Book and a Brew with Ritu – Just Friends For Now by @Lucy_K_Author @ChocLituk #NewRelease #BookReview #BookAndABrew

Yes, we are back with another Book & A Brew with Ritu post!.

Today, I am thrilled to welcome fabulous Rom-Com author, and friend of mine, Lucy Keeling to my blog for a cuppa and a bit of a chat about all things writerly, especially her newest release, Just Friends for Now. It’s out TODAY!

Hello, and welcome to But I Smile Anyway, Lucy! Let’s get you set with a drink first. Now would you prefer a coffee of some sort? I have a Tassimo machine. I can stretch to that! Or maybe a cup of tea, a chai latte, or would you like to be brave and have a traditional homemade Indian masala tea? (Maybe we should do a Mimosa brunch like the one served in Lulu’s!)

Well, I would love to try an Indian masala tea, especially after reading your books, it sounds delicious. Although maybe after our catch up, we should go and do a bottomless brunch somewhere and just have all the giggles.

Oh, my goodness, that would be such fun! We have to, most definitely, one day! But for now, if we’re going masala tea, I can bust out the samosas and pakoras (fried potato and vegetable fritters), but I have biscuits, specifically shortbread, too!

I adore samosas and pakoras so absolutely count me in! But and this will come as absolutely no surprise I also love biscuits so I’ll have whatever you’re having, don’t go to any trouble just for me.

Right, well I’ll just lay a whole spread out, then!

Now that first, inevitable question… Why writing? Was it always a dream? How did you end up getting published?

I’ve always written, or at least attempted to. In fact, I’m now wondering if I wrote because I have always been obsessed with stationery (and therefore would ask for stationery every birthday) or if I’m obsessed with stationery because I’ve always been a writer. (Fellow stationery addict, here. I 100% understand your obsession!)

As for how I ended up being published, well…

My publisher was running a competition. I entered, and although I only came in second place, I was offered a three-book contract as a result. Woohoo! It makes it sound like it’s so easy, so what I will add, if that’s ok, is that for many years I honestly didn’t know you could plan a novel. I really thought that an author would sit at a desk, be inspired, and the words would just flow. So every single attempt at writing, I’d run out of steam around Chapter 5. When I discovered that you could plan it out, it completely changed everything. There are so many misconceptions out there about writing a novel, I know! I think I was the same at first, but now, in book three, I have realised I can’t be a Pantser all the time. I am now a Plan-tser!

I love your Just Friends Series! Can you tell me where your passion for writing Rom-Coms stems from?

Firstly thank you so much. I still can’t get over the fact that people actually read my stories.

But why romcoms? Well, I adore reading them. It’s that simple. I’ve loved reading them and watching them. In fact, I remember being like 10, maybe, and my favourite movie was Overboard – Kurt Russel and Goldie Hawn. In fact, it probably is still one of my faves, to be honest. Do you like watching Romcoms, and if yes, do you have a fave?

I do indeed love them! I love both Western ones and Bollywood ones, too! But my all-time fave has to be Pretty Woman! I could watch it over and over!

Do you have a favourite from the books you have written so far?

Ohhhh, I don’t know if I can pick a favourite. Can you pick one of yours? What I will say is that there’s something in each book that I’ve really loved exploring. In the first one, I wanted to look at how the female love interest can be the one that makes the big gesture. The second one was exploring how relationships, friends or romantic, can help people grow. Mya’s story in the third was looking at strong women and how they don’t have to change when they fall in love. Book 4 this one is looking at barriers that we might put in our way. A friend of mine once told me to get out of my own way, and I’ve sort of explored that. However, as well as themes, I also go trope heavy. So we have book 1 – best friend’s brother. Book 2- fake dating. Book 3 – Enemies to lovers, competitors even! Book 4 – bang to get it out of their systems, with a grumpy sunshine combo. And I have LOVED every single trope! Do you have a favourite trope or one that you’d love to write about?

Oh, I know, Lucy, it is a hard question and perhaps very cheeky of me to ask! I think Marriage Unarranged will always have a special place in my heart because it took me so long to write and launched my dream. I feel book 3 will be very dear to me because the subject matter is close to my heart… I am not big on writing to trope, as such, but I do love Enemies to Lovers and Second Chance Romances.

Where do you like to write?  Do you have a special room at home, or are you one who is spread across the dining room table, like I was when I wrote my first book?

I have a little desk in my bedroom, but like you, my first two books were written on the kitchen table. It was only when I was sent home, in the pandemic that I added a desk to the bedroom, and there you have it. I’m a lot closer to the post-its but further away from the tea and biscuits. So….

