Internationally-acclaimed Author, R.J. Ellory, on Perseverance and Persistence

Bookshelf reviews special

Sheryl BrowneI recently attended the Birmingham City University Creative Summer Show, and the launch of the University’s new Anthology, I am therefore I write, in which I’m proud to say one of my own shorts features. The audience was treated to readings from fellow students and lecturers, but I think all would agree that the guest speaker, R.J. Ellory, stole the show. His speech, peppered with a witty, wry humour all writers will relate to, was truly inspirational. It delivered a sobering dollop of truth, but left me, for one, reminded why I put myself through the angst that is writing: simply, it’s because writing is what I do.

I cheekily asked Roger afterwards whether he would mind me stealing some of his speech to share. He gave me the whole speech, which – with his permission – I am reproducing here. It really is worth reading, especially if you’re having a ‘moment’, as writers do. For those who might not be familiar with his work, R.J. Ellory is the award-winning author of over twelve internationally-acclaimed novels, including A Quiet Belief in Angels, A Simple Act of Violence, Saints of New York and Carnival of Shadows. Please find a link to his website below.

For information, I’m sure Roger won’t mind me repeating that he had many a dark year, wondering ‘why’, before he was published. His truly is a story of triumph over despair. Mind you, it helps that he writes beautifully.

Herewith, R.J. Ellory’s Words of Wisdom, taken from his speech at the 2014 Birmingham City University Summer Show:


RJ Ellory Image“A writer’s life is often considered to be a life of ease. Apparently there was a survey last year of the British public, and following on from ‘professional footballer’ as the most favoured profession, writer came second. I think somewhere there must be a viewpoint that a writer rises late (he would have to following the quantity of alcohol consumed at last night’s lavish launch party, surrounded by adoring fellow celebrities, the red carpet rolled out, assistants and attendants on hand to cater to every whim), and while fielding telephone calls from Hollywood producers vying for movie rights, both Alan Yentob and Melvyn Bragg offering ever-increasing quantities of money to feature in a prime-time documentary, our writer would breakfast on lightly-poached quails’ eggs served atop scallops, a side order of refreshing sweetcorn puree, and then retire to the balcony to smoke a packet of Lucky Strikes, down three cups of Blue Mountain hand-ground coffee, and finally – no earlier than eleven o’ clock – he would move to the study. Here, reclining in a deep leather armchair, he would be struck with moments of effortlessly brilliant inspiration, leaning forward only to type a handful of words on his battered Underwood or Remington. An hour’s work, perhaps an hour and a half, God forbid, and he would retire to the club for an afternoon of witty repartee and fine cigars with the likes of Sebastian Faulks and Ian McEwan.

Sorry to have to let you down, but a writer’s life is not quite this way.

Of course, once you attain that lofty position of having been published at all, it then becomes a full-time job to stay there. Writing is a competitive business, to say the least. Apparently only two per cent of books published are bestsellers. Over eighty per cent of books published in the UK sell less than five hundred copies. The average working writer in the UK draws a salary from his writing of less than seven thousand pounds a year. This, my friends, is not the level of independent income that will provide scallops and quails’ eggs for breakfast.

I am one of those rare individuals who believes that a book is not an individual accomplishment. True, the idea and its initial execution may be considered the creation of one person, but in the grand scheme of things your average scribbler is relatively low on the food chain.

  • Telling stories is as old as speech, and no less important.
  • Telling stories is a tradition, a heritage, a legacy…it is the past making its way toward the future in an effort to show us those things we have failed to learn by our own experience.
  • Telling stories is a hope that magic can be restored to an age that has almost forgotten.

I consider myself exceptionally fortunate to be a writer. As Russell Baker was so fond of saying, “The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn’t require any.” As I now know, this is blatantly untrue. Though writing might not be considered in the same league as digging ditches or painting bridges, it is nevertheless a job of work. It is not something that is necessarily gifted to you at conception. Hemingway said, “It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way,” but that was merely his sense of humour.

Paul Auster said that becoming a writer was not a ‘career decision’ like becoming a doctor or a policeman. You don’t choose it so much as get chosen, and once you accepted the fact that you were not fit for anything else, you had to be prepared to walk a long, hard road for the rest of your days, and I concur with his attitude.

A bad book is as much a labour of love as a good one, Huxley said. Steinbeck added that “The profession of book-writing makes horse-racing seem like a solid, stable business”. Dorothy Parker said that the writer’s way was tough and lonely, and who would choose it while there are vacancies in more gracious professions, such as, say ferryboat cleaning? And one author, when told that she could be the next Dorothy Parker, replied ‘What? Keep slashing my wrists and drinking shoe polish?’

Coleridge was a drug addict. Poe was an alcoholic. Marlowe was killed by a man whom he was treacherously trying to stab. Chatterton killed himself. Byron was accused of incest. Such testaments to the craft pose the question – Do you really want to be a writer – and if so, why? From the simple truth that Agatha Christie has given more pleasure in bed than any other woman, to the fact that novelists have predetermined entire shifts in social awareness, we cannot escape from the simple truth that literature plays an inescapably vital part in everything that we do, and everything we are.

Upton Sinclair’s novel ‘The Jungle’, when read by Theodore Roosevelt, provoked a government-ordered enquiry into the way Americans were being fed. Sinclair used the proceeds of the book to build a socialist meeting house, and went on to write another one hundred books about industrial corruption. Edith Maude Eaton’s ‘Mrs. Spring Fragrance’ highlighted issues about racism against the Chinese in America that caused the Chinese Exclusion Act to be repealed in 1943.Conrad’s ‘The Secret Agent’ was the first acknowledged publication about the truths of terrorism. Mignon McLaughlin said, ‘Everyone can write. But writers can’t do anything else.’

Fiction is powerful, provocative, contentious, impactful, unforgettable, and even when read for pleasure alone, there are few books that do not – even in some small way – change the perspective of the reader.

And once our work is done, once we have committed however many hundreds of hours to our magnum opus, we show it to the world. This book is our child, our offspring, and though we know that people will feel obligated to be polite – I mean, after all, who is proudly presented with a newborn baby, and feels it appropriate to comment on the child’s inordinately large ears, his complete absence of a chin, and features that appear to be arguing as to who should be in the centre? – we nevertheless are wary of what others really think. Constructive criticism from our friends and acquaintances is perhaps the least constructive criticism of all.

And then there are the professional critics. We all contend with critics, of course, regardless of our occupation. Critics of our standard of work, our timekeeping, our levels of responsibility and initiative, our ability to relate to colleagues and members of the public, the service we provide in our particular line of work. Criticism seems to require no qualifications, save the unreserved confidence to tell other people what’s wrong. As Christopher Hampton so famously said, “Ask a working writer what he thinks about critics…you may as well ask a lamppost how it feels about dogs.”

As Wendell Holmes commented, “What a blessed thing it is that nature, when she invented, manufactured and patented her authors, contrived to make critics out of the chips that were left!” To which Jean Kerr added, “When confronted by an absolutely infuriating review it is sometimes helpful for the victim to do a little personal research on the critic. Is there any truth to the rumour that he had no formal education beyond the age of eleven? In any event, is he able to construct a simple English sentence? Do his participles dangle? When moved to lyricism does he write “I had a fun time”? Was he ever arrested for burglary? It is true that no statue has ever been erected to a critic.

An author is perhaps the very last person who should judge the value or quality of his own work. All we can do is evaluate our own motives for what we do. Some of us, I imagine, write out of anger; some out of pain; some write out of prejudice or loss, some out of passion, the promise of something better, perhaps the belief that – even now – a book can be capable of changing a life.

Some of us write to remember, some to forget; some to change things, some to ensure things stay the same. Some of us – as my editor and agent will all too easily testify – write because we cannot stop.

What an author can do, however, is evaluate the commitment and dedication of those with whom he works, and in this case those with whom I work happens to be readers.

Renard said that “Writing is the only profession where no-one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.” Moliere said that first we write for ourselves, then we write for our friends, and lastly we write for money. I am still writing for myself, and believe I always will be. And the thing that drives me forward, the thing that reminds me of why I do this, and how important it is, is the constant validation and acknowledgement that comes my way from those I am involved with who believe as passionately as I do that this is something worth doing.

