About Me

My photo
Clare writes inspirational romance, usually of a suspenseful nature. Her books are available through her publisher Pelican Book Group and Amazon. She is married with three kids and lives in the UK. She loves watching sci-fi, crime drama, cross stitching, reading and baking.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

A Tuscan Legacy book one - That's Amore


THAT’S AMORE
A Tuscan Legacy
Book 1


When Rafaele and Jayne meet again two years after dancing the night away together in Tuscany, is it a matter of fate or of faith?
After deciding to take a six-month sabbatical, Italian lawyer Rafaele Rossi moves from Florence back to Villa Rossi in the middle of Tuscany, resigned to managing the family farm for his aging nonna after his father’s passing. Convinced a family get-together is what Nonna needs to lift her spirits, he plans an eightieth birthday party for her, making sure his siblings and cousins attend.
The Keswick jewelry store where Jayne Austin has worked for seven years closes its doors. Jayne takes her generous severance pay and heads off to Italy—Tuscany to be precise. Choosing to leave her fate in God’s hands, she prays she’ll miraculously bump into the handsome best man she’d danced the night away with at a friend’s Tuscan wedding two years ago. She hasn’t been able to forget those smoldering brown eyes and that rich Italian accent.
Jayne’s prayers are answered swiftly and in the most unexpected way. Before she knows what’s happening, she’s a guest not only at Isabella Rossi’s birthday party, but at Villa Rossi too.
When Rafaele receives what appears to be a valuable painting from an unknown benefactor, he’s reminded that he doesn’t want to lose Jayne again. After what he’s done to drive her from the villa, though, what kind of a commitment will it take for her to stay?




First scene extract (prologue)

NO PARENT SHOULD EVER HAVE to bury a child, let alone all of them.
Isabella Rossi gathered her shawl and wrapped it around her shoulders. She headed toward the front door of the enormous home which was too big for only her and Maria, who had been her trusted and faithful housekeeper for decades. Isabella had held the ashes of all three of her children, their once vibrant lives reduced to the contents in the ceramic urns. Now, only she remained. And her grandchildren. But most of them were scattered like chaff in the wind, and her heart pained at how far from the fields of Tuscany her descendants had drifted. Oceans now separated them; her first and last born grandchildren, Rafaele and Alessa, the only ones left on Italian soil. And even they were separated from her—and each other—by entire cities.
Since his father died three months ago, Rafaele had done his utmost to come home most weekends. To help his nonna. How long would that last, though? He had his own life, his own career, in Firenze. He’d long ago chosen that world above these lands.
Dawn peeked its golden head over the horizon as Isabella slipped out the front door of the place she’d called home for sixty long and glorious years. Villa Rossi. She’d cherished every moment here since the day her beloved Benedetto had made her his bride. Even the bad times she had buried deep in her heart.
Her fingers, wrinkled and bent from old age and arthritis, clutched the shawl tighter, shutting out the crisp spring morn; the cold not nearly as bitter as her own heart. This wasn’t how life was intended to be. They were meant to have all lived and died under the Tuscan sky, here on this beautiful estate that had been in their family for generations. She blew out a breath that carried with it the cumbersome burden she bore. Which of her grandchildren should inherit this place once she passed on? Would any of them even care to be bound by a property they barely visited anymore, in a country far from what they now called home?
She glanced back at the two-story building, her very being swelling and then quickly sagging at the collection of happy and sad memories. Through the generations, so much loving and living had happened under that roof. The ebb and flow of life.
Until now.
Now it seemed that life merely ebbed, dragging the very soul of Villa Rossi with it.
With her husband’s help, she’d raised three children within those stone walls: Massimo, their firstborn, named after Benedetto’s father; Francesca, after the child’s paternal grandmother; and lastly, Albertino, her baby, who had taken her own dear papà’s name. Benedetto and she had rigidly kept to every Italian custom. Sadly, the same could not be said for her own children, God rest their departed souls. Isabella crossed herself and the shawl slipped from her clasp with the action. She quickly tugged it up over her shoulder again, her heart pressing against her ribs at the painful memory of her children breaking from tradition—at least Massimo and Francesca had—and naming their children whatever they’d wanted with no respect for their customs. None of her grandchildren bore her nor Benedetto’s names as they should have.
And poor, sweet, Albertino…he never had a chance to name his child. Never even knew he’d fathered one. Perhaps he would’ve called his daughter Isabella…if his life hadn’t been snatched from him so quickly.
If only they hadn’t argued.
If only he hadn’t sped away on his motorcycle, angry.
If only he hadn’t met that English woman.
If…
Isabella shook her head and stepped off the narrow dirt road into the vineyard. So many ifs. So many regrets. When her son had ached to marry Maggie Golding, she’d told him to leave and never come back. She had never meant for his departure to be final. Irreversible.
Maggie had returned to Wales after Albertino’s death, and the child born out of wedlock was given the name Rachel instead. Not even an Italian name but a Jewish one. Like her surname. What had she expected, though, from that foreigner who’d led her Albertino astray. She blamed Maggie for his death.
She blamed herself.
The child should’ve been a Rossi, but her illegitimate granddaughter knew nothing of her heritage.
Perhaps it was for the best. One less grandchild to turn their back on their grandmammà.
Ambling between the vines that lined the slope behind the homestead, Isabella reached her hand out to snatch a poppy growing tall between the grass. Big. Bright. Red. Then another. The first of the spring blooms. Soon the hills would blush with their rubescent hue. Here and there she clutched the slender shoots of wild legumes, plucking them to add a touch of mauve to her monotone bouquet.
By the time she reached the other side of the vineyard just before the olive groves, she held a rather large bunch of wildflowers in her hand. Still, she had to split it five ways. Five memorials. Five loved ones lost—her husband, her children, and Massimo’s beloved wife, Alessandra. He’d never overcome her death. Now he was finally reunited with her.
Before the cancer took her Benedetto, he made Isabella promise to have his remains cremated and placed in this special spot between his vines and olive trees. She’d argued against the notion at first—the church did not favor cremation. The Lord Jesus himself was buried in a tomb, and weren’t they all to follow his example? But she’d eventually relented. Keeping her word, she had Massimo and Albertino demarcate this area after her husband’s death.
She trailed her fingers over the low wrought-iron palisade then pushed open the gate and headed toward the tombstone erected in Benedetto’s memory and the cremation urn bearing his ashes on the grass in front of it.
Barely a year later, she’d had a second stone erected. To her beloved Albertino—her baby. Losing her youngest son was even harder to bear than losing the love of her life.
Thirty-four years had passed since that fateful day.
And time had not healed the still raw wounds.




