Today I’m delighted to feature interior designer turned author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman. Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships. Linn is the bestselling author of eighteen novels and counting. When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either up-cycling furniture or working in the garden.
Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.
Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.
So over to Linn
Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
I decided to interpret this as ‘the soundtrack to my writing life’ because limiting it to five is hard. So hard, that after much agonising, I managed to get it down to a cheeky five plus one! (I’ll let you off as there’s almost two of you!)
James Blunt – You’re Beautiful. It always makes me cry.
A-Ha – The Sun Always Shines on T.V. – because the music lifts my spirits.
John Newman – Love Me Again. The words, that voice… enough said.
Dido – Here With Me and The Calling – Wherever You go. For lovers of ‘Love Actually’ – you’ll all understand that limiting it to two was tough from the film’s soundtrack.
Sam Smith’s – Writing’s on the Wall. My heart skips a beat when I close my eyes and listen to him singing. He feels every single note and word.
The why, when it comes to my writing life, is that when it comes to digging deep emotionally, music does it for me. Sometimes it’s the words. Other times it’s simply the music, and often it’s both. When an artist puts everything into a song it shows and these are my go to songs when it’s time to sit down and write an emotional scene.
What 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.
A cup of coffee first thing in the morning. Now – sadly – sugar-free and black (and just the one) but it’s a treat.
My essential oil diffusers – I have one in the bedroom and one in my study. I use lavender, tea tree, and geranium oils. It is relaxing, creates a wonderful ambience and purifies the air.
A roll-top slipper bath. Showers are great, but nothing beats lazing back in a bath with magnesium flakes for a boost and listening to a meditation track on YouTube. It keeps me sane.
My once a week, home pampering session. A facial scrub, face pack and finishing off with a little fractionated coconut oil. Bliss and refreshing!
This might be classed as cheating a little (again) but, as I type, I can look up at the most wonderful collage of photographs above my desk. With four grandchildren, one glance and my heart melts – every single time. I feel truly blessed.
Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Listen to your gut instincts – they will serve you well. Just because you are young doesn’t mean everyone else knows better.
When it comes to your ‘to do’ list – do the thing you least want to do, first. Always.
Your time to write will come, you simply need to be patient.
Some rules are meant to be broken, because sometimes the people who make them their own agendas.
Don’t think you have to conform. We are each unique – that’s something to celebrate, not hide.
Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.
I hate shopping for clothes. My husband has to literally drag me into a shop to try something on.
My husband often has to drag me away from the soft furnishings section of big stores. I love buying towels and bedding.
When I love a song, I play it over, and over, and over, and over… you get the message.
While I love flying, until very recently I was terrified of taking off and landing. I managed to cure myself by discovering EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). Simple!
All of my early childhood memories involve seeing spirits. Crazy, but true. It wasn’t until my early forties that I had the courage to admit that, though.
Tell us 5 things you’d like to do or achieve.
Inspire future generations to hold onto their dreams and never give up. I feel blessed to finally be able to write, because that was always my passion and it was well worth the wait. But I truly believe I needed to experience life first and then sit down to let the words flow.
Accept what I cannot change. I struggle with that every single day of my life and always will.
Learn to play the piano. I dabbled when I was a young teen and gave up because of other distractions – I met my soul mate.
Never look back and say ‘if only’ – on the rare occasion I’ve hesitated over something, with hindsight it was always for a very good reason.
Do no harm – make people smile, not frown. My mum always said ‘if you can’t think of something nice to say, say nothing’.
Many thanks for sharing with us Linn. That weekly pampering session sounds good, I might have to adopt that idea! I’m with you on clothes shopping, I hate it. I’ll only shop when it’s absolutely necessary and once I’ve been in more than two changing rooms I’ve had enough. I’ve resorted to the Lagenlook (oversize style) so I buy online as one size fits all. Not always flattering, but I don’t really care. Towels and bedding I get as well, and for me soap – I could start a soap shop from my stash! And the playing a record over and over – were we separated at birth? Thankfully I don’t see spirits, that would scare me witless! Very much like your advice to your younger self, if only we took notice of our gut instincts more often. Here’s hoping that piano might make an appearance in your life!
Writing as Lucy Coleman
When married couple Fern and Aiden have a windfall, their reactions could not be more different. While Fern is content to pay off their mortgage and build a nest egg before starting a family, her husband is set on traveling the world.
