Cornish Reading Challenge: Terri Nixon reviews Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

Author Terri Nixon reviews Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier for the Cornish Reading Challenge!


I first read this book as a mid-teen, but although I’ve always known I’d enjoyed it, my memory did not do justice to the beauty of this book, and I realised that when I came to re-read it again recently.

It’s set in very familiar surroundings for me; I grew up on the edge of Bodmin Moor (between the ages of 9 and 19) and I was a regular in the church choir, which took turns each Sunday at several of the villages noted in the book; most notably Altarnun, Lewannick, and North Hill – the village where I lived during those years. I’d forgotten how much of a role North Hill played in the story of Mary Yelland, following the characters as they traversed between villages, and out on the open moor, I could easily envisage it all. And, needless to say, I appreciated it a lot more than I did as a youngster!

But even without the personal, local connection, it would have been a delight to plunge back into this dark tale of mystery, romance and intrigue;  the characters – good and bad – are so beautifully drawn; crushingly real, complex and fascinating. The story itself is one of violence, fear, and crime… and the unexpected sweetness of a potential new love, just when you least expect it; allies and enemies, the complicated meshing of the two, and the courage of a girl who refuses to be dragged down by the weight of her family’s history. The immediate impression of Joss Merlyn, on his niece, sets the tone perfectly for their volatile and frightening relationship: “though there should be a world of difference between the smile of a man and the bared fangs of a wolf, with Joss Merlyn they were one and the same.”

The language is raw and honest; flowery description wouldn’t sound right when you’re describing such a bleak and dramatic landscape, and du Maurier strikes exactly the right note in every scene – be it the loneliness of a new life with unknown relatives, the fear of discovering what kind of life is is, or the tenderness of a friendship that just might be the one thing that saves you.

In short, Jamaica Inn is not a “romantic novel,” in the generally accepted meaning, but the romantic wildness of the Cornish landscape plays a huge role in transporting the reader to Bodmin Moor, and the coast that brings both riches and misery to its inhabitants. Exciting, and satisfying, this novel is deservedly labelled a classic.


Cornish Reading Challenge: Phillipa Ashley talks about her Cornish inspiration – & win a copy of Summer at the Cornish Cafe!

New author photo favePhillipa Ashley writes warm, funny romantic fiction for a variety of international publishers. The first two books in her best-selling Cornish Café series made the Amazon Top 20 and Top 10 chart in 2016. The final novel, Confetti at the Cornish Café, is published on May 29th 2017.

Phillipa lives in a Staffordshire village with her husband and has a grown-up daughter. When she’s not writing, she loves walking, cycling and swimming in wild places like the Lake District and of course, Cornwall.

To say that Cornwall has been an inspiration for my work over the past 11 years is a bit of an understatement. I’ve now set seven novels either wholly or partly in this magical county, and I’m currently writing three more.

My latest series is a contemporary romantic saga about a group of quirky characters who run a cafe in Cornwall – they all have secrets to hide, pasts to escape, and big challenges to face. Funnily enough, the trilogy is called the Cornish Cafe series! On May 29th, the final book – Confetti at the Cornish Cafe – will be published by Avon.

It would take years for me to tell you what inspires me about this rugged, beautiful part of the world, but it’s probably the landscapes and seascapes – dramatic, wild, charming, and utterly captivating.

Here are a few of the places that have inspired me, and that feature in my books.

The Minack Theatre

Voted one of the world’s top outdoor performance venues by Lonely Planet, the Minack features in several scenes in past Cornish novels.

Minack night 2015

St Ives

This bustling fishing village with its buttery beaches and vibrant arts scene appears in a several and in the guise of St Trenyan in the Cornish Cafe series (crossed with Mousehole and Padstow!)


Miles of beach and sandy towns behind them, with a lighthouse at the headland. This is my favourite place to surf and bodyboard, and my characters love it too.

St Michael’s Mount

I love this medieval island castle so much that I wrote a whole book about a similar castle – Return to Castle Bay.

Botallack Mining Region

The craggy ruins of abandoned engine houses, clinging onto the cliffs above the Atlantic are a World Heritage site. They feature strongly in some dramatic scenes in the Cornish Cafe series.

I hope you find time to visit some of these wonderful places, and if you find your way to the Cornish Cafe series, I hope you enjoy spotting them.


Win a copy of Summer at the Cornish Cafe!

I’m offering a signed copy of Summer at the Cornish Cafe to one person. All you have to do is email your name and address, and the answer to the following question, to!

Which Irish actor plays Ross Poldark in the current BBC series of Poldark?

Confetti at the Cornish Cafe | Phillipa Ashley | @PhillipaAshley | Facebook | Instagram

Dave McDonald: 9 Ways To Teach Kids To Manage Money

Now that you are an adult, you probably wished that you were trained to save money when you were much younger, right? You are not alone as many grown-ups who handle their finances feel the same. Your kids on the other hand can learn about the importance of saving and how to do it at a young age. Now is the best time for you to teach them.

Studies proved that children who were taught earlier about managing their money become better in handling their finances when they become adults. This practice will turn into a lifestyle in the long run and it will become natural to them.

One of the common ways that parents do to teach their kids to save money is to save using a piggy bank. To make this even more fun and effective, try using a clear jar. This will motivate them more as they will see their savings increase.

It’s also important that you practice what you preach. Setting a good example to the youngsters is the best way to teach them as they tend to copy what they see. Instead of giving them money, ask them to work on it so they will know its value.

We want to help you make your children become financially responsible as early as now. This is why we made an infographic that contains more information on how to train them.