A great philosopher once said that a culture is only as great as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamed by artists. Well, to make a dream accessible, to give it a reality that can be appreciated and enjoyed by others, it is necessary to provide the platform for those creations – the theatre, the bookstore, the gallery, the library. Without such things the dream remains precisely what it is, and nothing more. Intangible, insubstantial, inaccessible. And it is the readers, the gallery and theatre-goers, those that recognize that art and culture and aesthetics are really the only true criteria against which quality of life is evaluated, that make such a job as mine a reality.

The only reason for being a professional writer is that you just can’t help it. And – to quote Terry Pratchett – there is no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.

What there is, is a slim avenue along which we walk, and as we walk we tell our stories, and sometimes those stories are heard, but often they are not. The simple fact that people read those stories enables individuals such as myself to continue telling them, and for this I am indebted.

As a final word, regardless of your work, your vocation, your families and friends…you must always find time to read. And when you have read one book, read another, and yet another. It keeps people like me off the streets, of course, but – more importantly… Well, perhaps such a viewpoint is best expressed by the four words found above the doorway at the Library of Thebes: Medicine For The Soul.”


I’m currently reading The Devil and The River. I’m sharing the first few paragraphs here. I defy you not to be sucked and want to read more:

The Devil and the River 1


Wednesday, July 24, 1974


When the rains came, they found the girl’s face. Just her face. At least that was how it appeared. And then came her hand— small and white and fine like porcelain. It surfaced from the black mud and showed itself. Just her face and her hand, the rest of her still submerged. To look down toward the riverbank and see just her hand and her face was surreal and disturbing. And John Gaines— who had lately, and by providence or default, come to the position of sheriff of Whytesburg, Breed County, Mississippi, and before that had come alive from the nine circles of hell that was the war in Vietnam, who was himself born in Lafayette, a Louisianan from the start— crouched on his haunches and surveyed the scene with a quiet mind and a steady eye.

The discovery had been called in by a passerby, and Gaines’s deputy, Richard Hagen, had driven down there and radioed the Sheriff’s Office dispatcher, Barbara Jacobs, and she had called Gaines and told him all that was known.

A girl’s face has surfaced from the riverbank.

When Gaines arrived, Hagen was still gasping awkwardly, swallowing two or three mouthfuls of air at a time. He bore the distressed and pallid hue of a dying man, though he was not dying, merely in shock. Hagen had not been to war; he was not inured to such things as this, and thus such things were alien and anathema to his sensibilities. The town of Whytesburg—seated awkwardly in the triangle between the Hattiesburg-intent I-59, and the I-18, itself all fired up to reach Mobile— was a modest town with modest ways , the sort of place they rolled up the sidewalk at sunset, where such things as these did not occur too frequently, which was a good thing for all concerned.

But Gaines had been to war. He had seen the nine circles. And sometimes, listening to the small complaints of smaller minds—the vandalized mailbox, the illegally parked car, the spilled trash can—Gaines would imagine himself walking the complainant through a burned-out ville. Here, he would say, is a dead child in the arms of her dead mother, the pair of them fused together for eternity by heat and napalm . And here is a young man with half a face and no eyes at all. Can you imagine the last thing he might have seen? And the complainant would be silent and would then look at Gaines with eyes wide, with lips parted, with sweat-varnished skin, both breathless and without words. Now, Gaines would say to them, now let us speak of these small and inconsequential things.

Ellory, R.J. The Devil and the River. Orion.

As if being an award-winning author of internationally-acclaimed novels isn’t talented enough, working on the “matters of perseverance and persistence being required in all artistic endeavours” philosophy, aside from writing Roger is also a member of a band playing classic British rock, Zero Navigator. Zero Navigator hails from Birmingham, England. Founded in 2013, this three-piece features Simon Chisholm on drums and vocals, Chris Malin on bass and vocals and R J Ellory on guitar and vocals. Wow! If you haven’t heard them and you love rock, you should. Take a look at the single release video here:

For info, Martin Smith (bass player of ELO) was the engineer and producer of the album from whence the Zero Navigator single came, and Roger has just co-written an album with Martin which he will start recording in the first week of September, under the name The Whiskey Poets. This is something Roger has always wanted to do, and now, approaching fifty, he’s adopted that classic Eleanor Roosevelt attitude, ‘It’s never too late to become what you might have been’.

I’m with Roger. Life is short. Let’s live it!

Find out more about R.J. Ellory here:


Find out more about Zero Navigator here: Zero Navigator


Aimed at emerging writers, the MA is taught by distinguished authors and practitioners, offering specialist modules in Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Screenwriting, Poetry and Scripting and Staging. Find out more about the Birmingham City University MA in Writing here: Birmingham City University

Sheryl Browne Author Links:



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Put a spring in your step and ‘enter’ into the spirit …

IMG_1913 (1024x683)Today we are talking WINNERS! And it just goes to show that it’s all about taking part – so we also have a competition you can enter NOW. As the saying goes ‘you have to be in it, to win it!’ Whether that’s entering a competition, or pursuing a passion – and what better time to be inspired? Spring is about to leap into our lives!


If you want to be a WINNER then here’s your chance – this competition closes on Sunday March 16th, 2014! If losing weight and/or eating healthily was on your new year’s list for 2014, we have just the competition for you!

Justines-Journey-book-coverRomilla-Arber-Whats-For-Dinner-Book-Cover-150x180We are offering a signed copy of two amazing books by Romilla Arber & Justine Forrest. To find out more about how good nutrition could KICK START 2014 for YOU, Caroline James talks to Romilla and Justine, who each share a fabulous recipe to get you started! It’s easy to enter …

Click here to read the full article and enter NOW.

Talking of winners …

Valentina-680x1024Fiori-di-Zucca-book-coverFirst, Claire Walsh from Brixton was the winner in Caroline James’

“Alternative dessert recipe” competition.

Claire won the food memoir, Fiori di Zucca by Chef Valentina Harris.

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Another LLm winner this month is one amazing book reviewer! Heidi Bartlett reviews books at her pink-tastic Cosmochicklitan blog. Heidi says: “I love reading, shopping, eating chocolate (lots of it) and travelling. I always wanted to make my book reviews public but was afraid of the “technology” involved. Recently, however, I read books featuring characters who were involved in blogging and I thought – if they are brave enough to go forward with their blogs – so can I! I hope that you will enjoy reading my reviews as much as I enjoy writing them”. You can also follow Heidi on Twitter @cosmochicklitan and Facebook Heidi.Cosmochicklitan. Heidi receives her LLm Gold award as one of our reader panel. Well done, Heidi and congratulations!


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We had some fun running a competition via some of our LLm reviewer panel’s websites. The prize was the chance to write an article for our April edition of the free LLm downloadable emagazine. The results are in and congratulations to winner:

Margarita Gokum Silverwho entered via

Runners up are:

Stacy who entered via 
Frankie Valente who entered via
Margaret K Johnson 
who entered via

Look out for Margarita’s article in our April issue – and we will be featuring our runners up in the July edition.

We are also sending a big hug to Jenny Marston, another member of our LLm reviewer panel, who has been busy raising funds …

JennyAt the beginning of the year I decided to do a sponsored readathon to raise money for Cancer Research UK. I’ve been wanting to raise money for charity for a while now. However, I can’t run, I can’t bake and I sure as hell wasn’t jumping out of a plane – my options were quite limited. I started to think about what I actually could do, and that’s read. It involved a lot of planning and preparation because unlike a Race for Life, I had to organise the entire thing myself. Luckily for me everyone was so supportive and loved my idea! I have had lots of books donated to me by wonderful authors and have had (at present) over £800 donated to this very worthy cause. If you would like to donate to my readathon, there’s still time! Just visit my JustGiving page at My original target was £240, then an anonymous person told me that if I made it to £400 they were going to double my amount! Whilst running around like a headless chicken trying to boost my donations, another anonymous person donated enough money to take me to £400! The generosity of some people is overwhelming, and with a charity like Cancer Research many people’s lives have been touched. So although I’ve reached my target the ultimate dream now is to get to £1,000. I don’t know if it’s do-able but you’ve got to reach for the stars!

Congratulations Jenny – we hope you reach that golden target!

Check out what you might have missed in February 2014 on!

The NEWEST LLm book reviews

Made in Nashville book launch

Are you in a healthy relationship?

Nice Twerk if you can get it

Home exchange – Oh, the places you will go!

Part 2 of our interview with Michelin starred chef Martin Blunos
A day in the life of … a Partylite consultant

Exploring the fragility of love, life and relationships

Setting boundaries – parenting advice

12 years a slave – film review

Money Matters!
Shannon’s Law – book launch 

And have YOU downloaded our January free emagazine? It’s packed full of articles from contributors in the UK, US and Canada – simply drop by …

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We strive to bring you articles that inform, inspire and share our love of life – the things that make US feel good. If there’s something you would like to see featured – please get in touch!


