NEW RELEASE – It’s PAMELA Rigby Actually: A witty, poignant, feel-good story about love, friendship and redemption

And finally, it’s here. My new release has taken me longer than normal to finish. There are good reasons for this, not least of all the covid-19 lockdown and the ensuing panic and absolute disbelief that such a thing could happen in the 21st century. Pandemics are the stuff of history, surely. What next, aliens landing outside Bucky Palace? There is another major reason why this book is so late, but you’ll have to read to the end to find out because if I tell you here, it’ll spoil the story.

Pamela Rigby has waited her whole life for this holiday and nothing is going to spoil it.

She’s saved long and hard for a month-long Caribbean cruise, but can’t afford to go alone. Hooking up with Fiona on an internet forum seems like the ideal solution. A seasoned traveller and frequent cruiser, Fiona appears to be the perfect companion. If only Fiona wasn’t so obnoxious, if only Pam hadn’t been so trusting. Then there’s Carl, a boy from the past, a man now…

Set sail with Pam as she discovers that you can’t spend your whole life hiding.

Ideal for fans of Marian Keyes, Sarah Heywood or Richard Roper.

GRAB YOURSELF SOME COMICAL, FEEL-GOOD FICTION.

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NEW RELEASE Sooo Not Looking For a Man: A witty, heart-warming and poignant feel-good journey.

Just 99p/c or FREE with Kindle Unlimited http://getbook.at/SoooNot

After ten years together they’re having the most perfect wedding, ever…

Lauren always knew that Leeward was ‘The One’ and can’t wait to be his wife. The slimmest and blondest she’s ever been in her whole life; Lauren has a dress to die for and she is most definitely not a bridezilla.

But will the big day turn into a wedding to remember for all the wrong reasons? Will the internet ever forget Lauren’s rendition of I Will Survive?

Join Lauren on her journey to move on, even if it does mean taking advice from her stroppy sister and her opinionated, matchmaking great-grandmother – or Leeward’s gorgeous brother who’s offering her a shoulder to cry on and just can’t seem to stay away.

Will Lauren stick to her mantra of sooo not looking for a man? Will she ever trust another man again?

If you’re a fan of Sophie Kinsella, Jill Mansell or Sophie Ranald, don’t miss Lauren’s witty, heart-warming and poignant, feel-good journey.

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Another excerpt from my soon to be published romcom!

‘Ah, there you are,’ Grimmy says as we burst into the kitchen together. ‘I’ve been waiting for my lunch. It’s past twelve you know.’

Image by WikimediaImages from Pixabay

‘Where’s John?’ Mum asks, meaning my dad.

‘Hello, Grimmy.’ I lean in and give my great-grandmother a quick kiss on the cheek. She flinches.

‘Mmm. I don’t know. In the garden.’ She shakes her head. ‘Shed. I don’t know. I haven’t seen him for hours.’

Mum’s eyes widen, not in shock or concern, but in disbelief. You cannot trust Grimmy’s estimate, or grasp, of time.

‘He’s supposed to be doing your lunch,’ Mum says, glancing up at the clock. It is indeed past twelve; three minutes past.

‘Well he hasn’t. He let me in, made this cup of tea hours ago and disappeared off.’ She makes a motion with her hand suggesting he vanished into thin air. She looks cross, but then, she always looks cross. The only time her super pearly whites make an appearance is when there is food on offer. She eats a lot for someone so small.

‘We’re going out for lunch, Grimmy. Why don’t you join us?’ I can’t imagine she will, but it’s polite to ask.

‘No thank you. I want cheese and pickle and proper white bread with a decent cup of tea, not a toasted panny and a cup of froth. I went with your mum a few weeks back. Not nice, not nice at all.’ It was actually six months ago and we’ll never hear the end of it. There’s no point in wasting a treat on Grimmy, she doesn’t appreciate it.

Grim by name and grim by nature; my oldest brother, Mark, had given her the name Grimmy when he was about fourteen. It had stuck, we all called her Grimmy, except Dad. To be fair parts of her life have been grim, she lived in London during the war, had a daughter who ran away at sixteen and returned at seventeen about to give birth. Her name was Catherine and that’s who my oldest sister is named after. Catherine died in childbirth and Grimmy brought Dad up. She’s also outlived three husbands. So maybe she has a right to be grim, but it can be wearing, especially as she lives in leafy Wiltshire now with my parents running around after her.

