April changes

April has been a month of two seasons. We had snow, high winds, rain, and for the last two weeks frosty mornings morphing into bright sunny days.

The good weather coincided with the opening up of outdoor venues and sports. I dusted off my golf clubs, checked my archery equipment and have now enjoyed several weeks of getting out on a golf course and shooting arrows at the archery field.

The garden has also perked up with a bit of weeding and planting of flowers. It’s even been warm enough to sit out on the patio some afternoons – actual t-shirt weather!

Still time for indoor stuff – reading, some writing – and as a break from jigsaws, painting by numbers.

We’ve had our two vaccinations but not planning to go mad with social gatherings. Still playing it safe, wearing masks and keeping our distance as much as possible.

So, here are some photos of the recent activities mentioned above.

A snowy morning in the village
Looking like Christmas!
My golf kit ready to go
Canada Geese nesting on the golf course
Out on the course
Six arrows on target – and two in the gold!
A not very artistic impression of a painting

Book review

Deuce

I’ve not had any book releases so far this year – so it was lovely to receive this wonderful review this month of Deuce – published in 2019 – by Carol Hutchinson of LesBireviewed:

LesbBireviewed video review: 7 April 2021

She even took the time to record her impressions of the cover:

LesBireviewed video intro: 31 March 2021


Print and eBooks by Jen Silver are available from Affinity Rainbow Publications, Amazon, Bella Books, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple iTunes

Audiobooks:

Starting Over  is available from: Audible UK / Audible US / Audible DE / Audible CA / Audible AU / Amazon UK / Amazon US  / iTunes

Changing Perspectives is available from: Audible / Amazon / iTunes / Beek / Chirp / Scribd / Google Play / Kobo / Nook


March already

This is my first blog of 2021 and it’s March already! I’ve been slacking off on the blogging front. No excuses really, just haven’t felt like I have much to say. Maybe I can blame the pandemic for an unusually long period of apathy, mainly with the written word. I’ve certainly been doing a lot of reading. The shed is piled high with completed jigsaw puzzles. And I’m looking forward to weeding the garden. (We don’t have a very big garden, so that won’t take long.)

This period of lockdown in England seems longer than the first one. I suspect that’s because it’s winter whereas last year during April and May we had prolonged spells of wonderful warm, sunny weather. As soon as lockdown eased for the summer, the weather took a turn for the worse.

So, as I can’t think of a lot to say, I’ll just add some photos from a few of my socially-distanced walks during since the start of the year, plus the jigsaw I completed today.

1000 piece Ravensburger puzzle titled No Ball Games (image by Ailsa Black)
A bit of sunshine and clear skies at Shibden Hall
Canada Geese on the canal – they’ve multiplied at a great rate.
A woodland scene

And this image – just because.

I’ve forgotten what this is for!

Spring is on its way – and the possibility of the resumption of a wider range of activities soon. However, if you still have time for reading, I have ten published novels plus some short stories out there, and two audio books to take a look at.

Print and eBooks by Jen Silver are available from Affinity Rainbow Publications, Amazon, Bella Books, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple iTunes

Audiobooks:

Starting Over  is available from: Audible UK / Audible US / Audible DE / Audible CA / Audible AU / Amazon UK / Amazon US  / iTunes

Changing Perspectives is available from: Audible / Amazon / iTunes / Beek / Chirp / Scribd / Google Play / Kobo / Nook


Year end, thankfully!

Producing an end of year blog in previous years has been fun. Lots of places visited with a choice of photos to display. This year has been rather lacking in that regard.

The highlights of 2020 in terms of my writing life include the release of my tenth novel, Country Living, the audiobook of my first novel, Starting Over, and the inclusion of a Christmas story in Affinity’s 10th Anniversary Christmas Anthology – Winterbourne Revisited.

But sometime earlier this year, probably not long after the first lockdown began in March, my muse left me and I’ve struggled to get to grips with writing book number 11.  Even writing a blog has been harder work that it needs to be.

My wife and I have been very careful to minimise contact with other people and have managed to stay virus-free, so far. That’s definitely a good thing. Although we can keep in contact with friends and family through phone calls, emails, Skype, FaceTime, and social media – it’s not the same as being able to meet up for an impromptu coffee or a meal.

However, we do live in a part of the country where we can enjoy socially distanced walks in nearby parks or along the canal towpath.

Here are a few snapshots of our 2020:

Flowers for the garden – ordered online from a local nursery in April
The canal in May
By the Lake in July
Seagulls flying at Shibden Hall Park
A splash of colour in a Hebden Bridge courtyard

So, after a muted farewell to this year, we’ll hope for better times to come in 2021– and maybe my muse will find her way back from wherever she’s been hiding.