The LLm Editor

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Fabulous February!


February is the month when we really do begin to notice as the mornings get a little lighter. It’s a reminder (no matter WHAT the weather) that winter doesn’t last forever. Shoots are appearing in the gardens to join the wonderful Helleborus (Christmas roses) and at LLm we are doing our own bit to fill February FULL of colour!

What’s on our coffee table today?

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Yes – Issue no. 3 of the FREE, downloadable LLm magazine is available now! Simply click on the photo above or here It’s packed full of articles to brighten your day and can be downloaded onto your reading device, or you can read it direct from the website.

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Highlights today:

• I’m talking to fabulous author, Liz Fenwick

 Celebrating one amazing book blogger and reviewer

• A competition to see YOUR ARTICLE published in the April 2014 edition of the LLm downloadable magazine.

First off – welcome, Liz!

Liz Fenwick

When did your love affair with Cornwall begin? It began when my boyfriend, now husband, took me to Cornwall in June 1989. Blue skies, foxgloves in every hedgerow and beautiful beaches…I hadn’t a hope of resisting! In fact a bit like Jude the heroine of A Cornish Affair.

How difficult is it for you, living in Dubai but still being very involved with life back in the UK? I’m continually torn. I hate living a divided life, but my husband’s job is in Dubai. It’s not that I don’t love Dubai, I do but I hate being away from my kids and my home in Cornwall. At time I feel like I live on a plane…


Running out on your wedding day never goes down well. When the pressure of her forthcoming marriage becomes too much, Jude bolts from the church, leaving a good man at the altar, her mother in a fury, and the guests with enough gossip to last a year.

Guilty and ashamed, Jude flees to Pengarrock, a crumbling cliff-top mansion in Cornwall, where she takes a job cataloguing the Trevillion family’s extensive library. The house is a welcome escape for Jude, full of history and secrets, but when its new owner arrives, it’s clear that Pengarrock is not beloved by everyone.

As Jude falls under the spell of the house, she learns of a family riddle stemming from a terrible tragedy centuries before, hinting at a lost treasure. And when Pengarrock is put up for sale, it seems that time is running out for the house and for Jude.

Find out more about Liz:

Buy from Amazon   @liz_fenwick  FB: 

Meet JB from Brook Cottage Books …

Bookshelf reviewsJb ad finalOur Bookshelf editor, Janice Horton, liaises with our select panel of Lifestyle reviewers to bring our readers quality reviews. JB at Brook Cottage Books is a wonderful example of the sheer level of professionalism and dedication required to bring readers an informative review. A great way to help us all choose our next read. We are pleased to give the LLm Diamond Award to JB in recognition of her hard work and commitment. In November 2013 Brook Cottage Books was shortlisted for the Romance Blogger of the Year Romance Industry Awards. This was yet another wonderful endorsement for one hard-working lady!

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JB says “I love books. I adore books. I live for books. What do I buy when I go shopping? Just books! All of my reviews are placed on Amazon and Goodreads and whatever sites the author of the book I am reviewing wishes them to go on. At some point in the future I would like to be a professional proof reader”. Follow JB on Twitter @BrookCottageBks and on Facebook: Brook Cottage Books

And now for the competition!

Comp 1 (591x640)Have you ever thought about submitting an article for publication but don’t know how? Do you have a burning passion, some topic on which you are knowledgeable that other people would be interested to read?

This competition is unique to our LLm Lifestyle reviewers – just visit one of the following blogs to put forward your idea for an article. You will find the terms and conditions, together with how to enter – the competition closes on 25 February 2014.

FIVE of our  LLm reviewers are taking part and each of their blogs will put forward one nominee for consideration. The overall winning entry will be announced in our March newsletter. We will then work with the winner to produce a stunning article for the April 2014 LLm emagazine! So enter NOW (you can make an entry at all of the blogs but you cannot submit the same topic twice):


Dizzy C’s Little Book Blog

Brook Cottage Books


Bestchicklit – link coming soon!

Check out what you might have missed in January 2014 on

The Film Fatales Oscars Predictions
The Witch of Plum Hollow
A trip of a lifetime – Australia
Download the first 3 LLm emagazines
A little help from the other side?
Renowned chef, Martin Blunos, Triple B recipe
JB Johnston’s review on the Bookshelf
Recipes – Kick-start the New Year
Food of love: Love of food
Ski B.C.
Nice La Belle
Land Ahoy – setting sail for Shakespeare country
What does the fox say?
New year reads on The Bookshelf

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What a start to 2014 – it really is going to be a fabulous February – don’t forget to pop in and join us!


The LLm Editor

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Make 2014 everything you want it to be!

Happy 2014
What’s the secret to having a great start to a

NEW year?

I decided to ask a few of the team just that question and here are some of the answers I received – LLm’s top tips for turning 2014 into YOUR special year!

Making the most of 2014

The team at Loveahappyending Lifestyle emagazine have been busy as we wanted to hit the ground running in 2014! In this month’s newsletter Zara Stoneley is in our featured author spotlight, we have great news about our next free downloadable emagazine and a round-up of articles you might have missed in December!

Zara Stoneley author photoCan you remember the moment when you first sat back and thought ‘I’m an author’?  I can, and it was very recently. It might seem strange, as I have several books published, but it was in November 2013 at the Festival of Romance that it finally hit me – I’m an author! My paperbacks were on display, with people buying them and asking for my autograph (mine, that was a wow moment), and after my reading people came up for a chat and to ask me about my writing, and for advice. Meeting readers for the first time made me feel like a real author!

Do your characters ever surprise you? Constantly! In fact, the more books I write the stronger and more independent my characters seem to be. Going with the flow definitely helps create a much more interesting story though, with characters I can relate to – after all none of want to think we’re predictable do we?

SUMMER OF SURRENDER 200x305SUMMER OF SURRENDER an erotic romance by Zara Stoneley. Published by HarperImpulse a division of Harper Collins Publisher.

Sex is the only thing they have in common. Total surrender the name of the game.

James had it all. Good education. City job and a wife he would have been willing to die for. Their motto had been work hard, play hard, but she’d pushed the boundaries too far and he’d walked. Became the man he felt he needed to be. Detached. In control.

Free spirit Kezia lives each day at a time; sharing, loving and giving are unconditional. And sex is part of the sharing.

When fate leaves James and Kezia trapped together for the summer, her openness is an invitation he just can’t resist. The attraction is instant, the sex all-consuming. And as their fantasies become reality, James begins to realise that willing surrender is a far different pleasure to forced submission…


ZARA STONELEY – I’ve been writing stories for just about as long as I’ve been reading them – it’s rumoured that I’m related to Elizabeth Gaskell, so maybe it’s in the genes! 

I live in a country cottage in the UK with a naughty ginger cat, teenage son and my very own sexy alpha hero.  And when I’m not there, you can usually find me in Barcelona. 

I love my family, sexy high heels, sunshine, wine, good food, cats, horses, dogs, music, coffee, writing and reading – but not necessarily in that order! And I like my heroes just how I like my coffee – hot, strong and moreish.”

Website   Blog Twitter:  @zarastoneley   Facebook  
Amazon author page  Goodreads

So, what’s new at LLm? We are thrilled to announce that the success of the first two FREE downloadable LLm emagazines means that in 2014 we will be moving to QUARTERLY issues! We have some great features coming up and we will also be working with some new, and exciting, partners! Our LLm book reviewers will be offering YOU a chance to write a life and style article for our free emagazine, in a competition run solely from their websites and this will be launched in the 1 February 2014 newsletter. In the meantime what do we have in store for January 2014? Well, note your calendar because the 24 January FREE LLm downloadable emagazine is packed FULL of interesting articles and features. We have a new format as we strive to bring you a visual feast of ideas – including exlusive interviews with artist Elizabeth Cassidy and Lisa Heathcote (food stylist for Downton Abbey), places to visit for your next holiday and ideas to inspire you in the kitchen and around the home! Here’s a sneak preview …

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Don’t forget that the LLm website will continue to bring you regular posts to while away any rainy days you spend indoors. Some of the topics you might have missed in December – we have everything from recipes to good reads, film reviews to relationship advice and LOTS more!

