Apologies and news!


Firstly my apologies that I haven’t posted for so long! We have finally moved house (what an exhausting procedure) having had our previous house on the market for over 2.5 years! And a serious health scare did not help! Nor did the nearly 2 months we were without broadband (thanks, BT!). However, here we are now in our new home and settling in well in the village, with friends old and new.

Other great news: I have an offer of a publishing contract for my new novel A Shape on the Air! The contract is sitting on my desk as I speak, waiting for me to sign. Very exciting. Not only that, but another publisher has told me that they will contact me by Monday! So I have to sit it out until Monday to see what will happen. Wonderful that I have a publisher anyway, whatever happens – so celebrations all round!

There will be more about A Shape on the Air shortly …

And a final apology to anyone who has tried to send me a message via my Contact Me page on this website – there is a problem and emails have not been getting through to me I’m afraid and currently it seems to be being passed backwards and forwards between BT.com and WordPress! Let’s hope they sort it out soon, hey? !


Competition time! Win an ebook!

Drumbeats pic PhotoFunia-Drumbeats cover Endeavour Press

Sometimes you need to escape to find yourself …

My October competition is to win an ebook copy of Drumbeats. The book is set in 1965-6, a decade I love to read about – and write about! All you need to do is to tell me (briefly!) your favourite decade and why. You can either send your message on here, my blog, or via my facebook page (if you are a facebook ‘friend’) at https://www.facebook.com/juliaibbotson or on my author facebook page (Julia Ibbotson Author) at https://www.facebook.com/Julia-Ibbotson-author-163085897119236  I’ll need your email address in order to send you the ebook copy, so you can message me privately via my website (see homepage) or PM me on facebook. The winner will be chosen at random by ANO.

Closing date is Saturday 29th October, in time for Halloween, as there are some spooky parts in the book, with drumbeats reverberating across the Ghanaian villages and spirits wafting through Jess’s dreams – to warn her of danger …

Please spread the news!

Good luck!

An interview with Lizzie Lamb, author

A few weeks ago I was delighted to be chatting with Leicester author Lizzie Lamb. The interview appeared in my newsletter back in June for my summer edition. But don’t be late to the party and miss the interviews as soon as they are published! If you haven’t already signed up to receive my FREE newsletter, currently quarterly, just click on the link on the welcome page of my website and alongside. It looks like this, so you can’t miss it:

sign up image for website

And there is plenty of news, views, competitions and other stuff as well as interviews in the newsletter, which don’t appear on my blog, so do sign up to be included in the mailing list.

So, here’s Lizzie and her latest novel.



Lizzie, tell me about your latest book

My latest book is Scotch on the Rocks which I published July 2015. Within two weeks it had reached #1 spot in its genre historical>Scottish, which was very gratifying. I write Scottish themed books because I find that Scotland is known the world over and is on many readers’ bucket list.

Here’s the blurb –


Where the men are men and the women are glad of it!

ISHABEL STUART is at the crossroads of her life.

Her wealthy industrialist father has died unexpectedly, leaving her a half-share in a ruined whisky distillery and the task of scattering his ashes on a Munro.  After discovering her fiancé playing away from home, she cancels their lavish Christmas wedding at St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh and heads for the only place she feels safe – Eilean na Sgairbh, a windswept island on Scotland’s west coast -where the cormorants outnumber the inhabitants, ten to one.

When she arrives at her family home – now a bed and breakfast managed by her left-wing, firebrand Aunt Esme, she finds a guest in situ – BRODIE. Issy longs for peace and the chance to lick her wounds, but gorgeous, sexy American, Brodie, turns her world upside down.

In spite of her vow to steer clear of men, she grows to rely on Brodie.  However, she suspects him of having an ulterior motive for staying at her aunt’s B&B on remote Cormorant Island. Having been let down twice by the men in her life, will it be third time lucky for Issy? Is it wise to trust a man she knows nothing about – a man who presents her with more questions than answers?

As for Aunt Esme, she has secrets of her own . . .

What inspires you to write?

I love visiting and dreaming about the highlands of Scotland and the people who live there. I was born in Scotland and have very strong roots in the Central Belt, although it is the beautiful highlands and its culture which inspires me. The germ of an idea takes root in my sub conscious and before I know it, I’m talking to the characters in my head and – off we go, all the way to the end of the line when the book is finished. If I run out of inspiration I listen to my RUNRIG CD’s or watch OUTLANDER and it soon comes flooding back.

Where do you write? Do you have a special “den” or desk or work space?