Mum goes off in search of Dad and I tell Grimmy about my dress. She appears to listen and her mouth curves up at the sides, suggesting she is smiling, but her eyes dart quickly towards the door when Mum and Dad make an appearance. It’s all about the food.

‘Where have you been?’ Her tone is sharp. ‘You left me alone for hours.’

Dad waves a loaf of bread at her, white sliced that only she will eat, gnawing on its viscous dough for what can seem like hours.

‘I told you I had to pop out for fresh bread. I’ve been gone ten minutes.’

‘Mmm.’ She frowns at Mum and Dad before turning to me. ‘What’s happened to your hair, Lauren?’

‘I had it done last night. Blonde slices and stuff. Ready for next weekend.’ I let my voice go up at the end, as a verbal reminder without the words.

‘What’s happening next weekend?’ I don’t think she’s joking.

‘My wedding. Next Saturday. We sorted out what you are going to wear last week. Remember?’

‘Of course I remember, I’m not senile. How is Gollum?’

‘What?’ Did I just hear her correctly?

‘Well…’ Mum butts in, ‘Now you’re sorted, Grimmy, we’ll be off. John will make you a lovely sandwich, just the way you like it.’ Mum pats Grimmy on the shoulder.

‘Bye, Grimmy,’ I add, grabbing my handbag and still wondering if she said what I thought she did.

‘Eat plenty,’ Grimmy says. ‘You’re very thin.’

I smile as I turn away; I know I am and I love it.

‘Bye Dad,’ I call. ‘Did Grimmy just call Leeward Gollum?’ I ask Mum as we head out of the door.

‘God knows. Best ignored.’

‘Has she even seen Lord of the Rings?’

‘I’ve no idea,’ Mum answers, a bit too quickly.

‘She has, you know, I remember. Last Christmas with the boys.’ I definitely remember her sitting in the middle of my nephews watching TV, with Leeward sitting alongside and constantly telling them not to talk over it – it’s his favourite film, if you don’t count the other Lord of the Rings films, while us girls – well the adult ones anyway – drank wine and giggled over YouTube videos shown to us by my nieces.

‘Where do you fancy for lunch?’ Mum asks, changing the subject.

‘Your favourite,’ I say, laughing, because we both know that’s where we’ll be going even if I suggest somewhere else.

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Excerpt from my upcoming book…

Soo not looking for a man Kindle cover Mar 19My next book is currently being edited so I thought I’d share the opening paragraphs with you. As you can see it’s quite romantic. Don’t worry, it won’t last. Usual caveat about typos etc.  I hope you enjoy it…

I never used to believe in love at first sight.

Then I met Leeward. Well, not met, more glimpsed across a crowded, noisy bar on a Friday night when I was my friend’s plus one at her after work end-of-financial-year celebration booze up.

And it was only a glimpse, yet though our eyes met for only the briefest of moments we just connected. It was as though a thousand words had been exchanged between us. He had dark eyes, deep eyes and I don’t just mean deep set, although they were, I mean I felt I was seeing into his soul. A tortured soul. Don’t ask me how I knew that, I just did.

Then he was gone, pulled away by an unseen force and I was back listening to my friend’s inane, drunken rambling about auditors and virements and other nonsensical stuff. I did actually know what a virement was, because she’d told me three times in the taxi on the way to the bar and about twenty times since we’d been here – the transfer of a surplus from one account to cover a deficit in another.

I looked around me and saw everyone having a good time, there was plenty of drink sloshing around, anything you wanted from the free bar; I dread to think how much money her company had spent on this evening – I wondered what the auditors would think of it. Not that I was availing myself of it, I had an early start the next day, one which hadn’t been on the rota when I’d accepted this invitation. I thought I was the only person in the entire place, other than the staff, who wasn’t completely off my face.

‘Hey,’ a voice said from behind me.

I turned, and there he was. Leeward. Not, of course, that I knew his name at that point.

‘Hi.’ I offered a shy smile. It was genuine too; I was just so knocked out by his presence.

‘I feel as though we’ve already met.’ He didn’t smile. His face was serious, intense.

‘Yeah.’

‘Across the bar.’ He nodded over to where he had been when our eyes first met.