Certain distractions we have to try and fight… But I make it worse by having a stash of snacks in my writing room! (And I wonder why my clothes are getting ever tighter…)

We have known each other for a while now. I think I ‘met’ you on Twitter first during Lockdown, then it extended to Facebook and, The Gram, and TikTok, too. How do you cope with the pressures of keeping on top of all the different social media channels you are active on? (I’m constantly juggling life with keeping up to date on my blog, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, with a few visits to TikTok, and trying to use the time wisely to write, too!)

Firstly, you are a joy to know virtually, and one day, I hope to meet in real life!

Aw, Lucy! You are such a sweetheart! And,yes! We need to do that bottomless brunch! I would love to meet you properly!

But, oh, my days there, is so much to do, Ritu! I know you’re the same as me, working as well as writing, and then the social media stuff as well, it’s a lot. I wish I knew the secret, I really do, but I don’t. But I can tell you that because of the lack of time, when I do post, I’m usually really honest. Too honest. Much too honest. I’m a complete oversharer. I know that some people can curate an online image, but no, sorry, what you see is very much what you get. And it’s almost always too much, lol. Should anyone want an unfiltered Lucy Keeling in their lives, their best heading to my Instagram, lol.

I LOVE the unfiltered Lucy Keeling!!!

Coming back to the Just Friends series, how did it feel to finally be writing about the fab four again?

Well, as my contract was for three books and you’ll know from book 1 my intention was to make sure each of the main female leads were going to have their HEA. But pandemic times and all that meant that there was a slight delay in book 4 coming out (sorry again to those that were waiting).  While I’m so excited for everyone to read about Paige, I am really sad that the series is over, but I’m hoping I’ve given them all a lovely HEA send-off. (You have done the series proud!)

And this is your first stab at writing FF romance, with a few sizzling scenes, too! Dare I ask, what kind of research was needed for that? Did you launch into reading more sapphic books, or talk to women, to get a realistic feel?

Hahaha. Lots of reading, lots of research, and lots of chats with people that didn’t mind me being a little bit nosey. For me, it’s really important that as an author, I reflect the world around me. The world around me includes the LGBTQ+ community. But I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t nervous.  

I know that feeling, what with my MM romance in Book 2! It is nerve-wracking, but, I hope, what with my great sensitivity readers, and my other advance readers (Thank you, Lucy!), that I have done the relationship, and story justice!

Paige has a psychic ability in this series. Do you know anyone who has this gift? If you did, how would you use it? (Aside from knowing exactly where your next release would sit in the best seller’s chart – which it will!)

I don’t or I don’t think I do. I spent too long thinking about this and realised I was massively overthinking it and actually, if I had like any sort of psychic ability, I’d use it to get a lottery win. Sorry, I know that’s boring, lol. What about you?

I think the Lottery win would be up at the top, somewhere, too, as well as seeing what life has in store for my kids, so I can help guide them…

I was lucky enough to read an arc of Just Friends For Now and truly enjoyed it (Review follows after the Q&A). I feel sad that it is the end of the series. I loved getting to know Paige, Sophie, Polly and Mya. I’d love to see a spin-off about the adventures of Connie! But, if that isn’t available, can you share anything with our readers about what is in the pipeline for you and any future releases?

Did it work for you as an end-of-series book? It did! I was really trying to finish it in a way that it was rounded off for all of them.

How brilliant is Connie! One of my all-time favourite characters to write. She is fabulous!

I’m currently trying to figure out what to write next. I have two ideas, and I just don’t know which one to focus on. Does this ever happen to you? How do you know what to work on?  

I have a little notebook with ideas I have jotted down, and right now, the focus is on the release of book two, Straight As A Jalebi, and writing the first draft of Book three. After that, I am not sure what I will concentrate on. I have a couple of ideas for novels or novellas spinning off from the Ristay Series, but I also have a fairytale retelling which I started, using the Indian part of me as inspiration for the story… That is something I would love to finish.

Oh! Looks like the cups are empty, and the plates, too!

Lucy, it has been a pleasure having you over for a Book & A Brew chinwag!

And I also want to add a huge thank you for your support over this whole series, I’m so grateful Ritu, thank you so much x

It has always been, and always will be, a pleasure, my dear friend. 😊

Peeps, honestly, you need to go and start the Just Friends series if you haven’t already. It is such fun!

Now, as I mentioned before, I was lucky enough to read an ARC of Just Friends for Now, so let me share the blurb and my review.

