Saturday, 22 July 2017

Another wonderful week!

Hello everyone, thank you for stopping by! If you're looking for details of where to enter the Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage signed paperback giveaway you'll find them on the next post down. The closing date is fast approaching so do add your comment and watch this space as this is where I'll be announcing the winners.

As regular visitors will have noticed, I've made a couple of changes to the blog this week but you can still find all the usual stuff in all the usual places. What do you think of the new colour? I'll probably change it again when Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells is published, but this to me felt very summery and very Cuckoo Cottage. I hope you like it.

So how have you all been this week? It's been pretty busy in my neck of the woods and very exciting! I never thought I'd see the day when my face popped up in Heat Magazine, but here I am, sharing a top writing tip, giving away a FREE book and basking in the glory of a fabulous 5 star review. Not sure I'm going to be able to top that for magazine experiences!

I've also popped up on the blog of Chatty Cat author Suzan Collins this week. Suzan asked some fantastic questions in her interview and I even revealed what my first ever job was! Here's the link if you want to find out...

I will be appearing with Suzan at the East Anglian Festival of Culture 'Meet the Author' weekend in Lowestoft in September. I'll have more details soon and hope to see some of you there!

Along with all the excitement I have been working hard. I promise! I've been using some of the suggestions from the RNA Conference workshops and really getting to grips with the plot and characters of Novel Number 6 (title still under wraps), which will be published in time for your Summer hols next year.And I've been having a bit of a tidy up in the writing corner. This isn't a permanent writing spot - I still don't have one of those - and so consequently I have to keep on top of the mess. I found no less than 6 notebooks awaiting my attention and that's not including the pile of unused A4 pads. I suppose I better get cracking and get some words down.

And of course I've been looking out for Cuckoo Cottage on the supermarket shelves! The smile says it all.

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

H x

Monday, 17 July 2017

A cover reveal AND a competition!

When I began to think about what I was going to include in this, my second weekly round-up of life as a full-time author, I thought it would be fairly straightforward, but thanks to a timely email from my fabulous editor there's more excitement than I know what to do with, so brace yourselves folks!

First up, my writing week...

Last week I signed up to join a new writing group called Castle Writers. If there are enough attendees it will run on a monthly basis in the beautiful setting of Norwich Castle Museum. The tutor is the hugely talented local author and artist Amanda Addison so I have high hopes for the group and am looking forward to stretching my creativity and trying something new. Here are the details...

As you all know, Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage was published last Thursday and I am delighted to report it is receiving fabulous reviews and attracting rather a lot of attention! So thank you to everyone who has picked up or downloaded a copy so far. I am delighted you are enjoying this latest trip to Wynbridge.

Hot on the heels of publication day came the phenomenal RNA Conference. A 3 day trip to Harper Adams University in Telford and an itinerary packed full of wonderful workshops, inspirational speakers and informative seminars.

There may have been wine, there was certainly laughter and I arrived home Sunday night ready to head back to the keyboard and buzzing with new ideas! I would love at this point to list all of the lovely authors I spent time with but the post would never end. Just a couple of the standout moments include time spent chatting with Dame Milly Johnson and Jill Mansell and meeting lovely Susanna Bavin and Kristen Hesketh in real life for the first time. Huge thanks to my travel companions Jenni Keer and Clare Marchant for making sure I made it there and back safe and sound and apologies for not listing everyone else but I would be here literally adding names all day!

Now, on to the much anticipated cover reveal and competition

Drum-roll please...

I am absolutely delighted to finally be able to share with you the exquisite cover for my Christmas novel, Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at The Christmas Fair. I hope you love it as much as I do? Personally, I think it could be my favourite but yes, I know I always say that. It encapsulates the story perfectly and the colours are simply stunning. Another beauty courtesy of the fabulous art department at Books and The City.

If you would like to find out more about the story, here's a link to Amazon which includes the blurb - 

So almost last, but by no means least, the latest competition! To be in with a chance of winning one of two signed paperback copies of Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage simply tell me, in the comments below, which is your favourite setting in Wynbridge so far and why. Good luck! The closing date is Friday 28th of July. UK only I'm afraid.

And finally, I promise, there are so many Wynbridge Book Bargains on Amazon right now, including The Cherry Tree Cafe e-book for FREE, I'm simply including a link to my page so you can take a look for yourselves! Happy browsing!

Thank you everyone for sticking with me to the end and reading quite possibly the longest blog post I have ever written. Wishing you all a wonderful week!

H x

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Here we go again!

