Look out Great British Bake Off – TOR rising up the book charts on Amazon!

I’m thrilled that today I discovered that The Old Rectory is at #2 in the entire paid-for kindle sales in Canada and at #24 in the entire paid-for kindle sales in Australia! In the UK it’s #1 in the Food & Drink UK category, beating the Great British Bake Off, Mary Berry and Nadiya Hussain.

The Old Rectory: escape to a country kitchen has officially been awarded the ‘Best Seller’ badge!

http://myBook.to/TheOldRectory

A Shape on the Air has also reached #5 on Amazon so I’m pretty delighted!

http://myBook.to/ASOTA

Afternoon Tea Week!

It’s Afternoon Tea Week this week and I’m sharing a couple of recipes from my book The Old Rectory: escape to a country kitchen, soon to be re-released by Endeavour Press (a week on Friday, 25th August). Wait for 25th as it’ll be available on Amazon and cheaper, in ebook and paperback!

The book has received many 5* reviews including “enchantingly told”, ” delightful”, ” a most engaging read”.

Cream Tea Scones

makes 10–12

A staple of the traditional English cream tea.

You’ll need:

50 g. (2 oz.) butter

25 g. (1 oz.) caster sugar

5tbsp milk

1 egg

225 g. (9 oz.) self raising flour

1 tsp. baking powder

Pinch salt

A little beaten egg or milk to glaze

Strawberry jam and double whipped cream (or Cornish clotted cream) to sandwich the scones, and a little icing sugar to dust the tops.

 Preheat the oven to 220ºC, 425ºF/gas mark 7. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured board and roll out to about 1 cm. (0.5 in.) thickness. Cut into rounds with a 5-cm. (2-in.) cutter and place the scones on a greased baking sheet. Brush lightly with milk or a lightly beaten egg. Bake in the oven for about 12–15 minutes. Cool on a wire cooling tray. Split each scone and spread with a layer of good fruity strawberry jam, topped with a dollop of whipped double cream, then place the other half on the top and dust with sieved icing sugar.

 

Lemon Iced Buns

makes 8

 You’ll need:

250 g. (9 oz.) strong white flour, sifted

250 g. (9 oz.) plain flour, sifted

7 g. (0.25 oz.) fast-action dried yeast

2 tsp. fine sea salt

50 g. (2 oz.) caster sugar

125 ml. (4 fl. oz.) warmed milk

125 g. (4 fl. oz.) warmed water

1 egg, beaten

50 g. (2 oz.) butter, cut into cubes

Zest of 1 lemon

Vegetable oil for greasing

For the icing:

50 g. (2 oz.) icing sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

 Preheat the oven to 220ºC, 425ºF/gas mark 7. Sift the flours and salt into a bowl. Add the water, milk, yeast, sugar, and lemon zest and mix with a fork until combined. Add the beaten egg and butter and continue to mix until the mixture is a sticky dough. Put the dough on a lightly floured board and knead for 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and stretches like elastic. Lightly oil a bowl with some of the vegetable oil. Turn the dough into the bowl and carefully turn until it is entirely coated with oil. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour. The dough should have doubled in size. Lightly grease two baking trays. Knock the dough back to its original size and then turn onto a floured board again. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape into fingers or rounds. Place on the greased baking sheets, ensuring plenty of space. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for 30 minutes. Bake in the oven for about 20–25 minutes, until well risen and golden brown. Remove the buns from the oven and leave to cool on a wire cooling rack.

The icing for the top: Made by simply combining the icing sugar and fresh lemon juice until smooth. When the buns are cool, spread icing over each bun and set aside until hardened. You can decorate with a little lemon zest for that extra oomph.

Sweet and sticky, with a little zestiness from the lemon, these buns are a favourite for afternoon tea.

http://Author.to/JuliaIbbotsonauthor

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Old-Rectory-Escape-Country-Kitchen/dp/1909593753/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502726298&sr=1-4&keywords=julia+ibbotson

Madeira: sunshine, relaxation and 29 hours at one of the world’s most dangerous airports

The beautiful island of Madeira- we love it. It’s given us 18 years’ enjoyment of the chilled out holidays in the sun we all dream about. We swim before breakfast, then over a relaxed meal on our decking overlooking the deep azure blue ocean, we decide what we feel like doing that day: will it be sailing round the coast or to the Desertas Islands, taking the ferry over to the wide hot sands of Porto Santo, walking the levadas, golfing (my husband) or reading (me) … or maybe absolutely nothing but lying in the sun getting a smooth tan, and listening to Il Divo and Adele on the CD player/laptop iTunes?

