Morton Gray and ‘2nd book syndrome’

morton orange

Second Book Syndrome

Will they like it? What if they hate it? Will it receive such good reviews as Book 1? Am I a one book wonder?

When Lynda asked me to write a blog post about ‘the second book’ these were the questions that bubbled to the surface.

I’ve been e-published with The Girl on the Beach for over a year now and that book has just been issued as a paperback. I’ve had 72 lovely reviews for that story and, like Lynda’s first book, it won Choc Lit Publishing’s Search for a Star competition. As a very modest, shy person this made me think that the story must be okay. Lol.

My second novel, The Truth Lies Buried is e-published on 1 May 2018. I’m hoping that this one becomes a paperback in time too, but second book nerves have already begun to gather and doubt crows to circle.

Thankfully, the way that Choc Lit works is slightly different to many publishers. When you submit a book for consideration it is sent to a panel of readers and the author only gets a contract if these readers return favourable comments.

Also in common with Lynda, this second book was written before my first published novel. It was started at a writing workshop at the Romantic Novelists’ Association conference in 2011 run by author Linda Gillard. Its first chapter (now chapter three) was shortlisted for the former Festival of Romance New Talent Award. Co-incidentally, that was the first occasion when I met Lynda too, as she was also shortlisted.

I came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t matter if it was book two, three, four, or beyond a writer is bound to have a certain amount of trepidation when releasing a book into the world. So, I will take a deep breath, cross my fingers and hope that people enjoy my new story when it is published on 1 May. Wish me luck …



About The Truth Lies Buried

Two children in a police waiting room, two distressed mothers, a memory only half remembered …

When Jenny Simpson returns to the seaside town of Borteen, her childhood home, it’s for a less than happy reason. But it’s also a chance for her to start again.

A new job leads to her working for Carver Rodgers, a man who lives alone in a house that looks like it comes from the pages of a fairy tale – until you see the disaster zone inside …



As Jenny gets to know Carver she begins to unravel the sadness that has led to his chaotic existence. Gradually they realise they have something in common that is impossible to ignore – and it all links back to a meeting at a police station many years before.

Could the truth lie just beneath their feet?



About Morton S. Gray

Morton lives with her husband, two sons and Lily, the tiny white dog, in Worcestershire, U.K. She has been reading and writing fiction for as long as she can remember, penning her first attempt at a novel aged fourteen. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors.

Her debut novel The Girl on the Beach was e-published in January 2017, after she won Choc Lit Publishing Search for a Star competition. The story follows a woman with a troubled past as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s headteacher, Harry Dixon. This book is available as a paperback from 10 April 2018.

Morton’s second book for Choc Lit The Truth Lies Buried is published as an e-book on 1 May 2018. Another romantic suspense novel, the book tells the story of Jenny Simpson and Carver Rodgers as they uncover secrets from their past.

Morton previously worked in the electricity industry in committee services, staff development and training. She has a Business Studies degree and is a fully qualified clinical hypnotherapist and Reiki Master. She also has diplomas in Tuina acupressure massage and energy field therapy. She enjoys crafts, history and loves tracing family trees. Having a hunger for learning new things is a bonus for the research behind her books.


You can catch up with Morton on her website, on Twitter – @MortonSGray, her Facebook page – Morton S. Gray Author – and

Instagram –


Pre-order link for The Truth Lies Buried at or


Purchasing links for The Girl on the Beach at or


Chatting to Marie Laval about her new Choc Lit Book, Little Pink Taxi…!

Thank you very much, Lynda, for your kind invitation to feature on your blog and talk about the release of LITTLE PINK TAXI, my contemporary romantic suspense published by Choc Lit. I have been so looking forward to this day. It is lovely to celebrate it with you and your readers!









  1. What was your inspiration for Little Pink Taxi?

I had two main sources of inspiration. The first one was the setting – the magnificent Cairngorms in Scotland. A few years ago I used to watch a television series called ‘Monarch of the Glen’ which featured a beautiful castle facing a loch and surrounded by a forest. It was called Glenbogle Castle, and I loved it so much that I knew I would just have to set a story in a very similar kind of castle one day. In my mind, Raventhorn – the fictitious castle in Little Pink Taxi – is almost identical to Glenbogle castle. There is a loch and a forest, and of course, the dramatic backdrop of Cairngorms.