Character Interview:

1. Tell us your name and a little bit about yourself? My name is Rafaele Rossi, with seven letters not three or four. So Raf and Raef are out. Please. My papà wanted me to farm at Villa Rossi like him, settle down and raise a family. I rebelled in both the work and home departments, hence my career choice and single status at thirty.
2. Tell us about where you live and why you choose to live there? I live in Firenze, which English readers will know as Florence. Like my sister, Alessa, it was close enough to Villa Rossi to see my Nonna, and far away enough from my papà. Besides, I studied there so the transition to a law firm in Florence seemed natural.
3. What is a quirk of your personality that most people wouldn't know? I’m a romantic at heart…love letters, flowers, chocolates for that special lady (and the other special women in my life like my two sisters and my Nonna).
4. Name two things would you hate people to know about you? I fear that I will be a bad father one day, like my own papà was. I fear I will become obsessed with the woman I fall I love with, like my father was with my mammà.
5. Tell us about your special lady. What makes her special? Jayne Austin is to sweetest, most beautiful woman I know. And she really does know how to take the jokes about her name in her stride.
6. The first time you saw her, what did you think? Did you like her immediately, or did she have to grow on you? I thought she was beautiful. But beauty aside, I did like her personality right away. The reason I danced the night away with her at my best friend’s wedding in Tuscany. I was a fool to let two years go by between that first magical encounter with her and the next. And if it hadn’t been for Jayne’s determination to follow her heart, we probably would never have met again. It was great picking up where we left off.
7. What would she hate people to know about her? Her head spins at the smell of a wine cork.
8. What is your favourite thing to eat and drink? Espresso, red wine, and Maria’s pici pasta. You can tell I’m Italian, can’t you?
9. If you had to fight, what would be your weapon of choice and why? The weapon I always use is my insecurities and fears. If it were up to me though, I’d choose to be a lover, not a fighter.
10. Pepsi or coke Coke.
11. Tea or coffee Coffee—how it’s served would depend on the time of day.
12. Elephant or tiger Tiger…reminds me of my younger brother, Ric [starts singing Eye of the Tiger].
13. Roast dinner / burger and chips (fries for our US readers) or pizza I’m Italian…what do you think?
14. Classical music or pop Classical
15. Sunrise or sunset Sunset.
16. Walk or run A nice leisurely stroll through the olive groves with Jayne.
17. Chocolate or crisps (chips for our US readers) For myself, neither. To impress a woman, or say sorry, Venchi chocolates.
18. What would you like on your epitaph? Before my salvation: Not cut from the same cloth. After my salvation: His father’s son.