The Blurb

Just friends for now … but how about later?

Bar owner Paige can’t deny that there’s just something about Melanie and her prim and proper librarian look that messes with her mojo. But Melanie is no librarian; she owns Lulu, the new super Instagrammable brunch spot in town, boasting bottomless mimosas and prime selfie opportunities. If anything, Melanie and Paige should be rivals, probably not friends – and definitely not anything else.

But when they both team up to work on a community project, and then Melanie finds Lulu the subject of a malicious online review campaign, they might find that staying just friends is going to be a little trickier than either of them could have imagined …

Book 4 in the Friends series, but it can be read as a standalone novel. This is Paige and Melanie’s story.

My Review

Just Friends for Now by Lucy Keeling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was thrilled when I heard there was a fourth in the Just Friends series by fabulous author Lucy Keeling, and I sped through it!
Each book in the series centres on a different friend in a tight circle of four, and Just Friends for Now is about Paige (or Book as her gran, Connie, calls her – I LOVE that!) and her love life.
Paige owns Barbarella’s, a bar, and has a kind of psychic gift that has been playing up recently. She is feeling broken. She hasn’t been in a relationship for a while, but the entrance of a new business owner, setting up another establishment nearby gets her hackles up.
Or at least she thinks that’s what is happening.
Then we have Melanie, the competition. She’s stressed. Her business, Lulu’s, seems to be going well, but she is on the go constantly, what with helping her sister raise her son, as well. Then there is the friction she feels emanating from that other local bar owner, Paige…
I won’t tell you what happens. Otherwise, why would you go and grab your own copy? Needless to say, I loved this FF romance, with plenty of sizzle and drama and a fantastic conclusion!
It was great to catch up with the rest of the gang, Sophie, Mya and Polly, and seeing how the friends all get together to help the latest one of them in a pickle.
Several other characters we get to know, including Connie, Paige’s Gran, and Cleo, Melanie’s bar manager, are just fantastic. Real feisty women!
I have to admit to being rather sad about the fact that it is the end of a much-loved series, but the epilogue made me all warm and fuzzy, and I guess we can only hope that maybe, just maybe, Lucy Keeling might want to resurrect some of these characters in the future…

Buy a copy of Just Friends For Now, HERE!

Author Bio

Lucy Keeling is an author writing fun, sexy, stories with all of the happily ever afters.

When she’s not typing at the kitchen table, she’s arranging and then re-arranging to see her friends for the occasional spot of day drinking.

Lucy is currently writing the third book in a Contemporary Romance series, the first of which was Runner-Up in ChocLit’s ‘Search for a Star’ competition. This story has become her romantic comedy debut ‘Make It Up To You’. The second book in the series ‘Just Friends’ has been described as ‘unputdownable’ and ‘A fabulous will they won’t they love story with moments of hilarity sprinkled throughout’ and is available now.

Follow Lucy on her Social Media Channels – She’s lots of fun, especially on TikTok and Instagram!



Amazon: Author Page

Instagram: @lucy_k_author


Book and a Brew with Ritu – by Val Penny @valeriepenny @spellbound #NewRelease

Looks like this is a Tuesday thing now!!

Today, I am hosting prolific Crime writer and fellow Spellbound author, Val Penny, about her latest release, The First Cut!

Hello, and welcome to But I Smile Anyway, Val! Now, the first thing we do is get the drinks sorted.

Thank you so much for inviting me along, Ritu. It is always lovely to chat with you.

What is your beverage of choice? I know you have a Friday evening drink open on your Facebook page, but since it’s a little early, I was leaning more towards the hot kind!Coffee, tea, hot chocolate? I have green teas, too, or maybe you’d like to sample a masala chai from me?

I agree. I’d love a cup of Earl Grey tea, no milk, I’m a cheap date!

No problem at all!

And of course there will be nibbles. I have shortbread (a nod to your Scottish connection!) or we could do some samosas?

Why not start with the samosas and have shortbread afterwards, if it’s not too much trouble.

Sounds like a plan Val!

I always love to find out more about where a fellow author’s journey started. When did you realise you wanted to write, and how was your journey to becoming a published author?

I have been writing and telling stories all my life. When I was a child, I used to make up stories for my little sister after our Mum put the light out and told us to go to sleep. Later, I wrote documents, contracts, and courses as part of my job, but my time was well accounted for, so I did not create any fiction.

