Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Death Comes to Cornwall

Announcing a brand new cosy mystery series!

  ‘If you're a mystery lover then don't miss this one.' NetGalley reviewer

 The perfect holiday destination. The perfect place for murder... 

 Molly Higgins never expected to be caught up in a murder investigation. All she'd hoped for this year was to work hard, save enough money to open her very own cafĂ© on the Cornish coast and avoid her ex, Conor Blackstone, who has just arrived back in the village.

 But when she and Conor discover a body on the cliffside in Port Trevan they are thrown once more together. Molly is keen to leave the mystery to the police, but when she finds herself their top suspect, Molly has no choice but to catch the killer herself - before it is too late.

Death Comes to Cornwall is out now in all ebook formats

 Readers and reviewers on NetGalley love Death Comes to Cornwall:
 'Cosy crime with a hint of snark, reminded me a bit of M C Beaton' 
 'A deeee-lightful book'
 'I really enjoyed this one. Atmospheric and exciting.'

Death Comes to Cornwall is the first in a new series featuring amateur sleuth Molly Higgins, set in the charming and only slightly deadly Cornish village of Port Trevan. The second, Murder Most Cornish, will be out in May. Buy Death Comes To Cornwall now!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Max Seventeen: Empire of Dirt

Max Seventeen: Empire of Dirt

The explosive finale to the award-winning sci-fi action trilogy

Charlie is running. From the stinking Theta Empire, from its cruel Emperor, and from a terrifying red-haired enforcer.

Max is tired of running. Not only does she have family to contend with, but she seems to be in charge of a brothel and deep into a serious relationship. Her days of carefree thieving, whoring and pirating seem to be flying away from her.

Riley has stopped running. He’s left behind his old life, and he likes being a space pirate, and he loves Max. He can’t imagine anything coming between them—until Charlie turns up.

The starship Eurydice has given them a home, and freedom, and even family, but there’s a viper in the nest and new enemies rising in high places. With the deadly Firebrand still wreaking havoc across the galaxy, and old alliances being tested, can Max and Riley trust the crew any more?

And worse, can they even trust each other?

Perfect for fans of Firefly, Mad Max, and Black Sails, Max Seventeen: Empire Of Dirt follows the award-winning Max Seventeen and Max Seventeen: Firebrand. Order it now from Amazon.

Max Seventeen and Firebrand also have new covers!

Max Seventeen:


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Join us in Leeds

Authors North: Writing Romantic Fiction Join our Authors North group for a day of defying conventions, historical romance, diversity and representation in romantic fiction and lots more! 

I'm heading to my birthplace, Leeds, on 11th May 2019 for an Authors North event in partnership with the Romantic Novelists' Association. Hear from authors, agents and publishers offering their practical advice and industry insights.

Join Rhoda Baxter, Chair of Authors North, authors Jane Lovering and myself, literary agent Kate Nash, Editorial Director at Trapeze Phoebe Morgan, Editor at Mills and Boon Sareeta Domingo, novelist Alison May, and authors Liam Livings and Val Wood.

See the full programme and book now on Eventbrite before Thursday 25 April.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Out now: Not Your Knight in Shining Armour

The final Royal Weddings book is out today! Not your Knight in Shining Armour is probably my favourite of the series, so I really hope you love it too.

Award-winning author Jan Jones called it,
"A great, glorious smile of a book," adding, "As with all Kate Johnson's books, there are dark themes and surface difficulties, but what comes over most strongly in "Not Your Knight in Shining Armour" is the transforming power of total trust and unconditional love."

They call him the Problem Prince. They call her a rock'n'roll disaster. Together, they're about to make a royal mess!

Scarlet is not the sort of woman who needs rescuing. That’s something she’s pretty clear about. The other thing she’s really clear about is that if she wants the relaunch of her music career to be taken seriously, she’s got to clean up her act. No more sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. The last thing she needs is a messy affair with another celebrity.

 Except that this isn’t any celebrity. To Scarlet he might just be Tom, a scruffy Royal Navy pilot with PTSD, but to the world he’s Prince Thomas, and his grandmother is the Queen of England. And the grandsons of queens do not marry tattooed rockstars.

Unless it happens to be Christmas in Las Vegas and things get a little bit out of hand...

Not your Knight in Shining Armour is out now exclusively from Amazon and you can buy it in ebook or paperback

Have you bought it, or the other books in the series? Did you like them? Would you consider leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads? I'd really appreciate it!

Monday, December 03, 2018

Sandringham, pt1

Not Your Royal Christmas, my festive novella featuring characters from Not Your Cinderella and Not Your Prince Charming, will be out in ebook (paperback coming soon) 4th December.

