Good morning, if you're a regular visitor you'll have realised weeks ago, but I have a new publishing contract with Headline Publishing Group. I have two brand new books being released in May 2021 and September 2021! Both books are set in Shetland, which I was lucky enough to visit during 2019. For the first time, I've written a series linked by a beautiful setting and loveable characters.
Amazon links: For pre-orders
From Shetland, With Love
When Jemima loses her beloved grandfather, keeping his allotment alive seems like ideal way to feel close to him. She's never fitted in before - is this her chance to find where she really belongs?
Finally Melissa has the allotment she's been longing for to distract her while her husband works away - even if it is chest-high in weeds. But when she looks for help in the wrong place, she finds she's the hottest topic of gossip.
For Dottie, her allotment and part-time job of 'a little light dusting' at Lerwick Manor keeps a spring in her eighty-year-old step - and her ears open for secrets.
Though generations apart, these three women are about to find a common bond in a new-found passion and that true friendship can grow anywhere.
From Shetland, With Love At Christmas
Verity is embarking on a better-late-than-never gap year now that her sons have flown the nest, and dreams of turning a lifetime's hobby of knitting and crocheting into a profitable new enterprise at Lerwick Manor's gallery.
Nessie has returned to Shetland after two years spent retraining as a blacksmith on the Scottish mainland. She's determined to do whatever it takes to reignite the traditional craft and prove that gender is no obstacle taking on her family's heritage.
Isla is fresh out of catering college, but she is desperate to prove she has what it takes to run Lerwick Manor's artisan café. Focused on perfecting her grandmother's traditional recipes, Isla has no time for anything else - especially not her pesky ex.
With the island's Yule Day celebration fast approaching, it's the ideal moment for their crafts to shine. But they can't do it alone - and their friendship might turn out to be their greatest creation yet...
More exciting news for 2021!
I can't believe I have more news, but I'm greedy like that, I have!
Four of my books are being released in audio format which means you can listen whilst you're on the move. I'm never without an audio book on dog walks or cleaning duties so, it's exciting to imagine others listening to mine.
Plus, slightly secret news ... so shhhh but "the February book", you know the one, is heading into a big supermarket ready for the new year 2021!
NaNoWriMo 2020 is happening! There’s no chance of cancellation, wavering on dates and definitely no restrictions. Since it began in 1999, NaNoWriMo has always been “Covid friendly” given that I spend the entire month of November in self-isolation, before a screen and messaging on-line buddies for support. Seems uncanny, but I’ve unknowingly been preparing for this episode of my life for the last ten years!
It’ll be the first event of my year which hasn’t been struck from my calendar. So, today is the day when I upload my novel details, begin my planning and start stashing the freezer with easy cook meals.
I’m delighted to be writing a Christmas book during the winter season as previously I’ve written Christmas books at the height of summer – it was slightly weird playing Christmas tunes in July!
I’m sure my regular band of buddies are planning ahead too; given that we’ve undertaken this annual journey for numerous years.
For further details: www.NaNoWriMo.org
My October deadline has come and gone! The past few weeks have flown by in a blur as I polished a manuscript for my publishers. The usual routine for me is to submit, and within minutes, I have a flurry of ideas which I wish to make. Seriously, it has happened every time! I submitted on 30th September, then spent the 1st October creating a list of plot points which I wish to amend.
I allowed myself a few days to chill out, watch films, draw and plod about the house 'free' to do as I wish. But today, I began plotting the next book: a Christmas book for 2021.
For me, this means creating my next manuscript template, noting down character names and ages, deciding on dedications and quotes which I like to have in place beforehand. I love that my dedication is in place for every word written; sometimes, it helps to inspire and motivate.
I already have a synopsis for this book so, the next stage is to play with post-it notes creating a plot line/time line for my three new characters. I'll juggle the order numerous times before pining it to a board and start to write. My aim is to have at least 95,000 words in place by 30th November, though remember NaNoWriMo starts in November!
Anyway, that's me. Happy, healthy and back to the first draft routine.
Today is the final day of August - yay! Not that I want to wish my life away but tomorrow signals the official start of autumn for me. During the last few days, I've watched the leaves begin to change colour, a patch of blackberry bushes begin to ripen and can feel that distinct nip in the air. Autumn has arrived - my favourite time of year!
You know I'm a planner so, what's in store for the season ahead?
Firstly, and most importantly, I have a book deadline for 1st October which I'm currently writing/editing and is well underway.
