Monday, 20 February 2017

The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts Blog Tour


The blog tour for my latest release, The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts is starting today! I'll be updating this page with the links each day, as well as tweeting about each stop and keeping my Facebook page up to date.

There are some wonderful book bloggers taking part in the tour, so do go and check their blogs out!


20th February

21st February

22nd February

23rd February

24th February

25th February

27th February


28th February

1st March

2nd March

3rd March



About The Book

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Teashop-Broken-Hearts-ebook/dp/B01MDNF71Y/

  From fairy cakes to first dates!

Maddie Lamington’s dreams are crumbling around her. If she doesn’t come up with a plan to save her little teashop on Sweet Street soon, it might be too late…

So when she sees how the perfect apple crumble brings together her lonely father and faithful customer Birdie, inspiration strikes: she’ll set up a dating night involving all her sweetest bakes.

Luckily, seriously gorgeous Caleb is on hand to help sprinkle a little magic – and a lot of sugar! Could one night of scrumptious first dates fix Maddie’s heartbreak and save her beloved teashop, too?



Friday, 17 February 2017

The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts: Meet The Regulars


Last week, I introduced the team behind Sweet Treat Teashop, so now it's time for a little intro to the regular customers:

Zoe & Imogen

Zoe and Imogen occupy the first shop on the little Kingsbury Road terrace. They run a gorgeous and sparkly craft supplies shop called Paper Roses, where they often run classes at the weekend and provide their clients with half-time Sweet Street treats.

The girls often pop into the teashop for a Friday treat. And a Monday treat, because Mondays suck and they need something to lift the start of a new week. Zoe's favourite treat is a banana smoothie while Imogen's favourite are chocolate mud cupcakes.


 The Florists

Marjorie, the florist from number 2 Kingsbury Road, is constantly on a diet. But rules are made to be broken and she often sneaks into Sweet Street for a snack. She will, however, try to incorporate her treat into her five-a-day; a cherry bakewell, carrot cake or blueberry muffin, for example. Her favourite treats - when she isn't being 'good' - are chocolate fudge cupcakes.

Robbie and Annette are Marjorie's assistants at the florists – as well as being her offspring – but Maddie suspects Robbie spends more time at Sweet Street than he does at the florists. His favourite treat is a banana milkshake, which he has almost daily, while his sister's favourite treats are raspberry cream cheese brownies.


 Nicky

Nicky goes by several names, depending on whose company she's in. She was named Nicole Seraphina Vickery at birth, but she is rarely given the full-name treatment (and then only be her parents and grandmother). To her family she is Nicole, to her clients she is Nico (of Nico's Hair & Beauty, which sounds better than Nicole's Hair & Beauty, apparently) and Nicky to her friends.

Nicky's hair and beauty salon is a couple of doors down from Sweet Street, making it a convenient (and all too tempting) place to pop in for a daily treat. Her favourite is black forest trifle.

When she isn't in the teashop or busy running the salon, Nicky can be found catching up with friends over a few drinks, dancing while under the influence of a few drinks or attending family gatherings (unfortunately there aren't enough drinks involved in this). Nicky is single and actively (and often desperately) seeking The One.


 The Builders

You might not expect to see a bunch of builders in a cute little teashop - but life is full of surprises. 'The Builders' consists of a core group of three - Owen, Connor and Little Jordan - plus any of their workmates they manage to talk into visiting for an afternoon pick-me-up.

Owen is the oldest of the three – and also the most boisterous. He likes to flirt with the ladies, especially Mags. Owen's favourite treats are cherry cola muffins. Little Jordan is - as you can probably guess by the name - the youngest of the builders. He's quite shy and reserved and often on the end of a ribbing from Owen and Connor. His favourite treat is American-style cheesecake.

The Builders have been working on a new nearby housing development and have been popping into the teashop most days for the past six weeks. They've almost become part of the furniture so it'll be a shame when their work is completed and they move onto pastures new.


 Birdie and Franklin

Birdie visits the teashop once a week for a treat after getting her hair done at Nico's Hair & Beauty. She semi-retired from teaching a couple of years ago and now takes on supply work to 'keep her mind ticking over'. She can't bear the thought of sitting at home with a blanket over her lap and only daytime telly to keep her occupied.

