and don’t skimp on the science. Each chapter has selected a poison and exemplifies its usage in numerous crimes both historical and contemporary. There is a helpful glossary, which gives further information on highlighted words. I confess to being particularly intrigued by the use of poisons and loved the way that Emsley’s conversational and enthusiastic style jumps out of the narrative, on occasion, and sweeps the reader off on an anecdotal journey.

I believe that books make books. You read, absorb and mold information into narratives. Fact, however seemingly dry and inconsequential, is the basis of all crime fiction. Without a working knowledge of how forensics is applied in a contemporary, or even an historic setting, there will be gaps in your plot, or opportunities missed. I am not advocating that fiction should be determined solely by fact, you are not writing a textbook but to omit or fudge modern criminalistics is to deny richness and depth to your story.



Karen Long was born and raised in the English midlands, educated at Bangor University and taught English and Drama for fifteen years. During her teaching years she studied biology and neurology with the Open University and this interest in medicine, forensics and forensic psychology is reflected in her writing. She is an enthusiastic traveller and has spent time in Toronto, which became the backdrop and inspiration for The Safe Word.

She is a keen amateur naturalist with a deep and abiding love for the crow family. She has dedicated time, love and several fingers in an effort to rehabilitate crows, magpies, rooks and ravens.

Karen is happy to correspond with readers and can be contacted through her website, where she posts regular blogs.

The Safe Word is Karen’s first novel and was an Amazon bestseller, soon to be joined by the second in the Eleanor Raven series, The Vault. Karen is working on the third novel in the series.







All author or review enquires please contact Karen Long’s Personal Assistant J.B. Johnston –

Check out Book 2 – The Vault –


Did you know that Eleanor Raven is also online?





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5-star reviews for The Secret of Hillcrest House


The Secret of Hillcrest House

now has

3 5-star


I know it’s not many but everyone has to start somewhere.

5-star advert

You can read this lovely reviews on goodreads at the following links…

First Review
Second Review
Third Review


Sometimes there’s more to a house than bricks and mortar.

Hillcrest House is one such place. Perched on a cliff in the picturesque town of Angel Falls, there is more to this Victorian mansion than meets the eye. When referring to the house, the locals use the word haunted on a regular basis. Strange visions appear in the windows, especially the second-floor ones over the side porch. Even stranger events take place within its four walls.

Rumour has it, the original owners, Asher and Maggie Hargrave, never left their beloved home. They claim the couple and their family are responsible for driving people away. Over the years, Hillcrest House has changed hands numerous times. No one stays long. Renovations begin then stop and the house is once more abandoned. The latest in this long line of owners is Jessica Maitland.

Will Jessica be the next one to succumb or will she unravel The Secret of Hillcrest House?

The Secret of Hillcrest House is available in paperback and kindle formats from

In paperback and for the nook from


for the Kobo

and in the iBookstore

Why not order your copy today and see for yourself?

But be forewarned… there are two ‘adult’ scenes in it.

Beginning June 20th, The Secret of Hillcrest House and I will be touring with Brook Cottage Books. I hope you’ll join us as we whisk our way through the blogisphere.

St Patrick’s Day with JB Johnston of Brook Cottage Books!

JB JohnstonWelcome to Celtic Connexions. Come in, make yourself comfortable. I know you under two different names – JB and Debbie. Which would you prefer I used?

Hi Melanie, thank you so much for having me as a guest. I honestly don’t mind which name you use. I will answer to anything! Most people online know me as JB so I suppose that one’s okay. At book events I attend I get called by both names. Whatever anyone is comfortable with. The name JB is a shortened version of two names – Jontybabe, which was my original online name, and Just Books Johnston! A little joke about when asked what I bought on a shopping trip I always say, ‘Just Books!’ My real name is of course Debbie but I do most of my writing under the name J.B.

I made sure to have Doritos and wine on hand since I know you enjoy them. One of the wines is from the Niagara region of Ontario, the other from somewhere in South America, Argentina I think. Hope you like red. I don’t have a lot of white wine, although I can send my manservant, Donald, to the wine cellar to see what’s there.

Oh thank you Melanie. Doritos are my guilty pleasure but I have to restrict myself to one bag a week now otherwise I’d be hugely fat! Friday nights are the nights that I settle down on the sofa with my Doritos and wine and I watch a movie with my son. I’m more of a rose or white wine girl myself but I have been known to partake in a glass of red although I do avoid it as it makes me very giggly and even more silly than I normally am. Also, it makes my face go very red too.