‘Yeah.’

‘Would you like a drink?’

‘Um, yeah, but not alcohol.’ I didn’t say I was on an early shift in the morning, in my head it sounded sort of lame.

‘Not drinking?’

‘No. I’d love a coke or something soft, though.’ I didn’t want him to think I was turning down his offer, even though we both knew the drinks were free.

‘Cool. I’m having a coffee.’

‘They do coffee? I didn’t know that otherwise…’ My voice trailed away, because he was smiling and it took my breath away. It wasn’t a full on, teeth bared smile, just a little upturn to the corners of his lips, slightly crooked and it had the most profound effect on me. I felt my knees start to buckle and I pulled myself upright. What was wrong with me? I wasn’t even drunk.

‘Would you like a coffee instead?’

‘I would. Oh yes, I would.’

‘Cappuccino?’

‘Yes, please, err…’

‘I’m Leeward.’ He held out his hand. I was afraid to take it, afraid to touch him. What the hell did I think would happen? Sparks, fireworks, explosions, that’s what. ‘And you’re Lauren.’

‘Yeah. How did you…?’ Over his shoulder I saw my friend grinning, holding up her thumbs, nodding in that stupid way drunk people do, especially in front of the stone cold sober. ‘You asked my friend,’ I said, answering my own question.

‘I did. You sit there.’ He nodded at an empty table for two. ‘I won’t be long.’

I flopped into the seat and watched him as he made his way to the bar. I don’t know why I was so attracted to him; he wasn’t my type at all. I went for tall, fair-haired men, I liked them on the lean side, not quite male model heroin chic, but getting that way. I was twenty-five and my two serious ex-boyfriends had been exactly my type. And neither had worked out well. I was only three weeks out of my latest relationship which had lasted seventeen months. I thought we had a future, it seems he didn’t and he dumped me, rather unceremoniously at my brother Sam’s engagement party. I was still smarting from the rejection and definitely not looking for another relationship.

Leeward was short, not tiny, just not much taller than me, and he was stocky, not fat, but definitely not lean. He had dark hair, cut short, but long enough for me to see a few licks of curl around his collar. Definitely not my type, but I still found him attractive.

I think it was his eyes, deep, dark pools of unfathomable something – I didn’t know what.

‘I gather you don’t work with this lot,’ he said, putting our coffees on the table and sitting opposite me. I was staring straight into those eyes. I read pain and sorrow and a troubled soul but not a loser, not someone who needed fixing.

The complete book will be available in October, in both paperback and ebook.

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Bank Holiday Weekend Sale – all 99p/c

99psale all inst

Pick up your 99p/c bargain from Amazon:

Little Mishaps and Big Surprises by CJ Morrow
Fat Girl Slim by Marina Johnson
We can Work it out by Belle Henderson and CJ Morrow
Say Hello and Wave Goodbye by Marina Johnson
Mermaid Hair and I Don’t Care by CJ Morrow
A Confusion of Murders by Marina Johnson
Blame it on the Onesie by CJ Morrow
So Talk to Me by Marina Johnson
Never Leaves Me by CJ Morrow
Stonehaven Trilogy by CJ Morrow

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A freebie to celebrate my anniversary

On 1 May 2013 I released my first book, The Finder – book one in my Stonehaven trilogy. Finder freeI remember the fear, trepidation and thrill as my book went live and I plucked up the courage to tell the world. Six years later and I’ve just started writing my eleventh book – this one, like so many of my others is a romcom.

Reactions were interesting; my work colleagues, who had no idea I was writing a book, were positive and encouraging, as were my family. What shocked me, and still does, was the reaction of some of my closest friends. They weren’t particularly happy for me, they weren’t impressed, if anything, they seemed annoyed. I’ve since learned that this is a common reaction. I’ve since realised that my mistake was to go off script, writing a book wasn’t on their agenda for me, they had envisioned other things – I don’t know what – but I had strayed off their proposed plan. I’d stepped out of my box, I’d flown out of my pigeon hole, I was the wrong shaped peg.

I suspect that I too, like most people, assign others roles, and that’s why we’re shocked when someone does something surprising, whether that something is good or evil. It’s why the serial killer goes unnoticed by their neighbours, or the embezzler undetected at work – because they seemed so nice and normal.

