This patch of camomile in the image above flourishes just a mile or so from here in fields above the River Severn. I'm thinking I should harvest some and make my own nightly brew, given the cost of herbal teas (and everything else) these days. Anyone done that, with any herbs? Send pictures and instructions please!
THE NEWS It's just on three months since we moved house and we're at last seeing signs of progress! David's home office is up, although still to have flooring and painted, and once he's moved in (he can't wait), we can start the internal redecoration. The painter is on standby, the carpets and wood floors chosen, measured and ordered. Planning application for the kitchen extension has gone in, but it seems we might not be finished there until 2023, with a long 'kitchenless' period. Joy! Send food parcels!
Keepers in the Top 100
I was over the moon recently when two new reviews for Keepers apparently struck a chord and the kindle version reached no. 67 in Australian Historical Fiction on Amazon UK. Not a minor category, so I was a happy author indeed. It goes to prove the power of recommendation - whether through reviews, social media posts (by people other than the author!) or by word of mouth. We are in our readers' hands, and many thanks to all of you who support me this way, for all or any of my books.
Here's what two of my 'beta' readers have said about River Witch (as well as all the stuff that needed fixing!):
Once you're ready for reviews, please let me know. I will happily give this a 5-star review and recommend it to my book clubs and friends. I truly enjoyed it, a lovely story full of love, hope, mystery and a little “witchery.”
Your writing is beautiful and your story is riveting. I typically read pages at night and several times I stayed up long after my bedtime to keep reading.
Would you like to be among the first readers of the final book and at the same time help make River Witch a success?
If so, I'd love to send you a free eBook version in early August, in return for a review posted soon after the release date of 9th September. It would be terrific if you also mentioned it (okay, shouted about it) on your social media and to all your friends and relatives.
I'm offering this only to newsletter subscribers, so let me know if you're in! With many thanks.
Another way to help is to pre-order the kindle version. The more pre-orders, the higher the book starts out in the rankings at launch and the more likelihood the great Zon will show it to more readers.
Clicking on the book cover will get you to the pre-order if you haven't already done so. Thank you!
The local physical launch at Newnham library is on track for early October - date in August newsletter.
Last bit of news
I had a whole lot of fun on 28th June meeting with the Golden Circle club in Coalway, here in the Forest. This active group of mostly elderly people made me very welcome as we chatted about life in the Forest, the Hands off our Forest campaign which inspired Guardians, and Forest writers generally - one of them had met our famous Winifred Foley, of Child in the Forest fame. They appeared to enjoy the pieces I read to them, and graciously bought various of my books.
I know there are authors who shrivel at the idea of live readings, but believe me, it's the best feeling in the world when people ask for more, please!
This lovely sketch has nothing to do with Golden Circle, but was given to me by talented author and artist friend, Kathy Small. It's based on a picture I posted a year ago of the barn wall and old apple tree at our last house and I've been waiting to share it for ages!
ST CEYNA'S SACRED WELL
A little more background to River Witch, this time about the real St Ceyna and the real sacred well where Hester, the protagonist, first meets Catherine, a young woman from a wealthy merchant family who suffers a strange, weakening malady.
LK Wilde, or Laura as we can call her, has two published novels to date, both of which have been very successful. As with my own historical books, Laura draws on the real world, and on family, for her source material. The image in the guest author page shows Laura as a baby with her great grandmother, Queenie, the protagonist of Queenie of Norwich. A lovely book.
Read how the book came about and Laura's interview here.
I read The Stranding with a view to making it my review of the month, but was so disappointed I won't waste more time on it. I guess that's a review in itself!
Esme, however, was an absolute delight. Here's why I loved it (apart from the fact I love any Maggie O'Farrell).
My writing friends know I can be obsessive about dialogue punctuation, which I see done badly too often. Yet this is the easy part of dialogue to get right as there are straightforward rules to follow. Really!
What's harder, and more important for the reader (unless they're an obsessive too) is how we use dialogue to bring our characters and their stories fully alive.
This blog post was written a year ago and has had a great number of views, so I'm guessing this is something many of us angst about. I hope it helps!
Pictures from the opening of our new Forest bookshop! Plus the (formerly promised) interview with an award winning author who is also an artist in his spare time, of which he has little. Look forward to having you back.
PS: If this email was forwarded to you and you would like to sign up for my newsletter, you can do so here, and download your free copy of Dragon Gift.