Christmas tipples #AldiWineClub #AldiSpirits

In today’s austere times, the advent of shopping smarter is more important than ever, and I for one have noticed the great difference in shopping with Aldi. One, I have more food in my kitchen for my money. Two, I have more money FOR food. The quality hasn’t suffered at all, and when I got the chance to join the wine club, it was pretty much a no-brainer, given that I do enjoy the odd glass after a day of kidwrangling and writing romance.

Some of my clear favourites, are the Toro Loco range of wines, which are amazing and taste and look more expensive than they are (see Instagram for photos) and the Salted Caramel Vodka Liquer. This bottle is like manna from heaven, is perfect with ice on its own or awesome in a cocktail or six.

Tamova Liqueurs Salted Caramel Vodka Liqueur

£9.99 per bottle

Available now in stores

Described as “amazing” by Holly Willoughby, this smooth and seductive salted caramel liqueur is the ultimate festive party drink, made exclusively from caramel flavours, finest rock salt and triple distilled British grain vodka.

If it works for Holly, it works for me!

If you are looking for BUBBLES, I would recommend their pink champagne, or this little beauty, which I would be proud to take to a party.

Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut Single bottle 75cl £9.99 / Case of 6 £59.94 Available in stores and online now at aldi.co.uk Every Christmas should be celebrated with an award winning Champagne. Aldi’s Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut, delivers a gorgeous bouquet of ripe apples, floral hints and soft red fruits and boasts an aroma of baked apple and brioche. This sparkler is best served with Aldi’s Exquisite Rope Hung Scottish Smoked Salmon and enjoyed perfectly chilled.

To see the photos (and more of bookish things and the reasons I enjoy wine) check out my Instagram

Happy Christmas everyone!!

 

Author Interview: Ellie Darkins

darkins

Hi, thanks for coming to chat to us today!

Q1. Can you tell us a little about your WIP?

My new book is called HOLIDAY WITH THE MYSTERY ITALIAN and was inspired by TV dating shows. The hero and heroine meet on a celebrity version of the show, and I loved exploring that excitement of seeing that two strangers have a spark and attraction, and voyeuristically following them to see if it would lead somewhere!

Q2.What’s next for the writing?

Up next is FALLING FOR THE REBEL PRINCESS: royal party-girl marries rock-star in Vegas!

Q3. In addition to your books, what kind of career have you had?

Before I was a writer I was a professional editor, and I balance the two careers at the moment. I mentor lots of budding authors and get the first look at some fabulous stories! Back when I was still at university (studying English Literature) I worked in a bookshop, so I’ve pretty much been steeped in books for my entire professional life.

Q4. A typical day in the life of you – what does that look like?

As well as the reading and the writing I look after my one-year-old, so on nursery days it’s all about getting us both out the house, dropping little one off at nursery, finding a friendly coffee shop and settling in with the laptop until lunch. Then it’s home and chaos until bedtime, after which I’ll open the laptop again and try and get some more words down (or maybe watch a sneaky episode of something if the morning went well!)

Q5. I collect elephant ornaments (and books of course!) – do you have something you collect?

Do dust bunnies count?!

Q6. Women writers, and romance writers in particular, often see prejudice and a certain ‘pigeon holing’ when it comes to their books – what would you say about your own work?

I have to say I’ve had nothing but supportive words from people I’ve met in real life (perhaps it’s because when people ask me what I do, I tell them with a beaming smile and assure them that, yes, it is super-amazing to be a romance author). But I’ve read articles and reviews that show that there are still people out there that don’t value the romance genre as much as it deserves. Of course it’s disappointing to know that attitudes like this still exist, but I think it comes from unfamiliarity with the genre. So I try to combat it sharing as many great authors as I can, talking to everyone I meet about how fabulous romance novels are, and pressing books into the hands of anyone who will take them.

Q7. If you could branch out into a different genre, which one would you choose and why?

I think I’d explore something the darker and edgier, like psychological women’s fiction.

Q8. Do you have any tips for the budding novelists out there reading this?

My only advice really is to just keep writing. Sadly there are no shortcuts to the Happy Ever After, you just have to keep putting one word in front of another.

Q9. What are you reading currently?

I’m currently re-reading Apple Tree Yard, by Louise Doughty. It couldn’t be further from a Mills & Boon, but it’s a book that’s been haunting me since I first read it a couple of years ago. I recommended it to a mentoring client, and then couldn’t resist going back to see if it’s as good as I remember. It’s better.

Q10. Finally, do you have a next goal or dream in life? If so, what is it?

Wow, big question. At the moment, my big goal is to start the next book! It can be tricky letting go of a story and characters you love and know so well and starting again at a blank first page. I’m doing lots of character work at the moment to get to know my new hero and heroine and hopefully their story will start to flow soon.

To hear more about Ellie and her book – see below!

HOLIDAY WITH THE MYSTERY ITALIAN – OUT 1 DECEMBER 2016

Since the accident that paralyzed him, Italian tycoon Mauro Evans vowed to embrace life. So when he stars in a dating show for charity, picking prickly journalist Amber Harris as the winner to take on holiday is a challenge he can’t resist!   In Amber’s experience, relationships equal pain, so she’s determined to ignore her attraction to charismatic Mauro. But his bravery and strength threaten to tear down her defenses, giving her a new Christmas dream—ringing in the New Year with wedding bells!