Fern’s not much of a back-packer so, before she knows it, the idea of a ‘marriage gap year’ takes shape. And, as Aiden heads off to the wilds of Australia, Fern chooses the more restful Provence for her year out.
Set amidst the glorious French scenery, Château de Vernon offers a retreat from the hustle and bustle of normal life, and Fern agrees to help out in return for painting lessons from the owner – renowned, but rather troubled, painter Nico.
As their year unfolds in very different ways, will the time apart transform their marriage, or will it drive Fern and Aiden even further apart…
Paris and the Palace of Versailles have always meant a lot to TV producer Lexie. Her grandma Viv spent a year there, but her adventures and memories were never discussed, and Lexie has long wondered why they were a family secret.
When work presents the perfect excuse to spend Springtime in Versailles, Lexie delves into Viv’s old diaries and scrapbooks, and with the help of handsome interpreter Ronan, she is soon learning more about the characters
that tend to the magnificent gardens, now and in the past.
In amongst the beauty and splendour of the French countryside, a story of lost love, rivalry and tragedy unfolds. Can Lexie and Ronan right the wrongs of the past, and will France play its tricks on them both before Lexie has to go home? Will this truly be a Springtime to Remember…?
It’s December 23rd and while everyone else is rushing home for the holidays, workaholic Leesa Oliver is dreading switching on her out-of-office for the festive season. And it seems her equally driven boss, Cary Anderson, isn’t relishing spending Christmas at his family’s country estate either.
So together, they draft an unexpected Christmas contract: They’ll spend half of the holidays with each other’s families, pretending to be a couple. Leesa knows the insufferably good-looking Cary will make her Christmas more bearable, but what happens after the last of the mince pies have been eaten…?
Leesa signed off on a sensible business agreement, but somewhere, amongst the fairy lights and carols something seems to have changed… It seems there might just be some magic under the mistletoe this Christmas!
Brianna Middleton has won the hearts of millions of readers with her sweeping love stories. But the girl behind the typewriter is struggling… Not only does she have writer’s block, but she’s a world-famous romance author with zero romance in her own life.
So the opportunity to spend the summer teaching at a writer’s retreat in an idyllic villa on the shores of Lake Garda – owned by the enigmatic bachelor Arran Jamieson – could this be just the thing to fire up Brie’s writing – and romantic – mojo?
Brie’s sun-drenched Italian summer could be the beginning of this writer’s very own happy-ever-after…
As the snowflakes start to fall, Holly Cove welcomes a new tenant to the beautiful old cottage on the beach…
For lifestyle magazine journalist Tia Armstrong, relationships, as well as Christmas, have lost all their magic. Yet Tia is up against a Christmas deadline for her latest article ‘Love is, actually, all around…’
So, Tia heads to Holly Cove where the restorative sea air and rugged stranger, Nic, slowly but surely start mending her broken heart.
Tia didn’t expect a white Christmas, and she certainly never dared dream that all her Christmas wishes might just come true…
Set in Caswell Bay on the stunningly beautiful Gower Coast, the cottage nestles amid the limestone cliffs and the woodlands, where the emotions run as turbulently as the wind-swept sea.
A new life in the idyllic French countryside isn’t running away, it’s an adventure!
Suddenly unemployed and single, Anna escapes to her parents’ beautiful house in France for a much needed recharge – and to work out what she wants to do next with her life now her carefully mapped-out plan has gone out the window.
Anna gives herself 6 months to recuperate, all the while helping renovate her parents’ adjoining gites into picturesque b&bs. But working alongside the ruggedly handsome Sam on the renovation project, she didn’t expect for life to take an unexpected, if not unwelcome, twist…
Will Anna embrace this new beginning, or return to her past?
Writing as Linn B. Halton
More than just a holiday romance?
Her daughter, her job and divorcing her untrustworthy ex are Leah’s main priorities. She isn’t really bothered that her life might be missing a few things. But after winning a prestigious travel blogger award, she’s inundated with offers to review glamorous holiday destinations.
Lying around drinking exotic cocktails and being paid for it … what could be better? Perhaps a romantic trip to idyllic Greece to find the one man who might make Leah risk her heart again…
When Ellie Maddison is sent on a business trip to Southern Italy, she’s reminded why she loves her job – set amongst rolling vineyards and rich olive groves, the beautiful Villa Rosso is the perfect escape from her life back home. But what Ellie isn’t prepared for is the instant connection she feels to the estate’s director Max Jackson, or the secrets they share that are as intertwined as the rambling vines that cover Villa Rosso.
