For the Last Days of Freedom Giveaway Hop hosted at I am a reader, not a Writer + The Elliott Review , I've chosen to give  away the perfect summer read!  Carole Matthews tells the story of how she came to write Summer Daydreams in her lovely guest post.  How can you win  a kindle copy of her Summer Daydreams

One mandatory entry: Become a follower of FLY HIGH, if you are not already one, then leave your comment + your e-mail address.

It's as simple as that! Remember: the giveaway is open internationally and ends August 22.  This is a giveaway hop so check all the blogs in the list below this post, there are plenty of prizes to win!

What Came First: the Bag or the Book?

Carole Matthews
I knew something was amiss when I first moved in with my partner, Lovely Kev , and his children, mouths gaping and wide-eyed with amazement, they stared at my three packing cases crammed with handbags and declared in the manner of discovering dinosaurs eggs in the living room, ‘Have you seen how many handbags, Carole’s got?’
Er, yes. I do have a few. If there is such a thing, I’m a handbagaholic . Whilst in a rush to go out a few weeks ago, I asked Lovely Kev to bring my black clutch bag for me. He came in with a selection of five - all pretty much identical - and a raised disapproving eyebrow.
 It’s such a girl thing, but I do love handbags. A few years ago, there was a solitary present nestling under the Christmas tree with my name
on it. It looked like a pairs of slippers. ‘Slippers are good,’ I muttered to myself through gritted teeth. On Christmas day I opened the present to find the most beautiful Lulu Guinness handbag. It’s slim and black and has a big, red bus on it filled with women wearing Jackie O suits. And this from a man who, like most men, just doesn’t get handbags.  Every time I use it, I get fabulous comments. It still ranks up there on my list of Best Presents Ever.
 When we first started going out I went to a friend’s handbag party. It was Lovely Kev’s Mum’s birthday. I called him. ‘Would your mum like a handbag for her birthday?’
      ‘Um...,’ he said. ‘I think she’s already got one.’
      Just doesn’t get it.
      But I do.
So, imagine my delight when a few years ago now, Barbara Cartland’s resplendent face complete with blue eye shadow and false eyelashes popped up on my Facebook page and I found that the owner of the status photo wasn’t, in fact, a romance writer but a designer of the most gorgeous pop art handbags. I sent a glowing message of admiration and, Helen Rochfort, designer of the handbags of loveliness, sent me a note back. For some time we chatted back and forth, then my publisher thought it would be a brilliant idea to create a promotional handbag for one of my earlier books, The Chocolate Lovers’ Club, and Helen was duly called on. Our friendship flourished.
It was a few years later and, over increasingly regular lunches, that Helen told me the story of how she’d become a handbag designer. It certainly wasn’t an easy ride for her! She has been through so many trials and tribulations in trying to achieve her dream that I was spellbound. And, by the time, my second class of Chardonnay had been downed, I realised that I had a great book just staring me in the face.  She’s quite an amazing lady who juggles a successful business in a  highly competitive area with the demands of a home and family. I felt it was a story that a lot of women would find familiar these days.
So we worked together on an outline for the book and the result is Summer Daydreams which is loosely based on Helen’s life and experiences. It features Nell McNamara and I think it’s a lovely, warm story of someone who’s prepared to step out of their comfort zone and really go for what they want. And what Nell wants is a better life for herself and her family. She throws caution to the wind and gives up her dead-end job and sets out to follow her dream. It was a really fun story to write and I got to talk a lot about handbags too!
Even better, Helen has been inspired to design a Summer Daydreams handbag which is on sale now. How many authors can say that they’ve had not one, but two handbags inspired by their books! 

Carole Matthews
The Book
Nell McNamara has a happy life: her boyfriend Olly adores her, their four-year-old daughter Petal is the centre of their world and Nell has a steady job in the local chip shop. When the chippy needs a makeover, Nell jumps at the chance to unleash the creativity fizzing inside her.
Inspired by what she can achieve - and encouraged by the very best friends a girl can have - Nell is determined to try something new. Waving goodbye to the chip shop, she starts up a new business making her own line of must-have handbags, which are soon flying off the shelves.
It seems Nell's dreams are finally coming true, but her success doesn't come without a price. Before too long, Nell has to ask herself if it's really possible to have it all . . .
Full of fun, love and laughter, soak up the sunshine with Summer Daydreams.