The biggest decision we have to make is which restaurant we’ll choose for dinner: our favourite The Old Fort in Funchal, or the gorgeous O Classico, or musical Goya? Or maybe our annual retro meal at Casa Velha: steak diane and crepes suzette? Or perhaps we’ll just chill out on the balcony with a freshly caught espada, parcel-baked in our oven, jacket potatoes and salad? Listening to the haunting cries of the seagulls and watching the little bright-coloured fishing boats sail out.

Wherever else we go during the year for a more active holiday, we love to return to this ‘garden isle of the Atlantic’ with its beautiful scenery, flowers and interesting history. A novel set in Madeira is swirling round my head!

Each time we like to discover new things: last year I was exploring the old town of Funchal and photographing the lovely door paintings. This year we visited the new CR7 museum (Cristiano Ronaldo) and hotel, and we took the children to the waterpark for the first time.

And finally, another first – and this one, not so good. For the first time in 18 years we were subject to a delay at the airport. It happens in Madeira; it is, after all, one of the most difficult airport landings in the world, if the winds are high and especially if there are cross-winds that drive across the runway. We arrived at the airport to find that there were, oddly, no planes out there. After we had checked in the hold luggage we found out that no planes were landing in the winds. We could see the flares of forest wildfires above Funchal. We sat in the lounge watching the planes attempting to land but wooshing off into the distance. Our plane was supposed to be taking off at 5.25pm but there was no plane to take us off the island. In fact there were no planes. Full stop.

Eventually we heard (from the internet trackers) that our plane had been diverted to Tenerife. By midnight we were told to go to collect our hold baggage again (we’d have to go through the whole process again the next day) The comfortable premier lounge (which we always book because of my spinal injury) was closed for the night. No hotel was being organised for the passengers by Jet2. Yes, folks, we spent 29 hours on the hard airport seats – with all food/drink outlets closed. The temperature that day had been 34 degrees in the shade. We eventually were given a small bottle of water around 5.00am and a voucher for food around 9.00am – I had to queue for 1.5 hours to buy a sandwich and a coffee for us.

Our flight was rescheduled for 3.00pm the next day and then was delayed again until 7.30pm, with doubts as to whether we would, in fact, be taking off at all that day. Another night in excruciating spinal pain on hard seats was simply not on. We decided to claim our baggage back again and find a hotel ourselves. We were by then in contact with a friend and knew we had a room at a lovely hotel set aside for us. But at about 7.15 we saw on the departures board a call to the gate and that our flight was boarding. We pretty much ran!

We touched down in the UK nearly midnight and arrived home around 1.30am – exhausted. So, after such a wonderful sojourn in Madeira again, thank you (said with irony) Jet2 for our first – and hopefully last – experience of your passenger care policy …

 

 

 

 

Invitation! Authors love Reviews.

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INVITATION! A SHOUT OUT FOR REVIEWS!
I’d like to invite folks to write a brief review of any of my books they fancy. Authors are always really grateful if readers do this, and often copy/paste them onto their facebook posts! I’ve now written four books: The Old Rectory: Escape to a Country Kitchen ( a memoir about renovating a Victorian rectory in the heart of the English countryside – with yummy and historical recipes!); Drumbeats and Walking in the Rain (the first two of the Drumbeats trilogy) following Jess from 1960s Ghana to millennium England; and S.C.A.R.S a children’s book (9-14) about a troubled boy who slips into a fantasy medieval world. My new book, A Shape on the Air, is an adult historical time-slip into the Dark Ages. It’s magical and mystical and there’s a mystery to solve and a home to save.
I’ve now captured my direction as a writer. With a love of history and specialising in medieval language and literature, I am now focusing on historical time-slip (both adult romance and children’s adventure). My work will be focused on the medieval period, both the early Dark Ages and the Anglo-Saxon period.
I do hope you will like my books and if you do, it would warm my heart if you could post a review! Many thanks. Just click on the link below and on one of my books to write a brief review!
 http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B0095XG11U

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.

