Book Spotlight: Count the Shells by Charlie Cochrane

Count the Shells
(Porthkennack #6)
by Charlie Cochrane
Date Released: October 16, 2017

About Count the Shells
Michael Gray returned from World War One injured, but at least he returned. Others were not so fortunate, including his first and greatest love, Thomas Carter-Clemence, with whom Michael had parted bitterly before the conflict began.

Broch, the Carter-Clemence home in Porthkennack, was an integral part of pre-war holidays for the Grays, the two families drawn together in the wake of their sons’ friendship. Returning to the once-beloved Cornish coast for a break with his sister and her family, Michael has to find the courage to face old memories . . . and dare new relationships.

When Thomas’s brother Harry makes an unexpected appearance, Michael is surprised to find himself deeply attracted to Harry for his own sake. But as their relationship heats up, it unearths startling revelations and bitter truths. Michael must decide whether Harry is the answer to his prayers or the last straw to break an old soldier’s back.

Read my three-starred review of Count the Shells.

Add Count the Shells on Goodreads.

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About the Porthkennack series
Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur's Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.

Learn more about the Porthkennack series on Riptide Publishing.

A Note from Charlie Cochrane
Count the Shells is the story which completely astounded its author in the telling. I had no idea when I sat down to write it that the straightforward historical romance I’d envisaged would turn out to have a plot twist which transformed the story into possibly the best tale I’ve ever crafted.  

A Guest Post from Charlie Cohrane
“But that’s my baby!” (i.e. the joys of being edited)

So, that lovely book you spent four years drafting and re-drafting gets submitted and gets accepted. Huzzay! And then the first set of edits comes back. Not such “huzzay”, because the edits say something like, “I really loved this story. The first three paragraphs are great. The dog is brilliant. However...” Ten pages of suggested and required changes later (I only exaggerate slightly), you’re wondering why the publisher accepted it when they clearly hate it so much. 

They don’t. 

They just want the book to be brilliant before they unleash it on the world. (Believe me, if they hated it, they’d have rejected it.) So what does an author do?

Take it on the chin and smile, for a start. Look at those edits as gilding on the lily, icing on the cake, making your great story absolutely wonderful. This is about getting rid of any blemishes and buffing up the beautiful bits to a dazzling shine. It’s also about making the book as sellable as possible, because – let’s face it – we’ve all read stories where we think, “That makes no sense. That’s repeated from two pages ago. Did nobody look at this before publication?” We don’t want our books to have that reaction.

You don’t have to agree with or do everything your editor suggests. Pick your fights. Some things, particularly British idiom in a British context for example in dialogue, I’ll fight tooth and nail to keep in. I rarely disagree with any minor changes to words or punctuation, but I’ll double check any facts my editor says I’ve got wrong (25% of the time I’m right and the editor is not – which means 75% of the time, it’s my mistake!). An example would be where an editor told me I was wrong showing somebody in 1920-ish having an idea about a system that resembled the internet or instant messaging, because that was far ahead of his time. I had to point out EM Forster’s wonderful story The Machine Stops which depicts exactly these things and was written pre-World War One. 

Working with publishers from a country not your own is really easy in this internet age, but cultural differences (as simple as the fact that Brits write 1st February as 1/2 and US peeps write it 2/1) can create problems. Language, too. US chips are not UK chips, and words like fanny have a totally different meaning this side of the Atlantic. I’ve also had editors say, “He’s being really insulting there!” and I have to say, “That’s how two British rugby players would talk to each other!”

In the end, it’s your story and your words, but you ignore outside advice at your own risk. Remember, everyone wants the best for your book.

About Charlie Cochrane
As Charlie Cochrane couldn't be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR, and Cheyenne.

Charlie's Cambridge Fellows series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

To celebrate the release of Count the Shells, one lucky winner will receive a goodie bag from Charlie Cochrane, including postcards (new and vintage), a recipe book, bookmark, pencils, a fridge magnet, and various other doodahs! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 21, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info! 

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  1. I've known authors who have various reactions to editing. Generally a book that hasn't had editing could have used it, though. Sounds like you're more gracious about it than some. :)

    1. I try to be. I know my limitations. I think. :)


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