To celebrate my anniversary, I’ve made my first book, The Finder, FREE today. Apologies to those of you who’ve already read it (and thank you) but I know many of you haven’t so now’s your chance to try my urban magic books. You can download THE FINDER direct from Amazon for FREE, but don’t wait too long, the book will be back to full price on 2 May.

Happy reading

CJ

And remember, ALL of my books are always free with Kindle Unlimited. (Have you read my latest? We can Work it out.)

ALL MY BOOKS

 

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NEW RELEASE: We can Work it out – available now

I’m thrilled and delighted to announce that I’ve been co-writing a new book with debut author Belle Henderson. This one is a romantic comedy, my favourite genre – because I do like a happy ending.

Kindle cover FINAL smallCalled We can Work it out: Two people, one opportunity, is told from two viewpoints, Emma’s and Jamie’s.

Never lick a 20p coin!

When single mum, Emily, encounters bumbling Jamie licking a 20p coin to get the parking meter to accept it, she feels sorry for him. On her way to an interview for the best opportunity of her career, she certainly doesn’t expect to see him again, much less for him to be her rival.

When Jamie sees sassy Emily trundling her wheelie case across the car park, he assumes she’s a sales rep. He doesn’t expect to be pitted against her for a career making job.

It’s up to Dirk Whittaker, their Greek godlike boss, to choose between them. Can Emily secure the position without succumbing to Dirk’s amorous advances, or will Jamie resist the temptation to punch him, and win the day?

Will the rivals stay rivals?

Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella or Fiona Gibson or Sophie Ranald, it’s FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

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NEW RELEASE Little Mishaps and Big Surprises – available now

Hurray, hurray, Little Mishaps and Big Surprises is finally with us. 

Charlie’s life was perfect, until that one fateful night….

London girl, Charlie, has a great life; fab flat in Covent Garden, a satisfying career and great friends. She certainly doesn’t need a man to complete her. Her life couldn’t be better. Or could it?

Charlie’s life is about to change. From an episode of doggy incontinence to a vomit incident in the M&S food hall, life has some little mishaps planned for Charlie that lead to some BIG surprises.

With a fancy dress party looming, what begins as a drunken nightmare could turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to her.

Our now on Kindle for just 99p or FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited, and also available in paperback.

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Why horrible work scenarios keep creeping into my romantic comedies

Well, I’m excited about my fourth romantic comedy, Little Mishaps and Big Surprises, which will be out next week – Tuesday 12 June 2018. It will be available on Kindle – 99p/c or free for those of you who have Kindle Unlimited and, at the same time, available as a paperback (usually my paperbacks are a few weeks behind the Kindle version, but not this time).

This one features Charlene, aka Charlie, and the adventures and mishaps in her life. Charlie lives in London, just off Covent Garden and loves it, not least because she has escaped from a sleepy town in Wiltshire – or so she thinks.

As we all know, however much we think we’re in control of our own destiny, life has a habit of throwing us a few curveballs which, by their very nature, we don’t see coming and cannot control (happens to Charlie more than once). This is never more the case than in the world of work. Now, I’m lucky; I no longer work for anyone else, no petty politics or inflated egos for me to deal with on a daily basis, but, it’s been pointed out to me that bad work situations do crop up regularly in my books – especially my romcoms. I wonder why?

It’s true to say that I’ve had a lot of jobs, most of them, though not all, in offices. I’ve worked in some wonderful places and I’ve worked in some stinkers. I’ve also worked in the worst combination of all, wonderful workplaces that are ruined by a stinker or two at the top. I use the word stinker to prevent myself from swearing, but I’m sure you get my drift.

I once temped in a tiny company –  just me in the office (beautifully appointed), one guy in the warehouse (funny and fun) and THE BOSS. I write his title in capitals to convey his demeanour and personality. This was a man who liked to throw his weight around – literally, he was a bit chubby (and short). He wore steel-heeled shoes that announced his entrance long before he came bustling in. When he became angry, which was frequently and over the most trivial of things, his face would turn puce and he would stomp around and bang his desk phone nosily on his desk. He liked his tea – made by me who doesn’t drink tea –  a certain way and on his desk at hourly intervals, or trouble would follow.

