Cozy Wednesday with Helen Smith – Author of Beyond Belief and Real Elves (Giveaway too!)

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am excited to have a new to me author stop by today!
Please help me give Helen Smith a warm welcome!

helen smith

Guest Post from Helen Smith

It’s getting cold in London, with snow forecast again this year. Thank goodness for my electric blanket and my log fire! Every year, about this time, as the nights get longer and the days get colder, I promise myself that I will try to escape the worst of it somehow, by going away somewhere warm and returning to London in the spring, just as the daffodils are coming out. It never happens, of course…

Then last year, just after Christmas, I got the chance to do it! My neighbor down the road needed to rent somewhere for her family to live for three months while they had some building work done on their house. She wanted to be close to the children’s school and near enough to her home to keep an eye on the work going on there. She sent an email round to the people in our street. She knew it was a long-shot, but did anyone know of anywhere she could rent in January, February and March… the coldest, most miserable months of the year. Well, as it happened, I did!

IMG_11792So we came to an arrangement: she swapped her house for mine, and I swapped my house for a cruise ship! When she first contacted me, I spent hours – literally – deliberating over where I should go for those three months. I had thought I would rent a little apartment somewhere by the sea in the off season, take my computer with me and write. But little places by the sea are rather expensive when you’re renting them by yourself. I did some calculations and decided it would cost about the same to stay in a single cabin on a ship, heading for California, where I had been invited to appear on a couple of panels at a crime writing convention called Left Coast Crime in Monterey.

IMG_11762In January 2014 I left Southampton en route for San Diego via Jordan, Burma, Hong Kong, Hawaii and several points in between. What an adventure! I had found a ship that would get me to California the day before Left Coast Crime began so, again, it seemed as if it was “meant to be.” Instead of taking a day to fly there, I would arrive, free from jet-lag, after taking the long way round. And I would have plenty to talk about when I got there!

Beyond Belief 978-1477849729My most recent Emily Castles mystery, Beyond Belief, was published while I was on board the ship – we had just passed through the Suez Canal. I celebrated by giving a reading for some of the passengers. When we were at sea, I spent my days at my desk in my cabin, writing. When we stopped at a port, I got out and explored. In total we had twenty-two stops on our itinerary, many of them at places I had never visited before, although I also had the chance to meet up with some old friends along the way. And I made some new friends – that was one of the things I hadn’t anticipated before I set off. But one of the nicest things about my trip was the people I met on board the ship. I would definitely like to travel that way again, if I get the opportunity.

IMG_08312And this year? This year I will be staying at home, writing. You can probably guess what I will be writing about, can’t you? Yes! My next Emily Castles mystery will be set on a cruise ship. So although I will be here in London, tucked up in my house with the log fire blazing, I will get the chance to go traveling again in my imagination. And when the book is published, I hope my readers will have the chance to share in my adventures when they open the book.


Real Elves by Helen SmithHelen Smith has a short Christmas mystery called Real Elves available in the Kindle store and as a paperback. It features her amateur sleuth, Emily Castles, and can be read as a standalone story. The books can be read in any order, but readers wanting to start at the beginning should start with the novella-length Three Sisters.

Helen Smith’s blog:
Helen Smith’s website:
Helen Smith on Twitter:
Helen Smith’s books on Amazon:

There is some bonus material, including fantasy casting and locations for my books, over at Pinterest:

The author is giving away a copy of

Winner’s choice of format!

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page will earn you 3 Bonus Entries.

Leave a comment for Helen for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End Devember 31, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

22 thoughts on “Cozy Wednesday with Helen Smith – Author of Beyond Belief and Real Elves (Giveaway too!)

  1. What a one of a kind opportunity you had. Can’t wait to read the fantasy book about the cruise 🙂

  2. This sounds like a series I would like to read. And thanks for writing a standalone too. They are fun. The cruise sounds wonderful, that will make a good story I’m sure!

  3. What a fascinating post. Your unforgettable cruise, and the experience meeting so many good people, seeing fascinating places and your successful novel makes it worthwhile and wonderful. Best wishes. Emily Castle sounds great.

  4. I enjoyed reading Helen Smith’s interview. Never thought that it would be easy to meet new friends on board a cruise. Now I would like to go on a cruise too.

  5. I really enjoyed the first two Emily Castle books and am getting ready to review Real Elves soon. It was a delightful and fun new addition to the series. I would be thrilled to win Beyond Belief. Crossing fingers and toes:)

  6. I read Real Elves on kindle. Now I want to read the other Emily Castle books. Winning one would be great! Thank you for that opportunity!

  7. What an adventure! I am more than a little jealous 🙂 Looking forward to discovering your books.

  8. Thanks for all the lovely comments here. I appreciate the time everyone has taken to participate. I really enjoyed the chance to re-live my adventures on that cruise ship. It was a very special trip. Thanks, Lori, for hosting me here. A copy of Beyond Belief is on the way to the winner chosen by Lori. If anyone would like a copy of the first Emily Castles mystery, THREE SISTERS, I’m giving away a free Kindle copy to new subscribers to my mailing list. Details here:

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