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

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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?

 

 

Book tour with S.C.A.R.S coming soon!

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My dear friend, the lovely JB (of Brook Cottage Books) is organising another global book tour for my latest book – this time it’s S.C.A.R.S, my new children’s book. It’s happening in January/February 2015 so do watch out for it. And if you’re interested in taking part in hosting, do get in touch with JB, contact above on the banner.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) November 2014

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Can’t believe I made it!

For the whole of November I’ve been holed up with my laptop, writing my work in progress. Other than when I was working for the university, supporting my doctoral students, and walking in the countryside. Oh and going out and organising family Christmas! Looking back I’m not sure how I did it!

NaNoWriMo has been a great experience. It’s an international support strategy for getting on with your writing (or starting if you’re an aspiring writer). The target is to make 50,000 words by the end of the month.  It was the first time I’ve participated and I wasn’t sure about it. There are local groups for support but I knew that I wouldn’t be bale to make the meetings. Very soon, a group of romantic fiction writer friends, some of whom I met at the Festival of Romance Literature this summer, got together and we started our own support group as an off-shoot from NaNoWriMo and named it NaNoRomMo. Every day has started with a visit to the site to compare notes. It’s not competitive with each other, but very encouraging.

It’s not about who gets there first (although I think maybe some of the folks in the local group might have seen it that way!). It’s about helping each other to get the motivation and maintain the momentum to get there, as and when.

All in all, It’s been a good experience; all about competing against myself, setting targets instead of just rambling through a WIP as I normally do. Knowing it didn’t matter if I didn’t make it but that it would be a great achievement if I did; it was about taking part and trying. And it’s been about support and friendship and encouraging each other. I’ve made some lovely new friends with whom I share a lot, as writers and in life.

I’m sure I’ll do it again next year for my next WIP, which will probably be the last in the Drumbeats trilogy. In the meantime above this post is my award certificate and the preview of the cover of the book that won it, Walking in the Rain. Thanks to everyone for all the support … oh, I feel an Oscars speech coming over me …!

My new novel – coming soon! Romance and tragedy against a backdrop of civil war in Africa …

DRUMBEATS_300dpi  My new novel, Drumbeats, is the first of a trilogy following Jess through her life. Drumbeats starts it all off in the mid-1960s as eighteen year old English student, Jess, flees to West Africa on a gap year, escaping her stifling home background for freedom to become a volunteer teacher and nurse in the Ghanaian bush. Apprehensively, she leaves her first real romantic love behind in the UK, but will she be able to sustain the bond while she is away? With the idealism of youth, she hopes to find out who she really is, and do some good in the world, but little does she realise what, in reality, she will find that year: joys, horrors, tragedy. She must find her way on her own and learn what fate has in store for her, as she becomes embroiled in the poverty and turmoil of a small war-torn African nation under a controversial dictatorship. Jess must face the dangers of both civil war and unexpected romance. Can she escape her past or will it always haunt her?

Life after Life by Kate Atkinson

I have reviewed this on my Books I Like page but wanted to post it as a blog here too as it is circulating the review lists again.

What a stunning achievement this novel is! Sometimes you read a book and  wish so much that you had had the same idea! It was so very clever. I was totally engrossed in the notion of many layers of a life trying over and over to get it right (the multi-universe/parallel universe/quilted universe concept).

A baby, Ursula, is born on 11th November 1910 in a terrible snowstorm. The umbilical cord is caught around her neck and the doctor is unable to arrive in time so save her. Cut to 11th November 1910 again. This time Ursula survives.  But still she is caught up in events that are unacceptable. Ursula’s death and rebirthing recurs until finally the course of history is set right. What an engaging and thought-provoking concept. How wonderful it would be to believe in this. Turn back the clock and try again. Yes, I can relate to that in my own life – probably most of us could. The evocations of periods of history are well-researched, rich and appear authentic. I felt that some parts were perhaps a little overdone, like the blitz narratives and maybe the novel could have benefitted from some culling of these episodes, but the rest was so engaging that I still gave it 5 stars. Highly recommended.

Fractured by Dani Atkins

Wow, excellent book. Dani Atkins weaves an intriguing story which traces two different lives which Rachel may or may not have lived over the previous five years following an accident. The ending is superb and interweaves all the mysterious hints wonderfully competently. I love books that leave me thinking and working out the intricacies. Well recommended.

I’ve just read some of the other reviews and am amazed at the number of readers who simply didn’t “get it”! One at least totally misunderstood the ending.


I do agree with one reviewer about the problematic issue of the actual car accident where the vehicle seems to take forever to crash through the window of the restaurant, and the unrealistic trapping of Rachel behind the table, and yes, I would agree that this could/should have been edited down to a page or two only – but compared with the rest of the book this paled into insignificance. The rest was a very powerful
  story and  I couldn’t stop thinking about it for some days afterwards.