Ebook links for Affinity’s 10th Anniversary Christmas Anthology

Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon UK / Amazon US / Amazon CA / Barnes &Noble / Bella Books / Smashwords

Print and eBooks by Jen Silver are available from Affinity Rainbow Publications, Amazon, Bella Books, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple iTunes

Audiobooks:

Starting Over  is available from: Audible UK / Audible US / Audible DE / Audible CA / Audible AU / Amazon UK / Amazon US  / iTunes

Changing Perspectives is available from: Audible / Amazon / iTunes / Beek / Chirp / Scribd / Google Play / Kobo / Nook


Winterbourne Revisited

(Short story for Affinity’s 10th Anniversary Christmas Anthology)

When asked by my publisher to submit a story for their 10th Anniversary Christmas Anthology, there was no hesitation on my part in deciding what to write.

My fifth novel, Christmas at Winterbourne, was published in November 2016. The story takes place over four days of the Christmas holiday at the lesbian retreat in Sussex, Winterbourne House. Wil and Gaby are the owners and hosts to the family and guests arriving for the festivities. Gaby is heavily pregnant and hoping to get through this Christmas period without giving birth. But, of course, she does…on Boxing Day.

So this short story, a visit to Winterbourne four years later, gave me the chance to see how things were going with the family. Teri is now coming up to her fourth birthday and all she wants for Christmas is…snow. Lots of it…just like at the time of her birth when Winterbourne House was snowbound.

I have read all the stories in this collection – you’re in for a lovely Christmas-themed treat with contributions from Samantha Hicks, Ali Spooner, Annette Mori, Del Robertson, Natalie London, and JM Dragon. All royalties from this limited edition anthology (only available until end of March 2021) will benefit the Wayward Whiskers Cat Rescue in San Antonio, Texas.

The authors have also contributed some of their favourite seasonal recipes in the book. So come along and enjoy Affinity’s 10th Anniversary Christmas Anthology.


Ebook links for Affinity’s 10th Anniversary Christmas Anthology

Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon UK / Amazon US / Amazon CA / Barnes &Noble / Bella Books / Smashwords


Print and eBooks by Jen Silver are available from Affinity Rainbow Publications, Amazon, Bella Books, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple iTunes

Audiobooks:

Starting Over  is available from: Audible UK / Audible US / Audible DE / Audible CA / Audible AU / Amazon UK / Amazon US  / iTunes

Changing Perspectives is available from: Audible / Amazon / iTunes / Beek / Chirp / Scribd / Google Play / Kobo / Nook

Canalside walk

A selection of photos from a visit to the Salterhebble canal basin a few days ago.

I’ve passed it many times on the drive between where I live and Huddersfield, but never visited. Turns out to be a pleasant place for a fairly secluded walk around by the lock and the mooring place for boats.

I was fascinated by the guillotine-style lock – something else I’d not seen before.

Guillotine Lock

This basin is an offshoot of the Rochdale Canal, which has a total 91 locks between nearby Sowerby Bridge and the Bridgewater Canal at Castlefield Basin in Manchester, a distance of 32 miles. The canal system is an amazing feat of engineering with work starting in 1798. One section, passing through Hebden Bridge, is built over the river (a hanging viaduct).

Walking through this tunnel, I felt we might emerge into another place and time.

Altogether, a lovely haven for a quiet walk. Of course, quiet walks are what I aim for these days.

Then it’s back home for more quiet time, mainly reading or listening to audio books while piecing together jigsaw puzzles.


If you’re looking for some reading or listening material for your own quiet times, please check out my books.

Print and eBooks by Jen Silver are available from Affinity Rainbow Publications, Amazon, Bella Books, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple iTunes

Audiobooks:

Starting Over  is available from: Audible UK / Audible US / Audible DE / Audible CA / Audible AU / Amazon UK / Amazon US  / iTunes

Changing Perspectives is available from: Audible / Amazon / iTunes / Beek / Chirp / Scribd / Google Play / Kobo / Nook


A Time Out

You would think having all this free time would be ideal for a writer. No visitors, only going out if absolutely necessary, grocery and takeaway deliveries, etc. Some authors have taken advantage of this and are producing books without pause. For me, however, it’s like that part of my life has taken a time out of its own. I’ve tried a few times to get some words down – but it’s not happening.

I’ve learned not to force it. With ten books published since the first one in 2014, there really isn’t any need to panic. So why not just enjoy the space for reading, doing jigsaw puzzles, listening to audio books, solitary walks, and sitting out in the garden with a cold drink (weather permitting).

Looking back to last August’s blog, it’s full of photos from different places we visited, playing golf in Scotland, taking part in an archery competition at another club, a full programme of Happy Valley Pride events.