Seasonal reads on Janice Horton’s Bookshelf
Johnny Mathis, a hippo wish list and …
An alternative dessert featuring fabulous Valentina Harris
Retirement and acronyms
Kim Nash’s Diamond Award and check out Kim’s book reviews
Grab a pair of poles and get fit!
Film review by Sheryl Browne – Gravity
Dealing with a self-destructive family member – Bonnie Trachtenberg advises
It’s over – Adam Hornyak’s X-rated sattire in ‘Adam’s Rib’
New Year reads with Janice Horton

LLm is buzzing and we can’t wait to get stuck into 2014! A personal, and HUGE, thank you to everyone on the team and not forgetting YOU – our fantastic readers – who keep coming back for MORE. Teamworking made 2013 an award-winning year for Lovehappyending Lifestyle and it’s proof that anything is possible. Our small group began back in June 2011 and it is with pride we continue to push forward and expand our horizons to continue to share our celebration of life and all the good things it has to offer.

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and productive 2014!


The LLm Editor

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Feeling festive, Christmas top tips and LOTS more fun!

Happy holidays

Well, it’s nearly here and you can almost smell the turkey and the nut roast  …IMGP2782 (107x359)
I asked the team for their top tips for surviving the festive madness:

Mandy Baggot: Shop online to avoid those pushy present snatchers!
Bonnie Trachtenberg: Shop online to save time and gas money!
Janice Horton: Prepare as much food as you can in the weeks before Christmas – and freeze it.
Patricia Sands: Start your shopping early! Make your list in advance and take it slowly rather than the last-minute panic!
Caroline James: Delegate, delegate, delegate-to make sure you are dazzling on the day!
Kit Domino: Don’t use Christmas to try out a new recipe on your guests and family.

As editor of our Recipe Feature, and wearing her chef’s hat, Caroline James has three top tips:

Chamagne, strawberies and christmas tree.• Prep veg in advance: If the fridge is full, leave veg outside in containers of cold water with weighted lid until needed
• Get your butcher to do the work for you – have the turkey boned and rolled and save bones for gravy/soup stock
• An alternative to cranberry sauce – substitute seasonal pomegranates for cranberries when making this sauce

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My own top tip is a KISS Keep It Simple and Spend less – get the family together and agree you will all give one meaningful, and wanted, present each.

Whatever you do, we hope you have a wonderful time!

This LLm Newsletter is packed full of goodies and we aim to see out 2013 in style! Our writers have been reporting back from Corfu and Lanzarote – we’ve been to the cinema rewatching JFK with the Film Fatales – and Caroline James interviewed Downton Abbey’s food stylist, Lisa Heathcote. But first, we’ve grabbed author Scarlett Bailey for a quick chat and I talked to Kim The Bookworm Nash after she received her LLm Diamond Award.  We’ve been giving out free books as BestChickLit hijacks our Twitter account and did you know we’ve won an award??? It’s been a fun-filled month!

I caught up with Scarlett Bailey on a cold and frosty morning -

we met at Starbucks and ordered two Eggnog Lattes. The interview lasted as long as our Lattes, so I had to talk fast!

ScarlettNew (2)What do you find most fulfilling as an author?
It’s knowing that I’ve given my readers a few happy hours of reading. There is absolutely nothing better than hearing from people who’ve read my books and enjoyed them, whether they’ve laughed, cried or got a bit of a crush on one of my heroes. That for me is always the end goal.

What do you find most frustrating?
For me that’s the lack of hours in the day! I would like days to be at least twice as long and then I could get twice as much done, play with my children and even spend time with my husband! My trouble is, like many writers, I have more ideas that I have time to write.

And what’s the latest book?

Just For Christmas (667x1024)Her best friend’s wedding…

When Alex Munro learns that the love of her life is getting married to another girl, all she wants is to be alone – and as far away from Edinburgh as possible.

Moving to a Cornish cottage, which comes complete with the world’s scruffiest dog, Alex finds that her new neighbours are determined to involve her in their madcap Christmas festivities.

Then she meets her sexy neighbour Ruan – and somehow Alex doesn’t want to be alone this Christmas after all. But having lost one fiancé, Ruan has no intention of letting anyone get close to him again…

About the Author:

Scarlett Bailey has loved writing stories since childhood, before becoming a novelist she worked as a waitress, cinema usherette and bookseller.

Passionate about old movies, Scarlett loves nothing more than spending a wet Sunday afternoon watching her favourite films back-to-back with large quantities of chocolate. Currently she lives in Hertfordshire with her dog and very large collection of beautiful shoes.

She is the author of A Night Before Christmas and Married by Christmas.

IMGP2782 - Copy (83x109)We finished our Lattes and hugged … in a vision of pink and black Scarlett disappeared, leaving me hastily writing up my notes …

When I interviewed Kim The Bookworm Nash after receiving an LLm Lifestyle Reviewer Diamond Award, we ended up talking about The Lovegrove Hermit …

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Kim NashIt was going to be a talk about her wonderful reviews and her involvement with the publishing industry. Kim not only runs a very successful book review blog, but she also offers author services and is a holiday feature writer for the LLm emagazine. This lady is multi-talented, but I also discovered that she was instrumental in helping one author in a very special way!


“A while ago, I received a phone call from a lovely lady called Rosemary Craddock who told me that she was an author whose typewriter had broken and she asked whether I would be able to type up a manuscript for a book that she had written called The Lovegrove Hermit

She called me one evening saying that she’d had a letter from Robert Hale Ltd asking for an electronic copy and she was most concerned because she had no idea what this meant and what to do about it.

I told her not to worry, that it could be sorted within a few minutes, so I emailed a copy of the word document to the publishers and had the absolute pleasure of ringing up Rosemary after I had received an email back from Gillian Jackson, offering a publishing contract. 

October 31, 2013 was publication day for The Lovegrove Hermit and I was so delighted to be able to play a part in this wonderful story. Check it out on Amazon.”

A very special story from a VERY special lady, a round of applause please for the amazing Kim Nash!

What else has been happening?

As usual LLm has had a virtual ‘basket-full’ of articles and features to help you while away those kicking-back moments, so draw up your chair and grab a hot drink ….

Foodie Caroline James interviews Downton Abbey foodstylist Lisa Heathcote
Melanie Robertson-King launches the Consequences Collection
New season reading on Janice Horton’s The Bookshelf
Mandy Baggot’s love affair with Corfu
The Write Path – news from the book world
A jaunt around Dublin for the final episode in Stephanie Keyes’ series: The Star Catcher
Forbidden – but what if we choose NOT to listen?
The Festival of Romance – celebrating THAT award (see below)!
Kim Nash’s Travel feature – Lanzarote
Bookshelf Reviews – Nikki Bywater’s Diamond Award
Helping your child build those skills
The Film Fatales rewatching Oliver Stone’s JFK
Website hijack – what do you do when you’ve been hacked?
Meet Junior in the FURage series – feline fun!
Celebrate St Andrew’s Day with Janice Horton

And here is the Festival of Romance 2013 Innovation in Romantic Fiction Industry Award that I collected on 9th November, 2013. This is one for the team of writers, book reviewers and YOU, our fabulous readers!

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LLm is all about celebrating the positive things in life

Some of our team are authors, some are experts in other industries, some are professional book review bloggers – all are highly motivated individuals. As our magazine has grown we have all learnt new things by sharing information and resources, but we have also come to appreciate our own individual talents and skills in a slightly different way.

Merry Christmas! (500x199)

Our festive message is simple – life is about sharing and caring! If someone has helped you on life’s journey, then pay it forward. If you have a passion, then enthuse others. Life is too short to waste a moment and I think the holiday season is that time of the year to sit back and check that life is taking you where you want to go. Sometimes we let one day simply follow another and before we know it, a whole year has passed us by yet again. So our Christmas present to you is a prompt to take five minutes to think about what really makes you happy. Makes sure that in 2014 you spend more time doing the things that make you feel positive and good about your life – and you don’t need to wait until January 1st to make up an action plan!

We are passionate about books because it’s a form of escapism … who doesn’t want to take themselves away for a few hours and peek inside someone else’s life? Whether you are looking for drama, romance, fantasy, humour … winter is a wonderful time to cosy up and indulge!