It is only Thursday, but then it’s a special occasion – and these Doritos are virtual so you can have as many as you like.

Ah, the manservant says we have some Jackson Triggs Sauvignon Blanc in the cellar. Shall we open one of them? It’s a very nice wine. * gives manservant the nod and a few minutes later, the wine appears in a cooler with two glasses already filled for us*

Why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself? The readers at Celtic Connexions know Brook Cottage Books but not necessarily the woman behind the brand.

JB Johnston

JB JohnstonOh gosh! It always feels funny talking about myself! I’m so used to promoting other people. Well, I am 45 years old and a bit of a book freak in case anyone hadn’t noticed. I am a fully qualified and practicing social worker in the real world although I am desperate to have a full time career in the bookish world and hope that one day someone notices me and offers me a job! Although not based in England, I’d be more than happy to fly to the mainland for meetings! Yes I’m that desperate for a job in publishing. I’d love to start branching out also and start writing magazine articles. I have some great ideas for articles and the plan is to start compiling them into a folder and pitching them to magazines.

I love walking and running and I used to be a real gym bunny until a shoulder injury slowed me down a little. I’m waiting for surgery to correct that. I’m always looking for new challenges and have turned into an adrenaline junkie. I abseiled down a very large tower a few years ago for charity and I’m always on the lookout for an adventure! Until my shoulder injury I was always taking part in charity runs but I’ve had to stop doing that for a while as apparently I swing my arms a lot when I run and that’s not good for my shoulder!

I’m very family orientated and have a real interest in special needs and parenting issues as my daughter has autism and a learning disability. I am very happily married to a wonderful man who is an accountant! I have 2 children and 2 step children and a mad dog. As well as Brook Cottage Books I have a personal blog  and I have just started a product review site

What made you decide to start a book blog?

Well, a number of years ago I originally had a special needs blog called IT’S A CRAZY WORLD. That blog no longer exists now as I was concerned that now my daughter was much older someone in the real world would recognise that I was writing about her and tell her about it. On that blog I used to write some book reviews. I’ve always been an avid reader and constantly have my nose stuck in a book. However, the requests for reviews became so great that I knew I needed a dedicated site just for bookish things. I was really interested in having authors on the blog with interviews and guest posts too and I wanted to take part in book tours. And so, Brook Cottages was born and has evolved into something way beyond what my original expectations ever were for the blog. Now, as well as book reviews and author spots I coordinate and run virtual book tours which I absolutely adore. Although, this means never having a day off! But, I can live with that. Brook Cottage Books has taken over my entire life and made me realise that being involved in the book world is actually my dream job. I have met so many wonderful and generous people through the book world that I feel this is where I belong.

You were shortlisted for an award for your blog, were you not?

Oh yes I was! In 2013 I was shortlisted for Romance Blogger of the Year at the Festival of Romance. That was a great feeling and a wonderful black tie event to attend. Everyone was spruced up in their finest and to be honest I was more than a little nervous! Unfortunately I didn’t win but my lovely friend Sharon Goodwin did win with her blog Jera’s Jamboree. However, the lifestyle magazine I am involved with  did win an industry award for Innovation in Romantic Fiction so that was a proud moment for those involved. At that event it suddenly dawned on me that book bloggers were at last receiving recognition for all the hard work they do. It was amazing! In 2014 I was honoured to be asked to present the award to that year’s winner Sophie Hedley for her amazing blog Reviewed the Book.

If memory serves, you’re from Northern Ireland. What sort of things do you and your family do to celebrate St Patrick’s Day?

Yes Melanie, I am from Northern Ireland. I live about 14 miles outside of Belfast. To be honest I don’t really do anything to celebrate St Patricks Day. It does mean a day off work so I usually spend it being quite lazy with a big lie in, daughter permitting! My husband can usually be found on the golf course every St Patricks Day as there is usually some sort of golf competition on that day. St Patrick’s Day celebrations always involve lots of Guinness though!

JB Johnston
By Dirk Van Esbroeck (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
I’ll put on a bit of music for us to listen to while we sip our wine.

