Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays from the Choc Lit Team and our Santa Clauses!

Merry Christmas from Team Choc Lit!

Merry Christmas everyone, Happy Holidays! Thank you for all your fabulous support in 2015. We look forward to sharing more exciting releases and fabulous Choc Lit books with you in the new year.
Love from the Choc Lit Team x
(Lyn, Lusana, Jane O, Liz, Jane E, Marie, Jessamy) 

And now a message from our Choc Lit Santas: 🙂

PersuadeMe_Visuals3:Layout 1

juliet Santa photoJuliet Archer:  “As Jane Austen said in Emma, published 200 years ago this month: ‘This is quite the season indeed for friendly meetings. At Christmas every body invites their friends about them, and people think little of even the worst weather.’ I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year, with lots of ‘friendly meetings’ and as little as possible of ‘the worst weather’.”

Santa - Rhoda BaxterPLEASE RELEASE ME_front150dpiRhoda Baxter: “Wish you all a fab holiday season with lots of chocolate, cake and nice warming books to read. See you next year.”


Zana Bell - Santa!

Fool's Gold

Zana Bell: Meri Kirihimete (Maori) everyone and many best wishes from New Zealand. May you all have a wonderful festive season. ”


AnnMarie Santa photo

AnneMarie Brear: “Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas, (a perfect time to read good books) and a safe and healthy 2016!”



Jan Santa photo


Jan Brigden: “Wishing everyone a joyful, peaceful, healthy Christmas & New Year, with much festive good cheer, happy reading (and chocolate goodies aplenty!). Enjoy!”


Angela Britnell - Santa!


Angela Britnell: “Wishing all of our Choc Lit readers a joyous Christmas and a wonderful New Year filled with good books!”


Sheryl Browne Santa!


9781781892350Sheryl Browne: Christmas time, mistletoe and wine … If you fancy a gorgeous hero to complete the scene, dip into scrummy Choc Lit book. Perfection. Have a lovely Christmas everyone!

You Think You Know MeClare Chase - Santa!Clare Chase: “Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas, full of warmth and good cheer, followed by a very happy 2016.”


An Irish Promise

Valerie Olteanu  - Isabeall Connor - SantaLiv Thomas - Isabella Connor - Santa!Isabella Connor (Liv & Val):  Nollaig shona dhaoibh. Wishing all Choc Lit readers and their families, a wonderful Christmas, and a happy 2016.”


Christina Courtenay - Santa!Christina Courtenay: “I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Have a peaceful, relaxing holiday hopefully with lots of time for reading! Thank you all for your support this year and here’s to a fantastic year in 2016!  Christina xxx”

Some Veil Did Fall

Kirsty Ferry - Santa!

Kirsty Ferry: “Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy 2016. I hope you enjoy a festive season filled with cake, chocolate and a multitude of good books! Love from Kirsty xxx”


9781781892206Debbie Santa photoDebbie Flint: “Wishing you sleighbells and snowflakes, mince pies andmulled wine, silent nights and holly-days, myrrh and magic moments, tinselled tots and festive pets, plus perfect peace, Christmas cheer – and to all a good night!”


9781781892466 Kathryn Freeman - Santa!Kathryn Freeman: “Christmas – a time to relax, to indulge. Whether you’re turkey or goose, chocolate or champagne, Christmas films or a sack full of books, I wish you all a very happy Christmas.”


Janet Gover - Santa!9781781892688Janet Gover: “May Christmas be a time of joy for you and yours – and I hope 2016 will be a wonderful year filled with love and laughter.”



The Highwayman's Daughter

Henriette Gyland - Santa!Henriette Gyland: “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May 2016 be filled with love, laughter and good books to read.”


Linn's Santas photo

Linn B. Halton: Wishing everyone peace, love and happiness this Christmas time, and a wonderful start to 2016! Linn x




Liz Harris - Santa!Liz Harris: “Wishing you everything for 2015 that you wish for yourself.  May it be a year filled with health, happiness, chocolate and, of course, books!!”


The Wedding Cake TreeMelanie Hudson - Santa!Melanie Hudson: 
“Wishing you love, light and oodles of laughter this Christmas.”



9781781892701Laura E James - Santa!Laura E.James: “Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a 2016 that’s overflowing with good health and great books.”



