Sunday, 22 November 2015

Police, Arrests & Suspects: The True Story of a Front Line OfficerPolice, Arrests & Suspects: The True Story of a Front Line Officer by John Donoghue
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Donoghue, Donoghue, Donoghue…” You’ve gone and done it again. If you’re looking for something to lift your spirits, this author has the ability to tickle your funny bone until it hurts. Looking at the true life of a front line officer, Police, Arrests & Suspects is just as screamingly hilarious as John Donoghue’s other books: Police, Crime & 999, Police, Lies & Alibis and Shakespeare My Butt. I’ve spotted a few tweets and read reviews on this author’s books, where readers have claimed to be caught in the embarrassing situation of laughing out loud on public transport. Hands up! Guilty. I now have my official local transport looney badge. How Donoghue combines razor sharp wit with subtle delivery and superb timing leaves me in awe. His ability to communicate the less savoury side of everyday policing and the real danger response officers often face, making it obvious that they ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’, only makes the book more compulsive reading. The recognisable traits of certain criminal types are genius. You can feel the despair emanating from the officers and see every roll of the eyes. The characterisation, along with the writing, is simply brilliant. The CBT incident (no spoilers) literally brought tears to my eyes – Ouch! – and the “killed myself in the mirror” line and the image that created will stay with me for a long time. There are many such nuggets of pure gold. I’m smiling as I type. If ever you spot someone laughing uncontrollably on a gloomy, grey day, ask them what they’re reading. I bet it’ll be John Donoghue. If they’re just looking as miserable as sin, recommend them a JD tonic. No, not the amber coloured stuff. In fact go one further, make a kindly donation to the humourless and buy them a John Donoghue book. Uniquely witty, eye-openingly informative and fabulously entertaining, I would highly recommend any one of them.


Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The Rest of My life, recommended by the WHSmith Travel Fiction Buyer and recently at #2 on the Amazon Top 100 Paid Women’s Romance Fiction Best Sellers List, has been shortlisted for the Love Stories Awards 2015!

To celebrate, I’m sharing a little Christmas cheer early by giving away a beautiful love bird key pendant and a FREE e-copy of any one of my other books. To be in with a chance of grabbing your prize, check out the #restofmylife Rafflecopter comp below.

As a special pre-Christmas treat, anyone leaving a review for the The Rest of My Life on Amazon is also welcome to choose an extra FREE e-copy of one of my other books. Simply message me on Twitter @sherylbrowne or Facebook with the Amazon link.

**Rafflecopter runs from November 11 to November 25. Please note: books to choose from are Somebody to Love, Warrant for Love, A Little Bit of Madness and Learning to Love. Sheryl’s Thrillers, The Edge of Sanity and Death Sentence, are available in exchange for an honest review**

The Rest of My Life
“You can’t run away from commitment forever … “

Adam Hamilton-Shaw has more reason than most to avoid commitment. Living on a houseboat in the Severn Valley, his dream is to sail into the sunset – preferably with a woman waiting in every port. But lately, his life looks more like a road to destruction than an idyllic boat ride…

Would-be screenplay writer Sienna Meadows realises that everything about Adam spells trouble – but she can’t ignore the feeling that there is more to him than just his bad reputation. Nor can she ignore the intense physical attraction that exists between them.

And it just so happens that Adam sees Sienna as the kind of woman he could commit to. But can he change his damaging behaviour – or is the road to destruction a one-way street?

A little message from me:

As some of you may know, I’ve had a bit of stressful year this year with my partner’s health issues. I would just like to say a HUGE thank you all those lovely people who have supported me and made my writing journey so worthwhile.

I hope all is well in your world.

GOOD LUCK and keep safe everyone!


Thursday, 5 November 2015

Hi everyone, 

Well, what a mad few months. I might have mentioned the release of my contemporary romance THE REST OF MY LIFE from Choc Lit … once or twice. Did I also mention it reached the dizzying heights of #2 on the Amazon Top 100 Paid Women’s Romance Fiction Best Seller List? No? Oh. Well, I am a bit shy, y’know.

