Let is Snow

Mistletoe MansionGuest blog by Samantha Tonge, author of Mistletoe Mansion

Mistletoe Mansion is set during the last couple of weeks in December, when wannabe celebrity and aspiring cupcake magnate, Kimmy, finds herself housesitting a supposedly haunted mansion. This house is situated in a beautiful cul-de-sac, has magnificent gardens and is in Harpenden, an upmarket village in Hertfordshire. Snow only adds to the scenic location and adds a pinch more romance to the story. But how? What is it about snow that makes our hearts flutter, along with the snowflakes?

Firstly, there is no denying that visually, snow is appealing. Whilst the suburban, leafy setting in Mistletoe Mansion is already pleasing to the romantic’s eye, snow makes it seem even more magical, as if something special – like finding true love! – could really happen. Snow turns even the most industrial, built-up landscapes into pictures of beauty. So fresh and pristine, half-an-hour’s snowfall transforms any grimy grey street into a parade of white, covering litter and mud and adding that unrealistic fairytale quality to  the most unsightly of scenes.

Secondly, its coldness encourages the pursuit of cosy warmth. After an afternoon out in the snow, how perfect for a couple to snuggle up, with mugs of hot chocolate – or aromatic mulled wine – in front of a fire. Icy weather promotes closeness and hugs! Like at the end of Bridget Jones when Bridget finally finds Mark Darcy out in the snowy street and he holds her close, inside his long duffle coat. Whereas sticky, humid weather and perspiration has quite the opposite effect!

Also, snow makes us feel nostalgic and sparks warm, happy feelings inside, associated with the excitement of a childhood Xmas – an excitement similar to that of falling in love. We picture Santa on a snow-topped chimney and reindeer sleighs dodging snowflakes. The white stuff makes us recall the tingling in our stomach as we spy presents under the tree and watch family members cook the turkey dinner or pull crackers. It’s a reassuring, secure feeling for most of us, that makes us feel magically optimistic – just for a few seconds, before we work out how we are going to get the car started amongst the sludge, or find a much-needed but lost pair of gloves!

Of course, there are other aspects of Mistletoe Mansion that I hope readers will find romantic – for a start, athletic handyman Luke, with his bedroom hair and jaunty attitude! But I feel the time of year the book is set in definitely adds to the amorous atmosphere.

And as I’m lucky enough to work from home, I always keep my fingers crossed for a really white Christmas as I’ve no worries about train cancellations or traffic snarl-ups on the way to the office. So here’s to a romantic, icy cold festive season. If nothing else, it’s a chance to savour some Christmas themed cakes, like the ones Kimmy bakes. Mmm, anyone for chocolate log or Stollen?

MM PINTEREST - nov 19

Blurb

Kimmy Jones has three loves: cupcakes, gossip magazines and dreaming of getting fit just by owning celeb workouts.

When Kimmy’s Sensible Boyfriend told her he didn’t approve of her longing for the high life or her dream of starting a cupcake company Kimmy thought she could compromise – after all, she did return those five-inch Paris Hilton heels! But asking her to trade in cake-making for a job sorting potatoes is a step too far.

So, newly single – and newly homeless – Kimmy needs a dusting of Christmas luck. And, masquerading as a professional house sitter, her new temporary home is the stunning Mistletoe Mansion. Soon she’s best buds with glamorous next door golf WAG Melissa, and orders are pouring in for her fabulous Merry Berry cupcakes! The only thorn in her side is handsome handyman Luke, a distraction she definitely doesn’t need. And talking of distractions, something very odd is going on at night…

Kimmy is finally living the life she’s always wanted. But will her glimpse into the glittering lifestyle of the rich and famous be as glamorous as she’s always imagined…?

Buy: Mistletoe Mansion

Picture 014Bio

Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family, and two cats who think they are dogs. When not writing, she spends her days cycling and willing cakes to rise. She has sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award in 2014. Its fun standalone sequel is From Paris with Love. Mistletoe Mansion stars a new set of characters and is for fans of cupcakes and Christmas!

Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SamTongeWriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaTongeAuthor

Website: http://samanthatonge.co.uk/

Doubting abbey Blog: http://doubtingabbey.blogspot.co.uk/

Love, Romance and… TV dinners!

From Paris With Love coverGuest blog by Sam Tonge, author of From Paris with Love

Love, romance, passion… That’s what make life worth living, and in no place more than Paris, the setting of my new romantic comedy novel, From Paris with Love. As a younger woman I lived in the French capital for a while, and quickly fell head over heels with its sophisticated glamour. As any of you know, who have visited, it is a treasure-trove of beautiful places, all wrapped up with stylish simplicity.

So what better place to set fun-loving Gemma and Lord Edward’s next standalone story, which takes place only a few months after he proposed marriage? Except that this sexy city lets them down, and within days of settling there, cracks appear in their relationship.

That’s the first difficult stage of any love affair, isn’t it? When the initial passion fades just a little… When romantic candlelit dinners, eaten in the nude at home (haven’t you ever tried that? Watch out for hot, dripping sauces) suddenly become lazy TV dinners in front of a chat show… When you begin to notice annoying foibles about your partner, such as the way they hog the duvet or are always running late. It’s a make-or-break time for any couple.