However, I took early retirement when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and there were times when I suffered severe side effects from my treatment. I could not go out, spend time with friends or indulge in many of my favourite hobbies, but watching daytime television got very old very fast, so I turned to reading. It was the only thing I had the energy to do and could do safely.

After a while, I began to feel a little better and I complained to my long-suffering husband about getting bored. It was then he challenged me: ‘If you know so much about what makes a good book, why don’t you write one?’ I did laugh. However, the challenge set, I have been writing police procedural crime thrillers set in Scotland ever since.

At present, you are a new to me author, (I have yet to delve into your books, but they are on my TBR pile!) but you have several other books out there. Could you tell us a little about your interest in crime thrillers?

I read voraciously; I always have. (Me, too!) I particularly enjoy reading crime fiction and thrillers. I indulged this interest with many novels, including those by Peter Robinson, Ian Rankin, Linwood Barclay and Joan Livingston. I decided to write the kind of book that I like to read, and so I write crime thrillers.

And do you have a favourite out of all your published books so far?

I dedicated my first novel, Hunter’s Chase to my mother. It always amused me when she read the second novel, Hunter’s Revenge and said, ‘Your first book was fine dear, but this one is so much better!’ However, for me, my favourite book is always the one I am working on at present. I am writing short stories for a collection to be published towards the end of this year. It is a lot of fun.

Fantastic! I have a set of uncompleted stories that, one day I would love to be made into picture books!

I always ask this one, but could you tell me where you like to write? Do you have a writing room/desk, or are you a writer who likes to take their laptop/notepad out and about?

I have a little writing desk in one of our extra bedrooms. I call it my writing nook. It’s not fancy, but I can really get into my flow there (but if we have visitors, it can revert to a guest bedroom). Do you have a special writing room, Ritu?

Oh, my readers here know this already, but yes, I do have my own writing room ever since we moved into our new home two years ago. In fact, it should have been my Hubby’s home office, and I had a smaller box room pencilled in as my room, but due to technical difficulties, he ended up down there, and I now have this gorgeous L-shaped room, with its own en-suite, too! I have. a little reading nook with an armchair, as well as my desk, and all my bookshelves, as well as a little open space where I can dance around like a loony if I wish!

Have you ever written a book you feel will never see the light of day? I know I have a few half-written ideas, but nothing I finished completely, then set to one side!

No. I have a few pieces of flash fiction, short stories and poems still looking for homes, but I’m quite disciplined with my novels, I write them until they are finished (and then edit the hell out of them!). Do you ever look through your partly finished novels and use them, or part of them?

The pieces I have sketched out or started writing are very different to the current stories I am writing, so I can’t use them as such, but I do continue to jot ideas down for them, too, as one day, they will get completed!

Now, I invited you over to have a little chat about your newest release, The First Cut. The first in a new Scottish crime series. Tell me a bit about your inspiration behind this particular series.

Jane Renwick appears in my original series of crime novels, The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries but the main character is Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson. However, I really liked Jane, so when I decided to write a new series, there was no competition about who my new main character should be. I had created an interesting back story for Jane Renwick. She grew up in care and struggled against the odds to achieve her ambition of joining the police force, but she did manage to do this and is now a respected police detective in the Major Incident Team (MIT).

However, Jane has not been able to marry. She lives with her civil partner, Rachael Anderson, who is also a detective on the force. The First Cut is set in 2014 and marriage for the LGBTQ community did not become legal in Scotland until 2016. Maybe Jane and Rachael will marry in the future.

It’s great to have a female protagonist, in DS Jane Renwick, and one championing the LGBTQ community, at that!. Have you ever wanted to be involved in investigations like the ones you write about?

Gosh no! I’d run a mile rather than be involved in the day-to-day trials of police work. I don’t think I’m brave enough nor organised enough. I leave all that to Hunter, Jane and their teams.

However, something quite exciting has happened for Jane. I have been contacted by a TV scout who is putting together a list of authors whose books would be suitable for a new crime drama. The difference is that instead of making an executive decision they are having a public vote! Each person who registers with them will have 5 free votes. Voting starts 15 May and I’d really appreciate your and your readers votes.

Now that is exciting! Please Peeps, head on over in a couple days and give Val’s idea a vote!

And, as a sneak preview to my readers, what is coming next from you? Will it be the second in this thriller series?

Just now I am writing the second book in my Jane Renwick Thriller series, A Fighting Chance. It will be published next year, and I hope the readers will enjoy it.

Oh, I am sure all your readers will be chomping at the bit for the next Jane Renwick book!

Thank you so much for visiting, Val. I’ve enjoyed learning a bit more about you!