Annemarie loves her husband. And her husband loves her. Those are two things she’s certain of. A third thing she’s certain of, is that he also loves someone else...

Seven years ago, Countess Annemarie married the man who would be king one day. Seven months ago, he died. But Christmas is Christmas, and she’s still a member of the Royal Family, so off she goes to Sandringham, where things are always the same. Apart from all those other Christmases, which haven’t been the same at all...

A story about how love and loyalty can sometimes be the same thing, and sometimes totally different. A story about loss and finding your place in the world. And also a story about a princess and a really hot nanny at Christmas.

 Before I wrote it, I took a trip to Sandringham, the Queen's favourite house, where the Royal Family always spend Christmas. Traditions are strongly adhered to, some of them going back to the childhood of the house's first owner, the man who would become King Edward VII. The house has not changed substantially for over a hundred years, since the Bachelor Wing replaced the bowling alley (you read that right) to the south side of the house in the 1890s.

Accordingly, here are some photos I took on my visit, with their relevance hopefully explained. Alas, you can't take pictures inside the house (although you can take a notebook--I checked!) but the guidebook has lots of photos and useful explanations and you can buy it online, and the stewards are very friendly and knowledgeable.

As you can see, the day was overcast at times, and it was nearly autumn (we had a very, very dry summer, hence the state of the grass in places). If you want to see the pictures more clearly, clicking on them will expand them.

First glimpse of Sandringham, as one enters from the famous Norwich Gates to the north of the house. The main road runs surprisingly close to the house; although it's so well shielded by trees, you wouldn't know it.

Statue of one of the Queen's favourite horses, Estimate, a champion many times over. It was sculpted by Tessa Campbell-Fraser and gifted to the Queen by the King of Bahrain in 2016.
Me in front of Estimate. Just two mares, hanging out.

The entrance and carriage circle (with the statue of the horse directly behind me). This is how a car would approach the front door.
To the left of the porte cochere as you look at it, is the Saloon, and then a private room which may be the Business Office (this may also be accessed from the staircase which I believe to be at that end of the corridor) .To the very left of the picture, behind the hedge, is the Ballroom Wing. The rooms on the right are not open to the public; but as George VI  is said to have died in the room overlooking the statue of Old Father Time purchased by his wife (the Queen Mother), I assume that to be the one upstairs on the very right (Father Time is in the formal gardens behind those hedges).
The porte cochere, which is a fancy way of saying 'porch'. The lantern hanging in the middle reminds me of a witch ball--which is used to protect a place!
It's worth noting at this point that there is a ramp covering the steps up into the house (only two or three steps) and after that, the floors are flat and fully accessible (there may be another ramp in the Gun Lobby, I think, but no steps). There's plenty of room to take a wheelchair in and around.

The front door opens directly into the Saloon, the principal living room and receiving area of the house. Pillars and screens can shield the entrance a little, but there's no hiding from the occupants if you enter that way, as all visitors will. The Saloon is decorated with C18th tapestries and has a minstrel's gallery (the stewards were unable to tell me if it was still used!), but there's also a TV hiding inside a cupboard and a jigsaw always on the go. Apparently, the Queen loves jigsaws.

From the Saloon, you cross the hallway to the Drawing Room or the Small Drawing Room (and they mean small; it's about the size of my front room and is very cosy, with a fireplace). The house is only two rooms deep.

The clock tower, overlooking the courtyard. To its right is a huge thermometer. To its left is the bow window of the Ballroom. The windows either side of the Clock Tower form the Ballroom Corridor and Gun Lobby, which lead from the original part of the house to the newer Ballroom Wing.
Behind the photo above is the Gun Lobby, which isn't a bunch of people campaigning for the right to bear arms but a section of entryway lined with shotguns and other military paraphernalia. There's a shell used in the siege of Mafeking which has now been made into a clock, for some reason.

From the Gun Lobby, you pass through the much calmer Ballroom Corridor, which is lined with family portraits, including those of Princes Albert Victor and George (the oldest two sons of Edward VI; George outlived his older brother and became George V), as they entered the Navy at the ages of 13 and 12, respectively.

The Ballroom Wing was added in 1883 when Alexandra, Princess of Wales got tired of rolling up the carpets in the Saloon when anyone wanted to dance. It has a minstrel's gallery and a curved, ornate plaster ceiling, and the walls are lined with military antiques brought back by Edward VII from a tour of India. Amongst these is a set of ceremonial elephant armour, made of silver chain mail. The Ballroom is sometimes used a cinema, and contains a leather chair embossed with Edward VII's monogram.

The house viewed from the south-west, over the lake.

