It seems like ages since I last blogged on here. Well, it is ages – it was March when I last put fingers to keyboard for this page. Shameful! Anyway, I’ve brushed the cobwebs off the blog and I promise to try to do better in future. 🙂
I hope you’re all well and the year has been a happy one for you so far. After my spring catch-up, I thought I’d better do one for the summer, too. I’ve been looking back at what I’ve been up to in March, April and May, and there was a lot more going on than I’d realised.
So where was I? Hmm. When I left you in the March catch-up, I was working on Book 2 of The Witches of Castle Clair series, My Favourite Witch. Well, that book was published in April and is now available for Kindle and in paperback. I’ve had some lovely feedback about it, including this fabulous review from blogger Anne Williams of the Being Anne book blog. Made my day!
But to go back to March … in the middle of the month, Jessica Redland and I met up with fellow writers Joy Wood and Sylvia Broady. We’d chatted on Facebook for quite a while and developed quite a rapport. When Jessica and I attended last year’s Social Media Marketing course run by Anita Chapman, Sylvia was also there, and we got chatting. Sylvia lives in East Yorkshire and she writes sagas. You can find out more about her wonderful books here. We’d also caught up at the Romantic Novelists’ Association Conference in Leeds last July, so when she suggested meeting up we were all for it, especially when she told us she wanted to introduce us to Joy. Joy lives in Cleethorpes in North East Lincolnshire and she’s having a lot of success as an indie author. She’s always very friendly and chatty on Facebook, so we were very happy to meet up with her. Sure enough we never stopped talking the entire afternoon! It’s always great to meet new friends, and I really hope we get to do it again very soon. Find out more about Joy here.
I decided to give Baxter’s Christmas Wish the make-over I’d mentioned previously, so it now has a new cover and a new status as the first in my Home for Christmas series. This is a series of novels which will deal with the importance of being in that special place considered home at such a significant time of year. Home and Christmas have always gone hand-in-hand to me, and Baxter dealt with a single mum and her son, plus an unwanted dog, all in need of a place to call home at the festive season. I have a few ideas for other books with a similar theme, so I thought why not make them a series? I’m hoping to release at least one of them this year, with another couple for publication next Christmas. Fingers crossed!
On April 13th Jessica and I attended one of the Books by the Beach events. Books by the Beach is a literary festival which takes place in Scarborough. The event we chose was held at Scarborough’s library, and it was a conversation with Lucy Diamond and Lynne Truss. Initially, it was supposed to be Lucy and Jenny Colgan, but Jenny had to withdraw. Luckily, Lynne was a fabulous stand-in! When we arrived we bumped into another writer friend, Dorinda Cass, and we all sat together to watch as Lucy and Lynne were interviewed. They read extracts from their latest novels – Lucy’s family saga, Something to Tell You, and Lynne’s comic crime story, A Shot in the Dark. Both extracts were highly entertaining and made us want to know more! Afterwards, Jessica and I went for lunch and an afternoon of gossip. A fabulous day!
On May 11th, Jessica and I headed to the Holiday Inn in York for the second part of Anita Chapman’s Social Media Marketing course. We were particularly looking forward to it as we were meeting up with our fellow Write Romantic, Rachael Thomas. As Rachael lives in Wales we don’t often get the chance to see her, so it was a real treat to spend the whole day with her. Some of the writers who’d attended the first part of the course with us last year were also there and it was great to see them again. We had a smashing day learning new things (such as Instagram stories and scheduling tweets on Tweetdeck), eating a really tasty lunch (fish and chips and treacle tart and custard if you’re interested) and having plenty of laughs among the chatter. A really enjoyable and informative day.
The following week, it was time to pack away the laptop and leave the writing world behind, as DH and I headed off to Wales for a week’s holiday. We’ve never been to Wales before so we were really looking forward to it. We stayed in Tenby in Pembrokeshire, and it was stunning, with quaint little streets and amazing beaches.
I’ll admit, it took me a few days to start to wind down and relax, but once I had Wales worked its magic on me. We visited St David’s Cathedral which was absolutely beautiful and so picturesque.
We also visited Laugharne in Carmarthenshire, where we saw Dylan Thomas’s Boathouse and the little hut he wrote in. We stopped at a cafe and had delicious sandwiches of chunky Welsh ham, then visited a gift shop where we browsed happily for a while. I have to say, we didn’t come across many gift shops at all where we were staying. Pembrokeshire seems remarkably uncommercialised and it’s all the more beautiful for it.
On the recommendation of some Facebook friends, we stopped by at Porthgain, where we simply sat on the harbour wall for an hour and listened to the waves and watched the seagulls swooping around the cliffs. It was so relaxing and I realised lots of ideas for stories were suddenly popping into my head. That’s the funny thing about inspiration. It strikes when you least expect it!
At the beginning of June I had a catch-up meeting with my fellow Write Romantic and Yorkshire Rose Writer, Jessica. We decided that, due to the pressure of time and having our own individual blogs to focus on, we would no longer write our Yorkshire Rose Writers’ blog. This was something we’d started to think about after our Social Media Marketing course, when there was plenty of discussion around the future of blogs and how best to reach readers. We’ve decided to focus our attention on our Facebook page and Twitter account for now, and hopefully build up more followers before starting a readers’ group. We think this is easier for readers who are usually on social media anyway and don’t have to click through to a blog. We’ll be building the page up and having regular posts. We will both continue with our own individual blogs.
I’m almost at the end of Book 15, which is the fifth installment in the Bramblewick series. It has a title and a cover, which I’ll be revealing very soon. It should have been out much earlier than this, but I’ve had “unforeseen circumstances” to deal with, which unfortunately delayed my writing. I have another three books to write after that before the end of the year, so I’d better hope there are no more unforeseen circumstances!
Just to finish off this post, I’m delighted to say that My Favourite Witch has earned a bestseller flag on Amazon! It’s the twelfth of my novels to achieve this, so I’m really chuffed. Thank you to everyone who has bought this book, or read it through Kindle Unlimited. I’m so glad people seem to be enjoying my Witches of Castle Clair series, and yes, there will be another. Celeste is waiting patiently for her time in the spotlight …
Have a great week!