Birdie makes the walk into town with her French bulldog, Franklin. But, being a furry, four-legged friend, he has to wait outside the teashop. But he doesn't mind too much as Maddie always makes sure he gets a couple of (homemade) doggy biscuits.

 Birdie's favourite treat from the teashop is apple crumble with lashings of warm custard.



About The Book

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Teashop-Broken-Hearts-ebook/dp/B01MDNF71Y/



From fairy cakes to first dates!

Maddie Lamington’s dreams are crumbling around her. If she doesn’t come up with a plan to save her little teashop on Sweet Street soon, it might be too late…

So when she sees how the perfect apple crumble brings together her lonely father and faithful customer Birdie, inspiration strikes: she’ll set up a dating night involving all her sweetest bakes.

Luckily, seriously gorgeous Caleb is on hand to help sprinkle a little magic – and a lot of sugar! Could one night of scrumptious first dates fix Maddie’s heartbreak and save her beloved teashop, too?







Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Short Story: The Valentine's Day Message


She’d had a crappy day at work, made worse by her boss being particularly obnoxious over the four bouquets of flowers – yes, four, the greedy cow – that had arrived in quick succession that morning, big, bright and flashy and a constant reminder that
a) it was Valentine’s Day and
b) Paige would be spending the evening with a Domino’s pizza rather than with one of four blokes who were thoughtful enough to not only send flowers, but to send them to her place of work for bonus gloating.
Still, a steaming hot pizza was a pretty decent consolation prize, especially compared to some of her lousier ex boyfriends. In a couple of cases, she’d have preferred the pizza, hands down. Her stomach rumbled at the thought as her bus trundled her towards home and her hot date.
The bus spat her out onto the pavement at the end of her road, the driver grunting as she offered a thank you, the doors closing as soon as her toes made contact with the path, but instead of sinking Paige into a fouler mood, the driver’s misery actually cheered her slightly. Perhaps the driver was having an even crappier day than she was, so her life couldn’t be all that bad. So she was alone on Valentine’s Day – so what? So her mum hadn’t even bothered to send a thinly veiled ‘anonymous’ card to bolster her confidence – good! It only made her feel worse about being single and clearly so unattractive that this was the only way she was going to receive a card. So what if Gabriella had gasped with surprise as each bouquet arrived, flinging a wrinkled hand to her bosom (she could Botox her face all she liked – the hands were a giveaway to her true age) and wondered aloud who they could possibly be from this time? Paige wouldn’t swap places with her boss for all the flowers in the world. The woman was the Devil – and not just because she was admired so explicitly.
No, Paige was a good person – even if she was a little narky at being left on the shelf at times – and the lack of cards, chocolates and floral gifts couldn’t change that. She volunteered at the local food bank at the weekend, she did her elderly neighbour’s shopping when it was snowing or icy, and, despite having strong motive and access to a heavy-duty paperweight, she had yet to murder Gabriella (though she daydreamed about the act daily). And it wasn’t as though she was permanently single; it’s just her single status usually coincided with Valentine’s Day and Christmas, so she was unable to participate in Smug Couple things.
With a hiss, the bus pulled away from the kerb and Paige made her way to the gorgeous Georgian property at the end of the road. It was grand and imposing, but unfortunately the inside didn’t match the exterior. When the landlord had chopped the building up into three flats, he’d ruthlessly stripped out any character he could find. Paige’s flat was on the first floor, sandwiched between Mrs Richards on the ground floor (whose shopping Paige was more than happy to help out with when needed) and Lee on the second floor (who was a bit of a dick). She unlocked the door (uPVC, no brass knocker, not even a whiff of history about it) and headed into the communal hall. The post was sitting in two neat little piles on the table: one pile for her, one for Lee. Mrs Richards must have been feeling sprightly today as the carpet had been hoovered (and there was no way Lee would have taken it upon himself to be helpful or tidy) and the dying pot plant in the corner had been put out of its (and the residents’) misery and had been taken away.
Paige was about to head up the stairs to her flat, but she paused, foot in mid-air. Surely not. Turning, she knocked on Mrs Richards’ door, listening for the reassuring shuffle of her elderly neighbour’s slippers on the other side.
‘Hello, dear. I knew you’d come.’ Mrs Richards beamed up at Paige, showing off her set of startlingly white dentures.
‘Did you?’ Paige peered at the old woman, looking for signs of strain or injury after taking on too much. ‘Are you okay?’ Paige peered more closely. ‘Was it you who hoovered the stairs?’