September usually signals my necessity to purchase lots of pretty, colour-coordinated school supplies - which is purely an excuse to feed my stationery addiction! This year is different. Instead, I'll happily admit to my obsession with bouquets of sharpened pencils, as mentioned in You've Got Mail!
Recently, I’ve cleared-out and reorganised my reading books so have chosen a selection to see me through the new season. I’m returning to my beloved Dickens with ‘Our Mutual Friend’ and his biography by Claire Tomalin. My copy of ‘Our Mutual Friend’ was given to me as a ‘Secret Santa’ present when I was teaching – inside was a beautiful letter which I’ve kept and treasure*. The novel starts one autumn evening on the river Thames, London - most fitting for September. I’ve bought a couple of Kindle ebooks which dear friends of mine have written, some take me out of usual genre comfort zone, but will give me great pleasure in supporting my buddies. As always, I have my usual mix of Agatha Christie too as I continue with my 2020 reading challenge.
October will launch me back into the planning stage for a Christmas book to be published 2021. It's a sequel to my current writing project which allows me to keep certain characters whilst introducing many new ones - always an exciting prospect! The planning stage will be long forgotten by November, when I'll dive into NaNoWriMo for my tenth year! I can't believe where the time has gone; it seems like yesterday when I cried with joy at having completed my first NaNo. My 2021 Christmas book will have at least 50,000 words by 30th November thanks to the annual writing scheme.
During lockdown, I managed to knit four blankets for a neonatal unit - having received undue 'praise and thanks' for my efforts I've purchased more wool for a second batch. Alongside my sketching classes and personal studies, I'm set for the season!
All in all, I'm thrilled to see the return of autumn along with her dark nights, brisk dog walks and cosy blankets - total bliss!
* like with many Secret Santa pressies, I'm 99% sure who bought my beautiful gift - thank you KP x
It has taken me much longer than I had anticipated due to my additional research and required study, but I’ve actually finished it!
I can’t say it was easy. I can’t pretend that I fully appreciate or understand the contents. I’ve learnt much and, I’m still in two minds as to whether James Joyce was a genius or … (words fail me here!). On completion, I have a million and one questions regarding his initial intentions, his motivation and even, his method of writing such a tome.
I take comfort in the fact that his wife, Nora only read three pages before giving up. I managed all 682 pages of my edition – not that I was counting each page as a mini success.
There were moments when I was bowled over by his beautiful descriptions, surprised by the inclusion of the crude/uncouth language and boggled by the inclusion of so many characters. I loved the inclusion of many things but the photograph captures a moment of personal delight for Erin Green.
I never need open my copy again; it can sit on a shelf as a reminder of lockdown2020 (alongside my well-thumbed study guide!)
'10th Aug: Morning world, I woke to find this today ... number 1 in the Women's Popular Fiction chart and there's a tiny orange 'bestseller' flag flying next my title too. The book is also number one in the 'Solo traveler' chart too.
As you can imagine, I am one very happy girl - bubbles for breakfast, me thinks!
Link to Amazon: press here
As you can imagine I've had the most amazing day. Many friends sent me beautiful messages and numerous readers got in touch via social media to share their thoughts about the characters and the location in beautiful Brixham. All in all, simply a great day from which memories are made. I feel privileged to have the job that I do; it really was my childhood dream. If you listen carefully, you'll hear a little girl tapping her shoes on the brown floor tiles of Polesworth library - yep, she's still there!
In my world, summer officially begins today!!!! I'm excited to announce that ‘NEW BEGINNINGS AT ROSE COTTAGE’ has been included in Amazon’s Kindle Monthly Deal for August at the incredible price of 99 pence!!!
So, why not treat yourself to a five-star summer read which has the feel good factor from page one! You can indulge in a staycation to beautiful Brixham from the safety of your sun lounger!
In Brixham, you’ll meet three new friends, Benni, Ruth and Emma during their two-week solos holiday and discover if it's ever too late for a new beginning!
Available from Amazon - press to browse.
Benni needs to live, Ruth needs to laugh and Emma needs to love ... the question is, what do you need?
Remember, you've purchased, read and enjoyed New Beginnings At Rose Cottage please let me know who your favourite character is: Benni, Ruth or Emma! I love reading your reviews and receiving emails.
I'm still recovering from my recent appendix op but life as an author continues at a slower pace. If you are available tonight for a date at 8pm, why not tune in and join us. I suggest you bring your own drink and nibbles, but there's bound to be a giggle or two which might brighten your evening.