My other source of inspiration was a pink taxi I saw a few years ago in Manchester city centre. I know that they are quite common these days, but at the time, it was the first I had ever seen, and I thought it would be fun to have my heroine drive one of them. The story developed from there.

  1. How and when do you find time to write?

There is nothing I would love more than be a full-time writer and write all day, but I have a day job, like most of us, so my writing has to take place in the evenings or early morning at weekends. I do have the school holidays though, and I always make the most of them!







  1. Which character is your favourite?

Rosalie is my absolute favourite, although I loved writing about all her friends in Irlwick, as well as stuck-up hero Marc Petersen whose cold heart she manages to thaw. Rosalie is a kind, warm, bubbly young woman who is very loyal to her friends and family and set up Love Taxis as a testimonial to her late mother. She is completely at odds with Marc. Even their tastes in music clash since she loves to sing to pop music, and he only appreciate jazz or classical music. Another favourite couple of mine are friendly Fergus, who operates the switchboard at Love Taxis, and his outspoken wife Marion, who works as a cleaner at Raventhorn.

  1. Are any characters based on anyone you know?

I made them all up, even if by sheer coincidence my eldest son’s lovely girlfriend is called Alice, is a vegetarian and loves baking, just like Rosalie’s best friend. She even has dark brown hair too!


  1. Do you ever become attached to your characters and have a hard time letting go of them? Or are you happy to let them go and move on to the next project?

I always grow attached to my characters, but I suppose it’s only natural, having spent months, if not years in their company. It takes me a long time to complete a novel, and I am not even talking about the editing phase… In that time, I usually have been spending more time with my characters than with many of my friends! However, I will keep in touch with Marc and Rosalie since my next two novels which feature Marc’s childhood friends, journalist Cédric Castel, and secret agent turned wine-grower Luc Peyrac.


  1. Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?

I can honestly say that all three are linked, although being a pantser, the story only really develops as I go along. For LITTLE PINK TAXI, I knew that I wanted to write about Scotland again (I had just finished a historical romance set near Cape Wrath in the Far North of Scotland). I wanted my heroine to live in a castle based on the one in ‘Monarch of the Glen’ TV series, and drive a pink taxi. And the plot developed from that.







  1. How long does it take you to write a book and what sort of research do you do?

Being a full-time teacher and a mum of three (even though my two elder sons are now quite grown up), I don’t have much time to write during the week or in term-time. Therefore I would say that it takes me about a year to complete the first draft of a novel. Then of course, there is the re-writing, and the editing!

I spend a long time researching background information to make sure my facts are as accurate as possible, although I will confess that I sometimes use what we writers call ‘poetic licence’. Researching is one of my biggest pleasures, but it often leads me astray, and I can waste quite a lot of time experimenting with new ideas and subplots, before reverting to my original ideas. That’s the prob

  1. What part of writing do you find most challenging?

It depends, Lynda. Every story, and almost every day is different. There are times of intense happiness when the words flow, the story works well and the characters talk to me. Then there are times of frustration, despair and gloom, when I feel like giving up.


  1. Can you describe the moment when you realised you were a real ‘author’?

I am still not sure I am, Lynda!





  1. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

To write what you love, and persevere. I often say that I could have easily given up submitting work after receiving my first rejection letters. I am so glad I didn’t.


Author Bio

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley in Lancashire for a number of years. A member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors, she writes contemporary and historical romance. Her native France very much influences her writing, and all her novels have what she likes to call ‘a French twist’!

LITTLE PINK TAXI is Marie’s second contemporary romance and is published by Choc Lit. It is available here.

You can get in touch with Marie on Facebook and Twitter, and why not check the beautiful photos of Scotland and Denmark on the special Little Pink Taxi Page on Pinterest?


Take a ride with Love Taxis, the cab company with a Heart … 
Rosalie Heart is a well-known face in Irlwick – well, if you drive a bright pink taxi and your signature style is a pink anorak, you’re going to draw a bit of attention! But Rosalie’s company Love Taxis is more than just a gimmick – for many people in the remote Scottish village, it’s a lifeline.

Which is something that Marc Petersen will never understand. Marc’s ruthless approach to business doesn’t extend to pink taxi companies running at a loss. When he arrives in Irlwick to see to a new acquisition – Raventhorn, a rundown castle – it’s apparent he poses a threat to Rosalie’s entire existence; not just her business, but her childhood home too.

