My Newsletter

sign up image for website

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.

 

 

PhotoFunia-1444664744

 

And, me …

Midsummer Dreams

MIDSUMMER_FRONT

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

WALKING IN THE RAIN_300dpi

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!

My Lovely Blog Hop

I’ve been invited by the wonderful Berni Stevens at http://bernistevens.blogspot.co.uk  to join in the Lovely Blog Hop. Berni is my talented cover designer at http://ww.BerniStevensDesign.com. She’s also a writer of fantasy romance. The blog hop is intended to let you in on a few of the lesser-known things about my life that have helped make me who I am. You’ll find some links to other blogs and writers I like. The writers have all agreed to take part hopping and blogging and being lovely!

First Memory

Sitting in the branches of my favourite tree in our garden, reading, of course. I spent a great deal of my childhood reading and writing (and climbing trees and building treehouses! I was a bit of a tomboy!). I had real friends but many of my best friends were the characters in books: feisty girl heroines who had the adventures I wanted, too.

Books

My first books that I remember clearly are the Anne of Green Gables series. My mother used to read them to me, I think from way before I really understood any of them! I loved them. Gilbert Blythe was my first fantasy romance. And Anne was my role model: feisty and brave. You see a theme here? I think I subsequently read every LM Montgomery available! I collect old books: leather bound, gold tooling, silk bound, hide bound – you name it. I have a wonderful 17th century family bible and an early copy of Pilgrim’s Progress. I love the feel of them in my hands. I have a tatty early copy of Winnie the Pooh which  my daughters loved – here it is, all fixed together with cellotape! Books are to be used not kept in a cupboard! P1000783

I never thought I’d get used to kindle reading, and I resisted for a long time, but I travel so much and for fairly long periods of time, and being an avid reader, I simply can’t pack all my reading in my suitcase, so my kindle was actually a blessing! There I have hundreds at my fingertips. I spend a fortune on Amazon; I think I single-handedly keep them in business!

Currently I’m reading Sophia’s Secret by Susanna Kearsley (also published as The Winter Sea), which was recommended to me by Amanda Grange who also set the seeds in my mind of the book I am now writing for the RNA NWS. Thanks to Mandy!

Libraries/Bookshops

My life! My husband has to drag me out before I borrow/buy the whole stock. I spent a lot of my childhood in libraries; there were just too many books I wanted to read for me to afford to buy them. I was (and still am) a voracious reader. And I love those bookshops with coffee and relaxation areas. There’s a wonderful one near us, in the cathedral quarter, called the The Bookshop Café that serves lunches too.

One of my biggest memories of my daughters’ childhood was going to the local library for the story telling sessions and we all sat on huge bean bags drinking orange juice and coffee.

I love having a pile of books waiting to be read and having the joy of thinking – which one next? It’s not quite the same with a kindle, but … hey ho …! Here’s my first book The Old Rectory on special display at one of my favourite bookshops, The Bookshop at Kibworth: Bookshops April May 2014

What’s Your Passion?  

I have quite a few! Apart from reading and writing, I love walking in the countryside and cooking for family and friends. There’s nothing like a great chat and a laugh over a good meal and a glass or three of wine! Family and friends are very important to me and the joy of my life.

Choral singing has given me a great deal of joy over the years, especially in a local choir where the range encompasses classical, modern, gospel, rock and pop. They also say it’s very good for you (I have long term asthma) so there are health benefits from singing too. The utter joy of reaching the soprano highs in Mozart’s Requiem in the Albert Hall last year was fabulous. It sent shudders down my spine – an inspiring, ethereal moment to share with the others. Here’s me ready for it! P1010060

I also love swimming; I’m not a strong swimmer but I find it relaxing and it makes me feel fit, especially when it’s somewhere hot in an outdoor pool!

One of my greatest passions has to be travelling and exploring new places. We aim to go away overseas at least four or five times each year: I love Italy, France, Spain, Portugal. I’ve travelled quite a bit in the USA, Australia, and West Africa, although there’s far more to investigate! We have an apartment in Madeira where we go and chill out every summer.
P1000847 I would really love to explore India and China. And I’ve never been to the Caribbean which I’d love to do; we’re planning a cruise … I’d love to visit the island where Death in Paradise is filmed! A cosy crime romance novel coming up??P1000860

A recent passion: meeting and chatting to the very supportive folks in the Romantic Novelists’ Association, both online and in the flesh. They are such a lovely, generous, giving crowd and I love them all. So important for the isolated writer, sitting over a hot keyboard! Writing is essentially a lonely profession, by definition, so you need those contacts, the ready support and encouragement, and time out with like-minded folks.

 Learning

I always loved English: literature and language, but also I was intrigued by the way people behaved and interacted, and I ended up at university studying English, Psychology and Sociology. It turned out fortuitous because I did my PhD in socio-linguistics. Getting my doctorate was a real highlight of my life: a “mature” student and on my second marriage. I truly believe that it’s never too late to do what you want.

I hated Maths at school because I hated the teacher: she was an Amazonian woman, very severe and impatient, fair hair stretched back in a bun, large winged glasses on her nose. She scared me to death. When O levels came along I was determined to get a good grade in Maths (which we needed for university entrance in those days, along with Latin, which I loved) – simply because I couldn’t bear to retake and have Mrs Schneider for another year! I remember taking all the Maths text books home and systematically ploughing through them. And suddenly the whole thing clicked! A eureka moment! I got an A, the same as for English. Sheer determination. And strangely enough it stood me in good stead when I had to do statistics and economics as part of my Sociology!

