Welcome, Lizzie!

Today I am joined by fellow Crooked Cat author Lizzie Chantree, whose latest romance novel was published last month.
Welcome Lizzie, tell us about your latest book, If you Love me, I’m yours.

Hi Tim. Thanks for inviting me onto your blog. My latest book is a romance read that is packed full of smiles. It’s just as much about the friendship of the two central characters, as it is about the romantic relationship that evolves during the story. Maud is oppressed by her parents and their views of the world on how a good daughter should behave, whilst Dottie is trying to find a voice in her own very eclectic and outspoken family.

This is not your first romance novel – would you like to say something about the others?

My books are about women who don’t necessarily know their own self-worth and who have to overcome obstacles to learn to be kinder to themselves and others. The stories are also full of humour and romance and often have one or two quite eccentric characters in them, as they are so much fun to write about and I have a few of those in my own family!

You’re also an inventor!  I’m sure the readers would love to hear more about that.

Thank you! I was one of The Female Inventors of the Year as voted by The Patent Office and Fair Play London for my invention, Runaway Spray, which is a ‘run’ or ‘ladder’ stop spray for stockings and tights. It’s the size of a lipstick and is not tested on animals. My first customers were The Arcadia Group and Superdrug, which was fantastic!

And an artist!  Is there any limit to your talents?

I love to paint huge colourful landscapes. I find anything creative really inspiring and relaxing, so there is usually a big box of paints and brushes in my house. I often have paint splotches on my clothes and ink on my hands! I used to exhibit my work, but writing fills my days now and it really is an addictive job. I have so many stories I can’t wait to write, so I haven’t had time to paint for a while.

How do you balance the demands of writing, family and business?

It’s really tricky and can be exhausting. The fact that I have a job that travels makes things so much easier though. I write in the car while I’m waiting at my children’s schools and when they are in after school clubs. I write on the train, while on holiday and anywhere I am. Not many careers give that flexibility, so I’m not complaining as I love what I do. I do need to be more organised, but I’m working on it. I run networking hour for creatives on Twitter called #CreativeBizHour and the fact that there are so many creative businesses and people out there makes me really happy, as I know how much work it involves and how dedicated you have to be. It’s worth it.

What question would you have liked me to ask that I didn’t?

Great question! You have covered most things. You could ask why my main characters have, or learn to run, various businesses in my books?

And what is the answer? 

I stared my first business at the age of seventeen, and have years of business knowledge, which is why I always have some pretty unusual businesses in my books. I am able to find out what it would be like to run them without any stress!


Lizzie C

Award-winning inventor and author, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now runs networking hours on social media, where creative businesses, writers, photographers and designers can offer advice and support to each other. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex. Visit her website at www.lizziechantree.com or follow her on https://twitter.com/Lizzie_Chantree.

Other links:

Author page: viewAuthor.at/LizzieChantree

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lizzie.chantree.3

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lizzie_chantree/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/LizzieChantree/pins/

Lizzie’s Crooked Cat Books:

If you lmiy Ninja

‘If you love me, I’m yours…’

Maud didn’t mind being boring, not really. She had a sensible job, clothes, and love life… if you counted an overbearing ex who had thanked her, rolled over and was snoring before she even realised he’d begun! She could tolerate not fulfilling her dreams, if her parents would pay her one compliment about the only thing she was passionate about in life: her art.

Dot should have fit in with her flamboyant and slightly eccentric family of talented artists, but somehow, she was an anomaly who couldn’t paint. She tried hard to be part of their world by becoming an art agent extraordinaire, but she dreamed of finding her own voice. 

Dot’s brother Nate, a smoulderingly sexy and famous artist, was adored by everyone. His creative talent left them in awe of his ability to capture such passion on canvas. Women worshipped him, and even Dot’s friend Maud flushed and bumped into things when he walked into a room, but a tragic event in his past had left him emotionally and physically scarred, and reluctant to face the world again.

Someone was leaving exquisite little paintings on park benches, with a tag saying, ‘If you love me, I’m yours’. The art was so fresh and cutting-edge, that it generated a media frenzy and a scramble to discover where the mystery artist could be hiding. The revelation of who the prodigious artist was interlinked Maud, Dot and Nate’s lives forever, but their worlds came crashing down. 

Were bonds of friendship, love and loyalty strong enough to withstand fame, success and scandal?

Ninja School Mum.
Obsessive-compulsive  school  mum, Skye, is a lonely  elite  spy,  who is running from her past whilst trying to protect the future of her child. She tries hard to fit in with the other parents at her son’s new school, but the only person who accepts her unconventional way of life is new mother, Thea.

Thea is feeling harassed by her sister and bored with her life, but she suspects that there is something strange about the new school mum, Skye. Thea has secrets of her own and, although the two become unlikely friends, she hesitates to tell Skye about the father of her own child.

Zack’s new business is growing faster than he could have dreamed but, suddenly, he finds himself the owner of a crumbling estate on the edge of a pretty village, and a single parent to a very demanding child. Could he make a go of things and give his daughter the life she deserved?

When three lives collide, it appears that only one of them is who they seem to be, and you never know who the person next to you in the school playground really is.


It’s been a while since I’ve put a poem on here, so I thought I’d share this one.  You can also find it in the September issue of Pulsar poetry webzine, along with another one of mine.


This is the place.

The gentle mound beside the reservoir

the wall of ivy-eaten stone

that separates nothing from no one

the tower on which no soldier ever stood.

