Tamworth LitFest: Romancing the Word

What a lovely day we had in Tamworth (Staffordshire) at the LitFest, with the theme Romancing the Word. Great to see and chat with readers and fellow authors, sign our books and (for me) give a talk. All in the welcoming and beautiful library and the amazing and very interesting historic church, St Editha’s. Here’s what we got up to in the pics below …

Me, signing my books; my children’s novel S.C.A.R.S seemed very popular!

Laura Morgan who writes a variety of powerful other-worldly novels and with whom I discussed time concepts and quantum mechanics!

Christine Smee, who gives talks on medieval herbal remedies with whom I had a very interesting chat about the medieval world. Loved her costume.

Jane A Heron, a lovely lady with a great book stall and lots of goodies. Good to meet her daughter and fiancé.

S J Warner (Sally) who has a great line in personalised key rings  and showed me how to use a logo effectively on swag (hers is a gorgeous – and naughty – pink corset!).

L A Cotton (Leanne) who writes fabulous contemporary romance and romantic suspense.

The Tamworth Writers – what a wonderfully supportive and lively group; I wish I lived in Tamworth!

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And others I didn’t get to photograph: AA Abbott (Helen) who writes crime thrillers, Sue Flint publishing great short stories and articles, Carol E Wyer, who is a whizz at romantic comedy, Helena Fairfax, a fellow RNA member who gave a super workshop, Lucy Felthouse, Pat Spence  … and more … Wow, what a line-up.

It was a fantastic day of laughter, fun and sharing. Days like this make me realise what a wonderful community writers create, and what enormous joy they give to readers. I’m sure that the readers who attended enjoyed the day and returned home enlivened and inspired.

Many thanks to all who organised the day: the Tamworth LitFest team, including Tina Williams, Anthony Poulton-Smith, Caroline Barker. A day to remember.

“If music be the food of love, play on …”(Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night)

 

My homage to the Bard on the 400th anniversary (last weekend!) of his death, is a quotation which often comes to mind and is very meaningful to me. Just as certain music is the soundtrack to my life (another post on that to come soon!) also music is the sound track to my writing and often works its way into my novels.

In my children’s book, S.C.A.R.S, it’s rap. In Drumbeats it’s (apart from Ghanaian village drums and 1960s pop) the piano pieces which my hero Jim plays for Jess, for example Fauree’s Cantique do Jean Racine and Mozart’s Requiem. And also the LP records he plays her of Mozart’s clarinet concerto in A and of Bach. In my latest, A Shape on the Air, it’s Nella Fantasia, probably made famous by El Divo but played in the novel by mandolins.

Maybe music is the food of love, because my heroines have a habit of falling in love with the men who play this music to them. In Drumbeats, Jess loves to watch Jim’s hands and fingers as he plays the piano and it touches her heart. There is something about a man’s hands playing the keys sensitively that stirs her (and me!). In A Shape on the Air, Viv plays the music on her ipod and the Rev Rory has the same on his voicemail.

As I write, I always listen to music, usually classical but sometimes the songs I’m learning for Rock Choir. If I’m writing music into my words I always listen to those tracks to inspire and set the scene for me – get me in the mood.

Recently, I’ve been interested to read my lovely friend, Elaina James’s blog in Mslexia  about which she, in her own words, says:

“My blog series has focused on chasing your writing dreams, told from the perspective of a lyricist with stage fright. The final blog focuses on the unexpected chance to turn my words into an actual song with music.”

It’s a great blog series and I do recommend it for a good read. It’s at

http://www.mslexia.co.uk/author/elainajames

and Elaina’s website is

http://www.elainajames.co.uk

Do check them out.

My Newsletter

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I’m starting a new venture – a quarterly newsletter! It will contain news, writer-ly and reader-ly stuff, interviews, events, author tips, and maybe a competition every now and then! If you would like to see what I and other writers are up to, the latest books in the genres I love to read (romance, contemporary, historical, time-slip, fantasy, crime and thrillers), and events for writers and readers, as well as my take on life,  then please sign up on the side-bar of my home page (look for the image above to click on!).

