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

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!

Writing one novel is hard but how do you write a series?

This post really had me thinking – and I enjoyed writing it … in anticipation of my Drumbeats trilogy. How am I crafting the series? Have I got a plan for all three books? How do they follow on from each other? How do I remember details through all three books and not make any dreadful errors?

Drumbeats starts the trilogy with eighteen year old Jess flying off from England to Africa (Ghana) for her gap year in 1965 – growing up, facing adult decisions and trying to find her way in the world. Tagged as “about confronting challenges and looking beyond what we know”, “thought-provoking”, “totally invested in Jess’s life now”, “a story that will stay in my mind”, “I can’t wait to continue Jess’s journey”, “wonderful quality of writing”, “a brilliantly crafted book”,  “a brilliant read” …

Walking in the Rain continues Jess’s story back in England – marriage to the love of her life and an unimaginable situation to face. It’s been tagged as “heart warming”, “the triumph of the human spirit over adversity”. Due out next summer.

Before I Die sees Jess struggling to pick up the pieces of her life and make something positive of it, persuaded by her best friend to draw up a “bucket list”. Is a return to Ghana on her to-do list? Tagged as “a feel-good read”.

http://www.devikafernando.com/blog/blog-tour-drumbeats-by-julia-ibbotson

Why did I set Drumbeats in the 1960s?

Guest post today – find out why I loved setting my novel Drumbeats in the 1960s. What was it about that time that intrigued me and made me choose 1965-6 as my context for the book? What was happening then? What was Jess’s mind-set? Why was West Africa in turmoil?

http://arbookcorner.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/guest-post/

BROOK COTTAGE BOOKS – BLOG TOUR FOR DRUMBEATS 8th – 19th September, 2014

Another brilliant review today on my book tour!

JO LAMBERT - A WRITER'S JOURNEY

Drumbeats Tour Banner

First can I say many thanks to the author for sending me  a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest  review as part of the Drumbeats Book Tour

My Review 

Reading the synopsis for Drumbeats my first thought was that this is not my usual choice of book. However although I have definite preferences when I’m buying, I’m generally pretty eclectic in my taste and can very often be persuaded to step outside my comfort zone and try something completely different. If anything drew me to this novel it had to be the beautiful cover and I do think if I was not doing a professional review it probably would have played a big part in influencing me to buy.

The synopsis for Drumbeats gave all the indications of an interesting read. What I had not anticipated, however, was the wonderful quality of the writing.  It’s a brilliantly crafted book where sights…

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Goodreads giveaway 4 copies of Drumbeats to be won!

Get your skates on! 90 something people have already registered for a free giveaway copy of Drumbeats on Goodreads. Don’t miss out, go to the link below and request a copy. I just ask that you write a brief review if possible on Goodreads and/or Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com . That would be brilliant! Thank you. Please also feel free to get in touch with me via this website with any comments on my latest novel. It’s my debut novel, although I’ve written lots before but not published a novel until now. I already know some bits that I could have improved – oh dear, I’m such a self-critic! See what you think …

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/107088-drumbeats