A Novel Place to Fall in Love

USA Today bestselling author, MARION UECKERMANN’s passion for writing was sparked when she moved to Ireland with her family. Her love of travel has influenced her contemporary inspirational romances set in novel places. Marion and her husband again live in South Africa, but with two gorgeous grandsons hanging their hats at the house next door, their empty nest’s no longer so empty.

Please visit Marion’s website for more of her books: www.marionueckermann.net

You can also find Marion on social media:
Amazon  :  Marion-Ueckermann/e/B00KBYLU7C
Facebook  :  Marion.C.Ueckermann
Twitter  :  ueckie
Goodreads  :  5342167.Marion_Ueckermann
Pinterest  :  ueckie
Bookbub  :  authors/marion-ueckermann
Instagram  :  https://www.instagram.com/marion.ueckermann/

I have a subscriber freebie. Readers can download Spring’s Promise, set in Northern Ireland, for free. http://marionueckermann.net/subscribe/


Friday, 13 April 2018

The Rejected Princess - Katie Clark


Blurb:
When Princess Roanna Hamilton’s parents arrange a marriage with a prince of Dawson’s Edge—the mysterious and backwards kingdom to the south—Roanna reluctantly agrees, accepting that peace must be put ahead of her lifelong relationship with Prince Benjamin of Lox.

But when Roanna is introduced to Dawson’s royal family, strange mind-bending anomalies are awakened within her, and she discovers the Dawsonian royal family holds secrets of their own. 

Roanna becomes locked in a battle between kingdoms. Rebels wish to eliminate people who possess powerful anomalies. With threats growing daily, Roanna comes to realize the danger she is in—not to mention how her own family, and Benjamin’s, would react if her anomaly was revealed.

Tensions rise when Lox is attacked. If Roanna is to save herself and her future, she must stall her marriage and squelch the growing rebellion—all while discovering how deeply her power runs. But will Prince Benjamin and her family accept her when the truth of her heritage is finally revealed?


The Rejected Princess Excerpt:

Princess Roanna of Chester’s Wake had only been to the dungeon once in her life, but that one trip had scared her enough that she never wanted to return. Now, ten years later, Roanna worked in the palace libraries side by side with Prince Benjamin of Lox, her lifelong friend and cohort in crime all those years ago, as they sorted socks, coats, and blankets to take to the Rejected in the orphanages.
“I just want to look around the dungeon for a little while.” Ben’s voice pulled her gaze toward him.
Roanna hated the dark and dank dungeon, which reeked of bodily fluids. The place gave her chills.
Thunder boomed overhead, and Roanna gasped. Pressing her eyes closed, she took a deep breath to calm herself. Perhaps she was being silly.
Ben quirked an eyebrow at her and grinned. He leaned against the library wall and turned to the windows as rain dumped loads of water into the western gardens of her family’s palace at Chester’s Wake. Ben was taller than her, and his dusty-blond hair was parted messily to the right side. He was handsome, as so many hopeful girls had told him before. Not that he seemed to care about that.
Roanna finished tying a ribbon on the package she’d put together. She set it to the side and grabbed more supplies. Ben had been with her that fateful day in the dungeon ten years ago—the new cook’s assistant had dragged them there after catching them stealing cookies from her platter. She’d said it was to teach them a lesson they’d not soon forget. The assistant was fired that very day, and Roanna swore off even the thought of a life of crime.
Now, the idea of returning to the scene of their punishment all those years ago did not appeal. Why would he want to explore the dungeons, anyway?

My review:
I loved this one. And yes I am a grown up ;-) Roanna's quest to find out who she really is, is captivating and had me reading late into the night. Roll on the next book so I can find out what happens.


Bio:
KATIE CLARK started reading fantastical stories in grade school and her love for books never died. Today she reads in all genres; her only requirement is an awesome story! She writes inspirational romance for adults as well as young adult speculative fiction, including her YA supernatural novel, Shadowed Eden, and The Enslaved Series. You can connect with her at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Monday, 26 March 2018

A Tuscan Legacy - a new series coming soon.





8 Grandchildren and 1 legacy. A series of 9 books, each containing a complete romance and revealing part of the secret.



Find out more at http://atuscanlegacy.com/

or at our Readers Page or our main page on Facebook,

 
books 1-3 are available for pre-order now with books 4-6 coming soon. On Kindle and also in paperback.



Friday, 9 March 2018

Justice - Emily Conrad


Blurb:
Jake thought he was meant to marry Brooklyn, but now she's pregnant, and he had nothing to do with it. Brooklyn can’t bring herself to name the father as she wrestles with questions about what her pregnancy means and how it will affect her relationship with Jake. If Harold Keen, the man who owns the bookstore across from Jake's coffee shop, has anything to do with it, the baby will ruin them both.