If you have ‘liked’ my site or a blog before, you won’t be automatically signed up, so please CLICK. I’d love you to join us (my merry band is growing!) to take

AFTERNOON TEA WITH JULIA

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See you soon,

Julia   x

 

Having fun with posters

My grandson started me off with a poster of my books so far …

all books poster

 

(a little blurred, I know, but lovely!) … and then I got the bug. A friend told me about photofunia and so the addiction began …

Books gallery photofunia

This  is fun – my book covers as artwork in an exhibition. What else could I do …

 

 

 

Drumbeats and Walking poster PhotoFunia-

 

Maybe posters along a wall down an urban  street …

 

 

Drumbeats pic PhotoFunia-

 

Someone actually enjoying reading my book! So relaxed and peaceful.

 

 

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And, me …

Drumbeats hits #1!

Oh, wow – Drumbeats is rising up the ratings today! Many thanks to all of you who downloaded it/bought it/ are reading it! Hope you enjoy it!
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
#302 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#1 in Kindle Store > Books > Nonfiction > Travel > Africa
#13 in Kindle Store > Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Coming of Age

Many thanks to all who have bought, downloaded, are reading it. If you can do please add a short review on Amazon and or Goodreads – we authors really appreciated reviews!

Midsummer Dreams

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In celebration of the e-launch day for my lovely friend and co-conspirator in the RNA,  Alison May’s wonderful brand new romantic comedy, Midsummer Dreams  (buy link http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00XJOEJTM),  I’m posting today on the theme of all things dream-related. So, bearing in mind that the t-shirt I’m wearing today is (delicately and classily, of course!) emblazoned with “Beautiful Dreamer” (in silver), here goes:

 I had a dream…of Africa (goodness, that’s the opening of Out of Africa by Karen Blixen (one of my favourite books and films, especially with Robert Redford in the movie!). Ghana, to be precise. A dream, a memory. My novel, Drumbeats (the first of the Drumbeats trilogy – ha, see what I did there?!) reflects the time I spent in Ghana myself, and takes my 18 year old character, Jess, there on a gap year, where she struggles to “find herself”. She’s feisty, adventurous and kind, but she meets the danger of civil war, the confusion of  a new romance with Peace Corps officer Jim, while she dreams of the love for Simon who she has left behind in England. The story abounds with drama: love and danger, joy and tragedy. And all the time, Jess’s dreams in Africa are haunted by the drumbeats of the bush villages. Why? Find out at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_14?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=julia+ibbotson&sprefix=julia+IBBOTSON%2Cstripbooks%2C247

 

Drumbeats Berni

 

I had a nightmare… and so does Jess in the sequel Walking in the Rain (just out on Amazon). She returns to England and eventually marries the man of her dreams, but it all turns out to be nightmarish. The gorgeous handsome exciting guy she vowed to love forever  is not the man she thought him to be. Who is he really? Find out at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_14?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=julia+ibbotson&sprefix=julia+IBBOTSON%2Cstripbooks%2C247

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My dream for the future…is to find out what happens to Jess in the final novel in the series, provisionally called Before I Die – although I’m now swerving towards the more appropriate title of “Finding Jess”. I’m considering running a book on which title I choose! After all the trauma in her life so far, Jess has to discover who she is, remembering the feisty, adventurous young girl she was when she went off to Ghana for her gap year. Is she still that girl? And what did happen to Jim, and the romance they shared that year so long ago? What were the haunting drumbeats telling her? She needs to return to Ghana to find out. Discover the answers when the last in the trilogy of Jess’s life is out next Spring.

Have some beautiful dreams this summer, especially with Alison May’s Midsummer Dreams …

Do check out Alison’s new novel and download it onto your kindle for a great summer read!

MIDSUMMER_FRONT

You can download the kindle edition of Midsummer Dreams here: http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00XJOEJTM

About Midsummer Dreams

Four people. Four messy lives. One party that changes everything … Emily is obsessed with ending her father’s new relationship – but is blind to the fact that her own is far from perfect.  Dominic has spent so long making other people happy that he’s hardly noticed he’s not happy himself.  Helen has loved the same man, unrequitedly, for ten years. Now she may have to face up to the fact that he will never be hers.  Alex has always played the field. But when he finally meets a girl he wants to commit to, she is just out of his reach.  At a midsummer wedding party, the bonds that tie the four friends together begin to unravel and show them that, sometimes, the sensible choice is not always the right one.

Happy reading, whether on hols round the pool or at home dreaming of sunshine and balmy evenings!