It’s not long before Ellie finds herself entangled in the history of the place, trying to understand the undeniable effect Max is having on her. As their relationship grows, what will Ellie discover about this idyllic villa and those who have walked through its doors?
What started as a simple work trip will change Ellie’s life forever.
What do you do when your best friend has an affair with your husband of twenty-five years?
Well, you pack your bags, grab half of the equity in the house you’ve both lovingly restored and run away to an idyllic little cottage in the country.
Only, it’s not quite so idyllic when
1) Rustic charm sounds rather romantic, but the reality is something else …
2) The heavens decide to open on moving day and the rain just keeps on coming
Maddie Brooks grits her teeth and hires the highly recommended ‘man who can’, ex-soldier, Lewis Hart. As he rips out the very shabby, and decidedly not-so-chic kitchen, reality sets in. Not only is he the most abrupt person she’s ever met, but the man is a Neanderthal!
As the flood waters rise, and the village is cut off, everything that could possibly go wrong, does.
Hitting the big five-o is the final straw. No presents, family or friends—just infuriating Lewis, who can’t leave because the flood has now cut off his exit. How on earth is she going to get through this and put her life back together?
Can Maddie Brooks become that ‘fifty-and-fabulous’ woman of her dreams?
The countdown to Christmas is usually a magical time, but Elana James is fed up with living on a building site! The renovations on her beautiful cottage – like her heart – have been frozen in limbo ever since she was unexpectedly widowed.
Elana calls in a professional, Luke Stevenson, to help finish the cottage, so her little girl can send letters to Santa up the newly-repaired chimney. Luke’s kind, capable and sexy – but he’s also ten years younger than Elana. So why has her heart decided it’s finally time for a thaw?
When destiny calls, you need to pick up …
On the surface, Kristi Danielson has it all. She’s lifestyle coach to the rich and famous, has a bestselling book to her name and is described by her fans as “the veritable Queen of how to lead a fulfilling life”.
But the harsh truth is that Kristi has never practiced what she preaches. Her home life is a mess, her relationship with artist boyfriend, Tom, not much better – and now she has to redeem herself before all is lost.
At her wit’s end, Kristi is driven to seek out the help of Patrick Blakeslee, a tarot card reader and psychic medium, in an attempt to make sense of the mounting panic she’s feeling.
But Patrick’s visits have an unexpected effect on Kristi, leaving her with more questions than answers – and a life-changing decision to make.
Life isn’t all love and cupcakes …
Katie has had her fair share of bad luck, but when she finally realises her dream of opening a bakery it seems things can only get better.
But the reality of running a business hits Katie hard and whilst her partner, Steve, tries to help she can’t help but feel that the situation is driving them further apart. Could Katie be set to lose her relationship and her dream job?
Then, one winter’s day, a man walks into her shop – and, in the space of that moment, the course of Katie’s life is changed.
But nobody finds happiness in the blink of an eye. Sometimes it takes two Christmases, three birthdays and a whole lot of cake to get there …
Katherine Dale’s life is in a state of chaos.
She has just been made redundant from her job as an accountant and she finds herself with no career, no direction in life and no relationship to fall back on.
To make matters worse, the one thing that she could always depend on – genius astrological readings from her idol, Mark Ainsley-Thomas – is even beginning to fail her.
At a crossroads in her life and starting a career as a full-time writer, Katherine cannot believe that the readings from the world-renowned astrologist are failing to guide her through this tumultuous time.
She sends an email to Mark’s webpage, venting her frustration at the recent unhelpful readings.
Little does Katherine know that Mark’s busy publicity schedule and his overbearing agent are taking over his life and that he has hired an assistant astrologist, James, to take over the readings.
James, returning to astrology after a failed business career and disastrous marriage, is also at a vulnerable stage in his life and reacts angrily when he receives Katherine’s emails criticising his work.
Their heated email exchange reveals the frustrations in both their lives but the reappearance of Mark Ainsley-Thomas helps to smooth this friction over, and Katherine and James begin a tentative friendship which soon blossoms into something much more.
Katherine, James and Mark realise just how small the world is when their complicated lives become forever entangled.
Amidst the chaos of their lives, including a cat named No. 4, a local writing group, a difficult ex, an old war veteran named Jake, a potential book deal and a last-minute trip to LA, will there ever be a happy ever after for Katherine and James…?
James Kingman’s world just got complicated.
The love of his life, Katherine Dale, has just given birth to their first child.