Sometimes it was hard not to laugh at his tantrums, but my training as a mother of small children had taught me to ignore such behaviour, which, of course, made him worse. He once berated me for not using his name when I wished him good morning. He told me I had to say good morning, Kevin, not just good morning. He delivered this instruction while crouching behind the office partition for, like most bullies, he was also a coward and couldn’t look me in the eye. (He also called his wife sweetie-pie, and rang to check up on her at irregular, but frequent, times during the day. But that’s a whole other story.)

I was the latest in a long line of temps who had worked for him, and, all had subsequently walked out. Some had barely lasted a week, one only managed half a day. I lasted three months, which is a testament to my patience and perseverance. But, I walked out later that week. Life’s too short to put up with that kind of nonsense.

I have many more stories like this – am I unique? I suspect not. Maybe, I’m just a bad employee. But, if that is the case, so are a lot of other people, especially my readers who often email and tell me that they can identify with the work situations I write about.

This brings me back to Little Mishaps and Big Surprises, which features the inevitable, crappy work scenario. I think the outcome will make some readers cheer from the side-lines!

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Little Mishaps and Big Surprises – excerpt from chapter 4

Here’s another taster from Little Mishaps and Big Surprises – due out in JUNE!

Excerpt from chapter four

Zippy’s stupid face is still grinning at me at I get up and pull on my dressing gown. I fling my Bungle body over it so I can’t see that stupid grin before I stumble down two flights of stairs craving my coffee and cereal.

Zippy’s stupid body is sitting at the table eating my cereal.

‘I thought you had a plane to catch,’ I snap. ‘I thought you had to leave early.’

‘Going soon,’ the reply comes. ‘Just eating.’

I scrutinize Zippy’s face without the mask. He’s Chinese. I don’t remember that. I shake my head and put the kettle on, glancing back at this stranger who I have slept with. Wow, I must have drunk a lot.

I make my coffee before opening the fridge for milk. There is none.

‘God’s sake,’ I mutter under my breath. ‘No milk.’

‘So sorry,’ Zippy says, grinning. His bowl containing my cereal is swimming in milk. Greedy arse.

I don’t reply but open the cupboard to hunt for the long-life milk I keep for emergencies. It’s usually right next to my cereal. Except my cereal box isn’t there. I fling open a few more cupboard doors. No cereal. I’m angry now and getting angrier as I flip open the recycling bin to see the empty box in the bottom.

‘You ate all my cereal? Really?’  I cut open the milk carton and pour some into my coffee.

‘So sorry.’

‘And what was all that bullshit about you having to leave early?’

Zippy stares at me with confusion in his eyes.

‘Forget it.’ I wave my hand at him. Maybe I dreamt it in my alcohol induced stupor. ‘I wished you hadn’t eaten all my cereal though.’

The front door opens and CeCe and Yan come in giggling. Are they going to be giggling all the damn time? I’m so sick of it.

‘Hey Charlie,’ CeCe says, smiling. ‘Great party.’

‘Yeah.’

Yan puts a Tesco bag on the worktop. He pulls milk from it and a box of cereal – Tesco’s version on my cereal.

‘Sorry my cousin ate all your cereal.’ CeCe takes the box from Yan and hands it to me. ‘I’ve bought you another.’

‘Thanks.’ I take the box and stare at it.

‘They didn’t have your usual brand.’ CeCe smiles sweetly at me.

‘Well, thanks anyway.’ I put the box down and pick up my coffee.

‘Sorry my cousin is so greedy. He’s like that.’ She gives her cousin a playful slap around the head.

‘Your cousin?’ I suddenly have a flashback to the things her cousin and I did. I shudder; I must have been wearing some strong wine glasses last night.

CeCe’s cousin has finished his breakfast and is now standing up, shaking hands with me and saying goodbye to CeCe and Yan. Then he’s gone, clutching Zippy’s head – which he’s retrieved from under the table – under his arm. He must have moved ninja-like to get upstairs and retrieve the head from my room without me noticing. My hangover is must be worse than I thought.

‘He’s so much shorter than I remember,’ I voice my confusion.

‘Is he?’ CeCe frowns at me but follows it up with a smile.

‘Yeah.’ I sigh and examine my new cereal box. ‘Much.’ I’m sure that we stood mouth to mouth when I got my hair stuck in his zip. It’s just as well I’m doing Dry January, I obviously drunk far, far too much alcohol last night. My body could do with a break.

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