BCL Twitter takeover

That’s why we love giving away books! Charlotte from (click to find out more about how to join in) has been hijacking the @loveahappyend Twitter account AGAIN! Twice! She’s been giving away free ebooks and here are the lucky winners in the #BCLTwitterTakeOver competitions:

Hijack no. 2: Gina D; Natalie Trice; Louise Wilkes; Kelly Rufus;Jane; Marina Stevkovska;Tracy Rollings; Jo Hurst; @arrrgggghhhhhh; @KafeCastro

Hijack no. 3: @jaustenrulesok; @EmilysBookshelf; @DamienWGreen; @JanetEmson; @destinylover09; Cometbabe; @murielwright2; @journeywbooks; @RachelBustin; @misszong; @GinaD12; @dawnlcrooks

If you are a winner and haven’t claimed your prize yet, email us at:

I’ll leave you with a pictorial round-up of November 2013 on LLm – in the next newsletter we’ll be announcing a competition to be a guest writer on LLm for the day AND telling you all about our January 2014 bumper Issue no. 3. free downloadable emagazine!

Collage Dec

 Season greetings from all of the LLm team!


Posted in Bookshelf News | 3 Comments

Downton Abbey, a Diamond Award and a Festival of Romance nomination! @DowntonAbbey @CarolineJames12 @RomanceFest @NikkiiNola #lahe

IMG_1914 (682x1024)At Loveahappyending Lifestyle there is no time for the winter blues … we don’t believe in hibernating – life is simply too full of exciting things to do! However, it is a time to cosy-up indoors if the weather is bad and whether our team are beavering away on their next work in progress, writing articles for the magazine, online chatting, or creating promotions – there’s never a dull moment for our readers!

Today we have a chat with Caroline James, who talked exclusively to top food stylist Lisa Heathcote who works on the Downton Abbey series; a Diamond Award for book blogger and reviewer Nikki Bywater; Charlotte at hijacks @Loveahappyend and gives away free ebooks and LLm is nominated for an award by the Festival of Romance!


If you’ve been following the wonderful Downton Abbey series you will no doubt have shed a tear or two over the harrowing attack on Anna (Bates). The suspense over whether Mr Bates will again end up in trouble by seeking retribution, is never far from our minds. However, controversial or not, it was a time when life wasn’t very fair for many people in service.


You will, too, have enjoyed watching the comings and going in the kitchen. Getting a peek into the work behind what graced, so elegantly and seemingly ‘effortlessly’, the dining table! I hope you haven’t missed the wonderful articles on LLm by truly fabulous chef and author, Caroline James, who joined us as a resident member this month. Caroline shared her Dine in with Downton menu and Behind The Scenes at Downton Abbey where Caroline had an exclusive interview with top food stylist Lisa Heathcote.  But Caroline has also been very busy wearing her author’s hat, too and we caught up for a quick chat…

Thanks for sitting in the hot seat today, Caroline! What is your number one passion – being a chef, or being an author?

When I opened my first restaurant, I remember peeping out of the kitchen to see a room full of happy chatting diners and I wanted to pinch myself. I was delirious with joy, had I created that? When my debut book was launched and I watched it climb to #3 on Amazon, the same feeling came back. Both jobs are hard – long, lonely hours of preparation with no idea of the ultimate receCaroline reading sittingption, but writing won out. My days behind the stove are long gone.

And the most thrilling moment in your life so far?

Thrilling? It has to be running down a mountain in Peru. I never, ever dreamt that I could and it took me by surprise. I’d up climbed the mountain for hours and cried with pain and exhaustion. But something happened to me, I felt the wind under my walking poles and I was off! I couldn’t stop till I reached the base camp (where I collapsed in an elated heap!).

And your latest novel….

So, You Think You’re A Celebrity… Chef?

Mix together…
A tough-cookie media agent who’s clawed her way to the top, and a con-man who wants to open a cookery school. Add in a washed-up celebrity chef whose career needs re-building…
Flavour with…
An aging rock star fresh from rehab, and a Sloane Ranger food writer who gets her own TV show…
Bring to the boil:
At a Gourmet Food Festival, in Ireland, where anything goes!

BookWhen media agent Hilary Hargreaves travels to Ireland to look at a campaign for a new cookery school, she meets a blast from her past – the romantic but feckless chef Mickey Lloyd, who is hell-bent on resurrecting his flagging career. Her tough demeanour is rocked as it becomes apparent Mickey’s intentions involve more than a stint behind a stove in his quest to pursue her. But as plans for the school gain momentum, she realises that she’s developing more than a passing interest in reformed alcoholic Long Tom Hendry, who owns the crumbling old mansion where the school will be homed. Hilary has many ingredients to juggle with her demanding client list – which looks set to boil over if she doesn’t keep control. From London’s bustling Soho, to Southern Ireland and the sunny shores of the Caribbean, has Hilary got too much on her plate and is she really prepared to risk it all for love?

Don’t forget to follow Caroline’s food features on LLm – she’s here to bring you seasonal delights all year round!

Facebook: Caroline James Author on Facebook
Twitter Account: @CarolineJames12
Author Blogs: carolinejamesblogspot
Author’s Website:


Diamond award (2) (285x300)nikki-bywater-picWe also have news of a Diamond Award to announce! Lifestyle book blogger and reviewer Nikki Bywater is the first to receive this award.

Nikki is one of our selected panel of twelve, experienced and independent book reviewers, and has been a member of since it began, back in June 2011. Nikki’s reviews help spread the word about new books and she’s a very familiar face on social media. A HUGE thank you to Nikki and it’s our great pleasure to announce this award! You can find Nikki at You can follow Nikki on Twitter @NikkiiNola and on Facebook: Books4U.

Another member of our independent book reviewer panel is Charlotte from I met up with her recently at the HarperImpulse Autumn Fete party in the Harper Collins offices, in London. Charlotte is the creator of the #BCLTwitterTakeOver where she hijacks @Loveahappyend and awards free ebooks to up to a dozen followers who re-Tweet the hijack hashtag! The winners of the first event are:

BCL Twitter takeover

Vicky – @Torialou78
Rosamund Masters – @RosamundMW
Denise Blythe – @deeblythe
Megan Tate – @mystic_myork
Ananda – @ThisChickReads
Colleen Cockett – @Stuckforideas
Matt Bissell – @MattBissellAlice Beaumont – @Alicemegan93
Mandy Seymour – @MandySeymour68
Kerry Kilmister – @Fibrogirl
Abbie – @Absta77
Di – @DopeyDi
A HUGE thank you to Charlotte and congratulations to our first winners! Charlotte will be announcing the winners of the second event, held on 31 October 2013, shortly. We love this competition – look out for future events. You can RT the hashtag any time during the 24 hour period each competition is being run. Check out the full details and dates here, on the BestChickLit website.

FoR LogoAre you going to this year’s Festival of Romance in Bedford?

It’s going to be an amazing weekend – find out all about it here, some events are ticketed so GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!

And the BIG news is that we’ve been nominated:

Innovation in Romantic Fiction  (Industry Awards 2013)

Julie Cohen – for outstanding and captivating teaching methods leading to many of her students receiving publishing contracts
Linn B Halton – for evolving the author/reader initiative into an interactive lifestyle magazine
Lindsey Kelk – for excellent social medai campaigns and use of short stories to promote her novels
Lorraine Wilson – for being such an inspiration to other writers

LLm’s nomination is only possible because of teamworking AND our wonderful readership!

Two Glasses of Red Wine Abstract Heart SplashI’m honoured to work alongside some truly amazing writers who work hard to bring our readers interesting and informative articles. However, it’s the phenomenal number of people dropping by (and our hit counter is approaching 3 million hits since we began back in June 2011) who keep us motivated and on our toes! There is no ‘I’ in team and you, dear reader, are as much a reason for this incredible recognition as are our authors, guest writers and awesome Lifestyle reviewers. So take a bow as we send out a team hug to everyone who has been involved – past, present and future! We’re looking forward to an amazing 2014 and really do hope you’ll be with us every step of the way – without YOU we wouldn’t be having this toast.

Come along and meet some of the team – tell us what you’d like to see featured in future issues of the downloadable emag PLUS meet the authors who love a ‘happy ending’ to every romance story!

Bedford – UK – 8-10th November 2013 – we hope to see you there!

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Over at the Lifestyle magazine website our contributors, feature editors, guest writers and book reviewers have been busy! There’s a wide range of life and style topics as well as book reviews and interviews. We like to think we have something for everyone … so check out what you might have missed. Our next free downloadable emag will be available in January 2014 and we are working away on this publication as we speak! 