I am now super-pleased to share that The Rest of My Life has been shortlisted in the Best Romantic Ebook category for the Love Stories Awards 2015! Winners to be announced at the Love Stories Award event in London (please click on the Love Stories link to find details). As the Romantic Novelists’ Association Winter Party is also in London later that day, I’m seriously considering new shoes.  The cover for the book, designed by the uber-talented, Berni Stevens at Choc Lit, is also a semi-finalist at AuthorDatabase, Books & Top Charts. Finalists announced on 18th November. Wish us luck!

“You can’t run away from commitment forever … “

Needless to say, after a year that started quite stressfully due to my partner’s health problems, I am absolutely thrilled and immensely grateful for the support of readers, book bloggers and lovely members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Love Stories Awards. I think 2015 may end slightly better than it started. Phew!

And in other news … my contemporary romance LEARNING TO LOVE has now been contracted! The book was also recommended to Choc Lit by the WH Smith Travel Fiction buyer who told me he loved it so much he took a quote from it. I think I owe the man big time and simply can’t thank him enough.
"Exploring the Fragility of Love, Life, and Relationships"

Bear with me – I can’t resist sharing a little reviewer feedback

Learning to Love is a romantic adventure novel dealing with loss of a loved one and betrayal, and does so in a manner that lifts it far above an average 'chick lit' romance. Amazon Reviewer

This book goes on my top ten reads of all time! Nikki’s Books4U

It’s about family, as beautifully chaotic as they can be, and it’s about overcoming the obstacles life throws your way and finding love in the right place. It’s an addictive, gorgeous read. 
Reviewed The Book

Finally, because I’m either passionate or bonkers (possibly the latter), I’m still hard at it, busy editing other books for submission at the request of Choc Lit and working hard on two new books: a contemporary romance and a psychological thriller. The sequel to Death Sentence (title suggested by a Chief Constable, no less) 'MANTRAP' comes soon! Watch this space!

"He's killed your child and kidnapped your wife. What would YOU do?"

Meanwhile, I have a GIVEAWAY!

If anyone is thinking of purchasing The Rest of My Life, now is your chance to grab a free copy of ANY OF MY OTHER BOOKS WHEN YOU DO! Simply send me proof of purchase via email, Twitter (@sherylbrowne) or my Website contact form and I will send you an e-copy of a book of your choice.

Thank you so much again to all those lovely people who have supported me and made my writing journey so worthwhile.

I hope all is well in your world.

GOOD LUCK and keep safe everyone!

Lots of Love,


Saturday, 31 October 2015

Welcome Sam Smith! Sam’s here to tell us a little behind his new book. Trees, published by Safkhet Publishing. Take it away, Sam!

First of all I have to confess that, although I’ve done many things sub-literary in my writing life – organised poetry festivals and book fairs, run a small press, Original Plus, and for nearly 20 years now the poetry magazine The Journal (once ‘of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry’); and although I’ve had many publishers of my work, 2 of which went disastrously bust while I was working as editor for them, Safkhet Publishing is the first that has suggested that I be a guest blogger.

The novel by the way is Trees and Safkhet are based in Germany.

We know from the opening chapter that the narrator's adopted daughter, Hazel, is going to die. But when? After the steroid treatments that make her into a slip-slopping bag of water? Or after discovering that her biological father is the millionaire Gustaf Eriksson, a man obsessed with the reforesting of England? Or will it be when her mother gives up her café and herself becomes involved with The Tree Prospectus? 

Trees, Alder through to Yew, naturally feature.

I’m based in the UK on the Cumbrian coast. Maryport describes itself as ‘By the sea near the Lakes.’ Not wholly sure how I ended up here, suffice to say that I like walking over mountains and I’ve moved about a bit. And my daughter Shelley Carmen was living in Edinburgh at the time we last moved. My usual author biog says, ‘… I was born Blackpool 1946, am now living in Maryport, Cumbria. A freelance writer, I have been a psychiatric nurse, residential social worker, milkman, plumber, laboratory analyst, groundsman, sailor, computer operator, scaffolder, gardener, painter & decorator.... working at anything, in fact, which has paid the rent, enabled me to raise my three daughters and which hasn't got too much in the way of my writing.’ All of my daughters, Shelley included, and grandchildren, now live in the south, which annoyingly means I see a lot of the M6.

Here’s a picture of me sat on a trig point, mountains behind.

The currently popular singer Sam Smith by the way is a clone and one of many talented individuals, male and female, bearing my monicker. We altered singer Sam’s DNA and gave him a musical gene. Hope that clears up any confusion.