On the face of it Marc and Rosalie should loathe each other, but what they didn’t count on was somebody playing cupid …


A fabulous interview with Jane Lovering where she talks about the launch of her new timeslip novel..!

Living in the Past (Choc Lit) by [Lovering, Jane]

Release date: 14th February 2018..!


Hello Jane and thank you so much for joining me….

Before we start, might I congratulate you for your shortlistings for this years Romantic Novel of the Year (RONA’s) where two of your books have been listed in 2 different categories.

First, we have:

Christmas at the Little Village School (Choc Lit)

and Secondly… we have….

Little Teashop of Horrors: A wonderful funny, uplifting romantic read, perfect to escape with by [Lovering, Jane]

I must say, I’ve read them both and they are both amazing reads… So, seeing as we are celebrating and wishing you the very best of luck…. I brought the scones because everyone knows we love our afternoon tea..!






Now… we’re sorted, we’ll begin our chat about your new novel, Living in the Past….

Living in the Past (Choc Lit) by [Lovering, Jane]



  1. I know you’ve wanted to write this book for a long time, so… what was your inspiration for Living in the Past?


It was a combination of things – my foundation degree in archaeology, the local landscape (always been fascinated with the pre-history of North Yorkshire), and my deep and abiding love for Tony Robinson. I also wanted to write a book that showed the sheer hard graft of archaeology, that it’s not all really exciting artifacts turning up every ten minutes, most of it is mud and rain and arguing.



  1. How and when do you find time to write?


I work really random shifts, where I might be at work any time from 6.30am to 10.30pm. But this means I am often at home and awake during the day, so I will write then. Not so much in the evenings, my brain doesn’t really work after dark.


  1. Which character in Living in the Past is your favourite?


My main character, Grace, is probably my favourite, because the story is mostly told through her POV, but I am also very fond of her best friend Tabitha. She’s outspoken and a bit random, not unlike myself.


  1. Are any of the characters based on anyone you know?


No! I never write about people I know. I’ve got a head full of imaginary people already, I don’t need real ones in there cluttering things up any further.


  1. Do you ever become attached to your characters and have a hard time letting go of them. Or, are you happy to let them go and move onto the next project?


I don’t really have trouble letting go. I get very involved in their lives whilst writing the books, but I always feel that I’ve done as much with them as I can in the book, so am happy to release them into the wild at the end.


  1. Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?


I get a vague image of a place, with some people wandering around in it. When I concentrate, I can see them doing things. So it’s probably a combination. Often, oddly, it’s a title, which suggests the story, and the story suggests the people. And then we change the title…



  1. How long does it take you to write a book and what sort of research do you do?


It depends on the book. I once wrote a book in six weeks, but mostly it’s around six to nine months, with lots of that time spent just noodling around and staring out of windows. I write quite fast once I get my head down and the ideas start coming, but as soon as my concentration is broken (by the need to go to work, for example), I find it hard to pick it back up again. Research also depends on the book. Living in the Past was quite research heavy because I wanted to get the Bronze Age details right but most of my books are contemporaries, so, apart from the odd Google, I don’t need to do too much. And I read a lot, so absorb quite a bit of research without realising I’m doing it.


  1. What part of writing a novel do you find most challenging?


The keeping going. The beginning is always great, because the idea is crystal clear and you can see where it’s going and it’s all shiny and new. Then, round about the 20,000 word mark, it morphs into the worst idea ever. All the characters are bland, the story is stupid and you’d rather sandpaper your own eyeballs than finish writing it. You literally cannot understand why you ever thought it was a good idea to write that book.  At that point, keeping going is the most important thing in the world, and incredibly hard to do.


PS, it nearly always works out in the end.



  1. Can you described the moment when you realised you were a ‘real’ author?


Probably winning the 2012 Romantic Novel of the Year. It made me feel that it wasn’t just me, other people really liked my book! Mostly though, I’m just pretending to be an author because I get to walk about talking to myself and everyone thinks it’s normal.


  1. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?


Read. Read everything you can, not just things you ‘like’. Try some books you don’t immediately enjoy, and outside your usual genre. And write. Write lots. Diaries, blogs, practice first chapters. Practice might not make perfect, but it makes it a lot easier to keep going when you feel that every word is complete pants (see question 8).