Dine In With Downton!
Fall/Winter Fashion
An interview with Pia Courtney
What if? Can love change your fate?
How about a Tower for Two? Romantic getaway…
Feeding fish in paradise
Catch of the day in Mexico
Relationship advice – when family fails you
Loveahappyending has been hijacked!!!
Bookshelf reviews – celebrating DizzyC’s Gold Award
The artist within us all
Film review – The Last Passenger
An interview with Bonnie Trachtenberg
Life-changing moments – talking to Katie Mettner
The Voodoo Child is here – we talk to Janice Horton

And until next month’s newsletter, here’s a pictorial roundup of October fun on LLm! The Newsletter will be back next month with the highlights from the Festival of Romance, details of how YOU could win the chance to write an article for LLm and MUCH, MUCH, more….

Downton newsletter collage (860x1280)

Posted in Bookshelf News | 3 Comments

Goodbye summer … “Hello” autumn!


It’s the time for brisk walks to see nature in all its autumnal glory and then cosy evenings indoors. So settle back and we’ll bring you a wealth of ideas and reading material to ensure there’s never a dull moment!

Today we have free magazines, a roundup of some great articles, a gold award to present and a surprise for Downtown Abbey fans! We’re talking to author Melissa Foster, PLUS if YOU think you could write a magazine article, then read on ….

First things first! If you haven’t yet downloaded your FREE LLm emagazines then you are in for a treat! Issue 1 is 72 pages and Issue 2 is a bumper 95 pages packed full of life and style articles – everything from holiday destinations and recipes, to book reviews and gardening tips. You can download it to your ereader or read it online.

Issue 2

The next edition will be out in January 2014 and in November 2013 we are launching a competition connected with the magazine. Do YOU think you could be a magazine article writer? Well, we are offering one lucky reader the chance to write an article and have it published in our January 2014 free, downloadable emag! Look out for details about how to enter in the October newsletter – sign up now (top righthand side).

We love talking to authors, and Melissa Foster is a very talented lady who has helped a lot of new authors on their path to success. I asked Melissa what was the most satisfying aspect when writing a new novel?

Melissa“Gosh, this is a really tough question because the satisfaction I draw from writing comes in different steps. The moment I realize who my main characters are is a thrilling and satisfying moment. When the events in the book become clear to me, and when I carry them through and am finally happy with the outcome, I hit another long moment of satisfaction. Every scene that plays out like a movie in my head is also satisfying. Probably the most satisfying moment of the entire writing process is when I feel as though I’ve come up with the perfect ending. I have a hard time with endings. Sometimes I need to write the end scene five or six times before I’m satisfied. I don’t like cliffhangers and if an ending isn’t emotional it won’t resonate with me and I worry that my readers won’t be satisfied either, so finding the perfect ending is definitely the most satisfying part of the writing process.

Other than the writing, when I receive a note from a reader telling me how much they loved one of my stories, THAT is my moment of impact, and it makes everything that I do worth while.”

Who is the first person you share a completed manuscript with and is that a nervous moment for you?

“Other than when the book goes out to the public, there are two panicky moments for me (many more, but these are the two main ones). My most nervous moment is before my manuscript is complete, when I deliver the first draft to my structural editor. I always worry I’ll get a note back that says, “This was a joke, right? Send me the real manuscript.”

With my more serious novels I send the completed manuscript to my mother first. Yes, really. I am very nervous when I send it to her because I know she’ll tell me the good, the bad, and the ugly, and when she does, some of it won’t be easy to hear. Of course I’m elated when she calls and says she loved the story:-)”

Can you tell us a little about your latest book – we hear it’s a series?

Yes, Sisters in Bloom. It began with Danica and Kaylie in SISTERS IN LOVE, and you can find out what happens next…

Sisters in Bloom (414x640)“Steamy love scenes, emotionally-charged drama, and a family-driven story, make this the perfect story for any romance reader; especially those who have read Book One, Sisters in Love.”
— Diane Donovan, Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Kaylie Snow has always been the fun, flirty, pretty sister. Now her burgeoning baby bump, hormone-infused emotions, and faltering singing career are sending her into an unexpected identity crisis. Watching her older sister, Danica, glide through a major career change and a new relationship with the grace of a ballerina, Kaylie’s insecurities rise to the forefront—and her relationship with fiancé Chaz Crew is caught in the crossfire.

Chaz Crew has everything he’s ever wanted: a lovely fiancée, a baby on the way, and soon, the film festival he owns will host its biggest event ever. When he’s called away to woo the festival’s largest sponsor—and the lover he’s never admitted to having—secrets from his past turn his new life upside down.

With her baby shower around the corner and her fiancé’s big event looming, the pressure is on for Kaylie to pull herself together—and for Chaz to right his wrongs. In a few short weeks, the couple who had it all figured out will learn things about life and love that may change their minds—and their hearts.

Melissa’s links:  Website Facebook, Twitter  

It’s been lovely catching up Melissa, wishing you all the very best with this amazing series!


FoR LogoAre you going to this year’s Festival of Romance?

It’s going to be an amazing weekend – find out all about it here.

Come along and meet some of the team – tell us what you’d like to see featured in future issues of the downloadable emag PLUS meet the authors who love a ‘happy ending’ to every romance story!

Bedford – UK – 8-10th November 2013!

Bookshelf Awards

Authors need readers, but they also need reviewers. Gold award (2) (290x300)LLm is lucky to have a panel of twelve very professional book reviewers who run successful blogs/websites sharing the news about the books they are reading. Our panel is carefully selected by Janice Horton: “Bookshelf Reviews brings you independent reviews from readers and trusted book bloggers. We have asked these respected reviewers to give you their unbiased opinions on our Loveahappyending Lifestyle author’s books so that you, the discerning reader, can choose your next read with confidence from our Bookshelf. All featured books can be found on Amazon sites and from major stockists.”



In the spotlight this month is Carol Wright, also known as the very successful Dizzy C of Dizzy C’s Little Book Blog. We are thrilled to present the Gold Award to Dizzy C in recognition of her service to readers. 

Dizzy C’s blog is an  interesting and inspiring place to visit. Her reviews are always a fabulous guide to readers looking for their next read. She has helped to keep a wide variety of new authors writing, by helping to spread the word! So we are raising our glasses to toast Carol Wright aka Dizzy C to show our appreciation!

Find Dizzy C: Twitter @DizzyCLBB and on Facebook: Dizzy C’s Little Book Blog

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Over on the Lifestyle magazine our lifestyle contributors, feature editors and guest writers have been working throughout the summer to bring you a wide variety of articles:

Recommended Fiction
The Beach … you know … Leonardo DiCaprio …
Bend so you won’t break – yoga!
Adult sattire in Adam’s Rib – it’s a gyno mystery
Characters need a place to live
Choose your next read
The Film Fatales – A tale of two Gatsbys
Climb every mountain…a tandem tale
The RNA – encouraging and fostering the writing of romantic novels
Find love after loss…relationship advice column
Meet Sabina Ballerina – profiles in FURage series

Silver tea set

Coming September 28th, 2013 on LLm – Dine In With Downton!

If you are a Downton Abbey fan, then catch chef and author, Caroline James, feature with a Downton Abbey menu. Dine in style!

Thank you for joining us to celebrate our September LLm Newsletter and the excitement is building for a truly fabulous autumn and winter. No time for the blues – just plenty of interesting things to do and read. It’s a time to wrap up, keep warm and indulge. Recharge those batteries and prepare for …. yes, Christmas!


The Bookshelf Newsletter Editor

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Posted in Bookshelf News | 7 Comments

Are you ready to be inspired? Fun ideas & features!

Relax and read to be inspired (1024x768)What an exciting month it’s been!

We have a wide range of life and style articles, great reads to tempt you and an interview with author – Angela Campbell.

There’s news about the UK’s Festival of Romance and much more… but first, we’re kicking off with issue 1 of the free LLm downloadable emagazine!

Yes, it’s finally here – after months of work we’re set up and ready to go! You might have seen it on the LLm website or on Issuu’s international magazine website. You can click and read now (click on the picture below), or download it to browse at your leisure. Issue no. 2 will be out in mid-September. It’s full of fun articles and features from writers in the UK, US and Canada…if there’s something you’d like to see in future issues, then email us at:

Publication1 issue 1


HarperImpulse are now settled into their new publisher page on The Bookshelf after signing our own Mandy Baggot, whose recent release – Do You Remember? – is flying up the charts! I began chatting with another of their recent signings, Angela Campbell, and asked her about her writing journey:

Angela Campbell

It began at a very young age. I would doodle short stories in elementary school class when I got bored, and every Sunday, my older brother, David, would take me to the movies. I’d come home filled with ideas and write my own story based on whatever we’d just seen. Then I’d act it out with stuffed animals.  I didn’t complete a full manuscript until after I graduated college, and I had no idea what to do with it. It took me a few more years to learn enough about publishing to hone my skills, finish another story, send out queries, and remain persistent about getting it published. It’s been a long, exhausting journey, but totally worth it.