But about Trees… The initial publicity says ‘As H was for Hawk will T now be for Trees? D for Distraction? P for Platonic? S for Sam? Or Smith?’ Which I hope will give putative readers a decent clue to the book’s contents. ‘H for Hawk’ concerned itself with a reconciling of the bereaved through falconry. Trees has a different death, an adopted daughter, and the mother finding solace through helping her birth father in his attempt to reforest as much as he can of England. Consequently each chapter has throughout descriptions of trees and diagrammatic representations of trees. (A labour of love Trees has taken me years to complete.)

Although death might be the central feature of Trees what it mostly concerns itself with is the nature of family, and of those relationships beyond. Of friendships, and resentments, people we work with, of in-laws and outlaws. Of desires contained, physical capabilities and incapacities, sexual orientation, and trees.

Safkhet has set 31st October as the release date for Trees. You can read more about Trees here – Safkhet Publishing

Or here – AmazonUK AmazonUS

Other of my books are featured here -

The Journal and Original Plus here –

My thanks to Sheryl Browne for asking me to guest on her blog.

You’re welcome, Sam. Trees sound absolutely fascinating. Best of luck! 


Sunday, 11 October 2015

Racing HeartRacing Heart by June Moonbridge
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My first question when reading Racing Heart was why would an independent, intelligent, clearly attractive and obviously strong woman with a rare talent of being able to produce beautiful and original perfumes, be willing to dumb down her appearance in order to work in a perfumery boutique? As I read on, intrigued, my next question was, what happened to her son, who is clearly no longer part of her life? At first I thought he’d perhaps been put up for adoption and I wanted to see how the author handled this sensitive subject. It soon became apparent that the heartbreak Desiree Hart is at pains to also disguise is heartbreak of the cruellest kind. Desiree’s carefully constructed persona is a front enabling her to continue to search for her son, who was kidnapped and is still missing. With a passion for Formula One racing, watching the cars zoom past, particularly in the free practice, is a luxury she allows herself, but only from a distance. Desiree can’t be distracted, most definitely not by F1’s Golden Boy, good-looking girl magnet, Lorcan Shore. Undeniably attracted, however, Desiree is determined the barriers around her heart will stay in place. Lorcan is equally determined to break them down.

Can he really fulfil her desire heart's desire though? Can he help Desiree to find the most important thing missing in her life, where even the police have failed?

Set against a backdrop of the millionaires' playground of Monte Carlo, this is a compelling story reminding us that our past, and the people we hold dearest, is what shapes us. It’s a story about trust. Trusting our own instincts, but also letting go the fear and allowing ourselves to trust someone to be careful with our hearts.

Compelling, intriguing and clearly well-researched, Racing Heart is a book I would recommend. I loved it.

View all my reviews


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Today, I have the pleasure of Miriam Wakerly’s company, who’s sharing a little about her new book, Secrets in Appley Green. Take it away, Miriam!

Reinventing the plot

It is said that the seven basic plots are: overcoming the monster; rags to riches; the quest; voyage and return; comedy; tragedy; rebirth. So is an original novel all about character, setting, background and theme? Certainly these are vital elements, but the actual story has to bring something new – don’t you think?

That list comprises broad categories and a writer should be able to reinvent them creatively so they are fresh, intriguing – yes, unique.

Seeing the blurb of my novel, Secrets in Appley Green, you may say, ‘Oh, so a teenage girl gets pregnant in the early Sixties and it all leads to heartbreak …’. You would be right to think, hey, this has been done a thousand times before. But I would bet anything that it in its detail, sub-plots and final resolution, this basic premise has never been given the same treatment. Golly, I do hope so, now I’ve said it!

Three naïve, but very different, Appley Green schoolgirls pledge to stick together for ever, but when one of them gets pregnant, this pushes their promise to the edge.

A young girl in need of love is vulnerable to the charms of an older man with heart-breaking consequences.

This is Great Britain’s Sixties, an exciting era, gathering pace then in full swing as social change sweeps aside past attitudes, laws, fashion and culture. Youth is finding a voice as parents struggle to adjust.  Its characters span the full social spectrum and take us beyond Appley Green to Brighton, Margate, London, Vienna and Paris.