I’m convinced that motivation is a prime factor in learning. And a good sympathetic teacher who can inspire that motivation. Later I became a school teacher and latterly a university lecturer and researcher. I love helping pupils/students to research and learn.

I can’t get enough of researching; I love that part of writing – I’m constantly investigating on Wikipedia and finding papers and books on the time, country or subject. I find learning new things very exciting. I drive my family mad calling “Hey, did you know that …?”

Writing

I’m literally just about to publish the second in the Drumbeats trilogy called Walking in the Rain. It follows Jess from Drumbeats, back from Ghana and about to go to university. She marries the man she truly believes is the love of her life, but then discovers that he is not the man she thought he was. There’s tragedy and danger again for Jess. How does she cope?

Drumbeats Berni    WALKING IN THE RAIN_300dpi

and the last in the trilogy, due out early 2016 …

I’ve always written – I mean literally ever since I could hold a pencil in my tiny hand. But you need support and encouragement and I lacked that (“writing isn’t a proper job!”) and ended up following the conventional route through school, university, teaching … etc etc!
I wrote many academic papers and contributed to multi-authored books in my subject, but creative writing (preferably novels) proved elusive, mainly because I didn’t have the time: marriage, two children, divorce, fulltime sole bread-winner, remarriage, two step-children…

Then I started writing again, egged on by friends, and eventually published a memoir/recipe book (The Old Rectory: escape to a country kitchen) about our acquisition and renovation of a Victorian rectory in the heart of the English moorlands, along with recipes from my country kitchen.

After that, there was no stopping me … I made wonderful writer friends, joined groups for support, and the rest is history! As well as adult novels, I like to write for children, the 9-14 age range, and my first published book for this group came out last autumn – S.C.A.R.S, which is about a troubled boy who slips through a tear in the fabric of the universe, to find himself on a quest in a fantasy medieval land. I think I might just write more in that vein!

Currently I’m working on my novel for the RNA New Writers’ Scheme (brilliant scheme!) which is a romance with a time shift element where the heroine finds herself slipping into a parallel universe of the early middle ages.

HOT NEWS UPDATE: Just 3 days ago I received a new publishing contract, so watch this space! All my books are available on Amazon in both paperback and ebook editions, at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Julia-Ibbotson/e/B0095XG11U/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1377188346&sr=1-2-ent

and a book trailer to enjoy, for Walking in the Rain https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3pUErb8cZc

and for its prequel, Drumbeats https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OYlEXhHvsc&list=UUP3hKZjeUBuTMoyvZmBXbow

I nominate the following friends to take up the baton in the lovely blog hop:

Pauline Barclay at http://www.paulinebarclay.co.uk/

Lizzie Lamb at http://lizzielamb.co.uk and at http://newromanticspress.com

Rachel Brimble at http://www.rachelbrimble.com/

Gwyneth Williams at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gwyneth-Williams-Author/1518528911735022?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

And some more to come, hopefully, which I’ll add!

Solar eclipse and spring equinox

The solar eclipse aligning with the new moon and spring equinox augurs well for us Pisceans I hear, so let’s hope I can get myself more organised. Apologies for the lack of posts lately; I’ve been so busy with completing Walking in the Rain for publishing, starting my RNA NWS novel, and of course my day job at the university. Time has flown by and before we know it, winter has turned into spring and it’s the end of March already. Primroses are blooming in the garden and the daffodils are nearly in flower. I’ve been meeting and making friends with other authors, mainly from the wonderful RNA and have been scooting off on the train to Birmingham, Leicester and London for events. And a break in the gorgeous city of Venice.Soon it’s Nottingham for a writers’ conference and York for a get-together. But now – a weekend of writing to make up for the few days in lovely Venice with my husband, for my birthday! Went over to the islands: Murano, Burano and Torcello, walked miles and miles through the little alleyways of Venice, and puttered up and down the Grand Canal on vaporettos. Went to the wonderful modest Accademia and found breathtaking paintings by Titian, Tintoretto, Bellini and Canaletto. Wonderful old hotel right on the Grand Canal owned by an old Venetian family: great food and wine! (and a maitre d’ who seemed to have an eye twitch – or was he winking?) And found a super little Venetian bar in the back streets where they cooked the most gorgeous seafood risotto, tagliattelli with mushrooms, and tomato salad – oh, and lovely fresh coffee (where the gondoliers go!). Oh dear, now back to writing – got to catch up! But here are some images that remind me of Walking in the Rain, my latest book which will be out very soon! love in a rainy street holding onhold mebreaking up

New book soon out: Walking in the Rain, sequel to Drumbeats

WALKING IN THE RAIN_300dpi

The second in the Drumbeats trilogy: Walking in the Rain due out very shortly, in time for Easter! It continues Jess’s story from Drumbeats when she returns from Ghana to the UK, and sees her through her marriage to someone she believes is the love of her life. But what happens when she realises that he is not the man she thought he was?

Tragedy and danger stalks Jess’s life. How will she cope?