Buying links for Living in the Past…

Jane Lovering's profile photo, Image may contain: 1 person, standing and outdoor


Author Bio

Jane was, presumably, born, although everyone concerned denies all knowledge. However there is evidence that her early years were spent in Devon (she can still talk like a pirate under the right conditions) and of her subsequent removal to Yorkshire under a sack and sedation.

She now lives in North Yorkshire, where she writes romantic comedies and labours under the tragic misapprehension that Johnny Depp is coming for her any day now. Owing to a terrible outbreak of insanity she is now the minder of five cats (three intentional and two accidental) and a pair of insane terriers – just as the five kids showed signs of leaving home, and she has to spend considerable amounts of time in a darkened room as a result (of the animals, not the kids leaving home).
Jane’s likes include marshmallows, the smell of cucumbers and the understairs cupboard, words beginning with B, and Doctor Who. She writes with her laptop balanced on her knees whilst lying on her bed, and her children have been brought up to believe that real food has a high carbon content. And a kind of amorphous shape.

Not unlike Jane herself, come to think of it.

She had some hobbies once, but she can’t remember what they were. Ask her to show you how many marshmallows she can fit in her mouth at once, though, that might give you a clue. Go on, I dare you.


An interview with Ruby Fiction’s Caroline James..!

An interview with Ruby Fiction’s Caroline James…

Where she talks about her new release… The BEST Boomerville Hotel..!











  • What was your inspiration for The Best Boomerville Hotel

I used to own a country house hotel in Cumbria, it was a wonderful place and the setting of Boomerville is based on reality. The hotel was set in three acres of gardens on the edge of the Lake District and steeped in history. I always knew that I would base a story there. As I’ve got older I am aware that middle age and beyond scares a great many people. One in three over the age of 50 in the UK now live on their own. In my imaginary world Boomerville is a retreat that offers whacky and conventional courses to stimulate and encourage mid-lifers to embrace their years and have a blast as they get older. I inspired myself as I wrote the book and vowed to go out of my own comfort zone in the years to come and make the most of life, like all the boomers in Boomerville.


  • How and when do you find time to write?

Early mornings are the best for me but if I am on a deadline or a roll I can write all day and late into the evening on the days when other work commitments allow.


  • Which character in The Best Boomerville Hotel is your favourite?

It must be Hattie. She is a larger than life character who has developed in other books and although I long to kill her off, she just won’t go away. Hattie has a heart of gold, an appetite of a horse and loves a livener any time of the day. Middle aged and mischievous she is fun to be around. Life is never dull if Hattie rocks up to your party.


  • Are any of the characters based on anyone you know?

Yes. Absolutely. An amalgamation of a zillion people I have met over the years. My life has been spent in the hospitality industry and I’ve met some fascinating folk. I take little bits of character traits or certain sayings, give them a twist and write on.


  • Do you ever become attached to your characters and have a hard time letting go of them. Or, are you happy to let them go and move onto the next project?

I am completely relieved when I write THE END and hope that I’ll never have the characters talking in my head ever again. This lasts for about a day. After which, I start to wonder how they are getting on and begin to create new stories.


  • Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?

The story. The rest weaves around it.


  • How long does it take you to write a book and what sort of research do you do?

It varies. Six months? A year? All dependant on what is happening in my life. I only started writing six years ago, after dreaming of penning a novel from childhood and finally glued my bum to a chair, grabbed every spare hour and got on with it. I research my memories for incidents that happened in my life and when that runs out go hard on the internet. Travel is a wonderful way to research too and being totally in love with many different places, travel enables my ideas to soon cement onto the page.


  • What part of writing a novel do you find most challenging?

All of it.


  • Can you described the moment when you realised you were a ‘real’ author?

Initially, seeing my debut book, Coffee Tea The Gypsy & Me, go to number three in women’s fiction on Amazon and a week later being E-book of the Week in the Sun newspaper. I never quite believe it and only recently replied, ‘Author’ when asked what I did for a living. Coffee Tea The Caribbean & Me was featured as a Top Read in the Thomson Holiday Inflight Magazine in 2017 and I was constantly contacted by readers to say they had seen it when flying off on holiday – that was a wonderful feeling.


  • What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

It’s never too late to start writing. Stop daydreaming and just get on with it.