I met Kim Nash several years ago when we both attended a one-day writing workshop hosted by Miranda Dickenson, with additional sessions led by Rowan Coleman, C.L. Taylor and Kate Harrison. It was such an enjoyable day listening to their hints and tips about writing and the publishing world - I learnt a lot, for which I'm grateful.
To watch our interview please press - grab a fresh a coffee first though!
If you've watched the interview clip - the giveaway prize draw will be selected at 10pm, 29th July 2020.
Winners of signed books were: Gail A and Michelle R - signed, packaged and posted :-)
CampNaNo Current word count: 55,076/50,000
Day 11: word count: 21,138/50,000 - For those who have followed my NaNoWriMo addiction for many years, you know that I advise others to 'plan all you can but expect the unexpected'. Every year, life will throw you a curve ball during the month of November dedicated to NaNo, CampNaNo in July is no different. Well, on Day 11 mine arrived! My appendix decided it had had enough of 'lockdown 2020' and was whipped out on Saturday evening by the fabulous folk at my local hospital. I won't bore you with the details, but whilst awaiting surgery and between medical examinations I had plenty of time to complete my CampNaNo word count on an iPad! Hey, don't tell me off - this author gal needed a distraction!
Being an author is truly a dream come true for me so, despite the pain, when a member of the surgical team asked whilst prepping me for theatre 'so what's your job?' I happily answered. What I didn't expect was the immediate silence as everyone tuned in, the hilarious conversation and impromptu author Q&A session which quickly followed as I was wheeled into theatre. Boy, what a fabulous team and such a humorous and relaxing way to go under for an op! #GeorgeEliotHospital
Day 12: word count: naught, nothing, zero, zilch written today (see Day 11 for a pretty decent excuse). Today's focus was proving to the medical team that I could do the basics after surgery in order to get back home. Though, having watched me trundle about the ward at tortoise pace and then snaffle/inhale a chicken dinner followed by pie and custard, I received the 'green light' from the medical team to be allowed home by early afternoon. And so, my recovery begins.
Day 13: word count: 22,763/50,000 New rules apply in my life for the next three weeks - I'm allowed to read, watch films and write. My chosen speed is a tortoise plod and nothing more. Ah well, let's get start!
A strange day if I'm honest, but a relaxing one spent downstairs plodding between my chosen activities. I've started a new reading book 'Meet Me At Pebble Beach' written by my fabulous friend, Bella Osborne, which kept me engrossed and entertained between small bouts of CampNaNo writing.
Day 14: word count: 24,376/50,000. Not a bad writing session; the slow plod is working for me. My laptop is now in the dining room which eliminates me having to climb stairs, so I've had chance to develop a pattern of write a bit, rest a bit. Repeat.
Day 15: word count: 26,078/50,000. Another slow plod but a productive writing day. I woke with renewed vigour for this month's CampNano so, settled to write as early as I could. I've switched writing location; from the dining room to the lounge, which isn't ideal, but my gran's old chair offers my frame better support. Tomorrow, I plan to complete my NaNo writing before adding details to the fresh idea I started planning last week. Common sense tells me, the plan will change if needs be.
Day 16: word count: 27,693/50,000 An interesting writing day which went totally off track in relation to my post-it note plans. A moment of inspiration produced an unexpected scene which I hadn't imagined prior to sitting down to write it. I might keep it for the final book or edit it out at a later date but either way its now captured in words.
Day 17: word count: 27,693/50,000 ought, naught, zilch, zero words written today due to a headache which wouldn't ease. Never mind, I'll go with the flow for the moment.
Day 18: word count: 30,858/50,000 I've made up for yesterday's empty word day by not moving from the chair and plodding along with the scenes in my head. It's felt good being able to return to my planned scenes and let the word flow. Though, I did delete a whole conversation of wooden speech provided by a minor character who tried to take centre stage at one point. Eh, eh, that's not happening on my watch! You get used to deleting words despite the time taken to write - I can't afford to be precious about such things. I'm chuffed to bits to see that I've hit the thirty thousand marker - quite incredible how every word counts and the number creeps without you realising.
Day 19: word count: 32,768/50,000 - some days you simply sit in a chair and let your imagination do the work; today, was that day. The hours slipped by, the words flowed and I consumed copious amounts of tea. Simple. Recovery news: every day I can see an improvement regarding my movement, my incisions and my swollen abs returning to normal. I've granted myself three weeks of recovery ensuring that I'm healed and healthy before venturing back into the real world.
Day 20 & Day 21: word count: 36,210/50,000 - another two days of decent writing sessions. I'm currently nearing the end of one main character's conflict arc which is why the words are flowing as well as they are. The current scenes are fully formed in my head enabling me to write simply supported by my post-it note plans.
