Fossend Publishing

Fossend Publishing

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Let it Snow!

It's no secret to those who know me that I love snow, with a capital LOVE!  I think it always makes the landscape look so incredibly beautiful.  Unfortunately, where we live we don't get a lot of it, maybe the odd flurry that lasts a day or two, but then that's it.

In 2010 the UK had a lot of snow fall in a short period of time and it stayed on the ground for over a week.  I was on holiday at the time in Somerset, a beautiful County in the west of England. I went for a long walk one day with my camera and here are some of the photos I took.

Country Lane. Somerset

Snow resting on tree branches. Somerset.

Wintry landscape. Somerset.

Field. Somerset.

Country lane and hedges. Somerset.

The North of England was lucky to get their first snowfall last week, but in the south we're still waiting and I'm still hopefully scanning the horizon. I really do hope that we are lucky this year, and that the weather is kind to us, or as the song says "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!" (Please!)

Friday, 19 December 2014

Recommended books from 2014

I love reading as much as I love writing. This year I have read some truly excellent books and I thought I would do a quick round-up of some of them for you. I have listed my top five favourite books (in no particular order), with a short list of a few other that I also really loved.

Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts
Whiskey Beach is a Romantic Suspense.

Eli Landon seeks sanctuary at Bluff House in Whiskey Beach, after being accused of murdering his ex wife.  At Bluff House he meets Abra who cleans, teaches yoga and makes jewellery.  Eli and Abra become close, but someone is watching Eli and threatens his and Abra's existence.

I'm a huge fan of Nora Roberts and this book didn't disappoint.

The Harmony Run series by Sarah Elle Emm
The Harmony Run series is made up of three books Prismatic, Opalescent and Chatoyant.  It's a YA/Dystopian series that is set in 2050.  

Life in the USA has changed.  There is a new President and she has decreed that the country is now The United Zones of the Authority.  Citizens have been segregated into zones as per their race, and anyone with mixed parentage ends up in the harsh Indy Mixed Zone where life is like living in a prison.  We meet Rain and her brother Daktari, who team up with their friend Zi and three other teenagers living in the zone called Jabari, Marcello and Cole.  Fed up of their pitiful existence the teenagers form a resistance called The Freedom Front in a bid to fight against the President and the Authority.

YA/Dystopian is not something I normally read, but I absolutely loved this series.

The Travelling Tea Shop by Belinda Jones
The Travelling Tea Shop is Women's fiction (with some comedy, romance and travel thrown in!).

Laurie's mission is simple, escort TV Baking star Pamela Lambert Leigh on a research trip for her latest book. The trip takes Laurie and her guests (Pamela's mother and daughter), from New York to Vermont. There is travel, copious cake eating and lots of comedy.

As usual Belinda gives us a brilliant researched and well written story.  It's worth reading just for the description of amazing cakes and US scenery!

The Jillian Hillcrest Mysteries series by Joyce T Strand
The Jillian Hillcrest Mysteries series is made up of three books On Message, Open Meetings and Fair Disclosure.

Jillian Hillcrest is a PR Executive for a Biotech company in San Fransisco. She loves her job, gets on well with her colleagues and has a good relationship with her ex-husband Chad. In this series Jillian unwittingly becomes involved in a series of mysteries, involving murder, police corruption and insider trading. 

I love mystery books and these are excellent. Fantastic stories with brilliantly written characters.

Return to Love by Kathleen Shoop (book 2 of the Endless Love Series)
Return to Love is a sweet romance, set in the late 1960's/early1970's. 

April and Hale Abercrombie are beginning their married life but things don't go according to plan.  Home on leave from the Vietnam War Hale discovers a distant wife who is suffering from grief.  He has to do what he can to try and heal her heartache before returning back to the war.

This is a a beautifully haunting book, that is a follow up to Home Again, a great series that I recommend if you like romance/historical fiction.

Other good reads of 2014:
Here is a list of some other great books (again in no particular order) that I have read this year if you fancy stocking up your kindle!

The Hunt for Xanadu by Elyse Salpeter

One Night in Italy by Lucy Diamond

The Matchmaker Series by Elise Sax

Secrets of the Tides by Hannah Richell

Addicted by Nigel May

Closure by Sylvia Stein

Deep Blue Sea by Tasmania Perry

Monday, 15 December 2014

Huge Giveaway from NYT & USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Melissa Foster

To help celebrate the release of her newest Romance, bestselling author, Melissa Foster, has created a fun Street Team for readers of her books and lovers of the Romance genre. As part of this launch, she will be giving away lots of prizes—and I mean lots. From chocolate gift baskets to autographed books to super swag, she will be giving away more than 20 prizes, and as many as 520!
If the Street Team reaches 500 members by Monday, December 22, every single member will score an Advance Review Copy of her upcoming novel, Seaside Secrets. That means that you can enjoy the newly released Seaside Sunsets and then immediately read the next installment in the series. Pretty cool, huh?
Not in the mood to join the team? Not a problem! You can still enter the Rafflecopter contest for your chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card and autographed book.
Now that I know you’re excited, read on to learn more about Melissa’s Street Team and her newest release, Seaside Sunsets.