Miriam Wakerly’s  Appley Green village stories all standalone and can be read in any order, but they are connected. This one can serve as a prequel to all three, especially Shades of Appley Green.

Some may say that if a story claims to be unique, then it is probably a bad one, for another author would have discovered or invented it by now. But, no, I don’t think so -  it is a question of using imagination and a different slant on an idea.

Well, I seem to be having some kind of slightly batty debate with myself here – but sometimes it is good to thrash these things out. What do you think?

Sometimes scenes are from the male viewpoint: Here’s an extract from Chapter 6

‘You think Appley Green village might be a good hideaway for you? Is that what’s going through your mind?’

Walter considered this. Maybe this was going through his mind, but he just hadn’t yet acknowledged it. ‘Hmm. That would be a big change from London! I may stay on a few days; my financial director can run the business without me for a while, and well, I’m a free agent these days really ... is that OK with you, old bean?’ Peter hesitated, just long enough to intimate doubt. ‘If you have other plans, then just say …’

‘No. That’s the problem, Walt. I have no plans, no plans at all, and by God, I need some. I can’t promise to be very good company. That’s all.’ The fingers of his right hand were absently tapping the bar. It seemed to Walter that Peter had downed most of his pint, almost without realising it.

‘So – you’ve left teaching.’

Peter shrugged and looked away. ‘Well, hopefully not, but I have lost my job.’ He gritted his teeth, shook his head and appeared to be seething deep-down. ‘It was all so ludicrous, so unnecessary. One of those moments when you just want to turn back the clock – just five minutes – and make everything all right, back to normal.’ He paused and Walter watched his brother’s gaze turn to a middle-aged man who was lighting up his pipe with a match, puffing and puffing to get the thing going, smoke billowing into the room, just the way their father did. There were tears in his eyes. ‘Whatever I did, I don’t deserve this!’

‘Are you going to appeal?’

‘Certainly I am.’ He looked up at the ceiling and sighed. ‘I will have that whisky … but I don’t imagine it will do me any good at all.’

Compared with the worries he was shouldering, Peter’s problems seemed pretty minor. Walter tried to help assemble his brother’s case, scribbling notes on the back of an envelope, based on Peter’s account, which at first he thought was hilariously funny. He was sympathetic regarding his situation, but the event itself! He appreciated the farcical, pantomime, slapstick humour and only began listening seriously when he began to appreciate the nature of school politics.

As it became quieter in the pub, they retreated to a small table in the corner each bearing another pint. Most workers would go off in the morning with a packed lunch, but a few better-off locals came in for a lunch-time pint, perhaps a sandwich from a limited range the public house had recently started to offer, or a pickled egg, and went back to work before the pub closed at half-past two. It was nearly closing-time when a voice caught Peter’s attention.

‘One more for the road then,’ he called to the barman, searching deep for coins in his trouser pocket. ‘I’m celebratin’ today!’

The whiskery barman nodded. ‘What’s that then, Tommy?’

‘My girl. Nicola. Left school and got ‘erself a job. All grown up, she is.’

‘That’s good. Big step.’

‘Left a few days earlier than the missus and I thought she would – thanks to that bloody arty-farty teacher at the Grammar!’

If you’ve read this far – thank you and I do hope you enjoy the rest of the book!

A little bit about Miriam Wakerly: A Village With “Edge” Novelist

I live in Surrey, England. The fictional village, Appley Green, where my novels are set, is very like villages nearby to my home. I launched my first novel, Gypsies Stop tHere the day after I retired, followed by No Gypsies Served two years later. Shades of Appley Green looks at a different aspect of village life in 2012 and my new novel Secrets in Appley Green goes back to 1960, looking at many Appley Green characters when they were obviously much younger!

I have had many articles and stories published over the years – now I look forward to writing more English village novels. My degree was in English, French, Sociology and Politics; the interest I have always had in social issues influences my writing, as you will see. However, I do believe books should be enjoyable and reviews show that mine are!

Links for all Miriam’s books:

Find out more about Miriam on:

Miriam’s Ramblings –

Thanks so much for sharing, Miriam. I'm loving the excerpt! 

Keep safe all!

Lots of love, 


Monday, 14 September 2015

The Silent Touch of ShadowsThe Silent Touch of Shadows by Christina Courtenay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Silent Touch of Shadows was my final holiday read and it definitely left me with book withdrawal symptoms. Time slip and historical novels are not generally my first choice – and now I have no idea why that would be. This author has definitely convinced me I must read more. Set in the present and fifteenth century Kent, the story centres on Melissa, a genealogist attempting to move on with her life and provide for her daughter after an acrimonious divorce. That her ex-husband has a family with the ‘other woman’ and a baby on the way, is a nice touch, I think. Truly, this is the final hurt when you’re trying to let go of the memories you once thought were precious to you both. Melissa, on moving into an Ancestral home at the invite of her aunt, finds herself haunted by troubling dreams, all the more disturbing when the essence of the man in those dreams, a handsome knight pleading for her help, lingers when she wakes. Jake, local vet and single father, who bears a striking resemblance to her tortured knight, is also disturbed by frighteningly real dreams, the subject of his being Sibell, who after the death of her young husband is forced to move back home, where her abusive father is adamant she will remarry a much older man, thereby improving the family status and fulfilling her daughterly obligations. Sibell’s heart though now belongs to another: Roger, our tortured knight.

The switch between present day and sixteenth century is done seamlessly and quite beautifully. At no point did it jar, thus allowing the reader to engage fully with the characters. Obviously, that these troubled souls were haunting our modern day couple meant that there perhaps wouldn’t be the ‘typical’ happy ending and there is an incident that is quite emotionally jarring. One pauses to digest but the pieces fall into place and you begin to realise what our lost spirits might need to allow them to rest in peace. I have to say, I’m in awe of the research, both historical and in regard to the genealogy aspect. This is a beautiful, haunting, intelligently written romance. If you’ve shied away from historical, I would highly recommend The Silence of Shadows. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

View all my reviews


Saturday, 12 September 2015

Today I have a little sneak peek: a cover reveal for Caroline Fardig’s upcoming cozy mystery/romance, MUG SHOT - Book 2 in the Java Jive series, coming out this spring from Random House Alibi!

Isn't it gorgeous?

Congratulations, Caroline. I can’t wait to find our more!

CAROLINE FARDIG is the author of the LIZZIE HART MYSTERIES series and the forthcoming DEATH BEFORE DECAF, available November 2015 through Random House. Her eclectic working career included occupations of schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.

Pre-order Links:

Too CharmingToo Charming by Kathryn Freeman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Defence barrister Scott Armstrong is way too charming. Suave good-looking, a lady-killer image and far too many notches on his bedpost, he’s definitely someone single-mum DS Megan Taylor should avoid. Not easy when Scott, smitten by the feisty woman who is the complete opposite of those he prefers his short-term relationships with, pursues her with relentless determination to win her over. Megan has been there though, charmed by just such a man. She’s adamant, for her daughter’s sake as well as her own, she won’t go through the pain of that kind of heartbreak again. Throw the fact that Scott and Megan are on opposite sides, Scott defending the villains Megan has worked hard to bring to justice, and you have a cauldron of frustrated emotion waiting to spill over.

Scott, though, is not the emotion abuser Megan is convinced he is. The author does a fabulous job of peeling away the layers, giving us glimpses of his past until we see the whole of the man whose charm is in fact the suit of armour he hides his vulnerabilities behind. I particularly loved the way Kathryn Freeman handled Scott’s backstory. How, you can’t help but wonder, can such a successful, handsome, smooth-talking man have had anything but the odd blip in his life? No spoilers, but aside from the fact that Scott is naturally, instinctively caring of Sally, Megan’s daughter, his tragic family history is what makes him so determined to make sure even the lowest criminal gets a fair trial.

There are hiccups along the way, a crime case which brings that history and all of Scott’s vulnerabilities to the fore and slowly we see these two coming to see each other’s perspective. Scott begins to understand Megan’s determination to put the bad guys away. Megan realises that Scott’s own heartbreak is what drives him. Can she open her eyes to the fact that he truly loves her though? Can she open her heart? You’ll have to read to find out. If you want an intelligent, riveting romance with a difference, this book is it.