The back of the house, facing west, with the Bachelor Wing on the right. The rooms open to the public are on the ground floor of the left-hand side of the building. It looks huge from here, but inside the rooms are well-proportioned and homely. Well, homely for a Queen.

A Minton porcelain charger, featuring a portrait of Alexandra, Princess of Wales (later Queen Alexandra; wife of Prince Albert Edward, who would become King Edward VII), in costume. I greatly admire her choice of cat.

The stables, which house a cafe and museum, mostly dedicated to the estate's vehicles. It's really interesting, but not totally relevant to my books.

The gardens, planted in an informal style and still bright with colour even on a dull day at the end of September.

A love seat overlooking the lake, hidden from the house by the rockery. Now why would that be of interest to a romantic novelist?

Queen Alexandra's nest, a folly overlooking the lake.
The folly is tiny, large enough for three or four people to stand in close proximity, which obviously makes it perfect for a couple looking for privacy. I am, obviously intending to make use of this in Not Your Knight in Shining Armour (out February).
The tiled interior of the folly. I believe that's a Dutch ship, but don't quote me. There are little benches, too.

A sundial on the end of the Bachelor Wing. The legend reads, "My time is in thy hand. Let others tell of storms and showers, I'll only count your sunny hours." As you can see from the lack of shadow, this is quite true.

A Juliet balcony on one of the rooms of the Bachelor Wing. These rooms are, I am told, often used to house family members over Christmas; and so I wrote a scene where Annemarie uses this balcony in Not Your Royal Christmas.
There's a room I found a very old photo of called the Turkish Room, which is tiled throughout and appears to be next to the Billiards Room. Also in the Bachelor Wing is a long, narrow library which, like the Turkish Room, has a curved ceiling. Part of the old bowling alley? Maybe!

The back of the Bachelor Wing, looking towards the main house.
Can you see the person walking on the very left of the photo? The greenery to her right covers part of the building which I believe to be the Billiards Room. It's not on the tour; it's right next to the Dining Room, however, and may be linked by a door or a small lobby. The Billiards Room replaced an earlier conservatory, which belonged to the house that stood here before the current one. It's possible there's also a staircase behind that door and the circular window.

An alcove outside the Billiards Room (you see, so many places for secret assignations!).

Your author on the Lawn. Proof I do my research!

The back of the house from the Lawn, the lake behind me.

The angled door on the right of this picture is directly underneath the turret with the green cupola in the middle of the house. To its left, the two windows belong to the Dining Room.
It's impossible to know for sure, but as the Dining Room is just visible through these windows, and there is a door right at the end of it, I assume that behind the angled door above is a lobby or other entrance to the Billiards Room, which sits between the main house and the Bachelor Wing.

The Dining Room is pale green, and features tapestries gifted to the Crown by the King of Spain. The table is highly polished, and as such a tablecloth is used during the day because the glare from the sun is too bright!

The place mats feature photos of the Queen's favourite horses. Apparently this was started as a joke by her trainer, and she was so delighted he kept up the tradition. Joke Christmas presents are a particular favourite of the Royals, presumably because there's not much you can get the family who have everything.

Not Your Royal Christmas features a unicorn shower cap and a cushion shaped like a poo emoji for this reason.

The Drawing Room larger bay window, where there is a grand piano. Behind the columns flanking the window is a small door to the terrace.

The Drawing Room's smaller bay window, where the Christmas tree is usually placed.
The windows above belong to the Drawing Room; the hexagonal one is right in the middle of the main house as you look at it from the back, with the larger square one to its right. Above the larger window is what appears to be a balcony, but I don't know if it's accessible from the inside.

The West Front of the house.

The West Door, with Art Nouveau fanlight.
The West Front bears the monogram of Edward VII and is dated 1908. I believe--but I'm not sure--this is the door used by the Family as they exit for church on Christmas Day, as it leads to the path going directly to the Church.
The West Front viewed from the formal gardens.

Selfie looking back over the Lawn to the house. Behind me you can see the path from the West Door down to the Church.
That's all for now, as the post is getting a bit unwieldy! Photos of the church will be in a second (shorter!) post, here .

Don't forget, you can order Not Your Royal Christmas here!

Sandringham, pt 2

The first post was getting a little long! Here are the rest of the photos and snippets I leanred about Sandringham; this time, mostly featuring the church.
The gate to the church (turnstile for visitors; beyond this is public access). It's about two or three minutes' walk from the house (maybe more in heels!).

The lych gate to the church, less than 100yds from the gate to the house.

The Church was described by Tommy Lascelles (private secretary to George V) as 'at the end of the garden' and it basically is. Whilst there's a fence and trees between the two, the Family only have to walk five minutes and go through a gate to get there.

