Wednesday, 14 June 2017

NEWS, Book Bargains and a GIVEAWAY!

Hello lovely readers! I have a post jam packed full of news and bookish excitement this week! Firstly I have to say huge and heartfelt thanks to everyone who has ordered online or popped along to their local Sainsburys store to buy a paperback copy of The Cherry Tree Cafe. Sales have exceeded all expectations and I know some of you now have a digital AND a paper copy which is phenomenal. Thank you. It seems like only yesterday that I was entering the Books and The City competition with a heart full of hope and my head full of dreams that one day I would be a 'proper writer'.

And on that note here's some very exciting NEWS. Those of you who have followed my career for the last couple of years are well aware that I have been writing two books a year and juggling my day job as a teaching assistant at a local school. Well, the time has come to make the leap and from the end of June (in just two weeks time), I shall be a full-time author! This is hugely exciting (as well as a little daunting), and having worked at the school for just over a decade it hasn't been an easy decision to make but I'm taking the plunge and swapping my marking pen for... an editing pen. I can't wait to get started and, before you all ask, this won't mean I'll be writing three books a year from now on.

But talking of books - did you know that both The Cherry Tree Cafe e-book and the Summer at Skylark Farm e-book are currently just 99p on Amazon AND The Cherry Tree Cafe paperback is only £2.99? I know. Here's the link to my Amazon page where you can find them all...

AND as if that wasn't all exciting enough I'm running a Cherry Tree Cafe paperback GIVEAWAY. All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is tell me, in the comments below, in which town my books are all set. Good luck! This is a UK only giveaway and the closing date is midnight on July 11th. And don't forget to leave your name so I can contact you if you win!

Wishing you all a wonderful week and lots of luck in the giveaway!

H x

Sunday, 4 June 2017

The whole set!

As I'm sure many of you are aware last week saw the arrival of The Cherry Tree Cafe in paperback format on bookshelves far and wide. To say this was one of my proudest author moments to date would certainly not be over-gilding the lily as I was seriously overjoyed to see it sitting on the shelves in my local Sainsburys store. Originally published as an e-book in 2015 my debut sold far better than I ever dared to dream and thanks to almost 500 Amazon reviews it seemed inevitable that one day it would make it to print and here we are!

If you don't mind I'm going to take this opportunity to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who downloaded and awarded stars and an even BIGGER thank you to those of you who have rushed out and purchased a paperback copy in addition to your original digi download!

Given the tragic events of the last few weeks here in the UK I have seriously wondered whether I should write a post about how lucky I'm feeling about how my writing career is progressing and how thrilled I was to see Summer at Skylark Farm climbing the charts again as the e-book turned one. However, a couple of very lovely messages and Tweets made me determined to celebrate my success and thank you for all for the part you have played in it.

A reader told me recently that when she is reading one of my books she is transported to my fictional town of Wynbridge, she forgets about everything else and becomes so immersed in the story that it feels completely real and what for an author could be higher praise than that? In light of the terrible things that have been happening I feel hugely moved to think that my books have made someone forget, even if just for a little while.

And then there was the wonderful announcement on social media from super-blogger Kaisha Holloway aka The Writing Garnet that she is calling herself my very own #superfan. A #superfan all of my own. I never thought I'd see the day. Thank you so much Kaisha! I can't tell you how much of a boost to my confidence that is and thank you also for the beautiful image of my Book Babes all sitting prettily together.

I feel incredibly proud to finally have The Full Set and I thank you all wholeheartedly for taking them to your hearts and making me feel like a proper grown up author at last... and talking of being a proper grown up author, watch this space for a very exciting announcement which will be coming soon.

Wishing you all a wonderfully Bookish week!

H x

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Romance in the Court et al...

What a week! I've had two trips down to London for Author Outings within forty eight hours. Is it any wonder I have no voice left?

Thursday afternoon Jenni Keer and I arrived at Diss railway station looking forward to the wonderful Romance in the Court event organised by Goldsboro Books. Unfortunately two cancelled trains meant that we arrived well over an hour late, but we still made the most of it and rushed around catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.

Photo courtesy of S-J Virtue

Here's a line-up of some of the authors who attended and then of course there were fabulous readers, bloggers, publishers and agents to mingle and chat with. I was thrilled to finally meet Jo Thomas who has been a social media pal for years and turned out to be great fun (as I suspected she would) and full of highly entertaining anecdotes.

Saturday afternoon and I was back on the train again heading off to The Big Chill and the author/blogger meet-up organised by Kim Marsh and Holly Martin. The weather and the venue were both absolutely blissful and it was, as ever, a great opportunity to share news, discover who was writing what and offer and learn new writing tips and ideas about the whole publishing process.