Thank you for having me, Ritu.

My pleasure 😊 Wishing this, and all your future releases much success, Val!

So, you have a fantastic book to read, my Peeps, and a second one following it, soon, too!

Now here is the blurb to whet your appetites! It sounds pretty good!

The Blurb

It’s hard to escape a brutal past.

A vicious killer is on the loose and victims include an academic and members of Edinburgh’s high society.

DS Jane Renwick is banished to the side-lines of the case and forced to look on impotently when the hunt for the killer ramps up, because the Murder Investigation Team finds out that the killer is her relative.

Has someone from Jane’s birth family returned to haunt her? Is one of her relatives be involved? Where will the killer strike next?

This gripping police procedural is set in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The exciting novel is the first in Val Penny’s new series of Scottish thrillers.  

Hunter’s Chase –

Hunter’s Revenge –

Hunter’s Force –

The First Cut –

Author Biography

Val Penny has an Llb degree from the University of Edinburgh and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer but has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store.

Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories, nonfiction books, and novels. Her novels are published by SpellBound Books Ltd.

Val is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and their cat.

Twitter: @valeriepenny

Book and a Brew with Ritu – I Love you Always Forever by @CharlieADean #NewRelease #BookReview #Book&ABrew

We’re on a roll with these Book & A Brew posts!

Today, I am extremely excited to welcome Charlie Dean, another author friend who I connected with on Twitter and the Facebook Chick Lit and Prosecco, to chat about her newest release, I Love You Always Forever.

Charlie is an amazingly talented author with several pen names under her belt. Where Charlie Dean writes stories with a bit of a spice level to them, Florence Keeling writes Women’s Fiction, and Lily Mae Walters is her alter-ego who writes children’s books.

Hello, and welcome to But I Smile Anyway, Charlie! Now, the first thing we do is get the drinks sorted.

We’ve got pretty much anything you’d like, from all manner of coffees (from my trusty Tassimo) to hot chocolate, or tea. And I can brew up a proper masala chai, if you feel brave enough.

I was going to fry up some samosas, if you want to sample, or there are always biscuits, and I am known to make a super shortbread cookie…

It’s always tea and biscuits for me, especially a nice shortbread.

Perfect! That means I don’t need to turn on the oil to deep fry!

I always love to find out more about where a fellow author’s journey started. When did you realise you wanted to write, and how was your journey to becoming a published author?

I always wrote from a young age, poetry, short stories etc…used to write lots involving Take That and New Kids when I was a teenager. Then I left school, started work, got married, had children and it took a back seat. Around 2015/6 a story started to whirl in my head about a WW2 soldier and a magic mirror. In March 2016, my father who had dementia was taken into care and writing became a therapy for me and the book now known as Please Remember Me was born. It was picked up by a small American publisher, and I haven’t looked back.

I have this one on my TBR trolley (🙈 I won it in a giveaway from you, but that is one I still haven’t read. I will do, though!) I know what you mean about life getting in the way, though, as I started my first book in 2000, and after marriage, kids, etc., it didn’t get a look in until around 2016 and I didn’t finish that first draft until 2018!

I like to ask this one, because I’m a nosy so and so, but could you tell me where you like to write? Do you have a writing room/desk, or are you a writer who likes to take their laptop/notepad out and about?

I’m currently on the lookout for one of those old writing bureaus so I can finally make a writing space in the back room. So far all my books have been written sitting on my sofa with my laptop. My phone notes are full of ideas, last lines, first lines etc…

I used to have a writing bureau when I was a teen in my bedroom! It was a mahogany finish (not real antique!) one with a pull-down desk area, lots of nooks and crannies for stationery and a cupboard at the bottom. At the time, I moved out, my parents held on to it, and it was only a couple of years ago that they gave it away. I know it wouldn’t fit the decor of my home, now, but I wish we had found a space for it, here! But many stories were penned, sitting at that desk, as I grew up, dreaming of becoming a writer…

Now, have you ever written a book that you feel will never see the light of day? I know I have a few half-written ideas, but nothing I finished, completely, then set to one side!

Like you, I’ve got many WIPs and half-finished, but all my completed novels have been published either traditionally or self-published. I don’t think I could bear to have a finished story not out in the world.

And, do you have a favourite out of the books you have published so far?

Up until I wrote I Love You, Always, Forever…I would have said Love, Lies and Family Ties, but now it’s I Love You. I enjoyed writing it so much. Going back to my teenage years in the 90s was just an absolute blast.

