Today I am so pleased to welcome Charlie Cochrane to Joyfully Jay. Charlie has come to talk to us about her latest release, Count the Shells. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

Count the Shells Tour Banner

What is it about a uniform?

There’s something about a man (or a woman if you’re so inclined) in uniform that gets us all of a lather, isn’t there? Especially a historical uniform – the film “Master and Commander” always gets my heart going pitter-patter, with all those dark blue coats and the gold braid and the tight white britches…*fans self*

I wonder what it is that provokes such a reaction (apart from the obvious?) Maybe it’s the hint of the military, the suggestion of power contained, strength hidden within a structure of discipline and restraint. And the thought of what that power might be like when it’s unleashed, of course. Or maybe it’s the subtle changes clothing makes; some people look fabulous in a suit, less so in casual clothes. Rugby shirts (tight rugby shirts!) make almost everyone look gorgeous. I remember James Darcy saying that the costumes for M&C had been constructed in keeping with Age of Sail fashions – lots of strings and pullings (excuse character name pun) in. It had made him stand with a better, more erect (oh, do stop being smutty!) posture. Maybe that adds to the allure.

Porthkennack Series CoverI also like the stories of how and why changes to uniforms (or any clothing) come about. Are you wearing jeans? Look down at the right hand front pocket. Is there a little pocket above and partly inside the main one? That’s to put your pocket watch in. As we all do, regularly. Yet there it is, like a sartorial appendix, hanging around doing diddly squat because it has been there for ages and nobody’s seen fit to remove it.

Seen the buttons on a midshipman’s cuff? The story is that they were put there to stop the little toads wiping their noses on their sleeves. Do they live on in the redundant buttons that often grace a man’s suit jacket? I like to think they do, inhibiting the sliver sleeve phenomenon down the years.

And the other thing about men in uniform is that they inspire a girl to get writing. Count the Shells was in part inspired by the many pictures of WWI soldiers I’ve seen. Bits of the kit are less than enthralling – those awful puttees for example – and they look less than pristine, but for me that adds to the charisma. These men didn’t just parade around like peacocks; they fought and served and did their bit. That’s something an author has to be aware of – doing justice to what life in uniform is really like. And that’s not necessarily what you see in films…


Count the ShellsMichael 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.


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:


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!

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
FILED UNDER: Giveaway, Guest Post
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