Magic Sometimes Happens

Margaret James - Santa!Margaret James: “Merry Christmas, readers and writers, and may 2016 be a wonderful year for you all.”


Impossible ThingsKate Johnson Santa!Kate Johnson: “I’d like to wish everyone a very happy festive season and offer my best wishes for the new year.”


Dangerous DecisionsMargaret Kaine - Santa!Margaret Kaine: “I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas whether you are spending it with family or friends, or have chosen to be on your own surrounded by chocolates, wine and good books. May I wish you both good health and happiness throughout 2016.”


Jane Lovering - Santa!9781781892817Jane Lovering: “Wishing everyone a happy HobNob dunking, marshmallow toasting, Tony Robinson watching day! Although if you don’t like any of these things, I wish you a Happy Christmas anyway…all the more for me! JANE X”


9781781892176Sally santa photoSally Malcolm: “Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas, and a New Yearfull of adventure!”



Alison May - Santa!9781781892947Alison May: “May your festive season be joyful and filled with books, chocolate and all good things. Happy Christmas one and all.”



Emma - There's No Turning BackLinda Mitchelmore - Santa!Linda Mitchelmore: “Happy Christmas to you all. I hope you will have a wonderful time, spending Christmas in whichever way you choose. I also hope there will  be a little window of time to curl up with a Choc Lit novel – or two – somewhere warm with a glass of something festive.”

Lynda Stacey Santa photoLynda Stacey: “May your Christmas sparkle with happiness, surprises and above all else, good health. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a fabulous 2016  xx”



DANCE UNTIL DAWNBerni Stevens - Santa!Berni Stevens: “Wishing everyone a Perfectly Paranormal Christmas and a peaceful New Year! Happy reading! Love Berni xxx”


Follow a StarChristine Stovell - Santa!Christine Stovell: Nadolig Llawen! Merry Christmas one and all. Here’s wishing you everything you would wish for yourself.”


Romancing the SoulSarah Tranter - Santa!Sarah Tranter: “Merry Xmas and a fabulous 2016 to you all!”



Never Marry a Politician!Sarah Tranter - Santa!Sarah Waights: “Wishing all Choc Lit readers a fabulous Christmas and as much romance and chocolate as you can handle in the year to come.”


Out of Sight Out of Mind

Evonne Wareham - Santa!Evonne Wareham: “Happy Christmas – Nadolig Llawen – and health, happiness and lots of good books for everyone in 2016.”


Nick santa photo

Nicky Wells:  “Frohe Weihnachten und ein Gutes Neues! ~That’s “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” in my native German, and I’d like to wish you both of those with all myheart. May your Christmas sparkle and may your 2016 be filled with love, laughter and happiness. Xx”


Liv and Val welcome you to the fictional world of Baronsmere


One of the main settings in ‘Beneath an Irish Sky’ is a village called Baronsmere, but you won’t find it on any map. It exists only in our imagination, but it has come to seem very real to us, the writers.

In fact, sometimes we wish we could live there permanently!

It’s a small village of 800 people. It has a ‘mere,’ a small lake, and it came into existence after William the Conqueror rewarded a French baron with land in the years following 1066.

Baronsmere hasn’t changed much at all over the centuries. That’s part of its appeal. Everyone knows everyone there, which creates a strong sense of community, but it’s also a difficult place to find any privacy. The double-edged sword of country living.

Find out more about Baronsmere on our Isabella Connor website:

Visually, we imagine Baronsmere to look like the quintessentially English village of Castle Combe, which has surely come straight from a chocolate box lid. You just can’t beat the beauty of that honeyed Cotswold stone.

castle-combe-large-sizePhoto Credit: Saffron Blaze

Steven Spielberg obviously agreed with us because he used Castle Combe as the location for ‘War Horse.’

And it could just be our imagination, but Hobbiton in ‘Lord of the Rings’ bears a striking resemblance to Castle Combe, as does J. K. Rowling’s Hogsmeade.

Incidentally, the old rectory tearoom in Castle Combe apparently has a cushion-throwing ghost. That’s got to be a first!

Are there any other real-life places you think would make ideal novel settings?

Publication Day for Beneath an Irish Sky!

Never mind all the fuss about Prince George. Today, Liv and Val have been safely delivered of their debut novel ‘Beneath an Irish Sky.’ Book and co-authors are both doing well!


In honour of the Irish theme of our novel, it has been decreed that all shall wear green today. And drink Guinness. And play Westlife at full volume. And be happy.