View all my reviews


Friday, 11 September 2015

Summer Moved OnSummer Moved On by Jo Lambert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summer Moved On was the perfect title of my second holiday read. Dishevelled, unkempt and undeniably attractive, a Lothario reputation he apparently strives to live up to and Devil may care attitude, Talun is absolutely the kind of man eighteen year old Jess should steer clear of. Noting his penetrating gaze and broody good looks, however, Jess is drawn. As is Talun to Jess, to his chagrin. Talun’s mother was a traveller, his father unknown. He's a farmhand with no prospects. Jess is obviously from a monied family, and obviously unworldly and spoiled, he surmises, noting the comments in regard to his appearance that pass between her and her also monied and arrogant boyfriend on first meeting. The last thing Talun wants is to be attracted to someone like that. Jess and he are poles apart. Or are they? As the story progresses, we learn that Jess, though provided for materially by her father, love and affection is not something that comes naturally to him. Talun is the bad boy you just can’t help but fall in love with. Learning his secret, knowing he never really knows whether the mother he adored, and who apparently adored him, truly abandoned him, we realise why he might seek affection but is perhaps reluctant to give his heart. He doesn’t want to have feelings for Jess. Jess, though, has much more in common with Talun than he could realise. If only sparks didn’t fly every time they meet, she might even be able to tell him so.

Summer Moved on is a beautifully written story, looking at love, life, prejudice and preconception. I actually had goosebumps when Talun came face to face with someone who might unravel his past, who he is, where he came from. Bearing in mind I was lying on a sun lounger in Portugal at the time, that’s some achievement. If you like a moving, thought provoking read with a powerful male point of view, this is the book for you. My only disappointment is that I don’t have the sequel right now.

View all my reviews

UntouchableUntouchable by Ava Marsh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having not had much opportunity to read lately, I wanted to lose myself in as many books as possible on holiday. After reading a book review on Rachel’s Random Reads, my interest was piqued and I chose Untouchable as my first book, hoping it would have that essential hook that would make the book unputdownable. It did. Untouchable reeled me in completely. This is a book with a difference, a storyline that simply has to be compelling: an intelligent woman with a psychology degree and a career in …. But that would be a spoiler. We learn later how Stella/Grace’s former career and her relationship with offenders leads her to choose a new career as a high class prostitute. I knew what to expect from the review and was intrigued to see for myself how the sex element was handled. I have to say it was handled brilliantly. The scenes, though graphic in places, are communicated with a sense of detachment, necessarily, given that titillation isn’t the aim of this book. We see these scenes through Stella’s eyes and this detachment only made Stella more compelling as a character. I was desperate to discover the circumstances that precipitated her ‘fall’ into prostitution, why she would actually regard it as a suitable way to punish herself. Desperate also to see how Stella would seek retribution from high ranking businessmen and government officials when a fellow escort is found dead. The characters, both escort and client, are all believable people, the men not all portrayed as sexual perverts or losers. The ending was just right. Again, no spoilers. It wasn’t quite all tied up in a pretty pink bow, but there was hope. For me, that was a perfect ending, perhaps leading to a new beginning for Stella. If you want a read that is riveting, powerful and different, this is the book for you. Well done Ava Marsh on tackling a subject that some would shy away from.


Friday, 7 August 2015

A chance to blog: "The Rest of My Life" by Sheryl Browne: Wow! Sheryl Browne has excelled herself with this book.... there is not much it doesn't have! Love, hate, sex, violence, apparitio...

Today I’m super-pleased to welcome onto my blog multitalented author of books for children and adults and a writing tutor, Karen King. Take it away, Karen!

Hi Sheryl, Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog. I’m super-excited to have a lovely trailer for my YA Sapphire Blue, an afterlife romance thriller. You can watch it here:

Sapphire Blue is my second YA and it’s a story that wouldn’t go away.
I first started writing Sapphire Blue seven years ago. I wrote a brief synopsis and sample pages and sent them to a publisher I worked with who I knew were planning on expanding their children’s fiction list. The editor loved the idea right away and told me they wanted it when they brought out their YA list. A couple of years passed during which I wrote several other books and added to Sapphire Blue now and again. Then the publisher told me they’d had to shelve their fiction list so I put it away. A friend who’d seen the original chapters persuaded me to keep writing it up. I got about half way through and shelved it again. Then another writer friend read it and persuaded me to finish it. So finally I did.