So far this year, we’ve had one outing…a few days away at a hotel on Lake Windermere at the end of July. It was a wonderful time – enjoying different scenery, meals cooked by someone else, conversation (socially distanced) with other people. We felt safe and well looked after. There was a one-way system through the public areas, hand sanitiser stations at strategic points, well spaced out tables in the restaurant. Plus some good weather for enjoying walks by the lake and just sitting watching the ever-changing scene. Overall, fantastic!

dining

Food and drink was left on a service table and we served ourselves from there. (Note the hand sanitiser station by the table behind)

lake2

Activity on the lake

morning_geese

Early morning view of geese on the lawn – from our bedroom window

lake1

A final view of the lake

Will I look back on 2020 as a lost year, or just a time out from normal activities?

I’ll let you know in January.


Taking time out to read or listen to books? Here’s where you can find mine:

Print and eBooks by Jen Silver are available from Affinity Rainbow Publications, Amazon, Bella Books, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple iTunes

Audiobooks:

Starting Over  is available from: Audible UK / Audible US / Audible DE / Audible CA / Audible AU / Amazon UK / Amazon US  / iTunes

Changing Perspectives is available from: Audible / Amazon / iTunes / Beek / Chirp / Scribd / Google Play / Kobo / Nook


 

Loving the countryside

Where I live, we’re surrounded by beautiful countryside only a short walk away. We also don’t have to travel very far in any direction to experience amazing views.

wideview

When I started writing Country Living, one of my aims was to show how someone from the city could adapt to life in the country. Peri, one of the main characters, copes with the move well. But this is her dream so she’s motivated to make it work.

valleyview

It soon becomes clear that her wife has no intention of joining her. Karla’s plans involve enjoying scenery of a different kind, mainly from someone else’s bed.

Peri’s very lucky then that her new neighbours turn out to be friendly and helpful. They live in the farmhouse a bit further up the hill from Peri’s cottage. Of course she’s totally unaware that they have any other business apart from sheep farming. I guess she didn’t watch the Happy Valley TV series; otherwise she might have been more clued up on how the area had that name bestowed on it by the local police force.

With Country Living, I didn’t set out to write a polemic on the pros and cons of legalising marijuana. I’ve tried to present a balanced view, as there are generally more than two sides to any discussion of this issue. Peri’s dilemma centres on whether or not she should report the family to the authorities.

This is all fiction. I don’t have any personal experience of knowing anyone who grows or sells the stuff. But I live in Happy Valley so I know it’s around.

Anyway, this book is a romance. Love is in the air – along with other substances.

Happy reading!

sunnyday


Print and eBooks by Jen Silver are available from Affinity Rainbow Publications, Amazon, Bella Books, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple iTunes

Audiobooks:

Starting Over  is available from: Audible UK / Audible US / Audible DE / Audible CA / Audible AU / Amazon UK / Amazon US  / iTunes

Changing Perspectives is available from: Audible / Amazon / iTunes / Beek / Chirp / Scribd / Google Play / Kobo / Nook


 

New Audio Book

Starting Over is now out on audio and I’m thrilled with how it sounds. Nicola Victoria Vincent did an amazing job with the narration and the range of voices for a wide variety of characters, young and old, from different walks of life.

StartingOver

This was my debut novel, published by Affinity Rainbow Publications in October 2014. I started writing it in 2013 and really had no idea where the story would go at the beginning. But I decided one of the main characters, Ellie Winters, would be a potter. And while I was researching pottery, I came across the Vindolanda website. I’ve always been interested in British Roman history so I was fascinated to read about the ongoing archaeological excavations still taking place there, not far from Hadrian’s Wall.

Somehow I knew that archaeology was going to feature strongly in the story. And so it turned out. Another turning point was when my mother gave me an old history book she had on the Brigantes. This provided the information I needed for the final twist in the tale. The story is set in and around parts of West Yorkshire, particularly Huddersfield and Hebden Bridge. This area was part of the Brigantia territory as well as the ancient Celtic kingdom of Elmet. The landscape is another character in its own right.

I had a fine mix of ingredients to work with – pottery, archaeology, history, journalistic skulduggery, and of course, romance. I loved the story and the characters so much, I was inspired to write a sequel, Arc Over Time. And then had to make it a trilogy with Carved in Stone.

I think it’s a journey worth taking – whether or not you want to read the book(s) or listen to the audio.

Have a listen to this taster from the end of Chapter 3 in Starting Over:

 

 


Audiobooks

Starting Over  is available from: Audible UK / Audible US / Audible DE / Audible CA / Audible AU / Amazon UK / Amazon US  / iTunes

Changing Perspectives is available from: Audible / Amazon / iTunes / Beek / Chirp / Scribd / Google Play / Kobo / Nook

Print and eBooks by Jen Silver are available from Affinity Rainbow Publications, Amazon, Bella Books, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple iTunes


 

Missing Vindolanda

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Vindolanda Trust. However, they’ve had to suspend their excavation season that would have started a few weeks ago as well as closing the site and the two museums. Like many other businesses, they are holding some online events. A good way to help them survive through these uncertain times, would be to donate and/or buy something from their shop. Visit the wesite here.