You’ve recently signed a new contract, how did you feel when you heard the news?

HarperImpulseI was beyond thrilled to receive a contract offer from HarperImpulse! I’ve always dreamt of writing for HarperCollins, but who hasn’t, right? I didn’t really think I had a chance with their new digital imprint until Charlotte Ledger contacted me with an offer. Honestly, I still want someone to pinch me to make sure I’m not dreaming.


On the Scent

On the Scent is a romantic suspense with paranormal elements that I hope will make readers smile so much it hurts. Hannah Dawson has a big problem. She’s just inherited $10 million — and a finicky feline and not-so-bright dog to go along with it — which would be awesome if it hadn’t made her the target of every wacko in the metro Atlanta area. Not only has she been receiving threats since the elderly heiress she’d nursed passed away, but her new home has been broken into — and her new pets almost dog- and kitty-napped for ransom! Enter Zachary Collins, the hunky private detective/bodyguard she hires for protection. All it takes is for an intruder to conk Zach on the head for him to realize he’s either crazy, or truly psychic. Suddenly he can hear the cat and dog’s thoughts and realizes Hannah’s benefactor had a secret, dangerous past that’s putting Hannah and her pets in serious danger now. Problem is, he’s developing real feelings for the woman and, yes, even her darn animals, too. Can he and his new furry friends solve the mystery of the dead heiress’s past before it claims the woman he loves?

Thanks to Angela for joining us today and you can find out more about  Angela’s novels at: and at the Harper Impulse website. Follow Angela – Twitter: and FB: AngelaCampbellBooks

What else is new? Well, if you live in the UK and you want a fabulous weekend away where book-talk, romance and FUN is guaranteed – come along to the Festival of Romance.

ChampagneHave you heard about the annual Festival of Romance?

Well, if you haven’t and you LOVE books/reading/meeting authors, then check out the official website – just click on the picture below:


FoR info


It’s three days packed with a variety of events and some fabulous fun! LLm will be there again this year and we’d love you to come along and talk to us. Members of the LLm team attending the event this year will be:

Mandy Baggot, Sheryl Browne, Janice Horton, Kit Domino, Sue Moorcroft, Caroline James & Linn B Halton

Some of the LLm selected reviewers will also be there – BestChickLit (Charlotte Foreman), JB from BrookCottageBooks and  Heidi Bartlett  from Cosmochicklitan!

Click through to the festival website and grab your tickets now – we’d love to see you there.

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Over on the Lifestyle magazine (and sporting our new logos) our lifestyle contributors, feature editors and guest writers have been ‘out and about’ to bring you a wide range of interesting article, including:

From little acorns…Sylv Jenkins
ebook launch of A Shadow In The Past
Mushrooming on Vancouver Island
Don’t shoot the publisher
Pairing red wines with vegetarian food
Helping YOUR children to excel
Popping the champagne cork – the story behind LLm
The best music of 2013 so far!
Let them eat cake! Fabulous recipes
Shacking up – is it a mistake? Relationship advice

The Festival of Romance

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I hope you’ve enjoyed the latest newsletter and have found something to inspire YOU!

The Bookshelf Newsletter Editor

Linn B Halton bookshelf nominee (1024x805)


Posted in Bookshelf News | 2 Comments

Are We Nearly There Yet? Summer is hotting up and Ben Hatch has arrived!

Summer fun

The summer holidays are here at last…and there’s bound to be a chance to kick back and chill. When you do, we have a bumper selection of articles, features and books for you to read. So step inside…for some summer fun with Loveahappyending Lifestyle magazine!

Today I’m starting with a chat with an author who is guaranteed to make you smile – welcome to Ben Hatch!

Ben HatchHi Ben, thanks so much for coming to visit us today. I have to ask the question – how does it feel to have one of your books made into a movie?

I’ll let you know when/if it happens. So far Are We Nearly There Yet? has been optioned by Island Pictures and a treatment is being worked on and although there’s a long way to go it is exciting imagining seeing it on the screen and maybe Sue Pollard playing my wife. I should add although I want Sue Pollard to play my wife, my wife does not want Sue Pollard to play her and gets cross when I talk about:

a) Miss Cathcart and b) red coats.

Writing a manuscript is only the start and it’s a long and bumpy road – what would be your top 5 tips for the ‘writer’s survival list’?

1)  Get yourself an understanding partner. And by understanding I mean one prepared to live with a human being that will spend a lot of their life sat down in a dressing gown covered in toast crumbs, bending paperclips out of shape and mumbling about a problem in their story arc. Also this partner will have to accept they will probably always be broke.

2) Be prepared to be rejected at lot. You will be rejected by literary agents, by publishers. You will be rejected by bookshops, by supermarket book buyers, by book reviewers and by readers. Ultimately your own family and friends will despair of you. Although they won’t actually tell you to abandon your dream to be a writer they will certainly think this. They will demonstrate this lack of faith in you by asking “How’s the? …”  and then mimicking writing in the air. This will be because they are far too embarrassed at your delusional state of mind to mention the word “book.”

3) Get used to procrastinating. If there is anything to be done other than writing your book you will do it. And you will do it right away. You will fix wobbly handles back onto doors right away, make dental appointments. You will volunteer to do the Tesco shop. You will spend time on twitter and Facebook. You will talk to the postman, to cold callers, to the man walking down street with a hairy forehead and a bottle of Drambuie in his overcoat pocket. You will go to cafes and eat flapjacks with a pad that you will write nothing in. You will go to the bank for OTHER people. That is why you will need more than anything in the world, a deadline. A REAL deadline.

4) You will have to get used to lying to yourself. You will become very good at this. For instance, I once watched Krufts for three days solid and I don’t even like dogs. I convinced myself that listening to Peter Purves commentate on the gundog group final was research. It wasn’t research. I was wasting my time. That’s how much you will not want to write. Watching a spinoni bitch with a gentle rise from tail to loin will be infinitely more appealing than writing.

5) Don’t think you’re Charles Bukowsi or Hunter S Thompson. The chances are you can’t drink whisky and write well. What you will do is write gibberish. You can only do one of these well at once. Save the whisky drinking for afterwards. Instead welcome your new drinking friend – tea. You will see a lot of tea.

Road to Rouen

Ben Hatch is on the road again. Commissioned to write a guidebook about France (despite not speaking any French) he sets off with visions of relaxing chateaux and refined dining. Ten thousand miles later his family’s been attacked by a donkey, had a run-in with a death-cult and, after a near drowning and a calamitous wedding experience involving a British spy, his own marriage is in jeopardy. A combination of obsessions about mosquitoes, French gravel and vegetable theme parks mean it’s a bumpy ride as Ben takes a stand against tyrannical French pool attendants, finds himself running with the bulls in Pamplona and almost starring in a snuff movie after a near fatal decision to climb into a millionaire’s Chevrolet Blazer.

Funny and poignant, Road to Rouen asks important questions about life, marriage and whether it’s ever acceptable to tape baguette to your children’s legs to smuggle lunch into Disneyland Paris.

Road to Rouen is published by Headline. Ben can be followed on twitter @BenHatch

Thanks Ben! It’s been a blast – our UK contingent will know Miss Cathcart, but for those who don’t Google ‘Hi-Di-Hi’ – it was a hilarious comedy series about a holiday camp back in the 80’s! Next we are in party mode…if you are a writer then grab your note pad, and if you are a reader then find out just how much work does into launching that new book you download onto your ereader…

Janice Launch Portrait B&W sm jpeg2So what’s your very favourite sort of party…?

A birthday party, a fancy dress party, a cocktail party, a surprise party, a hen party, a stag party, an office party, a xmas party, a new year party….?

And I bet you have just the photo to prove it …?!!

 Loveahappyending Lifestyle author and party girl Janice Horton is throwing an online party to launch her latest title ‘How To Party Online’.

Party Button jpeg

“The event, planned for Wednesday 31st July, will be hosted on Facebook but will also spill over to the blogosphere, to Twitter, and to Pinterest,” says Janice. “And everyone is invited!”

