Reading, Romance, Small Town Perfection

Small Town Perfection: Sheldham


Mary Jane Staples’ books are usually set in the wilds of London, but in Rising Summer the main character, Tim Parkes, is billeted in the Suffolk village of Sheldham during the Second World War.  At first Tim is completely thrown by country life, until he realises that there’s far more that’s similar about a life in the country than he thought.

There’s a charming romance storyline, withTim and Minnie at cross purposes until they’ve both grown up a fair bit, and realised that they might have cared for each other all along…  It’s rather old fashioned in some of its ideas about family units (namely that women should becomes wives and have kids), but it’s sweet nonetheless!

I first fell across Staples when I was at school and was completely enchanted by the charming characters and witty prose, but on rereading it now, I’m struck by how similar Tim’s experience of country life is to mine.

I moved from South London to a small town in Sussex two years ago, and though the neighbours may not be as close as they might have been during the 1940s, it’s still warm and welcoming.  I’ve been utterly enchanted by the quiet and the beauty of the local surroundings and discovered that there’s nowhere quite like the British countryside.

Guestpost, Mills & Boon, Reading, Romance, Writing

Guestpost – Kelly Hunter; What’s In a Setting?

Kelly Hunter promo pic small

After a decade spent writing category romance for the international marketplace, I’ve come to the conclusion that where I set a story has a rather large impact on how well that story sells. Choose a recognizable and appealing location, play to its strengths, linger longer on its unique beauty … and sale!

I should have just asked the real-estate guy.

But there are caveats when it comes to sales, be it within real estate or romance novels. Who you’re trying to sell to matters rather a lot. Are they familiar with your setting? Do they want the location you’re peddling?

Sometimes not.


Being an Australian author writing predominantly for UK and US markets, I regularly come unstuck in that the places I find fascinating and want to write about aren’t necessarily recognisable locations with widespread appeal. Can’t please everyone, I thought early on in my career—although as a romance author writing for a publisher with unparalleled worldwide distribution, it probably wouldn’t hurt to try.

Write to the market, yes. Test the market? That too, which is another way of saying “I don’t always want to write stories set in bestselling locations, so occasionally I’m going to write about some other place that interests me.” Occasionally, I’d wear the consequences of such tests—meaning poor sales and delayed entry into some of my bigger markets. I used to budget for it in that for every risky setting used, I’d write two other safe-set stories to go with it.

These days I set my stories far and wide, without any of the budgeting I once did. My reasons?

Stubbornness, obviously, along with enough financial security to allow a little leeway when it comes to sales. Markets changing, opening up, shrinking, and no crystal ball for any of it. Books go round a second, third and fourth time and meet a different market every time. It’s fascinating stuff. Above all, I want diversity in my romance reading mix, alongside familiar stories I know I’ll love. I’ll try anything once (twice, three times). And sometimes I’ll find a new favourite.

Bennetts Blog Promo

I’ve a series on sale in Australia at the moment, called the Bennetts. They were the ones who got me thinking about settings and market preferences and stories coming around again.

So what’s the series about?

One independent young woman, four overprotective older brothers, and settings ranging from London to Hong Kong, outback Australia, the Greek Islands and Singapore. The Bennetts are Australian by birth but the extended family they acquire is an international one.

Series order is:

  1. Wife for a Week
  2. Priceless
  3. Taken by the Bad Boy
  4. Untameable Rogue
  5. Red Hot Renegade

The first book in the series, Wife For A Week, is FREE on iBooks Aus and Amazon Aus.

Wife For A Week Aus e

Kelly’s career in science took her from outback Australia to the jungles of South East Asia before she turned to writing romance.

Thirty books in, and she’s received both industry and reader recognition for my stories. She likes the tight focus of short contemporary romance and it suits her attention span to write them. A lot of people ask if she’s ever going to write longer books. Maybe that’s next…

Find out more about Kelly hunter and her books on her website; and follow her blog and find her on Facebook and Twitter for regular, nature-filled, updates!


Guestpost, Harper Impulse, Release Post, Writing

Release Post – Nikki Moore’s Picnics in Hyde Park

Everyone knows that I’m more than a little bit in love with books set in London – I think it’s because we’ve moved out to West Sussex and I miss the hustle and bustle of the city at times.

Therefore, it seems perfect that the final book in Nikki Moore’s #LoveLondon series is released tomorrow, just in time for some summer reading…

LoveLondon - Facebook

Picnics in Hyde Park

The last story in the fun & flirty #LoveLondon series from exciting new chick lit author Nikki Moore! The perfect novel for reading in the sunshine… and falling in love with London.

Picnics in Hyde Park

A summer to remember… or forget?

When Zoe Harper returns to the UK after five long years in New York, the last thing she expects is to find her younger sister Melody jobless, homeless, broke and dumped. Unfortunately, life has a way of delivering the unexpected. She should know that, given her ex-fiancé Greg’s faithless behaviour.

Filled with rage and determined to get revenge on the infamous Reilly brothers for her sister’s heartbreak, as well as get some answers, Zoe hatches plan Nannygate. Unfortunately that means moving in with the gorgeous but uncaring music producer Matt Reilly to be nanny to his two adorable, complicated children. But something isn’t adding up, and over the course of the hot London summer, she starts to think that perhaps Matt isn’t so bad after all.

Let down by his last nanny and weighed down with guilt about his wife’s death three years before, wealthy but camera-shy Matt has spent a long time pushing people away, including his own kids. His stunning new nanny challenges him every single day in completely different ways, but maybe that isn’t such a bad thing.

But what happens when you open your heart, and someone isn’t who you thought they were? And can it really be true love when it’s on the rebound, and starts off with a plan for revenge?

Out at Amazon UKKobo and Nook now…

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Nikki Moore’s an author from beautiful Dorset and live not far from the sea. Apart from the writing, she has kids, friends, family and a day job to keep me busy! Her ancestry – she has English, French and Italian blood – is a bit of a mixed bag but she’s a local girl at heart, love the area and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

She reads a lot and writes captivating short stories and pacy, sexy novels about love and life. She’s compelled to create stories and excited to share them. She really enjoys writing and can’t imagine not doing so.

Visit her blog and website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter for more updates.