See our pretty and informative graphics below, and start training your kids to handle money matters well.

9 Ways To Teach Kids To Manage Money

Painleave: Tracking Chronic Pain

Painleave helps you get to the bottom of your pain or illness once and for all. A pain-free life is waiting.”

A free service, Painleave encourages those of us who suffer with chronic pain to sign up, and keep track of our flares.

  • Record symptoms & uncover their triggers
  • Organize everything your doctors tell you
  • Keep track of your medications
  • Gain a deeper insight into your condition

In today’s world, we have to be our own advocate, our own doctor. It took me 7 years to get a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, and a further 9 months to get the treatment I needed at the right levels. We have to know everything about our condition – no easy task, especially when you’re battling with pain, exhaustion, or “fibro fog”.

When you sign up, you have the option to add a symptom, a new medical appointment, and medication. To add a new medication, you click ‘add prescription’ on the right-hand side, then choose a prescription when you record the medication. You can indicate the dose, when to take it, and who prescribed it when, making it easier to keep track. I currently have a reminder on my phone every evening to remind me to take my amitriptyline!


When you record a symptom, you can add further details, including the intensity level, with 10 being the worst. And you can keep track of doctors appointments too. Painleave is easy to use, with a friendly user interface, and is a great idea for anyone who suffers with a chronic illness.

You’re also encouraged to give feedback. The creator, Trevan, created it to better keep track of his wife’s chronic illness, and every piece of feedback helps to make Painleave even better. Personally, I’d like to see this as a mobile app, which notifies you when you need to take your medication, or reminds you of an upcoming appointment. Perhaps it could even sync with your phone’s calendar. The upcoming Premium feature looks as if it will have even more options, but it’s still early days.

I urge you to give Painleave a try, and see if it works for you. Living with a chronic illness can be tough, and if anything can make it easier, it’s worth a go!

Dave McDonald: 10 Powerful Tips to Write and Sell Your First eBook

Authors can now write, publish, and sell their own e-books a lot easier than before, mainly because of the popularity of the Internet. This doesn’t mean that it comes without any challenge, as it still does, but it is not as difficult as it was before to do it on your own without the help of big publishing companies.

If you have been wanting to write and market an e-book for a long time, this is the perfect time for you to make it happen. Not only is this a good way for you to earn additional income, but this is also a fantastic way for you to enhance your skills, gain more experience, and build your name as an authority in this field.

Many people are downloading e-books nowadays so take advantage of that. One of the things to consider when writing an e-book is to determine the reason why you are making one. Is it to educate people, entertain them, or teach them how to do things? Being clear on your objective will guide you throughout the process of creating your e-book.

This is just one of the things to take into consideration to make your e-book a success. We want to see you succeed in this field that’s why we prepared an infographic containing more helpful and effective tips on how to write and sell your first e-book.

Check out our colorful and helpful illustration below and begin making your dream as an author a reality.

10 Powerful Tips to Write and Sell Your First eBook

Dave McDonald: Top 10 Medicinal Herbs… And What They Treat

Instead of heading directly to the pharmacy the moment you experience pain and other problems, try herbal medicines instead. They are proven to be effective in many cases. The good thing is that they are natural.

Aside from being effective in solving various health problems, they also don’t cause side effects. This makes you worry less about what it can do to your body compared with over-the-counter medicines and other drug prescriptions.

They can also be easily bought. Other medicines are sold only with prescription from your physician. Herbal medicines can be bought without prescription. In fact, you don’t have to buy them. By growing these herbs in your garden, there’s an unlimited drug source right in your house.

Garlic for instance is one of the most effective herbs to fight various diseases. It includes inflammation, allergies and high blood pressure. Regular intake of garlic helps fight these problems. Ginger is also effective. It helps fight bronchitis, menstrual pain and migraines.

The best part is you will no longer spend a lot of money to pay for your doctor and the prescribed medicines. If you feel pain or suffer from health problems, the solution is just right there in your home.

Below is a list of other medicinal herbs that are totally effective in solving various ailments. The infographic presents a summary of the choices available for you and the problems they solve. Considering these choices, you won’t have to rush to the hospital to see your doctor if you encounter health problems.

Top 10 Medicinal Herbs... And What They Treat

Blog Tour: Sometimes I Lie author shares her writing advice

As part of the Sometimes I Lie blog tour, author Alice Feeney gives advice to aspiring authors.



Anyone can write a story if they feel passionately enough about it. In terms of inspiration, you just have to open your eyes and ears to the world around you – there are stories everywhere if you know how to look and listen.

Here are my top five tips for aspiring writers:

I think if you want to write well, you need to be someone who reads. This Stephen King quote says it perfectly: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

This might sound obvious, but the book won’t write itself. Don’t just talk about writing, you need to make time, (which may well mean making sacrifices) and be dedicated enough to actually do it. Writing, like anything, gets better and easier with practice. Write, then rewrite then repeat. Write until not writing makes you feel anxious.

Trust your gut
I have ideas all of the time, I might be on a train or walking the dog, or in bed in the middle of the night. It could be an idea for a novel, or even just a sentence. It might just be a collection of words that sound beautiful inside your head at that moment in time. Trust your gut. Write them all down, even the daft ones! That way, when you come to paint your story you’ll have all the colours you need.

Be yourself
You should write the book that you want to read. Don’t try to write like someone else, be yourself and write about something or someone that you are passionate about.

Never give up
Don’t ever give up the daydream! Expect the first draft of anything to be a little bit rubbish and develop a thick skin – every author gets rejections, you just have to keep going and never, ever give up.

Sometimes I Lie is available to buy now!