Ellie Darkins  writes heart-warming stories about falling in love, finding your soul mate and fighting hard to make real relationships work. The HEA is guaranteed, but nothing else along the way is. Expect to see surprise babies, breath-taking settings and alpha heroes by the bucketload. Plus steamy kisses, heaps of sensual tension, and fireworks just audible from behind a closed bedroom door.

Elliedarkins.com

Facebook: facebook.com/elliedarkins

Twitter: twitter.com/elliedarkins

Insta: Instagram.com/ellie_darkins

Holiday with the Mystery Italian by Ellie Darkins – out now!

darkins

Publication day today for the fabulous new book from Ellie Darkins – I have read it and loved it! On Sunday we have the honour of chatting to Ellie too, so stay tuned for that!

Now, more about the book – I gave the story 5 stars!

Winning the ultimate prize

Since the accident that paralyzed him, Italian tycoon Mauro Evans vowed to embrace life. So when he stars in a dating show for charity, picking prickly journalist Amber Harris as the winner to take on holiday is a challenge he can’t resist!

In Amber’s experience, relationships equal pain, so she’s determined to ignore her attraction to charismatic Mauro. But his bravery and strength threaten to tear down her defenses, giving her a new Christmas dream – ringing in the New Year with wedding bells!

Review

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which had a super sweet ending. I love a slow burning romance which keeps you shouting at the pages for them to get it together! The chemistry between the characters was described so well it fizzes from the pages, and I really rooted for them to get together. Beautiful surroundings and a TV show make this plot very enjoyable.

Out now on Amazon

Author Spotlight: Elisabeth Hobbes

 

Hi Elisabeth, thanks for coming to chat to us today!

Hi, it’s great to be here, thanks for having me.

Q1. Can you tell us a little about your WIP?

It’s a reunion story set shortly after the Norman conquest of England.  It’s my darkest story so far (just right for the festive season) with a hero and heroine who have both been deeply damaged during their time apart and must learn to trust each other again in order to defeat a common enemy.  There are secrets to reveal, rifts to mend and treachery to uncover that will change their lives forever.

When Aelric’s band of outlaws ambush Constance on her journey back to Cheshire, after seven years since their last encounter, Aelric sees the opportunity to use her as means of revenge on the man that destroyed his life.  As the feelings they once shared begin to reignite Aleric is torn between his lust for revenge and his desire for Constance.  Now widowed and with a secret duty she is determined to carry out, Constance is prepared to do anything to regain her freedom, including playing on the closeness she once shared with the young Saxon.

Q2.What’s next for the writing? What are you working on currently?

I’m telling the story of the hero’s villainous brother from The Blacksmith’s Wife, my third book.  Roger was a character a lot of readers responded to strongly.  I began wondering how the privileged, self-centred seducer who led my innocent heroine on would cope with a woman who wasn’t prepared to fall into his bed at a snap of his fingers.  I thought it would be fascinating to see if I could redeem him.  I hope readers will agree he earns his happily ever after.

Q3. In addition to your books, what kind of career have you had?

I teach Primary school three days a week.  I originally trained to teach History and English at 11-18 but after a couple of years teaching English in Greece I returned to the UK and started supply teaching where I discovered I much preferred the younger age range.  I also have an eleven and nine year old who keep me pretty busy.

Q4. A typical day in the life of you – what does that look like?

It depends if it’s a school day or writing day.  Either way it starts with a cup of tea before anyone else is awake.  If it’s a school day I dash out of the house by 7.30 and spend the drive mulling over my latest chapters then I’m in a school based blur until I leave.  I rarely get any chance to write on those days after I’ve fed the family, marked books and done my prep for the following day.  I’m always amazed that there are still people who think teaching is a 9-3 job!

If it’s a writing day I drop my kids at school and walk to the library where I write (no internet to distract me).  These are the days when I also do the housework, shopping and family admin.

Any type of day involves lots of tea, cats and random bursting into song and dance routines in the kitchen, much to the embarrassment of my daughter.

Q5. I collect elephant ornaments (and books of course!) – do you have something you collect?

I love earrings.  I don’t wear any other jewellery (not even my wedding ring) but I have around thirty pairs and keep buying more.  I also love rooting through vintage and junk shops and finding odd ornaments and old tins and boxes.

Q6. Women writers, and romance writers in particular, often see prejudice and a certain ‘pigeon holing’ when it comes to their books – what would you say about your own work?

I think its human nature to pigeonhole things to relate them to what we already know but I hate the easy dismissal of genre fiction as formulaic or lazy.  I’m lucky not to have experienced too much prejudice personally but it infuriates me that people are so quick to dismiss an entire genre they might enjoy.  I try to think of it their loss.

If I had to pigeonhole my work I’d say my heroes tend to be underdogs or lower social status than my heroines.  My heroines are strong, independent women who more than give their heroes a run for their money.

Q7. If you could branch out into a different genre, which one would you choose and why? I’d love to write a murder mystery because I love reading them and trying to spot the culprit.  I imagine the plotting would get the better of me though.

Q8. Do you have any tips for the budding novelists out there reading this?

Even if you really don’t feel like it get some words down on paper as often as possible.  You can’t edit if you don’t have anything to edit.

Q9. What are you reading currently?

Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks by John Curran.  I love going ‘behind the scenes’ and it’s fascinating to see the evolution of her plots and characters.

Q10. Finally, do you have a next goal or dream in life? If so, what is it?

I’d love become successful enough to write full time.

Thanks for coming to chat to us Elisabeth – I have every faith you will get there!

The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge is out now in ebook and paperback in UK and US.