What it’s about
Sapphire Blue is set in the afterlife and is based on the concept of true love being eternal. Sapphire and her boyfriend Will are killed in the first chapter but love each other so much they search for each other. They find that the afterworld is split into seven zones, each named after the colour of the rainbow. They both believe the other one to have been taken by the Soul Catchers to Red, a zone where all your nightmares come true. They love each other so much that they go to Red to find each other. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot but it’s a mix of romance and horror – the first time I’ve ever written horror, actually. It’s not my usual sort of story but it’s the one that I’ve carried in my head for seven years so I hope the readers enjoy it.
Here’s the cover.

Our first drive together. Later, I’ll take photos of wherever it is we’re going, save a leaflet, a ticket, or receipt. Today deserves a whole page in our scrapbook.
Will’s a good driver. His eyes constantly dart to the mirrors to check what’s behind him, around him, in front of him, and he keeps his speed steady. I feel safe with him.

I look out of the passenger window, trying to guess where we’re going. As soon as we join the dual carriageway I know. Mawlish Cove. Where we went for our very first proper date. It’s our special place, the one we go to when we want to celebrate something, but usually we have to cycle there. I think of all the places we can go now that Will can drive, to the coast a few miles away, a sightseeing tour of the local villages, maybe even drive to Wales to see my cousin, Gemma. I’ll be seventeen in a few months and maybe I can pass my test too, then we can go away for weekend, share the driving. I glance at Will and smile. I’m so proud of him.

“I love you,” I say.

“Love you too,” he replies. Then he starts singing.

“Sapphire Blue,

I do love you,

Forever me,

Forever you!” I join in the chorus, bubbles of happiness fizzing through me.
Will wrote the song for me last Christmas, calling it Sapphire ‘Blue’ after the color of my eyes—he said. He knew his folks were buying him the guitar he’d been begging for all year, so had secretly written the song to surprise me. It was the first thing he played. I remember how he picked up the guitar, slowly strumming the strings, then he’d walked over to me, sat down beside me and gazing into my eyes he’d started singing. It was only a short song, one verse, nothing special, I guess, but it summed us up. Me and Will, together forever. A warm surge of love spreads through me. I reach out and touch his hand. He turns to me and our eyes meet.

Just for a couple of seconds. An eye blink. Hardly any time at all.

But long enough for us to not notice the container fall off the back of the lorry in front. When we do notice, it’s in the middle of the road, blocking our path. A shard of ice slithers down my spine.

“Stop! Will, stop! We’re going to crash!”

Even as I shriek the words I know that there isn’t enough time to stop. I’m frozen to my seat, my eyes fixed in terror on the huge metal box just meters away.

“Hold tight!” Will jerks the steering wheel to the left in an attempt to avoid it, but he loses control of the car, and we’re skidding off the road. OMG, now we’re heading for a huge tree. It’s looming in front of us, solid and immovable. Its long, leafy branches swaying in the wind like scaly, green arms reaching out to grab us.

“Shit!” Will’s almost standing on the brakes in an effort to stop the car. My body shoots forward, then is pulled back by the seatbelt. My head slams against the back of the seat. The tires screech as the car starts to slow down but not quick enough for us to avoid the tree. I shut my eyes, not wanting to see the inevitable, horrific moment of impact. I can hear Will shouting, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I love you!” I want to tell him that I love him too, but I can’t speak, can’t move, my body’s turned into a block of granite.

I’m dimly aware that someone is screaming as if their soul is being ripped from their body. It is a few seconds before I realize that the screams are mine.

We’re going to die.


An explosion shatters in my head.

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My first YA is called Perfect Summer and is set in the not-too distant future when society is so obsessed with perfection that being different in any way is considered a crime. Morgan, the heroine, has a younger brother, Josh, with Down's syndrome and she and her family are under a lot of pressure to have him put away in a home so life is tough for Morgan. Whereas her best friend, Summer, seems to have a perfect life. Then Josh goes missing and in her quest to find him Morgan encounters great danger and discovers that Summer's life isn't so perfect after all.
Here’s the cover.

I raced along the street, looking for number fourteen, the address we had for Emma. I was at number thirty-four so I ran on. As I passed a small pathway separating a block of houses, two people came running out-both dressed in dark leisure suits. I barely had time to notice that one was a man, the other a woman, before the man charged into me, knocking me to the ground.

“Ow!” I yelled as I hit the pavement, landing on my left shoulder. “What the heck…?”