Yet little irritations and differences can easily be overcome if the initial lust turns out to be something deeper; if it fades to reveal a true love that can provide the building blocks for a happy future together. As for the passion, in time, other qualities mean just as much – like your partner “getting” who you really are and never letting you down; like him sharing the night-time bottle feeds when you have kids, and knowing just when you need a bar of your favourite chocolate.

Not that Gemma and Edward have quite reached that point yet, it’s just that… Monique. A snooty, annoyingly beautiful actress befriends Edward and seems set on exaggerating the couple’s differences and making Gemma out to be a gold-digger. Then Gemma starts hanging out with hot rockstar Blade, with his leather clothes and eye-lined, come-to-bed midnight eyes… Urgh! Far from convincing Gemma to accept Edward’s proposal, Paris only serves to magnify the lack of common ground between the former pizza waitress and aristocrat.

In fact, at times, it is as if they are right back at stately Applebridge Hall – the story of which is told in my debut novel, Doubting Abbey, where we first meet Gemma, a flighty fun-seeking girl and Edward, a stuffy, uptight noble. Can the French capital work its magic and bring this unlikely pair back together? Why not download From Paris with Love to find out? It’s the perfect story if you love food, hot guys and the Eiffel Tower!

Picture 014Bio

Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family, and two cats who think they are dogs. When not writing, she spends her days cycling and willing cakes to rise. She has sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, came out in November 2013.

Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SamTongeWriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaTongeAuthor

Website: http://samanthatonge.co.uk/

Doubting abbey Blog: http://doubtingabbey.blogspot.co.uk/

Blurb

Every girl dreams of hearing those four magical words Will you marry me? But no-one tells you what’s supposed to happen next…

Fun-loving Gemma Goodwin knows she should be revelling in her happy-ever-after. Except when her boyfriend Lord Edward popped the question, after a whirlwind romance, although she didn’t say no….she didn’t exactly say yes either!

A month-long cookery course in Paris could be just the place to make sure her heart and her head are on the same page… And however disenchanted with romance Gemma is feeling, the City of Love has plenty to keep her busy; the champagne is decadently quaffable, the croissants almost too delicious, and shopping is a national past-time! In fact, everything in Paris makes her want to say Je t’aime… Except Edward!

But whilst Paris might offer plenty of distractions from wedding planning – including her new friends, mysterious Joe and hot French rockstar Blade – there’s no reason she couldn’t just try one or two couture dresses is there? Just for fun…

Buy: From Paris with Love

A Literary Recipe

Doubting Abbey Xmas CoverGuest blog by Samantha Tonge, author of Doubting Abbey

It is always fun starting to write a new book, and that is the stage I am at, once again – even though Doubting Abbey is my debut published novel, I do, um, have a few others hiding under my bed! Love, romance, passion, yes those are the things that inspire me and some of the ingredients I use when constructing my novel. In fact if I look on Doubting Abbey as a cake, this would be the recipe:

  1. A catchy title – clearly Doubting Abbey was inspired by a very popular TV show! I hope the title makes people think of all the best bits of Downton, like love, conflict and characters you grow to care about.
  2. One appealing heroine – Gemma Goodwin. Despite her impulsive nature and tarantuala-like false eyelashes, she is the best mate ever, determined and funny.
  3. An irresistible hero – cue Lord Edward. Mmm, he doesn’t look half bad when stripping off to swim in the estate’s lake. Despite his arrogant stuffiness, something’s clearly troubling the serious-looking, gorgeous blonde hunk… A touch of vulnerability hopefully makes Edward extra yummy.
  4. A huge dollop of love and romance – there’s the cheeky gardener Nick, who clearly has an eye for Gemma (or rather ‘Abbey’, the person everyone at Applebridge Hall believes her to be). Yet despite him being SO annoying, Lord Edward pulls at Gemma’s heartstrings…. Mmm, a handful of popping candy can be the passion.
  5. A sprinkling of quirky, minor characters – there is posh Lady C with her fierce dinner-lady stare. The gruff old Earl and Kathleen, a feisty Scottish cook. Plus Mr Thompson, the estate manager, with his Sherlock Holmes hat and gun. And Charlie Chingo, the flamboyant presenter of the TV Reality show they are all taking part in, called Million Dollar Mansion.
  6. A spoonful of spice – that’s the plotline where everything is at stake. If Gemma doesn’t convince the world she is posh Abbey, Applebridge Hall might lose the reality show and go bankrupt, letting down all the Croxley family’s ancestors.
  7. Like baking powder, a generous spoonful of comedy to lift people’s spirits – Oh yes, there is plenty of that with Gemma who had the most hilarious plan – in cahoots with the gardener – to make fans vote for Applebridge Hall to win!

So that’s it, and with any luck the result is a moist, tasty, rich literary cake. If you read Doubting Abbey I hope you enjoy every bit.

Buy: Doubting Abbey