Caroline James Bio:  Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that features in her novels. She is based in the UK but has a great fondness for travel and escapes whenever she can. A public speaker, consultant and food writer, Caroline is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association and writes articles and short stories and contributes to many publications. In her spare time, Caroline can be found trekking up a mountain or relaxing with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.




Caroline’s new book:  The Best Boomerville Hotel


‘Britain’s answer to the Best Marigold Hotel’

Let the shenanigans begin at Boomerville …


Jo Docherty and Hattie Contaldo have a vision – a holiday retreat in the heart of the Lake District exclusively for guests of ‘a certain age’ wishing to stimulate both mind and body with new creative experiences. One hotel refurbishment later and the Best Boomerville Hotel is open for business!

Perhaps not surprisingly Boomerville attracts more than its fair share of eccentric clientele: there’s fun loving Sir Henry Mulberry and his brother Hugo; Lucinda Brown, an impoverished artist with more ego than talent; Andy Mack, a charming Porsche-driving James Bond lookalike, as well as Kate Simmons, a woman who made her fortune from an internet dating agency but still hasn’t found ‘the One’ herself.

With such an array of colourful individuals there’s bound to be laughs aplenty, but could there be tears and heartbreak too and will the residents get more than they bargained for at Boomerville?


PUB DATE: 13 March 2018
CATEGORY:  Contemporary/Romantic Comedy
PUBLISHER: Ruby Fiction – a new imprint of ChocLit Publishing




The Best Boomerville Hotel

Twitter:  @CarolineJames12

Rachel Dove talks about her new novel, ‘THE LONG WALK BACK..!’

The Long Walk Back

Here’s the blurb..!!

Does everyone deserve a second chance?

As an army trauma surgeon Kate knows how to keep her cool in the most high pressure of situations. Although back at home in England her marriage is falling apart, out in the desert she’s happy knowing that she’s saving lives.
Until she meets Cooper. It’s up to Kate to make a split-second decision to save Cooper’s life. Yet Cooper doesn’t want to be saved. Can Kate convince him to give his life a second chance even though its turning out dramatically different from how he planned?


Good morning Rachel, thank you for joining me for tea and scones and could I just say, congratulations on the release of your fantastic new book. I’ve already read the advanced copy that you sent me and all I can say is, WOW, your readers are in for a REAL treat…!! What an amazing book…!!

I just have one or two questions to ask, as I’m sure your readers will love to hear your answers..!!

1. I know you’ve wanted to write this book for a long time, so… what was your inspiration for The Long Walk Back?

In today’s political climate, I was always struck by the personal stories behind the war, and a story started to form. If I hadn’t gone into education and writing, I think I would have gone into medicine, as it has always intrigued me and I love medical dramas and reading journals etc. Part of my teaching job involves healthcare dealing with autism etc, and having two children with additional needs means that I always keep abreast of developments. One day, I had a notion of a wounded soldier, and it grew from there.

2. How and when do you find time to write?

I write every day, even if it’s just editing, researching or scribbling details down. I work every single day in some capacity, and I get antsy if I don’t. I write when the kids are at school normally, and when they are still in bed on a morning or late at night. I have been known to write in my car or at the side of a football pitch too, whenever I get chance really. I make time, although now I work from home full time it’s a lot easier. People who work full time and still write a book a year are my heroes. I couldn’t do it!

3. Which character in The Long Walk Back is your favourite?

Cooper without a doubt. I normally identify with my female characters more, but Cooper is a stubborn, sexy, pig headed alpha mate with a soft heart. I love him very much as a character.

4. Are any of the characters based on anyone you know?

Grace and Marlene, two of the lovely ladies from The Chic Boutique on Baker Street are real people, my grandmothers, but other than that, no not really. I try to create completely new people.

5. Do you ever become attached to your characters and have a hard time letting go of them. Or, are you happy to let them go and move onto the next project?

Yes, definitely! Cooper is very special to me, and I could have written him forever. I am currently writing the last book in the Westfield series, and I will be very sorry to say goodbye to the village and its characters.

6. Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?

Tricky, because it has been different for some of my books, but I definitely think characters are what comes to mind first. They have to be fully formed in my head before I write, and I use character profiles to keep track of them.