About Melissa’s Street Team

Do you LOVE Melissa Foster’s hunky heroes and smart, sexy heroines? Want to tell others about her books and help spread the word while gaining exclusive peeks at upcoming releases? Join Melissa’s Street Team, and become one of her most trusted fans!
Fab fan benefits:  Personal interaction with Melissa, lively discussions with other super fans and romance junkies, sneak peeks into future publications, exciting challenges with great prizes/swag, and fancy badges for your website, blog, and social media profiles.

About Melissa’s Newest Release

For the first time since developing the second largest search engine in the world, billionaire Jamie Reed is taking the summer off. He plans to work from the Cape and spend time with his elderly grandmother--and falling in love is not in his plans.
From the moment Jamie and Jessica meet, the attraction is white-hot. Once-overly-focused Jamie can think of little else than sensual, smart, and alluring Jessica, and Jessica discovers a side of herself she never knew existed. But when Jamie's business encounters trouble and his attorney and best friend intervenes, he proves that the blond beauty is too distracting for Jamie. To make matters worse, it appears that Jessica might not be who she says she is, turning Jamie's life--and his heart--upside down. In a world where personal information is always one click away, Jamie must decide if he should trust his heart or watch the woman he loves walk away

Recommended for readers aged 18+

Get Seaside Sunsets on AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunesKobo, or Google Play!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Hilltop Sunset: A Brynn Bancroft Mystery

Hilltop Sunset: A Brynn Bancroft Mystery

A mystery set in wine country pitting financial exec Brynn Bancroft against a determined stalker, murder, a troubled love interest, and career clashes.
Brynn Bancroft learns that a former employee who beat her nearly to death has returned to stalk her and her friend, Jillian Hillcrest, also a former victim.  Recently divorced, Brynn turns to a new love interest only to encounter additional unwelcome entanglements. Meanwhile, short-timer Brynn, who has resigned from her Silicon Valley company, becomes bored fulfilling her remaining responsibilities there. She begins to prefer supporting the launch of her ex-husband’s new hilltop winery while waiting to move to her next position. Between her stalker and her new love interest, Brynn faces a series of life-threatening events.

Interview with Joyce T. Strand
Q: Welcome Joyce.  Can you give the readers a brief overview of your Book, HILLTOP SUNSET: A BRYNN BANCROFT MYSTERY.
Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate the opportunity.

In HILLTOP SUNSET, financial executive Brynn Bancroft faces off against murder, a stalker, divorce, a troublesome new love interest, and career misgivings. At the same time, she transitions from an emotionless, somewhat promiscuous woman to a caring, committed individual, while she loses interest in managing numbers as a career and becomes intrigued with making wine.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and when your interest in writing began.
I’ve always been interested in writing, without being aware of it! I recall in middle school choosing the “essay” questions over “multiple choice,” and throughout my education experience always choosing to write research papers rather than take a test. During my 25-year career as public relations professional, I drafted hundreds of press releases, dozens of by-lined articles, white papers, fact sheets, and much more. I always found writing therapeutic.

However, I started writing fiction following a lay-off in 2008 when it became more difficult than usual to find a job. My late husband said – and I’m sure because he was finding my unemployed whining annoying – “why don’t you write a book?” and I said, “What kind of book?” thinking he meant something in high-tech or biotech since that’s where I spent my career. Instead he answered, “A mystery. You read enough of them.” I’ve now published my fourth mystery! And I consider myself an author, not a public relations professional. Yay!

Brynn was a minor character from the Jillian Hillcrest mysteries, and it seemed appropriate appealing to evolve her so that I could depart Silicon Valley and move to the wine country and learn about making wine. Also, I draw the mystery plots in my books from real California cases. A retired FBI agent friend of mine suggested the case for HILLTOP SUNSET. It was one he worked on and helped solve.

Q: What challenges did you face when writing HILLTOP SUNSET: A BRYNN BANCROFT MYSTERY? 
I wanted to develop Brynn from her promiscuous, unfeeling self to a renewed more committed and feeling individual. However, I needed to present her as the protagonist from the beginning of the book in a way that readers would engage with her. So I couldn’t make her too unlikeable or they wouldn’t turn the page. On the other hand, in order to show her transition, I had to make her a bit of a jerk initially. I used her ex-husband’s feelings for her to indicate redeeming characteristics, but I rewrote the opening chapters several times in order to present her as an unlikeable character worth following.

