Today I will be sharing an extract for my spot on the blog tour for the novella A Little Hotel in Cornwall by Laura Briggs. This is a short one at 120 pages and available TODAY! Happy Publication Day!!!
Struggling American waitress and aspiring novelist Maisie Clark dreams of becoming a full-time writer — even though in real life she’s just lost her chance at an exclusive writer’s mentorship program that would give her novel its big break. Desperate, she decides to take a chance and ask her favourite writer, a celebrated but reclusive English novelist, to help her find a second chance.
When she receives the author’s reply in an envelope with a Cornish postmark, Maisie decides not to take the writer’s half-hearted ‘no’ for an answer. With nothing to lose, she takes off for the author’s last known location, a beautiful hotel on Cornwall’s western coast. But when the hotel mistakes her for the latest applicant for a maid’s position, Maisie finds herself given an opportunity too good to lose … and a chance for a summer adventure far bigger than she ever imagined.
Surrounded by breathtaking Cornwall and working in an elegant hotel, Maisie’s world becomes one of secret identities, quirky friends, and unintentional mishaps — and despite reminders of past relationship disasters, a certain handsome, charming local resident Sidney Daniels has her conflicted about her heart’s desires, too.
Will Maisie find the chance she’s been waiting for — and a possible new romance — in her perfect Cornish summer?
Buy A Little Hotel in Cornwall here.
Thanks so much to Jessica for allowing me to share an extract from my new novella, A Little Hotel in Cornwall. This scene shows the heroine Maisie’s first impression of the quaint Cornish village she has traveled to in search of an elusive—and famous—English novelist who may just hold the key to her dream of becoming a great writer.
I set down my suitcase and shoulder bag and looked around. The bright sunlight was reflected on the water of the ocean in the distance, like a current of diamonds on its surface. I waited for the realization to sink in that this view of the sea below and the village above belonged to a foreign country.
I had spent part of my precious savings to come here, to find the dot on the map that represented the hotel Penmarrow. I knew it was highly possible that Alistair Davies was already gone, but it was still the best chance I had of meeting him. If he would read only a few chapters with his red pencil in hand, I would once again qualify for the Ink and Inspiration. Granted, alone and without a mentor to guide me through the rest of its process, but with a definite chance of salvaging my dream.
Port Hewer welcomes you, said the sign, with words below it in Cornish. A nice wooden sign with a seascape painted in one corner. I could see a quaint village waiting for visitors in the distance — on my map, it had been a tiny red dot between legendary places of west and south county, like Penzance and St. Michael’s Mount. I could see a grand building perched high above the sea and the village, as if watching over them both. That was the Penmarrow, I imagined, from the description on its website and its photos.
Cornwall. Until now, it had only been a place in a geography book, and in books I had read. I had seen Doc Martin and Poldark on PBS, of course. I had read Rebecca dozens of times. But the scenery was more beautiful in person than I had imagined when it was only words on paper or pictures on a television screen. With the balmy breeze on my cheek, palm trees in the distance, and the sand glittering in the sun, I almost felt a little at home, even standing on the threshold of the Celtic Sea.
I lifted my suitcase again, the one containing most of my important stuff — my books, my tablet computer, and my clothes, along with all my assignments from the Tucker class, and Mr. Bubbles, too. I didn’t have much to pack, or much to leave behind. Since I didn’t know how long I was going to be here, I didn’t know what to bring.
Somehow I’ll bet this wasn’t quite what Wallace Scott pictured when he told me to take a chance for my dream.
About the Author:
Laura Briggs is the author of several chick lit and romance stories, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, caring for her pets, going to movies and plays, and trying new restaurants.
Today I am part of the blog tour for Chickens Eat Pasta: Escape to Umbria by Clare Pedrick. I am sharing an extract of the novel. **There is also an international giveaway going on!**
Not just another romance, but a story of escapism, coincidences, friendship, luck and most of all… love.
Chickens Eat Pasta is the tale of how a young Englishwoman starts a new life after watching a video showing a chicken eating spaghetti in a mediaeval hill village in central Italy.
“Here I was, 26 years old, alone and numb with boredom at the prospect of a future which until recently had seemed to be just what I wanted.”
Unlike some recent bestsellers, this is not simply an account of a foreigner’s move to Italy, but a love story written from the unusual perspective of both within and outside of the story. As events unfold, the strong storyline carries with it a rich portrayal of Italian life from the inside, with a supporting cast of memorable characters. Along the way, the book explores and captures the warmth and colour of Italy, as well as some of the cultural differences – between England and Italy, but also between regional Italian lifestyles and behaviour. It is a story with a happy ending. The author and her husband are still married, with three children, who love the old house on the hill (now much restored) almost as much as she does.
Chickens Eat Pasta is Clare’s autobiography, and ultimately a love story – with the house itself and with the man that Clare met there and went on to marry. If you yearn for a happy ending, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a story that proves anything is possible if you only try.
“Does the Signorina have a family?” The question was not directed at me, even though I was the subject of the inquiry and was sitting at a table laden with food amongst the family who had invited me to lunch. It was becoming increasingly obvious that I was something of a novelty, and invitations like today’s were not uncommon. Grazia, the hostess, looked past me towards Angela and Ercolino. They had clearly taken on the status of my parents, at least for this particular occasion, given that it appeared I did not have any of my own.
I saw Natalino, the son, shift uncomfortably in his chair as his mother leaned over his shoulder and ladled out a large helping of strangozzi with wild asparagus. She passed to my place, which had been set strategically next to Natalino’s, still refusing to catch my eye.
“Does the Signorina like home-made pasta?” she asked Ercolino. “I made it myself with our own olive oil. The asparagus come from the hills around the village.”
I assured her that I did, but she seemed not to hear me. My stand-in parents confirmed what I had said and Grazia spooned
some pasta into my plate before moving on to serve the rest of the large gathering seated around the old wooden table. I waited for her to sit down, but everyone else plunged their forks into their pasta and started eating noisily. Grazia, a thin, severe looking woman with the regulation overall fitted tightly over a high-necked dark brown dress, made no move to take her place, but turned towards the waist-high fireplace, which was lit in spite of the warm temperature outside. She piled some hot ash over a dish of pizza stuffed with spinach and covered with silver foil. While she waited for it to finish cooking, she used her fingers to turn some lamb chops on the griddle placed over the embers.
“These are from our own lambs,” she said, still speaking to Angela and Ercolino, though the information seemed to be aimed at me. “We’ve got sheep, five cows, chickens, olives, vines. And of course, a truffle hunting dog.”
“You won’t go hungry here,” interjected Natale, the grandfather, smiling toothlessly as he attempted to chew some meat from the lamb chop that his daughter-in-law had just put on his plate. Natalino put down his food and darted a meaningful glance in the direction of the old man.
“And does the Signorina have a boyfriend?” inquired Grazia, as though the idea had only just come to her. “Why not take Natalino?” asked the grandfather loudly nudging me vigorously. The table went quiet as Natalino visibly
shrank in his chair. “I’m so sorry about all this,” he muttered under his breath.
Poor Natalino had not had the best of days and I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him. Earlier he had borrowed his father’s car to take me to a tiny lake suspended in the mountains, which was reached by a seemingly endless series of unpaved roads that wound up through the soft green hills. The sun was warm and when we reached the narrow stretch of grass next to the lake, I stripped down to my swimming costume under my shorts and tee-shirt.
“Aren’t you coming in?” I asked, heading for the water. He looked down uncertainly at his short pale legs, having reluctantly removed his trousers.
“I am as white as a mozzarella,” he said. “I’ll stay here and get some sun and watch you swim instead.” There was no persuading Natalino to come into the water, for, as he confessed shyly when I emerged ten minutes later, he had never learned how to swim. He had another confession to make, which was even more difficult, though not entirely unexpected. He was definitely not my type, so I tried to explain that I was not looking for any kind of relationship, other than friendship of course. It was becoming increasingly clear that life in San Massano was going to be more complicated than I had thought.
About the Author:
Clare Pedrick is a British journalist who studied Italian at Cambridge University before becoming a reporter. She went on to work as the Rome correspondent for the Washington Post and as European Editor of an international features agency. She still lives in Italy with her husband, whom she met in the village where she bought her house.
Read her blog about life in Umbria here.
Win an audiobook copy of Chickens Eat Pasta!