Can you believe it? Yet another fabulous publication day dawns and there's still Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at The Christmas Fair to come in October! Anywho, back to today and Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage. Today is all about Lottie Foster and her exciting plans for the patch of East Anglian Fen she unexpectedly inherits from one of my favourite characters from Mince Pies and Mistletoe, Gwen.

Here's the blurb...

When Lottie Foster’s grandmother’s best friend Gwen dies, she leaves Lottie her lovely home, Cuckoo Cottage.

Lottie loves the cottage but Matt, a charming local builder, points out that beneath its charm it is falling apart. Luckily he is always on hand to help with the problems that somehow seem to keep cropping up. But is he just a bit too good to be true? Certainly Will, Lottie’s closest neighbour, seems to think so.

Lottie plans to set up her own business renovating vintage caravans. She hasn’t told anyone about the project she has cooked up with Jemma from The Cherry Tree Café to repurpose Gwen’s old caravan and turn it into a gorgeous tearoom.

But before she can finally enjoy living with her legacy she must uncover who she can trust, and who to avoid. And with two men vying for her attention, will she also find love?

I really hope you like the sound of this return trip to our old friends in Wynbridge. It was a fun story to tell, packed with quite a few of my own favourite things, (I'd love to know if you can identify a couple of them) and if the early reviews are any indicator I've hopefully managed to offer an interesting snapshot of this, until now, unexplored part of the Wynbridge countryside. 

The book is available in both ebook and paperback format (online, Asda, Sainsburys, WH Smiths right now, and Tescos in a couple of weeks), and as always, any #shelfies you manage to snap are hugely appreciated. 

Next week, when I've recovered from the excitement of attending the RNA Conference, I'll be writing a round up of week 2 telling you all about what I've been up to now I'm a full-time author and I'll be launching a competition with 2 Cuckoo Cottage paperbacks up for grabs. 

Oh and before I sign off, did you know I have a story in the current issue of My Weekly magazine AND there's a fabulous Cherry Tree Cafe paperback giveaway running alongside it? Good luck to anyone who enters!

Wishing you all a wonderful end to the week and thank you for your continued support, encouragement and hugs! Social media had reached boiling point even before 8am, this morning! You guys are the best!

H x

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

And the winner is...

The Cherry Tree Cafe giveaway has been drawn, (thank you daughter, Amelia) and I am delighted to announce the winner is...

Chrissie Bradshaw

Congratulations Chrissie! I hope you enjoy the bookish swag which will be making its way to you very soon and thank everyone who took the time to enter and identified Wynbridge as the main setting for my novels so far!

I have another competition coming up very soon to celebrate the publication of my Summer 2017 read - Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage - so keep popping back for updates!

Friday, 7 July 2017

A round-up of week 1!

So, my first week of working as a full-time author has absolutely flown by and what a wonderful week it has been! I can't honestly say I've upped the word count of the WIP by any great shakes, but then I did know when Monday dawned that I had a packed schedule and that I was going to be clearing the decks ahead of the Cuckoo Cottage publication day and the wonderful RNA Conference.

This has turned out to be a week of 'firsts' in more ways than one as on Wednesday I was invited to take part in the Norwich Open Academy Literary Festival and delivered creative writing workshops for Year 7 and 8 students. I planned four exercises for each of the hour long 'Kick Starting Creativity' sessions and was delighted with both the amount and the quality of work the students produced in such a short amount of time. Norwich is certainly a hotbed of passion for the written word and I would happily repeat the exercise if there are any schools out there looking for visiting authors.

The rest of the week has been taken up with snatched hours working on the WIP, dreaming about novely number 7, finalising bits and pieces for publication day next week and indulging in the odd stationery purchase courtesy of the Amazon vouchers my lovely work chums gave me the day I left school. I've always been a sucker for highlighters and these pastel beauties are just too good to miss...

So all in all a thrilling first week and given what's happening next week I'm fairly certain living the writing life can only get better!

H x

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Full-Time Author...

Thanks to the joys of social media I know you all know this particular piece of news already, but I simply couldn't let the day go by without posting a short piece about the fact that today is my very first day working as a full-time author!

Waking up this morning was a phenomenal stuff of dreams moment as the very first thought that popped into my head was that writing books (hopefully books you will continue to love), is now my one and only occupation and that the years of hard work and hoping have finally paid off.

My first task has been reading through the proofs for my Christmas '17 release - Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at The Christmas Fair. I am absolutely thrilled with this book, especially as the setting is somewhere I have been wanting to write about for months, it was just a case of finding the right character and story to match it and voila, along came lovely Anna Woodruff.

