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: 🙂

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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”


Melanie Hudson Goes to Sea!

Publishing a book is a wonderful thing, but what’s even better is the knock-on effect of being able to speak with – or write to – those who have read and enjoyed your work. Is this self-gratification? I suppose so, a little bit. But my debut novel, The Wedding Cake Tree, has, on every page, a little piece of my soul, and so it is the ultimate in job satisfaction when a complete stranger takes the time to say, ‘I loved it, thank you’.

And yet, despite my excitement at being published by Choc Lit, and despite the fact that I find immense pleasure in writing fiction, I can’t pretend that I always had a burning desire to write novels (in my 20s and 30s I never sat down long enough to pen anything longer than a quick email!). So how was it that a 40 year old military woman decided to throw caution to the wind and become a novelist? Read on … *Cue wiggly lined vision and fade out to the past…*

First, I’ll take you back to the late 70s/early 80s and ask you to imagine a typical South Yorkshire mining village (during the striking years) and a scraggy little tom-boy whose only ambition in life was to emulate her brother, just so she could please her dad. Every year, the brother and the dad would go on their pilgrimage to the RAF Finningly Air Show, and every year the gangly girl was left at home.

Fast forward a few years – past the girl’s awkward university years/blur – and you’ll see the same gangly girl walk through the gates of RAF Cranwell (the home of officer training), look up at the bell tower, smile, take a deep breath, stride through the doors, and finally get see what all the excitement surrounding the RAF was about.  Her ensuing career would take her into two wars zones, three warships, see her married twice, have a child, and mould her personality.EPSON MFP image

The girl in question was, of course, me. I joined the Royal Air Force as an air traffic control officer in 1994, and it was the best decision of my life. Everything about life in the RAF suited me. I loved my new-found social life and loved living on a busy, exciting air station. But it is only now in my 40s – living life as a civilian again – that I realise one of the best aspects of my military career was that sense of belonging, of unwavering camaraderie – of security.EPSON MFP image

Air traffic control, however, was a funny old game. Sometimes I loved it (working on radar sequencing umpteen fast jets through dense cloud to land on one runway a minute apart gave a great buzz). But it can be a tiring job, and I realise now that I spent a great deal of my controlling career utterly stressed out. EPSON MFP image

By late 2002 I was knackered. At breakneck speed I had experienced all that military ATC had to offer. I had also worked for NATO at the Croatian ATC centre (nipping in and out of Bosnia during the Kosovo Crisis) and I had trained ATC students during an instructor tour. It was during my time as an instructor that I became disenchanted – not with the RAF – but with air traffic control in general. I knocked on the boss’s door one day and asked him for a complete change of scenery, which is when the adage, ‘be careful what you wish for’ came into play, because I was indeed given a change of scenery: I was sent to work with the army (cripes!).Mel photo 1

In January 2003 I was instructed to pack my rucksack, sign a pistol and thirty rounds of ammunition out of stores, dust off my respirator, get my NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) suit out of the loft, and catch a flight to Kuwait where I was to report to Headquarters 1st (UK) Armoured Division. My new job was as an Air Liaison Officer to Major General Robin Brims’. Basically, I was going to war, and despite my initial naïve bravado, I can tell you that being issued with anti-nerve agent tablets and an atropine pen focusses the mind. I had absolutely no idea what the job entailed other than that it had nothing whatsoever to do with air traffic control. I received no training, but once in theatre I quickly realised that my job (and the job of four other RAF personnel) was to act as a conduit between the Army, the RAF and US forces to provide the British Army with the air power they would need to help fight the war. EPSON MFP image

The war started on the 20th March 2003 (a date I shall never forget) and if a target needed bombing, we arranged it; if our soldiers were in bother and needed support from the air, we called in the bombers. To explain all of the intricacies of my job in Iraq would take a very long time, but let’s just say that in my experience war is a horrible, frightening and yet (sadly) an exhilarating business.EPSON MFP image

War has a tendency to focus the mind, and on leaving Iraq I felt misplaced and had a burning desire to settle down and start a family. My partner was in the Royal Navy (based in the UK) but I was living in Germany. We realised that if we were ever to settle down together something would have to give. I gave up my career in the RAF (just short of promotion), transferred to the ATC branch in the Navy and, after a stint working on HMS Invincible (which was brilliant), I returned to air traffic control and moved to Somerset to live with my partner who became my husband. I don’t think I ever really felt that I belonged in the Navy (it wasn’t my own dream), but we built a house together and had a baby (my wonderful son) and I left the RN at the end of my commission in 2010.EPSON MFP image

I still haven’t told you how I started writing, have I?

Well, I’m not the first person to say that readers are often writers, and I have always been a prolific reader (especially as a child). So when we upped-sticks and moved to Dubai (on a bit of a whim) in 2010 and I became a full-time mum, I suddenly felt an unstoppable desire to write a novel (and finally had the time to do so). Once I started writing it became addictive (and I haven’t stopped since). Perhaps I like the challenge of writing a novel because it’s a little bit like air traffic control – having lots of pieces of a jigsaw scattered about and trying to find the best way to put them into some semblance of order fairly quickly; in other words, having to plan things out while at the same time flying by the seat of your pants!

And that’s it – that’s how I started to write (which sounds much more simple than the endless hours of hard toil and tears it really equates to). I suppose the only aspect of writing I need to be wary of in the long term is this … it’s a lonely business (which, to a certain extent, I like). I have always been an adventurous little soul and there are lots more exciting adventures sitting out there just waiting to be gobbled up. And so I must make sure that I maintain a balance between my fictional life, and my real one – after all, to write about life, we surely have to live it a little, first.TWCT_Kindle

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