Summer, and the weather here has been doing its best with mostly sunny days which has meant a dry Forest to walk in - nice. It's been good weather in Switzerland too, where my daughter is currently on a 650 km hike in the Alps. (You read that right!) Here are a few images. The dog isn't hers. Apparently it lives in a nearby village and makes a habit of accompanying hikers. Gorgeous. (Although the snow wasn't!)
Meanwhile, we are in the final throes of the Great Kitchen Extension. The outside cladding has been done and the rendering. The image is of the base coat which dried too quickly and had to be taken off and redone - joy. Inside, the painstaking work of installing the cupboards continues, and the rather quicker work of putting in place the benchtops. Next week we have the plumber, and then we can move in!! Wall painting can be done when the painter can get to us.
I was very happy to receive a message from a writer friend telling me she had bought paperbacks of Guardians of the Forest to donate to the Ronald MacDonald hospital in Rochester, NY. Lovely to think of the books being enjoyed by children and their parents there, and got me wondering about our own local hospitals - will follow that up!
I'm pressing on with the sequel to Guardians, needing to keep ahead of my critique partners. Yet to have a title, the story carries on some twenty years later with a new generation of children, but with our old friends there too. Especially the wicked Lady Melda and her sidekick Captain Jarrow.
I recently shared the draft opening on social media, so here it is again. Let me know what you think!
Finally, both River Witch and Keepers kindle books are at 99c/p today and this weekend only as part of a promotion. So hurry, hurry, hurry - stock up on summer holiday reading!
A request to vote please!
Stroud Short Stories Vol 3
More good news - the Stroud Short Stories Volume 3 anthology, which includes my story Sabrina Rising, has been shortlisted in the 2023 prestigious Saboteur Awards. Winners are chosen by public vote, so please follow this link, scroll down right to the very last line and vote! No log in etc needed.
(Click on the image to listen to Sabrina Rising. It's the second one down.)
You can also go one step further and buy the anthology, which covers the SSS events from 2018 to 2022. That’s seven events and 69 stories written by 48 Gloucestershire writers. Available here .
What has kept you reading late into the night this month? Please let me know, always on the lookout for book recommendations. In fact, did you know that word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool for authors? Spread the word!
The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue - V.E. Schwab. Adored it. My featured book of the month, read my review here.
On the Beach- Neville Shute. Published in 1957 yet scarily relatable today. Moving, terribly sad, and very old-school in its style. The sort of book you should read because it's so famous.
Searching for Sandra- Jane Harvey. The third in the popular Landlord of Hummingbird House series, Searching for Sandra takes us further into the residents' lives and dramas. Read my review of my advance copy here.
The Magic Carousel - K.E. Small. The first in a series for kids (and grownups) which combines magic, history and contemporary life for young people. Here's my review.
A post that has been on my mind for some time, so I finally got around to doing something about it. This is not about undertaking research. It's about how our hard work gets translated into our novels to create feasible, authentic worlds and characters in which readers become immersed – without feeling they are being taught a history lesson (in the case of historical fiction) or force fed an abundance of ‘what it was like back then’. The same goes for other genres such as crime fiction.
Find out what I came up with and let me know what you think. I'm viewing this as a work-in-progress!