I do have a ‘proper writing room’ at home which I refer to as my ‘study’. This room was used as a second sitting room when we bought our house and is reached through the conservatory and looks directly onto the garden through its own set of French doors. It’s book-lined, as you would expect, but it also has everything a writer could need – internet connection, iPhone docking system for playing music, three printers, filing cabinets, room for box files etc., its own coffee machine and is centrally heated. It feels like a place where serious writing (and daydreaming) takes place; somewhere where I can switch off the pc at the end of the day but can get straight down to work the next morning because everything will be just as I left it.  It’s very tidy and organised and I love it. My husband knows better than to go in there without permission to borrow post-its, sticky pads or pens, without written permission. Only kidding (but only JUST kidding). I also have a caravan with a designated writing space so that when we got on research trips the writing never stops.

What would you like to achieve as an author?

My main objective is to go on writing the books I would like to read, and to grow my readership – especially outside of the UK.  If the chance came along to be published by one of the ‘Big Five’ publishing houses: Pan MacMillan, Headline etc I’d certainly give it serious thought. It’s a bit unlikely at the moment, though, as I am not submitting to agents/editor or publishers. I’m quite happy to remain an indie author because of the control I have over price, cover, content etc. of my novels. I’m not sure I would be able to let an editor change my novel to suit her publishing house, as I’d probably end up having to write about cupcakes in a highland tea room. So NOT me!!

Thank you so much, Lizzie! Lovely to talk to you.

And here are Lizzie’s links:

Scotch on the Rocks – a contemporary romance set in the Highlands of Scotland


Boot Camp Bride – Romance and Intrigue on the Norfolk marshes – November 2013


Tall, Dark and Kilted – Notting Hill Meets Monarch of the Glen – 2012


Hocus Pocus 14 short story anthology


 Lizzie’s Links




website: www.lizzielamb.co.uk

Newsletter – http://tinyurl.com/ELNL-2016

Linked in: uk.linkedin.com/pub/lizzie-lamb/18/194/202/

Goodreads http://tinyurl.com/cbla48d

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lizzielamb/

twitter: @lizzie_lamb

twitter: @newromantics4


2nd blog: www.newromanticspress.com


Cover reveal! Pauline Barclay’s The Wendy House

I’m so thrilled to be one of the first to reveal the cover of the new wonderful novel by the lovely author, Pauline Barclay, ready for publication date of SATURDAY 3RD SEPTEMBER. Pauline writes emotional, passionate and moving stories. And here it is:


This is what Pauline says about her great new book:

“The Wendy House has its cover revealed today! And, like all my book covers, it has been designed by Cathy Helms at Avalon Graphics and it is perfect.

The Blurb

When Nicola changes overnight from a bright, happy young child into a sullen, rebellious girl, ceasing to show interest in anything or anyone around her, her parents struggle to understand why. As she develops into a difficult, troubled, hostile teenager they put it down to hormones, believing it will pass. Yet Nicola goes from bad to worse and no matter how much her mother tries to reach out to her, it seems she is hell bent on self-destruction. When she leaves home at seventeen, rushing into the arms of a man ten years her senior and quickly becoming pregnant, her despairing mother almost gives up on her. A decade later, the events that stole Nicola’s childhood and changed the course of her life threaten finally to destroy her. She knows if she is to cling on to her sanity she must tell her mother the dreadful secret she has carried all these years, but her fear that she will be met with disbelief, hostility and branded an evil liar drives her to the edge.”

The Wendy House is a heart-rending story of betrayal, secrets and gripping fear.

Publication Date: Saturday 3rd September

Genre: Women’s Fiction / Family-Noir

Pauline Barclay is a fabulous writer, so check this out – you’ll be in for an absorbing read! You can find Pauline’s blog at


The Wendy House is available in Kindle for pre-order on all Amazon sites including

Amazon co uk

Amazon com

 A little about Pauline

I am from Yorkshire, but have lived in several different locations including, Suffolk, Surrey and Holland.  Today, I live on one of the beautiful volcanic islands of the Canary Isles with my husband and our two gorgeous rescue doggies.

Years ago I gained a BA (Hons) degree from the Open University, today I spend my time writing fiction. I have five books published, plus a 20 minute short festive story.

My passion is to write about events that happen in life and change everything for those involved as well as those caught up in the maelstrom. I want my characters to sit at your side, steal your attention and sweep you up in their story. Stories that will bring tears to your eyes, have you laughing out loud and sometimes, what they share with you, will stay  in your hearts for a very long time.




Twitter: @paulinembarclay

Instagram: @paulinebarclay







Romantic Novelists’ Association conference: fun and inspiring!

rna conf 6rna conf 5  RNA conf

rna conf 2 With acknowledgement and thanks to John Jackson for the lovely photos!