Excerpt

The door opened, and Brooklyn ducked through. The only mascara left on her face was a faint smudge below one of her eyes. That could only mean one thing: she was pregnant.
She took an uncertain step toward him. He wrapped her in his arms, but even so, she’d never been further out of his reach.
“I can’t do this,” she said against his shoulder.
“You can.” He leaned his head to look at her face. Her closed eyes seeped tears. “We’ll do it together.”
Liar. He couldn’t help her with a baby. That job belonged to Caleb. Yet, he had the sense that the promise answered his prayer. It was God’s direction for how he should proceed. How do You figure I can help her?
She scrunched her eyes tighter, and he placed a hand on the back of her head as she collected herself. When she stepped away, her gaze focused behind him, and her face reddened. “Can we go?”
Robyn stared at them, forehead furrowed.
Jake lifted a hand in a wave and turned toward the door.
Brooklyn followed him out to the car and buckled herself in. “I don’t want people talking.”
At this point, gossip was unavoidable. The time to worry about appearances was already weeks behind them. He started the engine and navigated to the road.
She gasped like they’d had a close call with another car, but the road was clear of everything but cottony snow. “I can’t do this, Jake. I never planned to get married, let alone have kids all by myself.”
“You’re not alone.” She had God if she wanted him. Or Caleb. He wouldn’t turn his back on his own kid. Then again, Jake hadn’t expected him to make a move on Brooklyn either. He and Caleb had been friends since high school football. That should’ve counted for something.
She remained silent.
Despite everything, he couldn’t stand to see her cry, so he kept his eyes on the road.
She dug through the glove compartment for a napkin, which she pressed to her face. “The doctor said the baby is the size of a BB pellet. A bullet. Who compares a baby to a bullet?”
News that the baby already took up space was at the edge of his ability to grasp, but a bullet comparison was the most sense she had made all day.
“You’re angry,” she said.
A black SUV pulled out of a parking lot, and he slammed the brakes to avoid it. The car slid a couple of inches before the tires gripped. He ground his teeth. Anything he said would betray just how right she was, and she hurt enough without him piling on more wounds. As he parked in his spot behind Hillside, his phone went off. He took it from his pocket and answered.
“I think I messed up.” Devin, one of the youth group boys Jake mentored, rarely bothered to introduce himself.
Join the club. Jake rubbed his hand over his eyes. “Why’s that?”
“Do you have time? We could meet up?”
This had to be about Lauren, Devin’s girlfriend. Or something could’ve happened with the kid’s alcoholic parents. Or school. Jake took his keys from the ignition but didn’t open his door.
Brooklyn sat still and quiet, probably waiting to say good-bye.
“Sure. Let me wrap up what I’m working on. We can grab lunch in about an hour.”
“Who’s buying?”
“Who always buys? I’ll text you when I’m headed over.” Jake pocketed the phone before turning his attention back to Brooklyn.
She collected her purse and tugged her coat zipper up to her throat. “I should get to work. I’ll need the time off later in the year.” The door clunked open.
“Let me know if you need anything.”
She must’ve picked up on his hesitance because she nodded once and got out without another word.
You’re a terrible friend, Jake.
He couldn’t imagine doing better. Not when the woman he’d hoped to someday marry was carrying someone else’s child. God, what do I do now?



My review:
I signed up for the subscription service that the pubisher do and recieved and advanced copy of this. All I can say is WOW.
Well, the official review I put on Pelican, Goodreads and will do so on Amazon UK once the book is released will be as follows.

Amazing. Once I started reading I was hard pressed to put it down. Jake and Brooklyn are amazing characters who live on after the last page is turned. Not to be missed. 

Bio:
Emily Conrad lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two rescue dogs. She loves Jesus and enjoys road trips to the mountains, crafting stories, and drinking coffee. (It’s no coincidence her debut novel is set mostly in a coffee shop!) She offers free short stories on her website and loves to connect with readers on social media.
facebook.com/emilyconradauthor
Instagram.com/emilyrconrad

Twitter.com/emilyrconrad

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Reading Abbey reopens in June

Reading Abbey reopens on June 16, 2018. And I for one can't wait to see inside the ruins again. Took these photos prob around 2007 maybe earlier.  Closed since 2009, the Abbey has been made safe and restored by Reading Abbey Quarter 
They are on Twitter and Facebook

Can't wait until June? Then visit Reading Museum and the Abbey Gallery. 