Once, there were dragons here;

with my plastic sword I stormed the castle

saving princesses from evil kings.


I was a fool to think

these walls would sing to me

the magic of that distant time.

There is no place for chivalry

among the condoms and the empty cans.

I trudge back from the silent stones

stubbing my toes

upon the bones of dragons.


The picture [(c) Kate Jewell 2008] shows the actual folly (at Knypersley Pool in Staffordshire, near Brown Edge where I lived as a child) which inspired this poem.



Welcome, Val!

Today I am delighted to host fellow Crooked Cat author Val Penny, who’s here to talk about her latest novel, Hunter’s Revenge.  Welcome, Val!

Thanks, Tim.  I am pleased to be visiting your blog today.

My novel, ‘Hunter’s Revenge’ is the second in my series of a crime thrillers that fall squarely within the Tartan Noire genre. The main protagonist is Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson.

The story begins in 1968 when Georg Reinbold has to flee from his home in East Germany after killing a Stasi officer.

Fast forward forty-five years and Hunter Wilson is called to the scene of a murder. He is devastated to find that the victim is his friend and colleague, George Reinbold. Hunter finds there is also a new source of cocaine coming into his city and into the jail. He requires the assistance of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable. Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this taught crime thriller. Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until Edinburgh is safe.

I set my novels in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland because it is a city I know well. I did consider creating an imaginary town for Hunter. However, Edinburgh has everything a writer could need. It is a diverse city with all different kinds of buildings and people. It is small enough that characters can move around it quickly and large enough for it to be credible that anything I want to happen there, could happen.

Edinburgh is also a beautiful city with a castle, a palace and a cathedral, wealthy homes, horrible slums, fine restaurants, fast food outlets and idiosyncratic pubs. It is home to an Olympic size pool, the National Rugby Team and two famous football teams. What more could I or my characters want?

I am an American author living in SW Scotland. I have two adult daughters of whom I am justly proud and live with my husband and two cats. I have a Law degree from Edinburgh University and my MSc from Napier University.

I have had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However I have not yet achieved either of my childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, I have turned my hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. My first crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ was published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. ‘Hunter’s Revenge’ launches on 09.09.2018 and the third in the series, ‘Hunter’s Force’ is set to be published early in 2019.

Many thanks for sharing this with us Val.  Very best wishes for the success of Hunter’s Revenge!


author's photograph

Val Penny 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 two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she 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 and novels. Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ and Hunter’s Revenge are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The third book in the series, Hunter’s Force, follows shortly.  You can find out more about Val and her books via these links:







Hunter's Revenge Cover

Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until his friend’s death is revenged.

 DI Hunter Wilson is called to the scene of a murder. He is shocked to find the victim is his friend and colleague, George Reinbold. Who would want to harm the quiet, old man? Why was a book worth £23,000 delivered to him that morning? Why is the security in George’s home so intense? Hunter must investigate his friend’s past as well as the present to identify the killer and identify George’s killer. Hunter also finds a new supply of cocaine from Peru flooding HMP Edinburgh and the city. The courier leads Hunter to the criminal gang but Hunter requires the help of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable, Sir Peter Myerscough and local gangster Ian Thomson to make his case. Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this taught crime thriller.

The Empty Grave

Here’s a little story I wrote at Holmfirth Writers a while back.  A hitman attends the funeral of his latest victim ….


Marco always loved the funerals. They were the icing on the cake, the opportunity to savour the results of his handiwork. There was never time after the hit itself. You pulled the trigger, then you packed up quickly and efficiently and got the hell out of there.

This time had been no different. The whole thing had been a matter of five minutes. Two to set up. One to find the target in the window, wearing his trademark fedora hat, aim, and squeeze the trigger. A second to verify that the figure had indeed fallen, then two more minutes to disassemble his rifle, put it back in its case, and get back down the stairs and into the waiting car. You had to be precise, mechanistic, dispassionate. There was no room for emotion of any kind. It just got in the way.

But now … he could watch the grief and anger play over the faces of the Greco family. Hell, he could even shake their hands and express fake sympathy. He prided himself on being convincing; the bullshit was all part of the trade. Maybe one of the most important skills.

And there was plenty of time to enjoy his success. Boy, did the Grecos do funerals. After all the weeping and wailing at the church and the graveside, there would be the wake back at Don Angelo’s house, at which all the four families would pretend to be friends and eat and drink into the night. He would toast his own success in wine paid for by his victim’s sons.

But first, there was the burial itself. For Marco, this was the very best part. What better seal could you put on your success than to watch your target being lowered into the earth. To throw soil onto the coffin of the man you had killed.

Marco walked to the grave with Gino Greco, the eldest son, who would likely be the next boss. It was a matter of pride to seek out those who could be most dangerous to him, a test of his ability to give nothing away.

“You okay, Gino? You look pretty down. A great loss, huh?”

“Oh, I’m all right, Marco, all things considered. But Mr Black has taken it very bad.”

“Mr Black? Don’t think I’ve heard of him.”

“He’s one of my Dad’s guys. Was very close to him at the end.”

The pair joined the crowd by the side of the open grave. Lesser men moved aside to let them through. An empty coffin sat next to the hole. Marco was puzzled.

“I don’t understand. Where’s the body?”

“Here it is.” A life-sized human silhouette, of black cardboard, fell down into the grave. In the centre of its head was a small round hole.

“Poor old Mr Black,” said Gino.

And where the figurine had been stood a man in his sixties, stern of face and wearing a fedora hat.

“Don Angelo, you’re alive! Then whose funeral is this?”