7. How long does it take you to write a book and what sort of research do you do?

On average from start to finish from idea to first draft I would say about 6 months, I have books planned which I haven’t started working on yet, but they will be percolating away in the background. I research by going to places, asking professionals, reading books, and talking to people who have been in similar situations. For The Long Walk Back I did the most research, in terms of medical conditions, dosages of medicines, asking professionals for advice. I wanted to get the story right and not glorify war or one side over the other. That’s not what the book is about.

8. What part of writing a novel do you find most challenging?

Deadlines! I am a terrible one for thinking ‘ah, it’ll be fine’ and playing around with things when really I should be applying bottom to chair and hammering the words out. I need to work on my self editing and do this better in 2018, although with deadlines I generally hit them give or take a few days! School holidays knock my work out of whack as we don’t pay for childcare now, and made a pact never to again for the sake of our boys.

9. Can you described the moment when you realised you were a ‘real’ author?

That’s a tricky one, as there have been many amazing things happening in the last couple of years. Stephen King says “If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.”

I got my first check for a magazine readers letter a good few years ago,  after learning about them on an assignment with my writing course with the Writers Bureau, and I still have the letter. I never stopped, and now I have a folder full of letters like that. Writing is not about money, but the first acceptance does spur you on to the next. The best part for me now is saying ‘I am a writer’ proudly when someone asks what I do, rather than just saying teacher. I have my two dream jobs.

10. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Read. Read about what is selling, read about the world, and devour books. Devour every genre you can stomach, and find out what you love, what speaks to you, and what makes you happy. Enter competitions too, and take that shot. I always enter competitions even now, because without them, I might never have been published. The practice alone is worth the fear!

long walk back cover

If you would like to read ‘THE LONG WALK BACK’ here’s the buying link:


An Interview with Kirsty Ferry


Here Kirsty talks about her new book….

A Little Bit of Christmas Magic

Where did the idea of this book start? What led to it being written?

It’s linked into the first Rossetti Mysteries book, ‘Some Veil did Fall.’ I loved the historical characters in Veil, and  desperately wanted them to have more of a story. I couldn’t really do a follow-up for them, but a prequel sounded ideal. I also love the idea of a traditional Victorian Christmas, and of course a good Christmas ghost story like Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’. So that’s how it ended up as number 4 in the series, a timeslip, and has Christmas Present. Christmas Past and Christmas Yet to Come in it!

How did you create your heroine? What drives her?

Ailsa is a minor character in a contemporary novella I’ve written, and she seemed perfect to use for this book. She is a wedding planner, and is all for happy endings and love stories. I just needed to give her a reason to be at work on Christmas Day and to have her own reasons to wish herself back into the Victorian era – which works out very well for her in the end.

Are any of your characters based on someone you know?

No, at least not knowingly! Maybe one or two character traits sneak in unawares, but nothing that singles anybody out – I think I’d lose a lot of friends if I started putting them in books. One of my friends has been used as ‘character’ on a couple of occasions, and certain very thinly disguised elements of her life fall into at least two books –  and trust me, she is no longer friends with the author!

Who is your favourite character and why?

I think I have to go for Ella, my historical heroine. If she wasn’t so alive to me, then I wouldn’t have written Veil, I wouldn’t have written this book, and Veil would never have had sequels. I think Ella has been hovering around my imagination for years, but I’m not quite sure where she came from.

and finally

What’s next… what are you writing now?

I’m working on edits for the third book in my new Hartsford Mysteries series. It’s trebled in size since I initially sent it off, and has changed from a contemporary novella to a full-blown dual timeline novel with a hint of ghosts. Then I have four more novellas sitting with the panel at the publishers, so hopefully I’ll get to work on one of those at some point if they are accepted. And I’m playing around with the third book in another series, the first one of which came out at Halloween. I’m only a couple of thousand words into it, but I’m sure it will sort itself out eventually.










Kirsty’s Bio

Kirsty is from the North East of England and won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition in 2009 with the ghostly tale ‘Enchantment’.

Her timeslip novel, ‘Some Veil Did Fall’, a paranormal romance set in Whitby, was published by Choc Lit in Autumn 2014. This was followed by another Choc Lit timeslip, ‘The Girl in the Painting’ in February 2016 and ‘The Girl in the Photograph’ in March 2017. October 2017 saw the release of ‘Watch for me by Moonlight’,  ‘A Little Bit of Christmas Magic’ and ‘Every Witch Way’, again, all published by Choc Lit. The experience of signing ‘Some Veil Did Fall’ in a quirky bookshop in the midst of Goth Weekend in Whitby, dressed as a recently undead person was one of the highlights of her writing career so far!