I enjoyed my times digging there, from 2014 to 2018. As well as the thrill of seeing what comes out of the ground from nearly 2000 years ago, there was the interaction with the other volunteers and the on-site archaeologists. I was lucky enough to be able to book into the Hedley Centre, which generally housed up to 8 people per session. I could look out of my bedroom window and see the ramparts of the barracks on the top of the hill.

So, these photos are just a few of my fond memories of being there. It’s a magical place and I hope they will be able to reopen some time this year so many more visitors (and excavators) can enjoy the experience of walking through history.

vindolanda_overview

My first view of Vindolanda from the road, approaching from the east.

ramparts

View from the Hedley Centre

firstlook

First close up view of the excavations in 2014

2014_dig

On my knees in 2014

2017_vicus

Into the wet stuff in the vicus…2017

coin_fimd

Coin found on the last day of the 2017 dig – as it came out of the ground

vindolanda1

Visiting in 2019

As I’ve said a number of times before, just being there is magical.

When I first went there to do research for my debut novel, Starting Over, I didn’t know if I would enjoy two weeks of scrabbling around in the dirt wondering if my knees and back would hold up. I thought it would be a one-off experience. Not a chance…I could hardly wait to book again for the following year…and the year after that…!

The Starting Over audio book narrated by Nicola Victoria Vincent is in the ACX system, awaiting approval. I’m hoping it will be available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes very soon.

StartingOver


Books by Jen Silver…available from Affinity Rainbow Publications, Amazon, Bella Books, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple iTunes

 

Out in the country

Nine days on from release day, and I’m in thrall to the beauty of the paperbacks that arrived last week.

CLpaperbacks

So, I’m taking a break from stroking the cover to write a few words about my latest book. It’s a romance, but with a few twisty bits that I think will surprise readers. The blurb gives something of this away…mentioning temptation, betrayal, and intrigue. However, it’s a romance, so everything will turn out all right in the end, won’t it?

The first chapter is available to read on the Affinity Rainbow Publications website.

But here’s a taster from Chapter Five of Country Living – certainly not a spoiler if you’ve read the blurb and sampled the first chapter.

Peri refilled their glasses and sat back, feeling replete. She gave her friend a quizzical glance. “Okay. I’m intrigued as to why you’ve driven all this way to treat me to lunch. Something that couldn’t be discussed by phone or email. Are you and Sharon okay?”

“Oh yes. More than okay. I know you thought I was crazy to move in with her after meeting online and going on three dates, but it just felt so right.”

“That’s great. So why do I get the feeling something’s wrong?”

Dana sighed. She bent down and retrieved her iPad from her bag.

“Don’t tell me. You’re having trouble with a plot line and want my magic editorial advice?”

“If only.” Dana opened her photos app and clicked on an image. “These are screenshots from Karla’s timeline. I’m not Facebook friends with her, but Rachel is and saved the pictures for me.”

Peri took the tablet and studied the images on the screen. Her brain seized.

Karla was wearing a minimal bikini she’d never seen before, arm around a stunning looking blonde who had the sleek look of a supermodel, also clad in very little material. Both were sporting identical smiles, and Peri recognised Karla’s post-sex satisfied expression.

“There are others, if you swipe across to the right.”

“I can’t…” Peri dropped the tablet on the table and rushed over to the nearest flowerbed. The contents of her stomach covered the nascent marigolds with a projectile of vomit. She stayed bent over, shoulders heaving.

“I’m so sorry. I couldn’t not tell you. It’s been eating me up ever since Rachel sent me the first screenshot yesterday.”

Peri sat back on heels. “Water,” she croaked.

“Oh, yeah. Be right back.”

It was a perfect day, the kind Peri had imagined enjoying, sitting outside revelling in the beauty of the countryside, savouring the clear, country air. Now, all she could taste and smell were the sour remnants of her lunch. She gulped back the large glass of water Dana handed her and spat out the last mouthful.

Life in the country…never a dull moment! I hope you’ll enjoy discovering how things work out for Peri and Karla.

Affinity’s two releases for March featured on the Bella Books for the month. I’m delighted to share the spotlight with Annette Mori’s The Panty Thief, which is a thoroughly entertaining read.

bella_march


ten_books

Available from: Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon UK / Amazon US / Amazon CA / Amazon AU / Amazon DE / Amazon FR / Bella Books / Smashwords / Apple iTunes