Paige couldn’t remember the last time the stairs had been cleaned. She always meant to, but never got round to actually doing it as it was such a faff. Guilt gnawed at her now, though as she pictured the old lady hauling the hoover up and down the staircase.
Mrs Richards’ lips closed over her dentures as her grin dimmed. ‘No, dear. That wasn’t me.’
‘Not …?’ Paige glanced up the stairs and Mrs Richards gave a hoot.
‘That lazy bugger? You’ve got to be kidding me. I don’t think he even bothers to vacuum the carpet in his own flat. Do you know, there is post in that pile that’s dated before Christmas?’ She leaned out into the hallway to point at the table, which now only contained one pile of letters. Paige had picked hers up as she’d passed (there wasn’t a card in there, FYI. Not even from her mum).
Mrs Richards brought her hand back into the flat, wringing it with her other hand. ‘So, you haven’t been up to your flat since this morning then?’
Paige shook her head. ‘I’ve only just got back in from work. I’m on my way up.’
‘I won’t keep you then,’ Mrs Richards said before closing the door abruptly. Paige took a step back, a frown creasing her forehead. How odd! Mrs Richards wasn’t usually so keen to say goodbye – she’d normally invite Paige in for a cup of tea whenever they met in the hallway (and Paige would accept as her neighbour made a cracking cuppa). Now she couldn’t wait to get rid of her! Just when Paige thought she couldn’t be rejected further on this marvellous day ...
She made her way up the freshly hoovered stairs to her flat, her brow creasing once again when she spotted something stuck to the front of her door. It was a white envelope, addressed to her. There wasn’t a stamp or even an address, simply her name. The blu-tack underneath stretched slightly as she plucked the envelope from the door before it pinged, releasing the envelope into her hands.
It was a card. It was a card! Somebody fancied her! She hadn’t been completely rejected! Either that or her mum had missed the last post for V Day and had decided to hand deliver it instead. But how would she have gained access to the building? If Mrs Richards had let her in, she’d have mentioned it just now, surely?
Oh, God, Paige thought as she slipped a finger under the envelope’s flap. What if it’s Lee?
She shuddered. Lee wasn’t just lazy; he also had a strong whiff of weed about him, wore the same fraying jogging bottoms day in day out, and belched so loudly, Paige could hear it in the flat below. She swore she could sometimes detect what he’d eaten for his tea afterwards.
Taking a moment to muster a little bit of courage (and to prolong this strange but thrilling moment), Paige reached into the envelope and removed the card, opening it quickly and reading the message. It was pretty extensive for a Valentine’s Day message rather than a hastily scrawled Will you be my Valentine, Love X.
It couldn’t be Lee then.
Dear Paige, she read. It was formal for a V Day message too.
I would like to thank you for all your help over the past couple of years: the shopping trips, the lightbulb-changing, chasing off that dodgy bloke pretending to be from the gas board. Most of all, thank you for the company and chats over cups of tea.
It was from Mrs Richards, which was sweet and made Paige smile, but wasn’t it just a little bit sadder than receiving a card from her mum? Equal, at least, Paige thought.
It’s been such a relief knowing you are there, in the flat above, on hand to help out if needed. I worry about Gran being on her own, but I feel better knowing you’re around, even if it’s just for a chat. I’d hate to think of Gran being lonely.
Just a minute! Gran? This was about Mrs Richards, but it wasn’t from her after all.
I’d heard all about you, of course, but it was nice to finally meet you a couple of weeks ago, although it was only for a few minutes.
Ah, it was all making sense now. Mrs Richards. Gran. The bloke she’d met recently in the hallway as she’d been on her way out. Mrs Richards had been keen to introduce them, but Paige couldn’t stick around to chat for long as she’d had to dash to the church hall for her shift at the food bank. The details were fuzzy, but she remembered he was a little bit older than her (five years, perhaps, no more than ten, nothing gross like several decades) and he’d seemed kind. Friendly. Grateful for her help with his grandmother as he’d been living miles away and couldn’t pop over as often as he’d like to, though he was in the process of moving close by.
I’d love it if we could meet up – perhaps tonight if you’re free (but you’re probably not) – so I can thank you properly for everything you’ve done. Dinner, coffee, whatever you’d like. I’ll be staying with Gran for a couple of days while the new house is sorted – please do pop by, even if it’s only for one of Gran’s cuppas and a chat!
Hopefully see you soon,
Daniel
Paige read the message three times, still standing out in the hall outside her door. Daniel, the grandson, was downstairs, sitting in Mrs Richards’ flat, right now. She took a pretty good guess that it had been him who’d cleaned up the hallway and hoovered the stairs, so she should go down and thank him for that at least. Would she go for a coffee with him? Or even dinner? Paige wasn’t sure, but the mere prospect was enough to put a spring in her step as she skipped down the spotless stairs to knock on her neighbour’s door.
 