Kirsty’s day-job involves sharing a Georgian building with an eclectic collection of ghosts – which can sometimes prove rather interesting.

You can find out more about Kirsty and her work at, catch her on her Facebook Author Page or follow her on Twitter @kirsty_ferry.



Buying Links – find your way from my Choc Lit author pages


An evening with Choc Lit’s very own, Morton Gray..!


Today on my blog, I’m very pleased to host my wonderful friend Morton Gray, during the week that she publishes her debut novel, The Girl on the Beach.

morton orange.jpeg

Good morning, Morton, tell us a little about yourself.

I live in Worcestershire, U.K. with my husband, two sons and Lily the little white dog. I won Choc Lit Publishing’s Search for a Star competition with my novel “The Girl on the Beach” in March 2016. The novel is e-published in all electronic formats on 24 January 2017. It is a contemporary romantic suspense novel set in the fictional seaside town of Borteen.

Could I ask, how long have you been writing and working toward the goal of being published?

Having delighted in the written word for as long as I can remember, I guess you could say since I learned to write, but, as with many writers, life and work got in the way for a long time. In 2006, I entered a short story competition and, unexpectedly, won. After that, I began to wonder whether I could write a novel. I soon discovered how little I knew and enrolled on courses to learn how to write the many stories in my head.

Festival-of-romance - Broken Jigsaw 2013

Can you describe the time you realised you were a ‘real writer’?

Tantalising glimmers of possible publication success appeared when I began to shortlist in novel competitions. One shortlisting for the former Festival of Romance New Talent Award in 2014, gave me the opportunity to meet you, Lynda, when you were shortlisted too.

I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) New Writers’ Scheme (NWS) in 2012, the scheme allows a critique by a novelist for every year you are a member and I began to see more encouraging comments in these reports as I progressed. It is all a learning curve.

I guess I’ve taken my writing more seriously since I began to get favourable responses from those reading my work.


I love the cover for The Girl on the Beach, but what was the inspiration behind it?

 My novels tend to start from a spark of an idea. This one was born after a friend, who runs an art gallery in Worcester, held an art competition at my son’s high school. This, combined with a couple of headlines on a news website gave me the start of the story, which I began to scribble on the back of an envelope on a journey down the motorway. (I hasten to add that my husband was driving).

How did you come up with your story concept?

The wonder of writing for me is the unfolding of a story, almost as if it is downloaded from the ether. It feels like the story concept finds me, rather than me coming up with it.

Are any of your characters based on your life and experience?

My characters are purely fictional, but it is inevitable that snippets of my experience leak into the books. For example, my heroine in “The Girl on the Beach”, Ellie, hates opening birthday presents and I have a little of this phobia. I’d much rather give presents than receive them.

Who is your favourite character and why?

My favourite character is Ellie Golden, my heroine. She is a survivor and a fiercely protective mother.

Do you become attached to your characters and have a hard time letting go of them, or are you happy their story is told and you can move on to the next project?

I have so many stories to tell that I am happy to move on to the next book. Having said that, other characters in “The Girl on the Beach” have demanded their own story, so you are likely to see those characters in the future.

If you could be any of your characters, which would it be and why?

 I guess it would be Mandy Vanes, the heroine’s best friend in “The Girl on the Beach”. She is more carefree than I’ve ever managed to be, but is it all an illusion? I’m writing her story at the moment…


What is your writing process? Which comes first, the story, the characters, or setting?

The characters come first, followed by the setting and then the story unfolds. If I am in the flow, it is as if the characters are speaking to me, sometimes so quickly that I can’t write fast enough. I adore the alchemy of this process. I tend to write long hand in notebooks, usually in cafes, as it’s too distracting at home. I type up my words when I get back.

Are you a meticulous plotter or do you just let it flow?

Before my writing journey began, I would have predicted that I would be a plotter, as I like organisation, process and logic, but to my surprise my best work is achieved when I just let the words flow. In this way, you could almost say that I act out of character when I’m writing.

How would you describe your writing style?

My books unfold as I write them, so I hope that my readers get the same experience. Beyond that I think I’ll have to ask for answers on a postcard when people have read the book.

How long does it take you to write a book?