**Winner gets to pick between audible and ibooks audio code**
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Last month, I featured an extract from Fox Halt Farm, and today I am one of the stops on the blog tour of its newly published sequel, Culmfield Cuckoo by Celia Moore. I am sharing an extract, the opening of this new novel, which can be read as a standalone. **There is also an international giveaway going on!**
Celia Moore’s initial novel in this series, Fox Halt Farm is an emotional drama set over twenty years, contrasting two very different ways of life; small dairy farmers struggling to keep their beautiful home nestled on the edge of Dartmoor, with the money-spinning world of London.
The consequences of the unexpected meeting between Billy, her roots on the Devon family farm, and Richard with his thriving London business ripple in parallel and sometimes touch. Fox Halt Farm is a story of hopes, fears, love and secrets. The Culmfield Cuckoo takes Billy and Richard lives on, into a new chapter.
When Billy reaches out to help, her kindness brings many changes which threaten hopes, homes, and even the people she loves the most.
Who is the Culmfield Cuckoo?
Will they help Billy get her life back? Or is the Cuckoo the cause of everything that is going wrong?
Who is telling the truth?
FOX HALT FARM, the first book in the series, is FREE from Tuesday 2nd April 12am PDT to Saturday 6th April 11.59pm PDT.
Charing Cross Police Station, England
Monday 11 August 2008
My thoughts are so chaotic, I struggle to breathe. If I’m sent to jail, will Fox Halt Farm need to be sold?
‘Richard, I’m sorry,’ I whisper to the stark walls of this police interview room.
But inside, I’m not sorry about Michael, I won’t regret the death of the man who has cast a shadow over my world for so long.
I think back over the events that brought me here, and a song starts to resonate through my mind.
Fox Halt Farm, Devon, England
Saturday 26 July (16 Days Before)
‘My undying, death-defying love for you.’ These song lyrics still evoke the man who stole my breath away when I was just eighteen. A naive girl who believed she couldn’t survive without him, but I did.
Twenty-two years later, and this anthem has a new place in my heart. ‘The Power of Love’ blasts through Richard’s new home. It’s our song now. The whole village must know there is a party tonight; the music is far too loud. Freddy insisted it was fine but how can anyone talk?
People squash into every nook of the cottage pushing us ever closer in the pocket-sized entrance hall; ‘Love with tongues of fire–’
‘Billy, will you be my wife?’ Richard asks, but it is hard to hear. I frown at him, while delight fires through my body. A tinge of annoyance too – after all this time, he asks me here? Surely, he could have chosen somewhere romantic?
I will let the song finish before I accept. I want to be certain he hears my answer. Lead my wonderful man outside into the farmyard first; I will say yes under the stars on this balmy hot night.
The front door swings against my back, making me turn from Richard’s expectant face to see who has shoved the door so hard. The two latecomers hold hands. One is a striking young girl with long red curls but it’s her mother who blasts away the joy I felt just seconds ago.
Jessica O’Rowde’s dull eyes well up but there is no greeting, not even a smile. Instead, her fragile frame looks like it will give way. Instinctively I step forward to hold her, and Jessie’s familiar smell of jasmine and roses catches in my throat.
I see the contrast of my toned and tanned arms against her snow-white skin. She is wrapped head to toe in magenta; her silk shirt contours each protruding rib and her matching bell-bottomed trousers emphasise her stick waist.
‘Auntie Billy, can we stay tonight, please?’ The girl lets go of Jessie’s hand to grab my wrist. I remember Mary snatching at me like this when she was a toddler, and I picture herund freckled face looking up at me. I was her honorary aunt; her mother’s best friend. Tonight though, our eyes are level; Mary is as tall as me, she must be thirteen years old.
‘Darling girl, of course you can stay,’ I reply…”
About the Author:
Celia Moore (1967-now) grew up on a small farm near Exeter. She had a successful career as a Chartered Surveyor working in the City of London before working her way back to Devon. In 2000, she left the office to start a new adventure as an outdoor instructor, teaching rock climbing and mountaineering. Today she gardens for a few lovely customers, runs and writes (accompanied at all times by a border terrier x jack russell called Tizzy). She is running the London Marathon in April 2019 for three cancer charities.
Win a £15 / $15 Amazon Gift Card
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.[Top]