Furious, I pulled myself up and rubbed my shoulder. It stung like mad, and I could already feel the throb of a bruise forming. I glared up at the man then sucked in my breath as I saw the young girl, flung face down over his shoulder. I noticed the heavy boot on her left leg then the metal splint supporting it. She was wearing a calliper. She must be Emma. And they were kidnapping her!

“Hey, stop!” I yelled, scrambling to my feet. “Help! Help! Kidnap!” I screeched, running after them.

Jamie looked over, heard me and started towards us then suddenly backtracked to the van, shouting into his squilb.

“Law enforcement? You need to get to fourteen Greenhall Street, Barton fast. A young girl’s being kidnapped!”

The man snarled. “Get to the van quick!”

I charged after them as they both sprinted over to the van.

I’d heard people say that when they’d been faced with a dangerous situation, they didn’t have time to think, they just reacted. Just did what anyone else would do. Well, that’s exactly what happened to me.

I sort of went into auto-pilot. All I could think of was saving that little girl from whatever fate those two sickos had planned for her. Trying to ignore the stabbing pain in my shoulder, I ran after them, hollering for help at the top of my voice, hoping to alert Emma’s parents, the neighbours, anyone.

No one came.

The man ran faster, swearing profusely. The girl’s arms dangled limply down his back, her long hair cascading over her like a dark veil. She was so lifeless, that for a moment I feared she was dead. But then I realized she was probably drugged. After all, why would they want to carry off a dead body?
Jamie finished his phone call, and was leaning against the driver’s door of the van, obviously hoping to prevent them getting in. They ignored him and ran straight to the back, the woman in the lead. Jamie chased after them, shouting for help. We were both hollering at the top of our voices, but no one came to see what all the noise was about. Maybe the kidnappers chose the daytime to seize their victims because they knew most people were out at work then.

The woman pulled open the back doors of the van. “Quick! Get her inside before someone comes to check what these perishing kids are screaming at!”

A stitch was gnawing at my side. I tried to ignore it, forcing myself to run faster so I could help Jamie, who battled with the woman. I reached the van just as the man flung the little girl into the back of it. Jamie pushed past him and tried to pull her back out.

“You…" The man spat and cursed, kicking Jamie in the stomach with such force he fell back onto the ground.

Horrified, I heard Jamie groan and saw him curl up into a ball, clutching his stomach.

“Jamie!” I screamed. Pushing past the man I bent down to help Jamie up but the woman yanked me back by my hair so hard, I thought my scalp would come off in her hands. I jammed my elbow into her chest in a desperate attempt to force her to loosen her grip. Before I could wriggle free, I felt something placed over my mouth. A sickly, sweet smell flooded my nose and swarmed up into my head. Then everything went blank.

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Work in Schools
I’m proud to be Patron of Reading for Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College, Worcester. Encouraging children to read and write is very important to me and I often visit schools to talk about my work and run creative writing workshops with the pupils.
I’ve been visiting schools for over ten years now, and first started when I Iived in Cornwall. The Tate Gallery in St Ives asked me to run workshops based around one of their artist’s paintings. I enjoyed it and more visits followed.

I work with primary and secondary schools. For younger children I run a variety of workshops about creating characters and building up stories. We create stories about aliens, dragons, make up codes and other fun things. I love to read the stories children create and put a lot of them on my website.
The workshops I run in secondary schools are based around Perfect Summer and Sapphire Blue and cover characterisation, viewpoints, show not tell, setting the scene and story beginnings.

About Me
I’m an author of books for children and adults and a writing tutor. I started my writing career with the teenage magazine, Jackie and spent many years writing for various children's magazines before concentrating solely on writing books. I've had over one hundred children's books published by a range of publishers, including Walker, Scholastic and Harper Collins. I’ve also written several romance stories for women's magazines and had two romance novels published, under the name of Kay Harborne. My third novel, a contemporary romance, will be published by Accent Press next year, under the name of Karen King.

You can find out more about me and my work at

Wow! Multitalented and prolific! I love the excerpts, Karen. Thanks so much for sharing. On a personal note, I’ve watched Karen in action in schools. I should say, watched in awe. The children are amazingly enthusiastic. Well done, Karen. And huge congratulations on your new contract with Accent Press. Good luck.

Keep safe all!

Lots of Love,