I loved that, too. Reminiscing about my own teenage years in the 90s…

I’ve read a couple of your books under Florence Keeling, which I loved. Why the change to Charlie Dean?

Because I Love You is written in the first person, plus it’s very different to my usual writing and a little spicier in places, I felt it needed a different name to differentiate from the Florence books.

Now, I invited you over to have a little chat about your latest release under Charlie Dean, I Love You, Aways, Forever. What a gush of nostalgia I felt, reading it, since the main character, Charlie, was in sixth form, around the time I would have been there, listening to the music she was, and being rather shy. Then the parallel storyline of the present, with Charlie as a middle-aged woman. Well, there was plenty there to make me feel seen, too! Tell me more about your inspiration for the book.

It’s a little bit of me and a whole lot of fiction wrapped up in a 90s mix tape. It was written last summer as I came to terms with my mum’s own cancer battle, as does Charlie, and it helped me immensely. Much like Please Remember Me helped me cope with my father’s dementia, this book helped me cope with my mum’s cancer.

Writing can be so therapeutic, I agree. 🤗

What is it about the 90s that brings back such memories?

I’m a 70s baby, 80s kid and 90s teenager. There was just something so wonderful about those eras. The dodgy clothes and haircuts and thankfully no social media to document for the rest of eternity. I was very fortunate to have a loving family and a small close-knit group of friends who I’m still besties with today.

We are of the same ilk, you and me, born in the same era, with similar experiences. (Though mine are peppered with more masala since I have the Indian thing to add, too! 😜)

And, you must tell me, is there more in the pipeline from Charlie Dean? Any little tidbits I can share with my readers?

I’m currently working on a series of Rom-Coms under Charlie Dean, slightly spicy all with some kind of deal or pact going on. Things like jealousy pacts, childhood pacts, fake dating, those kinds of things. There will be one out this September, a lovely autumnal romance and fingers crossed, four next year, one for each season. I’m also hoping to get the third in my children’s fantasy adventure series Josie James and The Trail of Ages out this autumn and the second in my magic academy chapter book.

Harking back to the 90s, I loved Christian Slater, especially in the Heathers film. Hence one of the characters in the book being Christian Sawyer (Veronica Sawyer in the film) and using the surname of Dean as my pen name after the Jason Dean character in the film. I used Charlotte/Charlie as this was what I would have been christened if not my original name.

So much for us to get excited about, Peeps! Watch this space for more mildly spicy rom-com fiction from Charlie!

Thank you so much for inviting me, Ritu xxx

It was a pleasure to have you over. 😊

Peeps, you can read the blurb for I Love You, Always, Forever and my review below!

Purchase links follow.

The Blurb

Life is full of highs and lows, but it’s who helps us through that counts.

Stumbling across her teenage diaries in her childhood home, Charlie is instantly transported to the 1990s.

She relives all the emotions and feelings as memories come flooding back, from first kiss to first love and everything in between.

Back in the present and Charlie discovers that even in the darkest of times, light and laughter can ALWAYS be found.

A heartfelt journey through life, from teenage angst to the trials and tribulations of adulthood. Family, friendship and romance weave throughout but who will love you, always, forever?

BuyI Love You Always Forever HERE!

My Review

I Love You, Always, Forever by Charlie Dean

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, what a rollercoaster of emotion this book put me through!
Not least because there is sensitive subject matter but because of all the reminiscing I could do, thanks to the book’s timeframe.
The story is set in the now as an adult Charlie, the main character, is coming to terms with life as a middle-aged woman, and dealing with all that comes with it, including dealing with loss and illnesses of loved ones, as well as a dual timeline of the 90s when she is a student in 6th form (like me), shy, exploring different elements of her personality, and experimenting with a very special relationship.
I loved it because I lived with so many of these experiences as a teenager. The nostalgia I felt was unreal. And then the additional relatability of life as a middle-aged woman. It was just wonderfully written!
There is romance, budding and established, friendships, family and the awakening of sexual feelings. A bit steamy in places too, but honestly, I got all the feels, in a good way!

Author Bio

I was born in Coventry but now live in Nuneaton. I married the love of my life over 20 years ago and we have two almost grown-up children. We share our lives with two mad dogs as well.

Writing is a great passion of mine. I love creating stories and characters, they help me escape from the world for a while and I hope readers feel the same.

I am a huge fan of All Creatures Great and Small, Call the Midwife and Bridgerton. I love history and romance.