Hubby proposed, well gave me the ring in this very spot :) Sept 28 1991








Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Married by Easter - Clare Revell


Blurb:
Confirmed bachelor, Nigel Turner, needs a wife in order to inherit his father's millions. And he needs one in short order. His only option, other than kidnapping which is illegal, is to use the internet site Rent-a-bride.
Chloe Wilkes brother signed her up for the site as a joke. Only when Nigel's details end up in her inbox, she decides to get her own back and reply.
Only neither expected to fall in love with something that was only expected to be a temporary arrangement.

Excerpt:
Another email arrived. Chloe moved the mouse to delete, but instead opened it. She sighed. “Hello, Chloe. My name is Nigel. I read your profile and am contacting you as we are both Christians and have a lot of other things in common. I find myself in a bit of a fix and am hoping we can come to a mutually beneficial agreement. I’ve attached a picture of myself and hope to hear from you soon. Yours faithfully, Nigel Turner.” The email ended with a verse. The joy of the Lord is my strength. Nehemiah 8:10.
She scrolled down the page and looked at the photo.
“Wow.”
Close cropped wavy brown hair, a neat trimmed beard and the most amazing brown eyes she had ever seen. He wore a grey suit and brown tie with a bright white button down shirt. She picked up the bottle of water on the desk and drained it. Be still my heart, the bloke is a hunk. And a Christian.
But still a bloke nonetheless. How did she know he wasn’t a creep like the other emails she’d received?
She took a deep breath. She probably shouldn’t do this, but she was going to reply. “Hello, Nigel. I don’t make it a habit to advertise on sites like this, and I have no desire for a mutually beneficial anything with anyone. Especially when I know next to nothing about you. This is real life, not some trashy romance novel and a casual hook up.” She hit send.

You can pick up a copy here - AmazonUS    Amazon UK

And just in case you'd forgotten or didn't know, here's my bio:
Clare is a British author. She lives in a small town just outside Reading, England with her husband, whom she married in 1992, their three children, and unfriendly mini-panther, aka Tilly the black cat. They have recently been joined by Hedwig and Sirius the guinea pigs. Clare is half English and half Welsh, which makes watching rugby interesting at times as it doesn’t matter who wins.
Writing from an early childhood and encouraged by her teachers, she graduated from rewriting fairy stories through fan fiction to using her own original characters and enjoys writing an eclectic mix of romance, crime fiction and children's stories. When she's not writing, she can be found reading, crocheting or doing the many piles of laundry the occupants of her house manage to make.
Her books are based in the UK, with a couple of exceptions, thus, although the spelling may be American in some of them, the books contain British language and terminology and the more recent ones are written in UK English.
The first draft of every novel is hand written.
She has been a Christian for more than half her life. She goes to Carey Baptist where she is one of four registrars.
She can be found at:


I also have a newsletter. You can sign up for it HERE. Your email never gets passed on, and you won’t be inundated with mail either. It’s four maybe five times a year.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Two new releases from Mary Manners

Mary Manners has two new books out! And I for one can't wait to read them. They are sat on my kindle eagerly awaiting my attention.


Hearts Renewed:
Isabella Carpenter spends her days soothing souls as a radio host on the local Christian station. Her witty charm and bright outlook on life hide the fact that in her heart, she still struggles with tragic events of her past.
Sam Holman's sister was kidnapped and murdered. The single, unspeakable event ripped his family apart as the murderer was set free on a technicality. Consumed by anger, Sam is determined to use his position as a state prosecutor to avenge the murder.
When Sam and Izzy cross paths, their lives are forever changed. Izzy's determined to show Sam there's life after loss, happiness following tragedy, and her five-year-old son, Tucker, is only part of the story.

Labor of Love:
Addy Shaw lost her husband to a heart attack only months after they bought their dream house in the country. Together, they had plans to turn the hundred acre ranch into something profitable. But now, Addy's heart feels as barren and raw as the unworked land that surrounds her. Angry and bitter, Addy is determined to never let anyone close enough to make her hurt again.
Jace Baldwin gave up his quest for the perfect eight-second ride after an accident nearly claimed his life. He's turned his sights to ranching, and, at only thirty-six, is considered one of the youngest experts in the horse industry. Jace spends his days working his family's land and wondering how he might acquire the rich and untapped neighboring land from elusive Addy Shaw.
When an unexpected turn of events leads Jace to Addy's doorstep, he's torn. Helping her turn her land to the good will mean bypassing the sale he desires. But Addy's need and that of her son, Garrett, waken tenderness in Jace's heart that he cannot deny. And when Addy confides in Jace a troubling secret held tight to her heart, he wonders whether the turn of events will bring him and Addy closer together or shatter any hope they might have for a future, together.