The Author 
(from the author Amazon page)  Carole Matthews is an internationally bestselling author of hugely successful romantic comedy novels. Her unique sense of humour has won her legions of fans and critical acclaim all over the world.
As well as appearing on the Sunday Times and USA Today bestseller lists, Carole is published in 24 different countries. Her novel Welcome To The Real World was shortlisted for the RNA romantic novel of the year award.
In the USA, the hilarious For Better, For Worse was selected by one of America's top TV book clubs - Reading with Ripa on LIVE with Regis and Kelly - as their book of the month. As a result it went straight into the USA Today and New York Times Extended bestseller lists.
Carole co-edited two editions of the hugely popular Girls' Night In charity series called Girls' Night Out - one for the USA and one for Canada. All proceeds go to War Child. She has recently contributed a story to an anthology for the Romantic Novelists' Association, Loves Me, Loves Me Not. Carole has presented on television and is a regular radio guest.
Born in St Helens, Merseyside, England, Carole has always been an avid reader and dreamed of being a teacher, an air traffic controller, a travel guide or a hairdresser - writer never featured once. Leaving Liverpool for London after a torrid holiday romance in Torquay, she worked as a secretary, an ice-cream lady, a shop assistant and a beauty therapist. It was when she was working in a completely mad holistic clinic that she first thought 'one day I should write a book about this.' She still hasn't got round to it.
Entering a short story competition in Writing Magazine, the first fiction she'd written since being coerced into it at school, Carole - to her and everyone else's amazement - won a thousand pounds! Then - to her and everyone else's amazement - she spent the money, not on shoes and handbags, but on a writing course. The tutor on the course liked what she was writing and recommended an agent who took her on straight away. He sold her first book, which became Let's Meet on Platform 8, a week later.
Previously very unlucky in love, she now lives happily ever after with her partner, Lovely Kev, in a minimalist home with no ornaments or curtains. She likes to drink champagne, eat chocolate and spends too much time on Facebook.
When she's not writing novels she likes trekking in the Himalayas, rollerblading in Central Park, taking tea in China or being cajoled up the Andes by Lovely Kev. More often than not, she can be found daydreaming in her garden shed in Milton Keynes which is near London.


Krista said...

I'm a follower Fly High is what got me interested in Jane again!!! Love your blog member for awhile know. Krista

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

Lovely giveaway offer! TY!
and isn't Carole cute in her little red dress just like her covergirl art? haha :) darling...
and cheers on the handbag, Carole!
I'm another 'collector' ;)
totally looking fwd to this read '')
faithhopecherrytea at*gmail.*com

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the giveaway

Janice said...

GFC: DrawingtheLine
jhidey at aol dot com

Thanks for giveaway

DMS said...

I am hopping over from the hop!

Thanks so much for the giveaway. The book sounds great! I enjoyed learning more about Carol and her handbag obsession. :)

GFC: Jessica Haight/DMS- I am a new follower- Google keeps switching up my name.

haightjess at gmail dot com

Darlene said...

I'm following on GFC (Darlene)

darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com

Thanks for the giveaway!

Kimber Shook said...

thanks for the giveaway!

BeckyC said...

I am a Fly high frequent flyer and stopped in and found your hop. What fun! Thanks for the giveaway!
cherringtonmb at sbcglobal dot net

Mystica said...

I follow you on GFC. Thanks for the giveaway.

Kelly said...

Thank you for the giveaway..
GFC follower- ronnkelly3


Unknown said...

I follow by GFC (Pauline Tolentino)

I would love to own a copy of that book. Thanks! :)

Unknown said...

GFC: DominikaCouf
email: xo-domissek-xo@seznam.cz
thx for your intl giveaway, great prize! :))

Literary Chanteuse said...

Thank you so much Maria for the giveaway!


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

GFC follower - kayswederski

kayswederski at yahoo.com

holls said...

GFC holly wright. Thanks so much!!!

wni said...

Thanks for the giveaway!
GFC follower: wni


Jesse Kimmel-Freeman said...

GFC Martian Girl

Thanks for the chance

Unknown said...

Sounds fantastic! Thanks for the great giveaway!

GFC: Jessy B
email: jessica dot j dot brainerd at gmail dot com

Teresa Thompson said...

GFC Teresa Thompson

Denise Z said...

Summer Daydreams sounds like a fun read. Thank you for your generous participation in this hop.
GFC Denise Zaky