Since the Kindle edition of our novel came out last month, people have been so generous with their reviews and their support. This, though, really takes the biscuit.


Literally. A biscuit. With our cover on it. The things they can do these days! Special thanks to our wonderful editor, Rachel D Skinner, for a most unusual publication day gift. We’ll keep it forever, Rachel – or at least until it starts growing fur. ☺

We share this day, of course, with our cast of characters: Jack, Luke, Emer, Kate, and Matt, to name but a few. They are like family to us now. We certainly put them into some tough situations – hopefully they forgive us!

Now, music is very special to one of our main characters, Luke, who remembers his mother singing by the campfire when he was a boy. In his honour, we’ve composed a song called ‘The Leavetaking.’ It’s a sad one, about the past and lost love, a major theme in the book. It’s really a song for our other main character, Jack, showing his doubt and regret and heartbreak.

So, imagine yourself in Galway, sitting by a campfire under the stars, the laughter and song of your friends and kin surrounding you. Read the lyrics and listen to the song.

And if you like it, we hope you’ll decide to read ‘Beneath an Irish Sky,’ and spend some time in the company of Luke and his friends and family.

    The Leavetaking

I’ve been thinking of you
And the day when you left
Do you know that there’s been no one else?

I’ve been longing for you
And the love we once had
Do you ever regret what we lost?

Were there tears in your eyes
On that long-ago day
Did you falter or dare to look back?

Were you thinking of me
As you were walking away
Did you know then you’d never come home?

Beneath an Irish Sky, song

Writing Buddies – Val & Liv

For a couple of weeks, we’ve been trying to come up with something original for W Wednesday. What we thought would be a piece of cake, proved otherwise. We did wonder if we could say one of us has a problem with our Rs, and then maybe we could get away with Womance or Wock and Woll.

But W it is – W for Who? W for Writing buddies; W for Without meeting.

So who the heck are these writing buddies, who have never met?  Collectively, Isabella Connor. Individually, Liv and Val. Val lives in Canada, Liv in England. That’s an 8-hour time difference and more than 4,000 miles in between.  We wrote a novel, working title Luke, now officially Beneath an Irish Sky, submitted it to Choc Lit, who accepted it for publication and here we are.

It wasn’t exactly easy to write a novel as a partnership, when we live on separate continents. But the internet (and the phone) made it far less difficult than it might have been, and we came to the conclusion some time ago that we do appear to share a brain. Cybermese twins, you might say, though it can get difficult if we both want the brain at the same time.

The internet didn’t just make it easier, though – it made it possible, as we actually met on an online message-board. From the beginning it became obvious that we shared the same feeling for the characters, the same direction for the novel. There have been times when we had to compromise, but even if you’re writing a book alone, there’s always a time when you have to deliberate on which route the plot or the characters should take.

Writing the novel together has been a pleasure and great fun. Sometimes a headache, but to expect no problems at all would have been totally unrealistic.

alicetweedledumtweedledee Partnerships/ pairings have existed since time began. Antony and Cleopatra, Napoleon and Josephine, Frodo and Sam, Marks and Spencer, and now there’s us …

We’re obviously Tweedledum and Tweedledee – they were the two who would finish each other’s sentences, right?

So are we a bargain? Kind of Buy one Get One Free – or Double Trouble. Time will tell!

There are other real-life writing partnerships, such as bestselling crime duo Nicci Gerrard and Sean French, writing as Nicci French, but we thought it would be fun to come up with some imaginary writing duos – ones that would be successful, and ones that wouldn’t last the day.

Successful Synergies

1. John Grisham & Fyodor Dostoevsky: “Clients and Punishment”

2. Jane Austen & Helen Fielding: “Elizabeth Bennet’s Diary”

3. Stephanie Meyer & Anne Rice: “Interview with the Vampire: the Cullen Chronicles”

Doomed to Fail

1. F. Scott Fitzgerald & Ernest Hemingway: “Jazz and Daiquiris in the Afternoon”

2. Ian Fleming & Charlotte Brontë: “The Governess Who Loved Me”

3. Enid Blyton & D H Lawrence: “The Naughtiest Girl and The Gamekeeper”

If you’ve any other suggestions, please share. 🙂

So, until next time then, it’s a goodnight from me … and a goodnight from her.