I hope you like corned beef and cabbage. It’s a staple here on St Patrick’s Day. If not, I won’t be offended. I also have a vegetable curry simmering in my slow-cooker. I know it’s not Irish but hey, why not?

JB Johnston
By Jonathunder (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons
Well I’m afraid I’m going to have to go for the vegetable curry being a vegetarian. I do love cabbage though and often stink the house out with it! It does not make me popular with the rest of the household!

You took part in this past November’s #NaNoWriMo. Can you share any of this project with us?

Oh my goodness what a stressful but exhilarating time that was! When I was in the throes of it and people asked me about the book I froze with fright, terrified to talk about it in case I jinxed myself! I’m pretty sure a lot of people thought I was a little bonkers! Apologies to the lovely Carol Cooper who asked me about the book when in a lift with me in London and I looked like I was ready to climb out the roof of the lift! I’m a little less dramatic about it all now. At the moment I am trying to find the time to do some revisions and edits on the book and its currently sitting at over 60,000 words. After NaNo I couldn’t look at it for months! I was so traumatised! Lol. Anyway, the general gist of the book is this………..My main character runs away from a life that is already planned for her by a very domineering mother. She returns to her home town 10 years later after living in Italy all that time. She comes back with some secrets and attempts to rebuild relationships with those she left behind 10 years ago which doesn’t prove easy. It’s kind of a sad story about lost relationships and wasted time. It’s also about forgiveness, love and hope. I’m not altogether sure it’s any good and whether I’ll ever share it with anyone but I was sobbing writing the final chapter!

Anything else you can share with us about the woman behind BCB?

I’m not too sure there are too many interesting things to say about me but here goes –

  • Last year I co-wrote a book called Little Kitty, The Cat Burglar and all proceeds raised from sales go to charity. It’s a children’s book and was written by myself and a group of authors and illustrators to raise money for Alzheimers Research. The book was the brainchild of author Suzan Collins who does a lot to raise awareness of dementia issues. I was honoured to be asked to participate.
  • I used to have a spot on a radio show with author Nicky Wells. The show was called Books Rock and combined wonderful music with book news, author interviews and reviews! I miss doing that and hope that one day the show airs again! Nicky was brilliant as a DJ as well as being a fantastic author! She’s one of my favourite people!
  • I edited a book in 2013 under my real name Debbie Johnston– Little White Lies and Butterflies by Suzie Tullet. The book was shortlisted for the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize award. It’s a brilliant book! Go and buy it!
  • I’m afraid of the dark and always have been! I have a candle app on my phone that I switch on when I am staying away from home in a strange hotel so that I am not sleeping in complete darkness!
  • When I was 23 years old I was paid to be a model in a tourist board photo shoot for my town and had to dress as an Austrian milkmaid as the town is twinned with a town in Austria. I’d not long given birth to my son so was looking quite voluptuous in my outfit when the photographer offered me a glamour shoot! Needless to say I turned him down!
  • I got drunk when I was 15 years old and stole a horse as a dare, rode him about a field without a saddle or bridle and eventually fell off when he jumped over a hedge. My house was built in that very field many years later!
  • I have had the same group of 5 friends since I was at school. We are a close bunch and are always there for one another. I don’t know where I’d be without them. My next NaNoWriMo project may have characters based on each and every one of them. They are all a bit worried about that! I can’t think why!
  • When I was 17 I very nearly joined the Navy. But then I met my first husband and the rest they say is history. I did try to join the naval reserves last year but apparently I am too old now.

I’m not sure how Irish this is, but sometimes after a meal, especially if it’s a special occasion, we indulge in a dram of single malt whisky. So, if you’d like to carry on in our tradition, I have a selection of Irish ones to choose from.

JB Johnston
By Cafeirlandais at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [CC BY 2.5 (, GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons
Blarney stone
Usually, I invite my guests to kiss my ‘Blarney Stone’ as they come in. I thought I would see how well you do on your way out… Think you can manage? I’ve added a twist this year. It’s lower to the ground and you have to bend backwards over a railing. Don’t worry, the manservant will be your spotter.

Well it’s a good job I am double jointed! And, you should know that I can do the splits too so this will be no problem to me! Although, I should add that once on the floor, I usually require some assistance to get back up again!

Thanks for stopping by. It’s been a treat to have you here after being a host in so many of your book tours.

Thank you for having me here Melanie. It’s been wonderful being here and thank you for being such a valued member of the Brook Cottages family.