*     *     *     *     *

I hope you enjoyed The Valentine's Day Message. You can find more of my short stories here or, if you've looking for something more substantial, something to really sink your teeth into, you can find my romantic comedy novels here 😊



https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Teashop-Broken-Hearts-ebook/dp/B01MDNF71Y/

Friday, 10 February 2017

Meet The Sweet Street Team!

The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts is mostly set in Sweet Street Teashop, with owner Maddie at the helm. Working alongside Maddie are her faithful co-workers, Mags and Victoria, so I thought I'd make a little introduction to the teashop trio!




Maddie has dreamed of running her own teashop for almost as long as she can remember. Her grandmother taught her to bake when she was a little girl and it's been a passion of hers ever since. She opened her teashop a year ago and although it's having a few teething problems, it really is a dream come true.

Although Maddie loves her customers, she's most comfortable in the kitchen with a whisk in one hand and a heavy bowl of sugary batter in the other while thinking of the potential joy the treats will bring to her customers.

Maddie's favourite sweet treat is a simple fairy cake with icing and sprinkles, as they remind her of her childhood.




Mum of two Mags is in her late thirties (though she won't tell you just how late). She's been working at Sweet Street Teashop since it opened a year ago. Mags has her fingers in all the pies at the teashop (though not literally - don't be worrying about the hygiene implications). She bakes, waitresses and balances the books (which is a relief for Maddie as numbers that don't contain lbs, kilos or other such measurements sail way over her head).

Mags is fun and flirty (especially with a certain builder who frequents the teashop) and loves nothing more than chatting with the customers.

Her favourite treats from the teashop are raspberry cream cheese brownies.




Victoria is the youngest member of the Sweet Street team and has been working with Maddie and Mags for almost six months. She mainly waitresses as baking is not one of her talents. Waitressing isn't the career Victoria envisions for herself, but she has bills to pay until her band signs a recording deal and they actually earn some cash from their music.

Victoria's role model is Avril Lavigne.

Her favourite treats at the teashop are peanut butter blondies.

About The Book




https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Teashop-Broken-Hearts-ebook/dp/B01MDNF71Y/

From fairy cakes to first dates!

Maddie Lamington’s dreams are crumbling around her. If she doesn’t come up with a plan to save her little teashop on Sweet Street soon, it might be too late…

So when she sees how the perfect apple crumble brings together her lonely father and faithful customer Birdie, inspiration strikes: she’ll set up a dating night involving all her sweetest bakes.

Luckily, seriously gorgeous Caleb is on hand to help sprinkle a little magic – and a lot of sugar! Could one night of scrumptious first dates fix Maddie’s heartbreak and save her beloved teashop, too?




Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Publication Day: The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Teashop-Broken-Hearts-ebook/dp/B01MDNF71Y/

The day is finally here - my fifth book has been released into the world! I loved writing The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts (despite what my diary of writing the book would sometimes have you believe) and I'm excited to find out what readers think of Maddie's story. If you read the book you can let me know over on Twitter or Facebook or leave a review on Amazon (reviews really do help).

Later, I'll be running a competition to celebrate the publication, which you'll be able to enter on Twitter and Facebook, so keep an eye out for that! You can enter on either platform, or double your chances by entering on both!

Over the next few weeks, I'll be adding book extras to the blog. If there's anything you'd like to see, do let me know! Also, there will be a blog tour starting on 20th February, which I'm looking forward to and will update on the blog and social media.