Day 22: word count: 37,882/50,000 I began writing on a new character's plot line today which gave me a new voice inside my head. The character is an elderly lady so, her turn of phrase and view point is refreshingly different from the previous character. Though, true to form, I've had several details come to mind for the previous character so I'll return to add a second layer to her characterisation. This happens every time I switch characters; it's part of my creative process.
Day 23: word count 39,975/50,000 I have backache today - nothing new for an author, but I can't afford to ignore it. With just eight days to go, I'm happy with my progress; I captured the words pretty swiftly today. The rest of my evening will be spent alongside my yoga mat undoing some of these knots - hopefully tomorrow, my back behaves itself.
Day 24: word count: 41,595/50,000 - the end is in sight, folks! There's just one more week of CampNaNo and it takes the pressure off knowing that this final week won't be a frantic dash for the finish line but a gentle plod.
Day 25: word count: 43,213/50,000 - a late start for today as I was busy elsewhere. I attended an on-line art lesson this morning which was a lovely distraction from writing and the recovery process. I had a three hour class and the time whizzed by in the blink of an eye. I was delighted with my finished piece given that I wasn't sure about the composition on first viewing it, but hey ho, it shows what you can achieve outside of your comfort zone. The added bonus is that such hobbies nurture my creative side in another manner - which all helps in supporting my writing. I simply absorb inspiration and stimulus from whatever source is available to me in order to recharge the batteries. My intention is to complete all 31 days for CampNaNo, I won't cease once I hit the 50,000 word count - in previous years, I've found that the final two days can ignite a torrent of unexpected chapters.
Day 26: word count: 44,906/50,000 I struggled to reach my word count today; I kept deleting words rather than writing them - which is never good. This usually happens when I'm writing a scene from the wrong angle but having pondered and reread several times I stuck with it and plodded on. Who knows, tomorrow I might make changes or even rewrite it. Meh!
Day 27: word count: 46,711/50,000
Day 28: word count: 48,416/50,000 - my writing was completed early because I was attending a live on-line interview with Kim Nash on the evening so wanted to clear my diary for the day. Interview link: grab a fresh coffee and enjoy!
Day 29: word count: 50,399/50,000!!!!! Done and dusted, but I'll carry on, folks. Apologies for not updating my blog last night but I received some very exciting, super exciting news from Headline, my publishers so was busy celebrating and organising in an 'authorly' manner ready for Saturday morning. That's a huge hint by the way so, you'll need to visit my homepage from 1st August onwards to hear the latest news.
Day 30: 52,583/50,000 Back to it this morning. I've relocated to the garden as the sunshine is simply divine plus, I've been inside for three weeks nursing my post-appendix self. Though, I'm predicting a very healthy lunch given I'll be sharing my garden space with three tortoises!
Day 31: Last day! word count: 55,076/50,000 Apparently, today might be the hottest day of the year so, I'll have an alfresco office again. Yesterday proved productive although, doing battle with the surrounding neighbourhood noise wasn't easy. Today's the final day of CampNaNo2020 my intention is to complete my writing shift and finish at whatever word count I have. I'm not aiming for a specific goal. This month's project is my latest book called 'From Shetland, with Love' to be published by Headline PG in late spring 2021. My deadline for completion is 1st October so, I'll need another month of words before the manuscript is complete.
If you're a NaNoWriMo addict too, I'll see you back here 1st November for the main event of the year and another 50,000 word goal. My November project will be called 'From Shetland, With Love At Christmas' a sequel to the current project and will be published late autumn 2021, in time for Christmas.
Regular followers know I have a passion for Agatha Christie which dates back to my teenage years, when I'd take solace for an entire weekend alongside Poirot or Marple. Over the years, I have lost track of those I'd read, the adaptations I'd watched and those I'd listened to on audio. So way back in 2019, I vowed that 2020 being the centenary celebration of her debut novel, I would reread her beloved books.
During 2020 I've read:
Dumb witness - my first ever AC read when I was aged about 13
The Mysterious Affair at Styles - her debut novel
Death on the Nile
Murder on the Orient Express
Hercule Poirot's Christmas
Appointment With Death
Murder Is Easy
The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories
And Then There were None
I've taken comfort in many ways by rereading during lockdown 2020; it has provided an escapism from our current situation and much like memories linked to music or films has delivered me back to an aspect of my teenage days.
Sometimes whilst reading, I'll post on Twitter using the #ReadChristie2020 which has been assigned by the Agatha Christie group as a means of promoting her work.