Famously, the Royal Family always walk to Church on Christmas Day. It was only after he turned 90 that the Duke of Edinburgh was driven; and recently the Queen has joined him. Apart from that, I believe the only time it's acceptable not to walk is when you're expecting a baby, like, tomorrow.

The Church of St Mary Magdalene, dating from the C16th.
 The church looks small from the inside. That's because it is. 400-ish years old, it was renovated by Lady Harriet Cowper just before the Prince of Wales bought Sandringham House and is a little jewel of a place.

The silver pulpit. Yes, that's all silver.
The pulpit, altar and reredors are all plated with silver, as is the processional cross partly visible in the top right of this photo. Astonishingly, considering all that, on weekdays you can just wander in, any time you like, for free.

 Above the silver pulpit is a plaque commemorating George V. There are memorials to most of the monarchs who've resided in Sandringham (although none were buried here, but George VI's body was kept here before being transferred to Westminster) and a memorial to the King's Own Sandringham Company, who were all but wiped out in WWI.

The choir and altar, which is also covered in silver.

 The walls and ceiling here are particularly beautiful, with golden angels and painted beams. Zoom in on the photo for a better look.

The church from the south. There is a small graveyard, in which many of the graves are military and most not very recent.

The graces of two princes, just inside the lych gate, impossible to miss as you enter the churchyard.

The two little graves just inside the lych gate are particularly sad. The one on the right is terribly small, because its occupant is Prince Alexander John, youngest son of Edward VII, who lived for only a day in 1871. The one on the left, with the sandy-coloured cross, belongs to Prince John, son of one king and brother to two more. His father was George V, and his older brothers became Edward VIII (briefly) and George VI. John had severe epilepsy and lived for most of his life on the Sandringham estate. He died aged 13.

On a happier note, the church has also seen the baptism of several royal babies, most recently Princess Charlotte, and also Princess Eugenie whose engagement announcement inspired the idea of a sequel to Not Your Cinderella in the first place!

"Dear old Sandringham, the place I love better than anywhere else in the world." ~George V

I hope you've enjoyed this little tour of Sandringham, which gave me several really interesting details to use in Not Your Royal Christmas and Not Your Knight in Shining Armour, both of which contain more than one Christmas.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

A Christmas novella and a new look!

Ahead of the release of NOT YOUR ROYAL CHRISTMAS, I’m unveiling a fresh new look for the whole series—including the final installment, NOT YOUR KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOUR, which will be out in the Spring.

NOT YOUR ROYAL CHRISTMAS will be released 4th December and is available to order now.

Annemarie loves her husband. And her husband loves her. Those are two things she’s certain of. A third thing she’s certain of, is that he also loves someone else... 

Seven years ago, Countess Annemarie married the man who would be king one day. Seven months ago, he died. But Christmas is Christmas, and she’s still a member of the Royal Family, so off she goes to Sandringham, where things are always the same. Apart from all those other Christmases, which haven’t been the same at all...

A story about how love and loyalty can sometimes be the same thing, and sometimes totally different. A story about loss and finding your place in the world. And also a story about a princess and a really hot nanny at Christmas.


NOT YOUR KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOUR is available to pre-order now.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Out TODAY: Little Haunting by the Sea

The Ghost Book is finally here!

He's a mess. She's a mess. That one's a ghost.

Everyone has that one friend who interferes in their life. Jen’s just happens to be a dead Victorian. And that’s only the start of the secrets she’s keeping.

Quinn doesn’t believe in ghosts, but there’s more than one way to be haunted by the dead. When his twin died, Quinn lost a piece of himself—literally.

Quinn just wants the truth about why his brother died. Jen will do anything to hide it. They both came to Wirpness-on-Sea to escape, but the past has a nasty habit of catching up with you.

In the small seaside town of Wirpness, the spirits are stirring...

Perfect for fans of Cormoran Strike, Being Human, and weird English seaside resorts, Little Haunting By The Sea is out in ebook and paperback today. Buy it now from Amazon.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

The Ghost Book is nearly here!

He's a mess. She's a mess. That one's a ghost.

Everyone is haunted by past mistakes, although not as literally as Jen. But who is the little Victorian ghost who follows her everywhere, and why didn't she save Jen from the worst thing that ever happened to her?

Quinn always thought being the identical twin of a famous heartthrob was bad, but after the bomb that took his brother and left him an amputee, he's revised his opinion. Now he'd settle for the truth about why his brother died, and Jen seems to be the person who knows.

In the small, strange town of Wirpness-on-Sea, the spirits are stirring, and old secrets are coming to light...

Perfect for fans of Cormoran Strike, Being Human, and weird English seaside resorts, Little Haunting By The Sea is out 31st October 2018.