And how about a tune suitable to the occasion when many of your have partaken in copious amounts of green beer and/or Irish Whiskey.

I’ll close this post with the Irish proverb…

May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven
half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.

I’m Not in Love by Tilly Tennant #chicklit #giveaway

Tilly Tennant

I’m Not in Love


Tilly Tennant


Tilly Tennant

Genre: Chick lit

Release Date: 7th January 2016

Publisher: Lawsome Books

The tinsel and baubles are packed away, and the festivities are over for another year, but Hannah can’t forget the mysterious stranger who fell into her world on Christmas Day. She flings herself back into normal life in a bid to get him out of her head, which means dating other men and having fun with her sister, Gina. But just as she’s getting back on track, fate throws him into her path once more. And this time it results in far more complications than a burnt turkey.

Meanwhile, Gina, is creating problems of her own. As if a messy divorce isn’t enough, she grows closer to Ross, the local farmer’s son. Hannah knows her sister is not going to be popular when the relationship becomes public, especially with Ross’s doting parents or, indeed, Jess, Gina’s teenage daughter, who is far closer in age to Ross than Gina is herself.

Things are about to get very, very messy in Hannah’s neat little world…






Tilly Tennant

Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset, the oldest of four children, but now lives in Staffordshire with a family of her own. After years of dismal and disastrous jobs, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing (she never could carry a bowl of soup without spilling a bit), she decided to indulge her passion for the written word by embarking on a degree in English and creative writing, graduating in 2009 with first class honours. She wrote her first novel in 2007 during her first summer break at university and has not stopped writing since. She also works as a freelance fiction editor, and considers herself very lucky that this enables her to read many wonderful books before the rest of the world gets them.

Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn was her debut novel; published in 2014 it was an Amazon bestseller in both the UK and Australia. It was followed by Mishaps and Mistletoe and The Man Who Can’t Be Moved. Find out more about Tilly and how to join her mailing list for news and exclusives at





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Twelfth Night by Luccia Gray ~ BOOK PROMO

Eyre Hall

Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall




twelfth night

Following Edward Rochester’s death in All Hallows at Eyre Hall, Jane Eyre, who has been blackmailed into marrying a man she despises, will have to cope with the return of the man she loved and lost. The secrets she has tried so hard to conceal must be disclosed, giving rise to unexpected events and more shocking revelations.

Romance, mystery, and excitement will unfold exploring the evolution of the original characters, and bringing to life new and intriguing ones, spinning a unique and absorbing narrative, which will move the action from the Yorkshire countryside, to Victorian London, and across the Atlantic Ocean to Colonial Jamaica.

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About Luccia Gray

Eyre Hall

Luccia Gray was born in London and now lives in the south of Spain with her husband. She has three children and three grandchildren. When she’s not reading or writing, she teaches English at an Adult Education Centre and at the Spanish National University.

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twelfth night

After Dark – Book 1 Logan by Melissa Foster ~ BOOK PROMO

Melissa Foster



Wild boys



Melissa Foster

Wild Boys After Dark: Logan (Book 1)
Release Date: 10th November 2015
Pages: 249
Genres: Erotic Fiction

Everything’s naughtier after dark… Fall in love with the Wild & Bad boys. Long enough to burn up the sheets and short enough to leave you craving more.

If raw emotions, cursing, dirty-talk, or intense, passionate sex that sometimes includes a silk tie, turn you off, then the After Dark books are not for you. *NO CLIFFHANGERS*



Stella “Stormy” Knight is an expert at hiding—her feelings, her past, and her identity. Sometimes all that hiding takes its toll, and she needs to come out from under that heavy suit of armor and cut loose—but it never takes her long to put it right back on and disappear without a trace.

Private Investigator Logan Wild is relentless in his pursuit to discover the truth for his clients. He works hard, plays even harder, and always walks away unscathed and untethered. Until he meets mysterious and sexy-as-hell Stormy, who leaves him craving more than a one-night stand.

Passion ignites, secrets are shared, and their deep connection is impossible to ignore. But in order to have a future, Logan must uncover Stormy’s dark past—and when he does, he’ll hold her fate in his hands.







B & N




Melissa Foster

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women’s fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the  World Literary Café and Fostering Success. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine.

Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family.

Visit Melissa on social media. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.

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