I returned home from my first RNA annual conference buzzing, my head full of all that I had learned and all the great people I had met! What a wonderful event. I can’t wait for next year at Harper Adams, Telford. Last weekend we were at Lancaster University and after a difficult train journey I arrived with lovelies Elaina James and Alison May (we met up on the station!) a little uncertain, wondering if I had done the right thing in booking. What would it be like? Could I actually manage 4 nights of it? Would I be a wallflower? Would I find my way around the campus? Would I have anyone to chat to at mealtimes? Would I be Billy-No-Mates?

It didn’t start well. My room was a reminder of my student accommodation many years ago. But – wait – there was actually an ensuite, not known in my time as a university student. Things were looking up. Not for long. The flush on the loo didn’t work. OMG, one of the worst things to find on my arrival! A shower after my journey was required. Hmm, the shower flooded the tiny ensuite, or broom cupboard, as I called it.

The maintenance man did a sterling job and fixed the flush and all that remained was to become skilled at negotiating the 6 inch corridor of dry floor in the ensuite every time I showered (never solved) – and the horrendously bumpy mattress. I left my room for an exploration of the campus with Elaina (focusing on the shop for prosecco and posh crisps, liquorice allsorts and M&Ms).

The student room  issues quickly faded as I threw myself into the wonderful sessions and began to meet some lovely people. Kate Thomson, wonderful lady that she is, had initiated an email chat for the first-timers prior to the conference and we all met up after dinner on the Friday for one of the famous kitchen parties. Prosecco and nibbles in abundance and I think the noise level raised the roof!

I met my two new best friends, Dorinda Cass and Christina Hollis, who were great company and we shared some super times during the long weekend. I also met the lovely Susan Bergen and re-met a number of folks, like the very helpful Kath McGurl who pointed me in the direction of the Historical and Time-slip facebook group! The Saturday night gala dinner was fabulous – everyone in their glamorous finery and the wine flowed. Excellent – apart from one of the waiters managing to spill hot buttery sauce all over me! Did I say, I’m accident prone?!

There was the opportunity to book 1:1 sessions with industry professionals during the weekend, and I was lucky enough to have a couple with agents and one with a publisher. They were very encouraging and the publisher (who only takes agented submissions) loved my manuscript and said “go and get an agent asap!” Many thanks to Elaine Everest for organising these sessions.

I intend to post separate blogs on the sessions I attended and provide more detail of the information I gleaned and the inspiring tips and advice I really have taken on board. But as a brief summary here, for me, as an author who is already published but looking to develop,  the top twelve main points I took away with me were:

  1. register for The Bookseller! (thanks Debbie Young)
  2. define and refine my target audience and focus my promo campaigns
  3. be more proactive in engaging with my target audience in a more personal rather than professional mode
  4. build those relationships (thanks again Debbie Young)
  5. use facebook ad manager more effectively (thanks, Ian Skillicorn)
  6. interweave that set-up and pay-off into the fabric of the story and drip feed the info (thanks Fiona Harper)
  7. the romance must be ‘believable’ – they must ‘get’ each other (thanks again Fiona Harper)
  8. ensure that historicals are plausible within that time period, ie religious beliefs, social conditions and values, eg marriage, sex, social mores (thanks Alison Morton).
  9. reviews: all 5* probably doesn’t give a reassuring impression (readers are sceptical!) so don’t worry if you get the odd 4*/3*; allow readers to talk to each other about your book! Being talked about is better than being ignored. And negative reviews can actually sell books! (thanks Sarah Wendell)
  10. negotiate writing blogs on book bloggers’ sites. Indirect promo.
  11. It’s important that you select an editor you can work with, not the first that comes along! Don’t be too grateful in your first flush of delight.
  12. get a review buddy and a critique buddy! (thanks everyone)

I now have a new ‘to do’ list, which involves being more proactive about approaching local media (press, radio, parish magazines), local talks and festivals, and local bookstores and developing relationships with them (befriend them), review Amazon keywords for my books, write professional-looking info sheets for each of my books (been meaning to do that for ages), and join the SCWI (done!).

Many thanks to Jan Jones for organising such a lively crowd of us – what an extraordinary feat, well done, her! Also to Alison May and Roger Sanderson for their part in the organisation of such a complex and wonderful event. I can’t thank you enough. To all the organisers, speakers and industry professionals, the caterers who kept us well fed and watered, and all the other attendees who kept me chatting and laughing – thank you.

And finally … I’m awaiting eagerly the feedback from Immi Howson following the Speed Dating session, about whether I have a suitable critique partner! Do hope I’m not still Billy-No-Mates!

IMG_0104with thanks to Vistaprint for developing my logo


Invitation! Authors love Reviews.

Photofunia hearts

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!

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!


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.

Author Lizzie Lamb for afternoon tea

P1010494sign up image for website

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 …



“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


and Elaina’s website is


Do check them out.

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)