Here's a little taster of what her tale is all about...

When Anna takes on the role of companion to the owner of Wynthorpe Hall, on the outskirts of Wynbridge, she has no idea that her life is set to change beyond all recognition.

A confirmed ‘bah humbug’ when it comes to Christmas, Anna is amazed to find herself quickly immersed in the eccentric household, and when youngest son Jamie unexpectedly arrives home it soon becomes obvious that her personal feelings are going all out to compromise her professional persona.

Jamie, struggling to come to terms with life back in the Fens, makes a pact with Anna – she has to teach him to fall back in love with Wynthorpe Hall, while he helps her fall back in love with Christmas. But will it all prove too much for Anna, or can the family of Wynthorpe Hall warm her heart once and for all...?

I hope you like the sound of this latest Christmas treat from Wynbridge? I have had a sneaky look at the draft cover and I can promise you it is absolutely exquisite. Possibly my favourite yet, but then I always say that, don't I? Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells will be out on October 5th but is available to order online now.

Buy the book...

And as if that wasn't enough excitement to kick the week off, I've also recorded a brand new podcast for the wonderful Books and The City Team and am talking about all things Cuckoo Cottage, cocktails and TBR piles! Do have a listen if you can spare a few minutes. I'd love to know what you think!

So there you have it. I think that is all the news for now. May I take this opportunity to say a MASSIVE thank you for your continued support, kind messages and fabulous reviews and, if you happen to be an aspiring author, don't ever give up on your dreams because this amazing week goes to prove that if you're determined and resilient then great things can and will happen.

H x (aka full-time author) 

Monday, 26 June 2017

Welcoming Michelle Betham...

Today on the blog I am delighted to be joined by Michelle Betham. She is quite simply the most diverse author I know and I've invited her along to talk about her success at Genre Juggling and why it works for her. I promise I did try to and wheedle out some info about the thrilling new project she's working on but she was giving nothing away! Over to the lady herself...

Most people out there who know me – especially those wonderful people who’ve bought and read all my books – know that I’m the kind of writer who hasn’t exactly stuck to one genre. I’ve written everything from a sweet Christmas romance to romcoms; erotic romance to dark romance; sexy sports romance to steamy, decade-spanning Hollywood sagas, as inspired by my literary heroine, the late, great Jackie Collins. My protagonists have included footballers, rock stars, lawyers; bikers, movie stars, and even high-class escorts – the research for that series of books was mind-boggling, to say the least! And the one thing I haven’t been afraid to do is push boundaries from time to time. But, most of all, I like to push myself.

Whilst I adored writing the romcoms – one of which was inspired very much by my two years living on the beautiful island of Tenerife, and my love of darts! – I also equally love exploring my darker side, creating the character of bad boy biker Mack Slayer, for example. Not to mention the bad girls, too. That was a LOT of fun!

But, isn’t it dangerous, playing with so many different genres? Don’t I run the risk of alienating a lot of my readers? Some might say so, but I like to try different things from time to time; target a different audience. I certainly don’t expect all my books to appeal to everyone because they are so diverse. But I find it difficult to pigeon-hole myself as far as genres go. I like reading a wide range of books, I always have done, and as a lot of what we read inspires what we authors write, it stands to reason I’m going to diversify a little from time to time.

So, what am I working on right now? Well, let’s just say that I’ve diversified yet again. But, I can’t say much about this latest project at the minute so, you’ll just have to wait and see what genre I’ve gone with this time. In the meantime, I’ll probably never stop genre-hopping because that’s the kind of writer I am. You never know what I’ll come out with next!

A bit more about Michelle

Michelle Betham is an ex-media technician turned author of sexy, edgy, and sometimes quite dark romance, usually involving rock stars, movie stars, hot businessmen and bikers. But not usually all in the same book. Yet. She is both self-published and published through HarperImpulse, a division of HarperCollins Publishers.

Addicted to binge-watching TV shows she struggles to think of a life before Netflix or Amazon Prime, loves rock music, tattoos – of which she has many – spicy food, superheroes (she's a slightly obsessed Avengers fan-girl who harbours a particularly unhealthy obsession with Captain America), and Keanu Reeves – a crush that’s lasted well over twenty years, and one she blames entirely on ‘Point Break’. The original. She refuses to acknowledge any remake exists.

Her dream is to ride a Harley, visit Las Vegas, and be able to eat any amount of chocolate without putting on weight.

She lives in County Durham, north-east England, with her husband and West Highland Terrier, where she can be found most days drinking tea and making up stories.

Connect with Michelle