Simona Elena, Carrie Elks, Jenni Keer, Annette Angel, Holly Martin

I was extremely excited to meet Simona Elena. Simona has been a hugely supportive blogger right from the very beginning of my career and it was lovely to have the opportunity to give her a hug and say thank you in person.

Front left - Rebecca Chance and right - Fiona Harper

A photo opportunity with both Rebecca Chance, who was every bit as vivacious, hilarious and fun as I imagined and gorgeous Fiona Harper was too good an opportunity to miss as we are all now represented by agent Amanda Preston from LBA.

And then there were 3...

All in all, this has been a wonderful week and on the back of it I have made some pretty dramatic decisions, but I'll share those with you another day. For now, I'm getting ready to dive into writing the first draft of Book 6 and getting in plenty of fizz to celebrate The Cherry Tree Cafe paperback publication this Thursday!

Wishing you all a wonderful week and please, if you are out and about and spot a copy, or have one delivered, I would love to see some #shelfies and #selfies.

H x

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Preparing, plotting and planning

This week I've been thinking about the craft of writing and how it is a constantly evolving, and hopefully improving, process. Author extraordinaire and wonderful blog post writer Sam Tonge recently highlighted how stepping out of her comfort zone and challenging herself has had an impact on her latest book and, I would imagine, all those that follow, and her comments really struck a chord with me.

Any Wynbridge fans reading this know that I have written five novels in pretty quick succession and in order to keep making the next better than the last I have had an eye to the craft from day one, but not everyone has understood why. For example, I recently attended a creative writing class and when another attendee discovered I was already published she asked,

'So what are you doing here if you've already made it?'

In her mind, the fact that I had seen my books on the supermarket shelves and made the Bookseller Heatseeker Chart meant my work was done. Surely I could just keep repeating the winning formula, but that's not how it works. I intend to keep pushing and hopefully improving. Honing my craft and refining every word I commit to paper and screen.

At the moment I'm planning novel number 6, which will be my summer '18 read, and I'm trying something new - character questionnaires. I daresay many of you use them already but they're new to me and an absolute joy. I've adapted one I downloaded and it is packed with questions designed to encourage your characters to open up and share.

There are the obligatory hair and eye colour questions but also the 'what's in his fridge?' and the 'where would you find her at lunchtime on Saturday?' ones and I love them! I'm hoping they will give my characters more depth and back story and in turn indeed make the next book even better than the last, because that's the point, isn't it? We want to get better and bolder and keep our wonderful readers entertained, don't we?

If you haven't used character questionnaires before I urge you to give them a go and be prepared to learn some deep, dark secrets about the people you intend to populate your pages with.

Happy writing and reading folks!

                                                       H x

Friday, 19 May 2017

Paperback love..

The Cherry Tree Cafe paperbacks have landed and they are every bit as beautiful as I hoped they would be!


Thank you to everyone who has supported my first book baby on its wonderful journey so far! I hope you love this new look as much as I do.

Wishing you all a wonderful book filled weekend.

                                        H x

Friday, 12 May 2017

Welcome to my website!

Hello everyone and welcome to my new look blog. I'm hoping that if you are reading this you have made your way here via the link on my beautiful new website. What do you think of it? I have to admit, I'm absolutely smitten!


This is just a short post to let you know that I'm keeping the blog, in this new streamlined form and will still be posting my news, views and guest posts here, but the website will be hosting everything else.

And while we're on the subject of news, here's a sneaky peek at The Cherry Tree Cafe paperback layout. What an absolute beauty!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and, if you have a second to spare, I would love to know what you think of my latest cover and new online presence!

H x

Sunday, 7 May 2017

The perfect way to celebrate!

What a week! I don't think I've ever shared so much bookish news in so few days and before I write another word I want to say a truly huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone for your fabulous likes, comments, shares, messages and retweets!

Not only did I get to tell you all that The Cherry Tree Cafe is being published in paperback (June 1st) and that I am now represented by the very lovely Amanda Preston from LBA, there was also the added end of week excitement that Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage is now available to request from NetGalley.

There was no better way to celebrate all of this exciting news of course than with a gathering of fellow authors and bloggers at the fabulous Argo Lounge get-together in Peterborough organised by Linda Hill. As you can see a fair few of us were able to attend and it was a wonderful opportunity to catch up with old friends and make lots of new ones.

Huge thanks to lovely Lizzie Lamb for remembering to take plenty of pics and here she is with myself and fellow RNA authors Sue Moorcroft, Carol Cooper and Adrienne Vaughan.

My five weeks away from the day job come to an end today and the familiar routine kicks in again tomorrow but I have loved every second of my time living The Writing Life and quite frankly, can't wait to do it all again.

Wishing you all a wonderful week and thank you again for your continued and very fabulous support.

H x