I like to write a first draft quickly, usually in a month. Following this speed write, I need to undertake research for details, examine the way the story is written and the elements I need to discard or move around. I’m often writing more than one book at the same time because of the way I write.


What kind of research do you undertake?

I prefer to get the main bones of a story down before I undertake detailed research, mainly to avoid a huge dump of information and to focus the research I undertake. I will mainly be researching detailed things about an occupation or something that happens in the story beyond my own experience.

What part of writing a novel do you find most challenging?

I love the first draft. The thing I find most challenging is carving up my ideas and deciding what to keep and what to discard. Some of my favourite bits of the first draft are often red herrings for the final book and sadly have to go.

Have you used beta readers, and if so, do you recommend them?

I had two main readers for The Girl on the Beach. One read the novel when it was a raw first draft and the other when it was more polished. My confidence in my work can be quite fragile at the early stages, so I’d say choose very wisely who sees your work and always be specific about what areas or aspects of your work you want an opinion about.

What can your readers expect when they read your book?

Hopefully, they can expect to unravel a mystery alongside my hero and heroine. In ‘The Girl on the Beach” Harry doesn’t remember Ellie at all, but she is sure she has known him before, but in those days, he was not called Harry Dixon!

Can you tell us what you are writing now?

I am writing three books, all centred around my fictional seaside town of Borteen. One is the best friend’s story from “The Girl on the Beach.”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Learn the craft of writing, read lots, write lots. Try different genres, different writing styles and approaches, so that you can find your own particular way of writing and voice.


Do you think being a member of an association, such as the Romantic Novelists’ Association is beneficial to new writers, or is a local writing group more helpful?

I would have to say both. My membership of the RNA New Writers’ Scheme was undoubtedly crucial in my success in winning Choc Lit’s Search for a Star competition, as I had benefitted from the critique of another writer.

Equally, my local writing associations with Sue Johnson’s Pershore writing class, the RNA Birmingham chapter and the little group of writers I meet with monthly provide an important sounding board and help with maintaining morale for those times you believe everything you are writing is rubbish.


Do you ever experience writers’ block? If so, how do you get past it?

I don’t tend to get blocked when I’m writing, more unsure how to proceed on some plot points. I find a coffee with a friend, a shower or even ironing free my mind, indeed anything where I can’t focus on writing, because my subconscious then does the job itself.


Blurb For “The Girl on the Beach” by Morton S. Gray

Who is Harry Dixon?

When Ellie Golden meets Harry Dixon, she can’t help but feel she recognises him from somewhere. But when she finally realises who he is, she can’t believe it – because the man she met on the beach all those years before wasn’t called Harry Dixon. And, what’s more, that man is dead.

For a woman trying to outrun her troubled past and protect her son, Harry’s presence is deeply unsettling – and even more disconcerting than coming face to face with a dead man, is the fact that Harry seems to have no recollection of ever having met Ellie before. At least that’s what he says …

But perhaps Harry isn’t the person Ellie should be worried about. Because there’s a far more dangerous figure from the past lurking just outside of the new life she has built for herself, biding his time, just waiting to strike.

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Biography for Morton S. Gray

Morton lives with her husband, two sons and Lily, the tiny white dog, in Worcestershire, U.K.

She has been reading and writing fiction for as long as she can remember, penning her first attempt at a novel aged fourteen, the plot of which closely resembled an Errol Flynn film. As with many authors, life got in the way of writing for many years until she won a short story competition in 2006 and the spark was well and truly reignited.

She studied creative writing with the Open College of the Arts and joined the Romantic Novelists’ New Writers’ Scheme in 2012.

After shortlisting in several first chapter competitions, she won The Choc Lit Publishing Search for a Star competition in 2016 with her novel ‘The Girl on the Beach’. This debut novel is published on 24 January 2017. The story follows a woman with a troubled past as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s headteacher, Harry Dixon.

Previous ‘incarnations’ were in committee services, staff development and training. Morton has a Business Studies degree and is a fully qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Reiki Master. She also has diplomas in Tuina Acupressure Massage and Energy Field Therapy.

She enjoys crafts, history and loves tracing family trees. Having a hunger for learning new things is a bonus for the research behind her books.

Twitter – @MortonSGray

Facebook Page – Morton S. Gray Author –

Purchasing links for “The Girl on the Beach” at