So, what is the book about? Read on to find out...

The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts


From fairy cakes to first dates!

Maddie Lamington’s dreams are crumbling around her. If she doesn’t come up with a plan to save her little teashop on Sweet Street soon, it might be too late…

So when she sees how the perfect apple crumble brings together her lonely father and faithful customer Birdie, inspiration strikes: she’ll set up a dating night involving all her sweetest bakes.

Luckily, seriously gorgeous Caleb is on hand to help sprinkle a little magic – and a lot of sugar! Could one night of scrumptious first dates fix Maddie’s heartbreak and save her beloved teashop, too?


The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts is available now

Friday, 3 February 2017

Writing The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts: Part Nine



I decided to keep a little diary while writing The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts, so I thought I'd share it here on the blog during the run-up to publication.


First Draft:

Week 9


Day 57:


So, The End is within reach. If I pull my socks up, I can have a first draft by the end of this week. It’s hard to believe that I’ve almost completed the first stage of a novel. When the writing slump arrived really early on, it threw me and I didn’t think I’d be able to pull it off. I knew what Maddie’s story was – although I’ve been thrown a few curveballs along the way, which I’ve loved – but getting the words out has sometimes been tough, and not just because my writing time has been limited over the summer holidays.

At the start of the holidays, I told myself I wanted to finish the first draft before the kids went back to school, so I’d better stop rambling here and get those words down!

Day 59:


The new series of The Great British Bake Off started last night and the technical challenge had the bakers making Jaffa cakes, which was funny because yesterday – only a few hours earlier – I wrote about Maddie baking homemade Jaffa cakes. I’m taking this as a sign. I haven’t decided whether it’s a good sign or not yet, but it’s definitely a sign either way!

Day 60:


It’s quarter to eleven on a Friday night and I’m still sitting at my desk. If this isn’t dedication, I don’t know what is.

Day 61:


The End is so close now! It’s been a hard slog at times, so I’ve bought myself the Miranda box set as a treat for when I finish the first draft. I’ve watched them all but as I don’t own any of them, I’ve been watching series one on Netflix again and again.

Day 62:


My goal was to finish the first draft of The Sweetest Kiss (now The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts) before my girls went back to school after the summer holidays and I can proudly say that with 8 days of the hols left, I have reached those blessed words ‘The End’. Yes, after 62 days and 84,123 words, the first draft is complete. Woo!

*Jennifer now collapses in a weeping heap*

The End: Reached

Brain: Frazzled

Word Count: 84,123

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Teashop-Broken-Hearts-ebook/dp/B01MDNF71Y/

From fairy cakes to first dates!

Maddie Lamington’s dreams are crumbling around her. If she doesn’t come up with a plan to save her little teashop on Sweet Street soon, it might be too late…

So when she sees how the perfect apple crumble brings together her lonely father and faithful customer Birdie, inspiration strikes: she’ll set up a dating night involving all her sweetest bakes.

Luckily, seriously gorgeous Caleb is on hand to help sprinkle a little magic – and a lot of sugar! Could one night of scrumptious first dates fix Maddie’s heartbreak and save her beloved teashop, too?



The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts is available to pre-order now

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Coming Soon: The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts Blog Tour



As The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts will be released next week (eep!), I've organised a blog tour, which will starting on 20th February. There are lots of brilliant bloggers on board (details above) and there will be reviews, guest posts and a Q&A.

I'll of course be tweeting and adding each tour stop on my Facebook page, as well as keeping the blog updated!


About The Book


https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Teashop-Broken-Hearts-ebook/dp/B01MDNF71Y/

From fairy cakes to first dates!

Maddie Lamington’s dreams are crumbling around her. If she doesn’t come up with a plan to save her little teashop on Sweet Street soon, it might be too late…

So when she sees how the perfect apple crumble brings together her lonely father and faithful customer Birdie, inspiration strikes: she’ll set up a dating night involving all her sweetest bakes.

Luckily, seriously gorgeous Caleb is on hand to help sprinkle a little magic – and a lot of sugar! Could one night of scrumptious first dates fix Maddie’s heartbreak and save her beloved teashop, too?


The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts is available to pre-order now