Take part, dig out a photo of you looking your party best and post it onto the party page on the last day of July to take part in the real fun and virtual games. Comment, like, post, share, tweet (#partyon) to be in the draw to win some fabulous party prizes!

“Janice has made it her business to get stuck into the whole self-publishing malarkey. Savvy enough to realise it’s not enough to simply write, she’s studied social media marketing until it could be her specialist subject on Mastermind. She can plan a book launch, maximise publicity, keep the momentum going after the first initial flush, and perhaps most of all, she knows how to make the whole thing fun, which is no mean feat”. DG Life Magazine

How To Party Online:
• Online parties are a fun way to launch your book or introduce your product and engage with your target audience.
• Social media applications are perfect forums for parties – the venue capacity is infinite, the guest list is global, and the fun and games can lead to bestselling success!
• This aim of this book is to show you how you can produce measurable results from your very first online party and while you are still working towards building up your social network.
• The purpose of this book is to walk and talk you through each step of the planning and implementation of four very different online promotional parties.
• Together we will look at how much work and effort is involved in implementing each step and we will experience the party format, explore the outcomes, and quantify all the successes.
• I’ll show you how to make it lots of fun!

How To Party Online Sm Cover

 Check out the Facebook Party Page

Attend on Wednesday 31st July

Post up your own Party Photo

Take part in all the real fun & virtual games

How To Party Online is exclusive to Amazon for Kindle

Amazon UK



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Over on the Lifestyle magazine our lifestyle contributors, feature editors and guest writers have been bringing you a wide variety of articles. Don’t miss out on our July highlights:


 Angels are HOT gossip!
Grow Your Own is Trending
Spreading a little angel dust…book launch
Kenneth Rosenberg’s Ode to Summer
How Does Your Garden Grow?
Summer Sizzlers – what the reviewers say!
Sheryl Browne is at the cinema reviewing The Lone Ranger
Relationship advice – When is a marriage REALLY over?
Launching The Love in a Hopeless Place Collection
Kim Nash asks the question ‘To cruise, or not to cruise?’
Can you learn to love Dr David Adams? Book launch
Castles in the sand…with Nicky Wells
Do You Remember – book launch
5:2 or 365? Feeling the pinch to lose an inch?
Romeow…Bonnie Trachtenberg and the Profiles in FURage series

 Having a fabulous timeNew releases in July (1280x553)
The Bookshelf Newsletter Editor

Linn B Halton bookshelf nominee (1024x805)


Posted in Bookshelf News | 9 Comments

A life of leisure…and summer fun!

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Today’s exciting edition of the LLm Newsletter is packed full of summer fun… we’re talking to Amazon Top 100 Bestselling Humorous Mystery Author, D. D. Scott, planning for the Festival of Romance in November and we have some great online articles for you to read!

As we head into the summer holiday season there are some fun, relaxing days ahead! Charge up those iPADS and reading devices – there’s lot to entertain you…whether you are into books or life and style articles, LLm has it all!

DDScottPhotoFirst, it’s my great pleasure to introduce one super-energetic lady… D. D. Scott, who is the Co-Founder of The WG2E – The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing, and the Founder of The RG2E – The Reader’s Guide to E-publishing.

Welcome, D. D. and thanks so much for being our guest today. When you were starting out, what was your dream? Did you ever imagine that you would achieve the level of success you have had so far on your writing journey? My dream has always been to treat readers to a laugh or two. Nothing heals the world and joins people together like a good ol’ laugh out loud. But no, never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be doing so for the ginormous audience I’ve built. To have now reached a readership of going on 300,000 people -around the globe – is just beyond anything I ever imagined. :-)

How instrumental have readers been in influencing what you write? Do trends influence you, or is it all about giving your readers what they have come to expect from you? Readers are my everything! It’s really that simple. I thrive on treating them to great books for great prices, and I do listen to what they tell me and ask for. For example, my Mom Squad characters – an eclectic mix of “Blue-Haired Charlie’s Angels” – appear in most all of my books because they’re reader favorites. I’ve also started writing what I’ve coined as “witch-coms” (comedies featuring a magickally bewitching cast and crew) in my Belle Bishop, Queen of Witches Series (Practical Mischief – out now, Practical Mayhem – coming early Fall, and Practical Madness – early 2014) because my readers have responded so positively to the magickal and witchy elements in my other series. Readers Rule – that’s the only trend I follow! :-)

And the latest D. D. Scott to hit the shelves: STUCK WITH A SLUT

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The fourth book in her bestselling series co-authored with David Slegg. For STUCK WITH A SLUT—think Castle and Beckett, gone-country, meet The Chicago Madam and The Alchemyst. In this Police Procedural, there’s a murder to solve. But the “detectives” are packin’ a load of laughs and a paranormal twist along with their duty weapons.

New York Times Bestselling Author Nicky Blane doesn’t pay for sex—that’s prostitution. But Kristeena Itzler, the Chicago Madam, gives him the best “girlfriend experience” money can buy. And he’s a client who wants and pays top dollar for the GFE—Girlfriend Experience. Well…until the escort he’s booked to hook up with is murdered, and her roommate, another beautiful Brazilian escort—Sophia Fernandes—is the next target.

Stuck With series box 1-3 600wide 72dpiSamantha Aldredge may be Nicky Blane’s editor, but she has a past steeped in the Secret Science of Alchemy, which could be connected to Nicky’s dead date.

Can Sam, with the help of her magickal gecko—Phil—find and then use the powers of an ancient alchemical book before it’s too late to save Nicky and Sophia from The Council of Darkness who’s hell-bent on obtaining the book’s secrets, no matter the costs?

 The Stuck with a Series Boxed Set #1 (featuring Books 1-3 and the Prequel) is just 99 Cents!!!

You can connect and hang with D. D. on: D. D. Scott-ville    D. D.’s Duckies  
Facebook DeeDee Scott     Twitter @ddscottromcom   Pinterest DeeDee Scott   Goodreads D. D. Scott         Google+ D. D. Scott

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Drop by the Loveahappyending Lifestyle emag for great ideas for the home, recipes and some great new reads…

Summer collage

Cemeteries – a quiet place for concentration and research!
When first love goes awry – Bonnie Trachtenberg’s advice column
Mirrors, wood and glue…a DIY project YOU can do in a day!
Etiquette for anarchists – a formal guide & a recipe for Lapin Sans Moutarde
Lovin’ it or losing its fizz?
Dot, dot – must dash! Writerly advice from Kit Domino
Keeping your child happy on a never ending journey – great tips for the hols!
Sizzle into summer with some unusual BBQ recipes
The Hottest Summer Reviews – editor Janice Horton talks to the LLm reviewers
A great new read – Love In A Hopeless Place by Emma Calin
Are you in the swing? Ever considered taking up golf?
Bead-azzling this summer – fab, fun ideas with beads
E3 Technology Expo in LA – Santa’s list for 2013 & great advice re: IT & kids!

 FoR LogoSome of the LLm team have also been making plans for this year’s UK Festival of Romance – 8th to 10th November in Bedford, so come along and meet them!

Book your tickets now:

Saturday 9 Nov, 2013 10.30am to 12noon COFFEE AND CAKE MORNING ,The Lane
Coffee and chance to meet your favourite authors. With readings by Miranda Dickinson, Sue Moorcroft, Hazel Osmond, Fiona Harper, Phillipa Ashley, Liz Fenwick, Charlotte Howard, Lucy Felthouse, Sue Welfare, Janice Horton and Mandy Baggot. Tickets: £6 includes coffee/tea & choice of cake.

3.15pm to 4.30pm ROYAL BABY SHOWER Harpur Suite, Corn Exchange
Celebrate the royal baby and meet romance authors at this fun event. Babies and children welcome. With special guest William Coles, former royal corespondent at The Sun. Spot prizes for bonny babies. Readings by Rowan Coleman, Hywela Lyn, Nicola May, Sophie Pembroke, Sheryl Browne, Nicky Wells, Linn B Halton, Kit Domino, Serena Fairfax and Caroline James. Tickets: £5 includes tea/coffee or glass of wine. Under 16s: free.

We are all very excited about the Festival and the LLm team will be picking one lucky winner from the audience at both of the above events to receive a special prize!

Click through for the full details Festival Programme

Let’s make this a summer to remember…enjoy!

The Bookshelf Newsletter Editor

Linn B Halton bookshelf nominee (1024x805)


Posted in Bookshelf News | 7 Comments