Last month I shared a couple of early pictures of my daughter's planned 650 km hike through the Alps. She has now finished this amazing journey - 30 days over snow, rocks, and glaciers, rewarded with stunning views. Some friends and her brother walked a few days with her, but mostly she did it on her own.
Am I a proud mother? Absolutely! She's now complaining it's too hot below 1000 metres, suspect she's missing the mountains already.
The other fantastic, closer to home, adventure that is over is the Great Kitchen Extension. Painted, using it - so much space!
The Great Kitchen Extension
My son and his wife visited from London to check it out. It was a pleasure to cook in a civilised fashion and use the whole dining table for eating and not half for food preparation. (It was also pretty good to see them too, after so long.)
To share the celebration, here's a recipe for mini berry cakes I cooked for friends yesterday. Bite-sized bits of fruity deliciousness! Enjoy!
We didn't stay at home admiring the kitchen, but took ourselves off to Witley Court near Worcester to explore the charred remains of the grand 19thC Italianate mansion, see the brilliant fountain at work, and wander the gorgeous grounds. My fave bit was this hidden-away boat house, most romantic looking. I have to squeeze it into a piece of flash fiction I think.
First up, I need to tell you about a promotion for books for 9 to12 year olds (ish). As well as having two of mine in there (at the ridiculous £1/$1 eBook price), two authors I've recently interviewed are also present. You will remember Kathleen Small with her Dress to Remember, and Laura Holt Aslam with her pony books.
Take a look and find a few reads to keep the kids happy when it rains over the school holidays. Which it will...
While we're talking young people, a reminder for those who are local about the Rotary sponsored short story competition for 7 to 18 year olds living in or going to school in the Forest of Dean. Please help spread the word.
Myself and a teacher are holding competition related workshops at the end of this month/beg August in a few local libraries. Get the details here.
I did my bit this week, with a whistle stop tour of five classes at a local high school to tell them about it. Love the questions kids ask: how old were you when you started writing? (Umm, old ... please don't wait as long as I did!)
The sequel to Guardians continues to get written with twists and turns aplenty. I love this comment from one of my writing partners recently, having gone through the latest chapter: As always, I get so engrossed in reading that I don’t realise it’s coming to an end until there is nothing left to read. Thank you!
Discussing titles on our way back from Witley Court, my son came up with The Seer's Deceit ... apt and snappy. Sons do come in handy at times.
For my books for grownups, I've been very happy with how well both River Witch and Keepers are doing in kindle unlimited as well as kindle eBook sales. Thank you readers! (The links go to paperbacks as well.)
My July guest hails from India, specifically Mumbai, and writes books (to quote Ivy) about exceptional female characters and supportive men, usually against a background of fantasy. Ivy is also one of the most supportive people I know when it comes to other writers. Read about Ivy and her work here.
WRITERS ARE READERS TOO
I've had an interesting mix of books this past month. It was hard to choose between The Dance Tree by Karin Millwood Hargrave and The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles as my book of the month as loved them both. In the end I plumped for the former, and here's my review.
Keeping to my wide range of reading matter, I also read -
The latest in the Katie Porter Mystery Series, The ransom for Ruth Reed by KT McGivens
The brilliant kids' poetry book by Lily Lawson, If I were Invisible
The Goodbye Kids, YA Sci Fi with a highly relevant message, by Debbie Iancu-Haddad
Origins, the short prequel to The Breach Chronicles, by my guest Ivy Logan, and
Dawnlands by Philippa Gregory, which was my least favourite. One dimensional characters and a great example of my writer's corner post last month about including too much historical research. I'm sure Ms Gregory will be most upset to hear my view!
A confession that this is a post I wrote a little while ago, but reading through it, it all still makes sense.
How much background information do we need to reveal about our characters, and more importantly, when do we reveal it? Keeping the reader wanting to know more, helping them engage with the characters, is what keeps those pages turning.
August - We're having a mini-break during the next few weeks, which will also be a bit of a social media break. Hoping that means coming back refreshed to get on with more writing. My guest author next month is another change of pace - Regency Romance based on Jane Austen novels. Highly popular, and looking forward to introducing you to her.
Until then, happy reading and writing.
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.