I also write for children as Lily Mae Walters, and women’s fiction as Florence Keeling

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Twitter as Lily Mae Walters:


Book and a Brew with Ritu – The Bay Of Lost Souls by @KiltieJackson #NewRelease #BookReview #Book&ABrew

On to the next guest!

Today, I am thrilled to welcome Kiltie Jackson, a fellow author at Spellbound Books and a great writerly friend, to chat about her newest release, The Bay Of Lost Souls.

Hello, and welcome to But I Smile Anyway Kiltie! Now, the first thing we do is get the drinks sorted.

Hi, thank you for having me. A drink sounds lovely.

Thanks to that trusty Tassimo, there’s tea and coffee, but I can make you a masala chai if you prefer!

I’m mostly a coffee drinker, but I would love to try a masala chai if it’s not too much trouble. Thank you.

No trouble at all. I love converting people to the magic of masala chai!

And, seeing as your main character Perrie, was such a whizz with her baking, I could offer you some Victoria sponge that Lil Princess made, or I have some delicious Kenyan chevda (it’s like a Bombay mix, but this one is synonymous with the Kenyan Indians!)

I’ve never been able to decline a piece of cake, and today is not that day, either.

A woman after my own heart! Okay, so let’s get started!

I always love to find out more about where a fellow author’s journey started. When did you realise you wanted to write, and how was your journey to becoming a published author?

Unlike many authors, I didn’t grow up with a burning desire to write. I was too busy enjoying the labours of others, although was often asked why I didn’t write a book of my own, to which I’d reply it would impede my reading time, which, I can confirm it absolutely does! Lol Over the years, I dibbled and dabbled with writing bits here and there but never with the intention of doing it seriously. Finally, in October 2016, I had the lightbulb moment to actually put some effort into this writing malarky and in January 2017, I returned to one of the dabbles – it seemed a shame to waste the 17 chapters I’d already written – and it became my debut novel, ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’.

I like to ask this one, because I’m a nosy so and so, but could you tell me where you like to write? Do you have a writing room/desk, or are you a writer who likes to take their laptop/notepad out and about?

I have a study which is all mine, and it’s where all my creations are created. It needs to be completely quiet when I write so I’d be no use in a café environment which some writers prefer.

What a beautiful space! It is wonderful to have that area that you have cultivated just for your creativity. I love my writing room!

Have you ever written a book that you feel will never see the light of day?

My usual writing genre is ladies’ fiction, but I have written a psychological / revenge thriller. The 2nd draft has been completed, and it’s waiting for the first edit. After that, I will ask a few of my most trusted readers, who also like their thrillers, to read it and to feedback their thoughts. Their opinions will decide what happens to it after that.

Now that sounds rather juicy!

Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written so far?

Of my works currently published, my fourth book, ‘A Timeless Lovestyle’ is my favourite. I love the historical aspect of it and it was quite enlightening trying to view the 21st century through the eyes of a woman from the 19th century. I do, however, have a new publication coming out in July 2023 and that is my overall favourite. I can’t say too much yet but it was a book that wrote itself and took only four weeks to create from start to finish.

Oh, to have a book that writes itself in such a short time… actually I just dream of a solid block of time that is mine, alone, to write!

I have read a couple of your other books too, and each is a slightly different genre. Which do you prefer writing in?

I don’t have a preference – I simply write the stories that come into my head. I never think about genre or where they might fit on the bookshelf, I just write them as they present themselves to me.

That is very much my process, too. I don’t write to market so to say, more what my heart wants.

Now, I invited you over to have a little chat about The Bay of Lost Souls. Yet another type of book, with a bit of a serious undertone, when you look at the issues covered in Perrie’s secret. What inspired this story?

In my standalone novel, ‘Radio Haha’ I have a fictional seaside town, Broatiescombe Bay, which I fell in love with. When that novel was completed, I wasn’t ready to let it go and, the next thing I knew, I had a new story brewing in my brain which was based in the Bay. So, in this instance, I was my own inspiration! Lol!

Ha ha! I love it! And I’m glad you did, because it was a great story.

I loved the feline characters, Timothy and George. I know you are a cat lover, like me. Do you have an outdoor run at your place that could rival the one that Perrie has for them in her cottage garden?

We would love to have a cat run for the Moggy Posse but I have a shared access garden which means we are unable to create something attached directly to the house. If we only had a couple of felines, like Perrie, a detached run would be okay, but when you have seven… well, you’ve heard the expression, “like herding cats”!

Seven! Well, I find it hard enough to deal with the two kids, hubby and our one feline, so I don’t know how you cope!

And, since we have bonded over our drinks and snacks, any sneak peaks at what is coming from Kiltie Jackson in the future?