Take a chance on New Romantics Press –

I must flag up this venture of the New Romantics, my lovely friends from the Leicester chapter of the RNA. I’ll be getting a copy – will you?
Super writers, all!

New Romantics Press

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It doesn’t seem possible that four years have passed since New Romantics Press was launched. At the time, we each said: “We’ll be happy just to see our novel in print.”

Since then, we’ve been bitten by the writing bug and gone on to write further novels, win accolades, reach the finals of a prestigious book award and achieve bestseller status (historical romance>Scottish) on Amazon. Not to forget, hosting a wonderful book launch at Waterstones in Kensington. Between us, we’ve written ten fabulous novels and gained a host of readers who are hungry for more! With four new novels in the pipeline, we thought it time to thank our wonderful readers/supporters and to celebrate our achievements by uploading a kindle book, containing the first two chapters of each of our novels to share with you.

The kindle is almost a novel/novella in its own right – almost forty thousand word in…

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Author Lizzie Lamb for afternoon tea

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So good to sit and chat with Lizzie over tea (me) and coffee (Lizzie) and cakes (both!) I don’t usually copy the newsletter but I’m making an exception this time. If you want more, click the newsletter subscription (free!) on the right of my home page.

This is how the writerly chat went …

 

http://us12.campaign-archive2.com/?u=50bcb4c1628d7fe245e0fbf37&id=e48e3fb155&e=7f5d8e758d

What’s Cooking? Tamworth LitFest – meet the authors

More details about the Tamworth LitFest … the first festival day is on Thursday 14th April in the evening from 5pm – 8pm. All free and including cooking demos and tastings, author signings and a Waterstones book stand. I’m signing and talking about my book The Old Rectory: Escape to a Country Kitchen, a memoir with recipes to soothe the soul, and a few tasters from those recipes! I hope I see you there – come and have a chat.

UK edition front coverAnd below is the schedule for the event:

Tam Lit Fest Poster A4 PDF [2574586] (1)

Springtime, daffodils and an author interview

P1010634Spring is (hP1010635opefully!) coming at last! A vase of daffodils is a little ray of sunshine, isn’t it? I’m looking out of the window of my study at the daffodils, snowdrops (very late), drifts of crocuses  and grape hyacinths, which are all starting to open into bloom under the trees.

I’m sorry that I haven’t been in touch for a while but sadly we have had the final illness and passing of my mother-in-law recently and the funeral yesterday.

On a brighter note, I’m now preparing for the first of the Tamworth Literary Festival dates, Thursday April14th, when I’m taking part in an evening  session of the Festival’s food and books event. I will be talking about my book, The Old Rectory: escape to a country kitchen, which is a memoir of renovation and research, with recipes of food to soothe the soul. I may even take along some samples to tempt you.

The other two dates in the Tamworth festival are Saturday June11th focussed on Romance literature, when I’ll be promoting my Drumbeats trilogy, and Saturday October 29th on Hallowe’en, when I’ll be doing something spooky with my children’s novel, S.C.A.R.S.

In the meantime, those of you who have signed up for my quarterly newsletter will have received it today and read my interview with author Anne Harvey over tea and cakes. I’ll be featuring other authors in forthcoming editions, including some famous popular writers … whose names I’ll be dropping in a later post.

Just to give you a flavour, here is the start of my interview with Anne, whose latest novel is just released on Amazon and is called ‘Bittersweet Flight’ and is a nostalgic tale of self-discovery, courage, loss and love in 1950s Lancashire. Check it out at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01CBTQH54

So, as we sipped our Earl Grey tea and munched on French macarons, I asked Anne how and when she started writing for publication … she said,

In the early 1960s, I spent a short time living and working in the United States. So life-changing was the experience that I wove a fictional novel around it and naïvely sent it out to various publishers. With no luck, of course. It was still, I now realise, a long way off publication. By then, I was hooked on the love of writing. In the intervening years, I wrote another two novels, now all gathering dust on the shelf, probably the best place for them. I also got involved in tracing my family history and wrote articles, many of them commissioned, on my research for various journals and national magazines. I really only took my writing seriously after taking early retirement. Last year, I self-published my debut novel, A Suitable Young Man, with some moderate success, I’m pleased to say.”

To read the whole interview, click on the Newsletter pic on the right side of my home page, and subscribe.

See you again soon!

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