Q: I really enjoyed reading about BRYNN BANCROFT in your JILLIAN HILLCREST MYSTERIES series.  Will there be more BRYNN BANCROFT books?
I am planning two more Brynn Bancroft books, unless I uncover additional plots or reasons to write more. I plan to release the second Brynn Bancroft mystery in November 2015.

Q: Do you have any specific writing routines?
Yes and No. First, I do designate days, weeks, or months for writing. When I am writing, I require myself to write at least 3,000 words a day - no matter how bad the writing. After all, I can always rewrite, but it's important to maintain momentum. I do not designate a particular time of day for writing - I just write whenever I feel like it - so long as I write at least 3,000 words (and by the way, I average about 5,000 words a day unless I'm in the zone and then I've written as many as 10,000). I find that helps to take a day off occasionally, if for nothing else, to refresh and think ahead. But it has to be planned. I can't just not write during my designated writing time.

Q: What are the best and worst things about writing?
Writing creates something out of nothing. It turns a blank screen or piece of paper into a story full of characters who speak to us. I find that incredibly therapeutic – that I can control that kind of creation.

But I hate finding a typo in a printed copy even after it’s been proofread dozens of times; or envisioning a better clue to a mystery after the book is on the shelves; or wishing I’d named a character something else. And reading bad reviews – oh, that’s painful, especially if I agree with them!

Q: Do you read?  If so what type of books do you read?
I read mostly mysteries and thrillers and some historical novels. In my youth, I focused on the classics and yearned for existential insight. Today I relish a great puzzle of a mystery with maybe a bit of romance and it’s OK if I learn something along the way.

Q: Do you have a favorite author?  If so, who and why?
My favorite mystery writer is John Grisham. Not only do you get to read great thrillers, but you also learn about law firms, capital punishment, state supreme courts, insurance companies, etc.

However, my favorite novel is Shogun by James Clavell. I learned so much about medieval Japan while working my way through level after level of real-action chess moves of the characters. And another all-time favorite is To Kill a Mockingbird with the most endearing hero ever, Atticus Finch.

Q: Do you do a lot of research for your books?  If so how important is research for you?
Accuracy engenders credibility. If there are factual errors, readers cannot engage. Research can help corroborate facts or avoid errors. For my mysteries, for example, I checked out police procedure, location details (so that I didn’t put a luxury home in the middle of a slum!), criminal behavioral symptoms, wire tapping procedures, and much more.

I’ve set my next book in 1939, which required much more research to define the time without cell phones, the internet, or television. I enjoyed the challenge and learned so much about what it was like to live in the late 1930s in between the Great Depression and the beginning of WWII. 

Q: Tell the readers something interesting about yourself that others may not know.
I love the theater, particularly Broadway musicals. I attend whatever shows I can and try to get to New York City once a year. I also like jazz, particularly traditional and big band jazz, and classical music, especially Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. Oh, and I am a reporter for a regional wine magazine, and help publicize various local events.

Q:  What’s next for Joyce Strand?
I plan to publish “The Judge’s Story” mid-year 2015. It tells the story of a judge in 1939 Ventura, California who joins with a precocious 16-year old witness at a trial to help an accused juvenile criminal. It is based on the memoir of a judge from Ventura! This initiates an “unheralded heroes” series for me of novels based on real people whose lives suggest interesting stories.

I will publish the second Brynn Bancroft mystery in November 2015.

Quick fire round
Sweet or savoury 
oh, I can’t choose. I love both

Beach or countryside

EBook or paperback

Classic or modern

Sun or Snow

About the author

Joyce T. Strand is the author of who-done-it mysteries set in the San Francisco Silicon Valley and Napa-Sonoma wine regions of California.

Her most recent novel, HILLTOP SUNSET, is the first of a new series featuring protagonist Brynn Bancroft, a financial guru in transition to winemaker from corporate executive. Brynn Bancroft plays a minor role in Strand’s novels ON MESSAGE, OPEN MEETINGS, and FAIR DISCLOSURE—three mysteries solved by Jillian Hillcrest, a publicist whose boss was Chief Financial Officer Brynn Bancroft.

Much like her protagonist Jillian Hillcrest, Strand headed corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech companies in California’s Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. Unlike Jillian, however, she did not encounter murder in her career. She focused on writing by-lined articles, press releases, white papers, and brochures to publicize her companies and their products.

Strand lives with her two cats and collection of cow statuary in Southern California, and seeks out and attends as many Broadway musicals and other stage plays as possible.

She received her Ph.D. from the George Washington University, Washington, D.C. and her B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA

If you would like to learn more about Joyce you can visit her website, or follow her on facebook, goodreads and Twitter - @joycetstrand. 
Joyce also has a great blog called Strand's Simply Tips

To purchase the book please click one of the following links: