The House at Greenacres
25th March 2019
All roads lead home…
When Holly Dryden fled Penhallow Sands nearly a year ago she was determined to put the past – and Rich Turner – behind her. But now an unexpected loss and financial trouble has led her back to the family vineyard and it’s time to tell Rich the truth – he’s a father.
Surrounded by the memories of what they once shared Holly’s anger fades in the glow of Rich’s undeniable love for their son and the way he selflessly steps in to help the vineyard out of trouble. As Holly watches Rich flourish in his new role as father to baby Luke, she realises that though they can’t change the past, the future is still theirs to write…
An uplifting, emotional romance set in Cornwall perfect for fans of Holly Martin and Phillipa Ashley
Can you tell your readers something about
why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about
When I’m plotting a romance novel, one of the things I have to consider is what trope or tropes I would like to include. Often, the tropes come organically from the characters themselves and their backgrounds. With The House at Greenacres, I had a vision of the main character, Holly, returning to Penhallow Sands for a funeral, emotional and anxious, clutching a baby to her chest. This developed into the knowledge that Holly and her ex boyfriend, Rich, have been separated for some reason, and now, the thing that brings them back together is Holly’s grandfather’s funeral. I enjoy mixing tropes in my stories, so I combined the lovers reunited trope with the secret baby trope. I also wanted to write a story about what it’s like to come home after time away, about how emotional it can be to return to the place where you grew up and to see it from a different perspective.
How long do you think about a topic before
deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you
write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this
I write notes all the time and have notebooks all around my house as well as notes on my phone. I might not start working on an idea properly for months if I’m already working on a different project, but it will often be bubbling away at the back of my mind, waiting for its turn to be nurtured into a novel.
How long does it take to research a topic
before you write? And for this book?
I did a lot of reading about vineyards and contacted a vineyard owner to research for The House at Greenacres. It was fascinating to learn about how a vineyard works and how wine is made. I researched before writing and during to ensure that I got the finer details right.
What do you read when you are ill in bed?
I rarely get to read in bed these days as I have two children and three dogs, so if I am ill, it’s time on the sofa in the lounge. I read whatever is next on my TBR pile as I have a very full Kindle and a table piled high with paperbacks.
What have you done with the things you wrote
when in school?
I was always writing poetry and prose as a child and I still have some of them stored in the attic. When I was 12, I won a school poetry competition with a poem about Wildlife in Nature and I had to stand up in front of the whole school and read my poem out. I won a £12 book token and I was delighted. I also wrote a project about guide dogs when I was 13 and really enjoyed researching the topic as it meant contacting charities and speaking to people with guide dogs. I think that project is in the attic too. I’ll have to take a look…
Do you have any pets?
I do! I have three dogs – two British bulldogs called Spike and Zelda and a rescue greyhound called Freya. They are my writing buddies as they join me in the study and snore gently while I write. As I’m home alone all day, they are good company. As for funny things, one has to be the farting (especially the greyhound!) and the other is that Spike often sings along to my music. I also have three bearded dragons called Andrew, Loki and Cheeky.
What, in your life, are you most proud of
I was a teacher for twenty years and once, when I went for an interview at a school, the governors asked me what I was most proud of doing. At the time, my daughter was only a year old, and my answer was having my daughter. Of course, that wasn’t what they were looking for (they wanted something teaching related), but it came straight from my heart. My children are my greatest achievements, along with marrying my husband, because I never thought I’d fall in love so deeply. Nothing is guaranteed in life except for today, but being able to love is one of the greatest gifts of all; being loved in return is priceless. However, in terms of my writing career, I’d say I’m most proud of being published. I always dreamt of being an author, but never thought it would happen. To date, it has been a wonderful, exciting rollercoaster. I am proud every time I finish writing a book and every publication day. I am grateful to the publishers who have accepted my work and to the readers and bloggers who read my stories and support me. I am grateful to my agent for taking me on. I am grateful to my family for being the centre of my world.
Thanks for hosting me! J X
Previous Books: Summer at Connwenna Cove, Christmas at Conwenna Cove, Forever at Conwenna Cove, Love at the Northern Lights and Love at the Italian Lake
Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and
is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending
is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that
often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she
hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She
also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather
enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it –
especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow,
rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing
away on her laptop.
Secrets in death
Dallas, Eve (Fictitious character)
J. D. Robb
fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, crime fiction
September 5, 2017
No one is going to miss Larinda Mars. A ruthless gossip queen with a lucrative sideline in blackmail, there's no lack of suspects when she's murdered in a fashionable New York bar. With so many people wanting her dead, it's going to be a tough case to crack. Lieutenant Eve Dallas may not like this particular victim, but it's her duty to bring the killer to justice. As she digs deeper into Larinda's mysterious past, it becomes clear the reporter had a unique talent for uncovering secrets. Including ones very close to home for Eve and her husband Roarke... Someone was willing to commit murder to keep their secrets hidden. And with Eve now working to uncover the truth, she and her team are heading into serious danger.
Dallas rides again in a New York winter, with a hat with a
pompom, which rally embarrasses her, but… there is a murder to be solved and
Roarke and his eGeek friends have plenty to do.
Gossip columnists have lots of secrets and they hold secrets
on others too it seems, secrets that make them a lot of money and give them a
lot of power. So lots of enemies to comb through. Perhaps not quite as original
as the earlier books in this series, but still, always worth a read.
As always, Peabody makes us smile, Roarke makes us lust, and
we all want to be Dallas. And we’d also quite like that week in the Mexico
hideaway she offered Peabody – especially if we fly by one of Roarke’s private
Life on a llama farm, set in remote “Seneca County,” West Virginia, transitions from contented to chaotic in this final novel in the Hillwill trilogy -- all under the watchful eye of canine guardian Ralph. Five years after we first met northern urban transplant Beatrice Desmond, she is finally adapting to her mountain hollow among the wary “born-heres” and is more open to the blessings in her life. She has developed a rewarding mother-daughter relationship with troubled local teenager Clara Buckhalter and is inching toward marriage with dashing, but complicated entrepreneur Tanner Fordyce. Meanwhile, Clara sets off on a productive new path, one that would have been unthinkable had Beatrice never come into her life. All of that progress is suddenly jeopardized by Clara’s scheming mother Charyce. Ultimately, the upheaval touched off by Charyce’s schemes serves as the catalyst for new beginnings for the Seneca County misfits (even Ralph).
This was the 3rd and final book in short series about life on a Llama farm and how a woman reinvented herself – more than once when settled on it in deepest West Virginia.
Now West virginia is a place I have only heard of in terms of Hill Billies and I am aware that they have their form of speech and customs derived from being isolated from the mainstream culture and poverty. So I had to look up the term Melungeon when I read it in the book. It appears that it is a term unique to the Southern Appalachians and means a tri-racial mix of European, African and Native American blood in a person. Now why you need a special term for this I am not sure but there you are.
Llamas being used a guard animals was something new to me as well, as I had never seen that in english sheep farms, but it appears to be quite common as they have good hearing and once bonded with the herd, are fierce protectors. to me, it seems like an excellent idea – if you look after the llamas that is, as their wool is wonderful and can be shorn just like the sheep. It is free of lanolin and reputed to be allergen free too, but a little coarse so is usually mixed with ordinary wool when spun. Vicuna and Alpacas produce better wool, but I don’t know if they are used as guard animals.
This was an interesting story as I learnt quite a bit about the area and customs and geology and thus weather. Though realistically, if you live up a mountain you must expect to be cold and have lots of snow, but why move yet further up?
The behaviour of some of the people just reinforced what I had heard about Hill Billies unfortunately and I wonder how much this stereotype is true. I also found that it was rather difficult to follow the story at first as i had not read the previous books in the series. It took me a while to settle into the story and i needed more background earlier on.
In the end, the final decisions were to be expected and thus the story lacked some of the expected tension for me.
A Single Dad To Heal Her Heart
Romance , Women's Fiction medical
Mills and Boon
21 Mar 2019
Could a single dad of two… …be the answer to her dreams?
Trauma doc Livvy Henderson loves her job and friends, and she’s been cancer free for five years. She’s content… until she meets widowed father, handsome surgeon Matt Hunter on a team weekend in Cumbria. Their powerful connection reawakens her fears, desires and longing for a family she’s long-since locked away. But Matt finds he’s ready to convince her she belongs in his, whatever the future holds…
So there these two doctors – each has a past that influences
strongly in their current life, and she has a very good reason for her
extremely healthy diet and her parents’ concern.
There is a very rapid romance as they fall in lust over a
few short weeks which then turns into love and a resolution of their past
issues so that a true partnership can be forged.
Not an unusual version of the trope but nicely told with a strong empathetic feel to the style and phrasing. Very pleasant reading.
So one thing I like to think about when reading a story is what type of story it is. When I was writing (academic folks!) I found out there were 7 archetypes types of stories that could be used, but in fact there are many other ways of identifying which story you are reading – and sometimes it is fun to guess. So I took look at what authors think about story tropes or archetypes and found the following. this is far from comprehensive, but it is a bit of fun research. If you want to find out more then take a look at: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Tropes and https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MysteryTropes
There are sub-divisions of mystery and crime tropes eg:
Kurt Vonnegurt is very well respected for his story analysis. He made a map of his analysis against time.
He made a visual mapping of the length of the story against the time inhabited by the story and the different ups and downs each classic/trope will take. Helps explains how when you feel unsatisfied by a storyline it is often because you are still waiting for the next point to occur.
On the other hand Ken Miyamoto, Produced screenwriter, former Sony Pictures script reader/story analyst, former Sony Studios liaison claims that these are the story tropes.
Coming of Age – Seemingly innocent (although not always so) youth experience the evils, trials, and tribulations of the real world. Stand by Me, To Kill a Mockingbird, Almost Famous, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, The Graduate, American Graffiti, etc.
Revenge – Our most primal instinct. We see and read stories of revenge in nearly every genre. In film we have Mad Max, Carrie, Death Wish, Once Upon a Time in the West, Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan, Gladiator, Election, Munich, The Counte of Monte Cristo, Hang ‘Em High, Memento, etc.
The Great Battle – An individual or group of people in conflict with others. This ranges from epic battles (War movies, Lord of the Rings) to comedy (War of the Roses) to science fiction (Star Wars, Terminator franchise, etc.).
Love and Friendship – Love stories (Romeo and Juliet, Romantic comedies), buddy movies (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Lethal Weapon), dramas about friendship (The Big Chill), etc.
The Big Mystery – There’s a mystery to be solved, and the protagonist has to solve it. You’re looking at classic characters in the likes of Sherlock Holmes, Tin Tin, Nancy Drew, etc. Comedies like The Pink Panther series. Agatha Christy novels. Tom Clancy and John Grisham novels and movie adaptations.
The Great Journey – This theme follows characters dealing with trials and tribulation during travels… many of which are epic. Huckleberry Finn, Apocalypse Now (Heart of Darkness in literature form), The Odyssey, Star Wars, and probably the best example in both film and literature, Lord of the Rings.
The Noble Sacrifice – The protagonist sacrifices himself for others. Glory, Armageddon, war movies where a character dies for his fellow soldiers, etc.
The Fall From Grace – Showing humans going where only God should go, doing what only God should do, or attempting to do what humans shouldn’t do. You look at films and novels like Jurassic Park, Splice, Frankenstein, etc. And then look into science films like A.I. and even Terminator, where we as humans have gone too far in trying to create life… and it backfires on us. Then into the horror genre with the aforementioned Frankenstein and even Stephen King’s Pet Semetary.
And Reedsy gives you 14 Fantasy tropes:
September 3, 2018
Fantasy tropes, like any other type of literary trope, are recurring images, themes, or devices that are used to the point of being common conventions amongst its genre.
When writing a genre such as fantasy (with such well-known conceits), authors often feel the need to straddle a fine line: include too many tropes and readers will get déjà vu; don’t include a single cliché and you risk losing readers who have come to expect certain themes and touchstones from a fantasy novel.
The thing is, conventions commonly crop up in stories because most of them contain some element of universal relatability — and people enjoy the familiar.
So embrace the balancing act by acquainting yourself with some of the most popular fantasy tropes out there, and by learning how to prevent your characters, plots, and worlds from becoming a complete cliche
At their heart, all stories are about characters who represent some aspect of human nature — and fantasy is no exception. Many novels in this genre feature archetypes, which is not necessarily a bad thing — so long as your characters’ development aligns with the narrative arc and doesn’t rely on cliché pitstops.
1) The Chosen One
A character who is alone capable of fulfilling an important purpose, and whose responsibility is to resolve the plot’s main conflict — which will often be to save the world.
2) The Secret Heir
An orphan ends up being the long-lost scion to a royal throne. Often, this character is raised on a farm or another humble situation that contrast their true lineage. Maybe they lost their parents at a young age and sent away for their own protection. Perhaps they were switched at birth in some sort of hilarious misunderstanding. Maybe their mother had a summer fling with an undercover prince in her gap year.
3) The Evil Overlord
Fire and brimstone, darkness and inhospitable lands, the Evil Overlord usually lives in a realm that reflects their wicked intentions, surrounded by their minions and followers. The Evil Overlord is also often bent on world domination.
4) The Reluctant Hero
The protagonist is thrust down the path of a story they don’t wish to be a part of. They long to return to normal life and only continue on their quest out of obligation or necessity. Think of it as the difference between Frodo (who wishes to return to the Shire but knows a task must be completed) and Conan the Barbarian, who relishes the role of rough-hewn hero. Often, the Reluctant Hero is also the Chosen One.
5) The Lucky Novice
This sometimes manifests when a character who has had never attempted a specific activity before is suddenly extremely talented at that specific skill. Other times it’s presented in the form of a protagonist — who’s had a moderate amount of training — defeating the villain who has been honing their powers for years or decades (or even centuries).
6) The Mentor
Usually an elderly character who prepares the protagonist for whatever conflict they are facing. The Mentor often leaves before the big climax — whether they are killed, retire, or have to leave to carry out a job elsewhere — forcing the protagonist to stand on their own two feet.
While the many subgenres of fantasy will all have their own tropes, here are a few worldbuilding conventions that you’re bound to see more often than not.
7) The World That Never Progresses
When a novel of series covers a society through the ages — but that world seems never change or progress. It could be a century later, but no social, technological, political, or cultural developments seem to have occurred. This one is fairly typical of high fantasy, which usually take place on grand, epic scales. ( and the one that really irritates me about Game of Thrones. Surely by now they have learnt how to fix holes in wooden doors!
8) The Pseudo-European Medieval Setting
A feudal system governing a society where taverns are frequented and duel-by-swords are a daily occurrence. The stories don’t usually take place in actual Europe, but a world that very much resembles the continent’s medieval era. This setting is a mainstay of fantasy — significantly solidified in the genre by The Lord of the Rings, but harking back to European folklore and tales of King Arthur.
9) The Powerful Artifact
This convention is used across all types of genres: an object of great power must be saved from falling into the wrong hands. The object is typically inanimate and derives its power from the manipulation of those who use it. The object might not be inherently evil, but its powers can have the effect of tempting and corrupting even the noblest characters.
10) The Homogenous Species
All elves are beautiful and love trees, and all dwarves are obsessed with gold and living underground, right? Categorizing entire races into a few commonalities is typical of fantasy novels, and if one character from that race differs, you can bet they’re an outlier — and often the protagonist of the novel (or a trusty sidekick). Another common feature of this trope is when one species is inherently “good”, and another is inherently “bad.”
The Plot is the chain of events that comprise your narrative arc. Many fantasy novels will share a link or two (or seven) in common with other novels, including these:
11) The Waiting Evil
Long, long ago, an evil force is defeated in battle and locked away, never to wreak havoc again. That is, of course, until now. Having bided its time, the evil entity breaks free with an eye for vengeance. This Waiting Evil might break free of their own volition, might be released by an avid supporter (that is usually then disposed of — hello, Peter Pettigrew), or it might be released accidentally by an unknowing passerby or by natural causes.
12) The “Here Comes the Cavalry” Twist
All is lost. The villain and their minions are too strong and despite a noble fight, the jig is up. The heroes simply can’t hold off the opposition any longer. Time to lay down and die. But wait! Do you hear that? It’s faint, but growing louder. It’s… it’s… it’s the heroes’ friends, showing up in the nick of time to save the day! Hooray! Not all is lost!
13) The Black and White Morality Theme
The battle between “good” and “evil” is such a prevalent theme in fantasy — and it’s no wonder. When it strays to a cliché is when the line between good and evil is perceived as black and white, with no grey area. The good guys are purely good, and the bad guys are pure evil — end of story. Often, the good guys manage to defeat the bad guys without killing a soul or even wrecking a single building.
14) The Quest
The hero — and usually a handful of secondary characters — sets out on a quest with a specific goal. Typically the goal ranges from saving a princess, defeating a villain, destroying a corrupt artifact, or finding someone. The goal of the quest doesn’t matter as much as the fact that there is a solid one. While The Quest very closely resembles The Hero’s Journey, there are key differences between the two story structures: while the former is all about the character’s journey to achieve a goal, the latter is more about the character’s inner journey than the actual objective. [ https://blog.reedsy.com/fantasy-tropes/ ]
On the other hand Jill Williamson claims there are 145 (!!!) Romance Tropes.
abduction to love
afraid to commit
all grown up
bait and switch
beauty and the beast
best friend’s lover
best friend’s sibling
best friends/ friends
boy hates girl
boy meets ghoul
boy meets girl
break his heart to
brother’s best friend
bully turned puppy
can’t live with them,
can’t live without them
childhood enemies fall
side of the tracks
damaged lead finds
happily ever after
dark secret keeps them
enemies to lovers
everyone can see it
fish out of water
friends with benefits
girl wants bad boy
guy wants cheerleader
huge guy, tiny girl/
tiny guy, huge girl
if I can’t have you,
no one will!
it happened in Vegas
love at first sight
love interest has a
profession protagonist abhors
love interest reminds
of estranged family member
love reforms villain
lovers in denial/
they’re the last to know
men in uniform
of love leads to love
noble rescuer steps
in, She’s dating Mr. Wrong
nobody thinks it will
not good enough for
oblivious to love
older man, younger
woman/ older woman, younger man
on the rocks
one night stand
one wants true
love/other wants a fling
oops! fall in love
with the wrong person (which could ruin everything!)
overly shy love
partners in crime
Plain Jane get the
pretending to be
married or engaged
rejected as unworthy/
turns life around
reluctant sex worker
removing the rival
return to hometown
rich man, poor woman/
rich woman, poor man
road trip romance
rock star hero
scars from the past
second chance at love
second time around
secret baby- He
doesn’t know she’s PG
secret that can end
sleeps with everyone
sorry, I’m taken
the one that got away
tragic love affair
triangle (involves some mistaken identity) ex. superman
wallflower noticed by
was it all a lie?
(wo)man in peril
working with the ex
So you reads your story and takes your pick.. Have fun…