I’ve already touched on the new standalone being released on the 29th July, and which is very different from Bay of Lost Souls – it’s set in London, so no seaside. After that, the second book in my ‘Since Forever…’ series will be launched in January 2024 with another new series being thrust into the world in June 2024. So, it’s a little busy for the next eighteen months.

A lot coming our way from you. Kiltie! You heard it here, Peeps! I highly recommend you go and check out the lovely Kiltie’s books. I have enjoyed all the ones I have read so far!

I hope you enjoyed your masala chai and cake, Kiltie. It’s been lovely having you here. 😊

Thank you for inviting me, Ritu.

My pleasure 😊

Peeps, you can read the blurb for The Bay Of Lost Souls and my review below!

Purchase links follow.

The Blurb

Can you move on from the darkness in your past, or will it always lurk in the shadows?

Perrie Lacey arrives in the quaint seaside town of Broatiescombe Bay laden with luggage, two cats and a desire for six months of solitude. The remote cottage she’s rented up on the cliff-top should guarantee her that.

Morgan Daniels, and his five-year-old daughter, Daisy, have been managing just fine since the death of his wife and her mother two years before. He’s content with being a twosome and has no intention of changing that any time soon.

When Perrie and Morgan bang into each other, quite literally, within an hour of her arrival, the plans she had for a quiet existence go out the window and as the weeks pass, they find themselves drawn to each other despite their efforts to push against the invisible force pulling them together.

Perrie, however, is carrying a secret she cannot share for doing so will put her new-found happiness at risk.

How big can a secret be before it tears you apart?

Find The Bay of Lost Souls and all Kiltie’s other books here!

My Review

The Bay of Lost Souls: A Beautiful, Uplifting, Perfect Summer Read. by Kiltie Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, Kiltie Jackson. Well, you’ve done it again, haven’t you?
This is the third of your books I have read so far, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Each one I have read has a slightly different genre, and each has its own beauty.
The Bay of Lost Souls centres around Perrie, a woman who is running from something to the isolated Broatiescombe Bay to be alone and come to terms with her life.
Morgan is a single father to one gorgeous little girl, Daisy, who has his own tragedy to overcome.
Fate rolls them into one another (literally), and the beauty of the bay, and a little girl obsessed with Disney princess Merida, try their hardest to seal the deal.
The thing is, nothing is ever what it seems.
I loved the bay and the little cottage Perrie moves into for her stay and her cats, Timothy and George. What a pair of characters!
All the book’s characters are believable, real souls to whom you can relate.
Daisy was a firm favourite, too, as a feisty little pre-schooler who knows what she wants.
The secret Perrie carries is a big twist and causes all manner of drama, as it should, but everything is revealed and handled in an extremely sensitive manner.
A love story with secrets, twists and turns, and adventure, too.
Definitely worth a read.

Author Bio

Kiltie Jackson spent her childhood years growing up in Scotland. Most of these early years were spent
in and around Glasgow, although for a short period of time, she wreaked havoc at a boarding school in
the Highlands.
By the age of seventeen, she had her own flat, which she shared with a couple of cats for a few years
while working as a waitress in a cocktail bar (she’s sure there’s a song in there somewhere!) and
serving customers in a fashionable clothing outlet before moving down to London to chalk up a
plethora of experience which is now finding its way into her writing.
Once she’d wrung the last bit of fun out of the smoky capital, she moved up to the Midlands and now
lives in Staffordshire with one grumpy husband and another six feisty felines.
Her little home is known as Moggy Towers even though, despite having plenty of moggies, there are
no towers! The cats kindly allow her and Mr Mogs to share their home as long as the mortgage
continues to be paid.
Since the age of three, Kiltie has been an avid reader, although it was many years later before she
decided to put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – to begin giving life to the stories in her head.
Her debut novel was released in September 2017, and her fourth book was a US Amazon bestseller in
Time Travel Romance.
Kiltie loves to write fiery and feisty female characters and puts the blame for this firmly on the
doorsteps of Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables and George Kirrin from The Famous Five.
When asked what her best memories are, Kiltie will tell you:

  1. Queuing up overnight outside the Glasgow Apollo to buy her Live-Aid ticket.
  2. Being at Live-Aid.
  3. Winning an MTV competition to meet Bon Jovi in Sweden.
    (Although, if Mr Mogs is in earshot, the latter is changed to her wedding day.)
    Her main motto in life used to be “Old enough to know better, young enough not

Connect with Kiltie on Social Media here:


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