His troublesome business manager, Phillipa, is sexually harassing him at work.
His boss proposes a partnership which would double his workload.
With so much on his plate, how will James cope?
Plagued by the unexpected exhaustion of having a baby who suffers from colic, he tries his best to hold his family together. Despite growing up without a mother and a neglectful father, James is a natural-born father.
Katherine, however, is struggling.
Dejected and rejected, Katherine battles with her hormones as her writing career begins to slip away from her. She not only doubts her capabilities as a writer but as a mother too.
Katherine confides in James’ boss, the enigmatic and world-famous astrologer, Mark Ainsley-Thomas, and he puts her in touch with his agent.
Things start to look up for the writer, as her latest work attracts attention from several publishers, but her trips to Mark’s hotel attract attention too…
Suspicion is aroused and photographs are snapped.
Is there any truth to last year’s rumours of an affair between the pair?
If not, then why is Katherine visiting Mark in secret?
Will James be able to resist the advances of his seductive colleague?
Will the tangled trio be able to avoid scandal in the stars?
Mya finds it hard to believe that she has just died. She clearly remembers being in a lot of pain and a sense of panic going on around her, then nothing but a bright, comforting light and the pain quickly being replaced by a state of calm and tranquillity. But what now? Mya wants to talk to people, find out how her friends and family are, but there s no one around to help – until she suddenly finds herself chatting to Laurel.
A fun, uplifting story about love, life and everything in between! Laurel has what she sees as the dubious gift of being able to communicate with spirits, and when Mya bowls in, desperate for some answers, Laurel’s life is turned upside down. Her relationship with boyfriend Dan is already in a fragile state, she’s unsure about her chosen career, and now there’s a bewildered, feisty young spirit getting in the way. As Mya flits around Laurel and Dan’s lives, unable to control how and when she appears, unexpected psychic connections are made and the course of true love takes a detour no one could have predicted.
Life is all about the choices we make…
Holly is the envy of all her friends; she has lived with the gorgeous Will for five years. She supported him whilst his IT company grew and a life split between homes in the UK and Los Angeles beckons, offering them a glamorous and exciting lifestyle.
A series of terrifying encounters unleashes an inherited psychic sensitivity within Holly and she begins to wonder whether the path she’s on is the one she’s destined to take. The thought of hurting the people she loves the most causes her to bury her emotions, until fate takes a hand. Suddenly her perfect life begins to unravel…
“It’s a gift to be shown something that allows you to make a difference and alter the outcome of someone else’s life. However, the weight of the responsibility that goes along with that is huge and what about the ethics? The thing I have to ask myself is how did my actions change the future?” Holly Elizabeth Atherton
Age, relationships, and careers – we are all unique. Yet beneath the exterior facade we choose to show to the world at large, what do we have in common? The things we bury deep inside – the worries and fears we are unable to verbalize, and the hand fate takes in our lives is a common thread. Sometimes we fail to recognize in each other that innermost struggle on the path to true love. Six very different stories, six couples linked by The Restaurant @ The Mill, owned by Hilary Marks and Ben Adams. As the restaurant thrives the atmosphere is alive with conversation, snapshots of lives unfolding, each one a personal journey. Will Hilary learn to trust a man with her heart ever again? Why does Ben prefer the sanctuary of his kitchen? Will he finally open up and let the world in? And the diners-how will their lives play out? Charlotte kissed a lot of frogs before she found her Prince, but will it all fall apart after an accident changes the man she loves? Grace and Lawrence have been parted for more than half a century. Can an old secret bring them together for their twilight years? Isobel and David’s love is strong, but everything in their lives is changing. Isobel is attractive and still a catch, but will she begin to tire of him now that it’s just the two of them? Will Sadie ever get Sam to see her as a serious love interest when he used to be engaged to her sister? Or will she always be the younger sibling? And Thomas, rich beyond most people’s wildest dreams, but still in love with the girl he knew at school – is he destined to be a sought-after bachelor for the rest of his life? Heart-warming and emotional – enjoy visiting The Restaurant @ The Mill.
Bk 1 – FALLING … Ceri thinks she sees angels … everywhere.
Bk 2 – FORBIDDEN …“I’m in a tunnel—it’s dark and yet little rays, like pinpricks of sunshine breaking through foliage, seep towards me from every angle.”
Bk 3 – FOREVER … Ceri is alone for a reason. She’s not meant to fall in love. She’s here for one purpose only.
Love is a powerful emotion, but can it change the course of someone’s destiny?
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